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Flights of Fancy That Get More Fantastic With the Telling

August 28, 1988|BOB O'SULLIVAN | O'Sullivan is a travel writer based in Canoga Park

My hands were becoming hairy and my jacket, no longer able to contain the writhing masses of green muscle, split up the back. My shoes burst and my shirt fell in shreds at my feet.

A crowd started to collect.

I dug my fingers into the glass at the edge of the windshield, ripped off the top of the taxi, lifted the driver out and held the trembling wretch over my head. He dropped his jambon et fromage (ham and cheese) sandwich in the street.

" Puis-je vous aider? " he whimpered.

" Monsieur Green Man," called a lady from the crowd, "he is asking if he can help you."

"He had his chance to help me. Now, it is too late," I roared. "I'm going to throw him in the Sayne."

Down to the River

"Le Sayne? Non! Non! " the driver cried. Holding him high over my head, I walked the half block to the river bank. The crowd followed, cheering me on.

Just before I hurled him he said, "Oh, the Seine , you mean. You have mispronounced it so bad. . . ."

In my suddenly rekindled rage I threw him. He went a little too far and landed in a heap on the other side of the river. I watched him pull himself to his feet and stagger toward another parked cab for help.

He didn't get it, however. The driver of the other cab was eating a sandwich and rolled up the window. The wretch slumped to the curb and wept. Justice had been served. The crowd faded away and I could feel my color returning.

"I think you showed admirable control," Joyce said.

A Little Hook

"Actually, I hooked a little and I really wasn't trying for so much distance."

"That taxi driver was so rude."

"Guess we just have to learn to live with it."

"Paris is such a beautiful city," Joyce said. "But in some ways it certainly needs work."

On our trip home that year, a few minutes after takeoff, Joyce picked up the in-flight magazine and turned to the page with the world routes on it. Before long her finger was on a path and she was making little noises. I could see she was already planning next year's trip.

"Iron Curtain countries, huh?" She didn't answer. I didn't repeat it. Didn't want to bother her while she was driving.

(Recently, the French Government's Tourist Office, aware of Paris' deteriorating image in the world press, made an all-out effort to improve the situation, contacting and working with virtually every organization in France that does business with the touring public. The effort met with considerable success. Most experts are in agreement, the City of Light is again a nice place to visit. There have been no sightings of the Incredible Hulk in Paris since this action was taken.)

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