Sunday, August 20, 2006

Character's Journals

I'm going to start writing in my character's voices and keeping a journal for them. Don't know how many "journal" pages I'll have for however many povs, but we'll start off with Georgia, the heroine of my book.
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Day 1

What a horrible day. I spent 12 hours on a plane flying from California to Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa with a three hour layover in London. I left last night from California or was it yesterday. See what I mean? My times are all goofed up now. I have no idea whether it's yesterday, today or tomorrow here, but here I am in the plane swirling over the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi at last. I'll say this much, this excursion already is memorable. If it's adventure I wanted, and I didn't, not really, then that's what I'm getting out of this crazy deal. What made me think I could even do this in the first place. I mean, I must be crazy or desperate or ....

Right, that's it of coruse. I'm so damned broke that this is my only and last hope. I really do need to start thinking thankful thoughts. Thankful that I'm going to have room and board, such as it will be, for the next three months. Thankful that I'm going to get the financial aid I'll need to finish my last year at med school by working for this NGO over the summer. Thankful that they even accepted me in the first place out of who knows how many volunteers there were.

It's really going to be a great experience for me. I've never been out of the city before, not for longer than a day to go to that Pilgrim Farm in the country with my 8th grade class for a field trip when we were studying the Mayflower and all that in history. And we really don't want to go there, now do we? Oh, sure, this is my diary, so why the hell not air out all the dirty laundry. Ok, so I threw up when I saw how the pigs ate and what they ate. It was disgusting. Anyone would throw up. And, sure, I didn't exactly volunteer to pull an egg out from under a chicken's butt. Then there were all the bugs attacking me left and right. That really wasn't my cup of tea either. But, that was a long time ago. I'm much tougher now, not nearly as squeamish as I used to be and I've gotten older and wiser,(I hope!), so I think this experience will not only be good for me, but I think I can handle it for three short months. No problem.

Besides, when I put it up next to the alternative, well, this is the lesser of two evils, to be sure. I knew I should never have listened to Old Ms. Disco-Pants, but see what happens when you're desperate for money? If only Mom had kept up on her life insurance payments. Sure, it wasn't alot of money, but she'd had one of those policies that covers burial expenses and that's all I needed, really. Instead, as with just about everything in her life, she'd let it lapse. Gosh, by the time we knew she was dying, she couldn't even remember the name of the company or where they were located. *sigh* That means I'm sighing. I've been doing alot of that lately. Sighing. Sad. I shouldn't be doing that until I'm like in my 60's or 70's. I'm only 28. What'll I be doing when I'm thirty? Grunting when I sit down? Sheesh!

So,w here was I? Oh, right, scrounging to pay for mom's funeral and burial expenses. I hope she'll forgive me one day for cremating her. She didn't want that. She hated the idea of having her body burned up and, frankly, so do I, but I had no choice. I hate that, not having a choice, being forced into a decision because the circumstances are beyond my control. It totally bites!

Well, I just needed two grand more, that's it. So, I listened to Crazy Pants and went to visit her "employer". That's in quotes now that I know what kind of establishment Leon runs. What a sleaze. But, where else was I going to be able to make that kind of money in two nights? I was still in school a month ago and at this point, if I miss a day of classes, it's like missing two years of high school, not to mention that I'd end up stuck with the crappiest assignments, sitting in the back of my classes where I can't see or hear the professor. I like to sit right in front where I don't miss a thing and to keep the distractions behind me. Plus, that way if I have a question, the professor answers it rightaway. It's awesome. I get really good grades, but that's because I work my ass off and I'm so totally broke all the time that I can't afford entertainment, so I study instead. I know how dull I seem, but this is my dream. This is what I've wanted my whole life, to be a doctor, ever since I was like 4 years old probably.

Oh, right, so back to my humiliation. I visit Leon and he tells me I don't have to do anything with the customers that I'm not comfortable with. After all, prostitution is illegal in CA as it is in every other state, except some parts of NV., and that kind of thing is not part of the fee. Basically, all I had to do was go out with a guy who was too dorky, ugly, or busy to get his own date, and be nice to him, smile pretty, look sexy/gorgeous or whatever the date called for and make nice conversation and make him look good for his friends or boss or whomever. EAsy. And for that I'd earn the outrageous fee of $1,000/night. Apparetnly, Leon's company, Elite Escorts, caters only to the cream of the crop. I thought, wow, if this really is all there is to it, then I might start doing this for the summer and get paid for going out with losers, which is how it should be anyway. I mean, how many dates have I gone on where at the end of the too long evening I thought to myself, "you couldn't PAY me to go out with that jerk again!" Well, now I would be getting paid to go out with the jerks.

