Tie

desert story picture

The sun hung high in the azure sky, dominating the arid landscape beneath.  I crept forward, my hands raw and bleeding, my mouth as dry as the dust beneath me.  Nearby, a lizard sat under a scrubby bush, eyeing me curiously.  I briefly considered trying to catch it, but then carried on crawling towards the distant shimmering horizon.

"Tie, sir?"

The voice cut through my exhausted mind.  I looked up, squinting.  A little man smiled down at me.  He was smartly dressed and carried an incongruous parasol in his left hand.  In his other hand, he offered me a silk tie.

"Water," I gasped.

The little man frowned.  "Sorry, sir.  I only have ties.  Would you like one?"

"Water!" I repeated.

He shrugged and went on his way, whistling.

I collapsed, weeping, into the dirt.  I had clearly lost my mind.

"Tie, sir?"

The voice was different than before: a tall, swarthy man, robed in white.  He too offered me a tie.

"No!" I cried.  "I don't want a bloody tie! I need water!"

"No water. Only tie," replied the man, and left.

It was then that I saw it: in the distance, ahead of me, palm trees surrounding a lavish, domed building.  Convinced that it was a mirage, I crawled on,  trying to ignore it, but the image persisted, becoming ever clearer.  Soon out could make out details of the building, and hear shouts and laughter, and then even the splashing of water.

I crawled on frantically, ignoring the terrible burning of may hands, until finally, I reached the entrance of what looked like a hotel. I began to ascend the cool, marble steps, but was confronted by a porter.

"Can I help you, sir?"

"Water! I need water. Please."

"I'm sorry sir, " replied the porter, "but you cannot enter the hotel without a tie."

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