Somewhere I belong.
My entire life. I was a loner. Nobody took the time to understand me or get to know me. They didn’t want to. I knew they thought I was strange. All I can remember from most of my life was that everyone was so cold to me. Rejected. Not respected. Ignored. I couldn’t find a place where I belong. This is the sad truth. It’s nothing new. After all my life is a series of misfortunes and bad luck. Why am I not surprised I lived this long. I always kept telling myself, one day. One day all my bad luck will be turned upside down. One day… At first I believed it with the most profound depths of my soul, but… After a while, with time and age, I began to lose hope. I had come to the conclusion my life would end with me dyeing in prison, become homeless, murdered on the street for no reason, be involved in a car accident, be taken by internal illness, suffer a disaster, or even go through the misfortune of what crazy conspirators consider rapture or a government fascist takeover. I could see how one day my luck would somehow take me to one of these crazy ideas. It was only a matter of time. And chances my misfortune wouldn’t stop there, I would probably end up in hell as sheer coincidence.
Being that I’m almost 30 years old, unemployed, a college dropout, and still living with my parents, I decided to live a little and take a trip to Kenya in Africa. It didn’t cost me anything because I won the tickets for free at the mall. A man jumped out at me and gave me a brochure yelling that I’ve won, how could I refuse. What could I lose besides an ego that seemingly never existed. My parents thought it was a good idea because it would open my mind to new oportunities and cultures. Maybe then I could stop being a complete disappointment and actually give my parents something to brag to the neighbors about.
I hopped on the plane and that’s when it struck me. Man, I’m going to Kenya by myself. I’m doing something I would never do. Normally, I would sit at my desk, draw, and make comics. Maybe this trip could give me some new ideas. After all, looking at the brochure, Kenya seemed like a pretty interesting place. Maybe this will be fun, I thought to myself.
After 13 hours flying, in the dead of night, I found myself becoming awaken by turbulence. I watched as the plane’s wings wobbled out the window. At first I thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until the turbulence got really bad that I had the thought that what if there was a chance I left out thinking how I was going to die was with a plane crash in the middle of Africa. Great just my luck. Why am I not surprised. Suddenly there was a bright light outside the window. One of the turbines had caught fire. Oh gees, now I’m really going to die! I panicked. Many people began to yell and panic. Oxygen masks fell from the ceiling. The pilot address everyone to stray calm as they began a decent. Placing the oxygen mask over my face, I began to question my own life.
Suddenly there was a crashing sound. Smoke began to rise from the floor. Well, that’s it. I’m dead. This is how I go down. A virgin with nothing to live for. I said calming my nerves with my own pity. I watched as people on the plane began to panic and even fight with each other trying to reach their suitcases. I tightened my seatbelt. I couldn’t feel the tears roll down my face as I had become completely numb from fear. As soon as I felt the plane pick up speed, I knew something had happened with the plane’s engines and that there wasn’t a hair of doubt we were going to crash. Screams faded into the back ground and a roaring engine lit up the entire side of the plane. “F*ck it.” I said to myself.
The plane slammed onto the rough terrain beneath. People flew out of their seats and smashed against the ceiling. Fire and sparks rained from the floor, smoke covered the air, and the wings from the plane tore off hurling one wing into the air and in front of the plane. The plane’s tail can be heard tearing completely off with people screaming as they tried to reach for their loved ones. It was as if a terrifying and blistering loud nightmare. I thought it would never end until the plane had come to a deafening, rollercoaster, earthquake halt. I could vaguely see the turbines continue to try to spin blowing fire out the other end. I shook off the haze. There was no visibility as smoke and dirt blinded every inch of my surroundings. I undid my seatbelt and began to climb out of the plane. There was a field of debris and bodies everywhere. I could see other people walking around as if in a zombifyed vegetative state. The smell of gasoline, burning rubber and plastic filled their air. I crawled out of from the isle and climbed off the plane. While I walked along the desert floor, ironically I found my travel bag. I picked it up and continued to walk away from the plane. I walked so far from the plane it felt as if I was walking away from a bad dream. Eventually I reach a safe distance and watched as the plane burned. I could hear the horrifying screams of those being burned alive and those looking for their loved ones. Looking down I noticed I had been bleeding the entire time. I had left a trail of blood all the way from the wreckage. I then fell backwards and gazed at the night sky. “Life is a bitch and then you die. I guess this really is the end. And I have nothing to show for it. Well... sh*t. I guess I’ll die a virgin after all.” I said to myself as I closed my eyes.
