Friday, February 16, 2018

Thomas' Love Rounds

                Alyssa Gilcrest had always been a goal orientated girl that had her priorities straight.  She had been born in the Dominican Republic but moved to America at a young age.  She would introduce herself as “Lisa” because she felt it was easier for Americans to say.  While most college girls set out to fill an inner void with the company of multiple men, Alyssa would often be in the library studying diligently for whatever midterm or final that would be on the horizon.  She was pre-med at New York University with a major in economics causing an extremely rigorous course load.  Despite all her hard work, however, Alyssa did know how to have fun.  She loved dancing her problems away at clubs and hanging out with her friends when the stress of school got too much for her.  Upon graduation, she, like most graduates, contemplated what to do with her life.  The one thing Alyssa knew for sure was that she never wanted to have to rely on a man to support her.  She wanted to be a successful businesswoman before she settled down with a man.  There were men in her life, and if the opportunity presented itself, she would allow herself to be in the company of a significant other, but her emphasis was always on independently bettering herself.

                Shortly after college, she had decided that medical school was not for her.  She embarked in a new direction feeling a load lifted off her shoulders as she was pursuing things that may better fit her nature.  She accepted a position at a computer software company which required meeting with clients to show them how to use her company’s system.  She took to the business world like a fish to water and climbed fast through the ranks with frequent promotions and praise from her superiors.  Still though, there was something missing with her life.  She tried other activities such as Yoga to fill this void, but it wasn’t enough, she needed more.  That’s when she decided that she would run a marathon for charity.  She enjoyed exercise but exercising for the sake of exercising wasn’t enough motivation to get her to the gym.  Now, she was training and exercising for a purpose.  Through running, she met many people, which she thought as a positive given that networking is one of the greatest skills to have in the real world.  It is while running that she met Thomas.

                Thomas was a year older than Alyssa and also had climbed through the ranks of Morgan Stanley quickly.  At 26, he was already a Vice President and had people working under him.  One night, he went out with people he met through running where he began talking to this girl, who introduced herself as “Lisa.”  He liked this girl immensely, because although she seemed interested, she made him work for it.  She was also extremely smart and seemed to laugh with him.  When they took to dancing, Thomas knew he was being tested.  Luckily, he was good at dancing and knew he’d excel at this test as he did with many others.  By the end of the night, he had really taken a liking to the girl and she seemed to like him.  This is why when his friends were leaving the bar, he opted to stay with Lisa. 


                Alyssa had gone out to a bar with people she met from running.  She found that she had taken a liking to this guy named Thomas.  Like many girls, this only made her play harder to get.  She was old-fashioned and believed the men should take the initiative.  It was very odd for her to be so impressed with a guy, but Thomas seemed to hold her attention.  He was funny, successful, smart, older than her, shared her love of music and a good dancer.  All aspects she considered musts in any man before she became remotely interested.  While they were talking, Thomas complained of his eye hurting.  Alyssa had seen this trick before.  She believed that he wanted her to lean in to look at his eye, giving him the opportunity to kiss her.  She wasn’t going to fall for that one.  If Thomas wanted to kiss her, he’d have to come to her.  Alyssa always looked for signs.  With Thomas, he lived in Bay Ridge, one of her closest male friends also lived in Bay Ridge, an area of Brooklyn, New York near the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island. To most people, this may seem coincidental, but Alyssa didn’t believe in coincidences, everything happened for a reason.  Prior to her friend moving there, she had never heard of Bay Ridge, now she had met a guy she liked from there.  She knew he meant business when his friends left and he opted to stay with her.  She had a couple more drinks with him and they made out profusely, giving Alyssa one more positive to add to the list; he was a good kisser.  When they finally left the bar much later than Alyssa had intended, they went their separate ways.  Despite how much he had impressed her, Alyssa would never bring a guy home on the first night. 

                Over the next couple of weeks, Thomas BlackBerry messaged (BBM) Lisa frequently.  Their night together left him wanting to see her again.  When he was in the city, where Lisa lived, he decided to send out a feeler to see what she was up to.  She scolded him being near her apartment but not hanging out with her.  Thomas saw this as a perfect opportunity to throw it right back at her and sent a message saying simply, “I’m here.”

                Alyssa got the hint, it was too soon to let him up in her apartment.  She was very cautious about these things so agreed to meet him in the lobby. She had work the next day, and it was already 11:00PM.  She figured she’d go out for a drink and then be back in about an hour. Their second night together proved that the first night wasn’t a fluke.  Even when Thomas tried his second trick of complaining of his shoulder hurting, Alyssa took the bait and massaged his shoulders.  She arrived back at her apartment at 3:00AM again alone, as Thomas would need to pass a few more tests before he got to see her apartment. 

Alyssa and Thomas hung out a lot over the next few weeks and their feelings hadn’t diminished in the slightest.  Alyssa, however, was about to find out just how much Thomas was willing to do for her.  Alyssa had gone out with some of her female friends to a club.  At the end of the night, Alyssa decided to walk home.  Her friends all lived south of where they were, but she lived north.  She had walked the city streets alone many times before and didn’t feel very threatened.  After all, she would be walking through Clinton, formerly known as “Hell’s Kitchen,” and Times Square where there were always people around.  As she was walking however, a van skidded to a stop next to her and the door opened.  She instinctively looked over, only to feel powerful arms grab her and force her into the car.  Before she could react, she was pinned down and the van was speeding away.  Surely someone had seen this event, but it happened so fast, would people really register what just happened?  She saw it as a bad sign that her kidnappers weren’t wearing masks.  Now she could identify them, which means, she may not be getting out of this alive.  The man that grabbed her seemed oddly familiar to her, but she couldn’t quite place from which context.  She was desperate to try anything to get out of there so she said, “Look, I don’t know who you are, but just let me out, and I won’t tell anyone about this.  I have money if you want that, but please don’t hurt me.”

She didn’t really think this would work, but she had to at least try.  Sure enough, the guy smiled and said back, “You don’t recognize me?  That’s a shame.  Well we’re not going to hurt you physically...but you’re about to find out if your little boy toy is as special as you think he is.” 

“What does this have to do with Thomas?”

“Nothing really, he’s just an unfortunate bystander in your past catching up to you.”

She stared harder at this olive skinned, short hair man.  Although it was hard to tell since they were sitting down, he didn’t appear that tall.  She knew she had seen him before, but still couldn’t figure out from where.  He put a blindfold over Alyssa’s eyes and took her cell phone from her bag.  He shut it off and placed it in his pocket.  After driving for a while, they stopped at an apartment complex and forced Alyssa out and into the apartment.  She contemplated screaming but the man held a knife to her back, and she thought better of it.  Although the man said that he wouldn’t hurt her, she didn’t seem to believe him.  When she took off the blindfold, she found herself locked in a windowless bedroom with a Queen Size bed, a stereo system, and a TV with a DVD player and a large selection of movies to watch.  She turned on the radio and played music. 

The man took out Alyssa’s cell phone and got Thomas’s phone number.  He called him using Alyssa’s phone to let him know he meant business.  Thomas answered, “Hey babe.”

“If you ever want to see Lisa again, you’ll do exactly as I say.”

Thomas wasn’t expecting a guy’s voice on the line.  His tone became more serious and said, “Who is this and what do you want?”

“I want to play a little game.  See I don’t believe you are worthy of Lisa, so you’re going to have to prove yourself.”

“Are you serious?  Is this some kind of joke?  Listen if this is Mulligan, then it’s a little childish to be playing these games.  What are we? 13?”

                Mulligan was the false last name that Alyssa’s sister’s fiancĂ©e had given Thomas.  He did it to trick him into thinking he was Irish.  The man didn’t know all this.  He said, “I don’t know who Mulligan is, but I assure you this is no joke.  You can choose not to comply but then whatever happens to her is on your conscience.” 

                “What do you want psycho?” he said still thinking he was being played but decided to just play along because he was kind of annoyed. 

                “Meet me at West 4th and Sixth Avenue at 3:00PM tomorrow.”

                This was right around New York University.  Thomas knew of it and figured he’d meet Lisa there.  He thought it was stupid, and would tell Lisa such when he saw her tomorrow. 


                While Alyssa was lying on the bed listening to music, the TV flickered on.  He saw the man on her cell phone.  She could distinctly hear the tone indicating that her phone was calling someone and the person being called’s phone was ringing.  It appeared the guy wanted her to hear this conversation so he put it on speaker.  When Thomas answered, she heard the beginning part of the conversation and screamed hoping Thomas would hear her.  She couldn’t hear the sound from the TV, so knew that it wasn’t going through to Thomas either.  She listened horrified as this man was meeting Thomas tomorrow.  Shortly after the phone conversation, a slit of the door slid open and she heard the guy’s voice say, “Don’t worry, you’ll be able to see what we have in store for him tomorrow.”

                “Why are you doing this?!”

                “Because I can.” He said ominously 


                The next day, at 3:00 Thomas showed up at West 4th and 6th Avenue.  He noticed the basketball courts behind him were vacant.  A black guy approached him wearing a backpack and said, “You Thomas?”

                Thomas sized up this guy and realized he was a couple inches taller than him and slightly stronger.  He said, “Yea, who the fuck are you?”

