I recently read a submitted story in which someone who seemed to be from Africa used the word "sahib." "That's not right," I said to myself; "there's another word like that that's used for some of the same kinds of things pertaining to Africa. Now what is it?"
I did some web searches; no dice. I went back to the story, but I couldn't focus on it.
I did some more web searches. Fruitless. I tried again with the story, but the word I was missing was driving me crazy.
I picked up Mike Resnick's Kirinyaga and flipped through it. Nothing. I had a vague idea that there was a feminine form of the word, often used in reference to white girls in Africa in the colonial adventure-story tradition, so I picked up Beryl Markham's West With the Night and leafed through that; still nothing. Tried to read the story again. Couldn't.
Looked in Hemingway. Nothing.
Had a sudden brainstorm. "Aha! I know what the word is! It's 'sahib'! ...Oh, wait, no, that's the one I started with."
Finally decided to drop Mary Anne a note and see if she could tell me the word; she's done post-colonial studies. Surely she would know.
Halfway through the note, I remembered the word.
I'm gonna use the "Extended Entry" feature for once, to give you a chance to think of the word before I say it. Do you know which word I mean? Hint: turns out there isn't a feminine version; I was confused.