Feeling cold and a large noise, I opened my eyes. With my eyes blurry and blinded by the sun, I looked around to see people getting gathered by men with AKs in the back of an old military truck. One guy refused to come and with a loud crack, I watched as the guy fall lifeless to the floor. There was only a handful of survivors and they were all being taken away. Should I be thankful they weren’t taking me? I looked over to my side and stared directly in the face of a vulture who patiently waited for me to die. Ignoring the oversized bird, I then looked down at my wound.
I tore my sleeves and tied it around my waist to stop the bleeding. This must have been the worst looking wound I had had my entire life. I was too afraid to go back to the plane to revisit the nightmare I had walked away from. So I grabbed a stick and began to walk the desert landscape. “Worst vacation ever.” I complained to myself.
After walking for miles towards the mountains, I began to see a small ranch. As I approached the ranch, a man stood on the front porch. I stood still unsure of what I had just done. “Should I run?”
Suddenly the man yelled into the house and a group of five guys ran outside carrying AKs. “Sh*t, I should run!” I replied to myself. I then began to walk away and then began to run after I heard a car engine start. “Sh*t! Sh*t! Sh*t!” I yelled to myself as I ran trying to look behind me. It wasn’t long before a vehicle pulled out in front of me with a massive machine gun pointed at my direction. The men started yelling at me. Men jumped out from the truck and pointed AKs my direction. I got down on my knees. The driver walked out from the car and walked up to me. He began to talk in a calm tone. He then gave out his hand. I knew for a fact he didn’t want to be friends, so I gave him my travel bag. He took the bag and began to look inside it. He was disappointed to find a bunch of comic books, sketch books, and other useless items uninteresting to him. Looking at the comics, he took interest in one of the comic book and began to look at the pictures. He then gave me back my travel bag. The guys then pointed their guns and made me get into the truck.
I sat in the middle between the guys. They both smelled like they had never taken a shower in their life. I did my best to hold my breath in the meantime. The guy in the passenger side, beside me, kept looking at the comic and chuckling to himself. He seemed to be really enjoying the comic. I continued to say nothing, instead I also looked at the comic to take my mind off things.
The driver kept talking on the cell phone and looking at me, it seemed they already had something planned for me. I could only assume it was nothing good. Just my luck.
We drove into the mountains and eventually, we reached a small town. As we slowed down to drive over a bridge over a tiny ravine, I watched as woman and children bathed pouring basins of water over their heads. We drove into the town where buildings were made of clay. There were many strange designs, symbols, and artworks on the side of the various colorful buildings. Children ran and followed after the car. Two of them jumped and hung onto the truck, the men in the back didn’t seem to care.
Eventually, the truck stopped in front of a red two story clay building. The men ordered me to get out as they pushed me with the side of their guns to go into the building. I guess I’m about to meet the mob boss or cult leader. Still don’t see a way out of this mess without certain death. I thought to myself.
We walked upstairs and a man in an old tan military uniform, who was snorting cocaine, asked me to come into the room. I walked in and he leaned back in his chair. “You American?” He asked. “Yeah.” I replied. “You. Awwwewn Boosh in da correct?” He asked again gesturing a plane crash. “Yeah, I go boosh.” I replied. He then began to laugh. “Boosh ma la.” He repeated as some people chuckled around me. “You lost?” The man asked again. “Yes sir.” I replied. “You are only su-viva.” He continued. I looked at him with a hard to believe face. “Not believe, you-a friends are dead.” He said pulling out his phone and showing me pictures of decapitated people from the crash. I made a big gulping sound. He pointed to my wound. “You inja-d.” He stated, he then leaned back in his chair and pointed to one of the guys. The guy he pointed to nodded and left the room. “You have family?” The man asked again. “I do. In the states.” I replied. “Forget dem. No one leaves he-a alive.” He replied. He then pointed in a 180 degrees direction. “All of dis, is dead ma land. You no get past, extremist regime. Only die. You live he-a now. You help fight, no extremist regime, you go home. Understand?” He stated. “But kill my family, you die. You food for de birds. Good trade. Okay?” He stated once more pointing to his men. “You want me to live here?” I asked. “Ye-a you live here now. You help village. No noes. You live he-a, you fight he-a. Good trade. Okay?” He restated. A doctor walked into the room. He lifted my wrap to see my wound. He then began talking as if to himself. “Ha, You-a lucky to be alive. Lucky.” He said to me. Then he looked at one of his men. “Maku, show him da village. Give work. Go.” He ordered to one of his men. “Please, go wiz him, he help you. Go!” The man demanded pointing at the doctor. I then turned around and followed the doctor out the door.
