They went back to the
hotel. The men were happy to make their
way to the room to relax, but
For about half an hour she sat enjoying the ambience of being absolutely stunning looking and sitting at a high class bar. Presently an elderly man came in and heaved himself stertorously onto the stool next her. He was quite portly. He ordered a quinine water and began to nurse it as if it had been grain alcohol.
Trying not to seem too
“Ah, sweet child, I am a
fisherman. I have been fly-fishing on
“A bunch of us are looking into a theory. The idea is that cells have to signal each other, or else we would be born shapeless globs not babies. Any signal involves a sender and a receiver, which must be tuned together. And if you have too many kinds of signal there is confusion. So there must be a limit to the amount of diversity in a population and thus to population size. Are you the ‘Fisher King’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’?” she asked impishly.
“Ah, young thing. Have a care. One would do better not to be overheard mentioning such things even in jest.”
“But that’s what Baal means,” she said.
“Almost. Baal means
lord. Beelzebub means lord of the
flies. It was a commonly used word for
“I don’t know. Somewhere.”
“The Fisher King is a figure in the story of the Holy Grail. It is his realm that has been laid waste. All the people have vanished. Nothing remains but the ruins of an ancient race.”
“And the Holy Grail must be the cure.”
“Precisely. You know your old romances. But here is one thing you must know.”
“The Holy Grail is a secret.”
“Everybody knows that.”
“But you must remember it.”
“I do remember.”
“The Holy Grail is a secret.”
“It is important that it is a secret.”
“Of course. Otherwise everyone would know about it.”
“You must say it three times.”
“You’re being silly.”
“No, indulge a very old man. Say it.”
“Theholygrailisasecrettheholygrailisasecrettheholygrailisasecret. Do you feel better now?”
“Much. And you have earned something.”
He looked down at his vest and carefully removed a fishing fly he had stuck in a pocket. “It is not much, but a token. I tie them myself.”
“Gee. Isn’t it kind of big?”
“It has been a long time
since a pretty little woman said that to me.
But yes, it is quite big. The
hook is too big for most of the fish one would find in these wolds. But they say
the Holy Grail is hidden beneath
The corpulent stranger
excused himself, and presently
Taking care not to make any
remarks out loud about what they were doing, they worked on the puzzle.
They began to plan out the next day, chatting about weather and shopping, and carrying on their real conversation typing on the computer.
On the same day
There was no question of
whose fault it was. The other driver was
on the right, and in
It was not to be. The other driver bounded out of his car yelling at the top of his lungs. That was the way it was going to be. The Prophet clearly stated that Allah takes no joy in a wrongful curse so technically the only thing to do was to stand there crestfallen and take it. On the other hand the driver was screaming in English sooo … The converation went rather like this: (Note to browsers: In the original this dialogue is written out in two parallel columns to indicate that the two are talking at the same time until the end of the conversation, where there are long pauses between each speech. The Save as Web Page button in Word had different ideas. I shall indicate the speakers. I hope it doesn’t spoil the hidden joke.)
Other Driver: Mamma mia, where you learn to drive you crazy stupid moron? Maybe somewhere ramming other cars is like a sport. You do it when you get the chance you kamikaze lunatic. I guess your mother told you no one has a right to live or anything. I guess you think its funny just to aim at anything that moves. I’m lucky maybe just to be alive with drivers coming at me like a bull in heat. You’re blind and lazy. Even looking out the windshield takes you too much of effort. Now why don’t you back where you came from; let some driver have a shot at you and tell me how it feels like. How you live so long? I don’t see how you made it this far. I was only going on about my business hoping maybe see my family not wind up just wrapped around your fender, maybe have a vino; now I spend the afternoon – I spit upon your backside – shopping here and there and go to every cheap mechanic who might fix my car and leave you looking for another victim. Man as old as you should stay at home and leave the driving to a younger person, one who still has eyes and ears and cares about his living not to mention other people living. If your mother saw you now I think she’d be in tears and say, “Bambino don’t you drive like shit I’m sorry that I let your father do it to me on that evening.