So, the first date actually was way better than I thought it would be. The guy was drop-dead gorgeous and I couldn't figure out why he had trouble finding a date. I figured it must be a personality deficiency. But, no, there again, he had a great personality, sweet, considerate, funny as all get out and a great dancer. I almost felt as if I were on a real date, I had so much fun and he said that he had a blast too. As it turned out, he was gay and up for a promotion at his company. He's still in the closet in his business life and when I met the rest of the staff and his bosses in particular, I could understand why he hadn't come out, yet, even in this day and age, even in CA! I mean, in CA, for goodness sakes. This is the Coming Out State! But, his bosses would've made Hitler seem tolerant. So, I told Jeff, just ask for me if you want to go out again and I'd be happy to help you out of a jam like that anytime. Unfortunately, he works in Japan where he lives with his lover and I guess he only has to meet with his bosses a couple times a year and this is the first ever company party he'd ever gone to. So, slim chance I'll ever see him again, but for my first day, it was a good icebreaker. And he gave me a tip of $400! That was so awesome. So, I got $1400 for that night and I was able to get some much needed groceries and a pack of new pens and I splurged on a little bucket of Hagen Dasz, a pack of wine coolers and some bubble bath. I felt really guilty and at the same time like I'd just landed in the lap of luxury. It was a good thing, too, because my next date was coming up and I was going to need all the fortification I could get for that one.

It was with one of our senators or maybe he was a representative, I really don't remember now. I've tried hard over the past three weeks to forget all about that jerk, ugh! We'll just call him Senater Baldy. Sen. Baldy picked me up in a stretch limo and immediately told me that I'd be paid at the end of the night when he was satisfied with my work. I told him that he needed to pay me half up front, at least, or I wasn't getting in the limo. So, he did and I did. He was fairly decent to me, had a list of requests, would I be so kind as to hang on him a little extra because his ex was going to be there; would I make him look extra good tonight so she'd be jealous or at least feel horrible for dumping him; would I say nice compliments to him and about him to others all night so he'd look good. I reassured him that that's what I was there for, so not to worry about it.

Well, by the end of the night, he was really snockered, but we'd had a good time. He was a gentleman all night. I had to move his hands to my waist once while we were dancing, but I chalked that up mor eto the fact that he was so drunk he was falling asleep out there and I was proably the only thing holding him upright, so maybe he slipped, maybe it was deliberate. All I know is he apologized and looked adequately ashamed, and we went back to having fun. So, it's the end of the night and he's really drunk and I'm thinking, I'll just take a cab home instead of going with the soused up Senator, right? Well, we're walking outside and I ask him to pay up, becaust I've decided that I'm not going straight home, instead I'm going to go to my friends house ofr a bit so I'll just take a cab, I don't want him to have to go out of his way to get me there, etc.