I followed the doctor and he took me to his clinic across from the two story red building. He sat me in a chair and began pouring alcohol onto a needle. He then pulled hair off a horse’s tail which hanged from the ceiling and soaked it in the alcohol. He then lifted my wrap and began to stich my wound. He didn’t say anything aside from repeating “good”.
After he stitched me up, he then gestured me to come with him. “Good.” He kept repeating as I followed his instructions. I then followed another man and walked down the long street and towards a building that resembled a hotel. As we walked, we past a group of woman wearing no clothes or were wrapped in towels. They laughed as they past me by. The man walked me up the stairs to a simple clay room that had a window that over looked the entire street in the village. Looking out the window I saw that the room next to me had a large machine gun nest like the large guns they use to carry on navy ships in World War II. The man pointed at me and then pointed to the room’s floor, gesturing me to either stay here or telling me it’s where I’m staying. Feeling a lot of pain, I decided to sit on the single person spring bed and look out the window. The man closed the door behind him and I watched as he walked out onto the street.
I walked town the tiny corridor to the bathroom. The bathroom was extremely tiny with shreds of newspaper and a clay pot with a hole in the floor. “You have got to be kidding me.” I told myself.
I stared out of the window at the people walking in the street. It was like a world of its own. There were native Indians walking with large sticks, farmers with AKs, females that wore minimal to partial amount of clothing, and old people who wore nothing but briefs and Hawaiian shorts. Where the hell was I?
The next morning, a guy walked into my room. “Lucky, now is work time.” The guy said smiling with extremely white teeth. I looked up at him and grunted.
He gave me a plank of wood with two buckets on both sides. I assumed they were to carry water. The man walked with me with his mule and AK in hand. As we walked, the man gave out his hand. “I’m Maku.” He stated. I shook his hand. “Greg.” I responded. Since Maku seem friendly, I thought I could ask him and get some answers. “I have a question Maku, where are we?” I asked. “Dat is easy ans-a. I don’t know.” He replied very happily. “Oh great.” I replied. “Tiz very great!” He replied. While we walked, we caught up with a group of ladies who also seemed to be walking to get water.
While walking with them, Maku and the ladies began to sing together. While singing he looked at me and smiled. “See, we don’t know each a-da, but we sing togeda. I am a ladies-man.” He said smiling. We walked for ten miles before ending up at a nearly completely dry river. As we walked up to the water’s edge, Maku was singing with the ladies as the ladies and him had their arms around each other while singing as if a group of drunk college classmates. We walked up to the water and began filling the buckets we carried. As we began to walk away we heard gun shot in the distance. They seemed to be coming from the other side of the ravine. Suddenly, I noticed we were being shot at as dirt and sand shot up around us. We all dropped our buckets and began to sprint behind a dune of sand and grass. Immediately Maku began to cock his AK and tear rounds into the distance. The females we were with then reached into their garments and pulled out old style pistols. They joined Maku in the fire fight across the ravine. After ten minutes of shooting at each other, the enemy combatants ceased fire and left the area. “Ha, they are out of ammo.” Maku laughed as if it was a normal thing to experience. I looked at him as if he was crazy. I couldn’t believe that for the first time in my life I had been shot at. I couldn't help but to feel completely terrified at the idea I could have easily had just died.
We got our buckets of water and loaded the mule. I couldn’t help but to tremble and look around at anything that made a sound around our surroundings. Maku took something from his mule and approached me. “He-a, I give you-a present. Use it to protect yo-a self.” He stated giving me a machete with a yellow painted handle. “What does the symbol mean?” I asked looking at the white symbol on the handle. “It means you are pure. You want to do good. The weapon is a tool. Is da tool for survival. The symbol means intentions. To do da good intentions. You have intention to go da good and to survive. Dis is a symbol-o ou-a cult’cha.” He explained.
We walked again and one of the ladies road on the mule. Maku and the ladies began singing a different song. Since the repeated chorus had “I Survived”, I could only assume it was a song about surviving. Since the sounds of the song were easy to follow, I also joined in singing.