                “Irrelevant, here’s you’re first challenge.  You have to beat me in a game of 1-1.  You win, you move on to the next round, you lose, you never see the girl again.

                “Alright this is getting stupid, I want to talk to her.” Thomas said.

The black man responded, “Call her.”

Thomas had already tried this a couple times that day, but never received an answer.  He called and the same man picked up and said, “I hope you’re there.”

                “Fuck you, where is she?”

                “She’s safe.”

                “I’m going to go home if I don’t talk to her.  I’m getting kind of sick of these games.  Either you stole her cell phone and decided to fuck with me for some reason, or she put you up to this.”

                “You forgot the possibility that everything I’ve said is true but hold on.  It seems if you think she put us up to it, then talking to her would be pointless but here we go.”

                The man opened the slit and held up the phone.  She barked at Alyssa, “talk.”

                Alyssa had seen everything.  There were cameras linked to the TV at West 4th street and he could hear Thomas on TV and the man on the phone outside her door.  When the slit opened up he said, “Thomas, I don’t know what’s going on, but please just do what they say.  They have me locked in a room and apparently they’re testing you.”

                “Tell me right now if you’re serious, I’m going to be pretty pissed if you’re not.”

                “I’m serious, they kidnapped me yesterday…”

                “The man shut the door and got back on the phone, “Listen, you know now I have her, either take the game or walk away leaving her at my mercy, the choice is yours” as he hung up.

                Thomas didn’t know what to think.  He figured that it was worth it to just play along.  If he was right about it being a joke, he’d deal with her later.  He said to the man, “So what do I have to do?”

                “You got to beat me in a game of one on one to 11 win by two.”  He said showing a basketball that Thomas just noticed he had. 

                “I didn’t exactly bring playing clothes.”

                “The man took off his backpack and took out a pair of sweatpants, shorts, T-shirt and under armor. It was early March so the weather was still pretty cold for an outdoor game of basketball.  Thomas grabbed the sweatpants and T-shirt and entered the basketball cages.  He felt no trepidation changing in the open.  He felt a game of basketball would be the perfect way to let out his anger at this situation.  What angered him the most was that he didn’t know if this was for real.  The black man passed him the ball and said, “Half court Winner’s out.”

                Thomas understood this to mean that if you scored, you got the ball back.  If you wanted the ball, you had to take it.  Thomas was extremely athletic and a decent basketball player so he was up for this challenge.  He knew that he would have to resort to speed because he was facing a bigger opponent. 

                The kidnapper sat on the other side of the door with the slide open.  Alyssa didn’t know this, but he also had a TV relaying what was happening on West 4th Street.  He said, “We’re about to find out just how athletic your boy really is.”

                Alyssa was intrigued to find out the same thing.  She tried to block out of her mind what would happen if Thomas lost.  She decided to hedge her bet and said, “This isn’t fair, that guy’s bigger than him.”

                “Well if he loves you, he will prevail, after all, love conquers all.”

                Alyssa rolled her eyes.  She had given up on getting an answer to why he was doing this to her.  All she could do was hope Thomas won.

                Thomas started dribbling and the guy lowered himself with his hands out anticipating his next move.  Thomas waited for the man to lunge at the ball before he went right around him and laid the ball in the basket.  He now knew he was faster than him and thought he could use this to his advantage.  It was 1-0 Thomas.  Thomas dribbled again, but this time the man kept his distance.  Thomas came at him but the man met him in stride.  Thomas backed into him but the man gave him nothing.  Thomas realized he’d have to hoist up a shot and hope to get the rebound.  He spun toward him fading away and the black man jumped with his hand up to block before rushing to the hoop.  The ball clanged off the side of the rim and down and the black man grabbed the rebound.  The black man immediately backed Thomas down.  Given that Thomas was giving up the size, the black man pushed Thomas back rather easily.  The man drop stepped around Thomas and made the lay up tying the game.  Thomas was slightly intimidated as he was still thinking about Lisa.  He checked the ball back to the man.  Again he posted Thomas up, but this time rather than knock him back, he elbowed Thomas in the face before driving and putting the ball in.  Thomas grabbed the side of his face and glared at him.  He contemplated calling a foul, but the man was already in front of him throwing the ball to check it.  He said, “Street rules bitch.”

                Thomas spit to the side noticing it was tinted red.  Now he was pissed.  He decided to believe everything that was being told to him to fuel his anger.  He put Lisa out of his mind and focused on the game.  When the man posted him up again, Thomas drove his forearm into his lower back and pushed against him.  He wanted to make it very uncomfortable for him to back him down. He anticipated the man to lean forward and snap his upper body back into him.  As he leaned forward, Thomas leapt back and without anyone to lean into, the man stumbled with his arms out, and Thomas slapped the ball away and chased it down.  He drove right past the man and laid the ball in the basket tying it up.  He checked the ball and glared at his opponent.  When he got back he faked left, only to see the man back up giving him space so he couldn’t drive.  Thomas judged the distance and jumped in the air to take the shot.  His opponent leapt forward but going horizontal meant he couldn’t challenge the shot as effectively.  Thomas hit the shot to take the lead again.  This didn’t change the strategy of the black guy.  Sometimes Thomas tried the drive, sometimes he didn’t.  Most of the missed shots went to Thomas’s larger opponent, which severely handicapped him.  The black guy continued to muscle Thomas toward the basket before trying his shot.  The black guy also hit some outside shots to prove he wasn’t just one-dimensional.  They traded back and forth being extremely physical with each other.  As the game progressed, the score was 9-8 in favor of Thomas.  He realized the black guy getting winded so decided to drive.  He drove hard to the basket and got a step on him.  When he went up for the shot, however, the black man shoved him into the chain link fence.  Thomas hit the ground hard and Alyssa screamed at the TV in protest.  The black guy had been playing semi-dirty all game, but this was blatant.  The black guy took the ball, ran to the top of the key and charged down for an easy lay up just as Thomas made his way to his feet.  It was now tied, 9-9 with the black guy having the ball.  Thomas said, “No basket, foul.”

                The guy laughed, “No blood, no foul.”

                Thomas lifted his arms to show the scrapes on his elbows from falling to the ground.  The black guy said, “That’s noting bitch, let’s keep playing.”

                Thomas expected this.  He knew what was coming next, if he complained about his physicality, the man would just get physical again.  He had spent the day favoring the man’s right side when he backed into him.  Since he dribbled right, it gave him more time to avoid an elbow and if it did connect, he had more time to recover.  If he favored the left side, the man could elbow him and turn with his right arm, which is what he wanted to dribble toward the basket.  The extra seconds it took to spin to his right with the elbow before turning left so he could drive with his right hand, may prove the difference between an easy lay up and a contested one.  This time, he set himself up on the left side.  The black man felt where Thomas was and threw his left elbow back as he turned to drive.  Thomas ducked and the elbow went over his head leaving the black man facing him.  Thomas stripped the ball from him and turned toward the basket driving fast.  He laid the ball up before feeling the man’s arm on the top of his shoulder forcing him down.  The ball went in making it 10-9.  Thomas picked himself up.  He could tell by the reaction of the crowd that formed that he made the lay up. He went back to the top of the key with blood flowing down both arms.  He didn’t care though, one more basket and he wins.  He checked the ball and the black man thrusted it back to him as hard as he could.  Thomas caught it and saw the charging man; he knew that he was planning to plow right through him.  He quickly looked down and realized the man had a wide stance.  He bounced the ball between his legs and ducked down, only to thrust his body up as soon as he his arms could get around the man’s legs.  This uses his opponent’s momentum to flip him over Thomas’s back onto his back.  It worked perfectly and Thomas wasted no time to run the ball down and finger roll it into the hoop for the victory.  He turned around to see the man get up. He threw the ball rather hard into the black man’s chest and said, ‘Game, where’s Lisa?”

                Thomas had taken a beating but he had won the game.  The black man chuckled and said, “This was just the first round, you got two to go man.  All I told you is that you’d learn what the next round was.  He went to his back pack and gave him a piece of paper.  On it, was simply a note saying to get into a grey Nissan that will be parked by the courts.  He gathered his clothes and walked out of the cages to high fives from the spectators.  They all were pulling for him because they watched him take a beating during the game only to keep getting up and focusing on winning the game.  He got in the car and took out his cell phone and called Lisa.  There was no way this was a joke.  He didn’t think that she would be too okay with how dirty the guy was playing.  First he had to see if she knew.  The male voice answered the phone and said, “Well done, but it’s not over yet.”

                “Let me talk to Lisa now.”

                After Thomas won the game, Alyssa got up and cheered forgetting for a second she was in captivity.  This actually was making her more attracted to him for he had gone through hell for her.  It would have been easy to concede the game but he kept getting up to receive more punishment.  She had even taunted the man outside as every time Thomas got hit, the kidnapper had a comment.  They had been going back and forth all game, and now Alyssa felt she had bragging rights.  Then she heard her phone ring, and the man talking.  Alyssa was amazed at just how many cameras were around.  He could see Thomas in the car and hear him on the TV.  The kidnapper handed her the phone, and she got on.  “Thomas, that was awesome!”

                “Yea Yea, are you okay?”

                “Yea I’m fine, but keep winning.”

                “What else do I have to do?”

                “No idea”

                Thomas asked to put the kidnapper back on the phone.  When he did he said, “Hey asshole, do you have the guts to face me face to face, or are you going to keep hiding behind your goons to do your dirty work for you?”

