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Expat Chapter 9 (part 2), 10, 11, 12 - 3,153 words

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Old 07-26-2006, 09:37 AM
gary_wagner
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Default Expat Chapter 9 (part 2), 10, 11, 12 - 3,153 words


Carletta sounded bleak. "But what can I do? I'm not allowed off of this compound. We are surrounded by miles of desert. Even if I did get away, where could I go? I have no travel papers, no passport, no iquama. The police would pick me up and bring me back here and then it would be even worse. My mother, brother and I would then all go to prison. No, I have to stay until we pay off my father's debt and then we can go home."

Jeffery was indignant. "But it's not right. There's got to be something we can do about it. Shit, I'll give them what you still owe if it gets you out of here. Nobody should have to do what you are forced to do. I've never heard of such bullshit in my life."

Tears began to flow down Carletta's cheeks again. "Why would you help me? You don't even know me."

The sight of Carletta's tears brought an overwhelming compassion to Jeffery. His voice wavered slightly with emotion. "You're a human being, Carletta. You deserve better than this. It's almost embarrassing to admit, compared to what they pay you, but what you still owe is less than a month's salary for me. I'll do whatever I can to help you."

A ray of hope crossed Carletta's face again. "You mean you can get money? The other men don't get any."

Jeffery looked puzzled. "What do you mean they don't get any money? I'm sure they make about the same salary as I do."

The hope now left her face. She responded "So, they didn't explain that to you either. Oh, Mr. Jeffery, you've only been here a few days now. You don't understand how things work yet."

Jeffery looked worried now. He had already experienced many things in the past week that made him question his decision to come here. They had told him at the interview that for security reasons he would be cut off from the outside world. He hadn't realized how cut off he would actually be. The 'luxury living accommodations' were not any where near what he would consider luxurious. The 'modern office' he was given looked like it may have been modern ten years ago but was much worse for wear now. The 'sophisticated computer equipment' he was told about turned out to be old technology PC's that had been obsolete for five years now. The money being offered had seemed too good to be true and now he was beginning to consider that maybe it really wasn't true.

He looked up at Carletta. "What can you tell me about the way we're paid that the others should have explained to me?"

She responded "I only know what the other men tell me. It's always the same when they first get here. They get very upset because they didn't know everything that was in the contract they signed. It's like the paper I had to sign. They give the expats one in English but the legal one is always in Arabic and most people can't read it when they sign it. If your contract is like theirs, it says that all of your salary is held for you until your contract is finished. They don't let you have any money until then."

Jeff was amazed. "No money at all for two years? You mean I don't get anything until then?"

Carletta looked very unhappy to have to be the one to tell this to him. "They give you whatever you need here. If you need clothes or shoes they buy it for you and deduct it from your salary. If you need things like soap or shampoo you can order them and they also deduct it. In all the time I've been here, I've never seen money used for anything."

Jeff asked "What about at the end of two years? Does everyone get their money then?"

Carletta responded "I don't know. The other four expats only started coming here about 4 years ago when the Koreans left. So far none of them have left."

Jeff was incredulous again. "You mean no one at all has left? No one has ever quit or completed his contract and gone home."

"A couple of the men have said that they were going to quit but then they get very sad and don't tell me what happened. They don't want to talk about it. Most of them don't talk to me much anyway."

Jeffery rested his head in his hands. "Jesus, what did I get myself into? My God, we're prisoners here like you are, aren't we?"

Carletta face showed her despondence. "I'm sorry that I had to tell you these things, Mr. Jeff. I don't know if any of us will ever get to leave this place." She began to cry again.

Jeffery looked up from his hands and saw her tears. He placed one hand over hers and with his other hand lifted her chin to look in her eyes. He said softly and with great compassion "Carletta, one way or another I'm going to get both you and me out of this mess. I don't know how yet, but I'm getting away from here and you're coming with me. That's a promise."

He then stood up and came around the table to where she was sitting. She stood and he held her close in his arms while she sobbed. She seemed so small and frail to Jeffery.

When she was able to speak again she looked up into his eyes. "Since my father died, men have treated me like a dog. No one has done anything nice for me or tried to help me. You don't even know me but you want to help. I do not understand. Why? I'm just the expat's whore."

