That evening, a cool breeze had embraced the hot humidity, and buoyed Rupert’s spirits. A karaoke bar outside the Bazaar beckoned him to dawdle past a line of seated girls, who all turned as one.
‘Hello, handsome man. Where you go?’
I felt his fingers lift me into the cool air. He bowed, sweeping me across his body three times, and a girl took hold of his arm. Led us to an empty table, reserved for VIPs.
Seated, and recovering from motion sickness, I was entrusted to guard his Cigarillos and I-phone while he engaged in whimsical conversation. Other girls giggled at me, and not for the first time I became the centre of attention – red, white, and blue sombreros have that effect – and of course I loved being stroked by sensuous fingertips.
It wasn’t long before Rupert’s companion whispered in his ear, and he ordered a round of drinks for my admirers.
Then another – much to my chagrin, as I felt a pool of spilt liquid soaking into my felt.
Rupert didn’t notice until a stain had blemished my features. He shook his head and picked me up.
‘Well, old boy, what do we do now?’
The girl laughed, and tugged him to his feet. And so, arm in arm with his new acquaintance, his fingers grasping my brim, we set off towards the river. As we reached the bridge, Rupert stopped and tossed me at the crippled beggar sitting there.
I was in shock.
How could he abandon me?
I wasn’t morose for long – I was created to exude gaiety and joy. My new owner touched my felt each time a coin dropped inside. His fingers were rough, and his legs mere stumps, but his smile reached both ears.
Now I could look at the sky – see the new moon beam at me, and my brim leapt at my new freedom. Rupert – and his greasy locks – became a distant memory.
And of course, I became the centre of attention again.