Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bad Luck?

*Today's excerpt from Voluntary Nomads, Part Five: Somali Safaris, Chapter 20.

Bad Luck?
I've heard the saying that bad luck comes in threes. How about sets of three? A spate of misfortune seemed to begin with my first and only visit to the corner tea hut.

Tea huts were common on street corners all over town, residential neighborhoods as well as commercial zones. From a distance our corner tea hut could be mistaken for a wind-blown gargantuan tumbleweed. Its stick and thatch physical construction may have been haphazard, but the social network was tightly woven. Gate guards and domestic employees stopped by every day for a glass of hot, sweet tea and a bit of gossip. Dakota was a frequent patron too; he bought candy there.

"Mom! Come on – I gotta show you something.'" Dakota pulled me by the hand and dragged me out of the house, through the gate, and over to the tea hut.

I followed Dakota into the dim interior, aware of a sudden dampness in my armpits. A dark shape flew at me and dug its claws into my hair and the back of my neck and shoulders. My flailing and screaming only made the thing strengthen its grip. I ran outside. The creature on my back screeched as loud as a demon from hell. Something limber and rough scraped across my calves as I twisted and turned.

"Mom! Mom! Stop!" Dakota couldn't catch up with my spinning flight.

The tea man rescued me. Why was he laughing at my terror? He grabbed the hemp rope that had been slapping my legs and reached toward me with his other hand. My attacker launched itself from my head to the arms of the tea man.

"See? It's only a monkey, geez." Dakota tugged his cap down over his eyes and scuffed his boot in the dirt.

The monkey sneered at my disgrace. I had never felt more foolish.

I slunk home and retreated to the bathroom. I snorted at my reflection in the mirror – red face, wild hair, torn shirt. A shower would fix me up, I thought. But there was no water.

Muttering expletives, I marched outside to check the water pump. Dead as the proverbial doorknob, this was the sixth water pump to burn out in the nine-month life of our new water system. I was too frustrated to notice any numerological significance of the six and nine, multiples of three.

While we waited for the installation of a new water pump for the house, our car broke down. I cleared the dining room table to make room for another session of gasket making. Fred assured me that the file folder and duct tape replica would keep the car running until we could get a replacement water pump from Nairobi, just as Dave's gasket had done the year before. Fine, I thought. What's next? ###

To find out what's next, get Voluntary Nomads at your favorite retailer. The paperback is available at (click here) and Barnes and Noble online (click this). Or you can download your favorite digital version at (click! ) or Outskirts Press (click now ).

*Monkey photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos.

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