Travel Thursday: A Redhead To India

Co-written; Emily wrote her parts. . . though she never saw the finished product. . .


This was it. She would never find another place as amazing, as beautiful, as. . . all-enclosing Nirvana as this. Not that she was feeling any Buddhist inclinations right now, far from it; it was her own special brand of heaven. The amazing artistry of the sculptures, the age of the buildings, the improbability of her being here, and most of all the subject of the visions in front of her. . . if it could be said that her mind and soul were having orgasms, she would heartily agree that this was such a situation. And her body felt as into it as if she was being touched in all her most tender places as well. . . it was truly a completely encompassing experience.

I had once described Khajuraho as the pop-up book for the Kama Sutra, to general hoots from the less stodgy members of the archaeological and historical community. Legend has it that when the moon god saw the young maiden Hemavati bathing in a river–gods allowed to be peeping Toms, of course–her beauty was such that he descended to earth to engage in a passionate affair. Before his return to the celestial realm, he swore she would soon bear a son who would one day erect a great temple to celebrate the beauty of their divine love.

Kinda story that gets you right there, huh? No, not there, higher. . . well, there too. In fact, not one but eighty-five temples were built, though only a very few of them featured exquisite sculptures, right on the outside walls, of men and women joyfully engaging in the most intimate and erotic of arts.

So you can understand my interest in it, as well as any sensual redhead who’d ever heard about it.

By the end of the fifteenth century the temples were abandoned, quickly hidden deep in thick jungle, until their accidental discovery in 1838. But only twenty-two remained, which made me wonder, considering all the variations of sex that survived, what might have been on those lost ones. . .

She found one panel that particularly entranced her, and she quickly put her hands in her pockets of her jeans–not easy, considering how tight they were–to keep from playing with herself–in public, this time–as she allowed her mind to float away and picture herself in the scene. . .

I came around the corner and instantly spotted the redhead, who seemed to be blushing from more than just the sun on her pale skin. I could barely see more than just her profile, but still thought he could spot a gorgeous blue eye above a slightly chubby cheek. And of course that amazing red hair  . . . and she certainly seemed to be in the right place; I could easily picture her up on the stone, a celestial maiden pouting and posing while acting out every page of the Kama Sutra. . .

Going back to my personal project of photographing every square millimeter of every building on the site, I nevertheless found time to observe her, wanting to see her walk, wondering just how beautifully she moved in those tight jeans. . .

And I was already thinking of ways to shoot her against the sculptures. . .

Unbeknownst to me–so she thought, anyway–Emily was keeping an eye on the guy with the camera, because he seemed more interested in the sculptures than her. Howz that for an ego? Sheesh. Still, if he was some kind of expert, taking photos for his thesis or something, it might pay to hang around and learn something. . .

And then I turned, grinned at her, and took her photo.

She laughed. That’s better. . . like I had any doubt! Wow, that made me inordinately happy. Now I owe him one. . .

Having gotten my point across, whatever that point might be, I went back to shooting the sculptures, waiting for her to make the next move.

Which she quickly did. “Hi, I’m Emily.”

“Really? You don’t look like one.”

Big smile. “I was hoping you’d say that. What name would you give me? Colleen?”


“Even better! Now then, tell me about this place.”

I noticed she didn’t ask for my name, but didn’t bother with that as I went into professorial mode, telling her about the Chandella Dynasty and so on, while I enjoyed staring at her incredibly cinnamon-colored hair.

But if I expected her not to notice, she proved herself more observant than I’d thought. “Like it?”


“Good. . .”

“The sun on a brunette’s hair looks red. The sun on a redhead’s hair looks like Heaven on Earth. . .”

“You sweet talker. . .”

Before either of us knew it we were sipping tea in the shade–after I made sure to check where I’d left off on the photos–clueing each other in on what we were up to here. She told me she was basically traveling around the world, and liked it here so much she wanted to learn the local seductive dance. I wasn’t sure if dancing was what she had in mind, considering the statues, but I cut her some tight-fitting slacks, to use a local idiom. It helped her cause that a ten-day festival of dancing performed on the temple grounds was currently underway.

