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Odyssey of the hat

Sitting in Trabzon in early September he decided to get another Akubra from David Morgan near Seattle. He’d had two in his short life. The first was a Banjo Patterson received in Eugenics. He wore it in China for three years and another year in Ankara/Bursa.

He gifted it to Zeynep before flying to Indonesia where he received a Snowy River. He gifted that cat in the hat to a Ho Chi Minh lover before walking the Nam-Cambodia-Laos-Trabzon path. In Trabzon he ordered a Traveler.

In late October two days before the Sacrifice holiday, Sit Down called from Trabzon, “I have your customs documents here.”

“Perfect timing,” said Lucky. “I’ll be over tomorrow. See you at the office.”

Process: Meet Sit Down and walk to the customs bureaucrazy near the port where Russian container ships unloaded crates of baboons.

Go to Office #1. Office #1 man sent them to Office #2 man. Office #2 man said, “Go upstairs to Office #3 man.”

Ring around the mulberry bush. Here we go and where we stop nobody knows.

Office #3 man was not at his desk. Another man said the value of the Traveler ($135) would mean BIG customs duties ranging from $25-75 depending on (a) his mood (b) international currency fluctuations based on speculative financial trades after the market closed and (c) his executive decision to charge said custom taxes in (1) Turkish Lira (2) Euros (3) Dollars (4) undetermined.

Lucky selected #1, filled out forms with blue ink on a line printed for that purpose the man entered data into a computer databank stamped some forms formed some stamps adjusted his purple Windsor fit to be tied neck knot smoothed his 100% blue cotton medium sized shirt into government issued tax pants nestled next to a black plastic belt above shiny handmade black leather shoes smiled and said, “46TL. Pay downstairs at Office #2.”

The portly going bald Office #2 man was loquacious. They exchanged grins paperwork and telepathy - We are in this together.

He copied essential documents accepted 46TL stamped and signed where he was authorized to because it was important necessary and fun. He handed forms back, “You brought me luck today. No one smiles here. Everyone wears grouchy pants. They rehearse eternal morose ambivalence. Go to the Receiving Office fifteen kilometers from here.”

Lucky smiled, “Every day above ground is a prodigious day.”

Lucky and Sit Down hitched a ride on a garbage truck overflowing with past, present and future used grammar textbooks. The RO was a cement building in an industrial park. A bonfire burned in front.


“They are destroying evidence of Kurdish and Armenian genocides, self-autonomy dreams, regretful memories, future fears, and Turkish democratic ideals,” said Sit Down.

A man in a death mask threw Human Rights Watch on flames.

“I see an eternal flame for international peace,” said Lucky.

“You’re dreaming,” said Sit Down.

They walked through dusty rooms filled with boxes.

The Receiving Director sat at his desk with a brown account ledger from 1900. Modern technology obscured. Lucky handed him formless forms. They shared tea and small talk. Spoons danced with brown leaves and sugar molecules.

Two workers carried over a long box from Holland. One slit it open with a serrated knife. He handed the Director an invoice, no voice and silent voice.

He enumerated the contents as the director marked off items in his book with a leaky pen: two aluminum bike frames including magnesium handlebars, miniature pedals, custom designed Italian foam seats, sprockets, chains, Shimano gears, hollow Zen bell from Kyoto, GPS navigation gadgets, four titanium wheels with be spokes, two hydrocarbon water bottles, two polyurethane reflective helmets featuring solid blue racing stripes augmented by spiral nebula galaxies, three pairs of form fitted black and blue iridescent bike shoes, three pairs of water soluble black/white racing gloves, synthetic shirts, shorts, and quick dry underwear in fifty shades of gravitational necessity.

The Director double-checked items in his ledger and handed the silent invoice back to the man. He put it in the box taped it shut and pushed it away.

The Director handed him a lucky paper. He disappeared into a cavern. He returned holding a box with white sticker #2443. The Director verified the form from Office #2 man. Tick. He handed over the form and box, “Here you are. You brought me good luck today.”

“Thanks very much. Luck favors the prepared. Thanks for the tea.”

Lucky and Sit Down enjoyed thick coffee in Trabzon while seeing/hearing a blind Kemil player sing laments. They confirmed future conversations about residency permit paper work, shook hands and he returned to Giresun by hot air balloon skimming the BS.

On his last evening at TEOL he helped scared students. “Open your head open your heart and open your mouth. Say ah.”

Students chimed, “First we open our wallets. Ha, ha, ha.”

He carried the box to his cold empty apartment. He pasted #2443 in his notebook. He opened the magic box. Size 59 in Regency Fawn.

Box paperwork said, “The Traveller is the Akubra to accompany you on your travels. It is made in Akubra’s pure fur Pliofelt, a soft pliable fur felt developed specifically for crushable hats. The pre-creased pinched telescope crown is 4 3/8 inches high. The welted brim is 3 inches wide. The brim has a unique memory insert that allows the hat to be manipulated back to shape easily after being packed or crushed.” Unquote.

Addendum in invisible ink: Travelers wearing this hat cannot be crushed, folded, fooled, spindled, cheated or manipulated. This hat brings the wearer good luck. It spreads fortune and prosperity to others along the way. This hat allows Travelers to appreciate diversity, freedom and tolerance with beauty, truth, and gratitude.

The Language Company

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