Written on the back of an elephant, instructions on how to live a better life. Inks, a fine point tattoo and all pigmentation to divine the sacred texts of enlightenment. It is this, the draw of the skin scrawl, which leads locals to charge tourists both an arm and a leg for the reading. "For the good of the commonweal," they claim.
Both the text and the cost of admission are literal. They employ once snowblind surgeons to handle the delicate procedure of pushing these foreigners into a saw mill and holding down their mouths with a chugging funnel of 190 proof alcohol. At least the label says so. Cost cutting measures leave the true anaesthetic to be nothing more than blunt force trauma to the back of the head.
Once out, the fee is paid and the gun powder administered. Or glue. They at least give people a choice on how they stitch their wound in such a back facing country. And truthfully, when your citizens keep kicking people out as fast as they drop the coin, it's always going to be seeing the backs of many and all.
A slattern woman with no fingers or teeth does the actual reading. Though the skin never moves and the ink never washes, the read is never the same. Each person who rides the elephant of destiny hops away no better than reading tea leaves. "This is so ethnic!" they squeal. Or, "I would not trade this experience for anything else in the world." This is what they comfort themselves with. This is how they justify tilting back and forth.
"For the sake of the commonweal," whisper the locals. With all these extra limbs at their disposal, they feed the elephant, keeping it docile.
Trust the elephant.
Written on Tuesday, 20 November 2012