“No Bare Feet Beyond This Point” (This is a ‘Re-Constructed Old Post.’ No Alcoholic Beverages Were Harmed, Nor Consumed While Operating The Requisite Heavy Machinery For The Successful Completion of This Project)

I grew into manhood in the Sinai Desert: 1977-1980. Missed out on Disco, but it was damn well worth it.

Who needed Disco anyway? I served a ‘higher’–figuratively and literally–‘calling’.

What you may choose to read below is the first installment of a personal history I am determined to write about the men and women I had the honor to know, to love, to work and walk among, and to call ‘Friend’, as we all tried in our way, to bring peace between the Egyptians and the Israelis after the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Yom Kippur War / 3 Minute History

(Your Humble Author Highly Recommends You Invest Three Minutes Watching This)

Content Credit: Jabzy

The conditions were harsh, the boredom at times mind-numbing. Seventy-five percent of us were under thirty. Almost all of us were Texans. Roughly eighty-five percent of us were male, fourteen percent female, and one percent ‘other.’

We were not actually building anything discernible, tangible, touchable. We were in fact, merely acting as civilian ‘Paid Political Hostages,’ not construction contractors, not U.S. Military Special Forces, not United Nations Representatives.

I suppose a more euphemistic term for us would have been “Observers.” Which, as I recall, was how the U.S. Foreign Service ‘Officially’ referred to us and our mission.

Yet we still preferred ‘Paid Political Hostages’, as it seemed to more accurately and honestly describe how we saw our role there.

But however you referred to us, we ended up ‘constructing’ something immensely more important than bricks and mortar:

The Camp David Accords

Peace! Peace between two enemies who had not known peace since before Moses was a pup, if ever…

This ‘Peace’ would never have come to fruition if not for men and women (and ‘other’) of The Sinai Field Mission.

This paralyzed fact can never be disputed, nor ignored.

Page one from the letter linked below

SFM_Letter

***

Our efforts were not entirely without cost.

Some of us who spent too many years there, went slowly, yet surely insane there…

Lance Marcom was one such man who fell victim to “The SFM Madness.”

(In a ‘Good’ way of course…)

1979 Sinai Field Mission

Excerpt from the article linked above:

A faint laughing snort escaped as I shook my head upon seeing that sign duct-taped to the door of the hooch belonging to some of my fellow drivers:

‘Rocket Tom’, ‘J.R. Mog’, ‘Jet’, and ‘Big Mo’. Big Mo wasn’t a driver per se; I mean he didn’t drive trucks or R&R passenger vehicles: He drove dozers, road graders,  front-end loaders, and the occasional fork lift, although he considered fork-lifts “Too wussy for a Texan named Big Mo” to drive.

I gave the door a hearty knock.

“Enter!”

Opening the door, I was enveloped in a cloud of smoke shoved out by the cold air conditioning.

The contrast from the hot Sinai air shocked my senses, but felt oh, so… inviting. I stepped inside the doorway and paused, giving my eyes a moment to adjust to the subdued lighting in the hooch.

(The sun in Sinai is blindingly bright, and extremely so.)

My ears were loudly and violently assaulted by ZZ Top’s ‘TUSH,’

Blasting from Mog’s Boom Box.

Video Credit: wiieje

***

Seated around an empty cable spool (about three feet in diameter), were three fourths of the usual suspects: Mog, Jet, and Rocket Tom.

“You just gonna stand there, or ya gonna have a seat?” Mog demanded. Then added, “Hey Rocket! Crank down th’ volume on that shit. We dun got us here a ‘special’ guest!”

“ZZ Top ain’t “Shit”, Mog. An’ I ain’t seein’ no ‘special’ guest. I jes’ seein’ Lancer.” Rocket yelled back over ZZ, as he got up, walked over to the box and ‘Turned that “Shit” down’.

Laughter all around. And at my expense. It was just our ‘way,’ our good-natured way–

Crates full of great, and sincere, camaraderie.

None of us took life (nor one another) too seriously.

***

J.R. Mog, was a corpulent, charismatic, boisterous, ‘talks too loud’ Texan who generally had the first (and last) word in any conversation.  

His full, Proper, Official Title was “J. R. Mog, Half-Man, Half-Alligator, Part-Time Hog; Tamer of Wild Women and Other Assorted Interests.”