“I’m on a crash course to learn enough to at least tell what moves they’re doing, if not actually join in.”

“Because you’d fit in so well.”

Impish grin. “Can’t you tell by now that I’m the standing-out type?”

“Of course. You’re a redhead.”

She rolled her eyes, but giggled too.

“Want to go see some more sculptures?”

“Surely. I haven’t seen stone people fucking for a while.”

“You do know only about ten percent of the sculptures are sexual?”

She waved that away with a hand as she got up and led the way back to the temples. “Not interested. If it ain’t dancing’ or fuckin’, don’t bother me.”

“And here I thought you were a virgin.”

“You did not!“ She stopped in her tracks, turned to look at me, saw my big grin, and kept going.

“Now that you are learned and most experienced,” I laughed, “does that imply you have to give yourself to the first man who propositions you?”

“Oh, no indeed,” the playful redhead replied in the same vein, though you could tell she wanted to giggle. “Now that I know what it is all about, I shall be most discriminating indeed. Even discerning. . . possibly particular.”

“Nice word power.”

“And I certainly wouldn’t want to get you jealous. . .”

“What was your name again?”

“Ouch!. . . hey! You haven’t told me your name yet!”

“I was wondering when you’d get around to asking. I didn’t think you were that particular.”

“I just said I was!” This time she did giggle. “I almost feel like I’m back in London, with all those punkers coming on to me. You’re smoother, though. Thanks for that.”

“You’re welcome. . . I think. You live in London now?”

“For a while, before I went back to wandering. I miss it some­times, especially the coolness and the fog. I do love the fog. It makes everything very mysterious and soft-edged. Here the sun is so hot and strong it seems to expose every tiny detail, illuminating things that would perhaps be better left hidden.”

“Ugh, last thing I need in my life is another mysterious chick!”

“Deal with it!” she laughed. “And that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to look at other possibilities, you swine. As a redhead, I’m allowed to get jealous.”

Instead of the appropriate “You wish, you hypocrite,” I kept to her mood with “What happened to innocent until proven guilty?” I even put an extra whine into it to amuse her.

“Wrong country, bub. Could you reach into my backpack and pull out my sunblock?”

“Good idea. Redheads don’t tan, they fricassee.”

“Yes, my dermatologist says redheads are dry and easily irritated.”

“Still talking about your skin?”

She made a face at me, but had to laugh at how perfectly I’d made that work.

Unfortunately by the time we got back the tourist gangs had arrived, though we did manage to worm through them until we arrived at a place where a not-bad-looking blonde was gawking up at a particular sculpture in puzzlement, while everyone else was wearing a combination of amused, amazed, and aghast.

Puzzled herself, the redhead looked up at what everyone else was staring at, no doubt a particular sculpture the tour guide had pointed out. It took her a while, but finally she figured it out, if her laugh meant anything. “That’s clever! These guys sure knew how to slice up some stone.”

The blonde next to her suddenly gasped as she finally understood what everyone was talking about, her hand covering her mouth in the classic involuntary gesture of pretend innocence. Turning her head away, she looked at us in confusion, then despite herself looked back. “What in the world. . .”

“What did you expect to see on this stop on your tour?”

“Well, temple carvings.”

“Here they are.”

“Don’t leave much to the imagination, do they? Oh my gosh, three. . . four together! And right in the open, where everyone can see! I wonder what kind of mind it takes to think of such things!”

“People who think of nothing else!” the redhead laughed, enjoying herself. She could easily imagine herself living in those times, relaxing all day except when being interrupted by talented practiced men for some amazing sex.

And those who want to carve me, immortalize me, of course.

The thought was so pleasant that she led me over to a side where there was no crowd and posed in front of the carvings, trying to imitate the positions behind her with her dancer’s body. . . alone, of course, without the aid of males.

That’s okay, done that before. . . am I blushing?

“What are you thinking about that’s making you blush?”

Answers that question. “Guess!” she snapped.

