Telephone Conversation

Telephone Conversation - "You mean--like plain...

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Telephone Conversation – Wole Soyinka The price seemed reasonable, location Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived Off premises. Nothing remained But self-confession. "Madam," I warned, "I hate a wasted journey—I am African." Silence. Silenced transmission of Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came, Lipstick coated, long gold rolled Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was foully. "HOW DARK?" . . . I had not misheard . . . "ARE YOU LIGHT OR VERY DARK?" Button B, Button A.* Stench Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak. Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed By ill-mannered silence, surrender Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification. Considerate she was, varying the emphasis-- "ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?" Revelation came.
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Unformatted text preview: "You mean--like plain or milk chocolate?" Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light Impersonality. Rapidly, wave-length adjusted, I chose. "West African sepia"--and as afterthought, "Down in my passport." Silence for spectroscopic Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent Hard on the mouthpiece. "WHAT'S THAT?" conceding "DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS." "Like brunette." "THAT'S DARK, ISN'T IT?" "Not altogether. Facially, I am brunette, but, madam, you should see The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet Are a peroxide blond. Friction, caused-- Foolishly, madam--by sitting down, has turned My bottom raven black--One moment, madam!"--sensing Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap About my ears--"Madam," I pleaded, "wouldn't you rather See for yourself?"...
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