Searching for Kansas

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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:15 am

Alex logged off, stood up, and stretched. That’s when Omar hugged him as he would a brother. “A present for you, my friend,” he said, and he removed from his tunic a wallet containing seventy dinarii and identifying papers for Izem Amidane. He removed the seventy dinarii and handed the wallet to Alex. “Perhaps you will have use for this. I will not.”
Alex accepted graciously both the hug and the wallet. “Before we part, one last favor in the name of friendship,” he asked. “I will need transportation for a few hours. If you drive me, I will make it worth your trouble.” Within hours, Alex had set up bank accounts for himself in the name of Izem Amidane, transferring money as fast as possible from his many accounts throughout the world. Soon Izem was one of the richest men in the Western Sahara. Alex had also transferred by wire seventeen thousand dollars in cash, and, with the help of this ready cash, he was able to bribe his way through red tape and waiting periods.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:57 pm

Back at the airport, the two men shook hands. Alex bought an airline ticket to Bangkok, handed Omar an imitation Rolex watch “for his trouble,” and four thousand dollars “the full amount - in the name of friendship.” With that, he’d cut his last tie to the Western Sahara, and boarded a plane to his new life.
On the plane to Bangkok, Alex pondered this new life. All of a sudden he was thrust back into the modern world, a modern world with so many traps and possible pitfalls. It had been a lifetime ago, it seemed, that he’d dealt with first world problems.
What would be his status after he returned to the States? Would he be a dead man?
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:59 pm

Note to visitors: If you want to read the story comfortably, start with my first post last year and read the posts in order. You can get the whole story in order that way.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:15 pm

Surely it was safer to be considered dead, than to exist every day as a ready target, a sitting duck, for whatever Weasel could think of. And, maybe, if Alex were presumed dead, someday he could exact vengeance on his old pal, who had sent him off to hell on earth.
Alex wanted connections. Life dealt harshly with lone wolves. In the past his list of friends would have included Weasel. Not anymore. And could Alex trust his other friends? Even Ernie, who had been so loyal, so sharp and so resourceful - even Ernie was someone Alex couldn’t trust. One argument, one disagreement, could send Ernie running to Weasel. Even an evening in a pub or an unintentional slip-up on Ernie’s part could cost Alex his life. No, Alex would have to disappear completely.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:45 am

And what about Vivian? Was she a lost cause? Should he just forget about her and move on, considering himself lucky to be alive and free? Or should he risk it all and try to win her back? Because what was the point of life and freedom, if it didn’t include Vivian?
Someday, he decided. Someday he’d come back to her and claim her as his wife. But for now . . . well, for now he’d have to concentrate on surviving. He frowned. Too bad this airline didn’t serve liquor.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:35 am

Still, he’d escaped prison - all that sand, all that empty time, and the sad little guards with their sad little lives. Of course his own life had been even sadder back then. A surge of confidence ran through him. He’d escaped from all that - a seemingly hopeless situation. He was strong. And creative. ‘Brave new world,’ he thought to himself. Anything and everything was possible. The players in his life may have changed, but he was still Alex - named after Alexander the Great - and he was a conqueror, just like his namesake.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:48 pm

After landing in Bangkok, Alex, as Izem Amidane, rented a car, checked into the Peninsula Hotel, and bought a bottle of Scotch. The Peninsula was a little wasteful perhaps, but after his experience in Western Sahara, Alex wanted his own bathroom, clean sheets, and service at the snap of his fingers. He wanted fresh fruit, and air conditioning, and a swimming pool, and spa, and, well, he wanted his old life back.
And he wanted a woman.
One of the servers in the dining room fixed him up with Kim. Although she looked about fifteen, Alex chose to believe she was much older. Kim’s face was flat, and there was something about her eyes. There was no excitement, no sorrow, just nothing - as if she were dreaming about something a million miles away. With her firm, tiny body and small breasts, Kim was appealing in the way of a virgin, someone who was about to have sex for the very first time in her life, although of course this was not the case. Kim spoke little English, asked for nothing, and was willing to do anything. And she cost him about fifty U. S. dollars. It was the most sex Alex had ever had since his twenties. It left him completely empty.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:53 pm

