Dream of: 30 August 2003 "Leaving Iran"

The shadowy streets of war-pocked Teheran frightened me; I had just arrived by plane a short while ago and was searching for a place to stay. On foot, I couldn't even find a cab. Abandoned and gutted buildings stretched as far as I could see. My unwise decision to come here haunted me. Why was I in Iran again? I just wanted to leave.

A small bistro presented itself lights and people could be discerned inside; I ducked in. Perhaps 20 taciturn people sat cluttered about the dim room. In the rear of the room, standing at a small bar, a thin young man wearing a white shirt, perhaps 20 years old, was speaking American English. Relieved to hear the sound of his voice, I rushed to him and without even an introduction I began pleading with him to help me.

Business-like yet amiable, he immediately grasped my apprehension he even seemed to have had much experience in helping people like me lost Americans who misadvisedly visited Teheran. He discretely came to the question of money. I pulled out four different check books, one for each bank where I had credit card accounts. His demeanor lit up obviously he saw considerable potential for himself in solving my problem. I immediately perceived that obtaining his help was going to be expensive; but I would simply have to pay, no matter what it cost I wasn't going to die here in Teheran just to save a little money.

He took one of the check books (from Bank One) and told me the place where I would stay tonight would cost $99. That seemed expensive to me, but not exorbitant. He was imprecise about further costs, but intimated that fulfilling my needs wouldn't be cheap. I consented.

Other people in the room seemed unconcerned with my presence. Everyone seemed absorbed in their own problems. Most were looking at papers and letters were they also trying to escape? They mostly looked like Iranians. I seemed to recall that laws had been recently passed in Iran making it difficult for Iranian citizens to leave. Perhaps this fellow was likewise helping these people to skirt the laws.

The fellow informed me that he would now escort me someplace else to spend the night. I stuck my three remaining checkbooks in my pocket, realizing he had kept the checkbook I had given him; but I didn't say anything. I only had one desire now: get out of Iran. He and I headed toward the door.

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