I come to life stumbling.
The roads are dirt, my feet are bare and the only way i seem to keep my balance is by bending forward while pedaling back with my feet. Every step is a lurching jerk. I have to pull my shoulders back before i trust my body to respond and let me slow my pace.
Great effing Horus, i must be drunk. I try to blink the blur away, and squint to see the edges of form, but to no avail. As my attention from my balance wanders, the next step on my left i lose my balance. Slow down, I’ve been here before, I’ve got this, I tell myself. Thrust left hand out grip invisible rail and swing right food around extra on its next step, stumble twice on right and raise right palm up and away.
Inches away from a startled woman. “Tthorry” I slur, lurch left and stumble on.
As the grey-out fades me back in i realize I’m in the middle of a rather wide dirt street, surrounded by dull brown buildings. It’s night and people are out and milling. Most ignore me, except for those who step out of my path, glancing back to make sure I’m not dangerous. I do my best to glare back and then realize I’m approaching this all wrong.
I manage to stop without falling over, fooling my dumb balance by reaching out and pressing against non-existent walls quickly on one side then the next telling myself i can somewhat stand. I sway for a minute or two triumphant.
I slowly bring my arms up either side of my head, breathing out and drop on my ass.
“Ugh-Oh!” I cough as I land on my bottom in the dirt but I seem to be ok and stable in my lazy lotus position.
No one seems alarmed. Maybe drunks are normal in this town.
Where am I? How did I get here? Why am I so drunk? I keep swaying back and forth and my left hand twitches like I’m having a seizure.
Someone grabs me by the neck and throws me on a flat surface. I can’t help but start babbling, trying to explain I mean no harm but all that comes out is nonsense and drool. I try to rise and only succeed in vomiting on myself.
That’s when the beatings start.
Kept in a dirt room for days, I am beaten often. My tormentors all seem cut from the same mold: large, arrogant and brutish. Straight out of central casting. No matter their race or gender, not a one under 6′, all thick & broad shouldered. One of them has fists like large rocks and biceps bigger than my head. Sometimes he gets disgusted by me and hits me till my world grows black
They are angry when I talk. Even when I attempt to mimic whatever language they speak, I am kicked and hurt.
Sometimes there are others, they examine me and discuss me like I am meat.
One of them, Ahmed I will learn later, has me cleaned and carried away. I am his now. I don’t know why. Maybe he was told to.