Friday, July 15, 2011

Nothing Is Impossible

Laila Ali

"Impossible isn't a fact - it's an opinion." Laila Ali

You can do anything you want to do but what is difficult is knowing what you want to do.  What is your passion? If you knew you couldn't fail, what would you choose to do? What do you do when no one is watching? When are you happiest? When do you completely lose yourself in an activity? You don't think you could make a living doing this - then remember - there is always a market for the very best.

Wearing this pendant by Charms Maker will  remind you -

The Sky Is The Limit

And now for Chapter Four For of For Such The Angels Go.

                                    Chapter 4
            Jean climbed into the car and slid into the front seat. She glanced at the man, who had turned his attention to the steering wheel. He was younger than Jean had first thought, maybe only in his early twenties. His ragged sweat shirt was stained and there was a wide rip in his jeans around the crouch. Jean averted her eyes and then noticed that he wasn’t wearing shoes.
            The car was thick with an unpleasant odor. A combination of sweat (the man’s, or maybe her own) and tobacco and something else. Something similar to the smell that had permeated her aunt’s hut. But she was dry and safe and in no condition to complain.
            “You’re bleeding on my floor,” the man said, as though Jean could help it. As though she was in a position to bandage herself. She lifted her right foot and wrapped it around her left calf, still holding her blood stained sneaker in her hand.
            “I’m going to Hawa,” he said, “actually I’m going through it. Straight through for about fifty kilometers. I’ll drop you off in the center of town. But I got to make a stop first. You don’t mind, do you?”
            Jean shook her head. “Thank you, sir. And I’ll pray for you.”
            The man seemed to think her remark was comical and he snickered. “You a Muslim?” he asked.
            “Catholic, sir.”
            “I don’t believe in God,” the man said in a hard, bitter voice. “If he’s alive and well, he’s nasty and he don’t give a damn about us.”
            Jean’s first impulse was to argue. If one didn’t believe in God, then one had nothing. Nothing to wish for, nothing that made any sense. But she kept her lips pressed together.
            “Nope, God ain’t been good to me but than again, I ain’t been good to God.” The man gripped the steering wheel with grubby hands. “I ain’t been good to many people neither.”
            “But you’re helping me now.”
            The man shrugged. “Ain’t costing me nothing. Anyway, I appreciate the company. After I drop off the parcel.” He turned around and glanced at the back seat.
            Jean’s eyes followed him. For the first time she noticed a thermos resting on the spilt cushion, wrapped in a filthy tee-shirt. Jean’s throat was dry and parched. She wondered what was in the thermos and, if it were water, whether the man would give her a sip.
            The man must have noticed her staring because he asked if she were thirsty.
            She nodded.
            “And hungry too, I bet?”
            She nodded again.
            “Can’t help you.”
            Jean said nothing.
            “Maybe your uncle will give you something when you get there. The truth is I’m hungry and thirsty too. But that thermos is full of mud. And besides, it don’t belong to me. Gotta give it to the big man.”
            Suddenly the car swerved and headed for a dirt path. Jean released a gasp of surprise as she slumped forward. Maybe this man was right when he claimed that he wasn’t so nice after all. Maybe he had his own plans for her. Maybe he was going to kill her and leave her body in the woods.
            And who would even miss her?
            “Don’t look so scared. I told you I had to make a stop, didn’t I?”
            Jean wanted to know who he was visiting and how long they’d be stuck in the woods. But she didn’t think it was a good idea to ask too many questions. In fact, she thought the less she talked, the better off she’d be.
            The car stopped with a sudden jerk, throwing Jean back in the seat. She was feeling nauseous from the heat and humidity, wishing that she had something, anything to drink. Even muddy water.
            “You wait right here, you understand. Don’t go anywhere.”
            She nodded. She doubted that she could walk even if she wanted to.
            “What’s your name?” he asked suddenly.
            She thought it strange that now he wanted to know who she was but she mumbled, “Jean,” hoping he wasn’t going to ask her last name.    
            “I’m Peter. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