Or… simply just ‘Mog’ for short (Thank God).

“How y’all?” I said, taking a seat on one of the camel saddles which served as chairs.

Scattered about the tabletop were a couple of small pipes, a chunk of hashish the size of a pregnant golf ball, an overflowing ashtray, three or four empty beer bottles (Amstel), a couple of magazines, a crumpled pack of Marlboros, a Moët & Chandon bottle with a burnt up candle stuck in it, wax coating it all around and down to the top of the table thus cementing it there, and something that looked like it might have been an orange in a former life.

Mog answered, “We just finer ‘n frog hair. Wanna beer? You know where the fridge is.”

“Matter of fact, I do,” I said, getting up and tacking back and forth through the piles of dirty clothes, homemade furniture, shards of beer bottles, and stacked-up cases of Amstel, Heineken, and Tuborg Squash—a heavily carbonated orange soda from Denmark—the best thing on Earth for the morning cotton-mouth most of us suffered more mornings than not.

(May have had something to do with smoking hash and drinking late into the night, but that’s just my theory.)

I returned with a Heineken and sat back down, taking a swig as I did so.

Jet said, “Well, Lancer, now that you’re all settled, we can fire us up a bowl.”

(I had not done anything noteworthy enough up until this point at Sinai Field Mission to warrant a moniker other than my given Christian name).

Using a Buck Knife, Jet proceeded to carve some hash off the golf ball, then mixing the slivers with some tobacco, stuffed one of the pipes and lit it with a Zippo.

We passed the ‘bowl’ around, refilling it a few times here and there, then settled back with our beers.

Jet, the oldest at the table–about thirty—wore a goatee, long brown hair on top of a head that looked a little too big for the rest of his frame. He had a laconic manner, but was not what one could ever call ‘brusque’. He just didn’t say much. He seemed to save his words like cash money is what I’m saying.

Presently, he asked, “Mog, when’s your next run to TA?” (‘TA’ = Tel Aviv).

Mog (who spent words with reckless abandon) replied, “I got the fuckin’ R&R run tomorrow. Shit! Hey Lance, what you got? Wanna trade?”

Mog hated the R&R runs mainly because R&R runs involved taking passengers. He loved driving the trucks into ‘Town’. Two reasons: He loved trucks and he loved to drive trucks very, very fast. Mog was a great driver, but riding with him scared the shit out of me.

“Sure Mog; I’ll trade with ya.”

“Which run you got?” he asked, now slightly wary at my all-too-quick agreement.

“Canal Run.”

See THIS Recent Post:

“Aw Shit No! Forget it,” Mog said loudly.

SFM Basecamp lies roughly thirty ‘klicks’ from the Suez Canal. Every day an R&R vehicle left SFM to rendezvous with the one coming from Cairo. Passengers and mail were exchanged via a small boat. Then continue on to Cairo or back to SFM.

Having ‘The Canal Run’ meant getting off-base only for an hour or two or three, dependent upon how the ‘Sand Storm Gods’ were disposed on any given day.

Going to Tel Aviv meant driving only four hours, checking into the Sheraton and having the rest of the day and night to paint the town red with Per Diem and whatever else one wanted to contribute or muster out of his own purse.  

Mog had an Israeli girlfriend in Tel Aviv, actually she was his fiancée, and he took all the Tel Aviv runs he could get, so he could go see ‘The Little Mama’.

In fact, all the drivers had Israeli girlfriends except Big Mo. His ‘Honey-Co’ was a Big-Boned, Brunette ‘Tall Drank O’ Water,’ Texan Gal, working for SFM, just like the rest of us.

Her moniker was ‘Big Mammu’ and if those two didn’t eventually get united in hellish matrimony, then I say ‘Fuck it.’ There is no hope for the rest of the world. Perfect for each other they were, is all I’m saying.

Rocket Tom was a wiry, slightly nervous-energy type about five-foot ten, with long dark brown hair and a full beard. Even though he was Pure Texan, his accent spoke ‘Tennessee’ to me: Probably genetic since most Texans have Tennessee bones buried somewhere in their family closets.

“Y’all just gettin’ back from the TA?” Rocket drawled in my direction.