“Yeah, I know that, but which one in particular?”

Her blush grew, so she turned away, anything to keep me from seeing it. . . and saw something that made her blush even more, though she sounded incredibly delighted as she squealed, “That monkey’s trying to join that three-way! Get a photo!”

That told me all I needed to know about her. . .

“I wonder if we’ll ever find out exactly why they carved all these beauties.”

She sounded so wistful I knew there was nothing I could say to equal her state of mind. The guide, however, was just coming around the corner and couldn’t resist showing off, of course. “One theory was that men who came would see these carvings, get their desires out of the way–”

No one around here will use the word “masturbate” or any version thereof, she realized.

“–and be free and pure when they approached their god’s temple.”

“Kinda like porn today,” I deadpanned, which made the redhead giggle.



Poetry Tuesday: Wanderer’s Night Song

In honor of finally finishing the Lost Girl binge today–though I may watch the whole thing again next year when season 5 ends–here’s a Goethe piece with an appropriate name, considering the show’s (kinda) big baddie.

To every hill crest
Comes rest.
In every tree crest
The forest
Scarcely draws breath.
Each bird-nest is hushed on the heath.
Wait a bit; you
Soon will rest too.


Book Review: The Woman Who Would Be King

It’s been far too long since I did a book review, despite so many millions of words I’ve read in the past few months. Mostly I’ve been perusing the science-fiction and mystery tomes–what else is new?–but the first of what will probably be many literary deconstructions–shut up–will be renown Egyptologist Dr. Kara Cooney’s The Woman Who Would Be King, a biography on what’s really the only female pharaoh in history, Hatshepsut.

First disclaimer: I was given an advanced copy, though not the final proof, with the understanding that I would give an honest review; insulted they even have to ask, but okay.

Second disclaimer (Ha, weren’t expecting that one, were ya?): I know the author, and have listened to her lectures about half a dozen times, plus I have her entire Discovery Channel series on my tablet. Those who regularly read this blog–if such animal exists–might remember I refer to her as a giggly teenager with a giant brain, at least in person, and to a smaller extent in her lectures. I would imagine most stolid archaeologists and historians tend to take her less seriously because of her playful demeanor and frequent asides–often to mention how much she loved the latest sci-fi movie–but for those very same reasons she’s a hit with us who don’t make the study of ancient Egypt our lifelong passion. In fact, I might even go as far as to consider her Egyptology’s version of Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking–or nowadays Neil DeGrasse Tyson–though obviously not to the same acclaim or fame, in bringing what’s generally considered a stolid subject, at least when historically accurate, to the masses.

The reason I wrote all that is so you’ll understand when I say she writes the same way she speaks.

One more thing. A few months ago I was passing time in the UCLA library before an event and happened to come across Social Life in Ancient Egypt, by the one and only Flinders Petrie. For a book published in 1924, it was in amazingly good shape, but more to the point, it wasn’t another dry, facts-only tome on buildings or leaders. Dr. Cooney takes this to another level with an almost conversational style, even moving into supposition a few times, though she makes sure to point out when that happens.

Okey-dokes, on to the review. If there’s a running theme in this biography, it’s how previous Egyptologists had given Hatshepsut a hard time, jumping to conclusions about her character. Though there are a lot of women in this discipline–and a lot more coming, if the UCLA grad students are any indication–it wasn’t that long ago that you’d only find older white guys writing the books and giving the speeches. So as she mentions the belittling from previous generations of critics who’d thought of Hatshepsut as a power-hungry witch, taking her nephew’s crown for herself, Dr. Cooney defends her girl. On the other hand, she also states that some later historians overcorrected, turning the relatively young leader into a feminist icon, doing everything selflessly in order for her nephew to be a successful ruler, once he came of age. As with most human endeavors, the truth is no doubt somewhere in between.

