Improbable Journeys, 1st Edition by Robin Magowan

By Robin Magowan

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Sample text

When he has finished, the head dervish hands him a pair of light sockets. The dancer inserts his two thumbs and wow! the house fuse is blown and we are all, celebrants and spectators, plunged into darkness. But the head dervish has candles brought, and before long the house lights are back on and we see the same dancer, with his two inserted thumbs, proudly gyrating. Next to step up are a trio of Saint Sebastians. Skewers are inserted through the cheeks, between cheek and gullet, and across the rib cage.

Shortly thereafter the court ruled it was the soldier’s gun, not the soldier, that was at fault. It took me a while to get used to a world where things were communicated in gestures rather than words. When vendors pestered me, my instinct was to tell them to scram: “Vas-y! ” No, my landlady explained, that’s what you say to a dog. Instead, I Voyage Noir  should make them a sign. No thank you, I learned, was conveyed by raising an outspread hand. As my ears became more attuned, I noticed how each trade, like a dance, was identified by a distinct beat.

When I told him, he burst into a delicious chuckle. Taking me by the shoulder, he then steered me to a restaurant two blocks away that sported a bar and a small dollar-a-night hotel upstairs. From then on I was pretty much set. I asked the cab driver dining beside me where I could find calypso. I had been enthralled by the music from the age of fourteen, when I had come upon an Edmundo Ros dance record that belonged to my parents. There are other forms of popular music from the same era that speak to me more now: the jigs and heartrending waltzes of Cajun music, the anecdotes of loss that in Hank Williams spiral to a tragic poetry.

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