“Yeah. Had the Reefer Run. The KP’s unloading her now.”

“Well,” he went on, “I hope y’all brought back some ah that Israeli choc’late milk this time.”

“Sorry Bro; they still fresh out at the market.”

“Well shit-fire!” he yelled, suddenly jumping up to his feet. “How they spec’ us to keep our mo’ral here in the Middle-of-the-Fuckin’-East, Sinai fuckin’ field mission, hot-ass desert without no Goddamn choc’late milk?”

(He did love his chocolate milk, especially after a smoked bowl or two of the hubbly-bubbly, which for us was another word for hashish, although technically, it means the water pipe we sometimes used to smoke it in, often mixed with a sticky sweet Egyptian honey tobacco—very pleasant aroma, that.)

Mog chimed in, “Hell an’ God-awmighty Rocket! Calm the fuck on down Son!  Y’all need to lay off that shit anyhow. I believe you done put on a pound or two just this week, ‘specially round yer middle section there.”

(Rocket Tom weighed about 140 pounds, soaking wet. With-his-boots-on).

Mog continued on the roll he was working himself up to, “Lancers, that reefer truck still got both its mirrors attached?”

Laughter all around.  (Rocket, now sated and satisfied by his outburst, had sat, and ‘calmed-the-fuck-down’…)

I had become notorious with the drivers (and somewhat despised & infamously regarded by the mechanics) for losing the driver’s side swing-out mirrors off four trucks in the past two weeks.

The roads through the desert were quite narrow with no shoulders at all. And in fact, there was usually a sharp drop off which if hit, would cause a fast moving, top heavy, loaded-down truck to flip over. I was cognizant of this and would never give up my half of the road.

No Matter What.

Too often I would encounter an IDF (Israeli Defense Force) truck with some pimple-faced kid, fresh off the Kibbutz at the wheel barreling down upon me from the opposite direction, taking his half of the road from the middle.

Inevitably our mirrors would collide. And violently so. Since SFM’s trucks all had air conditioning, my windows were always rolled up, saving me from being smacked by the mirror as it smashed against the side of the truck.

The IDF guys, well probably not, as their trucks, to my knowledge, did not come with factory air.

“Yeah Mog. She still got both her mirrors.”

“Well, did ya leave any crippled jackasses in yer wake this time?” Mog laughed.

On my very first R&R run to Tel Aviv I was driving our Chevy Van loaded full with twelve passengers, two of whom were high-ranking State Department pukes. I was a bit nervous, and was trying to drive oh so carefully and safely, as I felt my future as a driver depended upon it.

Somewhere just south of Al Arish, we came upon a couple of donkeys in the road.

I started slowing down, but not wanting to hit the brakes too suddenly or too hard, thereby throwing my passengers forward, I misjudged and hit one of the jackasses square in the ass. His hind legs flew out from underneath him and his butt hit the road.

He managed to get back up on his legs, then turned and glared at me as he stumbled off. I drove on down the road as if nothing had happened and saw a Bedouin in my rear view mirror shaking his fist and spewing what I theorized were some choice words at me in Arabic.

“Naw. Overall it was a borin’ trip,” I said. Then added, “Mog, you sure you don’t wanna take my Canal Run tomorrow?”

“Son, you know Goddamn well I don’t. Last time I had that run…”

(Here it comes, another ‘Mog Story’)

“I got stuck for two hours behind a broke-dick-of-a’-Egyptian-lame-ass-broke-down-convoy. They had the whole damn road covered up with their doubya-doubya-two wrecks-on-wheels. Musta been twenny of ‘em. I’m tryin’ to figure out how to get around, but they had the unmitter-grated gall to break down ‘tween two fuckin’ sand dunes…

Nothin’ I could do but set an’ wait ‘em out. I’ll be Goddamn-go-to-Hell if their tow truck finally shows, and she pro-ceeds to break down her own damn self! Jesus, Mary and Yosef!

My passengers goin’ all stupid worryin’ an’ frettin’ they ain’t gonna get to Cairo in time to catch their planes for R&R back to The Land of the Big PX and the All-Night Restaurant.”  

I tells ’em the other vehicle gonna wait there at the crossin’, ‘So why don’t Y’all just shut the fuck up!’”