Well, he insists that I go with him and he'll be happy to drop me off wherever I like, but he'd feel awful if anything happened to me, especially as I was dressed to the nines, provocatively, (but not too), and so forth. He made a pretty good case so I decided to go with him, but I did insist he finish paying me before we get in the limo again, just in case he falls asleep on the way. Well, he pays me another $200 and says he'll get the rest to me once we're in the car, because he doesn't keep more than that in his wallet. So, I get in the Limo with him and we pull out of the lot. After we drive a little ways, he asks if I want a drink and I say I've had enough and mayb ehe should ease up, too, but he pours himself another drink anyway. Then he starts complimenting me alot and I could see where this was going right? Well, that led to some inappropriate touching so I moved to the opposite seat form him and told him that I wasnt' part of the package, not like that. The guy couldn't, wouldn't take no for an answer, so eventually, I ended up kneeing him when he tried to force me into a laying down position as he clumsily grabbed at my spaghetti strap and tried to rip it off, succesfful. I was so mad! It's my nicest party dress and it's not like I can just replace it like that, you know? So, then, when I push him away, he slapped me! Slapped me! Me! So, I kneed him and then I opened the car door and shouted for the driver to stop the limo or I'd jump and I'd call the papers and tell the police if I survived. Well, he stops the limo, the Senator hasn't caught his breath yet, and I get out screamin' mad, but intact--barely. Well, that's when I knew, I couldn't go through that every night or even once a week. NO amount of money is worth being raped or almost raped on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, that left me $300 short of what I needed to pay for Mama's funeral. The next morning, I called Leon and quit. He was real heartbroken over it--NOT! lol Then I had to figure out how to get an extra $50+/-. See, I still had over $200 of that $400 tip left over, thank goodness I didn't go spend it all. Well, I remembered that I'd socked some cash away in a hiding spot over the Christmas holidays last year. It was money Mom had given me as a gift and I always figured I'd save it for an emergency. So, I just needed to remember where I'd hidden it! I tore my tiny studio apartment (it's actually just an attic room, but calling it a studio sounds like I chose that kind of apartment, like an artist or something) and I finally found it stuffed at the toe of a pair of old sneakers that I rarely wear, because the new ones I got for Christmas are way better. And I went down to the funeral home and paid for Mama's cremation, all $3500, for their cheapest urn and all the other fees and stuff they tack on. Such a scam. Mama would've been pissed. lol And I took her ashes and scattered them beneath the Cypress tree she always admired out on the craggy rock shelf at Cypress Point. I think she would've approved of that, since I had no choice about cremating her.

And, then I picked up a newspaper and looked at the help wanteds section once I got home. I had to do it with a box of kleenex next to me, because basically, I wasn't going to be able to finish med school next year like I'd wanted to. I mean, I've been in college, working my way through it and then through Med School for eight years now. Having to work has really slowed things way down. But, when it rains it pours and just before Mama died, I'd found out that the organizations that usually gave me scholarships and financial aid weren't going to do that for me the coming year for a number of reasons that have very little to do with me and everything to do with the economy. So, I was going to have to earn ALL my monies for next year, which meant that I was going to have to get a part time job, at least, and work my courses around that schedule. This really blew chunks, you know?

And that's when I saw the ad for CIPRO, INt'l. They were in desperate need of female obstetricians, pediatricians or neonatalogists. well, Neonatology is the specialty I chose after I found out that I would never have children of my own and that's a long story for another day. :/ I love babies, adore them and so I sent my resume, it's very short, and a letter, very long to make up for the very short resume, and begged them to give me an interview.

Well, the thing is that this is the first time CIPRO's ever done anything like this before, but they were trying a new program to entice the medical field to donate their time. If I would sign a contract giving them three years of my time, and I could do it in spurts, they didn't mind that, then they'd pay me in the way of training. IN other words, they would pay the school my tuition and I'd work for them on my holidays and summer vacation until I'd fulfilled my contract. A very sweet deal indeed, since once my schooling is finished, I'll have two years of residency schooling and then my internship for four years at the teaching hospital. Now, I won't have to pay for those, actually, I'll be getting paid a small amount, enough to live on, sort of, and start paying back my student loans. So, I really hoped that I'd get this job and guess what? I did. I was accepted. Of course, it's a "volunteer" position, but I got it and that's why I'm headed to Bakari, Africa. A landlocked country north and west of the DRC, south of the CAR and Sudan with Uganda and Rwanda to the east. A country so small it doesn't even have it's own airport. Once we land, oops, and that'll be like, now, so I've got to go and deplane in a few. Anyhow, once I land in Nairobi, then someone from the Refugee Camp, well, they're calld IDP camps actually, anyway, someone from there will pick me up and we'll fly by charter plane to the Kenyan border and from there we'll take a chopper to the Camp, or we'll drive all the way, depending on whether or not there are other's who need to be transported to and from the country and so forth. It's really mindboggling- all the logistics. But, wow, I'm here and this is really happening. I'm in Africa, the oldest continent, the place everyone, no matter what their skin color, originates from. And I'm going to go help alot of people and learn alot and hopefully bring alot of special babies into the world. I'm excited...and terrified. That's all for now.

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