"I cant understand this," I told him, through a boy in a T-shirt who knew a little English. "Je ne parle pas français. I cant read it."
"He says you must put a mark on it," the boy told me.
I looked at the policeman and shook my head, unafraid of being shot anymore. If it was going to happen, it would have happened already, and the passage of time had probably calmed things down. Either jail or the demand for a hefty bribe was coming down on me, but either was going to be far better than signing a confession to an unknown deed.
"He says you must mark it," the boy repeated.
I shrugged apologetically and shook my head and did nothing. The policeman looked at me with unfiltered contempt, tossed me my passport across the desk, and told me, in words that I did not understand, but did, to get the hell out of there. And I obeyed.
Copyright © 2006 by Tom Zoellner
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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