Archives for category: Folk Stories

f2

One (of the) reason(s) I don’t use marijuana

I’d a couple of incidental encounters with marijuana in high school in the 1960s, but these had been nothing that attracted me to its use. I seem to recall it was mere matter of saying I’d ‘tried it.’ It was in Vietnam my only, serious, sustained use of the plant, had occurred. After Vietnam, I was an ‘on again, off again’ smoker of cannabis, through the 1970s. By the early 80s, I was mostly through the process of weaning myself of this plant altogether, with the rare encounter. By the time of penning this essay, I’ve not ingested this ‘drug’ in over 30 years. Here follows, is one reason why.

I’d recently encountered an anecdote that caused me recalling a story of a time I was staying at Helena, Montana, I think it was the fall season of 1980. There was a bust ongoing (undercover police work) of the local petty weed dealers and one of them panicked, brought a half pound of super-high THC content sinsemilla to an acquaintance who didn’t smoke dope but wasn’t adverse to people who did, for safe keeping. But then, this dope-dealer left town, no doubt due to the ‘noids.’ The guy holding his dope didn’t want it but knew an artist who smoked and went to drop it at his house; the intended recipient wasn’t home but the artists wife accepted the ‘gift’ and then something remarkable happened.

What the guy delivering the dope to his artist buddy didn’t realize was, the wife had had it up to her neck with her husband’s dope smoking, and his dope smoking buddies, because it was her attitude, now that they were married and had small kids, it was time to ‘get serious’ about life and stop with the dope-drain on their budget.

She put the half pound of sinsemilla, together with a couple pounds of butter, into a large wok, simmered it for some hours at very low heat, strained the now green fat through cheese cloth and made up a VERY LARGE batch of VERY STRONG chocolate (to conceal any flavor of cannabis) brownies sans any evidence of dope (included no leafy matter.) She then proceeded to send the brownies off to a large party attended by her husband’s friends, where a local political wag was to announce the formation of Montana’s new “NO-NOTHING” (correct spelling, a deliberate gag on history) political party. The platform of the party was, the Montana legislature meeting every two years for ninety days, should be changed, to meeting every ninety years for two days.

Everyone who attended that event was wrecked, for a week. And I mean wrecked. The party was on a Saturday night and it was Monday morning people showed up to work so dysfunctional, it defies description. One guy spent 40 minutes, panicked, looking for car keys which were clutched in his fist the entire time he was turning his house upside down, while looking for those very keys, in desperate attempt to get off to work.

And, no, nothing, came of the nascent political endeavor, it was as if it had been little more than a passing hallucination. It’s a pity, because, a legislature limited to meeting once in every ninety years, for two days, seemed (and still seems) like a good idea…

Disclaimer: if this story seems familiar, but only that, to certain of my Montana acquaintances, possibly it is because it is based in fact with a caveat; a few ‘small’ details have been ‘modified’ to indict the truly deserving, while more or less shielding the guilty, possibly excepting myself; with a hazy memory (was it a dream?) of ripping my house apart looking for the keys I had clutched in my fist –

Disclaimer #2: My satire in the present genre is to be honest in the Native American way; in effect, constructing a joke story closely resembling real life, a sort of collage of facts assembled from bits and pieces of diverse experience, combined with anecdotal information to create the culturally intact inherent Native wisdom found in their humor. In other words, parts of the story consist of an autobiographical facts incorporated, multi-faceted rip-off of other peoples life stories and experience. And because unlike the White world, the Native world entertains paradox in daily approach to life, some aspects are simply made up from the imagination’s fund of plausible improbabilities –

Related:

Mother’s Day and Male Dopes

The Great Phuc Uuus Massacre

^ Jack Kerouac never grew up

On the 95th anniversary of Jack’s birth, it seems a pity the iconic misogynist (closet gay) hypocrite, criminal, pedophile and compulsive liar, Kerouac, didn’t live to read my rebuttal to his ‘On the Road.’

http://www.scribd.com/document/97526088/Queer-Chicken-Dinner

The (above-linked) non-fiction work, Queer Chicken Dinner (the title is based on a prank narrated in the book), rips into Ginsberg as well. Care to discover the real Rocky Mountains character Kerouac & Company never stood a chance to discover? Read it here.