                “Patience Thomas, I’m the final challenge.  But trust me, you should be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

                “I’m going to rip your heart out when I see you.”

                “Before you do all that, you have to get by your next challenge.  If not, then your girl is all mine.”

                “If you fucking hurt her..”

                The kidnapper cut him off, “You’ll be fucking helpless to do anything because you have no idea where I am.”

                “Fuck you.” he said as he hung up. 

                The man smiled and said, “Oh chica, he seems to really like you.”

                Alyssa had never seen Thomas that angry.  It was a slight turn on but she was a little uneasy about how calm the man on the other side of the door seemed.  She didn’t know what was in store for Thomas and Thomas had just been through a grueling basketball game. 

                Thomas asked the driver where they were going but he refused to answer.  He kicked the seat and yelled, “Answer me damnit.”

                The driver merely replied, “You may want to save your energy for the next round.”

                Thomas shook his head.  His anger was pumping his adrenaline so he wouldn’t feel how exhausted he was from the game.  He allowed himself to relax and gain his composure mentally preparing himself for another physical challenge.  After a while, the man stopped in a large open field.  Thomas had sort of been paying attention where they were going and it was upstate. He got out of the car and saw hills sand, flags and a tall skinny guy in warm up pants.  Thomas approached him and said, “Are you the guy I got to beat?”


                “What’s the game?”

                “Here have some water first, we’ll give you some resemblance of fairness.” As he threw him a water bottle.

                “Thanks,” he said while he swished the water inside his mouth before spitting it out.  It occurred to him that he shouldn’t be accepting anything from these people as it could hurt him.  He just dumped the water over his body to cool himself down.  He had already been sufficiently cooled down from the car ride but it helped to energize him.

                The guy chuckled, “Well I tried to help, anyway we start at the red cone there, go straight toward the tree and around it to the left.  Then just follow the flags along the course.  We’re going to have a 5K race; for a marathon runner like you, this should be a walk in the park.”

                “Yea, if I hadn’t just played a game of basketball.”

                “Well boo-hoo”

                Thomas walked up to him and put his forehead on his and said, “What stops me from kicking your ass right now?”

                “Well, the guy who has your friend wouldn’t be too happy.  He’d see it as you ducking out.”

                “Why are you doing this?”

                “Because I was paid to.  Look, I don’t necessarily agree with him, but money is money, I tried to make it fair by giving you water, but you refused.”

                “Why not just tell him to go fuck himself and tell him that I won?”

                “Well, for one, he only gave me half the money; I get the other half if I beat you.  And from your point of view, he still has your friend and I don’t know where he is.  So, your only hope is to race me.  The other thing is, he can hear this conversation, so I wouldn’t say anything stupid.”

                “Alright, let’s race.”

                They lined up next to each other at the start of the course.  The bleeding had stopped but Thomas was a little wary from the game.  He knew from his training how to pace himself, so he checked his emotions.  If he let his adrenaline take over now, he would wear himself out before the end of the run. He knew five kilometers was 3.1 miles.  He would need to pace himself. Checking his emotions, however, allowed him to feel his previous pain.  He decided he’d have to live with it.  The driver took a gun out from his waist and yelled, “Ready, Set, “ and fired the gun.

                The mercenary started out in the lead and Thomas kept pace.  He decided he would stay slightly behind him for the whole race before making a last stride.  After a mile, however, even this proved to be a challenge as he dropped back a couple paces.  The track took them up hills and through sand, terrain he wasn’t very accustomed to. He was used to running on cement and the various terrains slowed him but the mercenary seemed to glide over them.  Thomas hobbled slightly when his foot slid on the sand turning his ankle but he thought of Lisa and kept going.  He had dropped back to about ten paces behind and decided to keep a steady pace.  The track was nicely labeled with kilometer markers.  When they crossed the three kilometer mark, he was eight paces behind with two kilometers, 1.25 miles to go.  He kept pace to the four kilometer mark and then he made a surge to put himself two paces behind.  He slowed to keep pace as the surge took a little bit out of him with a little bit over a half mile left.  His legs were tired and his ankle was bothering him.  Thinking about Lisa was helping but it wasn’t enough.  He knew that the finish would be a sprint.  The mercenary had kept a pretty decent pace and he didn’t doubt that the mercenary was saving his energy for the final stride.  They headed toward another tree and Thomas knew that after the curve, it was a straight away to the finish line.  He forced his mind to think about the basketball game and the male voice on Lisa’s phone.  He convinced himself of the worst, as he sprinted toward the tree, he figured if he started sprinting first, he could be even when the final stride kicked in.  Unfortunately, the mercenary took the inside route around the tree shortening his distance.  It was a tenth of a mile to the finish.  Thomas sprinted but couldn’t seem to overtake the mercenary.  He added to his thoughts that the mercenary knew the situation and he still wasn’t going to let him win.  He was going to offer to overpay but decided against it when he heard the male voice could hear him.  Realizing that this man put money over a girl’s well being angered him more.  He found another wind since he could now see the object of his hatred rather than have it be abstract.  The wind worked as he pulled even with him with only a few yards to go.  He was a full stride ahead when he felt the tape across the chest as it ripped and he immediately collapsed and grabbed his ankle.  The mercenary bent down with his hands on his knees panting.  He walked over, and held out his hand.

                Thomas lied on his back breathing heavily.  He saw the arm but didn’t forget what drove him to victory, “Fuck you.” he said.

                The mercenary said, “When you recover, get back in the car and go to your final round” as he walked away for his job was done. 

The reality was he was being paid, but the man also threatened to kill him if he thought he let Thomas win.  He decided to try to beat him straight up for this guy didn’t seem like someone you wanted to be on the bad side of.  Whatever Thomas did, he was putting him through hell for it.  The driver approached Thomas and said, “Let’s go.”

Thomas was physically spent.  He didn’t feel up to another challenge.  He ignored the driver and then he heard his phone ring from the starting point, which was only ten yards from the finish.  He crawled over to the phone and said panting, “Hello.”

“Get your ass up and into the car, I thought you wanted to rip my heart out, now’s your chance, but I’m an impatient man.”

This gave Thomas the needed boost to get up.  He said, “Put her on the phone so I know she’s still okay.”

The man gave the phone to Alyssa, who had seen the whole thing.  She got on the phone and said simply, “I love you.” these were not words she threw around lightly, but he was killing himself for her.  Now she was scared. 

“Clearly me too,”

The man demanded the phone back and Alyssa said, “Good luck” and handed it back

Thomas was already walking to the car so the man hung up the phone. He turned toward the slit and said, “Be sure to keep it on this channel to see what I do to your boy Thomas.”

“Come on man, at least give him a day to recover, look at him!  This isn’t fair.”

“What makes you think I would make this game fair bitch?”

“What did I or Thomas do to you?  Who is this about me or him? Just tell me that at least.”


                This stunned Alyssa.  She checked her head to figure out who this guy was and what she had done to him. 

                Meanwhile, back in the car, Thomas didn’t even bother to ask where they were going.  He shut his eyes and rested, he was absolutely spent.  He kept thinking if Lisa was worth all this.  He hadn’t even slept with her yet.  He really did like her though, and if he didn’t try, it would be on his conscience, and he didn’t want that.  It was much more than that.  This was way too much to ask someone to do in one day.   For the first time in his life, he welcomed the traffic that they hit.  An hour later, they arrived, the driver gave the apartment number and Thomas got out. 

                Alyssa’s TV switched from the inside of the car to outside an apartment building.  She saw the outside of the car and Thomas get out and approached the door.   He rang a buzzer and Alyssa heard it on the other side of the door.  Thomas was coming to where she was.  Her heart leapt but she was still a little worried.  The man said there was one more round, and she had a good idea what it was.  There was no way it could be an athletic competition.  After everything the man put Thomas through, there was no reason for Thomas to participate.  She maybe could understand if he had closed the slit she had been speaking through, but he hadn’t.  Did he forget?  Did he honestly think she wouldn’t call out to him when he walked in?  He heard a knock and the man yelled, “It’s open.” He sounded near her door.

She glanced at the screen and saw the camera switch to see the entire room that lay on the opposite side of the door.  Her and Thomas’s expressions were identical as they were both shocked at the site before them.  There was an oval shaped cage of chain link fence starting from the door Thomas came in to the width of the room, before angling back to the door Alyssa was in.  At the widest points were various wooden sticks, rope, the TV and a shillelagh.  The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a key.  He said, “This key opens the door behind me that holds Lisa.  Kill me, and the key is yours, you get the girl, you go home.  I kill you, and the girl is mine.”

                Alyssa screamed out, “No!!! you can’t do this.”

                Thomas didn’t expect this.  When he threatened the man, he didn’t really contemplate killing him.  Maybe rough him up a bit, but not killing him.  The guy seemed to want to kill him though.  He reasoned that he could just knock him out but what if he woke up before he could get Lisa out?  Worse, what would stop him from going through all this again?  He decided to be civilized and talk it out, “Why are you doing this?  I mean you really want to kill me?”



                “Because she’s watching, and when I let her out and she sees your dead body, it will be awesome.  She’ll cry and I’ll get my sweet revenge.  Nothing personal Thomas, this is all about making her suffer.”

