Well, Miranda, it seems like … even if you were alive now … you could still only talk shit – literally. So that’s a red card from me to you then. I move towards her and shout at the top of my lungs to the remainder of the upper part of her head “GET OFF MY PITCH!!!” – some birds fly off the treetops of the nearby trees – as I kick her off the raft into the river.
I mustn’t get sunstruck, so I better put her body-armour-top on my head. Her rags are better for this sort of past-time than mine – hadn’t planned for a day out in the woods when I bought that dress after all. My dress serves as my pillow now. I mustn’t go to sleep though … here in the middle of some river. Sonny’s face is emerging out of the clouds spanning from one end of the sky to the other. First just her wavy hair shines through the snow white, fluffy clouds. Bright sunshine behind her. Her eyes then unfold and I can see her looking kindly and interested at me. She slowly stands up now, rising out of the white mist around her. Her breasts pushing the last bits of white fluff to the sides. She lost even more weight. Her waistline is accentuating her beautifully shaped belly button. The clouds are drifting apart even further revealing her hips and upper thighs fully. There is movement behind me now. I can feel somebody widening my butt cheeks so much that he inevitably opens my vagina as well. I hold on to Sonny’s arms and let him fill me up – warm and strong. Moving backwards and forwards … too much so now even. It is getting too wild! My eyes are fluttering. I can’t hold on …
I open my eyes and find myself stranded on some shore. I panic. My first thought is ‘Crocodiles!’ These cold-blooded beasts like to laze around on hot shores in the sun. I look around and sigh a sigh of relief when I can’t see any around. How will I get out onto land though? If there are piranhas around here too, they may mow me down if I slip. So I bind Miranda’s jaw with her stomach and bladder on the spear and hold them into the water. A few seconds are enough for this test … as I came to realize earlier. Nothing. I take them off again, pour the water out of the two bags and leave the spear behind. There are houses, well some sort of huts, ahead. Running around with spears and machetes tends to be frowned upon amongst normal people.
All sorts of rubbish around here. Broken toys, an old tire, empty, discoloured cans. When I get closer to the … uh … ghetto, I am passing a ruin. The remainder of three walls. There is a bench under the only part that still has parts of a roof over it. Plastic bags must have once been used to fill the gaps, but that’s a long time ago. What’s that? There is movement under the cover on the bench. I pull it back. An old lady is under it. She is not in a state in which she could recognize anything anymore. Everything that is generally described as human withered out of her – if she was lucky she was demented when that process started. That way she would have been unaware of her true circumstances. I kneel next to her and can hear her whisper ‘favela.’
The haunting thought of all the things left to do and the impossibility of it all strikes me hard in this moment kneeling here on this uneven ground. I’m so far from ever making it. I don’t even know what country I’m in and all I got to show for is a dried out, dead, stinking piranha on an abandoned raft … and I cannot even take that with me. So my only valuable possession is useless now. I have to leave it behind. As part of the past, I have to shed it. A machete, spear and raft do not form part of the reality of somebody like Zenia. Neither does Miranda’s jaw, but I shall hold on to that just in case.
When I come out of my daydream, the old lady has passed away. I’m relieved for her. It is the best thing that could have happened to anybody in that desperate state with no chance of ever recovering from it. I shut her eyes and cover her with my dress. There is a dirty kitchen knife over there she must have tried to peel a potato with some time ago when she still had the strength and sense to do that.
I wrap everything I got in the cover and head for the huts. Best to blend in looking like this than in a silk dress with slit sides in this sort of area. I had just finished that thought when I hear commotion in one of the flats I’m about to pass. I’m holding on to my kitchen knife; any danger is danger for me too. In my head I’m shouting, “Jolie, you are so stupid! Why did you leave that machete behind?!” Gosh, that was silly!
Should I get involved in this though? I can’t waste time and have my own mission; plus I’m really behind time already. In that moment, I hear the cries of the woman get louder and, since I’m nearer now, I can distinguish them from angry cries. They are cries of intense pain. Some elderly man is also shouting or … rather pleading. People must be coming and watch soon and then they would see me too. Maybe the aggressor is even here for me and just mixes me up with that poor woman in there. I know, now I’m getting paranoid but … why am I here? Maybe I wasn’t paranoid enough when I still had time.
I climb over a little wall making sure none of the loose stones are dropping onto the floor. Some sheets are hanging on ropes for drying. There I stand pressed against a wall, my heart pounding and I’m shaking all over. I hold my little knife up and am at a total loss as to what to do next. I don’t dare looking anywhere else than the backdoor right next to me but can’t help noticing a rucksack just a metre in front of it. It looks fairly intact, so it is unlikely to belong to the inhabitants of this place. I’m rudely brought back to what happens inside when I hear a shot and the woman crying even more, this time not just out of pain but also sorrow. She is screaming even more, and I’m hearing a stool tipped over right in front of the door; then a step just one metre next to me. I swing around the door frame and stab this seven foot brute into his heart. I’m shocked by his size, but not too shocked to turn my knife around ferociously and in panic keep on pulling it out and stabbing it back in. He is moaning in a suppressed voice and trying to reach for something. That can’t be good news for me, so I extract my knife and stab it into and then across is throat. His blood is squirting all over me and a little puddle is building up on the floor. The woman stopped crying and looks at me as if she had seen a ghost. He falls backwards moaning something that must have been a curse.
The woman has fallen back now and is in intense labour. She looks at me with interruptedly halfopen eyes as if to say, “Are you gonna kill me too? If you do, I can do nothing against it now.” I’m kneeling down to play midwife. My hands are full of that man’s blood … I got it all over. I’m far from clean enough, but what can I do? I cannot leave her here on her own and would not even be sure to find any clean water anywhere anyway. Thinking about it, being washed in blood is the cleanest I can get around here – given he was healthy … that is quite probable though judging by his energy level earlier. This good lady is about to give birth; I’m not gonna distract her with anything now. What most people – and even doctors and nurses! – forget is that giving birth is a natural process and answering questions intellectually isn’t. So I just shut up and let her get on with it. She is becoming more and more dilated and there is nothing I can do apart from wiping her sweat off her forehead. Birth now does not appear absolutely imminent, so I signal her that I will go and look for something. She seems to understand me. I rush into the little room they use to prepare food in, spot some bread and some liquid they presumably drink. When I get back to her, she is a little more dilated and overly grateful for the food. It is getting dark. After what appears to be an eternity, she is dilated enough to expect birth. They would use forceps now in a hospital. We have nothing here, so I need to use my hands. For hygienic reasons, I would normally never do this, but if I were too dirty, I would have infected her already and so prolonging her suffering by not doing it would just be plain stupid and unnecessary.
I truly am not sure who is more relieved for the child to be born, her or I. Finally I am holding the baby in my arms and hand it to the mother once I separate the umbilical cord and placenta. The bleeding seems to be under control, and I leave both of them alone and get on with the next job. The man is unlikely to have worked alone, and thus he needs to disappear. I am dragging the poor elderly man outside onto the tiny yard and the thug onto the little fireplace on the other side.
She looks into my eyes and points at a little medicine cupboard. I grab a little root and drink it hot with some of that liquid they drink – at this stage I don’t care. I collapse onto some seat outside next to the burning fire. When I wake up, I am soaking wet with sweat. It is still dark. I put on the shirt of the thug and grab the jacket of the elderly man. I take the money out of the criminal’s wallet and burn the rest with what is still left of him.
She and the baby are asleep. I pour the remainder of the liquid into glasses and position them next to her together with some more of that bread. I hope she has sense enough to eat her placenta; certainly no other hormone treatment available to her. I slide the wallet content under her pillow and then I have to leave them. The robber has a moped outside and even a mobile phone. I drive off and soon find my way to the city centre. When I arrive at the coast, the rising sun is revealing the Jesus statue on top of a mountain and I remember the picture Miranda showed me in her house. I call the office. The lady on the switchboard listens to my request unusually intently. Seconds afterwards, she comes back to me and offers to connect me with Zenia – now that is some good service. I wasn’t even aware Zenia was working for the company.
When I call her, she picks up after a single ring. Miranda had described her to me as quite scatty. She sounds fairly calm and observant and ends up suggesting meeting in a country club allegedly not too far from where I am. I would have rather waited where I was for her to pick me up, but she says it would take her some time to get there, so I might just as well try and find it. I find it but end up on the wrong side. Maybe that is good because by then I have realized that I look somewhat underdressed with my different bits of clothing from here and there. I call Zenia who has just arrived. She understands and suggests meeting me at the gardener’s entrance, which I can actually see from here. After a while she appears; I recognize her from the photo. Funny enough, she doesn’t ask half as many questions as I would have asked if I were her. I quickly explain basics whilst taking my clothes off and changing into the dressing gown she brought with her for me behind a bush.
We walk across the golf course to the club building. Luckily there is an outside pool and a door to the changing rooms from there. She puts my dressing gown into the towel basket when I walk into the shower room and says: “You take a shower; I get you some stuff to wear from the shop.”
I am showering for ages making sure I cleanse myself thoroughly from all the filth that I have recently been in contact with and which must have piled up on me layer upon layer. When I’m done, Zenia is already waiting for me on the bench in the locker room. I put a thick layer of moisturizer on my face and massage it into my breasts, arms and lower body. Zenia does my back, then averts her eyes only slightly whilst I get dressed and announces that we are due to attend an aerobics class now.
We walk outside and downstairs into the studio where a local gym teacher receives us … and bizarrely treats us like little schoolgirls whilst looking like a young boy herself.
“I saw you strolling across the lawn in your dressing gown earlier. I am a very good judge of character and clock immediately who is in front of me; you, lady, are spoilt. I knew exactly who you are when I first saw you. Firstly you are friends with Zenia, who is upper class. Then you are here in the country club, so you are definitely upper class and have not done a day’s work in your life. Coming here in the middle of the day means you have lots of time on your hands – what are you off to next, spa? Manicure?
“That and pedicure,” I answer drily.
“I rest my case,” she adds half angry, half satisfied that she had proven herself right again.
“Well, we are here to work. In my class you will work harder than you have ever worked in your life!”
She uses an app for the exercises, but whenever the announcement of the rest period comes she shouts, “No rest, ladies! Ignore the rest announcement; we go straight to the next exercise.”
There are three showers next to each other. Zenia and I take a shower and sit together for late lunch on the lawn afterwards – how very civilized. When we got dressed and she stood for quite a while sharing thoughts with just her tights on, I noticed that her nipples are quite large for her breast size, but that is not what she wants to talk to me about now. I have not got the heart to tell her that her sister died, let alone that I had to kill her and how I did that. Surprisingly that is not what she starts with anyway. She is blinding me with science, talks about zombie banks, asks me what I knew about espionage, use of currencies as a means to take advantage of other countries and terrorist activities in the Middle East. All of this only takes her a few minutes and seems to make perfect sense to her, but I’m totally lost … and am beginning to wonder whether that is even part of her plan. Surely all of these topics can’t be connected, or can they? She also wants to know about which countries I have travelled to, especially lately.
Whatever comes from her now – and I do wonder how she could possibly go through a whole aerobics class if this has been really so much on her mind all the time – doesn’t seem to sound quite like her. It is all too in-depth and she has this half-official, half-scared demeanour about her … she pauses and then comes up with something that on the one hand blows my mind and on the other solves my question about a massive incongruence I’ve been confused about ever since Miranda came down the stairs with those same clothes on. I thought Miranda’s change of voice after probably not that much alcohol, switch of behaviour in the car was inconsistent with how I had experienced her before and everything afterwards, hitting me etc., would have been incompatible with somebody who was so refined in the beginning and who made it to the top of a fashion giant. Now Zenia sheds some light onto that:
“When you two did not show up at the Gala at the expected time” – she makes a waving hand gesture when she adds “allowing for traffic” – she then continues in her normal voice, “I knew immediately that there was something terribly wrong here; Miranda would have never ever missed it! As you can imagine, the first thing I obviously wanted was getting in touch with the police but they, these cruel people that kidnapped my dear, dear sister, had foreseen that and ambushed me before I could get to the phone.”
Whilst she is being upset, I have a moment to digest this unbelievable information. I’m also glad that I neither killed a person I was actually quite looking up to initially and was also not totally mistaken in my judgement of character.
Zenia asks me a lot of questions now; all easily understandable, like how I got into this and how I got to know her sister. At the end, she comes out with yet another shock though: “By the way, we are just wearing these normal clothes so as not to attract attention. You will need some more practical stuff for your next step, and it won’t look like this. They want you to deal with it yourself … there will be somebody to help you though … so you are not totally on your own. Don’t think it will be an easy ride though. They will just make sure you can actually get where you need to get to, but they let you do it because you are expendable and if you end up being caught you cannot identify them.”
In passing I see a lady sitting on an ornamented chair on the lawn under a parasol. Shouting at the waiter, “What is this?! I cannot eat this caviar! It’s been out for ages. And what about this strawberry in my champagne?! Are you trying to poison me serving me an old strawberry?!” She spills the flute onto the floor. “Wipe that up!” She turns to her companion: “That happens when you downgrade to five star. People just think they can get away with everything. I could literally feel a thousand peasant fingers on that strawberry – disgusting!”
If this were a movie, then now would be the time a cello and a violin would make abrupt sounds to increase the drama … except that the viewer would sit in the comfort of their warm home, eating crisps and sipping on some well-tempered wine. Whereas I’m actually in it, here with Zenia, the sister of a kidnapped sister whose whereabouts are unknown and who she sorely misses and is understandably worried sick about and here I stand, or walk, with her realising that I killed the double of that dear sister who I at the time had not realised was just somebody who had incredible similarity with her but was really a criminal. Her facial expression gives her anger and disgust away realising what appeared to have happened with that double of Miranda’s on the raft. Only the oppressing and most threatening circumstances so real to both of us now are holding her back from any urge to punch me in the face and thoroughly interrogate me about it, but rather spend the last few moments before we are reaching the car park to brief me with the limited knowledge she has about the whole affair in order to prepare me best to bring back her sister eventually somehow. Not much though about why we are here.
The car with tinted windows arrives to transport me to … to wherever they have decided to transport me to. On the way, I keep wondering what does this place have to do with it? Did this group of punters or terrorists have to go here to find something or did they take me here to identify anything? Maybe part of the officials named in the Egypt files? Wouldn’t Switzerland, another place in Europe or Egypt not be a more likely place? Do I, or anybody else need to be in Egypt though to find anything out about the files? Or is it something about what happened in Egypt that matters here? In that case, Egypt would just be a name like any other name. We are arriving now.
The gorilla at the landing strip presses a winter jacket into my hands … guess I shall be wearing that then. In the plane, somebody points at a seat. I sit on the left side and see the northern coast slowly disappear. Normally I associate flying with going to a warm place and loving it on arrival, but somehow I fear that wherever we will arrive, I won’t like it anyway. We seem to be flying northeast. The stars are up all of a sudden. I look around me and am thrown into space. When I look down, I am approaching a desert surface at about 1,000mph. I open my arms and manage to crash land in a dune. My mouth is full of sand, and I look around me in panic. A mutant dog is leaping at me; I can see half his skeleton. There is a spiky stone two metres in front of me; I had seen the same one in Fuerte Ventura once. I jump towards it, grab it just in time and sink it into the right eye of the monster … silence … it must have pierced through his brain. It is lying on top of me motionless. I push it off me and get up. The tall tower I must get into is just about visible in the distance, rising out of nowhere … steam gushing out from the root. I run and then backflip towards it. When my front is up, the mass of my swinging breasts is giving me an extra 100 metres swing in the air. I arrive before long and then take cover behind some rocks. Nobody seems to have seen me approaching, so I advance to the tower and get in through some air vent.
It is very narrow and stuffy in here, but I am lucky, my desert-colour space suit seems to be made for this. Not wearing anything underneath it means I am not getting as hot as I would have otherwise. Noise may give me away and when I hear sounds outside, I slow down and crawl more attentively, slowly placing each limb in front of the other silently. When I get to a grid, I peek into a hangar, or warehouse or big room anyway. I can see one door on the first floor. For all I know, that is the one door I need to get through to get to the centre of this thing. How will I blow it up once I’m there? I don’t know … we’ll worry about that later.