A teaser from the book:

“We had what was known as ‘the line.’ The line was the old U.S. Highway 2 from Blue Moon Tavern at Columbia Falls to Freda’s Bar at West Glacier, Montana, in the 1950s, 60s & 70s. And it was every bar and pub between. Kids from ‘up the line’ were known to be particularly wild. The line was about 16 miles and 24 bars along a strip of pavement through what was in those days ‘wild country’ in ways that defy the stereotype. That wild country produced wild young people no Denver skid row kid could ever hope to compete with.

“A related personal note on so-called ‘Beat’ writers would be, likely this is why I could never relate to the work of Gary Snyder, also I’d met Richard Brautigan when he was living in Paradise Valley in the late 1970s and found him insufferable, conceited, rudderless, empty in ways that cannot be explained by Zen (and unapproachable as soon as he realized he’d met a real Montana country boy from a mixed White/Native American community.)

“Looking back, I have to say I was impressed at the man’s lack of reality, in a sense, a fraud. Did moving to Montana in some sense confer a Dean Moriarty-like authenticity in Brautigan’s mind? I suppose that might be motivation for an outsider, in process of trying to convince their self of something they in reality cannot and never will know. I see it this way: A country kid can go to the city and have his eyes opened. A city kid can go to the country and have his mind blown. There is a nuance here I am speaking of, for instance when you go into the wild country away from the ‘noise’ .. it takes about five days for all of the reverberations and echoes to vanish and find the stillness. City kids often freak out at the silence. Country kids often find it healing. At 61 years, I’m certainly not going to write my rebuttal correcting the western ‘character’ and ‘freedom’ in Kerouac’s style of three weeks Benzedrine psychosis (warping my imagination.) So I will browse ‘On the Road’ at my favorite horseback pace, a leisurely walk. And give my impressions of the book in juxtaposition to authentic recollections of those years alcohol was interspersed with mescaline, LSD, et cetera in a wild country with wild characters who oftentimes simply and soberly loved the area we lived in because it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL…

“I was riding horseback through the forest in the Great Bear wilderness on a moonless & overcast night, you could not see your hand in front of your face. The route was from the Middle Fork of the Flathead River headwaters country, across the Continental Divide at Badger Pass and out into the foothills of the Rocky Mountain Front on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. I had total trust in my barefoot Blackfoot pony to keep its footing in the pitch dark, know the route and to stay on and make a correct decision at any fork in the trail. Relaxed in the saddle, I brought out my rolling tobacco and made a cigarette I never saw until I’d lit the match ..”

For a free e-book (pdf file) of Queer Chicken Dinner, email a request to:

penucquemspeaks@googlemail.com

! ENJOY !

*

As I bail out of the game, here is the gift of all (or nearly all) of the ronaldthomaswest.com articles in a single page of links; beginning with stories of travels through India, then, my personal life adventures largely centered in Native America, if only because I believe this is my most under-appreciated work and deserves greater exposure. Following these accounts are things I personally find interesting, next are external links to books authored by myself and then my satire. Lastly, scroll down to find that work I most detest, the work which had inspired the satire (a sort of therapy) – to discover the real evils of geopolitics.

My Madcap Adventure (tales of a journey to India)

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 1 From Indian country to India

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 2 New Delhi, round one

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 3 On character

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 4 Into the Himalayan foothills

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 5 Sanarth & the Buddha

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 6 Varanasi part one

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 7 Varanasi part two

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 8 Varanasi part three

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 9 Katmandu

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 10 Trisuli River

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 11 Chitwan National Park

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 12 Katmandu reprise

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 13 Back to Hotel Imperial

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 14 The riots begin

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 15 To the Taj Palace Hotel

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 16 Out of Delhi!

