Wednesday Sneak Peek!

Father handed me an iced drink the minute I walked into the bar. It was the same Rose Collins I’d had the night before, and I drained it in three gulps. Turning to the Pakistani bartender, I asked for a refill. When he returned with a fresh drink, I thanked him and requested he write the ingredients on a paper napkin in case I ever got a craving for the stuff back home. Pulling a stubby pencil from underneath the bar, he scribbled down the recipe and listened intently as I read it aloud to make sure I could read his writing.
“Three tablespoons of vodka, lemon and lime juice.” I paused. “Do you mean lemon or lime?”
“No, sahib. You must use both.”
“Okay.” Continuing, I recited, “Two tablespoons of rose syrup, one teaspoon of Campari, a lemon wheel, and a sprinkling of coarse sugar. Is that it?”
“Yes, sahib.”
“Seems easy enough,” I commented. “Thank you.”
“My pleasure, sahib.”
“Come on,” Father interjected. “Our table is ready.”
Since I had lamb for lunch and grilled chicken at the picnic, I ordered scampi and pasta. Father liked my choice and ordered the same with a house salad to start. While we waited, he asked how I’d spent the day. I recounted as best I could, starting with the foray into the Empress Bazaar.
“What’s the prince like?” he asked. “Is he as arrogant as the rest of the Pahlavis?”
“No, he’s actually quite nice. He’s invited me to attend a polo match tomorrow.”
“Is that wise?”
“What do you mean?”
“Two days in a row? People might speculate.”
“That’s silly, Father. He’ll be on the turf, and I’ll be in the stands cheering him on.”
“But there’s usually some sort of gathering afterward.”
“I’m new in town, so there’s no reason why anyone would consider it odd. I don’t have the word queer tattooed on my forehead, do I?”
Father snorted. “No, you look quite normal.”
“Thanks for the endorsement,” I quipped. “We don’t all run around in drag, you know. Some of us actually pass for real men.”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“Then it’s about time you educate yourself,” I said forcefully. “Now that your son fits in that demographic, you’ll be meeting more and more of my friends. I would hate it if you said the wrong thing because you didn’t bother to get the right information.”
“You’re preaching to the choir, son. Diplomacy is my job.”
“And you’re very good at it, but you’ll stumble like anyone else if you don’t have the right tools.”
“Point taken,” Father said, nodding. “Is your prince gay?”
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t you people have some sixth sense about these things?”
“Usually, but Kamran is very religious, and I doubt he can reconcile one with the other.”

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