            He slammed the door of the car and walked towards a run down shack which looked deserted from the outside. What if he plans to take me in there, Jean thought, and torture and kill me?
            She began to pray, asking Jesus to forgive her, although she still wasn’t sure what she had done.
            And then she heard voices. Angry voices. She scooted over to the driver’s seat to listen.
            “Where’s the merchandise?” Somebody was asking and not the guy in the car because this voice was different, deeper, raspier.
            “No merchandise until I get the cash,” Peter said.
            “You don’t get it, do you?” a woman insisted. “You owe us money. The last delivery didn’t come in as planned. You didn’t give us everything we paid for.”
            “Yeah, that’s what you say. But why should I believe you? When all is said and done, you’re just a bunch of thieves.”
            There was a long strained silence.
            “Where is it?” the man bellowed.
            “Not until I see my money.”
            Jean had a really bad feeling about all of this. She thought that Peter would be back in the car in no time flat. Only he wouldn’t be in a good mood. And maybe he wouldn’t be going to Hawa anymore. Maybe this was the last stop for her. Where would she go in the middle of the woods with a bleeding foot?
            But Peter wasn’t coming back to the car at all. Because several seconds later, Jean heard a loud explosion which she recognized as gun shots. She had heard enough gun shots when the rebels came marching through her town so she knew now that something terrible had happened.
            And that it wasn’t safe to stay in the car any longer.
            But this time, she wasn’t going without water. In a flash she turned around and grabbed the thermos and the dirty tee-shirt to wrap around her foot. She opened the front door, quietly closed it and hobbled to the nearby wooded area. She couldn’t put any pressure on her injured foot but she managed to go a few feet into the forest. Then she collapsed, hiding under some scrubby brushes.
            At least the rain had stopped although the ground was soaking wet.
            In a few minutes, she heard the front door slam.
            “If he didn’t have them on him, then they have to be in the car. He was planning to give them to us, as soon as we gave him the money.”
            “My guess is the trunk,” the woman said.
            Although Jean couldn’t see them she knew that they were close, too close. Jean could almost smell the woman’s musky perfume. She wanted to get up, to crawl out of her hiding place because surely that would be the sensible thing to do. But if she made a sound, if she moved a muscle, she’d be as dead as poor Peter.
            She could hear them pop open the truck and they were moving some heavy objects. And then the woman cursed under her breath. “Not here,” she finally said.
            “Hey, look at this,” the man was calling the woman. “Fresh blood.”
            Jean’s blood.
            “What happened here?” The woman didn’t seem concerned, just deeply suspicious. “Could he have knocked someone off?”
            “Where’s the body?” the man asked.
            “Where’s the merchandise?” the woman wondered.
            “I’ll tell you where the merchandise is,” the man said with a great deal of authority, as though he knew for certain. “It’s with the person who was bleeding. There was a fight and he took off with it. Is he dead?”
            “I shot him at random. I don’t know.”
            “Well, this is what we’re going to do,” the man said. “We’re going to go inside and hope that he’s still alive. Then we’re going to make that man talk. We’re going to find out what happened in his car. Who he was with and where that person is now. No one does this to me and lives to tell about it. Move!” he bellowed and for one horrible second, Jean thought he was talking to her. “I don’t have to tell you what’s going to happen to us if we don’t get the merchandise to the border by tomorrow. We don’t have anytime to waste.”
            Except it was Jean who had no time to waste. She didn’t know what they were talking about. She didn’t have any merchandise but they’d never believe that. As with Peter, they would shoot her first and ask questions later. She had to move and fast.
            She tore a piece of the dirty, ragged tee-shirt. She wrapped it around her foot, and slipped her foot back into her sneaker. The pain was excoriating. She drew a deep breath, wiped the perspiration off her face and then grabbed the thermos. She could tell by the weight of the bottle that it was full. And then as fast as she could, she stumbled deep into the woods.

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