'Wake up you two! Are you going to spend the rest of the day in bed?' The voice said.
It was Rich's mother but the voice sounded funny, almost as if it were coming from a 'bitch box' on base. Opening his eyes Joseph realized that he was not on base but was in Rich's bed. He could hear him snoring softly as he lay next to him. Reaching out and shaking him until he awoke, the soldier asked him what was going on.
'Oh I forgot to tell you, but after our last visit here mom decided to install a intercom.' Rich said. 'She thought it would be better than banging on the door. Hold on while I answer her....'
Pressing down a button on the night table he said, 'Yeah mom, what's up?'
Well Junior, It's you two that are not up! It's 10:45, I was just wondering if you were going to want breakfast, lunch or dinner served when you got up.'
'Sorry mom. We overslept. If it's OK with you I think we will compromise and do a 'brunch'. We will be there at 11:30 or so.' He told his mother and then asked Joseph if he could be ready by then.
'Tell your mom 11:30 will be fine,' he said getting out of bed and running to the bathroom. 'And tell her I'm sorry we overslept.'
They shaved, showered, got dressed and quickly made their way to the breakfast nook where Rich's parents were waiting for them.
'Sorry we overslept, it was my fault, but that bed is so comfortable, it's really a wonder I was able to get up at all.' Joseph said. 'It sure is a vast improvement over my army cot to say nothing about not having some son of a gun blowing reveille at 0500 hrs.' Then looking at the plate of steak and eggs set before him he added, 'Now that's what I call a really great improvement over Army chow. If I had know we were going to have a Texas breakfast I would have made it my business to be here at 0800 hours.'
'I asked Rich what you usually liked for breakfast and it was either this or 'Eggs in a Hole'. Since you had that the last time you were here, I thought I would try this. I hope I made it right?'
Every thing was cooked just perfect and to Joseph's taste. The steak was cooked medium rare, the eggs runny and the home fries were on the brown side. He wolfed everything down. The coffee was strong but not bitter. Everything was wonderful, and both Rich and Joseph complimented Sarah.
'Well I'm sure that it's not as good as the food you had at the Cafe Casablanca, but at least here you did not have to dance for it here.' Sarah joked.
'Speaking of eating and dancing, Fazzi has suggested that a party of some kind be arranged to celebrate the inauguration of the fund. He thinks it may attract even more additional investors as well as be a good public relations gimmick.' Joseph said. 'Besides, among the Arabs, it's a sort of cultural thing to celebrate the closing of a deal with coffee and sweets. Many times in the bazaars after a long hard bargaining session the shop owner will serve coffee and something sweet to close the deal.'
'That is a great idea-however let's not do the formal thing, but rather keep it informal something like a big block party. Wait a minute, how does this hit you? Let's do an American version of that Arab custom. We can have booths, several stages and bands for entertainment. Something like those mid-eastern open bazaars. Something to bring out the population in order to get them interested and perhaps to invest.' Richard senior said and smiled rather wickedly.
'Yes! And if Fazzi could get those belly dancers to perform, I'm sure that would please the population, to say nothing of you and Joseph.' Sarah said and turning to Rich she added, 'Your father has not stopped talking about that night yet. And I would like to see that lady and maybe have a male belly dancer as well.'
'A block gathering might not be a bad idea.' Rich said. 'Something on the order of that Italian Saints day festival, they hold in Little Italy every year. The one that draws thousands of people. Lots of people go and most of them are not even Italians. It could create good public relations and if there is anyone that needs good public relations these days-it's the Moslem Community.'
'It's a fantastic idea. I'll talk to Fazzi and see what can be arranged.' Joseph said. 'You know that he expects you and Sarah to be there.'
'What about Rich? Do you think it would be a good idea for him to come also?' Asked Sarah.
'He already has extended an invitation to Rich and wants to meet the actor. Joseph said 'but...'
'I do not think that is such a good idea.' Rich said angrily. ' I don't think I could control my emotions seeing Joseph and him together. I might just blow the whole thing.'
'Come now Rich. You're too good an actor not to pull it off.' Joseph argued but continued, 'However if you really don't want to come, I'm sure we can think up some reasonable explanation for your not being there. Just keep in mind that sooner or later the two of you are going to have to meet.'
