Great, a flat. No way am I going to get out in this monsoon to fix a flat. I leaned back in my leather seat, actually it was my dad’s leather seat, and turned the radio up to a decibel that would drown out a warning siren. I called dad up with my cell phone but only got his service; no problem, dad would send someone out to look for me eventually when I missed my curfew. He was a stickler about curfews. There was a GPS in the car that his security men could locate me by. They probably already know I’m in trouble if they‘re earning their pay, which they weren’t doing when I slipped unnoticed out of that boring party.
Car lights pierced the blackness behind me and some coarse looking kids approached my car. I hope dad’s men move fast! However, it may already be too late, I surmised as the group of unlikely heroes moved towards me. I‘ve heard of gang bangers. And what I‘ve heard stereotyped these miscreants, poor body hygiene, ripped up shirt sleeves revealing horrendous tattoos of lizards and skulls, (who comes up with these designs?), those weird do rags thing a ma chings pulled over shaved heads. As they walked around the Lexus, whistling heftily, I started frantically dialing 911 on my cell. Bang, window glass crumbled about me and hands reached in seizing the phone.
“Sorry, wrong number!” The guy in possession of my phone informed the dispatcher before crunching the hand piece into the pavement. “Get out of the car, please.” He requested so courteously.
“Now why would I want to do that?” I asked. Looking ahead and in the rear view mirror, praying for oncoming traffic. Another car! Fantastic! Nope, it just kept going, the occupants turned their heads to the opposite side of the road raising their hands to block their peripheral view. They didn’t even glance in my direction. Let’s not get involved! Well, hey, I’m some one’s kid too, hope you don’t find out I’m yours someday! I shouted at them in my thoughts.
“Because I said ‘please’,” was my answer as arms reached in for me and hauled me out the window. Glass cut and shredded my clothes and skin. I was dropped face down on to the drenched concrete. Hands explored me, holding me down, frisking my pockets.
“Hey, somebody must love you!” I heard as my wallet was discovered. “Nice car, nice clothes, lots of money. You a dealer?”
I didn’t get a chance to answer.
“A dealer! You sell poison to little kids, shame on you!” One of the thugs said. This started a dissertation on the ill effects of dope. Some how I don’t believe these guys would test clean on a random drug test. They worked themselves up into a frenzy and became my judge and jury. I was sentenced to a good butt kicking to commence immediately, there in the rain on a public highway with little traffic. Pointed boots kicked my ribs, back, head, as I writhed, tossed and turned, shielding myself ineffectively.
Five to one. Brave boys. I kept my mouth shut, not wanting to fuel the fire. I was probably going to die anyway, but they wouldn’t take to jail the memory of me begging for my life; assuming they got caught. My father would definitely insist on justice however. I would die knowing I’d be avenged. Small comfort. I’d rather live and see these guys sentenced.
One final kick to the head seem to have exhausted these goons. If they spent more time at the gym and less time cruising for trouble they’d be in better shape. Well, I spend time at the gym and I’m not doing so well right now! Or maybe they thought they better skedaddle before their luck ran out.
“You look thirsty after all that cowering,” one hooligan observed, “Here I’ll share my drink with you.” He announced baptizing me with his beer, mingling it with the blood oozing from my nose and lips while his cohorts laughed. Oh, real funny. Then they divided themselves up between my car and their broken down collection of metal and hardware and were gone, leaving me to presumably die of exposure and injuries as the cold rain pummeled my barely stable body.
I crawled off the road like a wild animal to avoid being creamed by several speeding vehicles whose occupants shouted obscenities at me about my skin color and addiction to illegal substances. I never touched the stuff. I didn’t want to be kicked out of Yale before I was accepted, I thought, mentally correcting their dictations!
A group of cars past and I tried to hail them to a stop. No luck. Faces peered out at me with disdain and revulsion. I’m sure I looked real presentable, for the loser’s corner in a boxing ring. I caught some words off the side of the lead car….Something, something, Church. Good ole, Christians, thanks for stopping, always wanting to change the world but ignoring what’s right under their noses. They want to make a difference in my non-Christian country as long as they don’t have to leave a forwarding address, I thought as I heaved something odorous from my stomach onto the innocent tree trunk roots.
