Siphong, siphong. The word popped out. It did. He was just standing there, and the word popped
out without warning: siphong, siphong. Twice, no more.
What do you say?
He tried it out again. No one directly contradicted him. He laughed. Became excited. He had
not been drinking champagne, only black coffee.
He looked at himself in the mirror, pronounced the word slowly and noted his facial expression.
Shaped his mouth first into a smile. Then made a round opening, like he mimicked to very small children.
It looked odd, but sounded good: siphong, siphong!
Instead of good afternoon and be seeing you, he shouted it to his friends. They were standing on
the loading verge and they replied: what? both of them. He waved and repeated the greeting. They
On the bus he said the same when he was given his change. Siphong. The driver looked up and
nodded to him. Said: OK. And let the heavy bus swing out as light as a feather from the edge of the pavement.