Parable of the Traveler from Qatar

John Bradley

When I returned from Qatar, I told Minnie and Jump and Willow
and Tiger. I told Winnie and Lincoln and Roundel and Klank. Who told
the grocer, who told the mail carrier, who told the FBI, who told me:
"There is no such place as Qatar."

I can truthfully tell you, my friends, that there was and, I
believe, still is a Qatar, though I have only this faint recollection:
A sleek city street with sleek, milky traffic and a large flashing sign
that spoke in ninety-nine languages, telling all: "Behold Qatar."

House arrest has led me to discover a new career--water
colorist. Each day the Inspector brings me my groceries and art
supplies. He leaves with my new shopping list and with that day's
intelligence report--a water-color scene of Qatar.

No matter if I paint my mother in a sombrero in Phoenix, or an
old Finn snoring on a bus in Duluth, or bowing gas station attendants in
white uniforms and white gloves in Hiroshima. All witness that
ever-so-distant place called Qatar.