                “What the fuck did I do to you?!  I don’t even know who you are psycho!” Alyssa screamed

                Hearing Alyssa scream, emboldened Thomas.  The fact that Alyssa still hadn’t figured out who he was angered the man more and he planned to take it out on Thomas.  He ignored Alyssa and said, “Enough talk” as he charged at Thomas.

                Thomas didn’t expect this and found himself being tackled to the ground.  He put up his arms and shielded his face as the kidnapper reigned down punches.  He knew he couldn’t stay like this forever so he reached his arms around the man’s neck and drove the side of his head into his nose.  The guy rolled off Thomas and he got to his feet kicking the man in the solar plexus.  As he went to stomp down, the man kicked Thomas’s plant leg and he stumbled to the ground.  They both got up and Thomas felt a punch to the face that staggered him.  He came back with a punch of his own but the man ducked under it and unleashed punches on Thomas’s kidneys dropping him to one knee.  Thomas bent over on all fours coughing.  The kidnapper walked over to other side of the room and picked up a wooden stick., He cracked it against Thomas’s back as he flattened onto his stomach.  He walked over to the door and pulled off a section revealing a glass window to give Alyssa a clear view of what was going on.  Thomas was stirring and clutched a wooden stick of his own. The man straddled Thomas’s back and put the stick around his throat and yanked up turning Thomas so he could see Alyssa.  Thomas’s vision was blurred by his being strangled but he saw the look of horror on her face.  She screamed, “Let him go, psycho,”

                The man was too focused on taunting Alyssa to notice that Thomas had a stick.  He grabbed it and snapped it back connecting on the man’s head.  The guy dropped the stick at Thomas’s feet and Thomas picked it up in the other hand.  He coughed his way to Alyssa’s cell brandishing the sticks.  He saw blood on the guy’s face, and it excited him.  Thomas didn’t realize his back was bleeding but Alyssa could see the blood stains on his shirt.  The wooden sticks were designed to bend when they struck something tearing at the skin.  The kidnapper walked to the side and picked up the shillelagh, which is an Irish club and a stick in the other hand.  He walked toward Thomas who was waving the sticks wildly.  He swung the shillelagh at one of the sticks and the stick cracked on impact and fell to the floor.  He used the split surprise by Thomas to smack him across the face with the stick as Thomas dropped the other one and fell to the ground lying on his stomach.  The man put one foot on Thomas’s back and raised the shillelagh.  He said, “How ironic, an Irish dies from a shillelagh.”

Thomas wrapped his arms around the guy’s leg and pulled toward him as he stood up in desperation.  The guy fell and Thomas reached into his pocket and put his keys in between his finger and punched at his opponent as he sat up to try to get to his feet.  Thomas straddled him and drove his keys into the man’s face repeatedly punching with everything he had.  Blood was oozing from the man’s face as his eyes glazed over in unconsciousness.  Thomas was running on pure rage now, he reached out and grabbed the shillelagh from where he dropped it and swung it down on the kidnapper’s face.  He was shocked with what it did to the man’s skull and was horrified to think that he just barely avoided the same fate seconds earlier. This justified his decision. He reached into the man’s pocket and pulled out the key and unlocked the door.  He wasn’t ready for Lisa to storm out and hug him.  The impact made him fall back and Lisa didn’t seem to mind the blood as she kissed him repeatedly.  Thomas let his body relax, now he could feel the exhaustion of the past day and could finally let himself rest.  Lisa didn’t think a cab would take them in this state.  She found her cell phone and called her friend Larry, who had access to a car.  She ran outside and got the address so Larry could put it in his GPS.  She told him real quickly that she’d explain everything after he picked them up just come quickly.

                Larry didn’t ask any questions, he just got a car and headed toward the destination.  At first his GPS had trouble finding the destination. He looked it up on Mapquest, since he needed the city and state and Alyssa didn’t seem to know.  He found one in New Jersey and figured that was it.  Alyssa couldn’t find any first aid material in the apartment but found some ice.  Turns out there were more rooms to the apartment.  She helped Thomas to the bathroom where she took off his shirt and nursed his wounds.  Thomas sat back and let it happen. He was too exhausted to move.  They left the bloody clothes there and when Larry called to say he was there, Alyssa asked him to come up.  He parked the car and came in and saw the carnage.  He said, “Alyssa, did you call the cops?”

                “No, and we can’t, because I don’t want anything to happen to Thomas”

                “I’m guessing Thomas and he got in a fight and he did this?”


                “Clearly self-defense, nothing will happen to him.”

                “Look, after I tell you what he went through, you’ll realize that we can’t deal with this right now.”

                “If the cops see him the way he is now, then it’s a more believable story.  Otherwise, the cops ask why you waited a full day, makes it look like you’re covering it up.  That, and you clean him off, and he no longer looks like he had to fight for his life.  I just got here and I figured out what happened, clearly the cops will too.  I know you’re tired Thomas, but you have to do this now.”

Thomas just nodded his head; the logic was there.  Alyssa decided to listen to Thomas and call 9-1-1.  After answering all the questions, the cops sent an ambulance for Thomas and Alyssa rode in the ambulance with him.  The cops found the cameras and they had tapes in them so they could clearly see that it was self-defense.  They arranged to get the body cleaned up and decided not to prosecute.  Larry followed the ambulance to the hospital.  He figured he’d check to see if they were going to keep him over night, and if so, then he’d go home.  If not, he’d give them a ride back.  Thomas only had minor cuts and no concussion, so they released him and Larry drove them home.  Alyssa said he’d be staying at Thomas’s, which was easier for Larry since they lived near each other.  Larry didn’t say much on the car ride over.  He kept thinking back to the apartment.  While he was waiting, he took a look at the dead man on the ground.  He hadn’t seen this man in over seven years, but he was still glad to see him dead.  He decided not to mention it to Alyssa, although he never specifically discussed this scum on the ground, he had voiced his opinion of a certain friend of his, to which Alyssa completely disagreed until the friend proved him right, and then she claimed that she always believed it.  He didn’t realize that Alyssa didn’t recognize him and thought she hadn’t said anything because she wanted to avoid Larry arrogantly proclaiming he called it.  When they got to Thomas’s, Larry helped him inside.

Alyssa and Thomas rested and the next day, Alyssa rewarded him for fighting for her.  At the most primitive level, it turned her on to know she had a man that would fight for her.  After the reward, Thomas officially asked Alyssa out so that there would be no grey area about their relationship.  His straight-forwardness was just one more thing Alyssa liked about him and she immediately said yes.  The rounds expedited the inevitable, but neither would ever forget what occurred on that day.  Alyssa would always wonder who the man was, not realizing, that all she had to do was ask Larry. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Survival Instinct

                Anish, Ursula, Heather and Larry had met as members of Model UN at New York University.  After they graduated, they kept in contact and maintained their friendship.  One thing that bonded them the most was that they all loved to travel and see new places.  When they first met, Larry had a large crush on Heather.  She reciprocated in the beginning until Larry blew his chance.  Although Larry always regretted his blowing it, he was able to keep his feelings in check when around Heather and realized his role.  Due to scheduling conflicts, the four of them had never actually been on a trip together since they roomed together at a Model UN conference in Philadelphia six years ago. 

Larry and Ursula had a goal to see a new country every year.  Since Ursula was extremely well traveled, she normally made the plans on which country would be seen, and Larry, having never been there, would do everything in his power to go along.  Of the three, Larry kept in contact with Ursula the most as she would invite him to movies when she was in town.  They spoke of traveling often, this is why it was no surprise when Ursula said, “I’m thinking about planning a trip to Egypt.” 

“Awesome, when?”

“Next March, it won’t be as hot, and I’m going to try to get Anish and Heather to come as well.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Ursula being the planner of everyone, made the phone calls and for once, all four of them found a couple weeks they would be able to go to Egypt.  It had always been a goal of Larry’s to see the pyramids, and he was ecstatic that he was going to get the chance.  The only person he had known that had been to Egypt was his aunt, who said to never go with a woman because the men there love white women and have no trepidation to go up and touch them given that women are inferior in Egyptian culture.  Although Heather was Southern Italian, and Ursula half Peruvian and Polish, they were white by Egyptian standards.  Larry wasn’t going to voice these concerns, however, for he didn’t want to, nor thought he could if he did, dissuade them from going and instilling unnecessary fear was foolish.  His aunt portrayed to him that when they take you to the desert on the camel, they stop the camel and force you to give them more money if you want them to take you back.  Larry didn’t mind this since Egyptian currency was so cheap it probably would come out to like a dollar.

At last the time came to go to Egypt.  They all had prepared differently as Ursula and Heather got vaccinated and brought along pills while Anish and Larry tried nothing.  Anish was Indian and had lived in India for a year, so didn’t believe it necessary and Larry was never one to fear disease.  Anish tried to coax him into it, especially since when Larry visited him in India, Larry became sick for a day.  Larry argued that he was over it after a night’s rest, so it was no big deal.  They boarded the plane and headed off to Egypt.  Since Ursula had to travel a lot for work, she had built up an obscene amount of hotel points, which meant they would be enjoying free hotels while in Cairo.  Their first day, they took it easy and hung around the hotel before going around the city.  They were planning to see the pyramids the next day bright and early.  Although they offered rides in dune buggies, the four of them wanted the experience of riding on a camel.  Larry took to it pretty easily, surprisingly finding it not much different from riding a donkey, which he was used to from his many trips to Greece.  They all agreed that the pyramids were an awesome sight.  They took a lot of pictures and then caught a camel back.  Just as Larry’s aunt warned, the guides stopped periodically looking for tips or else he’d leave them in the desert.  Looking all around, they saw nothing but sand so obliged.  The guide did his part to make them feel foolish, for he’d go over one sand bar and the lights of the city could clearly be seen again.  Heather and Ursula pretended that Larry and Anish were their boyfriends to keep the men at bay.  It worked somewhat but they still came frequently enough to be annoying. 

When the four of them arrived back to the road, they got off their camel and headed toward the taxi stand back to their hotel.  As they were walking, however, a camel came running by and an Egyptian, in one swift smooth motion, yanked Heather by the arm and bent her over the top of the camel face down.  He kept one hand on the reigns and the other on the back of Heather’s neck holding her down and heading toward the desert.  Larry acted upon impulse and ran to the nearest camel shoved the owner out of the way grabbing the stick he uses to hit the camel, pushed up onto the camel and chased after Heather and her kidnapper.  Anish and Ursula were too shocked to act and by the time the moment set in, Larry and Heather were out of sight.  All they could do was hope they’d see their friends again.  Larry saw the kidnapper’s camel and guided his camel after it.

The kidnapper had slowed down once he was out of sight, but upon seeing a white man on a charging camel, he knew it was for him and sped up again.  It was rather difficult to go at full speed while having only one hand on the reigns and the other on his prize girl.  At first, he was disappointed that she gave up resisting so easily, but now that he had to worry about his pursuer, he was glad.  She would probably resist once he got back to his hut where he would add her to his harem.  Then he would have the satisfaction of breaking in a western infidel.  Although he only had one arm, the kidnapper believed he could still outrun the white man behind him. 

Larry was getting frustrated as he couldn’t seem to get any closer to the kidnapper.  He knew that if he hit the camel too much, it could turn against him and stubbornly refuse to go anywhere.  He wished there was some way he could slow the other camel down.  It occurred to him that Heather was bent over the camel thus may not know that there was hope to be saved.  He decided to yell and hope Heather could distract the man long enough for Larry to catch up.  Larry always carried two knives on him and today was no exception.  One was a spring assisted blade, the other a regular three inch blade.  They clipped nicely to his waist so when security checked his pockets, they never found anything.  As for the plane, he’d check them in his luggage where bladed weapons were allowed.  He yelled, “Heather, resist!”

At the sound of hearing her name, Heather turned her head but all she could see was sand and camel legs.  She decided that she’d at least struggle in case her ears weren’t deceiving her.  She squirmed her upper body trying to get out of the man’s grip on her neck.  She felt an elbow in her back but she was undeterred as she swung her arm into his side.  The kidnapper yanked on her hair and Heather’s upper body was raised as she remained still.  Since she was being lifted, she saw the other camel headed her way with Larry on it.  The image was cut short as the kidnapper backhanded her across the face with his reigned hand before grabbing onto the reigns again.

Larry was happy to see that Heather had heard him.  She was resisting and as she was fighting, he was closing the gap.  The kidnapper had half a camel length lead on him when he vividly saw him slap Heather across the face.  Heather went back over the camel still from the blow.  When the kidnapper grabbed the reigns again, his camel slowed for a split second giving Larry the time to pull even.  He figured that this was his only chance at getting Heather.  The longer the chase, the harder it would be to get back.  He had been slipping from his camel slightly and didn’t think he’d beat an Egyptian in a camel race.  He swung his leg over toward the kidnapper’s camel and braced himself before leaping at the Egyptian.  He had a direct hit to the Egyptian’s side knocking him off his camel, but the Egyptian had the wherewithal to grab Heather as well.  Heather flipped before slamming onto her back on the sand and Larry landed on top of the Egyptian having completed his tackle.  Since the Egyptian broke Larry’s fall, he recovered from the fall quicker, giving him time to draw his spring assisted blade and slit the kidnapper’s throat.  Heather made her way to her feet out of pure adrenaline filled anger, walked over to Larry who was standing over the Egyptian and grabbed his fist holding the knife stopping Larry from retracting it.  She said, “Give me that.”

Larry did and Heather stabbed the Egyptian repeatedly in the midsection before ending it with a blow to the groin.  She started breathing heavily, dropped the knife and went to all fours panting from relief.  Larry had been looking around trying to find something he could spot with so as to avoid walking in circles when he inevitably had to try to walk back.  Both camels kept running after Larry’s leap so they were all alone.  The only thing he knew about the desert was what he saw on Man vs. Wild when Bear Grylls went to the Sahara.  Ironically, he was in the Sahara now too, and hoped he remembered enough of the survival tips to get out alive.  He did take Bear’s advice and brought a flint stick with him.  He went over to Heather satisfied that she had gotten her revenge out of her system.  Now, it was time to try to make it back.  He picked up his knife, closed it, and clipped it back to his waist.  He held Heather’s arms in his hands and rubbed them guiding her up.  Heather stood and hugged Larry tightly.  Larry enjoyed it knowing that it wouldn’t last the second reality set in that they were stranded in the desert.  By no means was the danger over.  Heather let go of Larry and looked around but only saw sand, “Where’s the camels?” she asked.

“They ran away.”


“Heather, calm down, it’s not going to help to get pissed right now.”

“Well, we’re stranded in the mother fucking desert, you let the camels get away, how the fuck am I to remain calm?!”

Larry thought how funny it was how things change.  Heather had gone from hugging him in gratitude for rescuing her to yelling at him for not having the wherewithal to save her and keep the camel.  He decided not to argue this point though.  He focused on the task at hand and said, “Okay, first thing we need to do is cover our heads.  The kidnapper’s shirt will do, it’s already wet.  You can take his turban or his pants. 

Heather took one look at the bloody clothes and said, “umm, I have a shirt, it’s definitely hot enough that I can go topless, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind that.”

Larry stared at Heather with disdain and said rather forcefully, “Heather, this is the desert, debilitating and extreme heat, in order to survive out here, you have to wrap your head, the turbans and veils aren’t just for religious purposes, but it’s a survival technique as well.  When you have unlimited water the way we can just buy it back in the city or the states, not as necessary, but we don’t know how long we’ll be out here, so we need to take all the precautions we can.  You can use your shirt, but you need to wet it.  How do you propose to do that?  Please don’t say dump water on it, considering you kind of need that to drink.”

“So you’re using his blood?”

“Most logical solution”

“Also psychotic, what would you have done if he wasn’t here?”



“Yea, if you keep that mentality, you probably won’t make it out of here alive.”

“So why don’t I just pee on my shirt.”

“Go ahead, it’s a good idea if you prefer it over blood.”

Larry removed the kidnapper’s blood stained shirt and wrapped it around his head.  He also took his turban and pants and wrapped it around his waist.  He found a couple sticks and gave one to Heather.  Heather ended up peeing on her shirt and wrapping it around her head revolted.  When she did, she took a large sip from her water bottle and offered it to Larry.  Larry had a 2 liter bottle of lemonade since he didn’t drink water.  He turned down the water and said, “We should preserve that, take a small sip but don’t swallow, you want to keep your mouth moist.  Try to hold it as long as possible as we walk.”

“How do you happen to know all this?”

Larry knew this question was coming and he wished he had a better answer, but he had to tell her the truth, “I watch Man vs. Wild and I remember what he did when he was in the Sahara.”

Heather gave him a doubtful look and said, “Convincing” and started walking off.

Larry noticed her take a small sip and he had a sneaking suspicion that she didn’t swallow.  Larry took a small sip of his lemonade and kept it in his mouth and walked after Heather.  He knew that if you didn’t spot, you ran the risk of walking in circles.  Bear never fully explained just how you spot in the middle of the desert, but he looked off in the desert and seemed to make out a tree in the distance.  He knew how the desert can lead to mirages and things are often times further than they seemed or not there at all.  The thing people commonly mistook about mirages, however, was that they really weren’t a figment of the imagination as they have been photographed.  It is merely the way your brain processes the visual cues that creates them, but the landmark doesn’t move and is worthy of a spot.  He decided to head for the tree, not telling Heather of his plan to try to see if she veered off the straight course the way it was predicted one would.  The first time she did, Larry pointed out his tree and she agreed to go after it.  Heather had brought suntan lotion with her and they agreed to apply some every couple of hours.  After a while of walking, Larry spotted a scorpion, Heather got scared, but Larry used his stick to pin down the tail.  He whipped out his knife and cut off the stinger.  He had seen Bear Grylls eat many scorpions and the fact that he loved was that every species was edible; this took the guesswork out of it.  Larry already decided he’d steer clear of plants because he didn’t trust his ability to tell poisonous ones from edible ones.  He turned to Heather and said, “You want the first scorpion?”

“ummm no.”

Larry shrugged his shoulders, lifted the scorpion up and bit down hard on it hoping it wouldn’t use his pincers to grab his tongue.  He wouldn’t say it was the best meal he ever had, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Bear made it seem on the show.  Heather was repulsed but Larry just inserted another mouthful of lemonade and went off.  When they would go over sand dunes, Larry taught her the trick to run down them by leaning back and taking long strides.  Since getting up took up a great deal of energy as you slid down with every step you took, this was a small reward for the effort.  When Heather tried to do it slowly, she slipped and tumbled down and decided Larry may know more than she gave him credit for. 

As they walked further, Heather jumped and clung on to Larry frantically saying, “Snake, snake, holy shit, there’s a snake.”

Larry couldn’t identify it, but snakes were edible.  He motioned Heather behind him with his arm and brandished the stick at the snake, which lunged at it baring its fangs.  Larry threw his bottle to the side of the snake and watched it strike after it leaving it horizontal to Larry.  Larry pinned the head down with his stick, took out his knife and stabbed the back of the snake’s head and cut it off.  He then buried the head, since the venom remained even after a snake’s death.  He wrapped the snake around his neck and smiled at Heather who had taken a couple steps back the moment she realized he was engaging the snake.  This time, she was not repulsed; she was famished and asked, “Can we eat that?”

Larry smiled, “Yes, but we should get out of the sun first, honestly, you should eat the next bug we see, they have eight times more protein than a steak.”

Heather took a deep breath.  She was famished, weak and exhausted, and suddenly bugs didn’t seem too bad right now.  It had been a few hours since they’d been walking and she didn’t like it.  Larry kept insisting that they keep heading for the tree for they needed shade.  It wasn’t long till Larry found a scorpion, and he pinned it down, took off the stinger and looked at Heather.  She took a long swallow and said, “Okay, but you have to feed me, I’m not touching that thing.  And you can’t tell anyone about this.”

Larry’s greatest hope was that he’d be given a chance to tell someone about this because that would mean they succeeded in getting out.  He held it over Heather’s open mouth and said, “Bite hard, it will probably defend itself.”  Heather did, gagged a little bit and spat profusely but only after swallowing it. 


Back in Cairo, Ursula and Anish were desperately trying to find someone to help find Heather and Larry.  They had gone to the local police, but they just said that two Americans in the desert would be dead in no time and trying to find them would be fruitless.  After being given this answer a few times, even after offering to bribe them, they tried their luck at the American consulate.  To their credit, they said they’d try, but they were brutally honest when describing their chances.  They left their contact information and where they were staying and the American authorities told them to try to be patient and distract themselves with the sites.  The waiting killed them, but that’s all they could do.  They decided to drink away their problems as site seeing just didn’t seem too appealing anymore.


At last, Larry and Heather reached the tree.  Larry would be lying if he said he wasn’t shocked.  He did forget that he was supposed to find a landmark so that he would know where they came from.  He hoped this wouldn’t be a fatal mistake.  Heather sat in the shade and rested against the tree panting.  She took a long sip of water, and found that the bottle was almost empty.  Larry used his stick to dig a hole about the size of his midsection and told Heather to lay in it.  One will find that a couple inches of digging can be 20 degrees cooler than the surface sand.  Heather lied in it and let out a long sigh of relief.  She was ready to stay there all day.  Larry checked his watch then used Bear’s technique of using the height of your hand against the horizon and the sun to see how many hours of daylight were left.  He checked his watch to make sure he was doing it right.  He felt this was cheating, but really he was testing Bear’s method, both methods gave him about two hours.  He needed to make camp.  He dug a small hole in the sun and put the snake in it and buried it.  Heather saw this but was too relieved at the cool pit to care.  The second she lied in the hole, she decided to stop questioning Larry for he seemed to know what he was doing, even if it was from a TV show.  He timed 15 minutes and took the snake out to find it a different color.  His make shift oven worked, which scared him more than fascinated him.  He knew it was hot, he didn’t need this reminder.  He made a pit for himself then sat against the tree panting.  He said, “Well we got dinner Heather if you’re interested.”

“I don’t want to move.”

“I don’t blame you.”

Heather struggled to get up and said, “Let’s eat.”

They took turns biting the snake and both remarked how it tasted a lot better than they thought it would.  As they were eating, Heather said, “Larry, if you get us out of here, I’m going to fuck you really really hard.”

Larry smiled.  He was a little surprised at the bluntness and didn’t know how to respond.  He would be lying if he said he wasn’t somewhat relieved Heather elected to walk around in her bra as he watched the sweat glisten off her body but this thought was far from his mind as surviving dominated it.  He knew he was doing well but it only took one fuck up and they were both dead.  He decided responding with sarcasm would be best, “Well, I was going to get us killed, but when you put it like that…”

Heather gave him a dirty look and said very seductively, “Just a little more incentive, surviving is cool, but adding to it doesn’t hurt.”

Larry just smiled and said, “I suppose you’re right.” 

He was kind of ashamed that she was actually right.  He felt more motivated and focused on surviving now.  Larry and Heather lied in their respective ditches for an hour before Larry got up.  He walked around gathering rocks, careful of scorpions and snakes.  He was actually hoping to find some, as he wanted some more snacks.  He did manage to find a couple.  He was carrying his stick in one hand and the kidnapper’s turban so as to shield his hands from the scalding rocks.  He made a circle of rocks in the sun that he could lay inside.  Heather was kind of curious what he was doing but she was enjoying relaxing too much to care.  He called out to Heather, “It’s going to get cold at night, do you want to share the bed I already made, or do you want your own?”

Heather sat up and thought immediately that it would be a little bitchy to say she wanted her own so she said, “One’s fine, but remember, we’re not doing anything unless you get us back to civilization.”

Larry lied in his pit sighing again and said, “Fine by me, I’m too tired anyway.” As Heather smiled and lied back down in her ditch waiting for the sun to go down. 

Larry collected some sticks that had fallen from the tree and put them near his rock circle along with some leaves on top of it.  As the sun went down, he used his flint stick to get a fire going and lied down using the heat the rocks emitted to keep him and Heather warm though the night.  Heather lied cuddled with Larry as they used each other’s body heat for extra warmth.  Heather was happy that Larry didn’t seem to be trying to push the envelope, it made her like him more but she was going to keep to her statement that she would only give in to lustful desires if Larry could get them back to civilization.  Both Heather and Larry quickly fell asleep. 

The sun woke both of them up and the fire was still burning but low.  Larry had kept the scorpions he gathered in a bag and planned to eat them for breakfast.  At this point, Heather was over her fear of eating bugs as she realized that survival was necessary.  The problem was, she was out of water.  Larry had about a third of his two liter bottle of lemonade, which he was now going to share with Heather.  Heather felt kind of embarrassed that she ran out so opted to only take a sip when Larry did.

Larry looked out and tried to find another marker to aim for.  He decided to climb the tree to see if he could get a better view.  He untied his shoes and tied his laces together around the tree to give him better grip as he made his way up the tree exactly as he had seen Bear Grylls do.  It ended up being a burden and as soon as he rested on one branch, he removed his shoes and just climbed from branch to branch getting to the top.  When he looked out, he found the one unmistakable sign that he would not be going back the way he came; buildings.  He saw the civilization and mapped which way to go.  Seeing this gave him renewed energy and he hurried down the tree and told Heather the exciting news. 


The consulate was telling Anish and Ursula that it was unlikely that a couple of city dwellers would survive all day and night in the desert.  Although they both felt bad about it, Ursula convinced Anish that sitting around sulking about it wasn’t going to help anything and that Larry and Heather would want them to enjoy their time.  They set off on what they had planned to do and see with a heavy heart.  There was still a little bit of hope, but both were rational people and realized that the odds were not in their favor.


Larry and Heather walked through the desert, at the top of each sand dune they could make out the city line but it always seemed so far away.  They wondered if it was a mirage, but Larry reconfirmed that mirages really were destinations.  Larry really tried to cut back on his liquid intake since it had to last for two people.  He was kind of surprised that Heather was able to go as long as he could.  He believed that the fact that he never drank water naturally would help him now in the desert since his body was more adapted to this.  Heather, however, was keeping pace thus far.  Larry looked at his watch and saw that it was noon.  They had been walking for about four hours and it was nearing the hottest part of the day.  He spotted another tree and decided to head there for a rest, which Heather was all too happy for. 

As they walked toward it, Larry heard a thud and in the split second it took to turn his head, his mind feared the worst.  His fears were confirmed as Heather had collapsed.  Larry ran over and turned her on her back but her eyes were glazed over in unconsciousness.  Although Larry was exhausted, he used all of his adrenaline to give him the second wind to pick Heather up deadweight and firemen carry her across his shoulders.  He ran toward the tree as fast as he could glad that it really wasn’t too far.  He set Heather down and dug a ditch as fast as he could.  He knew from running cross country and seeing people collapse in exhaustion that the proper remedy was to elevate their legs and lightly pour water across their face and lips.  This made the ditch more necessary since it would be difficult to keep her legs elevated and apply water at the same time.  He removed her shirt from her head and lied her upper body in the ditch with her legs elevated on the side and kept repeating her name as he lightly poured lemonade across her face sporadically.  He did this getting more frantic every time Heather didn’t wake up.  When he ran out of lemonade he looked around trying to figure out something to use as liquid. 

He thought of something and took a deep breath before standing up, dropping his pants and urinating into the bottle.  He argued that it would be warm, but 98.6 degrees was a lot cooler than what the desert was offering.  It crossed his mind that Heather may be pissed but he reasoned that her life depended on it.  Since he wasn’t very hydrated, he didn’t get much, but it was something.  He lightly poured his urine onto her face and looking away as he was somewhat grossed out about it.  He saw a small mammal head toward the tree for shade.  He dropped the bottle, took out his knife and threw it at the mammal shocking himself when he actually hit it.  Deep down he knew that if he had that throw 100 times, he’d probably miss 95 times, but this just happened to be one of the times he got it.  As he ran up to it, he was shocked to see a snake lunge at his prey.  Instinctively, Larry swatted the snake away, chased it down, held it with his stick and cut off the head.  He buried the head and took both animals back to Heather.  He buried the snake under the sand using his make shift oven again and setting a countdown on his watch for 15 minutes.  The mammal he held over Heather and cut its underbelly exposing the organs and letting the blood fall onto Heather’s face. 

                One of the times Larry went to Greece for Easter, he saw his uncle prepare a lamb from beginning to end.  Meaning, the lamb was alive when he started.  Larry watched as they gutted the lamb and remembered his friend that he took there remark how everything he learned about biology was being proven right.  The thing he remembered the most about this conversation was that the large intestine held water and he vividly saw a spray of water when his uncle grabbed the lamb’s large intestine.  Larry was planning on this mammal being similarly put together.

                Larry squeezed the large intestine and directed the water onto Heather’s face and mouth.  He checked for a pulse and was happy that he found one.  He knelt his head to her mouth and looked at her chest feeling her breath and seeing her chest go up and down.  She was still breathing, but she wasn’t conscious.  This gave him hope but frustrated him at the same time.  He decided that maybe he could produce some more urine, then he had another idea that would give him more liquid and is edible.  He smiled making a promise to himself that he would try not to tell Heather about this if she wakes up because it was getting disgustingly desperate.  He got up and gripped his penis in his hand over Heather and closed his eyes imagining sexual thoughts as he felt his penis grow in his hand.  It didn’t take long till he ejaculated over Heather’s face. 

The 15 minutes were up as he took the snake out from under the sand and put it to the side.   Heather wasn’t awake and Larry was running out of ideas.  He tried producing more urine, but didn’t get much.  This time he carefully aimed it at her mouth.  Although he was repeating her name over and over and pleading with her to wake up he was losing hope.  He stroked the side of her cheek with the back of his hand and said, “I’m sorry, I tried.”

He sighed heavily over Heather and thought he saw the slightest flinch.  He figured it was part of his imagination but that didn’t stop him from shaking Heather grabbing the turban he had stolen.  Heather let out a sigh as she was beginning to come to.  Larry started wiping her face with the turban to hide the evidence of what he had to do to wake her up while consoling her.  Heather sat up and heaved.  Larry sat against the tree and let out a long sigh of relief.  He reached over and handed Heather the snake as he panted more from stress leaving his body than exhaustion.  Heather grabbed the snake and bit into it viciously as she was in desperate need for some nourishment.  Larry just watched her, he figured she needed it more than he did and he still had the mammal.  After she finished about half the snake, she began realizing where she was and had regained all cognition of her surroundings and felt a little guilty.  She held out the snake to Larry and said, “Want some?”

Larry had been staring at her the whole time with a mixture of emotions.  Guilt for what he had to do, confusion on if he should tell her, and most predominantly relief and joy to see her move consciously again.  Her voice snapped him out of his trance and he shook his head telling her she needed it more than he did.  He gathered twigs and leaves and made a fire.  He had already taken the organs out of the mammal and he skewed it on a stick and put it across the fire, dug a ditch and lied in it.  He wanted to relax.  Heather was still tired but finished the snake and returned to her ditch to rest some more breathing heavily.  Larry was worried she was going to pass out again so wanted to keep her talking.  The only thing he could think to say though was, “Thank God, Jesus Christ Heather you have no idea what I had to do to wake you up.”

“What did you have to do?”

Immediately Larry regretted saying it but he already had so he had to respond, “Tell you what, you gave me incentive, now here’s yours.  If you make it back with me, I’ll tell you.”

They debated this for a little bit but Larry remained stubborn and Heather agreed.  They rested for a couple hours than Larry took the mammal off the fire and bit into it.  It wasn’t bad and he and Heather shared it.  Larry climbed up on the tree to get his barings again and headed toward the city.  With nothing to drink and Heather already collapsing, Larry was losing faith in their getting back.  He thought Bear Grylls said that cacti actually don’t have much water when you cut them open.  As he kept walking though, he decided he’d try it, knowing that people always died when they tried something against their better judgment.  He told himself not to eat any plants since he couldn’t tell which were poisonous and which were edible but he needed something to drink.  He wrapped the turban around a cactus to help guard against the thorns and put his knife against it and smashed the back of it with a rock taking off the top.  He looked inside and sucked at it getting some moisture.  He did this to another cactus and Heather sucked from it.  It wasn’t much, but it made them feel better.  Larry noticed the sun going down and he opted that he would need to make a camp for the night.  He gathered up rocks and scorpions he found under them like he did before and made a circle like he had before.  He had kept a couple leaves and twigs from when he nursed Heather back to health.  He set them up to make a fire and did.  He and Heather sat in the sand in the sun and watched the sunset.  It was hot, but they were too frustrated and disheartened to move.  Those buildings just didn’t seem attainable.  When the sun set, they curled into the rocks and slept waiting for the next day knowing that this time they were a lot less prepared to battle the desert.

They woke up at dawn the next day as the sun beat against them.  They prepared themselves and headed toward the buildings they kept seeing.  Heather had lost her faith in Larry to get them out of there alive now.  It seems that finding something to eat, making fires, and beds was the extent of his knowledge.  This was the desert, there just weren’t many trees around and Larry was just as clueless as she was on how to find water.  She knew she could do no better so just kept walking hoping that maybe a rescue party would find them.  Larry was dejected and kept trying to think of anything else he could do but heading toward what seemed to be a mirage of civilization seemed like his best move.  I mean it had to mean something that it never really disappeared unless it was blocked by a large sand dune.  But he was losing hope and walked on dejected.

After two hours of walking, Larry and Heather could hardly believe when they actually arrived at what seemed to be a marketplace.  After all the imagining how happy they would be to get back, it was more of a sense of shock.  The vision of them jumping for joy hugging each other, was just not possible due to their physical exhaustion.  They mindlessly walked over to a vendor and said the one thing that they really wanted; something to drink.  Larry and Heather had almost forgotten that they actually had a pretty good amount of cash on them.  It was worthless in the desert, but now it was very important all over again.  This mental transfer from survival mode to city mode was taking longer than expected.  Still, Heather managed to buy six liter bottles of water and Larry bought two bottles of water and four of lemonade. 

Heather and Larry opened their respective bottles and put them to their lips as their bodies relaxed and gulped down the liquid.  With every deposit of liquid into their stomachs, mental cognition and revitalization was returning.  The vendors looked at them as stupid Americans who couldn’t handle the desert, but Heather and Larry didn’t care.  They finished the first bottle rather quickly and each opened another bottle of water just as quickly.  Larry dumped the whole bottle over his head and Heather alternated between drinking and dumping it on hers.  They dropped that bottle and walked one hand carrying three liter bottles, and the other carrying an open one that they drank from as they got into a caravan and told them the address of the hotel. 

They were surprised to note that although they were about 10 minutes by caravan when Heather was taken, now they were two hours.  They probably could figure out that, although camels do go faster than they did, three days to walk back probably meant they didn’t go a direct route.  When the caravan gave his price, they raised it by an equivalent of 10 US dollars if he went fast.  Egyptians usually drove really fast and recklessly but they wanted to get back to a hotel as quickly as possible and the Egyptian appeared to be trying as hard as he could.  They sat back and relaxed half asleep as they experienced moving without effort for the first time in three days; a luxury they had taken for granted up until now.

They finally arrived at the hotel and they walked in.  The woman at the front desk recognized them and immediately called the consulate to let them know the Americans they were looking for had arrived and to notify the others.  Heather and Larry walked into their room.  Larry knew that the gentlemanly thing to do was to let Heather take a shower, but he really wanted one too.  Heather noticed that Larry was also looking at the bathroom as she was.  She could read his mind and said, “Larry, I’m going to be really clear, I plan on taking an extremely long shower and it’s not fair to make you wait for me.  I know what I said about if you got us back here, and it will happen, but, despite what I’m about to suggest, please not now.  I’m too exhausted, deal?

Larry was too tired as well.  All he wanted was to regain much deprived of things like sleep, a shower and a decent meal.  He said, “Deal, but what did you have in mind?” feeling that he knew the answer

“We shower together.”

Larry didn’t respond, he just stripped and walked into the bathroom and Heather did the same.  They turned the shower on and stepped into it absorbing it into them and froze in reprieve.


Ursula and Anish had gotten cell phones so they could be reached.  They weren’t too hopeful but just in case.  As they were at a historical site, Ursula’s cell phone rang and she answered it hoping against hope it was good news.  Sure enough, the consulate was calling to let them know that Larry and Heather were alive and well back at their hotel.  They wasted no time in hopping on a bus back toward their hotel.  They had been an hour away but didn’t care, the trip back was well worth it.  When they got in, they heard the water running and their eyes widened at the sound of other people inside the hotel room.