He took her face in his hands and said softly "Don't call yourself that. You didn't choose to do what you've been forced to do. You were jerked out of your adolescence and put through six years of sheer hell. I'm going to get you out of this because you deserve better."

He wiped the tears from her face with his fingers. "Come on, now. It's going to be alright. Let's sit down on the couch for a while."

He released her and turned around to walk the three steps over to the couch. When he turned to sit down he was shocked to see her pulling the nightgown down over her shoulders. She had it down to her waist and the dark brown nipples of her small breasts were poking out from the silky black strands of hair that hung in front of her. He was aroused at the sight but at the same time saddened that she thought that this was what he expected of her.

Embarrassed he said "You can leave that on. You don't have to do that for me."

She straightened up with the gown still at her waist. She looked puzzled. "You don't want me now? This is what I'm supposed to come here for."

Blushing, Jeffery stood up, walked over to her, and pulled her gown back up. He coughed nervously and tried not to look directly at her upturned breasts while they were still exposed. He took her gently by the arm and led her over to the couch where they both sat down. She looked confused and Jeffery struggled to find the words to say to her.

He was unable to before she spoke again. "I'm sorry they're so small. Clive gets mad at me because he wants big tits."

Jeffery felt the heat of a blush rise in his face again. He looked at the dejection in her face and was so moved with compassion that he felt like he could cry. He lifted her chin with his hand and spoke in almost a whisper with his face very close to hers. "I don't care what the other men say about you or expect from you. When you're with me you're a lady and I'm going to treat you like one. I may be old fashioned, but I don't treat a lady the way the others seem to treat you. And, when you’re with me I don't want you to talk down about yourself. I think you're the most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on." She looked back into his eyes and for the first time since she came into the room her face looked at peace. She said "You're such a nice man, Mr. Jeff. You make me feel good. I want to make you happy but I only know what the other men want. You will help me be a lady?"

Jeffery found himself lost in those big dark eyes and that angelic face. She looked so young and so innocent. He didn't want to think about what she was made to become, he wanted to think about the person she could be.

"Yes, I'll help you. I want to be your friend and I hope you'll be mine. That's all I want from you. That's all you need to do to make me happy. That's what I need. Just be my friend." The emotion then overwhelmed him. He felt his eyes well up with tears and drop onto his cheek.

She looked perplexed at his tears. "I've never seen a man cry before. What makes you so sad?"

He was embarrassed that he had let his emotions show to someone he had only met less than an hour earlier. He could not remember ever crying in front of anyone before in his adult life. He wiped his cheeks with the back of his hand.

"I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me. I've been feeling so alone here and sorry for myself. Then you come along and make me embarrassed for thinking I had it rough here. Compared to what you've been through I'm on a walk in the park. I've never had an easy time making friends, especially with women. But, you're something special. I've known you for what... an hour now, but here I am crying like a baby in front of you and telling you things I didn't think I could ever tell another person. I don't know, I feel all mixed up inside. I kind of feel like I've been looking for you all my life and now I've finally found you in the middle of nowhere in this God forsaken desert. I know I'm babbling and this all probably sounds crazy to you."

She looked thoughtful. "My mother used to say 'those crazy Americans'. You're the first American I've met since Manila. If you're crazy, then it's a good crazy and I hope you stay that way. For the first time in six years I feel like life might be worth living after all. Many times I want to kill myself but am too afraid to do it. You make me think that maybe I'm not a bad person. You give me hope. I thought that all hope died with my father in that crash. You say I'm special but you are the one that is special. I too just met you but I know that you are good. I started to think that all men were bad. I started to forget about my father and that he was a good man. I don't just want to be your friend; I need it more than I have ever needed anything. I promise that I'll try to be a good friend for you. You already made me happy for the first time in a very long time".

They sat very quiet for several minutes. Soon they began telling each other about the homes they left behind. They talked for hours.

