There were acres upon acres of freshly mown green that stretched beyond the scope of my contact-lensed and soon-to-be-surgically-mended eyesight; the sculpted bumps in the landscape brought images of the Incredible Hulk to mind, as if the color was meticulously hand painted onto strapping steroid-pumped drool-inducing biceps. The cornflower blue skies were strewn with clouds as puffy and white as makeup remover cotton pads and the wind was waltzing around my cheeks, whispering ever so tenderly, ever so melodiously in my ears: Murderer.
The frail brittle body appeared mangled, the torso so severely dented I assumed I must have crushed the stomach with the lethal force of the impact, the golf club – murder weapon? – resting next to the corpse, which was bent in Kama Sutra position #206: Crucifixion. Well, shit. When Nabil had first wooed me with talk of amorous putting and barely-ass-covering checkered skirts I bet he hadn’t anticipated this sudden turn of events. Me on my knees, mouth gaping open at the pure sight of it. Well, that might very well have been what he had imagined but seeing as we were being cock-blocked by a corpse, it’s safe to say we had bigger issues to deal with.
“Mister Nabil!” The caddie stumbled, scurrying over to the crime scene; victim, murderer and weapon present. He mumbled in unintelligible Arabic and Nabil gestured to the cadaver, bellowing. The caddie bent over and scooped it up without a moment’s hesitation.
“I cannot believe I kill it.” My accent was heavy, as I forced out the words in English and Nabil placed a comforting hand on my bare shoulders, gripping the flesh tightly, as if kneading dough. His gruff voice was gentle when he spoke “It’s just a bird, Radmilla.”
“We won’t let a tiny bird ruin our beautiful day, right?” he squeezed my arm tightly, raising a bushy comical eyebrow and I let out a strained laugh
“Now there’s one less bird to shit on cars anyway.” He bawled hysterically and we started walking back to the driving range, where I had stood and witnessed, only moments earlier, the bird falling in a swiveling spiral, its final fatal squeaky scream almost like a banshee’s, as it pierced my ears. It was the first time – out of 100+ – where I had actually managed to hit the ball, instead of the grass. But my initial excitement had of course dissipated and disintegrated, when the ball had made contact with the poor creature. And as if Pan himself had witnessed my initiation into villainhood and had decided to pass the harshest judgment, I desperately need to pick my nose but Nabil refuses to look away.
It all began when the inside of my right nostril started itching uncontrollably and an irrepressible urge to blow my nose overtook me. I tried to wiggle it as a form of desperate remedy but to no avail. Subsequently, I attempted – in vain – to suck the mucus back in but it just sounded like an elderly Elephant’s mating call. The craving had planted itself so firmly in my thought process that I wished I could just break off my nose á la Sphinx and be done with it. I have no shame in admitting that I would have simply stuck my index finger inside and hooked it out. The problem? Nabil’s gaze hasn’t shifted away from my face – or actually a few inches lower – since we got here. I’ve been doing several tribal dances trying to hide the booger from him. Now, his left arm is around me, as he demonstrates how to use the golf club but luckily, my hair is providing me with a much-needed curtain. His hand is snaking its way around my waist now, and as his fingers find flesh, I almost moan with desire. I chance a look at him and he’s ogling me like I’m the last Falafel sandwich at the vendor’s, moistening his lips at the mere thought of the taste, the sauce oozing, dripping, as he bites down, and he flicks his tongue deliberately, leisurely licking it all off, hmm…
This is most definitely not how I imagined my trip to an Arab Muslim Third World country. Initially, I thought I’d be using their main means of transportation – camels, obviously – and ride through the vast desert, the pyramids providing the Stock-image backdrop, as a plethora of Dementor-looking women in black garments and heavy eye-kohl followed suit. After my two seconds of Cleopatra-esque fame, I’d be lead to the tribe leader’s tent, who’d be astonished by the power of modern technology after I present my iPhone to him and as a result, I’d be honored at the festivities held around a manmade fire. Their most eligible ruggedly handsome bachelor would marvel at my European beauty and immediately ask for my hand in marriage, serenading me with an Arabic rendition of Aladdin’s Arabian Nights. Oh, and there’s a belly dancer, of course.