“Uh… Mog,” Rocket interjected, “There weren’t no USG types in your vehicle, were they?”

“Ah Hell No! Rocket. You know I am always po-lite as pie when those State Department assholes are on-board. Anyways, as I was sayin’, we settin’ there wonderin’ when the next tow truck gonna show, so I call ahead to Mohammad to see if he at the canal yet. Finally managed to get him on the radio and tole him to set tight. I’d get there when I got there.“

A word here about the convoys that travelled through the ‘Buffer Zone’. The Egyptians had nothing but World War Two era Russian trucks and every time they attempted a convoy, they broke down.

Sure as God made Texas, they were gonna break down.

The Israelis, on the other hand, had all-new trucks and tanks, and planes, most of which they got from the U.S. when Nixon bailed them out during the first half of the two-week-long Yom Kippur War when the Egyptians were actually kicking the ever’-lovin’ shit outta their Israeli asses.

There was a massive air-lift of new military hardware to the Israelis so they would not get pushed into the Mediterranean.

Now, I’m not saying the Israelis didn’t deserve credit for ‘winning’ that war in the end, (and some would still call it a ‘draw’), but without the infusion of new equipment from Tricky-Dick and Hank Kissinger, well…

Mog continued, “Well, with nothin’ to do now but wait her out, I went to see if I could find some ‘Gyptian could give me an idee of just how much longer they gonna be blockin’ my road.

After wading through some wearing they jammies and wantin’ baksheesh, I found an officer who spoke some English.

He tole me, ‘No worries. No worries.’ Well, d’rectly here come another ‘gyptian tow truck. Took ‘em another hour to clear the damn road. We got to the canal just ‘bout an hour ‘fore sundown. I swear, I ain’t takin’ no more canal runs. Oh-Fuck-No!”

There was a lot of bullshit talked at SFM, but for the most part, it was what you’d call pretty damn good bullshit (for the most part.)  I enjoyed it terribly.

If you have come with me thus far, then you may be happy to know that there will be is more to this story.

Too much more.

Way too much more.

See Below:

Here,  and Here,  and Here…

Thanks for reading.

–Lancer of Arabia

****

Just a footnote here, as this part actually happened much later in the timeline from the stories reported above.

And Lifted from this post:

The Orphan Benjamin. 

One night, I think it was in late ’78, I was staggering back to my hooch from our little bar. My walk took me through our game room: Two pool tables, a jukebox, shuffle board, ping pong… et cetera. Anyway, just by the exit door there was a table. On this table was a carton of Marlboro’s, a case of Heineken, a ‘doggie bag’ from the galley, and a one hundred dollar bill.

Thinking nothing of it, I just kept tacking on toward my hooch, some fifty meters down the way…

I woke up the next morning and instantly thought of all that unclaimed booty and for just an instant hoped that no one had stolen it.

But then I remembered where I was and knew that would never happen.

We had a brother/sisterhood there in Sinai.

I managed to drag my hung-over ass out of my rack and head in to breakfast in our galley. My trip took me past the table in question. Everything was just as it was the night before; waiting for the rightful owner to sober up and claim.

If I had not already been in love with my ‘Co-SFM’ers till then, I certainly was now. Two hundred folks at SFM, and nary a thief amongst us. I will never forget that minor little memory. It touched me deep.

And then I just went into breakfast. You see? This was not… ‘different’ for us back then!

Shit!

Can’t explain.

Won’t try.

For you see?

We had love.

And respect.

We respected one another.

***

Ponderin’ Just a Little Bit Though,

I’d Venture A Theory:

Our Mutual Respect Partly At Least,

Came From The Fact That

We were Living & Working So Closely Together,

Isolated, For The Most Part, From The Rest Of The World In Such An Isolated And Desolate Place.

However, I Believe The Main Reason Was Because

The Vast Majority of Us Were Texans.

(But of Course, It Is Within The Realm Of Possibility That I may Be Just A Tad Bit Biased)

Israel: My Favorite Country (aside from TEXAS)

So Iran is pissed off at Israel.

Threatening Israel.

HEY IRAN! FUCK AROUND. FIND OUT!

Israel has the strongest, best military in the Mideast. They have the fiercest soldiers. They have the best technology. What you gonna do Iran? Throw rocks against nukes?

