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    Louise Erdrich

    6. Beauty Stolen From Another World

    By Louise Erdrich

    While browsing through the library stacks at University College in London, I was approached by a handsome Eurasian doctor who pretended to be interested in the book I was skimming, The Milk of Paradise, by M.H. Abrams. The year was 1979 and I was on a college exchange program. The doctor said that he would like to make me an omelet. For some reason, perhaps the novelty of the omelet pickup line, I allowed him to lead me down the street and then, after some hesitation, in which he assured me that his roommate was home, I got into his car, a brown Mercedes-Benz. As we drove to his place I realized that I’d done something foolish and dangerous and, if not bizarre, at least very unlike my Midwestern upbringing. The more so when we got to his flat and his roommate turned out to live in the next apartment. There was a sturdy wall between the two, surely impenetrable to screams, and I made the doctor introduce me to the neighbor so that if I “disappeared into night London,” as the provost of the college had darkly warned during our orientation, there would at least be someone who could identify my face from pictures on the news. Then I did go into the apartment with the doctor, who actually seemed quite harmless.

    We entered the kitchen. He broke the eggs expertly against the pan, one-handed, and he did not chop up onions or peppers with a big chef ’s knife, as I feared, but merely added some cheese, which he grated from a block with a little aluminum mill. I ate, and as I did so, I thought that perhaps he really had just taken me across the city to feed me an omelet. But when I was done he asked if I would like to take a bath while he answered some telephone calls, and again I knew I’d done something foolish and that I should turn back. He grew charming and persuasive. As though humoring a skittish horse he gently drew me toward his very masculine bath—all tiled in black and white—with a magnificent soaking tub. The door had a sturdy lock. . . . Read More.

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