Even after he’d made the decision, Max was in no hurry to lie down in front of everyone and actually do it. The thought of sleeping on the street was still too embarrassing. Although he was theoretically convinced he could do it, he needed a bit more time to adjust.
He decided to wander around the scene first, check it out a bit – and then return to the slab after the crowd had moved on. He knew it couldn’t be that difficult to sleep in the street. On the trip from the airport he’d seen plenty of people sleeping out – whole families sleeping soundly – even right beside the main road.
“I’ll see you all a bit later.”
“But…” Padam looked concerned.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back.”
The running commentary followed him as he walked away -
“Aha, walking first.”
“Walking before sleep taking.”
“Aha… smart man… good idea.”
Max wandered across the road – vaguely drawn towards the burst of activity erupting in the courtyard in front of the Taj. Attracted by the overwhelming energy of curiosity, he joined the crowd of onlookers and casually observed the frenzy as the hoard of sellers descended on the unwary tourists as they spilled out of the bus. He studied the expressions on the faces, trying to find an impression as the hounded, bemused old tourists cowered for cover behind their hats and sunglasses – eyes-down, desperate to avoid any contact.
How must that feel?
To have waited so long for the big trip…
Only to be hunted down like this.
Suddenly from the periphery, appearing like an apparition from a forgotten past, Rita, almost unrecognizable now with a determined scowl… burst onto the scene.
Max shrank into the crowd, but there was never a chance of her seeing him – not now. Now she was blinkered, business-like – hell bent on a mission of some kind.
Today she actually looked like a lawyer. This woman was tough, focused, pure power as she forced her way through the crowd. The look in her eye said it all – just… get out of my way!
You did well….
That would have been a disaster.