Good fucking luck with that.

As anyone who knows me, knows

I lived

in that region for three years. I had a flat in Tel Aviv. I KNOW these people.

FUCK WITH THEM AT YOUR DESERVED PERIL

They don’t fuck around.

They don’t play.

Watch your Khomeini Ass

And just in case you happen to be “uneducated” and don’t ‘git’ me:

I’ll help you out:

“In the UK, you’re more likely to hear the word “flat” used interchangeably with “apartment.”

You’re welcome

OKAY!

I have a serious bug-up-my-butt!

And…

I am only going to say this once (Thank Baby Hey-Zeus!)

The People Who Died On Nine – Eleven

Were NOT Heros!

THEY were VICTIMS!

That is ALL THEY Were!

Victims.

Now! 

Let us revenge  avenge them!

Ed. Note: Of course the first responders Were, nay ARE Heroes and shall always remain such. And as Mark pointed out so were those civilians inside the towers who gave their lives trying to help their fellows escape. When I refer to ‘victims’ I am referring to the ninety percent who were just doing what we all do everyday: We get up, go to work, come home, kiss the significant other, pet the dog or the cat or the goldfish, and then next day, rinse and repeat.  They were just innocent victims.

And I have been to war, and revenge is lame and not really strategic.

Nor magic.

It is just… death.

(You figger out my meaning)

I am done here.

Cheers!

Lanc’d

P.S. If anyone out there knows history of the Mid East….

I invite debate.

And I worked so hard… to get the “Stray Cat Shuffle” for y’all. And here it was, right here, all along:

And for some YouTube Reasons the above link don’t work: try the one below.

(Yeah! I am pissed at technol–Oh Gee!)

Try again.

Don’t give up,

And remember: if your computer is ‘broken’, re-boot. 

Solves ninety nine per-cent of problems…

These word ‘O’h  These words!

From an’ old computer geek.

(And no! I never envisioned that day, that day, whereby, I would even think, let alone, utter, those words. Guess I have come full circle.)

SHIT!

http://wp.me/p2Yfgl-1co

 

 

 

Heart Attack ACK ACK ACK! (You oughta know by now…)

imgres.jpg
(“It seems such a waste of time.”)

I really *like* this post. (guess I have no choice)

Some of Y’all may have seen this one coming. 

Some  also may have discerned one salient fact  point of my perception of myself:

‘I think I am bulletproof.’ *insert BUD/s here*

Hell! I have always lived my life that way, embracing that one paralyzed fact. I just know I am such:

‘Bulletproof’.

“I think, therefore I am… bullet proof.”

(So sorry, René )

Hey! Just walk away Renee:

Vid Credit: hawkmoon03111951

(How many times have I cheated death? *insert Ronnie here*    *insert Minefield Here*    *insert Shark Fishing  here*     *insert Iraq here*

And on and on…

Yep.

How could anyone get past that and ever even know how fragile even I may be? *insert Shonnie here*

(Smirk) It begs credulity.

Well… I had my Bulletproof Ass handed to me a few days ago.

The consensus around the Camp Fire that is my GF’s workplace (Saint Jude—Lot of smart folks work there—mostly doctors an’ such) is that Lance had ‘experienced’ a minor heart attack. Now ain’t that funny? Ain’t that rich? AAD (“Also a Doctor”—stolen line from Wolfe’s ‘The Right Stuff’Also a doctor. The words the first schmuck said to Chuck Yeager right after he parachuted from one hundred thousand feet and crash landed:

“You look like shit” – misquote, but you get the drift: just look it up and move on…

(I was all gray an’ shit and I had all the symptoms, and my BP was… approaching escape velocity, but… shit! I was just ‘funnin’.)

Ed note: Just received an email from my… doctor… ok, she is not MY doctor, only an old friend. Anyhow, she is a pharm-assist. She says I had a Myocardial infarction. 

“A what?” I had to ask.

“You had a fucking heart attact! Dig it, ASSHOLE?”

“Yeah, I dig. So What?”

And then I invited her to not use profanity on my Blog Page. (she hung up on my dumb ass after that. I cannot imagine why)

My  Grandfather died, at ’55 of a “Myocardial infarction. ” Think I am not scared? Naw! Ain’t.

