Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22337 – 804:
Here’s the haps:
Art Vegan looked around and smiled. He was happy to leave this place but knew he would miss it. He had sold his portion of the business to his partner, Joe Burger, and started his own private investigating service. He had just solved a big case involving corrupt officials in a small, quaint little country on the other side of the world. He was just wrapping it up when he realized that he had forgotten to complete the paperwork necessary to get out of this country and back home. He cursed himself. No job is finished until the paperwork is done and he had forgotten the most important paperwork of all, the baksheesh. Fortunately for him, he made a regular habit of carrying large sums of cash with him everywhere he went. He went to see the bureaucrat in charge.
“I am very sorry, sir, but your paperwork is not complete.”
“I’m really sorry about that. I need to get home on this next flight,” said Art, pulling a wad of bills out of his pocket. It was more money than this petty bureaucrat made in two years.
“Sir! Are you trying to bribe a public official?”
“How dare you insinuate such a thing! But, well, I can see how overworked and underpaid you are and was hoping that if you received a gift, a tip, a baksheesh, it might help you when you re-read that paperwork and saw that your initial determination was incorrect. It’s an oversight anyone could make. Do you have an envelope?” The man watched as Art stuffed the money in it and dropped the envelope in the trash can.
The man looked over Art’s papers once more. “Perhaps you were correct. My eyes are tired and I think everything is in order if you need to disembark on that next flight.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Art, picking up his travel backpack, “I’m heading back to scenic Colorado.”
A little while ago my younger sister posted on our tribe’s group text that she had received a “Word of the Day” email and it had the word “baksheesh” in it. It was an unfamiliar term to her and the rest of us as well. When you go look it up it just gets more confusing. It appears to me that the usage depends largely on where you are. In some places it is simply a tip or gratuity, in other places, it is a gift given in kindness, like passing a dollar out the car window to a beggar. I liked the bribery aspect because it appears that the usage is like a gift/bribe. Like my dad would give my brother five dollars to be good while I was good for nothing.
Anyway, at the same time as I was looking that up I noticed that my prompts in the reader were Travel Backpacks, Scenic, and Colorado and when I refreshed it turned up Vegan and Travel Backpacks again. I thought it was a hint to bring back Art Vegan. You can read his first adventure in my story Art Vegan – Health Inspector. This isn’t a story, really, more of an interlude to remember where Art has been. He’ll be back, though.
Yesterday I saw a guy spill all his Scrabble letters on the road so I asked him, “What’s the word on the street?”