When I Woke Up This Morning
When I looked back, I had to admit ‘they’ never directly lied to me. It’s just that I apparently didn’t ask all the right questions.
I was naive; after all. I grew up knowing not to question anything, just do what I was told needed to be done. That aspect of our relationship took on different meanings as time went on. You have to remember one thing, you never leave ‘The Business’ ... alive that is, no matter what.
Grade k - 8 were at a ‘Company school’. Grades 9 - 12 were at a ‘Company school’. College was to be at a ‘Company school’ too, if I hadn’t put my foot down. I was impatient and not a good student. After almost a year and half, at 19 I got a job and went to work instead of finishing school.
Where you say? You guessed it the first time, at a firm located in Washington D.C. It seemed the perfect place to plant my feet, they would never lie to me, would they?
For the next five years, I learned they would and what those ‘damn’ questions were I should have asked. There were some bennies though. I traveled the world and learned 5 or 6 languages, but almost got myself a ‘BC-19’ by a couple stupid mistakes. I did learn to make a few friends along the way, and they made things right for me, but at a ‘price’; you see, nothing in this life is for ‘free’.
When they said, ‘blend in with the locals’, it’s not that easy to do in places like, China, Korea, Yemen, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and some out of the way places like Nepal and Thailand. Yep, not easily done, blending in, that is, for a ‘round eye’ from the Midwest.
I did have a nice meal once in a bit, like six times in those five years of ‘blending’ at some Embassy function. At other times when in-country blending in, it was rice, bugs, like fried locusts, dog meat ... or worse: rats, salted fish, slugs, garlic sprouts, monkey, more rice and parts of more things you just do not want to know about. Was it any wonder, after five years of that; the first week back in the USA I ate real steak three times a day. Another thing I did, was go back to school! I thought getting a new job would be easier with a B.S. at least.
My name, one of them anyway, is Dillon Sweets, I am twenty-five, and almost a free man, except for that little thing my ‘Masters’ had about ever leaving. Man, how things had changed, especially the gals. They seemed to grow up and out a lot more than I remembered from before. Another thing, for my five years in ‘Hell’ they paid me $150,000 a year and I got that tax-free and did not have to spend a penny of it.
If you were a ‘smart man’ and knew where to look, gold was still $32 an ounce in a few countries which could add a few Shekels to the coffers. Some generals got greedy and started to ship tons of it back home on MAC flights. Not the best way to ‘blend’ in for them; I tell you. Oh well!
My penthouse apartment; the S-Class MB 500 and nicer clothes than many wore to school, to say the least, did not blend in at College. They had just the opposite effect. I was a might tired of that ‘act like a local’ crap’ they had told me. One thing more, the apartment, car and a few other things came with my part-time, ‘as needed’ assignment. I would act as an ‘Ambassador-at Large’ meaning anywhere, anytime the powers-to-be wanted, my priorities got re-arranged to meet those wishes.
It was not so bad, I had told you my friends got me out of trouble a few times, so they figured ‘Diplomatic Immunity’ might be a nice thing for me to have. Remember, no good deed goes un-punished and nothing in life is free. I would consider it a sort of ‘Trade’.
I should have known something was going to be different that first day back in school when one girl said ‘Hi’ and ‘are you free tonight’. Yep, things were a might different these days. So much had changed yet basically things remained the same.
That first day on campus I was still amazed at how carefree and bold women and girls had become. Like many men, when I saw a young lady sitting on the grass and crying, I got in my protective mode. I sat down near her and just nodded. What I never expected was her response my gesture got me.
Author’s note: I will try to include both the French, Russian, German and English dialogue for more clarity in the first chapter only. This to make the point how mis-understandings might happen. It gets worse when things are in print.
“Another ‘homme’ wishing to be my friend, ehh?” This said in mixed French and English.
“Hé, quand je vois une belle fille pleurer, un homme doit juste arrêter.” “Hey, when I see a beautiful girl crying, a man just has to stop.”
She just was staring at me, with her mouth open for what seemed like hours but was only a minute or two.
“Tu parle français?” Finally she asked, “You speak French?”
“Oui, j’essaie de faire de mon mieux.” “Yes, some, I try my best.”
“Oh, vous ne savez pas combien il m’a été difficile pour moi de m’expliquer.” “Oh, you do not know how difficult it has been for me to explain myself.”
“Pas de promesses, mais je vais écouter et essayer de vous aider.” “No promises, but I’ll listen and try to help you.”
And by the simple act of trying to help her, my fate became somewhat intertwined with hers and sealed from that moment on.
Her Papa had sent her to college here to better prepare herself for being an educated French wife for someone. What Papa did not understand, was that the life she wanted was to be of her choice, not his wishes dictated to her like some servant. Everyone back home expected her to marry the one whom her Papa had arranged. Everyone, that is, but her.