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 17 Cairo-London-New York

My Madcap Adventure, Episode 18 Aftermath

My Madcap Adventure, Epilogue (Notes) corrections/disclaimers

*

Life in Indian Country:

Life in Blackfoot Country Learning to go hungry

Keeping a Pipe On forgotten knowledge

Pipe Maker A story with a moral

The Novice A story with a moral

The Stick Game Native quantum mechanics (the witches)

The Legend of the Blackfoot Titan Mik-api

Happy the Indian Guide Indian stereotypes

Raven and Thunder Blackfoot Law of Matriarchy

Strawberry Medicine Men and a Stellar Jay

Napi in the New Age A ‘red apple’ story (satire)

Essay on Native American Humor Why I’m not politically correct

Junípero Serra On house breaking dogs (Catholic style)

The DIA and Shamanism Failed exploitation of indigenous knowledge

Native Americans and Race Race is BS to authentic Indians

Michele Bachmann & Wild Indians Satire

Apple Indians & Anthropology Anthropology as a faith-based initiative

Modern Indian Society A short history of cultural transition

Losers A Native perspective of Plato & western science

The Legacy of Russell Means ‘think twice’

New Age Homicide for $MONEY$ ‘think thrice’

*

Just stuff:

Nixtamal

Condensed for the Absolutely & Truly Dense

Thomas Paine

French Peacekeepers

Raphael’s Paradox

Brownie, a Weimaraner A folk story

Original Sin is a Hate Crime Abuse of women & nature

The Gospel According to Ronald On the historical Jesus

To Forgive is a Crime To excuse the inexcusable

Ron’s Conspiracy Theory Cosmology is the conspiracy

You’ve Got Apes! European cultural mentality

A Spy in the House of the Unloved Refuting Anias Nin

A Coward Called Machismo Observations on Machismo

How I rose from the dead (40 years after)

The More Important Blessing Quotes

Mr Chan A true story of real charity

Bruno the Bear Animal stereotypes

Recreating a Hot Spring in Your Bathtub A memory of Yellowstone

*

My Books (external links)

Penucquem Speaks 30 years life with Blackfeet Indians

Napi Mephisto on cross-cultural encounters

Queer Chicken Dinner refuting Jack Kerouac

Cosmos & Consciousness on reality

*

The Satires

March of the Tickle Dicks pictorial

The Logic Behind The American Vote thumbnail satire

Moot Court The Donald vs Ted Cruz

Whereas the Enemy of Your Friend is Your Favorite F**K

Urolagnetics On Scientology

Junípero Serra On house breaking dogs (Catholic style)

MERGE On Chomsky’s theory

People Who Behave As Stupid As They Look Uh-huh

Who Punked the Cardinal? On Vatican Fashion

Opus Dei creavit monitor lacertae Charlie Hebdo & satire

Alfreda Bikowski & the Definition of Stupid Only at the CIA

Obama’s Speech at Queensland Parody

Liberals On multiculturalism

Obama’s Speech to Skull & Bones A parody of his UN address

Teleprompter Forget it, you don’t want to go there

Thuck Norris Rated ‘S’ for SICK (parental advisory)

Democracy Now! State secrets & the war in Liberacestan

Michele Bachmann & Wild Indians Kerouac in drag

Dick Cheney’s Rottweiler Dog butt-sniffing rituals

Maison de l’Histoire de France Fellatio, Sarkozy & French history

The Great Phuc Uuus Massacre Propaganda trained CIA lizards

Bozo’s Handcock U Speech George Bush & Tony Blair in love

My Life as a Joke Personal Ad (women only please)

The Pachuco Stare Decisis SCOTUS = SCROTUM

The Moron Bernard-Henry Lévy He truly is a moron

How Jesus Gets Kicked Out Of Heaven Naughty George Carlin

NOT My Last Tango in Paris The NSA & cyanide suppositories

Demons Anonymous Addiction to destructive fantasies

Saint Chester Prince of the Church & patron saint of boys

A Conversation With Jon Stewart Barack Obama is a White man!

