Nalo Hopkinson: Midnight Robber

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Nalo Hopkinson Midnight Robber
  • Название:
    Midnight Robber
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Warner Books
  • Жанр:
    Фантастика и фэнтези / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2000
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    0-446-67560-1
  • Рейтинг книги:
    5 / 5
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Midnight Robber: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Midnight Robber

by Nalo Hopkinson

Stolen

I stole the torturer’s tongue
it’s the first side of me some see
the first line you hear
first line of defense when I say
“See this long tongue illicitly acquired—doesn’t it suit me well?
hear these long words assiduously applied—
      don’t I wield them well?
wouldn’t you be foolish if you tried to tackle me in anything so complex as a
      kiss or a conversation?”
I stole the torturer’s tongue!

hear this long tongue!
feel this long tongue!

this tongue sometimes my only tool not mine entirely but what is?
I was raised protectively of/as/by other peoples’ property—I got over that
this tongue is yours too if you can take it

I stole the torturer’s tongue!
man wouldn’t recognize this dancing, twining, retrained flesh
if it slapped upside the empty space in him head—
it will, it has; he’ll pay for the pleasure;
watch him try an’ claim as his own this long, strong old tongue’s
new-remembered rhythms…

hear this long tongue!
fear this long tongue!

know this tall tale to be mine too, and I’ll live or die by it.
I stole the torturer’s tongue!

© 1997 by David Findlay

Oho. Like it starting, oui? Don’t be frightened, sweetness; is for the best. I go be with you the whole time. Trust me and let me distract you little bit with one anasi story:

It had a woman, you see, a strong, hard-back woman with skin like cocoa-tea. She two foot-them tough from hiking through the diable bush, the devil bush on the prison planet of New Half-Way Tree. When she walk, she foot strike the hard earth bup! like breadfruit dropping to the ground. She two arms hard with muscle from all the years of hacking paths through the diable bush on New Half-Way Tree. Even she hair itself rough and wiry; long black knotty locks springing from she scalp and corkscrewing all the way down she back. She name Tan-Tan, and New Half-Way Tree was she planet.

Yes, this was a hard woman, oui. The only thing soft about Tan-Tan is she big, molasses-brown eyes that could look on you, and your heart would start to beat time boobaloops with every flutter of she long eyelashes. One look in she eyes, and you fall for she already. She had a way to screw them up small-small like if she angry, just so nobody wouldn’t get lost in the melting brown of them, but it never work, you hear? Once this woman eyes hold you, it ain’t have no other woman in the world for you. From Garvey-prime to Douglass sector, from Toussaint through the dimension veils to New Half-Way Tree, she leave a trail of sad, lonely men—and women too, oui?—who would weep for days if you only make the mistake and say the words “brown eyes.”

But wait—you mean you never hear of New Half-Way Tree, the planet of the lost people? You never wonder where them all does go, the drifters, the ragamuffins-them, the ones who think the world must be have something better for them, if them could only find which part it is? You never wonder is where we send the thieves-them, and the murderers? Well master, the Nation Worlds does ship them all to New Half-Way Tree, the mirror planet of Toussaint. Yes, man; on the next side of a dimension veil. New Half-Way Tree, it look a little bit like this Toussaint planet where I living: same clouds in the high, high mountains; same sunny bays; same green, rich valleys. But where Toussaint civilized, New Half-Way Tree does be rough. You know how a thing and the shadow of that thing could be in almost the same place together? You know the way a shadow is a dark version of the real thing, the dub side? Well, New Half-Way Tree is a dub version of Toussaint, hanging like a ripe maami apple in one fold of a dimension veil. New Half-Way Tree is how Toussaint planet did look before the Marryshow Corporation sink them Earth Engine Number 127 down into it like God entering he woman; plunging into the womb of soil to impregnate the planet with the seed of Granny Nanny. New Half-Way Tree is the place for the restless people. On New Half-Way Tree, the mongoose still run wild, the diable bush still got poison thorns, and the mako jumbie bird does still stalk through the bush, head higher than any house. I could tell you, you know; I see both places for myself. How? Well, maybe I find a way to come through the one-way veil to bring you a story, nuh? Maybe I is a master weaver. I spin the threads. I twist warp ’cross weft. I move my shuttle in and out, and smooth smooth, I weaving you my story, oui? And when I done, I shake it out and turn it over swips! and maybe you see it have a next side to the tale. Maybe is same way so I weave my way through the dimensions to land up here. No, don’t ask me how.

New Half-Way Tree is where Tan-Tan end up, and crick-crack, this is she story:

Toussaint Planet

Quashee and Ione? For true? His good good friend and his wife? Mayor Antonio of Cockpit County stepped up into the pedicab. “What you staring at?” he growled at the runner. “Is home I going.”

“Yes, Compère,” the runner said through a mouthful of betel nut. She set off, and every slap her two feet-them in their alpagat sandals slapped against the ground, it sounded to Antonio like “Quashee-Ione, Quashee-Ione.” He could feel his mouth pursing up into a scowl. He sat up straight, tapping impatient fingers on one hard thigh. Not there yet? He slumped back against the seat. A trickle of sweat beaded down from the nape of his neck to pool at his dampening collar. Ione, running a fingertip down he head-back and grinning to see how the touch make he shiver. Antonio muttered, “What a thing to love a woman, oui?”

The runner heard him. She glanced back over her shoulder. Corded muscle twisted along her back, stretched on either side from her spine to the wings of her shoulder blades. Grinning, she panted out, “What a great thing for true, Compère. Three z’amie wives I have. Woman so sweet, I tell you.”

Nothing to say to that. Antonio made a sucking sound of impatience between his teeth. He tapped his temple to alert his earbug; started to identify himself out loud to the pedicab’s ancient four-eye, but remembered in time that pedicab runners only used headblind machines. This cab couldn’t transmit to his earbug. He sighed, powered the transmission console on manually and selected a music station. Old-time mento rhythms gambolled noisily in the air round him. He settled back against the soft jumbie leather seat, trying to get into the music. It jangled in his ears like “Quashee-Ione, Quashee-Ione, eh-eh.”

Ione, mother of his one daughter. Ione, that toolum-brown beauty, the most radiant, the loveliest in Cockpit County. When Ione smile, is like the poui trees bloom, filling the skies with bright yellow flowers. A laugh from Ione could thief hearts the way mongoose thief chicken.

Ione and Antonio had grown up neighbours on two wisdom weed farms. Fell in love as children, almost. Time was, Ione used to laugh her poui flower laugh for Antonio alone. Time was, Antonio and Ione were the night cradling the moon.

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