Searching for Kansas

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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:54 am

Outside was life, and laughter. There was a wall just outside Alex’s cell that provided shelter from the sun and the endless Sahara wind. The guards liked to stand by that wall, talking and smoking, when there was nothing else for them to do. They were little men, inconsequential men, with their tiny lives and their tiny dramas. Alex listened. It was his only entertainment. It had taken him a while to pick up Berber, the language that the guards spoke most often, but it hadn’t been an impossible project. Alex knew several Arabian languages from his days in the CIA, and he had nothing but time and nothing else to entertain his mind.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:02 pm

“Again, I lose. Horses do not like me.” This voice belonged to Omar. He was the most interesting of all the guards, and the one who usually brought Alex his meals. Omar was the youngest, and he always had a scheme to make money.
“You should stop betting. You never win.” That was Basheer, older and more skeptical. According to him, he had already done all the stupid things that young men do. “Why do you always throw your money away? Horse races are not way to make money. They are way for other people to make money - your money. If you had stayed away from the horses, you would have enough for that ring by now.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:19 am

Alex heard this day after day. Did his guards have nothing else to talk about?
Sometime later, it was Basheer who brought Alex his letter:




Hey, Buddy,
You never told me how hot your wife is. Sex in a silk sheath. Class and passion. We took to each other right away. We had dinner at The Ambassador. Much later, I drove her to my place, and she could hardly wait to get her clothes off. She almost stripped naked right there in the parking lot, that's how horny she was. We did make it up to my bedroom without alerting the cops, and, oh man! She has this way of flicking her tongue that sends me through the roof. We almost punctured the waterbed. And the way she screamed!
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:12 pm

! I bet the neighbors a quarter of a mile away were jealous. We must have done it ten times that night. It was all I could do to keep up (keep up - get it?) And we did it every which way but three way! ‘Cause I’m not sharing her with anyone. Man, her mouth, her lips - I thought she'd suck it off, if you know what I mean. She was smokin’!
I have to tell you, Buddy, I've laid a lot of women, and she's the best I ever had. A real keeper.
Well, that's about it. Have fun, Buddy.
I'll write when I have more to tell. It shouldn't be too long.
Your friend,
Weasel
Alex doubled over. There was no one to see him. He sank to his knees, curled up into a fetal position and sobbed. And from this sobbing rose a long mournful sound, more a howl than a scream. Primitive, soulful, it called up generations of pain, the suffering of wolves, the groaning of dying men, societies crushed by marauding conquerors. He was beaten, he had lost everything, he had lost Vivian forever.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:42 pm

He howled again, ending the cry with one long lingering word. “Remordia.” He had told himself that he’d never use the word again. “Remordia, Remordia, Remordia,” he shouted. And the words shot out into the desert and died in the hot sands. The word wasn’t really magic. If Alex believed that, he was in worse shape than Omar. It was a word that he had found when he was a boy, and every time he uttered it, for some reason, he got his way. People believe him no matter how insane his reasoning, no matter how ridiculous his argument. Alex had tried to play it straight, to come clean, to become an honest man. And what had it gotten him? A cell in the desert, his wife sleeping with his former best friend, and a heart full of hurt. ‘You get punished for honesty,’ thought Alex. He wouldn’t make that mistake again
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:17 pm

Alex repeated the cry. “Remordia.” Then he waited. But nothing happened.
Hot boring days followed hot boring days. Wind whipped the sand into a stinging frenzy. At least Alex was protected from that. If only he were protected from his thoughts, this wouldn’t have been too bad. Outside, the guards were smoking and laughing, and making serious conversation, not realizing that their simple, pitiful, little lives didn’t matter. The guards didn’t understand this. They saw themselves as important, powerful, and wise.
“Tifawt looks at me with disdain,” said Omar. "I wanted to slap her hard, to wipe that look from her eyes. I need to buy her a ring."
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:42 am

"That is what I need. And I need some money to impress her father and her brothers. Then they will look up at me with respect befitting a man.”
“Tifawt can do better than you, little goat.” This from Lufti, a large man. His bulging muscles were evident even in the loose clothing common in the Western Sahara. A scuffle ensued. A good natured scuffle. It ended with laughter, and comments about impressing women. And then it was over, and Alex had nothing but wind and sand to watch for the rest of the day.

