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Wednesday, 01 January 2020

Notes from Exile: Arabian Nights

Written by Benjamin James Bartee
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Photo courtesy of Yunus Klifa from Unsplash 

October 21, 2010, 2:00 a.m.

My Last Early Morning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

In a one-man pre-dawn raid at our military-style fortified compound -- where all the Western infidels who dare step foot on the Holy Land must live --the S.S. (Sweaty Stubs, or, alternatively, Stubby Sweats) woke me up with a bang on the apartment door.

I was barely awake, because it was 2 in the morning and because I had spent the last week “medicated”. I had no idea who was pounding on my door and probably should’ve been more apprehensive about opening it. But I wasn’t.

There stood the S.S. He was characteristically covered from head to toe in sweat – but even wetter than usual – with his wifebeater soaked under his bountiful mammary glands.

The S.S.’s t-shirts stayed covered in what some people call “underboob” sweat, a reference to the undercarriage portion of the breast tissue, perhaps what could be deemed the “support structure” of a hefty pair of breasts. The S.S.’s t-shirts, which stayed covered in his underboob sweat, were almost always white. His hair, and his fire-pink nipples (the S.S. was a natural redhead), and even his chest acne which lingered into this twenties or early thirties or whatever he was were usually visible too. The dog tags from his service, which he still wore daily, hung over all this.

‘WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY?”

That was a rhetorical question. Whatever I had done -- which I didn’t remember clearly myself at the time -- the S.S.’s tone made it clear that he knew all about it and that he was none too pleased.

I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything and just looked at him. By now I was aware that not answering the S.S.’s rhetorical questions really got him worked up.

“YOU’RE GOING TO GET US ALL KILLED!”

Lights turned on in the apartments around us. Faces peered through curtains into the Arabian night darkness at me and the S.S., standing together in my apartment doorway.

I still didn’t know what to say, for reasons mentioned already. So I didn’t say anything.

“YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH. YOU JUST – YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH – WHY THE FUCK -- YOU’RE GOING TO GET US BOMBED. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”

I got a call the following noon. A few hours after that, I was on a flight to London to a connecting flight back to Atlanta.

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Last modified on Thursday, 02 January 2020

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