Ain’t that rich? Been there; done that. No T-Shirt, alas. Nothing to hang on my “I Love Me Wall.”

“He, most likely, has ‘experienced’ a heart attack.” Kinda like I ‘experienced’ ‘Six Flags Amusement Park. Or Four Years in Iraq.  Or a year and a half in Afghanistan, not to mention three years in Sinai, back when nobody had even ever heard of it—now that, dear reader, is sorrow:

“Hey Good –Lookin’, where do you work at?” asked she, The Hot Babe. (The ‘at’ shoulda told me she ‘weren’t’ for me anyhow, but when you’re young, who gives two shits for grammar? I axe you.)

“I work in The Sinai Desert, for the State Department” answered I, lonely guy on R&R, too far from Texas where I did not even need to employ my bullshit.

“Oh… Sorry. I only date guys who work in cool places. Bye!” She said, as she followed on over to the Fraternity Asshole House…(s) Doubtful she found cerebral stimulation there, but what the hell, eh?

***

Yeah, I ‘experienced’ those too. Those were great… experiences.

Point is, my personal health issues notwithstanding: I am back. (for now)

And am back to comment, torment, regale, impale, exhale, exhalt, vent, rant, recant, apologize, criticize, proffer, pro-offer, disclaim, disdain, mock, muse, love, confuse, confer, confide, and certainly collide.

And all that shit above is denied.

Yet…

I have this pain… in my… ass. (and me chest)

More later… assuming I get over myself tonight.

Peace,

Lanc’d

P.S. Let us just call this a ‘Stream of Consent’ Or a ‘Babbling Brook of Mind’.

Vote on it: Get back to me.

-L

DAMN!

I almost forgot the best part of this post:

Hit me like a slow bullet

SADE:

And…

All of you “likers” don’t get the ‘jist’ of the ‘jisters,’ now, do you? I don’t often ask for a lifeline, but…

Honestly now, I feel as if I am living on / my  borrowing time.

(and my bank is broken)

(and if anyone out “There” ever misconstrues that, THAT, as a plead for money, for me, well, fuck, Nay FUCK you!. I was merely communicating my status.

Words Hurt.

I know this now (“Took you long enuff Asshole.”).

I never mean to hurt; I just spew… stuff… outta my mind…

Keep yer ‘symphany.’ And your musical parades for the poor.

Give your money to Palestine… 

Yeah:  “Too Busy Drinking…” 

(Bastardized Quote.)

That’s the “Lance” we sorta, love.

Rock on, LM!

As long and as has (he?) been long (and boring) as has this post, I will never delete it.

Why? Not?

Because I love Sade.

That is the simple truth, Ruth.

Or perhaps ‘Truth #2’

But then, those of you who know… know.

It’s my page…

 “Love is a gun.”

Shit Done Jumped Off

In the Middle of the East.

Sad?

Yep.

Employment opportunity for me?

Most Def.

“Put me in Coach.”

“Redemption Day”

Vid Credit: allmydiscs

See the anger in her eyes?

(Yeah. I see that too)

This Read:

http://yelkhoudary.blogspot.com/

 

 

Random Memories from The Middle East: The Road to Sharm el Sheikh

Parts  One  Two  Three  

*** 

I sped off still heading south. I observed her fade fast in my rearview mirror, but not before I saw her mouth hanging open in wide disbelief (As if I were actually calling her bluff). After about a half-mile and her no longer in sight, I stopped, opened a beer, popped in a Joni Mitchell–Hejira–cranked it up, lit a Marlboro and waited.

Presently I could make out her petite form marching through the sandy haze, her skinny arms flailing back and forth, not unlike a power-walker. As I watched her approach I snuffed out my second cigarette, tossed the empty beer bottle onto the back floorboard, turned down the volume on Joni’s Black Crow, and waited to see if she was getting back in the car.

She opened the door, threw herself in and off we drove, not saying a word until we got within about five clicks of Sharm el Sheikh. Her face was dirty with trails of sweat running down, making small rivers of mud, her hair windblown and looking to have absorbed quite some substantial part of the Sinai.

She did not look happy.

“Are you sorry?” she finally blurted out.

“Sorry? Sorry for what?”

“Sorry for being an asshole,” she said.