Genevieve Bijoux, that was her name, thought she wanted to be a model. Did I happen to mention when they were giving out looks and bodies, she must have stood in-line several times. That, of course has nothing at all to do with me wanting to help her. From the way she looked, dressed and carried herself, I did not see her as a mere model. Granted, top models made a lot of money, but this girl had more than looks going for her.
She had gotten in a bit over her head in the pursuit of that quest, though. The next day she was to leave for New York to meet people from several places for job interviews over Thursday and Friday of that week. That brought the fear of God in the seventeen year-old. One reason she got such quick response was that she had sent a small portfolio which was well-done. The second reason, was who her Papa was gave signing her important kudos for any modeling agency. Those were the same reasons she was now fearful her Papa would find out, and send her back to France. She was not yet eighteen and in the eyes of the law no contract could be executed with a minor. She explained she would be an ‘(Adulte)’ ‘Adult’ soon and would no longer need to obey her Papa. Little did I comprehend what she meant by that. She also emphatically stated that, except for certain things, Papa was head of the family, and family was very important to her.
Add to that the small issue of understanding two languages, spoken and written besides. She could not truly understand everything they said and even less of what was written in any proposed documents. She feared they would not grasp her concerns and understand what she meant by what she was saying.
We would call it a ‘Catch 22’.
We talked that day for hours. The opportunity to have someone listen while she spoke in French made all the difference in her demeanor.
All of a sudden she said. “ Je annule les réunions, je ne pourrai jamais dire ces choses en anglais” “I am cancelling the meetings, I will never be able to say these things in English.”
“Hé, c’est pour ça que tu m’as un ami. J’ai besoin d’augmenter mon Karma et de maintenir mon appartenance à un membre du «Knight in Shining Armor Club» en aidant une «Damsel in Distress».” “Hey, it’s why you have me for a friend. I need to increase my Karma and keep my membership current in the ‘Knight in Shining Armour Club’ by helping a Damsel in Distress.”
My second good deed now took place. I could not help myself. I beg any man after looking into her eyes, once you got looking up higher than her chest, to not agree to anything she might need.
We agreed to meet at the Student Union. I would drive back to her dorm, pack her outfits into my car and off we would go to New York City. It was intended to be a nice, four or five-hour drive from Arlington, depending on traffic. Right, and there is an Easter Bunny as well as a Santa Klaus/Claus. Remember that saying about ‘good deeds’?
When I told some folks where I was going, and approximately when I would return, they had a ‘little job’ for me there. You all have heard of the ‘carrot and stick’ right? Well If I would just pick up my ‘girlfriend’ (news to me that I had one) and drive to this place about twenty miles away (Like 32 Kilometers) they would fly us the 200 miles in an hour. Arrangements would be made for a car and driver as well as a place to stay in the city.
There was only a slight issue; our flight back would not happen until Monday or Tuesday the next week.
I hoped Genie would understand this slight change. I would tell her it was to allow her some shopping time. All girls loved shopping, right?
The next morning I got to the Union a bit early. I never expected Genie would already be there. I pulled up near where she was standing, I opened the door, waiting for her to get in. Yep, I waited and waited. Then it hit me that she could not see through the black window tint; so I got out and fully opened the passenger door for her.
“Mademoiselle, votre chariot attend.” “Mademoiselle your chariot awaits.”
“Dillon est-ce toi? Vous conduisez une Mercedes? Pourquoi a-t-il une plaque d’immatriculation diplomatique? Qui es-tu?” “Dillon is that you? You drive a Mercedes? Why does it have a diplomatic license plate? Who are you?”
“Oui, c’est moi. Désolé, je fais un travail occasionnel de mon ancien travail, mais rien de ce qui interférera avec votre voyage”. “Yup, it’s me. Sorry, I do some occasional work from my old job but, nothing that will interfere with your trip.”
“Ne modifiez pas le sujet. Papa vous a-t-il envoyé des regards sur moi?” “Don’t change the subject. Did Papa send you to keep looks on me?”
“Je ne connais même pas votre papa et non, je ne suis pas là pour” garder les yeux sur vous”. “I don’t even know your Papa, and no I am not here to ‘keep eyes on you’.”
“Tout est simplement compliqué et difficile à expliquer. Pouvez-vous me confier?” “Everything is just complicated and hard to explain. Can you just trust me?”
“Bien sûr, vous, les hommes, diront autre chose que la vérité.” “Sure, you men will say anything but the truth.”
“Regardez, si vous ne me ferez pas confiance, je vous laisse tranquille. Ne vous inquiétez pas, vous ne devriez plus me voir, sauf par hasard. J’essayais simplement d’aider. Les femmes!” “Look, if you won’t trust me, I’ll leave you alone. Don’t worry, you should not have to see me ever again, except by chance. I was just trying to help. Women!”
I closed the car door and went to get in my side. That ‘no good deed goes un-punished’ thing came to mind. Genie was crying again.
