I'm not going to write some new text for this exercise, but I guess anything long-winded will do.
Below I have placed a part (975 words) from the introduction of Dust in the Wind
. I guess it could easily be summarized in less than 10%, and wonder if anyone could come up with an advertisement line, and which minimalistic results come up.
I entered the shabby hotel lobby and looked around. There wasn't much to see, but I didn't want to leave too early and see that guy again, so I went to the desk and asked if the hotel had a bar. The woman didn't understand me, but when I said 'Coca' she gave me a tired smile and pointed to a door.
I entered a courtyard with small benches, some rusty tables and chairs, shaded by grape vines. An old woman was sitting on a small stool behind a small table; actually, it looked like a chest, several small cups on top. On the side stood a charcoal burner with a black clay pot; in the front stood another, smaller burner. Some grass was draped on the ground, sprinkled with flowers. So this must be the famous coffee ceremony. The woman spoke to me in her incomprehensible language, but I lifted my hands. "No Amharic. Sorry..."
The woman smiled and lifted a cup. "You" pointing to me, "buna?" lifting the cup, and then pretending that she was drinking.
"No problem?" I asked - there was no-one else, so I expected the coffee to be for the staff.
"You buna!" the woman said, decisive, and then indicated me to sit down. "Kuchu belu!"
I took a place close to the woman; I saw a small girl coming from behind, offering some brown powder to the woman, probably grinded coffee beans, which the old woman dropped in the black pot. "Konjo buna! Konjo, konjo buna" the old woman murmured.
The child stayed behind the woman, trying to peak at me. The girl whispered something in her ear, and the woman lifted her on her lap. "Ciao Ferengi, Ciao Ferengi!" She pushed the little one a bit, who was very, very shy, but eventually her high-pitched voice sang "Ciao Ferengi!" and she waved her little hand to me.
"Ciao!" I replied; "Hello, wat is your name?" The little one quickly hid her face in the woman's bosom. She hugged her, sang some smoothing words to her, and checked her coffee pot.
"Your child?" I asked, pointing to the little-one.
"Yene baby!" she sang back, hugging and rocking the little girl. "Yene mamush, yene fikr, yene mar!"
"What is her name?" I tried, slowly.
The girl looked up and whispered something to the woman. They seemed to deliberate, and then the girl turned to me. "My name is Tsegay, what is your name?" For a moment she seemed to turn her face away again, but she was too curious to hear my answer. The woman stroked her hair.
My name is William. How old are you."
"Wil-li-ham" I could hear her whispering to the woman, who nodded "Williham". And then the small angel said "I'm fine thank you!"
"I'm fine too."
The girl wriggled herself out of the arms of the woman and took place next to her. Then, with one hand around the neck of the woman, she sang
Hello, how are you?
I'm fine, I'm fine,
I'm fine, I'm fine,
I'm fine, I'm fine thank you!"
Then she ran, through the door, away.
The old woman pressed her hands to heart, murmuring "Whayeh, yene mar! Whohoo, yene konjo! Oefff..."
The water in the coffee pot started boiling; some liquid splashed out of it, sizzling in the hot charcoal. She quickly took it off, and placed it on a holder, made of woven grass. "Tsegay!! Tolo bey! Tsegay!! Ney, yene fikr!"
For a long time, nothing happened, and I thought she hadn't heard it, but finally the door opened, and Tsegay returned, carrying a very small child on her back. As soon as the toddler saw me, her large, dark eyes glued to me, and vice versa. What a beauty. The woman took the child, and showed it to me. "Conjit" she said. "Conjit, Tsegay" first lifting the toddler, then nodding to the other girl.
"Conjit and Tsegay!" I said. "Are they sisters? Your children?" I pointed to the children and then to the woman.
She nodded, "Aw!.. Yene lijoj!", padding one hand on her heart. Then she said something to Tsegay, who quickly left again.
She took the coffee pot, but I feared for the toddler. I stood up, and stretched out my arms. "Can I take Conjit from you?" She returned some rapid babbling which I didn't understand, but I got the message - I picked up Conjit, and sat down, causing an emotional outburst from the woman, with patting on the heart accompanied with a continuous flow of sweet-sounding Amharic words.
Conjit, only wearing a dirty brown shirt, sat on my lap, looking at me with her large black eyes under her long, long lashes. Her hands stretched out, carefully stroking the hair on my arms, then pulling it, as if to check whether it was real or not. The woman clapped her hands, and called once more, this time I could distinguish the names Conjit and Mehret, together with the word Ferengi; the last one, I knew, was their indication for foreigners. The door swung open, and a girl walked in - she saw me, gave a scream, and quickly moved back inside, slamming the door closed.
"Mehret, Ney Mehret!" the old woman shouted, her voice forceful, decisive, but loving. "Mehret!!" The door remained closed. The woman shouted more sentences, and finally, the door opened once more. First Tsegey came in, beaming happily, followed by the older girl, who I assumed to be Mehret, turning her head, keeping her hands in front of her mouth. She might have been seventeen, maybe eighteen years old, looking... The dark, dirty and torn dress didn't hide, but emphasized the thin, long, attractive body. The black hair braided and pulled up, and the glimpse of her face told me it was angelic. Another daughter?