“Oh, there eez much exciting. The boys chase the girls weeth wheeps.”
“Yes, weeth wheeps.” She gathered the last of her belongings. “Have nice weekend. Hope you see some action.”
She hurried out the office door, eager to get to her family’s cottage in a nearby village, leaving me with mental impressions of teenage guys cracking bullwhips. A mock threat, I hoped. They didn’t actually lash the girls, did they? I felt like Captain Kirk following Mr. Spock to his home planet to witness the Vulcan mating ritual. Slavic Europe sometimes seemed like another world.
The housemother at our school’s dorm had invited me to spend the weekend in her family’s cottage. There, I was relieved to discover that the “wheeps” turned out to be braided willow branches with bright red, green and yellow ribbons tied to the tapered ends.
“It means ‘little switch’,” said his girlfriend Anna.
“Yeah, and here’s how you use it.” Ľubo pulled one out of the vase on the coffee table and swung. Fwiiisshhhh. Anna nimbly moved her butt out of the way at the last instant.
“Not till Monday morning! Besides, Tuesday, the girls switch the boys.”
“That’s not true!”
“Well, you just better watch out.” She shook a finger at him.
Monday morning he did chase her down for a few playful thwacks as she giggled in response. Strange as it was, I suddenly wanted to take part in this ritual.