During their talk, Jeffery discovered that Carletta's father had worked at Clark Air Base in the Philippines before coming to Saudi Arabia. It had always been his ultimate goal to immigrate to the United States. He was saving every cent he could of his and his wife's salary to pay for their journey and provide start-up money for a business there. Because he had always planned to take the entire family there one day, he was adamant that his children know English fluently. He had saved boxes full of old textbooks that the American school at Clark Air Base had discarded and brought them to Saudi Arabia. He insisted that Carletta and her brother study them every day.

Carletta discovered that Jeffery had always been a real loner. He was a late-in-life and only child. Both of his parents died in a car accident seven years ago. His grandparents had all died when he was very young. He had several aunts and uncles but he had only met them several times in his life. Since graduating from M.I.T. with a masters degree in electronics, Jeffery had criss-crossed the country, never working for any one company for more than eight months.

Carletta revealed that she had always dreamed of going to college in the United States some day and working there. She confessed that this was probably foolish on her part, since she had never made it beyond a ninth grade education. She also admitted that she snuck into the other expat's rooms during the day and read every book that she could lay her hands on.

Finally at three in the morning they were too tired to continue. Jeffery saw her to the door and gave her a long hug before she walked down the hall to her room. He sat up for a few minutes in order to make an entry in his journal. After that, he got into the bed and slept soundly for the first time since he arrived here.

Chapter 10


The Journal of Jeffery Briggs

Sunday August 5, 1990




How do I put down on paper what went on here tonight? I'm still not sure myself. Carletta came to my room and told me a story that makes me sick to think about. The only thing I know right now is that I've got to help her. I've only known her for a few hours and yet I know that I'm the only person she can count on right now. That's frightening. How can someone count on me when I can't count on myself half of the time? I already feel like I've wimped out on her. I broke down and cried like a baby in front of her. I still can't believe it. Yet, somehow it seems all right. I get the feeling that she's not looking for my weaknesses, she's looking for my strengths. She needs someone to be strong for her. Can I be strong enough? Will I let her down? After she told me her story we talked for hours. It's never been as easy to talk with a woman as it was with Carletta tonight. Something definitely clicked between us. Maybe we just found each other at a time when we both really need a friend. Whatever it is, I'm glad that she came here tonight. I can't wait until I get a chance to talk to her again.

Chapter 11


August 6, 1990 - Expat House

Jeffery arrived at the breakfast table before anyone else. He had still not adjusted to the time difference yet and woke at 5:00, unable to get back to sleep. He was trying to think of how to broach the subject of Carletta. He wanted to intervene on her behalf but had no idea how to handle it. He didn't know the other four expats yet and this was a very touchy subject to be bringing up so soon after arriving here.

Clive entered the dining room and dropped into a chair. He grunted in response to Jeffery's good morning. He lit a cigarette and barked out, "Carletta, get some coffee in here."

After Carletta brought a steaming cup and Clive had taken several loud slurps, he looked over at Jeffery with a lecherous grin.

"And how was your night, yank? Learn what an LBFM is, did you?"

Jeffery was annoyed at the leer and the implication.

"My night was interesting. And, no I still don't know what LBFM stands for."

Clive snorted, "Christ, yank. Interesting? You had the little brown fucking machine in your room last night and it was interesting? God almighty, what are you - dense, or naive, or maybe you like the boys like Malcolm does. Is that it, yank? We got another poof in the house?"

Jeffery glanced into the kitchen then back at Clive.

"How about keeping your voice down a little. Carletta's right across the hall in the kitchen. Not that it's any of your business, but I'm no poof, as you call it. I like women just fine, just not when they don't have any choice in the matter."

Clive talked even louder than before. "Keep my voice down? Is that what you said? Why, because there's a lady present? I'll show you what kind of lady we've got here. Carletta, come in here!"

Carletta walked into the dining room and stood in the door wiping her hands on a kitchen towel.

Clive jerked his thumb toward Jeffery, "The yank here wants me to keep my voice down because there's a lady in the room. Tell him what you call me when you come to my room. Go on."

Carletta lowered her head and said, "BWFM".

Clive guffawed, "Here that, yank? BWFM. I'm her big white fucking machine. Do you like to fuck, Carletta?"

Carletta glanced guiltily at Jeffery and said, "Yes, sir."

