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The Young Reporter

When I was nineteen years old, as a trainee in a daily paper, I was assigned to the difficult task of attending a medical congress, and writing all the reports related to that event.

As part of this assignment, one evening about seven o’clock, I made my way to the French Institute of Port-au-Prince, where three or four documentaries where to be projected. The topic of these short movies was “The Coronary Diseases”.

As early as the first documentary started, I felt that my eyes were growing heavy, and I urgently wanted to sleep. I must tell you that the night before, I had spent six hours listening to two lectures about the osteoarthritis and the cardio-regulating functions. It follows that, after being awake for such a long time, I only had at that point very little time to catch up on my sleep.

Since it was dark in the auditorium, I made myself comfortable, and it was not long before I sank into a deep and almost comatose sleep.

When finally I woke up, believe it or not, but the auditorium was illuminated like in broad daylight, and quite silent. The whole audience, doctors, nurses, anesthetists, lab assistants, and the others had gone. There was no doubt that, while they were making their way out, they had noticed this pathetic and silly fool, with his long legs stretched out, sprawling on his chair, sleeping and snoring stupidly. Frankly I felt like dying of shame.

After getting back my notebook and my ballpoint, which had slipped on the floor, I managed to get up. It was at that moment that I saw an employee of the French Institute coming toward me.

- Excuse me Sir, are you sick? He asked me. The projection ended fifteen minutes ago, and everybody has gone.

I made up my mind to remain mute, and I rushed toward the exit. Unfortunately, four doctors were still there, perhaps discussing one of the themes they had just seen. I didn’t dare look at them, and I went my way, looking straight ahead, with my hair ruffled, and my eyes reddened by my recent heavy sleep.

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