Scooby Doo is Lyndon LaDouche ‘Rut a retard’

Saki & Barf: killer women of the State Department Just rude

Salinas vs Texas U.S. Supreme Court self inflicted lawyer joke

Life’s Little Surprises A devil teaches law

Happy the Indian Guide On stereotypes

Napi in the New Age A ‘red apple’ Indian story

Mother’s Day and Male Dopes Moms & cannabis

Breakfast at a Pizzaria The German ‘I hate my life’ philosophy

Our Gang rascals too big for their breeches

World Cup Scribbles Rabies & dog muzzles

English Football International competition

Sardonism Adults Playing Cowboys and Indians

The Gospel According to Ronald On the historical Jesus

The Islamic State for Dummies The K.I.S.S. principle

NATO’s Three Chihuahuas Small dog syndrome

Essay On Native American Humor ‘Napi Eats His Butt’ (Best satire)

Perverts of Western Philosophy Locke to de Sade (and more)

A Cheesey Detective Story (the short lived series)

Episode 1

Episode 2

Guest Satire:

Raghead Political satire by Bill Purkayastha

Admiral John Kirby Comedy straight out of the Pentagon

About Clowns DJ Rankin

*

The NAZI Meme

Deep State I

Deep State II

Deep State III

Deep State IV

Deep State V

Deep State VI

Hillary Clinton in Four Short Paragraphs

Intelligence Agencies & Wikipedia

The CIA And Nonviolent Resistance

God’s Chosen is a Dumb Idea 

The Secret Team is The Family

Profits of War

Fear of Minor Debris

The Alpha Chronology

Reorganizing Murder Incorporated 

Square Pegs in Round Holes:

“We Tortured Some Folks”

Fear of Minor Debris

Intelligence Agencies & Wikipedia

Laura Poitras’ Myopia

Death of a MOSSAD Agent

*

On Ukraine:

Denial

Stratfor Chief

Winning Ugly

Reuters & A Fixed Verdict

Kiev’s Nazis

Black Boxes, Dark Arts & Geopolitics

If Russia Were To Back Down on MH 17 ?

Elliot Higgins on MH 17

Poison Fruit Encore 1

Obama’s Ukraine

The New Great Game

USAID & Chevron

Victoria Nuland’s Wedding

Germany’s Martyrs of the Maidan

John Kerry’s neo-nazi snipers

The CIA and a Liar’s Fastrack

Dominionism’s Fingers in Kiev

The Washington Post & Double Think

The Disinformation Nation

The Ascension of The Morons

Poison Fruit Encore 2

People Who Behave As Stupid As They Look

Admiral John Kirby

Mutti, Piggies and the Minsk Peace Accord

The Intercept Takes A Dive 

The Intercept Takes A Dive Episode 2

*

Related stuff:

What Do Putin’s Adviser’s Know? You can listen right here

Sergei Lavrov’s UN Speech Russia’s Foreign Minister on 27 Sept 2014

Putin’s Speech of 24 October 2014 Sane by comparison with NATO

Tactical Nuclear Weapons for Dummies Pentagon fantasies

*

Arab Spring:

Overview

Egypt Round Two

Syria Part One

Syria Part Two

Syria Part Three 

Syria Part Four

The Islamic State for Dummies

NATO, God & Military Mafia

Western Democracies, Salafist Militia & Syria 

Litmus Test

Lies by Omission

Friday the 13th in Paris

The Real Intelligence on Our Leaders

Whereas the Enemy of Your Friend is Your Favorite F**K

Letter to Doctors Without Borders 

NATO’s Most Censored Story

*

Other stuff:

Parting Shot On media

Throwing Stones From Glass Houses Social-political commentary

Vice and MI6

Seymour Hersh & Mythology

Machine Pistol

Fletcher Prouty and the Secret Team (Today)

Defense One Zero Hedge Drinks The Kool Aid

Médecins Sans Frontiéres

USAID in Central Africa

Reuters & A Fixed Verdict

Truth Jockeys

Why NSA Wants Your Metadata

Farewell to the Black White-Man

Boris Nemtsov

Chevron & USAID

Alfreda Bikowski & the Definition of Stupid

Paranoia of Dianne Feinstein

In the Shoes of an Insurgent

Square Pegs in Round Holes

Metadata & Panorama

Reorganizing Murder Incorporated

Votes and Vanishing Acts

Poison Fruit

The Left’s Anti-Federalist Urban Legend

CIA vs JFK

The Navy Yard Reporting Smells Wrong

MOSSAD and Jews for Jesus

“We Tortured Some Folks”

Hillary Clinton in Four Short Paragraphs

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Mojahedin-e-Khalq

Military Sock Puppets, NSA Trolls & CIA Shills

CIA & The Media

WikiLeaks & Spy Agencies

Noteworthy Information Operations

*

More stuff:

Throwing Stones From Glass Houses

Why the FBI Will Never Investigate the Biggest Criminals

CIA and Public Relations

VICE & The CIA

Greek Tragedy

Winning Ugly

Truth Jockeys

Greek Hubris

How To Make Powerful Enemies In Four Short Paragraphs

People Too Stupid to Understand They’re Stupid

Holocaust & Narrative Perversion

See’s Sampler

Stupid is as Stupid Does

NATO’s Three Chihuahuas

Evil Cynics, Stooges & Dupes

Empire & Blow-back

Erik Prince & Pedophile Priests

The NSA’s Egregious Liar

Robert Seldon Lady, CIA Slime-Bag

Cheap Tricks for Jesus

The Economics of Moonshine Whiskey

Celebrating the Anti-Christ

Enlightenment: The Automated Death Machine

Napi Mephisto

Snowden & Snooping

Uncle Sam, Dominionist Puppet

Of Nukes, Courage and Cowards

Outline of a Snowden Legal Defense

Color of Law, Star Chamber, FISA & PRISM

The Greatest Criminal Endeavor

Our Vital National Interests

How to Make Powerful Enemies in Three Short Paragraphs

How to Make Powerful Enemies In a Few Paragraphs

If  The Left Are Sheep, The Right Are Fish

The (No) ‘Establishment’ Clause

North Carolina’s 2nd Secession From the Union

EXBERLINER (1)

EXBERLINER (2)

EXBERLINER (3)

EXBERLINER (4)

Post Modern Teutonic Vision

The USA vs The Teutons

*

A little more about books:

GLADIO

Profits of War

Invective

David Ignatius’ Body of Lies

John Le Carre’s A Delicate Truth

Robert Littell’s The Company

No Snowflake in an Avalanche

Dirty Wars

Should I be a Spy Novelist?

To The Far Right Christian Hater

A Report to an Academy

*

My blog had begun attracting readers in mid 2014, when I’d been giving it real attention for several months. This upcoming week of 21 March 2016, coinciding with withdrawing from giving ronaldthomaswest.com sustained attention, it will pass the 100,000 hits mark (it stands at 99,685 as I write this.)

Hardly some mega-phenomena but not bad either. Now, it’s just another internet archive –

*

S1

All original material copyright Ⓒ 2015 by Ronald Thomas West: For profit & mass paper media redistribution prohibited

 

Crystal_Ball

The effects of this trip had reverberated in the core of my being for well over a month, following my return. Landed in New York, I traveled upstate and spent a week hanging out with a friend. It was a quiet scene, talking philosophy and spending time checking out the old Erie Canal. The mundane was beautiful.

Back at Helena, I was asked what I thought of the trip. By this time I knew the sisters had the then popular astrologer, Zipporah Dobbins, choose the trips date; it would be an ‘auspicious’ time. Based on this intelligence, I answered “Those girls should be jailed.”