When we got into town, our group had our arms around each other and singing very loud while swaying side to side. Since I was singing on key with a nice voice, I could only assume the reason others in town stopped what they were doing was to go see and hear me singing. Even the village leader in charge of the town went out on the balcony to hear me sing. I suddenly began to see and feel something different in the town. People were friendly, harmonious towards each other, and ethically they were naturally good. When I saw the smiles on people’s faces, something inside me changed. I knew here is where I belonged. I then found myself wanting to do something good for the community that I felt needed me. As ambitious as I was I wondered where could I start?
The next day, I stared out the window of my room looking down at the symbol on my machete Maku had given me. I then had an idea. I got up from my bed and walked around my room to figure out how I was going to make this idea work. Then I grabbed a candle and lit it up with a match. I pulled out my journal and pencil from my travel bag and began sketching designs. My parents use to tell me I was full of useless information; however, now I found this useless information had become useful beyond belief.
That afternoon, I presented my idea to the village leader. “Come lucky. What do you want? You want to go home right?” The village leader asked. “I have a favor to ask you.” I stated hoping he wouldn’t be against the idea. “Come, let us hear the lucky idea.” He announced. “It’s approximately ten miles to get to water. While on our way here, we passed many places I thought could have water underground. I have these designs…” I stated before he put his hand up. “Lucky, lucky, you cannot change da-world. I like yo-a plan, but if you only knew.” He stated. “If I knew what?” I asked. “We are at war my bro-da. Dis is no-time for inventions. You kill or be killed. Dis’s way around here now moment. Good idea, but no resource. Please go. My much busy. Go.” He ordered. I then nodded and exited the building. He sat back in his chair and two guys walked up to him, one carrying a map.
I sat outside of the hotel on the porch looking out at people in the street. I really wanted to help the town. I could think up so many ideas. I felt I needed to help but not get in the village leader’s way. I then began to walk around town. I greeted people as they walked up to me. They greeted back knowing I didn’t know their language. I then began to ask for Maku. One man then gestured for me to follow him. He led me to the barbers shop and sat me in a chair. “I don’t have any money I can’t.” I replied to him. He then grabbed me the arms and dragged me into a seat. I sat down and heard a familiar voice. “No money, no problems lucky. Be relax.” Maku responded getting a haircut. “We don’t use money he-a. There is no money, ha! Imagine dat.” He joked slapping me on the arm playfully. “Here everybody broke. Broke but happy. You have money and cannot happy, not worth money.” He continued. I sat back in the chair and the barber began to shave my beard. “I have been busy with ideas of my own lately, I need a favor from you.” I asked. “Oh no, sneaky man on da mission ma la.” He laughed raising his two hands off the seat. “You need help I can help, but favor, favor I don’t know. Depend on da favor.” He replied. “I want to build a place where water is easy to get. Can you help me? You’re the only other person who speaks English aside from the single phrase doctor and busy war lord.” I pleaded. “Hm, I like dis idea. Find where?” He asked again. “When I first arrived here I past a mountain valley. I think it’s the perfect place to find water.” I explained. “Hm. Water here? Mountain is very dangerous. Many extremists can be found he-a.” He replied. “Can you somehow help me make this happen?” I asked. “But, I’m soldj-a.” He stated and paused as if not really knowing what he can do. Then the idea struck him. “Ah, I can help. I get ma- best man, I bring dem, and den we find water. But on one condition. I take first sip.” He joked and then began to laugh. I then began to smile.
The next day, we got up early. The sky was a dark morning blue. A group of five men, including Maku and I walked along the mountain tops to find a good view of the area.
After walking some distance, I found a place filled with trees that I believed would be a great place for a well. “Down over there, that could be a good place to dig a well.” I announced. “Are you sure?” Maku asked. “Yeah, I mean it seems to be alright.” I replied. “Come, I know a shortcut.” Maku replied.
It took us a few hours of hiking down an extremely rocky area, but eventually we arrived. I looked around and examined the soil. I didn’t know much about what I was doing, but it seemed in my imagination like a place I would put a well. We then began to dig. After hours of making a six foot hole, there was no water to be found. “Maybe it needs to be deep enough.” Maku replied. Since I was tired and Maku’s men were exhausted, we decided to go back to the village by following the tiny stream of water to the place where everyone bathed.
