Most things can be stretched only so far before they snap.

Our local economy is pretty much tied up in sugar cane.  Hills once covered in indigenous shrubs are now covered in cane.  When the wind is blowing, sugar cane bows and bends in mighty ripples.  While only a handful of the community are actual farmers, there’s not a soul in town that doesn’t know all about sugar cane.  It’s our “bread and butter,” if you will.

Our second largest “industry” is tourism.  We have a forest in the heart of the borough and a resident bird for which “twitchers” will come half-way round the world.  We are close to game reserves and the Indian Ocean.  We have a history museum, a cultural museum and a butterfly dome all on the same property.

One Saturday I was approached by a neighbourhood tour guide.  Please would I drive his mini-bus for the day?  He knew I had a special license to drive larger vehicles.  The man who usually drove his small bus was sick in hospital.  He implored me and he promised me compensation.  Since I had nothing better to do, I agreed.

At the airport I waited in the vehicle while the guide ran into the building waving a sign: “Herbert.”  A short while later he returned, all smiles and non-stop chatter, with a family of four in tow.  Hastily he loaded their luggage and urged them to take a seat somewhere in the bus.  As I pulled away from the curb he introduced me and then turned his back to me and forgot I was there.

That’s when the prattle began.  I have rarely heard more entertaining and fanciful pieces of fiction.  The tour guide regaled the family with hundreds of interesting bits of local history.  Most of his stories had their roots in truth but he deviated from fact soon after starting and landed up telling the most outrageous tripe.  It was a good thing my back was to the travellers as my face would have betrayed my incredulity.

The last straw was laid on the camel’s back when we were just a few kilometres outside of town.  “Now, do you see those fires?” he asked, pointing out the windows toward the smoke-filled horizon.  “They are burning the sugar cane.  They do this just before harvest. They burn the cane in order to produce the nice dark brown sugar you all enjoy.”

A young voice piped up, “Is THAT how brown sugar is made?”

“Yes, indeed,” answered the knowledgable tour guide.  “The cane they harvest without burning will be white sugar and the cane they burn will be made into brown sugar.”

That did it.  I finally broke my silence.  “And don’t forget to tell them about the special cows we raise.  The white ones make regular milk and the brown ones make chocolate milk!”

Needless-to-say I wasn’t ever asked to drive again.  And come to think of it, I don’t remember getting any compensation for the day!

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Today, write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.

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