“Non, attendez, s’il vous plaît. Je suis désolé. Je ... Je ... je suis tellement confus.” “No, wait, please. I am sorry. I ... I... , I just am so confused.”
“Je vais vous emmener à l’aéroport de quelle que façon que vous ayez prévu d’aller à New York avant de venir. Vous pouvez aller seul ou non, je ne me fous pas ce que vous faites. La confiance signifie beaucoup plus pour moi que À vous apparemment.” “I’ll take you to the airport or how ever you planned to go to New York City before I came along. You can go alone, or not, I don’t give a damn what you do. Trust means a lot more to me than to you, apparently.”
She stood there and began to pout. One could see here trying to reach a decision. She looked really cute with that pout on her face. Seeing her standing there, I reaffirmed my initial opinion that she was better looking than just a model. I also realized I would not forget her and at the same time would be glad to be rid of her. She took the term ‘high maintenance’ to the extreme.
Genie just stood there and kept on crying, not saying a word. I waved to her, wished things worked out differently, said I was sorry to have bothered her and got into my car and drove off.
I also realized I still needed to go to New York City on ‘assignment’ it was just not so immediate a need. If I did go early, I could stop in Philly and see Bill and Molly. I would call and see when we could work things out?
On the way back home; I did call Bill. Both he and Molly would be busy until the weekend but I could come anytime as long as I understood the need to be flexible. We went back some and their home was my home anytime I needed one. I made another call and advised them of the new options. They checked, told me keep the previous schedule, everything was already arranged and what I would need would be on-board. I got a laugh, ‘it will probably be better for you this way sport; unless your girlfriend is very understanding’.
I had plenty of extra time without waiting for Genie so made the short trip to the plane. When I got there, I was again surprised to see the ‘Black Beast’ waiting by the hanger. They were pulling out all the stops today, I wondered who the ‘Big Shot’ was that rated the Helo?
I went inside and confirmed that I was here, showed my ID and wallet. They pointed outside and told me my ride was here and waiting, I guess the Helo was for me. The tracking in the vehicle gave them advance notice of my arrival.
I climbed aboard, surprise again was the ‘package’ I was to deliver. I was introduced to Nadia, the fourteen-year-old blond bombshell I would turn over to her father at the UN HQ. It seems that going there early was her idea too, shopping you see.
“Zdravstvuyte Nadya kak vy eto delayete?” Hello Nadia, nice to meet you?
That got me a nod and an understanding wink from her minder. I took it to mean Nadia was not a ‘Happy Camper’. Slyvia was one I had worked with before; we both knew the routine and would do our job.
She handed me my sealed orders. Sylvia, Nadia and I would be staying together at a place in the City. She as minder, me as escort (bodyguard) and to ensure the proper turnover was made, an assortment of photos, a sheaf of all ten fingerprints and a recording of his voice were included.
If we went shopping was up to me to say. Extra resources would be available but the fewer who knew the better. I did not need to know much more, everything we would need would be at the safe house. For privacy, Sylvia and I would chat in German if we needed anything more understood between us.
Fifty-seven minutes after we took off, we were outside the City about to land. Home there was, well, safe and secure looking but not anything like my digs in Arlington. By the look on Nadia’s face, it was going to be a long, trying wait for the handoff. What was in the order package included some things even Sylvia did not know.
Nothing simple and easy about the assignment so I guess that was one reason to keep me around. We might just need that ‘Diplomatic Immunity’ before this was over.
“Remeber, alles, was du privat halten willst, unterhielt mich mit mir in Germain”. As we set down in ‘The Beast” I turned to Sylvia and said, “Remember, anything you want to keep private, converse with me in Germain”.
“Okay, ich verstehe spricht auch auf Deutsch.” “OK, I understand. Should she spreak to ‘us’ in German too.”
I shook my head. “How old are you anyway, and what other languages do you know?”
Careful Romeo, the girl has little fingers on both hand so if you establish a relationship with her she will wrap you around one of them. I swear, ‘The Witch’ is evil.
“Not many besides English, Italian, French, Russian, Polish, German and some Chinese dialects. I heard Madam Helga here muttering in some language I did not quite understand though.
“That was Danish, Esmeralda and I was begging for protection.”
“You know there have been some technology advances since you used to work in those ‘Concentration Camps’. They have pills, and implants, you can even...”
“OK, enough. I get the picture, I don’t know Danish and button your blouse up Nadia. Are certain your Father wants you back?”
Her sobbing was not the retort I had expected. I went over to her and put her head on my shoulder.
“Men, by evening you will be her slave, I think.”
I looked at her and saw the look and tongue sticking out from the poor, crying girl at Sylvia.
Sylvia just shook her head and said. “Maybe even sooner than that. ‘The Witch’ is good, I’ll give her that. You broke in only minutes.”
“Don’t be too hard on him, he lasted longer than any other man. I sort of like him, he is cute.”
“Oh man!” It was all I could say.