This is the first short, story from ‘Pithy Perspectives,’ a bicultural series of wacky, or weird, or uplifting or intriguing or imaginative thought-bubbles of mine.
“Go and ask that miserable-looking Asiatic who calls himself captain. Tell him that we need at least two porters.”
A little later, quite a little later, Rueben returns, looking mystified. “There’s no one in the uniform of a ship’s officer to be seen” he tells Miriam.
“Nonsense,” responds Miriam. “Look more carefully below deck. The officers are probably hiding in their cabins.”
“Why would they do that, dear?”
“Because that’s what these Asiatics are like. They are not comfortable in the presence of white people, are they?”
At the Customs barrier, he sees a bearded Sikh, resplendent in a most colorful turban, talking to a black man, as colleagues might. Approaching the latter, Rueben calls out “You! Come and give us a hand with our luggage. I will pay you well.”
“Pardon?” responds the black man, with the accent of a native of north England.
“I need a hand, man. Let’s go.”
“Excuse me, sir, I am the Immigration Officer on duty here.”
I need to examine your entry papers most carefully. We do not want any more illegal entrants,” says the public servant silkily, with suave satisfaction.
“And I will need to examine the contents of your luggage equally carefully,” interjects the Customs Officer, looking as bland as only an Oriental can, but with a broad Scottish accent. He is careful not to smile, although his turban seems to tremble slightly.
Shocked out of her mind at seeing a white man, particularly her husband, doing the work of coolies, Miriam decides that she would compensate for the more brutish life of the future by buying a yacht, as her former compatriots now resident in coastal Sydney had done.
She is not to know that these new arrivals have already been described as the second-wave boat people. Where the first wave had arrived illegally by boat from East Asia in order to escape a ‘red’ regime, the second wave arrived legally to escape a ‘black’ regime, and promptly bought a boat.