I went to Starr School on the Blackfeet reservation, to pack up and head south for a few months, coming from the tropics into a Montana winter was not an appealing thought. I dropped by to visit Pat, my medicine man friend and he laughed at me … Native America has perhaps the darkest humor on Earth and the prevailing joke in the community was “Ron shot Mrs Gandhi.” It was a pun on the shamanic aspect of life not understood in western culture, but similar perhaps to a joke on someone who’d followed an astrologer into a disaster. Kind of like saying ‘your medicine man sucks’ relating to consulting over preparation for a journey.

Reprising a trip from over a decade earlier, when I’d driven a Volkswagen ‘bug’ to Arizona, to escape Montana’s cold, following my return from tropical Vietnam, here I was again, driving a Volkswagen bug to Arizona, to escape the Montana cold, following my return from tropical India.

It was at Agua Prieta, just on the Mexican side of the border with Arizona, I’d asked at the local grocery a simplest possible question; of a proprietor who’d probably never been beyond the borders of his native Sonora. My imperfect Spanish couldn’t find the impersonal ‘are there’ and instead I blurted out the personal ‘do you have’ .. eggs? His reply was:

Sì! Dos grandes!!”

-end-

notes to follow-

*

My Madcap Adventure (all episodes)

Letter to the De Sousa clan of India

It was mid afternoon on 4 November I was free in Cairo. I was able to amend my original return ticket from India and would be able to catch a plane from Cairo to New York with a plane change at London, on the 6th. I caught a taxi to Giza and checked into a ! Swiss Chalet ! or cheesy imitation thereof, a sort of motel configuration, not too expensive. I laid down and was dead-out until I heard the muezzin calling people to prayer at daybreak, or about 12 hours. It was that kind of sleep where you offload immeasurable amounts of stress. But surrealism apparently doesn’t simply vanish but follows some trips like a con-trail. Or maybe I was just tripping, but here is what I experienced: This ‘chalet’ had a dining room and I was by now thoroughly sick of curried vegetables, the mainstay on my diet for the past six weeks. I wanted red meat. English boiled beef, fine no argument with that. Feta cheese was a treat. But here is what made the journey cartoon just keep going on; the ‘chalet’ dining room had an American ‘Old West’ theme … with waiters dressed in paper-felt cowboy hats with plastic sheriff star pinned to vest and toy revolvers holstered on their hips! This was the very outfit American parents bought for their 10 year old boys and here we were in Giza, Egypt!! I understood I wasn’t hallucinating but still .. face in my palm.

Cowboy

May I take your order?

This was the evening of 5 November. Earlier in the day, I’d been visiting the home of the taxi driver who’d fetched me from the airport and brought me to Giza, his home village. We’d had lunch with his family and he was wanting to know when I’d like to see the pyramids .. Haji Hassan El-Koly was stunned to hear a westerner state, and his daughter nearly fell on the floor laughing at his amazement .. when I’d gestured to the window and said “I see them, they’re there.” It was almost inconceivable to him I was more interested in discovering who the Egyptians of the present were, than going to some presentation or touring any archaeology site. We spent part of the afternoon discussing contemporary Egypt and regional geopolitics, as well he became curious and was asking questions about myself. El-Koly stated he would never forget me on account of my name: “Where the Sun goes down.” He probably never did forget me; I had paid him an honest fare for my trip to & around Giza and return to the Cairo airport .. but then tipped him one inferior quality counterfeit USA $100 bill, courtesy of a Guardian Angel.

Cairo_to_London

Arrival in London (L) from Egypt (R)

At Heathrow in London, I had to clear customs to walk across a street into another concourse, to catch my plane to New York. Two British counter-narcotics officers were waiting for me as I entered the second concourse, they wanted a look inside my carry on day-pack. I had a collection of perfume oils I was returning with, to give to a woman friend. Eight brown glass vials about 3 inches tall and one inch wide, probably seen in some x-ray scanner my pack had been through. Asking me questions about the movie ‘The French Connection” as they pulled out the flat box containing the vials, I merely replied ‘Not everyone’s life fits a movie script.” They sorted soon enough it was oil of musk & other scents and one of them asked “What are you West, some kind of a rat?” And then let me go. I ate a ‘drop into dead sleep over the Atlantic’ pill I HAD smuggled, just for that purpose, and woke up at JFK in New York.