I had no strength to move and my knees were buckling so I slumped down and braced myself against a long cold drizzly pain filled night. I heard about Texas’s wildlife, maybe I would serve one last purpose as a meal for a coyote or wolf. That’s what my life was about, serving.
I don’t know how many cars passed me, this wasn’t a heavily transversed route but I do know the autos that did pass didn’t stop and I ceased expecting them to. Some however, upon taking notice of my skin color, hurled profanities at me about my mother. Now, why would they do that? They never met my mother, she was a wonderful lady. I just sat there waiting to die by exsanguinations,(blood loss) exposure or as dinner for some hungry beast. Dad couldn’t possible find me now, the GPS was on the car and my phone was demolished.
Another set of headlights loomed up the road, these were going slow, probably an old lady squinting out the water splashed windshield afraid she’d go off in a ditch. The lights braked right in front of me. A lady peered out the driver’s window and met my eyes, then she ….I can’t believe this….then she got out and headed towards me. I think I recognized her face from one of the vans that had passed earlier, the one with the word “church” stamped on its side. She had stared real intently at me as they went by, face pressed against the window.
I started asking for help in my accented English, explaining my car and money had been stolen and my phone broken. I don’t know if she believed my fantastic story, but after laying down a protective barrier on her back seats, she helped me into Her car. This too was inconceivable in my country; a lone woman would never be allowed alone with a strange man. She kept telling me to stay calm and everything would be alright. For all I knew she was an accomplice to my assailants and was going to dispose of me. I had to take a chance at help, though in my weakened condition a kitten could have bowled me over. She must have been having hot flashes also because she drove with the windows down hanging her head outside. I pulled my shirt,(once a very expensive shirt that would now being going into the scraps pile), up to my nose and took a whiff. No, maybe it was me she found offensive. Oh well, if not warming up, at least I was out of the freezing rain.
My rescuer brought me to an emergency room where she actually stayed with me while I was being sutured up and x-rayed. I was being treated like a Saturday night drunk, a feeling I was beginning to accept, as long as I was being cared for. I kept trying to explain I wasn’t slurring my words, English wasn’t my first language, it was one of six I was semi fluent with. Except right now, due to my injuries I was combining the whole slew of them to really add to the illusion of drunken babble.
I caught a glimpse of myself in a shiny metal cabinet. Where were my natural good looks? Oh, my gosh! I looked like a ghoul masquerading as a human! The doctor kept explaining to me that things would look different after the swelling subsided.
The stranger pulled out a credit card and paid for a room for the night. In my country medical care is too expensive for the average person, it must be quite affordable here if She, a complete stranger, paid for my admission!
Alone in my single room I was surprised to see a phone, all to myself, two other things (a private room with access to private conversation) unheard of in my country except for people of my standing. I immediately contacted my father to discover my mother was crying hysterically in the background. My car had been pulled over by the police after dad's security men had called in the make of our car and given the location posted by the GPS. When the thugs got out of the car, totally surprised, and were arrested for carjacking, they banded together in ignorance claiming the car was in a parking lot with the keys in the ignition and they were taking it to the police station before someone stole it! Apparently with a stack of priors to their soiled names and the fact that they were driving in the wrong direction, the story was unbelievable. They had been brought in to the slammer and grilled about my disappearance, and swore they had no idea who the police were talking about.
The next morning as I was questioned by the local law enforcement and interviewed by the media my redeemer came in the glass doors, apparently to follow up on my care. What a wonderful person, to care so much for a stranger!
The Registrar at the nurse’s station yelled while pointing at Her, ”There she is!” With a look of sheer horror on Her face She turned to run when all my guards rushed her. They had a hard time catching Her to explain I was an ambassador's son and not some mafia don out to eliminate witnesses to some crime, but She finally pulled herself together when we rewarded Her for Her bravery in assisting a perfect stranger. That's me, perfectly strange and totally grateful to the interventions of a Samaritan in America. As cameramen took a photo shoot of Her and me together I could swear I saw the reflection of a Man from Galilee in Her face!