Now I was a guest here and not the kind who’s ‘Masters’ wanted a lot of show, if you get my drift. The Saudi seem to have their own way of doing things, not very two-sided either. My job was sort of like that too, not one thing but many.
I had ‘watched’ King Faisal, Prince Fahd, who then became King Fahd, etc; now I was in country helping them build this edifice to oil maybe. It was to be the largest hotel complex in the word, located here in Mecca, supposed to open in 2017 with 10,000 rooms but already we had problems. Any guess how many Filipino gals that would take? At least it was not sinking like some ‘other’, soon to be former world’s largest thing (in Dubai) or that airport in Japan. (Narita) Of course, that poem by P. B Shelley about Ramses came to mind. (Ozymandias) I instinctively looked around; the sand did not cover this monument, yet.
I had said the Saudi’s had their own way of doing things. We’re not talking about Pashto speaking natives (Afghanistan mostly) but still it was fairly easy to see some of these gals were not there of their own accord. Maybe more than a few of them. Of course, it was rare to see a blonde-haired person or any girl over 11 or 12 on the street so when I saw one kid huddled to the side of a dumpster, I became curious.
Now understand my Arabic was almost as good as my, moo-goo- gai- pan, that’s a language, right? In other words enough to say hello and good bye and maybe a thank you for feeding me. What my keen powers of observation could parse out was the tears running from her eye. (No not of Allah’s, ‘bismill r hi r-ra m ni r-ra m’, “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the most Merciful” (Please excuse my spelling, my Arabic she is not so good).
A young girl alone, crying and obviously in distress made me want to try to do something. I knew some folks ‘might’ be displeased (like 999 out of 1,000) but what the Hell, what could they do to me. Opps, then I remembered, there were one or twelve unpleasant things possible. Something about a ‘black hole’ or was that in Calcutta, never mind. I was certain they would come up with something equally exciting for me.
One of the crew, Ahmed (There is always an Ahmed around, though no Saudi would be caught dead working, an ‘infidel’ would be preferred for such menial tasks, or maybe even a slave; though they cost more.) Ahmed spoke about six languages. I suspect he was also doing double-duty here, but we got along, I think.
Between her sobs, tears and what sounded like wailing Ahmed told me, a sanitized version at least; her story. ‘She was a slave. Her Master had died and none in his family wanted her, something to do with the difference between Sunni and Shia but I never did understand that. (Shia Muslims believe that just as a prophet is appointed by God alone, only God has the prerogative to appoint the successor to his prophet. They believe God chose Ali to be Muhammad’s successor, infallible, the first caliph (khalifa, head of state) of Islam. While a Sunni refers to practices based on what the Prophet Muhammad said, did, agreed to or condemned. All Muslims are guided by the Sunnah, but Sunnis stress its primacy. Shia are also guided by the wisdom of Muhammad’s descendants through his son-in-law and cousin, Ali.) Such a huge difference it was, at least to an ‘Infidel’ (Not).
“Effendi, she is left here to die. It is the way things are done here! Please forget her, just ignore her and leave her be. No good can come of this.”
Call me Mr. Softie (a US. soft type ice crème) but as I started to follow Ahmed, her whine or thrall or some sound she made sounded so pitiful I stopped.
“She wishes to be killed or stoned or her throat cut.” Ahmed said.
Damn, damn, damn, I knew better but, man, I just could not turn away.
I knew there was an Embassy in Dhahran, and one in Riyadh, but Ambassador Joseph W. Westphal did not take kindly to our kind. I think he spent too much time with those ‘greenies’ (Army) or the politicians in Washington, but as they say, ‘any ship in a storm’. (not that there were many ships, other camels and not the smokes, in this part of the desert, but I digress)
I took out my phone and at the same time told Ahmed to get her, wrap her up some and we go home. My home was this double-wide that served as an office of sorts.
I changed cell chips and made a call I just knew would come back to bite me in the ass, not just having the Sat phone but who I called for ‘help’. Who answered was not a REMF, rather it got me that wonderful greeting, “Yes?” you ‘white hats’ may recognize that.
I stated, This is, ‘Blank’, I need three ‘Blank’ at ‘Blank’ stat. Authorization ‘Blank, Blank, Blank’ Zulu 20:00 hrs.
Yep this was going to cost me, the girl too, maybe.
Jeddah saw a plane, with funny markings take off. We were on our way, we, meaning my package and me. Yep, this was going to cost me all right.
High Ho, High Ho, it’s off to this little place in the Azores we go.
Seven hours and twenty minutes later, we readied to land. (You didn’t think they would land a jet in all that sand, did you now? Really, if you did you probably believe in the Easter bunny too.)
No Fa, no food except some MREs (Meal ready to eat) of which I hated those kind, they were the brown packs.
There was one consolation in all this, two maybe. I got out of that Hellhole (120 degrees F on a good day in the shade). The other thing, something my first wife never did, gave me a beautiful little daughter. Moreoften you get the horns but sometime you get the bull.
The bad, remember no good deed goes unpunished, I now ‘owed’ my masters even more. I called her Bella, my beautiful one. There was to be a price to pay by her too, though. What her life would be likened to could be summarized in the phrase, ‘from a frying pan, into the fire’.