Lying in bed next to Kim, all he could think about was Vivian, her arms around his body, her laugh, and the cries she used to make in moments of passion. He could remember the scent of her, the feel of her breasts against his chest, the way she’d tilt her head that used to drive him crazy. Funny how some memories remained sharp in spite of all the time that had passed since he’d been with her. Actually the sensation was sharper, more real, now than during the times Alex had, in fact, held Vivian in his arms.
Then it was over and Alex handed Kim her money. She bowed and left the room.
The next day Alex bought a computer and a wireless plan. Using the hotel’s Internet cafe´ to access the worldwide web, he began setting up bank accounts and transferring money, both from his own accounts and from the accounts he’d recently set up in Dakhla.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:12 pm

Three days later, the Internet confirmed his death, a suicide in the prison. Not something that would make headlines, but, as a dead man, Alex could no longer access his old bank accounts. He’d managed to transfer over $200,000 dollars. Not a bad nest egg with which to start a new life.
So officially he was dead now. Most people wouldn’t know. They would assume he had left the country on some project, and would get in touch when it suited him. But of course Weasel would learn that he had died.
Life as a dead man proved easier than Alex had hoped. Once he got the hang of it, hacking into bank accounts was as easy as walking down stairs. People used passwords like 12345678. A ten year old could figure that one out.
His all-time favorite scam was “Windows Technician.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:14 am

His all-time favorite scam was “Windows Technician.” He wished he’d made it up himself, but actually he’d gotten the idea from someone who’d tried to hack into his computer. It went like this: “Good morning, Ma’am, my name is Antonio, and I’m calling from Microsoft Windows technical division because we have discovered activity on your computer resulting from a virus.” Most people hung up; some told him what he could do with himself; but some gave him access to their computer. And through their computer he got access to credit card numbers and banking information. It was too easy, really.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:05 am

The letter came to Jeremy Scoggins’ office - in an envelope the color of maggots. ‘From Africa - one of the poorer parts,’ he thought.

This message is informing you because Mr. Lidecker was found dead in his cell. Cause of death to be suicide by hanging. Body was buried because was smell very bad. You are person to notify for this.

He felt strangely irritated that Alex was no longer alive, that Alex had died before he, Weasel, had managed to bag Vivian.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:21 pm

That evening, Weasel called her. “Vivian, it’s Jeremy. You haven’t called me and I assumed that you didn’t want to hear from me. I’ve respected that and kept my distance, but I have something to tell you and I really have to tell you this in person. May I come over?”
“Now’s not a good time.”
‘What is she doing that she can’t take five minutes to talk to me,’ he thought, annoyed to be put off. “How about Thursday? I have the afternoon free.”
“I’ll be working.”
“If you tell me where you work, I can meet you there. It really is important. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother you. Of course it’s about Alex.”
Like stomach flu, Jeremy just kept turning up. “Okay, Thursday afternoon. Say, two p.m. But it has to be quick. I have a job. I can’t just take off and visit.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:17 pm

“It won’t take long. And remember, I’m your friend.”
Vivian gave him the address of the lab and hung up the phone with a sick feeling. She’d ask Austin to be there. Maybe her fears had no basis, but Jeremy gave her the creeps. Interesting, she’d faced a mugger, and she’d gotten over that, but the thought of talking to Jeremy still made her queasy.
Two p.m. came all too quickly for Vivian. Austin was hunched over a microscope in the back of the lab examining parasites, so Vivian ushered Jeremy into the office and shut the door.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:25 pm

. “Okay, what did you want to tell me?” she asked. She perched on a clean spot on Austin’s desk with her hands folded across her chest.
“I just couldn’t tell you over the phone. I received this letter right before I called you. I’m afraid it’s bad news. Alex is dead. Apparently, he killed himself. What he was doing in the Western Sahara, I’ll never know. Probably saving the world, or finding oil or something. Who knows?”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:00 pm

She couldn’t bring herself to say anything. She just sat there shocked to the core as Jeremy handed her the letter. Her head swam as if she were in a fog or molasses or something. Vivian kept expecting to feel something, but she didn’t. It was as if she were wrapped in cotton. As if she were out of her body, and watching from somewhere on the ceiling.
His arm found its way around her shoulders without her knowing how he did it. “I’m here for you,” he said, and he gave her a friendly squeeze. “If there’s anything I can do . . .”
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