They argued about it for a while and then dropped the subject. However, when Rich and Joseph were alone later Joseph again pressed the issue. He again asked him if he could try to make the effort to meet Fazzi. 'Why won't you at least come to the party? You know just put in an appearance and then leave if you feel uncomfortable.'
'I just don't want to meet the man that I happen to be sharing my lover with. This is just one more condition for my allowing this to continue. I just don't want to meet the man whose ass hole I've been kissing by proxy.'
'You heard me! You plow his ass and then you use your cock to ......... Never mind, forget that I said that. I guess I'm being foolish again. Maybe I'm not as strong as I thought I was.' Rich said as he broke down in tears.
It's a little late to be bringing this up now.' Joseph said.
'I know it's all my fault. I insisted you do this. But I want you to know the truth about the reason I agreed to this in the first place. It was not because I give a damn about the country or that I feel patriotic about what we are doing. No! Don't even let that idea slip into it. The fucking truth is that the only reason I am doing this is because I do not want to see you get killed overseas. It is not for some patriotic reason-hell no! It's just pure selfishness. I did not even want you to leave the US. The picture of you lying on some fucking battlefield torn to shreds or coming back to me in God knows what condition haunts me. I don't know if I could be strong enough to take that and I did not want to find out if I could.'
The soldier gathered his tear-racked lover's body into his arms and pressing the rear of his head into his chest as he embraced the sobbing body to himself.
'Rich, listen to me. I'm going to tell you the truth! Hear what I'm going to tell you for the first and last time! I'M AS GUILTY AS YOU ARE!' He said. 'I don't know what I would have done if you had not agreed to this. Since meeting and falling in love with you, I have changed, hell everything has changed. I know I have always told you and everyone else that as a soldier I'm a paid killer. I believed that before and to some extent I still do. Only now there is a bit of a difference. Those same visions that plague you now haunt me. That past bravado has become bullshit-just camouflage. I don't really know what I would have done had this opportunity not come about. I tried not to think about it, but for the first time in my life-I had someone beside myself to think about. I even thought about deserting. The only thing that I would not do or even consider was leaving you. Right now, at this moment, if you say 'yes' I would take you and the two of us could sneak into Canada and fuck it all! Fuck the FBI, the CIA, the army, Homeland Security and the USA. Fuck them all and everything else. In Canada we could at least get married and live a near normal life where it was just the two of us that mattered.'
'You are not joking or kidding around? You are serious! You would do that for me?'
'NO, Damn it! NOT FOR YOU! YOU IDIOT! BUT FOR US!' Joseph shouted into his ear as he placed his lips on his ear and then kissed his way down to Rich's mouth. 'We are a team, two of us as one. There just is no future without the two of us together. What do you say to that?'
'What can I say? Run away to paradise, it sounds wonderful. But ---we both know we are not the cut and run kind. One morning we would have to get up and look into the mirror and we might not like what we saw. You have a job to do here and so do I. I don't think either of us would like to feel that the other was the cause of...' Rich said trailing off the last thoughts as Joseph leaned in and kissed him deeply.
'We are both trapped by our loyalties and feelings as well as realities.'
'I know, but it is just wonderful that we got it all out into the open. I have been carrying this around for a long time now and I'm glad I got it out. I promise to think about meeting Fazzi and I think the 'Block Party' would be a good place to do it.' Rich said returning Joseph's kiss. 'Now fuck the shit out of me and let's screw the world.'
And they did just that --- they stayed in their room and made love the rest of the day. They just enjoyed the luxury of spending time together, holding each other and at times never saying anything to each other. In the late afternoon they returned to the city where they went out to eat and then to the theater. After the play while waiting for Rich to get into his street clothes Joseph had time to go over a copy of the play Rich was planning to do next. His reading was interrupted by a knock on the door. Getting up and opening the door he spotted a gentleman in very expensive clothes standing there with a bewildered expression on his face who said, 'I'm sorry I was told this was Mr. Worthington's dressing room.'
'Your information was correct. I'm a friend of his. My name is Sgt. Joseph Benson. He is getting dressed right now and should be right out. Is there anything I can do for you?' Joseph said extending his hand.
'Benson, Oh yes, His Army friend. He has mentioned you. My name is Carl Donetz. I'm the chief producer of that play that you have in your hands. My friends and I are looking to engage Rich to play in it. You wouldn't be an actor also?'
'No I'm just a friend. I'm in the army and stationed in Jersey. I had some leave time and thought I would spend it in the big city. I was just reading the play because Rich asked me to see how I liked it.'
'What do you do in the army? Rich did not tell me much about you. Are you in special services?' Carl asked. 'You are certainly good looking enough to be with the army special services unit as an actor.'
'Well, that's a new one. I was a farmer before entering service. Now, I'm an instructor at the Army Language School. I teach Arabic and related subjects.' Joseph laughed as he moved toward the bathroom door and knocked on it. 'Rich there's a Mr. Donetz out here to see you.'
'Oh! Tell him I'll be right out. Hello Carl, this is a pleasant surprise. Please wait, I will be out soon.' He said and then asked through the door. 'Is everything OK?'
'Everything is fine. You gave a very brilliant performance tonight. I think you just get better and better. I happened to be in the theater tonight with a few of the money boys. They wanted to get another look at you in action. I hope you don't mind but I mentioned that your full name was Richard Worthington, Jr.' Carl said. 'Being Wall Street types, they were curious to meet the son of Worthington Investments. They would like to take you out for a few drinks and some conversation.'
'Well you know that I have almost nothing to do with the brokerage business of my father and besides I have a guest this evening.'
'I know you are on your own, but please do me this little favor and please bring the sergeant along with you.' He said turning to Joseph he asked, 'You do drink, I mean, as a Mohammedan are you permitted to drink or visit a bar?'
Joseph laughed and said, 'I teach Arabic and Muslim customs, I'm not a Muslim. By the way the correct term is Muslim not Mohammedan. Mohammed was the founder of Islam and his followers are Muslim or Moslems. However I do drink and if Rich feels like it I would love to come along, if you are sure you want me.'
'Yes we would like to have you come with us.' He said as Rich came out of the washroom. 'What do you say Rich, are you in the mood to do a little Public Relations work?'
'Hell! Why not?' He asked as he finished drying his wet hair with a towel and then sat at his make-up mirror and combed it into place. 'As long as you guys don't plan on sticking a poor actor with the bar bill. You want to go along, Joseph?'
'Why not? Heck on a sergeant's pay any free drinks are always welcome.'
They left the dressing room and Carl guided them to a place where the two other men were waiting for them. Carl introduced them to the men and asked Rich if he knew of any suitable bars in the area. A place with a quite, private room or booth would be nice, one of them stated. We have some private business to discuss with you.
'That sounds rather ominous, but yes I just happen to know of one.' Rich said. 'It is not too far from here. We could walk it. It is an Irish Pub and they have good drinks and service as well as privacy.' Then turning to Joseph he said, 'Frank Gordon took us there once. Do you remember?'
'Yes, I remember. It was nice.'
The five of them, with Rich leading the way, walked the two blocks to the bar. Carl, slipping the doorman a $50 bill asked for a private booth where they could have some privacy and they were shown to the rear of the bar where they all sat down and ordered drinks. The three producers made small talk with Rich, almost completely ignoring Joseph. They were asking him about his schooling and his father. The waiter came with the drinks and Carl asked if anyone would like something to eat and getting no response he ordered some chips, pretzels and peanuts anyway. Around the second round of drinks, one of the producers turned to Rich and said, 'now for the real purpose for our wanting to talk to you Rich. As of yesterday, the word on the 'Street' is that your father is about to become the financial advisor, if not to the entire Arab world, at least to that section of it that has all of the money. It is also said that Worthington's may soon become one of the biggest bankers in the world. We would like to meet with him and discuss the possibilities of our getting in on the ground floor, so to speak. Do you think you could arrange for us to meet with the man that has convinced the Arabs to invest all that money?'
'Gentlemen, while I am on very good terms with my family, I doubt that my father would take anything I might say about investments and investors seriously. I have not had anything to do with the business since the time my father took me into his office on one of those 'Father/Son Days' and I accidentally pushed the wrong computer key and caused him to loose a hundred thousand dollars.'
'But surely you could at least ask you father to meet with the three of us.' Carl said taking out one of his business cards and passing it over to Rich. The other men did the same thing. 'We would just like the opportunity to meet the man responsible for this fantastic business coup.'
'But, gentlemen, you already have met him. He is sitting right here with us.' Rich said. 'Sgt. Joseph Benson is the one that was able to get this thing rolling.'
All eyes turned to Joseph as he smiled back at them... 'Just a case of being the right guy in the right place and at the right time.' Joseph said, blushing.
'Don't be so modest.' Rich said beaming proudly. 'Gentlemen I give you the future partner of Worthington & Benson, when he gets out of the army and finishes his education.'
'Well do tell us how did you accomplish this?' Asked all of the men talking at once.
'It's a rather long story, but I will give you the shortened version.' Joseph said. 'The army discovered my unusual ability to pick up languages rather quickly. They placed me in a new program, and were training me to speak Arabic. One day, while we were on leave a friend of mine and myself wandered into the Paterson Mosque. While there I met and became involved with the head of the Arab community... He asked me to his home and for some reason he took a liking to me and offered his daughter to me in marriage...' Seeing that he had the three of them sitting on the edges of their chairs, he told them that the rest of the story was unimportant. 'Once the Sheikh found out that I was friendly with Rich and his father, he insisted that a meeting be arranged and the two of them plus myself developed this present operation.'
The three producers sat there dumbfounded. Carl finally able to talk said, 'My God what a movie or stage play that would make. If I didn't hear it from you directly, I would \not believe it. I'm not sure I believe it even now.'
'Well whether you believe it or not, it is the truth. Like I said before, I just happened to be, the right guy, in the right place at the right time. That's the way The Arab/American Investment Club came about.' Joseph said. 'Now what is it that I can do for you?'
'Joseph, you could let us in on the ground floor. Let us in on the action!'
'I don't know if there is any 'ground floor' to be let in on, yet. In any event, for now at least, two things would prevent that. Number one; as it is set up now all the investors have to be from the Arab community. Each new member must be voted into the club. I don't know if it will remain this way or not, however if you will give me your cards and if something does come up I will be more than happy to see that your names are put forth. After all,' Joseph said with a broad smile on his face, 'I'm sure that Mr. Worthington and myself would be more than happy to let some business fall into the laps of the producers of Rich's next hit play. However for now the incorporation plans and by-laws of the club limits membership.'
'That's rather unfair. Isn't it?' the men asked.
'Perhaps so,' the soldier continued. 'But by limiting membership to Muslims, it prevents the profits from going to non-Muslim causes. And that brings us to reason #2. You see gentlemen this is basically a religious corporation whose only reason for being is to raise money for Arab Charities. The money collected will be used to purchase income-producing capitol, the profits of which will either be reinvested to produce more capitol, or will be dolled out to charities. It will operate just like all the other educational and religious endowments. Aside from small operating expenses all the profits will be turned over to selected Arab charities and causes. There will be no stock dividends as such. The investors would not want to see money being given away to rival religious groups without their approval.'
'But that's Un-American!'
'I beg to differ with you on that point.' Joseph said. 'What religious charity allows its money to be invested in any other charity than it's own. Would the Jewish or Christian charities permit its resources to be shared with others? Remember this is a Muslim group of investors and it wants to remain that way! At least for the present time the only non-Muslims involved are Mr. Worthington and myself. While Worthington Investments will not make much on this fund, it is hoped that the 'good will' generated by the fund will attract other Arab money into using Worthington's as their investment brokers. Mr. Worthington has offered to take a small percentage of his usual fees to cover expenses and perhaps make a small profit. As for myself, my expenses will be taken care of by a small salary, which will go towards the payment of my college education. We can only hope that if things go well, and the members begin to gain confidence in the 'American Way' that they will see fit to open it to the public. Or even perhaps see fit to invest their other money with Worthington's.'
'To tell the truth what we were thinking of was not so much investing money, but being able to make connections with this community and perhaps get them to invest some of their money in producing plays or other entertainment enterprises.'
'You know that might not be such a bad idea. Perhaps we could invest in plays that would get Americans more interested in Arab culture or the Arab view of the world.' Carl said. 'Maybe produce an Arab version of 'Gentlemen's Agreement' or something like that. You know a story about anti-Semitism against the other, forgotten Semites, the Arabs.'
