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122. Early Tourists

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The hotel security guard was having dinner, facing the white wall. His tiffin carrier dismantled around him. The bell boy, his shirt unbuttoned till a hairy chest, smoking a cigarette against the front door. They were waiting. The first ones are the most demanding. They stay till the mountains, its air, the people and the room become a part of their shape-shifting lives. “The bus may have broken down.” The concierge was young and easily bored. The guard knew better, and before he could give the other a sermon on patience, the first one came strolling up the steep, grassy hill.

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