*

My Madcap Adventure (all episodes)

Letter to the De Sousa clan of India

On 2 November in my room at the Taj Palace, watching Indian state tv was like watching science fiction; with expressionless humanoid faces telling us not to believe “rumors of communal violence.” As I watched Rajiv light his mother’s funeral pyre on television, I could coincidentally look out the window at a column of smoke rising in the distance. Indira Gandhi’s body going up in flames or another Sikh home? There was no way for me to know, as these were simultaneous phenomena. So, what was the point of the television lie? Another trait India holds in common with the western democracies – ‘what you’re told isn’t the reality.’

Meanwhile I’d picked up a security detail shadowing me, no one believed for a New York second I was Old Babette’s grandson. It’d been better if she’d said nothing. I took care of that with fortuitous circumstance. I was sitting in a lounge in the morning when some vile looking, dowdy and incredibly wealthy (her gold and jewels hanging on her like kites tangled in utility wires) old woman decided to abandon her huge purse that appeared to be so heavy as to be filled with gold bars and leave the room. I spotted my security man across the room in a doorway, looking the other way. I walked swiftly over to him and, without mentioning the owner, I told him “There is an untended bag.” He immediately followed me into the lounge where I pointed out the purse, as it happened the old woman was returning to claim it. After, there was no further suspicions; they didn’t care who I was, other than an extra set of security eyes. No one wanted a bomb going off. A little later I frightened the ‘bejezuz’ out of myself with a stupid trick. Heading back to my room I turned the corner to see the elevator doors were beginning to close. With a sprint & leap worthy of some caped hero, I flew into the elevator as the door closed behind me: squarely into some VIP”s armed security detail! And fortunately for me, sans VIP. I wasn’t shot. If only they’d taken a photo of my face in that moment, some things are absolutely priceless. Recovering my composure in the stare of several ‘men-in-black’ security types, I simply said “Sorry” and pushed the elevator button to my level.

3 November simply dragged on in some sort of time warp that makes a day seem as though it will never end, as Indian television insisted despite rumors, there was no communal violence. Meanwhile I’d encountered an American who said a mob had boarded at a stop and killed Sikhs on the train he’d taken to Delhi.

Meanwhile Old Babette had been showering me with promises. Grateful, at least momentarily, for engineering our escape, she insisted I was going to be put up in Cairo and take a boat tour with her on the Nile, all on her dime. I listened but said nothing. Underneath, both of us knew we were absolutely incompatible personalities. That, and I recalled her brief episode of delusional belief she was a siren of eternal youth. That made me more paranoid than the rioting city we were looking to escape.

On the morning of the 4th, the Guardian Angel Sister’s Muslim travel agent manifest, to be certain Old Babette and myself made it onto the airport shuttle. For that fact, I totally forgive her for -on my departing the Hotel Imperial- passing off to me two, inferior quality, counterfeit USD$100 bills as a means of getting rid of them. On the other hand, her Bandit Sister was prone to absolutely angel moments (time to time.)

Cairo

Cairo

In our (cheap) silk kimono jackets courtesy of 1st class tickets on Japan Airline, we were among the first people out of Delhi. No sooner than we we’re in the air, Old Babette’s immense gratitude began to wane; she  was certain I wouldn’t mind a 2nd class hotel in Cairo. The truth is, other than reassurance as escort on absolutely insane taxi rides, there hadn’t been much I’d done she couldn’t have done for herself. It was the Muslim friend of the Guardian Angel Sister had made our departure possible. I don’t know if Old Babette had ‘male companion’ in mind for Egypt, but as far as I was concerned we were parting ways. As we were disembarking our plane in Cairo, her plans for us were getting reiterated and I said nothing until we’d passed through customs; her needing assistance with luggage, and myself with two carry on totality of luggage, I turned to her and said “I’ll take a rain-check” with a wave of the hand I strode away .. and the look of complete surprize-shock-amazement on her face was the last I ever saw of Old Babette.