The book is divided into a relatively small amount of chapters, telling the story of this enigmatic historical figure chronologically, starting with what life would have been like for her growing up as the daughter of an Egyptian leader. Like Petrie’s work, there’s a lot of stuff about everyday life that I’m sure most people would never think of asking. She was groomed to marry the next pharaoh, who was actually her brother, only to find him too sickly as a teenager to do much ruling, finally dying before they could produce a male heir. He did, however, have a son with another of his wives/concubines, thus continuing the familial line barely started by the previous ruler. This put her position of power, and the purity of her father’s lineage, in danger of going away, but with the respect she’d earned–and apparently plenty of money–she managed to become the baby king’s regent. Over time she amassed more power, basically becoming co-pharaoh before pretty much taking over the whole thing, to the point where she had to switch her identity to male, at least in the official records in the walls of the temples and obelisks.

Dr. Cooney’s specialty is the reuse of coffins, but if there’s another subject on which she frequently lectures, it’s the history–or is that herstory–of powerful women. To me the most telling line was “Hatshepsut has the misfortune to be antiquity’s female leader who did everything right.” She mentions how few of them there were, referencing one of my favorites, Boadicea, as well as Empress Lu–never heard–and of course Cleopatra. She does mention, however, that Hatshepsut was the only female ruler to rise to power without the use of assassination or coup, all the more impressive doing it during a time of peace and prosperity. Interestingly she adds, “Hatshepsut’s story can help us appreciate why authoritative women are still often considered to be dangerous beings who need to be controlled, monitored, contained, and watched.”

Dr. Cooney describes Hatshepsut as practical and elegant, not devious and cunning, adding a term that I like very much: “She was intelligently ambitious. . . she really had been bred for palace politics.”

A couple of examples of her famous irreverent nature: “Egyptians were not troubled by the idea of burying a king in an incomplete tomb–that was the last guy’s problem.” Even the notes that take up the last quarter or so of the text contain her witty, as when she starts off with, “What Egyptologists put in print is often different from what they might say at the bar among friends.” Reminds me of that interview Dr. Cooney gave where she mentioned how Egyptologists like to get together and drink. . .

One more note on the text: about two-thirds of the way through, if you count the notes at the end, there’s a long description on the removal of the organs from the dead king/queen’s body. You have been warned; I wish I could UNread it.

Okay, considering what I told you about Dr. Cooney to begin this, it’s her dedications that show you exactly what I mean about her bubbly personality; in fact, it might have been my favorite part. First she notes that she began writing this soon after the birth of her son, and finished at his fourth birthday. “No woman should write a book during those years.  No one.” Then she talks about her women in power class at UCLA, and how the students would soon be reading this book, “whether they like it or not.” Then, to completely cement her irreverent attitude, she tells that she wrote most of this book at a Mexican food joint, and lists a few of the workers who no doubt kept her table full of not just computer and books, especially on Taco Tuesday.

Guess this proves she really is from Texas. . .


Travel Theme: Orange

Orange is the new orange, according to our fearless leader Ailsa. By far my fave color.

Hi, Lily!

Hi, Lily!

The windup, and the pitch. . .

The windup, and the pitch. . .


fingerpainted fish

fingerpainted fish

After Midnight, LACMA

After Midnight, LACMA

double vision

double vision

Portland bloodshot

Portland bloodshot


So, two shots in the state of Oregon. . . weird.



Poetry Tuesday: Fire times four

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

Fire, fire, fire, fire.
Loe here I burne in such desire
That all the teares that I can straine
Out of mine idle empty braine
Cannot allay my scorching paine.
Come Trent, and Humber, and fayre Thames ;
Dread Ocean, haste with all thy streames :
And if you cannot quench my fire,
O drowne both mee and my desire.

Fire fire, fire, fire.
There is no hell to my desire.
See, all the Riuers backward flye,
And th’ Ocean doth his waues deny,
For feare my heate should drinke them dry.
Come, heau’nly showres, then, pouring downe ;
Come you that once the world did drowne :
Some then you spar’d, but now saue all,
That else must burne, and with mee fall.


