Monday, August 20, 2007

This is not fair

It's very quiet. I think something's sinking in and neither Fusel and Bêbe can tell me what the something is now.

The passenger we're waiting for came. A short fat man in a brown uniform, he's got ginger whiskers and smells of stale tobacco and fish. He's sitting next to me reading a hand-written journal, sometimes he mutters something as he turns a page, and gives me a sly sideways glance to see if I've noticed. Fusel's staring straight at me and Bêbe can't look up. Neither of them seem to want to catch the eye of my neighbour.

I'm getting this backward - it's just that, with him sitting there, uncomfortably close, and Fusel and Bêbe acting so spooked by his presence, I can't think of anything else.

There was a thing that happened when he came. We'd been waiting for about an hour, mostly in silence except for the rustle of another traveller shifting in their seat, or the occasional bitten back sob from Bêbe (followed by Fusel either sucking his lips or huffing his moustache). There was a tap from outside. You'd have thought it was a gun going off the way it made the soldier jump - he'd been leaning against the door smirking at everyone, and if he saw me looking he'd snap his finger and thumb in front of his eye and wink (because he's got my camera).

The door opened and in came ginger-whiskers and two other soldiers. Our soldier regained his composure momentarily and, with a sidelong grin me-wards, made to leave. Not so, soldier number one pushed a big oily bag into the arms of our man. Our man looked at ginger. Ginger smiled and said something that translates as "you stay".

And that's when I realised that our man, the smirking camera thief, is actually our boy. He went white as a sheet. Soldier number two barked out some order, and our boy, who I could now see was barely out of his teens, took a deep breath, stood a little straighter, turned and walked stiff up to me.

"You ok, give me camera," he said, and rummaged in the bag, "I give you good one." And he pulled out a pistol and pushed it in my hand. "You soldier now," he said.

blog comments powered by Disqus