 *

My Madcap Adventure (all episodes)

Letter to the De Sousa clan of India

 

Of the numerous photos of the 1984 ‘riots’ I could have chosen, of Sikhs being beaten to death, burned alive, arson of their businesses or simply bodies of children, women and men alike murdered by the mob, I decided instead to show a taste of the opulence I’d escaped to .. and is likely an accurate picture of the Gandhi family’s life; even as Rajiv was setting fire to his mother’s funeral pyre while powerless Sikh families were being burned alive in their homes:

???????????????????????????????

^ Interior of Taj Palace Hotel at New Delhi

I’d put on my day pack and shouldered my small sport duffel, the totality of my luggage, grabbed one of Old Babette’s suitcases (she had two) and escorted her out of the Hotel Imperial’s gate, past the Sikh security contingent, all armed with swords or batons, one of whose face was severely beaten. We turned right outside of the gate and walked maybe a hundred meters or so to an area where there was a taxi business. The taxi people pointed us down an alley where there were a few taxis with drivers willing to risk exiting the area and hired one to drive us to the Taj Palace Hotel … for one hundred US dollars. Working was an affront to the memory of Indira Gandhi and could get a taxi driver killed, with no safety promise made to the passengers. We made the trip with a wide-eyed, nearly panic stricken driver speeding through the empty streets of Delhi – it looked like a ghost city with scattered debris and the occasional smouldering ruin. Suddenly we breezed through an army checkpoint into the upscale area of the city where life looked like a calm calendar holiday. We arrived at the marble & brass edifice that we’d call home for the following three nights, without incident. Then, Old Babette made her first screw-up. She quite spontaneously decided to create an alibi for the character she was traveling with (that would be me) and went into an unrequested, convoluted, unconvincing explanation I was her “grandson” at check-in. Of course all this did was raise suspicions; as I bore no resemblance whatsoever to her. A medium-short, dark, muscular male with no scent of money whatsoever in his attire, in the company of a clearly wealthy, slender, taller, translucent-White woman who’d burn in the sun in less than 10 minutes without her protective hat and sunscreen. For purposes of cover, I would never bring myself to pose as her male prostitute; as well, we had separate rooms .. otherwise that might have almost been the story that fit her unnecessary, unwanted, counter-productive attempt at an alibi. In a way, we WERE using each other. But now I was marked by hotel security in a venue that was filling up with high profile guests arriving for a state funeral.

Now, things became more stupid in a blessed sort of way; We discovered there was to be an ‘inaugural’ Japan Airlines flight out of Delhi on 4 November, the day the airport would reopen for regular commercial traffic. This stroke of luck made available to us was on account of the Guardian Angel Sister who’d an Indian professional travel associate who came to see if we’d made it to our destination alive. This Muslim man, I do not recall his name, impresses me as one of the finest people I’d met on our trip. The catch was, I subsequently discovered, in order to secure tickets, we had to visit the Japan Airlines travel agency office, precisely located one city block from Hotel Imperial! Old Babette and myself had to get a taxi and retrace our route and return!! Argh!!! None of the travel businesses were overtly open but if we went to the back door of the business, we were told, we’d be allowed in to acquire plane tickets. This would be my fifth trip across the burning city in two days, if one counted destination and return separately. I told Old Babette she could either come up with a few thousand cash for myself to transact the business for us or take the ride and bring along her credit cards. She got into the taxi with me. Two wild rides & two hundred dollars in taxi fees later, we were back at the Taj Palace with a pair of first class tickets to Cairo.

*

My Madcap Adventure (all episodes)

Letter to the De Sousa clan of India

%d bloggers like this: