THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 19
…May the name of Aldona Afridi hereby be erased from Talibanistan records, as if he never existed!…
“He must be dead, Sheikh Nutkani. No one can survive in water that cold… what a fool!” Nae Tan-Dan assumed he would play by the rules, finding it hard to believe that Aldona Afridi would act so rashly.
“If he is dead, we must act on our plan sooner than we wanted. If he isn’t dead, he will wish he were.” The former Taliban tribesman is outraged, appalled that this scientist would betray his duty. He is not however, without his wits. “You must find another source for the laser access codes. Surely there is a failsafe protocol built into the system.
“May the name of Aldona Afridi hereby be erased from Talibanistan records, as if he never existed!”
“The United Korea will honor its end of the bargain, Sheikh. Nae Tan-Dan has the loyalty of all his people.” Third person references denote self-importance.
Fading automobile noises signal a reprieve for the severely exposed Aldona Afridi. He has spent the last hour clinging to the drive shaft of his ferry refuge, giving e tenuous lease on life. Bleeding from a flesh wound to his upper arm, due solely by regaining dry land, he needs to come with a more well thought out plan. There are signs that he has not been completely forgotten, the fresh siren sounds of activity, likely not from concerned ambulance medics, not mention the helicopters.
Where will he go, is the question of the moment? This nondescript and aptly unnamed tribal village has some 500,000 clansmen/women and not one would open their drafty homes to help a stranger, let alone a hunted one. The logical thing to do is to change his identity, but that is currently a longshot option.
He decides that his best chance is on the other side of the river, bridges being few and far in-between, then take his chances from there. He needs to convince himself that lowering his body temperature once again is a good idea.
But that he does with a polar bear’s approach, so he tackles the fifty meter swim to provisional independence; independence not freedom, with freedom attained only with asylum status for him and his family at a rare Western Embassy.