There came a rumbling in the distance. The old-timer glanced up at the interruption to the conversation he was having with the stranger and commented thus:
‘Well, there’s something you don’t see every day.’
From the horizon came a cloud of smoke, approaching slowly and ponderously. As time passed, it became clear the cowboy wasn’t the only one with a steed passing through this town.
‘Shalom,’ said the sheik, bowing elegantly after he and his camel came to a halt beside the stranger.
The old timer cleared his throat and the Sheik seemed to notice him for the first time.
‘Does either of you know the route to Cordoba?’ asked the sheik in a striking example of the Queen’s English. ‘It seems I’ve become unexpectedly lost.’
‘Can’t say I do,’ said the old timer, glad of someone else to talk to. The stranger had done his head in.
‘Maybe you could get a map at the service station I passed earlier?’ said the stranger with a helpful smile. He couldn’t help noticing the camel was eyeing him seriously. It groaned mightily and folded its legs downward at the direction of the Sheikh.