“Babylon Taxi” / A Memorable Fancy #406

“Welcome to our country, sir! Did you have a good flight? – OK aside from that? – I am sorry to hear that, sir, some things happen even here. But now I show you a few interesting things as we come into the capital.

“Right over there now, see? The river. Between those two warehouses if you look quick. There are some interesting boat trips. You can sign up at your hotel. No floods this time of year, so the boat will be safe.

“Oh, the Tower? You wouldn’t be interested in that. Nobody goes to the Tower any more – you’re the first who’s asked me in years. It may still be there, I suppose, outside of town, what’s left of it anyway; the men go there for bricks. There are snakes.

“But let me tell you about the Gardens. You know about the Gardens? No visitor should miss them, not far from your hotel. But too far to walk. And some risk as well. My cousin can show you the Gardens. He’s a very qualified guide. Very responsible. Speaks English very correctly. He also has the boat business.

“The Tower, again? I don’t think you’d be interested in the Tower. We never go there. One of our kings in the old days built it so he could speak with the gods. Can you imagine? Better to leave well enough, I think, where the gods are concerned. (Look to your left, over there — that’s the Monument of Revolutionary Heroes. You’ve heard of it? It’s in all the guidebooks.)

“And so the Tower was built. Many people were there that day. The legends say they heard the gods speaking with each other (it was just thunder, I think – some people will believe anything.) But what were they saying? A river-flood of voices: no way to tell when one word stops and another starts. And so the old tale goes (my cousin knows all the old tales; he’ll tell you some tomorrow) about why we don’t follow each other’s speech very well anymore, even if we know the words.

“We’re almost at your hotel, now. My cousin will show you where to buy the best handicrafts, too, and get you good prices – knows all about it – be sure to ask him tomorrow when you’re at the Gardens. Is ten o’clock OK? He’ll be at your hotel then. He has an air-conditioned car. He obeys all traffic laws even when no one is watching.

“– The Tower? You’re right; we were talking about the Tower. It’s just a mound, now, maybe not even that. I think all the bricks are gone by this time. I’m not sure I could even find the Tower, it’s been so long. No, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. A few people used to go there but when they came back we couldn’t understand what they were saying. Anyway, this is your hotel.

“Nothing to see at the Tower, you know, sir. No one goes there anymore.”


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See www.terencekuch.net for a profile of the author, publications, reviews, etc.

Terence Kuch’s speculative fiction novels * may be purchased directly from the publishers or via his Amazon author page, www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch

    *The Seventh Effect: a thriller from Melange Publications about a new kind of bioterrorist plot against the USA; praised by Kirkus Reviews.

    *See/Saw: a literary adventure from Ink Smith Publications about implanting memories, and a murder.

09 At All Adventure front cover

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