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The Case Of The Kidnapped

sign 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. "

Quickly 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 cheap."
"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 persisted hopefully.
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"


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Yes, 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

Anyone 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 now."

Already we were far off the main road, jolting over the potholes in a narrow back lane.
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."

While 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.

At 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.

For sure, Nyonya would tell her friends about Made - who could resist claiming acquaintance with a kidnapper.


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