“Oh, that… What!?” I was genuinely confused.

“For refusing to have sex with me this morning after that Israeli dude left.”

Now I am laughing. She wasn’t.

“Are you fucking serious Janet?” I asked after I had regained some composure. “You heard the man. We had to vacate. Did you think I was in the mood for love? With the IDF watching us? Shit Woman! It was time to go.”

“There was time enough… in the tent,” she said somewhat between clenched teeth and somewhat subdued—at the same time—a talent she had perfected over some years. (Ed. Note: Janet had five years on me)

“You are unbelievable. Okay, ‘I’m sorry for not fucking you’. Gimme another go? Right here. Right now. In this fuckin’ heat and in this fuckin’ sardine can of a car? Or would you prefer it on the burning sand with the scorpions and spiders?! For Chrissake Janet!”

“There was a time when you’d never refuse me, no matter where or what,” she said and then clammed up, starring out the window.

Fine! I thought as I gave the volume back up to Joni.

Just on the outskirts of Sharm (The whole Sinai Pennisula was ‘Outskirts’) we came upon a Bedioun ‘roadside do drop in’ sort of place.

“Hey Janet! Let’s check this out.”

“Can’t we just go in to Sharm?”

“No. I wanna talk to these folks. Besides they may have some stuff we need.”

“Fine.” (And then someday too soon, this woman would be my wife…)

I parked the car and got out. Janet cleaned her sunglasses and remained behind. I walked up to the ramshackle place and was greeted by an old grizzled Bedouin.

“Salaam alaikum,” I said.

“Salaam alaikum,” he said back. Then, “Amer-ca?”

“Yes,” said. “English? Speak?”

“La’, (no)

(I spoke just enough Arabic (and Hebrew) to get me into trouble back then.)

“Sodas? Coke-a-cola?” I asked.

“Naam,” 

“OK. Baksheesh?”

“Naam.”

I gave him a pack of Marlboros. He gave me two cokes. Apparently inflation had set in here. I smiled though and shook his hand, happy to have made some cultural advancement. Jimmy Carter shoulda seen me that day. Got back in the car. Janet, still incogneto, remarked,

“Was that worth it?”

“Yes. It was. Thank you. We are reps of the State Department. WE are suppose to be ambassadors. Don’t you git it?’

“Yeah. I ‘git’ it. I get that I want this trip to end soon. I am tired and hot and sweaty and thirsty and hungry and horny. And I see no end in sight for me.”

We drove on into Sharm.

As I have reported, Sharm back then was not much. There was one hotel, but who had money (or desire) for that? It had a tentative look about it anyhow. This was ‘Israeli-Occupied Egypt’ after all and finding investors to pump money into a region, however beautiful, must have been difficult, given the  volatility of the times and the probability that Israel would eventually give the desert back to Egypt (even though Israel had ‘held’ the Sinai for more than ten years at this point)

Past the hotel was a small ‘camping ground’ of sorts. There were ‘bird houses’ for rent: ten bucks per night and a communal shower/latrine area. I say ‘bird houses’, because that is exactly what they resembled: Thatched roof, two wooden ‘bunks’ side-by-side, and too small for a six-foot-one cowboy to sleep on. I lay down and test-drove one. I discovered that by leaving the door open I could be fine with the sleeping arrangements, letting my feet hang out, though if Janet and I were to have some privacy for any ‘Woo-Hoo’ / ‘Whoopee’, we would have to pretend we were in the back seat of a compact car and make due. (Unless we opted to keep the door open: an option my shyness would never allow me to consider)

At this point I must admit Janet was always a trooper during such times. She was of course a soldier, albeit a weekend one, and had previous experience with less-than-pristine habiliments. After we had decided to spend the night at this place, taken our showers, had some drink and sandwiches, her mood (and mine) improved as the sun went down and the heat subsided. Behind us were the mountains. In front of us, the sea, and ahead of us, our future.

We were after all, two lovebirds deep in love and in our own private birdhouse.

We made love in that birdhouse after sundown.

And with the door open.

And why not?

We were young.

(And we had all that ‘Diplomatic Immunity’  bullshit to boot)

*****

I love Joni’s smile. She don’t smile often, but when she does… magical shit happens. Shoots bolts right through my heart Baby!

To Be Continued…