THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 29
…You can disembark any time you like, but you can never leave.” On a dark desert byway, dusty breeze in my hair, the warm smell of opiates rising up in the air…
Afridi must have drifted off, despite an effort to keep one of them peeled. The sun is giving back the day, silhouetting the domes of Constantinople’s many mosques, and others who have chosen this old city as a destination, begin to stir noisily. This entire foreign hubbub trims the much welcomed mental respite for a psychologically fatigued traitor/defector/fugitive/ husband/father.
The conductor/funnyman goes out of his way to sweep Aldona’s berth, perhaps feeling personally responsible for the success of whatever the man is up to. Surely he has done the same for an untold number of equally fascinating patrons.
“I was awake, sir,” responds Afridi to the bonus care. “Say, please take these as a token.
”He takes possession of several rumpled Afghani notes given him and is truly impressed, so much so that he reaches into his own pocket to fetch a business card, which is printed with magnetic resonance. “Use this in Istanbul, a value that trumps
money; it contains my name, the password is “ByZantium”. Please know that it is electronically case sensitive.
He hands him his card.
Double A meets double AA. “Your kindness will rewarded by the Creator of us all. Perhaps we will meet again.”
“You can disembark any time you like, but you can never leave.” On a dark desert byway, dusty breeze in my hair, the warm smell of opiates rising up in the air…
Aldona Afridi extracts what he can from the cryptic statement, while holding a key to a most ancient of world capitals in his hand. Within moments the bullet train swooshes to an abrupt stop, compelling people and objects to spill to the front of each car; standers go down, sitters double over, and sleepers tumble in their blankets. Those new brakes really work.
But they have arrived at Marmaray Station as promised, safely and on time.
THE RETURN TRIP