Yet, the moment I set foot outside of the airport, my Ancient Egyptian fantasy was shot down faster than the bird had nosedived to its imminent death. There were no majestic camels awaiting my arrival at the airport, just rusty ancient cars that resembled tuna boxes that had gone through a shredder, and they farted every time the driver hit the brakes. The pyramids were replaced by even more impressive structures that rivaled it in height and numbers: piles of trash. And I would describe the city to you but my vision was instantly impaired by a blanket of black fog that hindered any sightseeing I might have done. It’s not an Arab oasis; it’s a fucking shithole. And I thought Bosnia was bad.
Anyway, so I’m sitting at this shitty café in a shitty neighborhood, sulking and hating my shitty life, when Nabil walks in. I look around at the men in loose white dress-thingies and foot-long beards, who’ve been gawking at me as if they’ve never seen a specimen of the female sex, in a confused daze. Nabil stands out like a Serbian in Sarajevo with his clean-shaven tanned visage, gelled back hair, and Tom Ford get-up, a Rolex dangling on his left wrist. What the fuck was he doing here? (later on he’d explain that he loved buying Kebab from cheap places to feel more connected to the common people). He catches me staring and looks flabbergasted before he composes himself and closes the distance between us in two big strides.
“I’m sorry, are you Russian?” His English is so good, it catches me off-guard. He pulls up a chair and sits down, no invitation needed.
“Bosnian.” I struggle not to stammer, flirtatiously crossing my legs and batting my fake lashes at him.
“What’s that?” I giggle for 5 seconds exactly (the perfect amount of time to show interest without seeming desperate, according to SlavicBabe, the Eastern European version of Cosmo).
“Country. Next to Croatia.”
“Ah. So, um…” he looks at me expectantly and I flip my hair, angling my body so my tits look bigger.
“So, Radmilla, what’s your type?” he inquires bluntly but I’ve already got a grip on the game and I answer seductively, my eyes dancing with humor.
“Well, I guess I’m lucky then.”
He had it all wrong. I was the one who had won the lottery. The shabby cars were replaced with BMWs, the trash piles with mountains of mouthwatering food and the smog with a blizzard of diamond necklaces and silver anklets. It was like the genre of my life had changed from Horror to Romance in a split second. And the sex is fucking incredible. Those Arab men are really fucking big…on luxury.
When Nabil first suggested golf, I felt like the First Lady of the United States but in a much shorter skirt. I texted my best friend back home straight away, raving to him about my Prince of Arabia but, of course, he roasted me. Other than, of course, hoping he’s not the Arab version of Tiger Woods, he said and quote: “I mean, it’s a respectable sport for sure. They do whack at balls for hours. And he probably gets it in the hole every time”. Suffice it to say, the golf jokes are going to haunt me for years to come.
Now, that’s all fun and great but it’ll become void the moment he sees my nasal catastrophe. How could he possibly stay attracted to someone with balled up mucus dangling from their face? This needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed quietly. It’s proven harder than I originally thought though because an invisible wire originating from his cornea has latched itself onto my face (breasts) and anchored itself there for the past 15 minutes. There are only so many times I can giggle and let my hair cover my face before I look psychotic.
My saving grace comes in the form of a ringtone, as Nabil fumbles with the contents of his pocket and fishes it out. I breathlessly wait for him to swivel away from me, to give me even a second to feel relief so I can go back to bubbly laughter and subtle thigh squeezes without mucus looming over my head and thank god he does. He turns slightly to the right and I hesitate before hastily moving my finger towards my nose, the sweet essence of liberation already washing over me, my imagination running wild with thoughts of comfortable eye contact and lack of paranoia. But it’s as if he read my mind. He mumbles something curtly on the phone, diverting his attention back towards me and stuffing his phone back in his pocket. I bring my hand down from the general direction of my face hurriedly before he can catch on. Fuck. So close.
