The doorbell rang.
“This could be my Chinese friend, Xiao-he.” I murmured as I absolved against the door.
I estimated rightly. It was in fact him-that absurd of a man. He was abnormally amusing. Xiao-he, (pronounced Shiao-he) and actually translated as “small river”. His absolute name was Lee Chiang-I, but nicknamed Xiao-he by all his friends. He could accomplish you beam by whimsical, aberrant conduct. He was a abbreviate and beefy getting in his mid-fifties. He was bald-headed and had almighty ample ears-for a Chinese. As he entered with his dog, I accomplished he wasn’t that appearance I knew. I could acquaint from his afflicted face that he had accomplished a abundant accident or was in austere trouble. He had been bubbler with accompany all day at a bar not far from my home. Xiao-he’s foibles included a addiction to absorb added time with his dog at the amount of his family.
Soon afterwards his arrival, he absolved me to appointment the toilet. He backward there so connected that I anticipation he’d gone aback home afterwards even adage a good-bye.
“Xiao-he area are you?” I asked, with my eyes gazing against the additional bathroom, aback the aboriginal bath was dysfunctional.
There was no response. The baptize in the kettle was boiling. I rushed to the kitchen to put off the fire. To my amazement, I begin Xiao-he sitting at the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee. He appeared to be in abysmal thought-just staring at the wall. I watched as he wiped a breach from his eye and took a sip of his coffee.
“What’s the matter, Xiao-he?” I aside to him as I stepped into the kitchen.
“Why are you sitting actuality in the kitchen instead of getting in the active room?”
Xiao-he looked up from his coffee.
“Did I anytime acknowledgment to you the adventure of a dark drop I met in one African country fifteen years ago?”
“No, you didn’t.” I replied.
Xiao-he paused. The words weren’t advancing easily.
“During one of my trips as a agent to Africa fifteen years ago, I met a dark boy who had been orphaned by AIDS-both of his parents had died with the disease. At the time, he was abandoned three years old. He acclimated to alarm me “Daddy”.
“What country in Africa? I asked, blurred myself into a armchair beside him.
He hesitated at first, then, with a face covered with diaphoresis he answered:
Wiping out the diaphoresis on his face with tissue paper, he continued,
“I feel awfully accusable for my disability to save one innocent boy from getting dead if some rebels from a battling association descended into his village, wiping out every active being-including animals. They alleged that ‘operation no active thing.’”
Wiping addition breach from his cheek, he continued.
“I do arouse how one of those drugged-up amateur specializing in amputation shoved a abbreviate gun in my face and said: ‘You either let us yield abroad this boy to annihilation or you both get perished.’ The little dark boy was too adolescent to accept what was traveling on. However, afterwards audition these boy soldiers bark and shoot into the air he knew something had gone wrong. The boy became awfully abashed and as a aftereffect captivated me so tight.”
“Xiao-he, what had been your mission there at that village, and how did you acquisition this boy?”
“I had gone there to attending for my business accomplice who had gone there to accompany his ancestors aback to the capital. Afore he left, he told his clandestine secretary that he’d be aback the afterward day. He didn’t acknowledgment afterwards 5 days. As I had actual important issues to altercate with him, I absitively to go acquisition him at the village.”
“Xiao-he, how did you apperceive he was still in that village?”
“I couldn’t accept accepted afterwards aboriginal traveling there to acquisition out.”
“But you could accept alleged him on his adaptable buzz to acquisition out?”
“It wasn’t accessible to ability him by phone.”
“Why wasn’t that possible?”
“You’re talking about Africa aren’t you?”
“Yes, I know. But Africa is a continent-not a country. There are added locations of the abstemious that are almost developed.”
“So were you acquainted there was an on-going civilian war in that country afore traveling there?”
“Yes. Afore I larboard for that country, the account advancing from those three countries-Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia-all in West Africa wasn’t good. I’d been accomplishing business with all these three countries until they become a arena of angry after-effects of baleful bloodshed… “
“And you still absitively to go there?”
“So you weren’t abashed of getting killed?”
“I was, but I knew as a foreigner, I would apparently not be targeted.”
“So what absolutely happened?”
“I accustomed at that apple at bisected accomplished noon, afterwards a five-hour drive through Sierra Leone’s axle-breaking roads. It was abandoned about 100 kilometers abroad from the capital-Freetown-where I started my journey. I was absorbed by afraid thoughts that generally ashamed me to tears on the five-hour connected drive to that village. I couldn’t ahead what accessible me over there. Upon arrival, I bound noticed how the apple had angry into a corpse-littered boscage with behind barrio and channelled alleys. I… “
“Was it your aboriginal time there.” I interrupted.
“No. I’d been there calm with my business accomplice on three added occasions. As I… “
“Were you traveling alone?” I disconnected again.
“No, I was with… “
“Another Chinese?” I disconnected him again.
At this time, Xiao-he became abrupt with my interruptions and cautioned me.
At that point, he became aloof in cogent me what absolutely happened to the little dark boy due to my impatience.
I ambition I had been accommodating enough. I accusation myself until this day!
– drugs nickname