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Published: October 20th 2010
Cotonou, the 'safest city in Africa', was quite dull. Miles and Sally ate a pizza and were strolling towards the hotel when Sally's bag was snatched. Miles bolted after the thief at slightly less than top speed, down narrow dark alleys, leaping across drainage ditches, vaulting fences, and kicking a dog in the head. Cowboy boots were not made for running, nor was Miles. He casually wondered about the abandoned Sally, whether he would see or hear of himself again and pounded stupidly on, thief still in sight. The robber entered a house. Miles followed, bursting into a simple sitting room where a family watched TV, no thief in sight. Miles, huge and white, stood panting, then spun on his Cuban heel and exited wordlessly. In a candlelit night Mileset he laughed guiltily at the remnants of a racist joke: he could see nothing but eyeballs and teeth.
Wheezing and soaked in sweat, he had recovered neither passports, money nor credit cards and was wholly lost. In faux insouciance, he sauntered down the street and, roughly twenty seconds later, was miraculously back at the pizzeria, a wailing Sally inside. Calamity and palaver were being conducted in French with tears. Someone gave Miles a beer The door opened and Sally's bag was thrown into the restaurant, empty.
Miles grimaced. "No passports, no credit cards..."
"Of course not, ye big eejit! Do you think I take our passports out for dinner?"
"You mean..." Miles considered the situation. "You mean... Well... What are you crying for?"
"I'm crying because I thought you would be dead by now!"
Miles pouted and nodded at the bag. "Did they leave my book?"
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