Travel Thursday: Victorian Canada, part 3

Back at the hotel the next morning, she woke up to see me juggling oranges, which no doubt made her wonder if she was still asleep. It didn’t last long, as my arms got tired and I kept hearing that annoying circus music in my head. Besides, it was more fun watching her yawn and reach for her hair. “The Magic Braid,” I sighed happily as she began getting her do ready for the long day. Waiting for her to finish with that, my next step was to toss her the sunblock. “Butter up, Whitey.”
Smiling, she did so, for once not annoyed as I took some photos of her creaming herself, so to speak.
After breakfast I immediately took her to another place I knew she would like.
“This is the museum, right?”
“Yep. See that statue? I impressed my high school teachers big-time by mentioning it was a perfect example of gestalt.”
Looking at the semi-abstract carving of what she figured was a man, a woman, and a child, she noticed how their arms were not just intertwined, but actually connected to each other, making for one flowing statue. “The whole greater than the sum of its parts? Hope your psych professor was one of them.”
“He was indeed, but it embarrassed him.”
“Because he’d just told everyone else how badly I was doing in his class.”
“You? Psych?”
“AP psych.”
The Royal British Columbia Museum, or some similar grandiose-sounding name, was a world-class, world-famous institute across a side street from the Empress Hotel, and across another side street from the big government building that looked like a parliament in Europe or something. But not even the stern visage of the Queen Victoria statue could detract from the modern lines of the museum. Unlike its equally famous cousin at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, these guys weren’t just into the anthropology, but more the history of the area, though of course when you went as far back as the Native Americans, or “First People,” as they were called in Canada, the two disciplines had a way of intermeshing.
As always wanting to be different, she hit the gift shop first, claiming she liked to see the postcards, so she wouldn’t miss anything she liked. I didn’t buy it for one second, especially when she bought a rather large pair of dice that instead of numbers had the possibilities as: love, sex, pub, TV, read, disco.
“Disco girl,” I muttered.
She merely smiled, and certainly didn’t complain.
Though she was surprised when, after an hour, I claimed this was a quick survey of the highlights, since we didn’t have all day. “So I can’t go back for another lobster?”
“Not today, but I’m sure you’ll be back here.”
“We’ll be back here.” She thrust out her chin for emphasis as she softly threatened me.
“Wherever you go, Iago,” I agreed.
She brightened, as she usually did when Shakespeare was in da house.
Leading her back outside, I was not surprised when she quickly proclaimed her fave exhibit had been the HMS Discovery mockup, at least till she got to Thunderbird Park. Having seen the totem poles in Pioneer Square in Seattle, she found these even more impressive, as well as fun.
After posing for the requisite photo beside the totem pole, and claiming she didn’t like being made to feel short, she walked back over to me, moving like model on a runway, then grimacing when I kept shooting.
“Okay, back to the hotel,” I pronounced. “Next stop. . . well, after Seattle, Goa!”
Squealing, she jumped me from behind and planted a big buss on my right cheek, then pretended I was kidding when I shrieked in back pain. . .
“When we come back here, can we also go to Vancouver?” she tried to change the subject after carrying my bag onto the boat.
Since the pain had mostly gone, I figured I’d save my revenge for later. “Sure.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Most beautiful city in the world. Maybe if you go with me I’ll finally finish circumnavigating Stanley Park.”
“That almost sounds like fun.” But her frowny grimace belied that. “Big city?”
“Pretty huge. Airport in Richmond in the south, the local Beverly Hills or Malibu all the way north up the coast, plenty of stuff to the east. . .”
“How come you know it so well?”
“Usta spent my summers there as a kid.”
“And do they know you there as well as they seem to in Victoria?”
“You mean blondes at McDonald’s?”
“No!” She breathed through her teeth for a few seconds as she got her annoyance back under control. “My temper might keep me from being an honorary Canadian.”
“Ha! That’s like getting your degree in one semester!”