Ali: May the dung of three hundred and sixty nine camels encrust on your hair sprouting nostrils you worthless excuse for a lost unbeliever, and may thirty three of the mangiest plagues of old Egypt befall your unhappy foul course and make slime of the festering body which carries your filth seeking mind. May the fleas of ten leprous and sinking old beggars inhabit your armpits, and then may the drought of the desert make home on your blaspheming tongue. May the evil one hunt you like harrier setters go after a rabbit that runs through the brambles, and may he corral you and have his sweet way with you dog of dog of an infidel dog. May the sound of your wailing arise to the heavens as high as your soul shall go sinking in hell as you wheedle for mercy but never can find it. May pus flow in boils and ulcers and sores on your festering scalp and the dogs come and lick it and die of the poison. May ten of your wives swarm around you and scold you from sun up to sun down not even then give you peace in the night but go on till the morning and make matters worse then they start to ignore you and squabble among their own number. The carrions bird start to circle but choke on the smell of your farting and drop from the sky as the victims of that which they lusted to
Other Diver: After all as crazy drunk and stinking as he was I could have made him take a bath and do it in the morning. Then I think I might have had a son who knew it’s different driving cars than mounting pigs.” I guess that’s why you seem in such a hurry. Got a piggy waiting and to slow down for a second, that would make her … no I don’t mean her – a he pig under age to boot … you worthless silly scoundrel, guess you have a pig pen full of them and all go running when they see you. Pigs have feelings too and being mounted by a meat head such as you, it makes them feel embarrassed so they run and hide their heads in shame but that’s all right with you because it’s not the head you’re after. Go and learn to drive and some day when you’re older if you make it maybe you’ll be fit to drive with normal people. What you father must be thinking looking down from heaven, no I think he died of shame and that’s a sin in spite of circumstances that would make a saint dissolve in tears with such a son as you to go about the world and drag the family name into the gutter, make him go and sit his butt on some convenient ice floe drifting out to sea to hide his shame you worthless son of that unhappy man. Your mother’s mother weeps alone in heaven thinking how the whole enormous family eat.
Ali: May your teeth drop, your gut swell, your joints freeze, your eyes melt your bones break, your jaw dislocate while your skin grows red botches of mange, where the maggots will grow up obscenely deformed. May the sand of the wilderness burn your toes black and the cold of the night air freeze both of your testicles, scorpions nest in your bottom and come out to bugger each other among the rank hairs that grow floridly out of your asshole. May tapeworms entangle your food and the flies of the south do their battle around you while seruts come stinging your cheek and the friends that you trusted make contests of who can forget you the fastest or make a big prize for the one who betrays you the most. May your name be forgot and the bones of your house be the home of the bats and the termites. May half of your camels grow spavined and half of your mares start to founder while blowflies make feast of their eyeballs. And then may your carcass rot while you still live in it, most wretched human who ever laid foot on the earth. And then let the unfortunate day of you birth be struck out of the calendar; no one would venture to leave his own home on a time of ill omen like that. May your path lie among all the venomous serpents and rust flaking bear traps. Get lost and let panic climb up from your genitals.
Other Driver: suffers so they have neglected every other duty of a person, only spend their time regretting that first day they ever let you draw another breath and didn’t drop you down the well with all the other trash they wanted to dispose of making room for reptiles, spiders centipedes and other wholesome things that bring such joy into their lives because they think at least they’re smarter than their senile, addle headed sick berserker cousin who can’t drive and has no business being out in traffic ramming cars and killing children laughing as he hears them cry in terror pea brained imbecile who cannot …
Ali: crawling around the dark laboring throb of your heart and then grow in your throat like a mushroom expanding to choke you and try as you may you can’t swallow for fear of the dark and the loneliness clinging around you. May everyone hate you and loath your approach as the thief with his hand in the pocketbook dreads the alarm to be sounded and hears the crowd turn and observe him and gather in fury. Your children break wind at their weddings and let them be seen to be scratching their balls and explain that to do so is all that they have that can comfort them after their birth from a cursed American…
Other Driver: I can’t believe you called me that.
Ali: Forgive me. It was the heat of the moment.
Other Driver: You know I don’t have any camels.
Ali: I am truly sorry, my friend.
Other Driver: Don’t worry about it. Try to be a little more careful.
Ali: Blessings of Allah.
No Viking rigging has survived. Common belief is that the Viking dragon boat had a single square sail, and indeed Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated that such a sail – mounted on a papyrus reed boat, of all unpromising hulls – can beat against the wind if only while going at maximum speed. But a Viking ship has been found in a burial that gives a clue. There is a step for a mast, and the step is hinged so that the mast can lie in the bottom of the boat. Space considerations indicate that it must have been a very short mast. And the boat has crutches for support of two spars, one on either side. It seems possible that the Viking ship had, at least at times, two triangular sails for use in tacking like the two sails of the caravel.
Of course the beauty of the dragon ship is so that even a child seeing a model for the first time may be transfixed at the combination of grace and implied audacity.
He thus took the most
efficient route for crossing the
He went around the city. There were palaces galore. There was a green glass dish which was said
to have been used by
There was the tomb of the wife
of Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie
Wills Wilde, a man of remarkable intelligence, wit and charm, who had written
the drama “
There was a violin that had
been made by Guarnerius and was played by
He noticed that the city was
situated in a broad valley. The valley
must have been cut, like the
And then he started northward
and eastward toward the south of
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