When we got to the village, I felt extremely disappointed, not to mention a little humiliated in front of Maku’s men. However, Maku didn’t seem disappointed. “Next time we find da wata, right lucky.” He stated slapping me on the shoulder. I nodded.
I walked up to my apartment and threw myself onto my bed. “Sh*t! Can’t anything ever go my way. Why am I such a disappointment.” I yelled to myself. Outside my window I heard some children laughing. I then closed the shutters outside the window and laid back in my bed. Surprisingly, I didn’t miss home. I rather be a disappointment in a place people barely knew me than at a place where I didn’t have expectations. I then looked over to my ideas on my table and used one hand to throw it all on the floor. I couldn’t help but to still feel so angry that I crumpled the piece of paper and threw it out the window.I then threw myself back in bed, turned over facing the opposite direction, and closed my eyes.
The next day, there was a knock. “I hear you Maku, I’ll be ready in a second.” I yelled. When I opened the door, a shirtless old man wearing blue Hawaiian shorts greeted me. He pointed at the design I had drew on the piece of paper I had crumpled and thrown out the window last night. “Yeah, I drew that.” I stated. He then gestured me to come with him.
I walked outside the hotel room and many people from the village were outside with pick axes, shovels and buckets. A lady walked up to me and began to talk with me in their language. “I don’t understand.” I asked. “She telling you to show her the hole.” Maku stated. “Hey, what’s going on?” I asked Maku. “One of my men has a big mouth. Now de entire village wants da well. Day are here to help de-a.” Maku explained. My heart sank to my throat.
With a group of fifty or more people, many to who were armed, walked to the hole we dug yesterday. Once they saw the hole, they began to dig. They used the dirt to make a new path as well as make a trench to hide the road from their enemy. I couldn’t help but to feel a little emotional to see everyone so motivated and into what they were doing. I had never seen such a sight in all of humanity. After making a hole 20 feet deep, the soil began to become very moist. I knew we were getting close. I could feel the energy and excitement of the villagers as they began to sing in joy as they worked. Many villagers worked all day and a handful stayed up to work at night.
When we arrived the next morning, we watched as a group of guy had dug almost fifty feet down and were swimming in a pool of water. The villagers were all surprised and ran to the pool of water. They began throwing water at each other cheering and singing. They then spent the entire afternoon building it up with rocks. Showing people my drawings, the wood cutter than began discussing my designs to build a windmill to pump water to the city. The villagers seemed to enjoy the drawings.
That night, the village hosted a celebration for the opening of a new well. People came to me and gave me a hug and a bottle of aged dry red wine. I sat on the porch with Maku too drunk to make any sense as we sung the song of survival for no reason. Later, I watched as Maku sang and staggered down the street falling two times.
The next morning, I had the worst headache of my life. I remember running to the bathroom and puking my brains out. I walked outside and immediately had to puke again. Two young girls saw me looking my worst and brought me to the tiny ravine where they washed. They began pouring water over my head and using sponges to wash my upper body. “You ladies man now.” Maku announced with a slab of meat over his head. For no reason we both started laughing.
Later that afternoon, after eating eggs and bacon at the local meat market, a man ran down the street yelling. Once Maku heard what the guy was saying, he immediately jumped to action leaving his half eaten plate behind. I didn’t know what happened, so I followed. As Maku walked behind a building to a jeep, he pulled out his AK and swung it over his shoulders. “What’s going on Maku?” I asked. “Der has been an attack. One man is dead.” Maku stated portraying the gravity of the situation. “What can I do?” I asked. “You can stay here or fight. Nobody forcing you.” He replied. Looking at the back trunk of his jeep, I saw a variety of weapons. I took out an M4 assault rifle and a few of the 5.56 magazines. I had never fired a gun in my life, but after today, I wanted to help. Maku didn’t say anything, we both jumped onto the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat and I held on as he tore into the dirt. He drove the vehicle to the red building and made a call sound. Three other men ran out of the building and jumped into the jeep as the jeep temporarily slowed down. Then I grabbed on to dear life as Maku stepped on the gas and blazed down the street. We exited the mountains and to the desert landscape. At a water hole, we found a group of soldiers surrounding a dead a body who had a newspaper covering his face. One of the soldiers was crying as he mourned the loss of ehat appeared to be his friend. When one of the soldiers went to grab him by the waist and lift him up, he pushed off of him and pulled out his pistol. He pointed the pistol at his own head and the other soldiers backed off repeating a phrase to him. I then understood what the village leader meant. They were at war. Suddenly the guy calmed down and lowered the pistol from his hand. One of his fellow soldiers walked up to him and put his arm on his shoulder. The other soldiers put their hands on his back and began to sing a song as if they were in mourning. The soldier than got on his knees and lowered his forehead into the dirt as he began to cry deeply once again. As he cryed and began talking to himself, he then began to feel very angry once more and with his hands shaking, he put his finger in the soil in which his friend’s blood had soaked and drew a line on his forehead. He then got up and began walking away towards the open desert. Everyone watched as he walked away crying. “Where is he going?” I asked. “He is going to get revenge for his bro-da.” Maku explained. “All by himself?” I asked. “Yes. By himself.” Maku replied. We watched as the sun set on the horizon and the soldier slowly began to run towards the sunset. “It is said, the past is in the sunset. When the sunset goes down, so does the day. After it disappears, today is gone forever and tomorrow comes.” Maku explained. I looked at the M4 I had in my hands, the symbol for good intention was also painted on it.
The next day, I sat on the porch as the carpenter walked by with three workers carrying a sled of large logs and a partially crumpled piece of paper with my designs waving around in his hands. Time to get back to work. I thought to myself. I then walked back into the hotel and began brainstorming more ideas and designing more concepts.
A few days later, as I was washing clothes with a group of old ladies teaching me how to say diffent colors in their language, a soldier walked up to me and requested for me to go talk to the village leader. The ladies took my laundry and I immediately walked to the village leader’s building.
I approached the upstairs doors and they immediately swung open. “Come in lucky.” The village leader said with a tone sounding as if a father who is trying to be angry with his son. There is much talk of you around. What are you doing wiz ma-town?” He asked. “I was just.” I tried to reply before getting cut off by his hand gesture. “You are using my resources and my people. What do you have to zay to dat?” He asked again. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” I replied. “Sorry for what, keep doing what you-a doing.” He responded. “Look around, people are happy. If people happy, I am happy. I am going to give you resources so you can keep doing what you-a doing. Can you do dat for me?” He asked with a smiling and nodding his head. I then nodded. “Good, is a good deal. Now go! Much busy you and I.” He stated. “Thank you sir.” I responded. “Yeah, yeah. Go. My much busy.” He said gesturing me to leave.
I then ran to my room and pulled out my sketch book. In a hurry I flipped through all the ideas, tearing out the ideas I thought were most crucial. I never felt so empowered in my life. Looking at the pages I tore out, I couldn’t help but to make revisions as I thought they were far from perfect. I then began to draw some more. Before I knew it I had been improving my ideas all afternoon and all the way until midnight. The carpenter must have noticed the light of the room was on and stopped by to see what I was up to. Looking at my ideas, I could tell he was fascinated. Although we didn’t speak, he also grabbed a pencil and began making modifications by coming up with more ideas.
Two weeks had gone past and I had only began to innovate and improve the quality of life for this small simple village. With the help of the carpenter and many villagers, for the first time, they had water that pumped, using a windmill, from the well and into a water tank for the town and even neighboring farms. For the first time, the villagers discovered what it was like to be able to take a shower with no manual labor. This was just the first innovation. I then designed and installed a plumbing system using clay tubes and rocks. This even led to the idea of purifying the water using a variety of local minerals and resources. However, it felt like the more we improved the quality of the town, the more the extremist regime increased their assaults around the mountain. I agreed that something had to be done about the enemy eventually.
A month later, I had become well acquainted with every individual in the village and neighboring farms. I had even picked up on simple phrases in their language. Often the villagers and farmers would invite me to eat and spend the night at their homes. Everyone always had such interesting stories to tell and not once has anyone made me feel unimportant or inferior. They even offered me their daughters as brides in which I had to kindly refuse. Somehow, I found myself to be completely dedicated to my work. I had redeveloped most of the town and neighboring farmers, improving their houses foundation, materials, home structure, and plumbing. The village’s road was now paved with stone, water was easily accessible anywhere, telephone wires were built into an underground compartment on the side of roads to allow for local telephone communication, with much more infrastructure and technological innovations. With more assaults, I was also ordered by the village leader to make improvements in security; therefore, we had built a tall wall made of clay and logs around the mountains and places that were relatively important, so our enemies couldn’t conduct surprise attacks anymore. To stay ahead of our enemies, we also build look out towers to quickly see where our enemies were or where they were coming from. I believe the village leader was very much impressed with my works.
I walked out into the street from the hotel and a group of ladies walked by wearing nothing but wet towels. I could only assume they were coming from the hotel swimming pool I made for everyone to enjoy. I greeted the ladies and they greeted me back. Despite the many advancements in infrastructure, the town remained cheerful, the same mindset, and open-minded for new innovation and ideas. What more can I do? I thought to myself. I continued walking down the street and to the barber shop. I sat back into the chair and let the barber work on my beard. Suddenly, Maku walked in and sat down besides me. “It’s been a while.” He said slapping my arm like he always does. “The town looks different. I have never seen such happy people in my life. Tell me you-a secret.” He joked as we both laughed. “Did you hear already, I’m planning to make a bunker soon for you and the village leader. It’s going to be really huge. We’re going to build it inside the tallest mountain. I’m going to call it Maku’s mansion.” I stated causing him to laugh. “Me and my own mansion? Oh yes. I can’t wait to have da my own mansion.” Maku replied cheerfully. “I like day very much. By da’way did you see the ladies today? Day swim and sing for you.” Maku stated putting his hand on my shoulder.
Two weeks later, in the pouring rain, the village leader’s army, began constructing a bunker from the inside of a mountain. Since it was raining, I stayed at the hotel and drew ideas on where to make a safe place for the villagers to hide and even grow food and survive in case there was ever an attack or a disaster. I also began drawing some new comics of my adventure. “Maybe I should design my own house.” I thought to myself.
The next week the village leaders had not been heard of for days I wondered if anything had happened to him and his army. I began to feel sick to my stomach at the thought of anything bad happening. I asked around to see if anyone knew, but nobody knew anything. A few guys went to check on them but didn’t come back. I began to feel worried, so I grabbed an M4 rifle from inside the two story red building and went up to the mountain myself. When I approached the entrance to the bunker, there was nobody in sight. It was as if everyone had abandoned everything and left. There wasn’t even a trace of an attack or collapse. What was going on I asked myself. Confused, I walked back to town and discovered a long row of tanks and black jeeps parked in front of the two story red building. What the heck was going on? I couldn’t help think to myself. Suddenly an old man ran up to me and pulled me inside of a random building. He told me there were strange men looking for me. I asked him where the tanks came from, but he said he didn’t know. They just rolled on in from nowhere. I asked him if I should be worried, but he didn’t seemed to know. He then told me that if I were to run that I could stay at while at his house. I returned a thank you but first thought it was best to go get my belongings.
I rushed out of the structure and crossed the street very quickly. I ran upstairs to my room and quickly packed my bag. Suddenly there was a knock on my door. “We are with the federal police, we need to speak with you.” A voice announced. I quickly shoved everything into my backpack and jumped out of the window and swung over to the room next to me. I turned the machine gun turret around at the door and cocked the gun loading the first round into the chamber. “I’m in here, whatever you want to say, you can say it on the other side of the door.” I yelled. “Don’t do anything stupid, we’re here to take you back to the United States.” The man announced. Surprised, I lowered the gun and found myself in complete shock.
I opened the door and was met with a Caucasian guy in a military-looking uniform. We walked over to the village leader’s office where I met up with a large audience of military personal. “Hello, Greg, this is general Howbert and Lieutenant Ferdinand. We’re here with the United States Navy, Marines, and Africa’s federal services, and we’re here to take you home.” The general stated. “How did you find me?” I asked. “We intercepted special transmissions on your remote telecommunication networks from our satellites.” The general replied. “Wait. What if I don’t want to go home, what if I’m happy where I am? Right here.” I asked. “I’m sorry, it’s out mission to bring you back. It’s either this or being deported by force by the African government. Either way, you’re coming home.” The general explained. “Understood.” I replied. I looked over to the village leader. “Well, I guess my time has expired. I guess this is goodbye.” I said to him. “No need to worry Greg, they discovered gold in those mountains. All these fancy tanks you saw out front are Israeli bought tanks. Since we knew you were here, we made a deal with them to allow us to come and get you if we delivered the tanks to them. Because of you, they have enough fire power and ground superiority to defend themselves against any extremist force imaginable. Now without any delays, it’s time to say your goodbyes and head back to America.” The general explained. The village leader stood there with his men standing completely straight on the other side of the room looking extremely tough and ruthless. As the general put his hand on my shoulder and turned me around, the village leader then yelled salute in his language and his men raised their hands in the air and over their heads with a salute. I turned and watched as a tear rolled from the village leader’s face. “Fo-a Lucky! Salute!” The village leader yelled. Then him and all his men gave a final saluted. I nodded my head with a smile.
The Navy general then turned back around and we both walked out the door. When we exited the front doors to go outside, the entire village along with many farmers stood outside waiting for us. In their language I gave them a short final address and a thank you for their hospitality. All at once they ran up to me wanting to give me a hug, touch my shoulder and back, and kiss me on the forehead. The Navy general was surprised and shocked to see how many people were there. I looked for Maku, but he was nowhere to be found. Soon the Marine officers and Navy officers had to move the crowd away from me just for me to get into the vehicle.
Then the general, lieutenant, and all the officers climbed into the vehicle and the entire village began placing their hands all over the vehicle. We drove slowly so that people would get out of the way. As we drove off, I watched as the village leader walked onto the balcony whipping the tears off his face along with his men. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice call out. “Stop the car or I’m jumping out through the sunroof.” I demanded. The jeep came to a stop and one of the officers let me out. I walked out of the car and stood there looking at Maku. Maku dropped his AK on the ground and walked over to me before going on a full-on sprint towards me. When he got to me he slowed down. “I-I came to say goodbye bro-da.” He stated. Without hesitation, I immediately gave him a big hug. “Time for me to go home.” I stated with tears swelling up in my eyes and my voice cracking. I watched as Maku looked down and started sniffling. “Yo-a good friend Lucky. The world should be blessed to have you. B’coz don’t know how lucky it is to have a lucky.” He said completely crying. I wiped my tears with my sleeve. “Hey, I’ll be back one day. Keep my room clean, okay.” I stated. “I keep da room clean. Yes.” Maku said sobbing profusely with a lack of word. “Don’t cry, big baby. Take care of the village while I’m gone. Okay?” I said slapping him on the shoulder. He nodded soaking his shirt with tears. I walked back into the vehicle and the officer shut the door. “Would it kill for a bath once in a while.” The officer stated. We began to drive off again and tears began to swell back up in my eyes as I tried to wipe them once more.
Maku watched as the jeep drove down the dirt road. Unexpectedly, it began to rain. He then lifted his AK into the air and began unloading all of his ammunition. Multiple Gun shots began to echo in the distance as militants also joined in to say goodbye by gunfire.
“Sir reported gun shots in the area.” A voice called on a microphone. “No worries, they are non-hostile.” The general slowly responded on his mic. I turned around to see Maku rest the AK on the back of his shoulder and watched as he watched the jeep drove out of sight.
I rested my head on the plane and practically clawed the seat whenever there was even the slightest of turbulence. I stared out of the plane and observed the plane’s turbines like a hawk. It would be ironic if the plane were to go down twice. That would also be just my luck. I thought to myself.
When I arrived home, it was back to the invisible, uninteresting, 30-year-old loser person living with his parents routine. Looking at the machete, Maku had given me with the symbol, I told my parents I wanted to go back to college and become an engineer. They weren’t so thrilled because they had given up on me and still weren’t convinced I would become anything in life. I told them about my stories but they thought it was all made up for my comics. It was useless talking to them so I continued to make comics about my experiences in Africa. Since I felt useless at home, I went and got a job at a storage facility. After working for a week, I realized how awful, cold, and ignorant society could be.
One day, after taking out the trash, I received a package in the mail. The deliveryman gave me a packet to sign and then brought me what seemed to be a heavy large cube-shape package. Afraid to see what’s inside the package, I watched as the delivery man went back and brought me another package. “How many packages are there?” I asked. He didn’t say anything, he continued to go back and forth about ten times. Once he was finished, he jumped back into the truck and drove off. There were ten mysterious large packages sitting on my door step. I looked at one of the packages and tried to move it, it was surprisingly very heavy. I pushed it around to see where it was from and to my surprise, it was from Africa. Excited I began to tear into the box. After only having a glimpse of what was inside the box, I slowly and calmly took it into the house and to my room. I rushed to get the other packages and bring them into my room. Once I had all ten boxes in front of me, I began to tear into each package. In almost packages was a massive beveled gold cube made of pure gold. Two of the packages were large silver cubes. I then received a crumpled piece of paper with the drawing of the good intention symbol on it. I then understood what the gold blocks meant. I had a big world-changing idea.