Cowboys and Indians

Submitted by IN SEINE
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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Three strangers strike up a conversation in the airport passenger lounge in Calgary , Alberta , while awaiting their respective flights. One is a native Indian from the Sarcee Reservation. Another is a cowboy on his way to Vancouver for a livestock auction. The third passenger is a fundamentalist Arab student newly arrived at the University of Calgary from the Middle East .

Their discussion drifts to their diverse cultures. Soon, the two Albertans learn that the Arab is a devout, radical Muslim and the conversation falls into an uneasy lull. The cowboy leans back in his chair, crosses his boots on a magazine table and tips his big sweat-stained hat forward over his face. The wind outside is blowing tumbleweeds around, and the old windsock is flapping, but still no plane comes.

To break the silence, the Indian clears his throat and softly speaks: "At one time here, my people were many, but sadly, now we are few."

The Muslim student raises an eyebrow and leans forward: "Once my people were few" he sneers, "and now we are many. Why do you suppose that is?"

The Alberta cowboy shifts his toothpick to one side of his mouth, and from the darkness beneath his Stetson says in a smooth drawl, "That's 'cause we ain't played Cowboys and Muslims yet ... but I do believe it's a-comin'..."

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