Wince, but not long enough for me to get a photo of it, for as the boat slipped out of its berth and headed west to get out of the harbor, she shut her eyes in terror as a float plane came in for a landing in front of us. I stayed quiet, not knowing why she was acting this way; planes landed on water all the time, after all.
“Is he okay?”
“Who okay?”
“Pilot okay? Plane okay?”
“He okay.”
“Okay.” Opening her eyes, she nonetheless checked for herself. Though the plane had long since coasted to its dock, she was satisfied with seeing no wreckage, then instantly yelped, “Hey! You never told me the ending to your Blarney Stone story!”
“Why said who to what now?”
“Nice! But remember one of the first times we met, I told you I’d just been to Ireland, and you were telling me the story of your visit to the Blarney Stone when we were interrupted.”
“By an autograph seeker, as I recall.”
“By a little girl who had the same name as me, remember that?”
“Yeah, too bad she didn’t look anything like you.”
“That may work out well for her, but finish the story!”
“I don’t remember where I left off.”
“You told me about the blonde babe tour guide being hit on by the American jerk, and how she told him to fuck off.”
“She never used those words, she’s a nice lady, unlike–”
“So what happened then?”
“Hmph. It was raining too hard for us to go up to the stone, so he told her ‘If I kiss you, it’ll be like I got to kiss the stone.’”
She looked surprised. “Quite smooth, considering the way you drew his character.”
“Just wait, Yvonne will become your hero when you find out what she said.”
“Tell me!”
“I will when I’m sure there won’t be any interruptions.”
She almost promised not to, until she realized keeping quiet was better.
And indeed it worked. “She told him, ‘Well, I’ve never actually kissed the Blarney Stone, but I have sat on it.’”
“Kiss my ass!” she whooped, then looked around in embarrassment as she realized just how loudly she’d said that. “Let’s get our own asses topside, now that this thing is finally in motion.”
On the stairs I told her, “So that night at the hotel, I ran into Yvonne in the hallway as we went down to dinner–”
“Wait! There’s more to the story?”
“Sigh. So much for not interrupting.”
Wincing, she thought about running up the stairs, but knew she wanted to hear the rest of the tale. Trying to actually look sincere with this smile, she purred, “Sorry, darling,” only to roll her eyes when I laughed.
“I told her what a great line that had been, she said thanks, we had dinner together, ended up back in her room–”
Now out in the heavy wind, she felt okay with howling, “Too much information!”
“And yet another interruption. A stupid one at that, since you’re always asking about all the girls I slept with.”
The hand went to her forehead–with quite a bit of force–before she could stop it. “Could this day get any worse?” she asked a passing island, then decided it could and went with her contrite look, which she actually didn’t have a lot of practice with. “So what happened after you fucked her?”
“The guy had been badmouthing her all through dinner, claiming she must be a lesbian for not wanting to be with him.” I waited to see what she’d say to that, but this time she somehow managed to keep quiet, to her own amusement. “Finally I told him, ‘That doesn’t prove she’s a lesbian, it proves she has great taste.’”
She smiled brightly and rubbed my arm, but that was all I was getting right now; apparently she was finally serious about not interrupting.
“So the next morning I’m coming out of her hotel room, putting on my shirt, when I run into the guy, who’s totally shocked by this turn of events. Which made it easy for me to say, ‘Told ya she had taste. . .’”
“Yes!” she crowed, now that she was sure the story was over, then leaned against me for a cheeky kiss. “You are so my friggin’ hero!” But she couldn’t help adding, “Did you ever see her again?”
“Sure.” Knowing I was being naughty but unable to help himself, I went with, “Saw her at a Shakespeare symposium. Guess she has a lot of time to read between tours.” And sex, as I recalled, but saved that one for later, not wanting to give her any ideas. “She’s firmly in the camp that thinks Bacon wrote Shakespeare.”
“Damn! Just when I was liking her!”
“Hmmm?” Once again I felt bad for stringing her along, but she might as well get used to it, I mused. Besides, my back was still achy.
“I can’t stand those people who say it was Bacon that really wrote Shakespeare.” She made a face that he was sure she’d been practicing since she was about two.
“Yeah, they’re pretty crazy.”
“Thank you!”
“Everyone knows it was Marlowe that wrote Shakespeare.”
“No! Go away!”
“No! I didn’t mean that.” Unable to stop herself, she went with contrite again.
“Typical woman. I need to go downstairs anyway.”
