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Ansel Trager is taking my place on the Kashmir trek.

$300 fee okay w/Max. Give Ansel all necessary information. 

Thanks, F.

The roster included three couples, two younger parties from Washington, D.C., and a middle-aged husband and wife from Los Angeles. Trager tried to memorize their names, along with the list of camps and villages. When he looked up from his studies to take a cup of coffee from the flight attendant, the hills had given way to the flat monotony of the Indian plains. Sundown had the catalog on his lap, still open to Springtime in Kashmir. His head was inclined against the window, but he was awake, studying the ground below.

Trager felt someone brush his shoulder, and when he looked up, the German tour leader was standing over him. The man still wore his delighted grin, like a mask that was attached.

"So! You have come on. When they are taking your ticket from me, my thought is, I have tried to help the wrong man, we are now all in trouble."

"You knew I wasn't with your party? I thought you had just made a mistake."

"No, no, no, no, no! I know of course who is in my party. No, I do this only as one traveler to another."

"Well, thanks. Maybe I'll get a chance to help you out sometime."

The German laughed. "I think no. It is for a group easier to take one more, than for one man to steal a group with him."

Springtime in Kashmir ©Talbot Bielefeldt 2020.

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