Case Of The Kidnapped
of a bemo. Soon it would be too hot for me to go to the village.
I sighed. The woodcarver caught my eye and pointed to his bike:
" Nyonya want a ride to town? I go now to pasar. "
he placed the carvings into his shoulder bag and jumped aboard,
while I settled myself on the passenger's seat, thinking guiltily
how many times I had rejected one of his pieces.
Half way to the village he called over his shoulder:
"Nyonya first come to my place and see good woodcarvings Very
"No," I replied, inwardly cursing myself for accepting
a ride. "I have to meet friends at the market."
"Some other time, Nyonya come and see my carvings" he
As we were now pulling up at the market, I felt I could risk a hasty:
"Thanks. Perhaps some other day," before I dived out of
sight between the crowded stalls.
Two hours later I was heading back to the hotel. After the heat
of the market I was dreaming of a long cool drink by the swimming
pool. A motorbike revved up behind me. A hopeful voice inquired:
"Like a lift back to the hotel, Nyonya"
like you've guessed, it was the woodcarver again A picture frame
now hung around his neck like-a horse colllar.
"Hop on," he urged.
Well, why not The heat was getting more than I could handle. And
one day, quite definitely, I would indeed look at his woodcarvings.
I was hardly seated on the bike, before he swiftly spun it round,
away from the hotel, and I realised with a sinking heart, that "one
day" was going to be today
can make a mistake. Its the ones who come back for a second helping
that need strapping in a straight-jacket.
Angrily I demanded why we weren't going to the hotel.
"Nyonya promised to see cheap woodcarvings. Made take her there
we were far off the main road, jolting over the potholes in a narrow
Looking on the bright side even, I was scared. Much more of this
roughriding and I'd fracture a rib. And where exactly were we going
Above all, I had no intention of buying a carving. How would he
react to that.
"Stop" I shouted, giving him a smart prod in the back.
"Let me off"
"My house just over here, Nyonya. First look at carvings, then
Made take you to hotel."
I was wondering how to jump off a fastmoving bike, we swung through
a gate in a mud wall and into a courtyard, impartially scattering
children and chickens in all directions. An elderly woman hurried
forward. Miraculously I found myself seated in a chair, a glass
of hot tea in my hand. I was treated like visiting royalty, while
my "captor" happily brought an assortment of carvings
(all ghastly) for my approval.
last, wondering whether I would have to walk all the way to the
hotel, I stood up and announced that, much as I enjoyed seeing his
work, I already had too many carvings at home so could buy no more.
"Not just this little one" asked Made wistfully, one hand
on his bike, the other holding up a small and repulsive garuda.
"No,"I said firmly, thinking of the rut-filled road ahead.
Back at the hotel, Made pulled up at his old trading post and politely
helped me down, before making one last effort.
"Nyonya has many friends here.. maybe they like cheap woodcarvings
. Nyonya will tell her friends about Made.
sure, Nyonya would tell her friends about Made - who could resist
claiming acquaintance with a kidnapper.