Monday, 17 January 2011

Upstairs and Down

Upstairs and down
"Upstairs, downstairs, in my lady's chamber....
Upstairs, downstairs, in my lady's chamber."

He kept saying it. Pausing, looking down, doing a half burp, then saying it again. He said it faster and faster. Slipping on his tongue like a swirling dervish in a desert town. Her ears were like air currents sucking the sand up into the clouds and blasting it again back against his anorak collecting inside his hood...just missing your face as you turn. He reached for a bag of sultanas with sand in the teeth of his late night grin. Fascinating. Yeah. She knows these words. Look at her. Completely stunned by a simple phrase like a deer.

He squinted looking closer as if he were examining a new acquisition at the zoo. What genus is this? Something tiny in a tiny glass box. An insect maybe with a shiny turquoise sheen and the cute little tiny little hair-like feet of a beetle. With wings you can part with your finger. Aquariums are for lizards or brightly colored fish. This was a tiny little beetle. Maybe it was a bed bug like the ones in New York they can't find a cure for; they can't kill as it is immune to every pesticide.

Upstairs Downstairs in my lady's......
champion...champion...of his class. Best memory too. One line is all he remembers. He was fascinated to see how it registered on her face. She knew that story. Perhaps she had memorized it as a child too. And he finally gets to use if on a Megook sarang... That's Korean for American. Me Gook coming from the Vietnamese nickname for the Yanks in the war. The gooks.
I said it..Me Gook Sarang. And then he did know a few more words. Infact, he was a pigeon master. Pie pigeon master. I do pigeoness. Pigeon master....??? I pictured him with pigeons. Business man. Pigeon man. The conversation did not go far.

It was late at the seven eleven in Seoul and all I wanted was some spicy ramen and some quiet. He flew out the door after a few minutes of his nursery rhyme chant. He blew out the door like tumbleweed.

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