Nabil resumes his socially inappropriate position to my right – the booger side – and is leisurely running his hand down my back, further down towards the hem of my skirt and I yelp half in anticipation of our midnight workout and half in fear of the discovery of the snot.
“Okay, habiby.” Nabil breathes into my ear, which turns crimson “Let’s try to do it again.”
“Okay.” I moan at his proximity, as he positions himself behind me and nestles his head on my right shoulder. I immediately turn my head away, my heart galloping. That was a close save. But now that he’s behind me, I can secretly and faux nonchalantly succeed in my mission. I’m about to pull my hand off the club quickly but he beats me to it, resting both his hands firmly on mine.
Can’t a girl catch a break?
“Okay, bend your knees a little.” He instructs, his voice oozing pure sex “It’s good practice, no?”
“I do not need practice.” My voice is hushed and husky and he inches even closer, so close I hold my breath. But as he’s blurting out instructions, I’m mapping out an escape route, calculating the likelihood of my success. Nabil starts lifting the golf club off the ground, preparing for a swing and through pure wit and survival instincts, I come up with a plan to end the fatal itching. The club hovers on the ground for a few more seconds before Nabil swings for me, his head turning in sync with the club’s movement, but I turn my head the opposite way, ingeniously rubbing my nose on my elevated shoulder. I marvel at my own wit, doing a premature celebratory dance in my head, when I hear a shrill scream emanating from my Egyptian hunk. I look behind me, and he’s flat on his back, shrieking in pain, his voice several octaves higher than his usual rough baritone.
My eyes are about the size of the golf ball, which impressively enough is completely out of sight.
“What happen?!” I kneel beside him, rubbing his biceps comfortingly.
“You swung the club into my back!” he bellows in my face and my heart stops in horror, as I realize I must not have paid attention, while rubbing my nose clean.
“W-what we do?” I stutter, my face flushing, as my dreams of entering the realm of Arab extravagance joins the golf ball hundreds of yards away.
“Call the driver! The hospital’s close.” He squeezes his eyes shut in pain and I reach into his pocket and hand him the phone. He screams into it and lays his head down on the grass; I take it as an opportunity and make sure I’ve wiped my nose.
The caddies carry him like a casket over their heads and lay him down in the backseat, as I ride in the front, listening to his wails of agony. We get to the hospital, which looks like the Waldorf Astoria, two hours later (not much by Egyptian time standards). The car comes to a halt at the gate, the driver rolls down the window and converses back and forth with the security guard almost pleadingly. Nabil roars at the guard but they don’t let us pass.
“What is wrong?” I ask perplexedly and Nabil yells the answer at my back.
“The fucking minister of sports had surgery and it’s his birthday. They closed the entire fucking hospital for his birthday celebration. Fuck this corrupt fucking country!”
The next nearest hospital looks like a communist apartment complex, the paint is peeling at the front, the walls adorned with graphic graffiti images and the smell of illness wafts up into the air, filling my (clean) nostrils and disturbing my stomach. We rush Nabil inside the crowded and very much overflowing waiting room, where he hands the nurse several bills and she rushes him inside.
I take a seat on one of the scratched up plastic chairs disgustedly and observe the people around me with a contorted facial expression. There are men in stained and over-bleached shirts coughing all around, creating a horrendous symphony of disease. A nearby baby is wailing so uncontrollably his screams are actually masking the coughing. The obese woman next to me is carrying a pot of meat and potatoes and is reaching elbow-deep into it and handing three greasy-haired kids – I bet she fried those potatoes on their heads – large portions of the muck. I spot a cockroach in a nearby corner and whimper, revolted beyond description, as a man in a neon green shirt notices, springs up from his three-legged chair and steps on it, the crunching sound of its death ringing throughout the room, yet no one even flinches. Add to that the fact that the concept of air freshener is completely unknown to them or has been replaced by a lingering smell of B.O. and human feces.
I cross my legs and purse my lips tightly, reluctant to even complain or simply exit because after what I did, this is a small price to pay. I pull out my phone and inspect the reflection of my face in the screen and nod to myself triumphantly. I mean it took a murder and some minor maiming but there’s no mucus in sight.