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I arrived in Kathmandu in mufti and settled into a rooming house over a tavern called the Horny Monk. Beardsley was said to show up there when he was in trouble and I had orders to capture him. I didn’t have much to go on. No photograph, divergent descriptions. The tavern served expatriates, businessmen and travelers, so it wasn’t as if he would stand out for being western. I didn’t really care. I just needed a drink and a bed.

The servant girl showed me to my room. I opened a bottle of rice wine and curled up on the bed. The walls were thin and I could hear a couple fucking in the next room. There were shouts from down in the street outside the window. I closed my eyes but tired as I was, I couldn’t sleep.

I got up and went to the window. The muted light of street lanterns glowed in through the sheer curtain. I pulled it aside and watched the people in the square below. I noticed a man in a yellow hat standing by the shrine across the square. I waited for a while, but he didn’t move. Eventually, a boy came up to him and tugged on the tail of his coat. I watched them wander off down a little side alley. I ran downstairs and across the street after him. It was Beardsley. Somehow I just knew it.

The man in the yellow hat turned another corner and I raced after him. There was a dingy hatchway that seemed to lead to a basement at the end of the alley. I swung open the hatch and followed a dark and steep flight of stairs down into some sort of brothel. Men and women of all ages were sprawled out on cots about the room. A servant boy brought them pipes and packed them with smoking black coals. A sickly sweet cloud filled the room.

I pulled the servant boy aside. “What happened to the man with a yellow hat?”

He gave me a curious look and handed me a pipe. I took a long deep drag. A bubble formed in my head and I felt as if I might float away. I watched myself from above as I drifted off. I noticed that I was wearing a yellow hat. Beardsley? BEARDSLEY!!!!

Date Written: March 18, 2005
Author: Ewan Snow
Average Vote: 4.125

03/28/2005 Klause Muppet (4): Yellow hat?
03/28/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: Huh, I thought of Tuck Everlasting. The book, not the movie.
03/28/2005 The Rid: Oh, whatever.
03/28/2005 Will Disney: this was a nice little distraction on a Monday AM
03/28/2005 Partytime: Which of my interpretations of the ending should I go with?
03/28/2005 anonymous: Tell me what they are.
03/28/2005 Litcube (4): No shit, this was a distraction. An enjoyable story. I wish the fourth paragraph didn't start with the second to last sentence in the third paragraph. Not very Acmeish, but I liked it a lot. Good mood, description.
03/28/2005 anonymous: I see your point Litcube, and thanks for the comment. Although they are shown turning another corner in the first sentence of the fourth graf, after he follows them down the little side alley. But yeah, it could have been condensed.
03/28/2005 Partytime: Well, I'm thinkin'lots of crazy possibles:
He's 2 Beardsleys in a time warp so he'll never find Beardsley;
He's Beardsley high and/or hallucinating;
He's a spook (searching for Beardsley) who's been high all along and hallucinating;
Beardsley snuck the hat on him then raced off;
He becomes his query.

03/28/2005 anonymous: Partytime: I intended it to mean either "he's Beardsley high and/or hallucinating" or possibly "He's a spook (searching for Beardsley) who's been high all along and hallucinating". In the latter case, I imagined that he was also, in fact, Beardsley, however. Also, I intended for him, once he realizes that he's Beardsley, to be like, "Beardsley? BEARDSLEY!!!!"
03/28/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: It made me think of Apocolypse Now.
03/28/2005 Partytime (4): Do you take me for a fool?! I would never clean my needles with lemon juice! It carries a dangerous pathogen that-once loosed upon the blood stream-can cause blindness.
03/28/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: Typical.
03/28/2005 Dylan Danko (4): Why does Beardsley have to be a black man? That's so racist.
03/28/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum (4):
03/28/2005 Jon Matza (4): Is this about Aubrey Beardsley (the homo illustrator)? Not sure I know enough about what's being parodied here, if anything, to fully appree-see-ate it. Still enjoyed the tale; 'schaum ending.
03/28/2005 Phony Millions (4): Not sure of it's downright parody, but it did remind me here and there of Phillip K. Dick and William Burroughs.
03/28/2005 Phony Millions: Not sure of it's downright parody, but it did remind me here and there of Phillip K. Dick and William Burroughs.
03/28/2005 anonymous: Matza, I never heard of that guy. It wasn't intended as a parody. Phony, I haven't read Phillip K. Dick, but it was supposed to feel sort of like an old British spy story, where the hero travels “in mufti”, has been given orders to reconnoiter exotic locales, and has various adventures, except in short short format with a surprise ending.
03/29/2005 TheBuyer (5): This reminds me of an episode of The Prisoner that I wish someone had made.
03/29/2005 John Slocum: I don't care much for the final paragraph. Without it, I'd give a four, with it, maybe a 3. Depends on certain transactions involving candy bars.