LITERALLY LOST: 43

COMPETITION

This excerpt has been taken from a work of travel literature. Readers are invited to tell us: a) where is the action taking place? and b) who is the author? Blackwell's Bookshops will give pounds 30 of book tokens to the first correct answer out of the hat. Answers on a postcard to: Literally Lost, "Independent on Sunday", 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Usual competition rules apply. Entries to arrive by this Thursday.

If I hadn't been composing a sarcastic account in my head, I doubt that I would have got through the nite. My worries set in on the courtesy bus, when a pink jump suit said: "You guys going to the Cabin Nite? You're gonna have a great time! We went last night, only we didn't have our camcorder, only our flash camera. If we'd known what the entertainment was like, we'd have taken our camcorder. They said we could come back in tonight to film.' I thought: That bad, huh?

I only had with me my flash camera, but I didn't use it. Nor did I think of asking permission to return the following night with a camcorder. Mainly, in fact, I contemplated arranging to pay a second visit with a machine- gun. In a wooden hut, slung with mining helmets and fake-sepia gold-field maps, we were seated at long wooden tables. An inconvenient spare man, I was placed next to a big lady from Maine, who confided that she had once shot a moose. On my other side were two beaming Japanese. We soon discovered that we had not one word of shared language between us.

The performers - who were also the waiters and waitresses - wore gingham and frills. The head girl told us that her name was Fanny. She instructed us that, every time she shouted "D'y'all know what?' we were to scream back: "What, Fanny?' We had a practice. I sullenly mouthed the words soundlessly, like boys whose voices were breaking had been told to do in the second- form end-of-term concert. But the sound which bounced around the hut showed no sign of missing my contribution: "Wh-aaa-t, Fa-aaaa-nnn-eeee?' Even my Japanese neighbours made a brave phonetic stab at it. Some people were taking pictures of their spouses shouting.

Her being called Fanny was, I think, a small subversion inserted by the performers. Although the word is a more junior vulgarity in the States than in Britain, I suspect they had done it for the same reason that one of the performers at similar ancient, traditional, medieval tourist banquets in London usually has the Shakespearian soubriquet of Bottom. If you dreamed of playing Hedda Gabler or Willy Loman, and now you were stuck as performer- server at a traveller's snack-and-act, you too might find it cathartically amusing to have your super-annuated vacationers and Bible-belters yelling "Bottom!" or "Fanny!" every few minutes.

Literally Lost 42: The book was `The Jaguar Smile', by Salman Rushdie. The action took place in Nicaragua. The winner was Margo Magellan of Glasgow.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate