Friday, February 5, 2010

"The Foreigner." Francis Steegmuller

One-minute review: Rain. In Paris. The narrator, an Englishman or an American, a foreigner, has left the cinema and called a taxi to take him to his apartment. The driver is in a snit. He does not follow the narrator’s directions to his apartment. After the third mistake, the driver stops the car and tells the narrator to get out. “Three times you have insulted me, you foreigner,” the driver says. “Get out of my car or I will take you to the police station. The narrator agrees to go to the police station.

It soon becomes clear to the officer in charge that the driver is at fault. He directs the driver to take the narrator to his door free of charge. But one thing. The narrator needs to provide his identification which is required to be carried at all times by law when a foreigner is in France. The narrator has left it at home and this is a violation of the law. The officer changes his tone and now changes his judgment in the case of the rude taxi driver. He now requires that the narrator pay the driver for the entire trip and for time spent in the police station.

Finally, at his door, the narrator counts out the exact amount due the driver. The surly driver, now all sweetness and light, asks, “Where is the tip?”

75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman. New York: Bantam Books. 1961. These summaries do not do justice to the vividness of the stories. RayS.

No comments:

Post a Comment