“I’ll try not to be bored.” This time she tried gloomy, even as she realized I’d never buy it, considering how well I knew her.
“Here.” Pulling it out of my pocket, I passed over the electronic chess game.
“Awesome! See ya later!”
Knowing that was coming, I yawned and moved from the railing, going southward so as to enter the main sitting room from behind, hoping to catch someone in the act. I didn’t, so I took the opportunity to hit the restroom before going back up top.
There she still was, leaning over the railing much like she had at the observatory, one foot up, leaning on forearms. She seemed to be intent on whatever was in her hands, which figured to be the chess game, so I was able to come right up to her, stand behind her a little to the side, and lean forward to lick her ear.
The loud yelp was certainly satisfying, though I was thankful for her great hands, otherwise the next person using the chess game would have been a mermaid, if it still worked while waterlogged.
Once she’d stopped shuddering and calmed down, she leaned her head onto my shoulder and tried lovey-dovey, though I assumed she was wiping her ear.
“What are you grinning at?”
“You’ll never be an honorary Canadian with that suspicious look, mister!”
“I already am,” I grinned, “and you’re talking your way out of a recommendation.”
“Too late! You promised!”
“Did not!”
She laughed and told me to go away, so I did.
Having seen how bright the light was coming in on my last trip inside–the cabin was well-lit, but still looked murky in comparison–I now slipped quickly through the side of the door, then stood just inside it, behind the empty bar, reasonably certain it would take more than a quickly glance to be spotted.
And that’s when I saw him, one of the stewards, rummaging through what was obviously a woman’s purse on the left side of the wide cabin. Since the guy was facing away, and using the light from the window to see what he was stealing, his vision would be too off to spot me, but on the other hand I had to adjust my camera quite a bit to get more than a silhouette of the suspect, and without the flash going off. Hopefully the man’s features, other than his face, would be enough to identify him later.
Staying at my post as long as it took, I was momentarily startled when the steward straightened up and turned to come toward me. I bowed my head down to pretend to be looking at the camera’s display, then twisted it sideways in hopes of catching a shot of the guy as he walked by. . .
Once again topside, I moved in behind her and hugged her from behind, placing my chin on her shoulder. There was no yelp this time, not even a little bit of surprise; the smile told me she instantly knew who it was. We stayed like that till the announcement that the ship was close to docking, no surprise to us as we’d recognized the surroundings and then the Space Needle from far away.
We were the first ones off, but instead of letting her skip off to grab a taxi or such, I pulled her to the side and told her to wait. She’d noticed the police gathered around the embarkation zone, but hadn’t made much of it, and now was even more surprised when I didn’t go meet the cops, just sat on the railing next to her.
Finally all the passengers were off and it was time for the crew to come out and the cleaning people to go in. At this point the police, equally as bored as she’d been the last few minutes, perked up and moved forward, easily spotting their target and quickly snapping cuffs on the surprised man.
The almost-equally surprised blonde stared, then looked at me, seeing me grinning at her reaction. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Shrug. “I heard somewhere that you like surprises.”
Turning back to the action, feeling like she had to show me I couldn’t get away with things like that. . . except she couldn’t think of anything to teach me a lesson, so she settled for watching the proceedings with a huge sense of pride, like she’d solved the case all by herself.
Unintentionally quoting a cartoon, I smirked, “I think we cweated some havoc. . .”


Poetry Tuesday: Dear Gentle Soul

By Luis Vaz de Camoes of Portugal, 1524-1580.

Dear gentle soul, who went so soon away
Departing from this life in discontent,
Repose in that far sky to which you went
While on this earth I linger in dismay.
In the ethereal seat where you must be,
If you consent to memories of our sphere,
Recall the love which, burning pure and clear,
So often in my eyes you used to see!
If then, in the incurable, long anguish,
You see some merit–do this favor for me:
And to the god who cut your life short, pray
That he as early to your sight restore me
As from my own he swept you far away.