La Riposte

Friday, June 15, 2012

Emily Dickinson in Hanoi... a #FridayFlash Post!

Emily Dickinson was not impressed, and her face reflected it. Sighing, she climbed onto the back of the motor scooter and fastened her helmet over the damp, loose bun of her hair. The helmet offered not the slightest protection against a fall, being constructed entirely of bamboo covered with a faux-leather facade, but it was sufficient to satisfy the local constabulary, and Emily had always possessed a fatalistic turn of mind.

The man in front of her was had extremely long legs, long arms; in fact, everything about him spoke of a gaunt, wiry sort of elongation, as if he had been stretched by a well-meaning giant when his body was quite pliable, the consistency of Silly Putty, or a drunk woman's morals. If his fundamental organs were a match for the rest of his anatomy, the grim-faced Miss Dickinson had no reason to frown so, or perhaps she just couldn't be satisfied by any mortal sort of pleasures.

We shall never know; moments later the man started the scooter and drove away, bearing the unimpressed Emily and a plastic bag containing four cans of Tiger beer and a pack of Marlboro Lights. In the space of a few moments, they vanished up the street and out of sight of the man and woman who sat observing from across the street, quaffiing Tiger beers on a rainy Hanoi afternoon, clinking their glasses and drinking to a toast of "Daywear!" every time a pajama-clad figure hove into view.

What we can be reasonably sure of is this. That woman's first name was not Emily, and if it was, her last name was even less likely to have been Dickinson. But stranger things have happened. Astronomical, though, the possibility that her name was Emily Dickinson, and that she was also a somber poetess of some future fame. Astronomical, and yet...


Author's Note: I was sitting in a bar in Hanoi, and my friend and I saw a woman who was a dead ringer for Emily Dickinson getting onto a scooter across the street. We joked about the expression on her face, and I whipped out my Blackberry, opened a 'notes' page, and wrote this little piece in about 5 minutes, before returning to the Hemingway-esque pursuit of getting slowly tight in the middle of the day.

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