Saturday, December 13, 2008


These were the obstacles of the traveller. The burden he carried: ill-made for carrying, it encumbered and pained him. The wind against him: arising even as he neared his goal. And the goal itself; for the transportation the traveller sought scorned him, departing stuffed full of students and empty of him.

A mighty wind, a heavy burden; the turtle turned its face away.

But another tortoise came, as had been prophesied. Upon it the traveller placed himself, and wedged himself into a corner, anticipating company. Such there was: more students loaded themselves on, and more, and more. For reasons unclear to him, most seemed to be women; one such sat next to the traveller, so close-packed that her leg was pressed against his for most of the trip. It was not what he had expected.

Another came; they went, last of three, packed tight as sardines (sardines, oddly, mostly of the distaff sex)

The trip was long; the traveller's neighbour napped as best she could. (They never spoke.) The wind, which had assaulted the traveller before, did so again; the tortoise began to sway, rocking back and forth faster and faster, further and further. Other students, and even the traveller himself, became increasingly alarmed; the turtle's driver began to rein it in, slowing its speed to control the terrible sway. The traveller was reminded of the Indian bus, which, so overloaded with passengers as to have them hanging from the sides, turned a corner with only two wheels upon the earth. He preferred to avoid such experiences in his own life, he decided.

Buffeted terribly, their transport swayed like a sea-ship in a gale.

The tortoise slowed as they entered the city, alleiving the problem. The traveller's eye was now free to wander. He watched the sky, seeing grey nearly everywhere he looked, save for one golden spot (so far away!) where the clouds yielded their primacy to the light of the Sun. He watched the road, where the tortoise was forced to halt; an iron horse galloped past at terrific speeds, shooting past in seconds. The turtle continued, to the aerodrome.

Wonders and miracles; a spear of light from the heavens like the eye of God, surrounded by all-encompassing grey; a steel flash across their path, ten thousand tons of metal moving nearly too fast to be seen.

The traveller watched from the seat in the belly of the steel bird, watching the ground fly away. "Farewell, my home," he said, with no hint of regret. "For my home awaits."



(The bold comments are the original notes for this story, written on my cell-phone as the events occurred. I felt they might be helpful for readers' comprehension.)

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