Saturday, August 10, 2013

Daring Life

"Daring Life" was originally posted October 29, 2012 but taken down a few days later when Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti was tortured and beaten to death by cyber police in Tehran.  The quote to the family from authorities read:  "Buy a grave today and come collect his corpse tomorrow."
I have come down from my rooftop and instead been jogging in the compound around the mosque where the men gather on their knees in the grass to chant and lift hands toward the sky. It was night and not even the little boys and girls who follow me throwing bottles at my feet or race after me afoot lunging at my t-shirt were there.  No street lamps either.  Just eerie silence and me.
Then, appearing out of the shadows through the front gate, one of my coworkers was leading a local man to his apartment. It was odd, their body language. My coworker, the one I call “Angry Man,” but who nicknames himself Bangkok Phil, is a behemoth. His massive shoulders and legs can barely squeeze onto the bus that drives us through the desert each day. The man was just a local Saudi. Dark browed and dusty haired in western clothes.  Sleek and without any muscle, he was half Phil's enormous size.
I passed by them and said nothing, just trotting along in the still night. The weather has cooled some and it’s quite a relief. I did think it queer though. Two men walking together ten paces apart down a lonely alley up the stairs to an apartment.
I kept on. Shirt soaked in sweat. Legs cutting and slicing the pavement before me.
Ten minutes later the men returned. The Saudi was sprinting away, a terrified look on his face, looking over his shoulder long after passing through the gate. Then Bangkok Phil appeared.  His shirt open, massive barrel chest dropping over the front of his unzipped pants.
I stopped then, as I was ten feet away.
“Pretty Daring, man?” I took off my headphones to look into his eyes.
Bangkok growled and stared off in a sneer. “He was worth the risk.”  Then walked back into the darkness leaving me alone on the street to finish my run.

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