'Now that sounds interesting and I will keep you in mind and if you should happen to come across a property that falls into that category I will be most happy to recommend that the board consider it.' Joseph said, reaching for their business cards. 'Do you mind if I keep these? I will relate this conversation to Rich's father and the Sheikh. I am sure they will be happy to hear of your willingness to help the cause.'
'Great and thank you. Now let's have another round of drinks.' One of the other producers said. 'By the way when are you going to marry the daughter of the Sheikh? I bet she is a young beauty. Perhaps there is a love story in there we could use in one of our future plays.'
'We have been officially engaged.' Joseph said and then told him that, 'for now and until I'm out of the army, his daughter is living with relatives in Michigan while I am residing at the Sheikh's home in Paterson. It is an old Arab custom to keep the bride and groom apart before marriage.'
'That must be hard on you, Joseph.' Said Carl. 'I mean with your future father-in-law looking over your shoulder and all.'
'Not as hard on me as it is on her.' Joseph smiled. 'You see there are no restrictions on the male as far as sewing his oats or having affairs at this time or even after marriage for that matter... In fact it is rather encouraged as it provides the groom with the experience and knowledge to have sex with his virgin wife. Only the woman must remain a virgin until marriage.'
'A virgin, how old is this girl? 12 years old!'
'No she is a beautiful young woman, over the age of consent, who was raised in the traditional Arab manner by a rather over-protective father.' Joseph explained. 'Had she been raised in the old country, or if her father had followed all of the customs, she would have been engaged at the age of 10 if not sooner. Anyway she was not and therefore her father, looking for a young man who he thought would provide him with many grandchildren, saw fit to offer her to me and I feel very lucky that did.'
The three of them asked Joseph a lot of questions and after a few hours they all left the bar in good humor and said good night.
'Why the hell didn't you tell them that there was no chance of their getting involved in the Club?' Rich asked Joseph when they were alone.
'If I had done that, who knows, they might have got angry and pulled out of backing your next play.' Joseph smiled. 'This way we keep them interested in you and your career. As long as they think the door is open they will maintain an interest in you. We lost nothing by being nice to them and giving them hope as to how they might gain by helping you.'
'That is downright sneaky as well as brilliant. You should be my agent!'
'It's not your agent I want to be right now. It is your bed partner. Let's get home and into bed baby. I'm all talked out for this evening and after I report on what happened this evening to Agent Barns I want a little tail.' Joseph said as he drove the car back to Rich's place. 'Hey, honey why don't I rent a monthly parking space in your building. In fact why not rent two spaces. I can afford it now and you could bring your car in from the Island and use it. On some weekends you can come out to Jersey and we could spend time together.'
'You may be right. I'll see about it tomorrow. These over night fees must be adding up and we might just come out cheaper renting by the month.' Rich said as Joseph parked the car. 'I'm going upstairs and get ready for you. You can call Bill and then come up when you are finished with your business.'
'Great idea!' Joseph said, picking up his cell and punching in Bill's number. 'You go up and get that ass ready for me. All nice and clean and lubed.' After Rich left the car his call to Barns went through and he reported on his meeting with Rich's father and the three producers. He also reported that the fact that Fazzi wanted him to become his representative to Worthington, and act as a tie between the Arab Community and Worthington.
'That's fantastic, almost too fantastic to believe.' Bill said. 'Do you think it's too soon to put your relationship with Fazzi to a little test.'
'What do you mean by that? I think it's damn well solid.'
'What do you think would happen if you were to show up when Fazzi was in the midst of a meeting with his Syrian controllers?' Bill asked.
'I don't know, most likely he would try to get rid of me. I'm not sure what he would do.'
'Well you are about to find out. That is, if you are up to it. Fazzi is meeting them for dinner at his house tomorrow, I suggest you stay away.' Bill said warily. 'But on the other hand it would be nice to see just what he would do.'
'How the hell do you know about this meeting?'
'Joseph, you are a grownup now. You are playing with the professionals now. You don't think we would let you operate completely alone, do you?' Bill said. 'You know we have other agents who are looking after you. I told you that you were too valuable to loose. Now don't even ask me who they are. It's better that you don't know. Anyway, we were informed that they would be at Fazzi's house for dinner and a meeting tomorrow night at 7 PM. What do you say about turning up for the meeting, say at eight, to see what happens?'
'It could spoil the whole operation, but if you think there is something to be gained-I'll do it. I can use the fact that those producers want to get in on the action as a reason. In fact, I can also use the excuse that I came to give him a report on Richard's willingness for a club party. Yes I think that will do it. Of course, I could also tell him that I was hungry for his body and wanted to get in some sex. However, I think he will buy the other reasons more easily. Look Bill I have to go now, Rich is expecting me and I'm staying at his place tonight. I'll call you tomorrow, if I can.'
'OK, bye now.'
He opened the door to Rich's apartment and went in. Rich was waiting for him, posing nude on the open sofa bed. 'Shit that's one hell of a picture to see when I come home. It reminds me of Julia Roberts waiting for Richard Gere to come home from the office in 'Pretty Woman' her feet up on a desk clothed only a men's tie'
'Oh is there some other way you would like to be greeted?'
'Any other time, hell no, but I just got off the phone with Barns and I have some disappointing news to tell you. He says that Fazzi is meeting with some important Syrians tomorrow and I have to find out what they are up to. I'm afraid that I'll be leaving after I take you to the theater tomorrow night. Is that OK with you?'
'OK? No it's not OK, but you can go, you have my permission.' Rich said disappointed. 'It's not that bad, just the matter of a few hours. Let's make the most of the time we have left. Let's not waste the amount of preparation I just did.'
And so they did! That night and most of the next day they spent the time making love and when not doing bed maneuvers they walked around the village holding hands and acting like the rest of the Village people. Sitting on the green grass in one of the parks, eating some 'Red Hots' for lunch and then eating dinner out in a little Italian Cafe. When it came time to say good-bye, Joseph drove Rich to the theater and dropped him off and then drove out to Paterson. As he drove onto the estate he saw a strange car in the driveway. Noticing that the plates had Diplomatic Plates he proceeded to the door and rang the bell. After a short while the door opened and a startled Fazzi stood there.
'Yussef! What are you doing here? I thought you were going to be away the entire weekend. Why didn't you use your own key? Come in I'm so happy to see you.' He said as he grabbed him around and hugged and kissed him.
'What key you never gave me a key? What are you talking about?'
'Your key, the one to your apartment over the garage. The locks are the same. I'm sorry I thought I had told you that.' Then whispering into his ear he said. 'You did not think that I would let you live here without at least providing you with a key. I want you to feel like this is our home-not just mine. You are free to come and go, as you like. As a matter of fact I have been entertaining some guests that I am sure would like you to meet.' Putting his arm around Joseph's shoulder he escorted him into the Library.
'Gentlemen this is Yussef, the man I was just telling you about.' Fazzi said and introduced the two men to him. One was named Allie Balbak and the other was Hassan Segour. 'Yussef these men are old Army friends of mine that are working for the Consulate now. They are here because they have heard about our project. And wanted to get all the information they could, first hand.'
'Yussef we are pleased to meet you. Fazzi has been telling us so much about you. We are very pleased to meet you at last.' The two men extended their hands and took Joseph's. 'So you are the Army guy that is going to marry Fazzi's daughter and help our people to a better life. When Fazzi first told us about it we were skeptical to say the least. Now after only a few months it looks like it might work after all. You my boy are a genius.'
'Me a genius? No not me, it was Fazzi's idea. I was just a helper. That's all.' Joseph said, blushing. 'Just, as I was telling someone the other night, a guy that happened to be there, just some idiot who blundered into a good situation. Nothing more. If I might ask what are your positions at the Consulate?'
'We are cultural and educational attaches. We are here to study the American educational system to see if there is anything we can learn from it as well as to advise our citizens in this country and offer them help in keeping their Arabic heritage from becoming lost in this country.'
'Ahhhhh! Perhaps, if you let me, you can be of help to me.' Joseph said
'Yes, Yussef is teaching causes in Arabic culture and history.' Fazzi offered. 'He has even asked me to give a few lectures.'
'Yussef, and what makes you such an expert?' Allie asked.
'If the truth be told, nothing. I don't know much about the subject, only about what I have learned from Fazzi, his family and friends. But I have been able to learn something from the Arab/American community here in Paterson and I hope to teach it to American soldiers so that they begin to realize that Arabs are not the uncivilized people that our movies and some books have made them appear to be.' The soldier said. 'I also hope to get Arab speakers to tell their own story themselves and not have it be told by non-Arab teachers with their own axes to grind.'
'Good luck to you! We have been trying to do that for years. I know you will have a very difficult time. If you do it right, they might even have to throw you out of the Army. You have to be careful.' Hassan said. 'Your President thinks we are all devils and that we are looking to turn all of you into creatures from hell.'
'Well aren't you?' Joseph said laughing. ''I don't think he thinks that and even if he does, the man is an idiot anyway.' Joseph said. 'And he will be out of office soon.'
'You have no fear saying something like that?'
'Hell no, we are still a representative republic here and the people control the government not the other way around.' Joseph said. 'Even as a soldier I retain the rights of citizenship. In non-combat conditions I retain the right to criticize and complain. That's one of the reasons we serve our country, to defend the constitution, not the man in power. I'm sorry if I sound so so ...so.. I can't recall the word in Arabic but in English it is jingoistic. However, that is what I am.'
'You are very eloquent, and your Arabic is excellent. If you were in Syria you most likely would have been put in jail by now. Perhaps Fazzi will tell you about some of our jails. We have ways of teaching our guests the error of their ways.' Hassan smiled.
'I have heard of them and my advice is to change your system. You can only maintain so many jails before you become the jailed. Anyway I think it's better to educate people than torture them. Is not the example of the life of Mohammed enough to hold up as a guide? Did he not say that to convince people is much better than forcing them? I do not know the exact quote, but his whole life was based on this.'
'Mohammed also spread the word by the sword.'
'Perhaps you are right---Fazzi is teaching me the way of submission to Allah's will. It just seams a waste of time, money and peoples lives to continue the way of the Sword.'
'Force is the only way! You must submit.'
'Then perhaps our President is right. But I must warn you Americans will never submit -- we fought too long for the rights we hold so dear. While we are not a democracy yet, we will get there someday. That is the promise that our constitution holds out to us. If I am going to have to replace that promise with something else-it had better be something worthy of it. And gentlemen that is what you will have to sell by words and actions-not by force.'
'Very well spoken and that is what we are here to learn and perhaps we can teach each other. Fazzi was right, you Yussef will help us to understand and we can and will work together.' Then turning to Fazzi he said, 'May Allah continue his blessings on you and your household. Yussef if there is anything we can do to help you, the consulate is at your disposal. It was nice getting to know you and please keep us informed on your activities. We shall be happy to do what we can. It is getting late and we have to be leaving now.'
'It was nice meeting you gentlemen and I'm sure Fazzi will keep you informed of our activities. Be careful on the way back to the city as the traffic is fender to fender.'
After Fazzi saw them out He returned to Joseph in the library.
'I hope I did not cause you any trouble with my big mouth.'
'No as a matter of fact I was telling them the same thing when you came in. You only told them better! I think they took it better coming from you.' Fazzi said as he gathered Joseph in his arms and the two of them again kissed passionately. 'It is so good to have you here and anytime you are going to come you are welcome to just as you Americans say, 'Pop right in'. This is your home now and you have the key to our home and my heart---so use it. Now tell me, what was the real reason you came tonight?'
'Well I was excited to tell you about Richard's ideas on the party as well as some of his stock recommendations and there was a connection that I made last night that might be of use to us in the future. I thought you would like to hear about these things right away.' Joseph said with a questioning look in his eyes. 'Why, do you think there might be another reason?'
'Yes, I thought that you might have missed me and that you just could not stay away from me! I was hoping you would say that your body wanted to make love to me. But that was too much to hope for.' Fazzi said as he tried to disengage himself from Joseph's encircling arms.'
The soldier's fingers slipped down to the Arabs ass and pulled the Arab firmly into his groin so that he could feel his growing hardness and whispered into his ear, 'Damn it, you caught me in my first lie. When I parked my car and saw a strange car outside I knew that I could not just run in here and rape you. I had to think quickly and come up with a cover story. The best cover story is always based on some truth and even though everything I told your friends tonight is the truth-Habibi the real truth is that I wanted and needed you.' He said kissing him passionately and then grabbing his hand and pulling him along up the stairs to their bedroom, he continued, 'and to prove it I'm going to fuck the shit out of you all night long.........'