‘Aerial burial!’ yelled the man, imagining the launching of his lifeless corpse into outer space.
‘Pushing down the daisies!’ the bulky one shouted.
He stopped abruptly and swung round to shield himself from a flurry of cherry blossom blown up by a sudden gust.
A squeal of metal sounded as he ripped open the interior concertina door.
A thudding sound was accompanied by a grunt. The curved glass panel of a revolving door shimmered. The door stuttered and yielded very slightly to the soundtrack of ‘Vwarpt!’ – a rasping fart.
The dog-person carefully patted a newspaper to conceal it under the desk, then looked up not to the incandescent valet but beyond him to the office worker bent double, propping herself up with her brolly, choking, spluttering for air on the street side of the revolving doors. She had just shared the revolving door segment with a certain lingering ‘Vwarpt!’
A terrifying crack of thunder detonated. Lightning illuminated the foyer in rapid pulses.
The valet stood rigid as though wholly disconnected with the odour, looking defiant, like it had nothing to do with him. As though the existence of that smell could be attributed to the little-known fact that ozone goes rotten, that in time it ‘goes off’. That ozone has a shelf-life – and a very short one at that.
'O’Singh claims he can know everything. But what for? He doesn’t know the first thing about what is traditional!’
He swaggered back to the reception desk so he might admire the subject of his condemnation.
‘“Underpants in Lancaster” – didn’t scan.’
Lil’ Girl 3
Halfway across the planet in Tanzania – on the very same day Professor Breville O’Singh was attending the interview at Lancaster – sheet lightning flashed above the western rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. A figure, enigmatic under a straw boater, mysterious behind mirrored shades, peered across the great, grassy terrestrial indent from the veranda of a well-appointed Maasai-chic hotel complex. Outside, rather than inside his mud-and-thatch-look hut, enjoying as a consequence what the hotel brochure might dress up as a ‘semi-nomadic’ Masaai experience.
The mysterious figure returned to the task at hand. He lowered his digit to half-depress the key. Then paused and held the pose. The moment was too delicious not to relish.