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The Venetian Pajama Party
As I’d strolled along by the Grand Canal, I hadn’t noticed them until it was too late. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why this masked, black silk pajama clad, duo were brandishing nastily improvised gondola poles and doing a graceful, but menacing, dance around me. I didn’t, for a moment, believe this was just some street theatre staged by buskers. It was far too sinister.
Pasting on a sickly tourist smile, I feebly waved my camera at them hoping they’d realize I was just another harmless Venice visitor . My Italian sucked, at the best of times, so I stuck with English.
“Can I take your picture?”
The spewed vitriol, from the one on the left, informed me they weren’t locals either. Not because I understood what was said but it definitely didn’t have the flair of a romance language. The one on the right hooked my camera strap with their pole, wrenched it away and catapulted it into the canal.
“Hey! That’s my brand new camera I bought for my holiday! How dare you!”
Their embroidered costumes made the scenario feel fantastical and I plunged into a fit of outrage far beyond my defensive or offensive abilities. I swung my oversized handbag at the camera thief with gusto. I clocked her, solidly, on the left ear and was shocked when pajama girl crumpled like a crepe paper bag. I’d forgotten about the Murano glass souvenir I’d bought and socked away in my purse. The weight of it made my bag more of a weapon than a carryall. Now, I felt a degree of armed menace which ramped up my warrior persona.
I began to hop about waving my purse and screeching unintelligible wavering whoops akin to those desert divas I so admired. With a deft toe kick, I swept the prostrate villain into the canal. Then, with my dander still raging, I turned to face the other aggressor who was gaping at me dumbstruck.
I lunged forward completely forgetting the bayoneted pole as I danced, with dervish glee, still warbling.
I boldly swung my purse once again but missed by a mile.
Now I was in maniac mode and hopping around like a demented pelican.
Pajama girl was transfixed and I lunged again, swiping at the pole with my trusty bag. I hit it with such force, it was wrenched from her grip and it clattered along the smooth tile coming to rest ten feet away.
“AYeeYeeYeeYeeYeeYeeYee! AyeeYeeYeeYeeYeeYeeYee! AyeeYeeYeeYeeYeeYeeYee!”
My last gasp of whoops galvanized pajama girl into action. She shrieked, turned tail and ran off with her black silk ribbons fluttering.
Shedding hot tears of relief, I collapsed, onto the cool marble step of the bridge, and dug into my bag to inspect my Murano glass savior. It was intact and, for the first time, I noticed the orange salamander curled up deep inside my fiery treasure.
[499 words excluding title]
May 4, 2011
The Fire Salamader Myth
"Tigers bloom where there's oodles of room." Zodiac Zoo