After standing with eyes closed under the stream of water for about 10 minutes, Heather and Larry were over their initial joy and opened their eyes to look at each other.  Heather saw Larry struggling to maintain eye contact and she realized she’d have to start the conversation.  “So, what did you have to do to get me conscious?”

Larry smiled, he realized that this was actually the perfect place to tell her since they were surrounded by things used to clean yourself.  In fact, that was the whole point of a shower.  He said, “Well, even though this may affect you keeping your word… “as he told her the entire story of what she missed while unconscious. 

During the story, Heather’s eyes widened and nodded.  At first, she didn’t think anything he’d say would upset her, but she wasn’t ready to hear him masturbate over her.  She grabbed her face wash and scrubbed her face as Larry chuckled.  Neither one of them wanted to get out of the shower and they scrubbed themselves vigorously trying to get the desert off them.  They realized they should probably get out when they heard the door open and close.  They had been in the shower for about an hour and felt it necessary to come out.  They covered themselves in towels and ran out.  Heather ran into Anish’s arms and Larry ran at Ursula as they hugged happy to see each other and not caring they were in towels.  They switched off and Larry hugged Anish and Heather Ursula.  After embracing back and forth for a while as Anish talked a mile a minute asking what happened, Heather said, “We’ll tell you everything, but right now, we need a big dinner.”

Larry and Heather got dressed ecstatic to be wearing different clothing and went to a restaurant and ordered a lot of food and rehashed the entire story as Anish and Ursula listened intently.  Larry tried to leave out all the details about Heather’s unconsciousness, but Heather finished that part of the story and they all gave him a dirty look. 

After dinner, they went back to the hotel and relaxed.  There were two beds and Ursula and Anish shared one and Larry and Heather shared the other.  Anish and Ursula woke up much before the other two and decided to get breakfast figuring that Heather and Larry needed their sleep.  Although they got to bed rather early, Larry and Heather were not up until after noon.  They decided they would go sightseeing and make the most of what was left of the trip trying to leave their desert experience behind them.  This time they did go out at night and had a rather normal vacation day.  The only difference was Heather elected to hold on to Larry at every moment nervous of every Egyptian she saw as she didn’t want to be taken again.  The sleeping arrangements remained the same but this time Heather nudged Larry in the middle of the night and said, “Hey, come to the bathroom with me.”

Larry knew what was coming and now he was ready to accept it.  He walked to the bathroom with a smile wearing only his boxers while Heather had pajama pants and a T shirt.  They entered the bathroom and Heather closed the door and stripped herself as did Larry.   She slapped Larry across the face and gave Larry an innocent smile and said, “That’s for what you did while I was unconscious.” Before running up to him and wrapping her arms and legs around him with her lips pressed against his. 

Larry took two steps back but wrapped his arms around her and made out with her profusely.  Heather placed Larry’s penis into her vagina and threw her body toward him as hard as she could.  Larry leaned against the wall as they caressed each other and made out.  Larry was surprised how forceful Heather was being but he would consider himself masochistic, and loved rough hook ups.  After a while, Heather jumped off Larry and backed up a little bit before running and tackling Larry to the bathroom floor, mounting him and gyrating her waist around with his penis inside of her.  She leaned forward and drove her breasts upward repeatedly into Larry’s face who timed it so he could suck on her breasts with every motion.  Heather stood up and as Larry tried he was forced back down by Heather’s right foot as she brought it over his midsection and up toward his face demanding him to kiss her feet.  Larry sucked every toe individually and she repeated it with her left foot before mounting him.  Larry sat up and they thrusted themselves back and forth as they kissed each other’s lips and necks.  Heather leaned back and Larry caressed her breasts with his hands before pulling her back up to continue making out with her.  Heather shoved Larry back down and again Larry didn’t resist it for he loved every minute of it.  Heather spun her body around while Larry was still inside her causing a sense of euphoria for Larry.  She lied back and tilted her head as she thrusted her pelvis up and back down on Larry’s member so as to stimulate her clitoris from backward penetration.  She shifted her body forward, pushing up on her hands and wrapped her legs around Larry’s head shoving her groin in his face as Larry licked her vagina and clitoris as she inserted his member into her mouth.  As Larry was doing this, he caressed her legs and butt pressing her groin to his face harder.  He was slightly short of breath as Heather was flexing her legs around his neck but he made no effort to pull her off.  Suddenly Heather screamed out as she climaxed.  Before Larry could rejoice, he found Heather twirling back around and mounting him again.  She grabbed his arms and pinned them behind his head and started grinding her upper body so that her mouth and breasts slapped Larry in the face with every rotation.  She sat up and violently motioned her waist around and up and down, Larry then felt the explosion of semen leave his body as he started breathing hard having achieved orgasm.  Heather smiled and leaned back and continued to ride Larry harder this time.  Larry struggled as the moment right after orgasm, men need a slight break but Heather was not allowing him to go limp and kept riding harder and harder.  As she was doing this she said through clenched teeth, “I almost died because of you,” “You want to make me eat scorpions, snakes and shit, fuck you.”

Finally Heather stopped and started breathing heavy.  She began to cry and lifted her body up so that Larry was no longer inside her and she lied down on his chest crying.  Larry was confused why but he ran his hand through her hair in comfort.

“I’m sorry” Heather said

“Sorry?! You said you would do that.  That was awesome.  Thank you in fact.”

“It’s just that I had to dominate a guy, I mean now that I’m not in survival mode, it just hit me all day that I could be some fucking terrorist harem whore.  I mean he would have raped me repeatedly for the rest of my life, nobody would have found me.  I just fucking hate men.  So I just saw you naked and I pounced wanting to take out all my anger on you.”

Larry looked back and forth.  He didn’t know how to react but he knew that he enjoyed every second of their time in the bathroom and couldn’t really figure out why he wouldn’t.  He decided to try to be sarcastic and said, “Well, any time you want to take your anger out on me, go ahead.”  Heather looked up and smiled sarcastically.  Larry got serious and said, “Look Heather, you can’t focus on what ifs, or what almost happened, focus on what did happen.  What happened was you were picked up on to a camel and rode around until I caught up and killed the fucker, then we spent three days in the desert and now we’re back in civilization safe and sound.”

“You don’t understand.  I felt so helpless.  I’ve never felt that helpless before, and it wasn’t just the Muslim in the desert, I had to completely trust you with my life, I was completely reliant on you, I’m not much of a feminist, but I never wanted to be completely reliant on a guy.  I mean why else did I go to school?  That’s fucked up right?  I mean I’m alive because of you and I was mad at you.”

“It’s really not that fucked up, it makes sense you’d generalize but you’re okay, that’s all that matters.  Hopefully you never have to feel that way ever again.”

“Do you regret anything?  Would you have chased after him knowing what you do now? that you’d have to spend three days in the desert and be forced to kill?”

“Without hesitation, Heather, look it sucked the last three days but now that’s it’s over it’s a great story.  We went on this trip for an adventure and to do something we’ve never done, we exceeded our expectations in that category.”

“I know, it’s just a little different for me, I can’t divorce myself from the fact that I almost died out there, and before that, I was almost kidnapped to be raped for the rest of my life.”

“Again, key word almost, it’s really that simple, you were revived.  Change your terms from ‘almost kidnapped’ to ‘rescued’ and ‘almost died’ to ‘revived’ makes it sound better, easier to digest.”

“I’m still scared every time I see an Egyptian, and I’m in Egypt.  I mean, no offense, but I wasn’t grabbing on to you every second of the day because I’m attracted to you, I was grabbing on so it would be harder to grab me again.  I’m so scared of this place now, I mean I think I’m going to be grabbing on to you until we leave.”

“Oh darn” Larry said very sarcastically.  He really couldn’t understand why she would think he would have a problem with any of this. 

Heather smiled again.  She pushed herself up and lightly kissed Larry on the mouth.  “Thank You.”

“Thank You.”

Heather and Larry got up, got dressed in what they had came in with and went back to sleep.  They had woken up Ursula and Anish with all the banging and the screaming but they understood and pretended to be sleeping when they came out again.  The rest of the trip went by uneventfully.  Heather still clung on to Larry whenever they were in public but they made the most of the rest of the trip and then headed back to the States as planned.  When they got back, Ursula, who was extremely good at researching online, found Bear Grylls’ e-mail address and Larry sent him a thank you e-mail.  He didn’t believe he would have survived had it not been for Bear Grylls.  To Larry’s surprise, Bear responded and when Bear came to New York he went out with Heather and Larry to hear the full story.  They relayed it and Bear pointed out some other things he could have done but credited Larry on his thinking with the ejaculate, pointing out that it was high in protein and vitamin C.  He was extremely surprised at how just that one show gave Larry enough knowledge to survive three days.  He attributed most of it to luck, but he didn’t tell him that.  When Heather made fun of Larry about it, Bear commented that while they were filming the show, two of his crew members had to be air lifted for heat stroke and that was with him leading, an expert. 

As time passed, Heather got over her experience.  She realized talking about it helped and there were plenty of people who were interested in hearing about Egypt and her three days in the desert.  She vowed never to return.  She ended up dating Larry as the nightingale syndrome never really wore off and Larry had liked her before so the sparks came back easily.  All four of them remained friends and planned to keep the tradition alive by going to a new place next year, hopefully a place where women are not looked as subservient and subhuman.