Clive chuckled and said to Carletta, "Go on back and finish breakfast now." He turned to Jeffery and said, "There's your lady, yank. She's like a bitch in heat. She can't get enough of it. Nothing more than a female monkey. It's the only thing they're good for, but it's something they do well."

Clive laughed when Jeffery shoved his chair back and angrily left the room. He went in his room and sat down on his bed. No longer hungry, he had decided to skip breakfast. He picked up his journal and started a new page.


Chapter 12




Journal of Jeffery Briggs

Monday August 6, 1990




Which is it? Is last night the truth and Clive is an obnoxious pig? Or, is this morning the truth and Carletta is trying to do a number on me? I swore I'd never trust another woman, so what got into me last night? If that was an act, she deserves an Oscar for it. What about it, Marjorie? Is old Jeffery getting sucked into a woman trap again? Is this a scene from the play 'Women dump on Jeffery' - act 2? If that's the case, then this is me - exiting stage left.


Last edited by gary_wagner; 07-26-2006 at 10:38 AM..
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Old 07-27-2006, 03:38 PM
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Last post tonight before I make an attempt to get some sort of sleep-pattern back...

Would Jeffery really offer to pay her way out, straight off the bat, when he's known her a matter of days/hours?

I think it's very neat the way he finds out he's not going to get paid - nicely done.

A lot of the next bit is far too mushy for my taste - I like the premise of them getting on, and starting to get to know each other a bit, but in my opinion it might be better kept a bit shorter here. The bits where they have paragraphs of speech each, well I don't know, it sounds a bit forced, somehow, as if they're reading a script. The scenario is a very good one to use to reveal things about the characters, but just have a check that it doesn't become obvious to a reader that that's what you're doing. I think you can afford to spin out their gradual acquaintance a bit, they're two people from different cultures, with very different backgrounds - nothing wrong with a bit of emotion, it they have a 'connection' as Jeffery says, but less is sometimes more. Oh, and I'd watch the 'talked for hours' angle, I'm just afraid it sounds a bit teenager-ish.

The journal is proving its worth, showing Jeffery's thoughts and doubts. Good tactic.

Night-night then, or I'll be continuing in my zombie-state for another few days. Please don't be offended - I'm often criticised for my lack of emotion, so, you know. You know I like the story, so that's my excuse for ripping into this section.
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Old 07-27-2006, 04:13 PM
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I just finished replying to your comments in the previous post and warned that I was worried that I might drift into cheezy at this point. I think this goes right into what you were also saying in that post - whoa, slow down if you want this to be believable. I need to review all of chapter 9 and make sure I'm not going into a teenage romance story (ooh, I shudder when I think that I might be headed there).

I have the book divided into five major parts - 1 Arrival, 2 Invasion, 3 Desert Shield, 4 Desert Storm, 5 Exodus. Each part has a faster pace than the previous one. Things are really racing by the time I get to the fifth part. The next thing I post will have a quicker pace and I might have been trying to get this part between Carly and Jeff established before that. I think that I can take most of chapter 9 out and put it into a few places in part 3 where I skip some time.

I have a predetermined timeline because I used the real events of the first gulf war as the backdrop of this story and want to maintain the reality of that.

Ahh, look who's rambling now. Thanks for reading and reviewing and I hope you'll let me know if the future parts get too mushy or things happen too fast.

Last edited by gary_wagner; 07-28-2006 at 06:16 AM..
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:55 AM
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Hi Gary, I'm glad you're thinking about revising these chapters, because I came away from this bit with the same feelings as Lucy, and cofirming my fears from the first part of chapter 9.

Your analysis of what you think you need to do to remedy it sounds like a good plan.

As such, I've refrained from the old misplaced-comma and typo witch hunt in this section Leaves more time to read the next bit instead!

Cheers,
James
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Old 07-28-2006, 06:45 AM
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Cheers, Jimbo. Chapter 9 is going to get a major rewrite. You may find parts of what is now chapter 9 in future chapters and it will feel redundant because you will have already read it.

I'm also going to refresh my memory on chapters beyond 13 to see if I have a high cheese factor in some of those as well.

Thanks.
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