A week later, Omar had good news to report to his friends. “This time, is certain.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:45 pm

The words jumped from Omar’s mouth, propelled by excitement. “My friend Shariff told me all about his horse. He is called Algerian Winter. What a horse! Shariff, he tells me - his dam is Pensance, his sire, Carnivale.
“But here is our secret. No one knows. Only Shariff and I, we know. Shariff, he says Algerian Winter is certain to win. Shoofly is favorite, but Shariff works at track, and he has doping medicine. It will not be detected. Shoofly will appear healthy. Perfectly healthy, only tired, only little slow.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:26 pm

Only slow enough to lose, not so slow that they would notice, not so anyone could point finger at Shariff. So is no blame. I have borrowed money from Nestor. This time next week, the ring will be on Tifawt’s finger. Hear my words.”
“You borrowed money from Nestor!” The second voice belonged to Basheer. “Are you out of your mind? He will kill you. If he does not kill you, you will wish he had killed you. It will be so bad. So painful you will scream for death.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:54 am

“You worry like a woman. Needlessly. Algerian Winter will win, and Tifawt will be my bride.”
Little men, little minds, thought Alex. He wondered if he would ever see Omar again. The odds of seeing Omar were exactly the same as the odds of Algerian Winter winning the race. Alex chuckled.
But he did see Omar again. Another week passed. Omar was limping, moving stiffly. “I need money. Now.” he told Basheer. “I prayed to Allah. I am in terrible trouble.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue May 02, 2017 12:14 pm

“I can lend you maybe 100 dinarii.”
“I need more. Help me. You are my friend.”
“I cannot give you what I do not have.”
“It was the horse.”
“Algerian Winter did not win?”
“It was for certain bet. He ran well. And Shoofly performed poorly as expected. And then, by magic it seemed, Black Waters passed them all and took first place. If only I had bet my money to place instead of to win. And now, not only can I not buy ring for Tifawt, but I must pay Nestor back his money or he will have me killed.”
“I told you. Did I not tell you?”
“Enough. I am in serious trouble. What can I do?”
“Pray to Allah, and run as far and as fast as you can. Even Allah will only help so much when one has brains of cockroach. Nestor does not like to lose money. Your life is about to end. And it will end painfully. Yes, very painfully indeed.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat May 06, 2017 9:26 am

The wind’s sighing carried with it an ominous, mournful foreboding. There was cruelty in the stinging sand.
“You are my friend.”
“So I will pray. And my wife and my family as well. Put your trust in Allah. This is your only hope.”
And Omar dropped to his knees right there in the sand. There was the muttering of prayers and pleading.
Alex thoroughly enjoyed the scene with its promise that his captor was about to get a beating or worse.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon May 08, 2017 12:50 pm

And suddenly he felt it. Power. This man groveling in the sand was terrified. Alex could feed off of his fear and pain. Omar’s weakness made Alex strong. “Remordia,” Alex said. The word had never let him down. He could change his circumstances - as long as he could get to Omar before Nestor did.
Alex paced as he waited. Paced, and talked to himself, and cursed everything alive. He had tried honesty. Like a fool, he had accepted his fate without complaint. Now he knew better.
Alex’s chance came three, hot, sandy days later, when Omar brought Alex his meal
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu May 11, 2017 8:44 pm

The weather was cruel, even by Western Sahara standards. For the most part, Omar had recovered from his beating, but his skin still showed several bruises, reminders of what was to come.
“There is terror in the air, and terror in your eyes.” Alex said. He didn’t take the tray. He used the silence to fuel Omar’s fear. Omar, stopped moving, held his breath, and stared at Alex as if he had seen a ghost. “Allah cannot help you, but I can.” Alex let the words hang in the wind like small insects. “I can get you money . . . as much as you need . . . but there is a price.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon May 15, 2017 11:51 am

Omar gasped out loud. Hope and dread, promise and demise, back and forth, back and forth, they replaced each other in his mind. “How did you know?”
“That is my business, and only for me to know.” Alex spoke in English. He would not reveal that he could understand some Berber.
“What price?” Omar knew he would pay it whatever it was. He would even give up Tifawt to save himself.
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