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"Coyote" Part 10 "Doors and Windows"
Before we begin, from the Author
I've been reflecting in this story for a few weeks, partly because I wanted to get it right where the story was meant to go, and partly simply because I've been working on getting the second novel published, that's already out, and I've started serializing it here on Hub pages, but that's another story.
There's a saying that a lot of Christians use "When God closes a door, he opens a window" and to be honest, the last couple of weeks I've been trying to remember when he opened that 'window' for Samir?
There's another saying that I also think is appropriate, it was a favourite of my Dad's "The Lord works in Mysterious ways, his wonders to perform" I can't give you a Bible reference for either of them, they're not in the Bible, but they're just as true all the same.
In the last part, the door was well and truly slammed in Samir's face, but that wasn't the end of the story.
Read on enjoy
Just saying "Hi"
From the previous 'Closed doors'
Samir left the meeting with a sick feeling, sick at the fact that Hamid’s greed had created such a huge burden for his family, sick that even though revenge is supposed to ‘taste sweet’ it was a sickly sweet that made him want to vomit! He’d never entertained thoughts of revenge, mainly because he never thought it possible, but now, with it within his grasp, he realized just how empty it was, it leaves you hollow and bitter, was this the way God answers prayer? And if so, did he really want to follow one that answers one prayer by creating misery for others?
“It’s only a step brother” Luka was saying as they left the building, “It’s only a step, it’s not the answer, God doesn’t do things like this, he’s got another plan, we just need to keep watching and follow through with where it leads!”
Continuing 'Don't give up hope'
Samir felt sick, physically and emotionally sick, right to the pit of his stomach.
'How’ he thought to himself, 'how' do I explain this to Sara?’
Both of them had lost hope in ever seeing the money again, and with it, hope of a new life in Australia had died. Then, hearing that Hamid had been caught, and was being returned to Iraq, ‘maybe, just maybe’ he’d begun to think, ‘maybe there’s a chance we’ll get some of the money back1’
That idea died as soon as he’d walked into the room, and seeing Hamid’s family had only driven the nails into the coffin that the dream was being buried in.
“Come on” Luka spoke softly as they headed out the door, “Mr Tariq has work for us to do, he’s waiting for us at the office.”
“You go ahead” Samir replied, “I’m not sure I’m up to it, not sure I want to face people today!”
“It’s a setback” Luka replied turning to his friend, “But it’s not the end” he looked directly into samir’s eyes.
Luka was one of those people who normally looked almost ‘disinterested’ in people most of the time, but that was because he had the kind of gaze that could penetrate deep into a person’s soul, when he gave that kind of look, it was damned uncomfortable as the intensity bored past whatever mask they were using, obliterating any defences and exposing what was really going on underneath, he’d also learned to use the look to drive home any thought he wanted you to listen to.
It wasn’t ‘brainwashing’, but you knew exactly where you stood with the look, and there were times when you felt damned uncomfortable, this was one of those times. Samir knew in his head that Luka was right, every one of them lived in the hope of getting to a ‘safe place’ one day, most had been ‘kicked in the gut’ so many times, but they kept on. Even Luka hadn’t seen his family for three years, he had no idea if his parents and sister were alive, they’d been trapped in Kirkuk when the war and uprising broke out, yet he still found hope, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to let Samir lose his hope!
Another Great Novel from my pen
'Now faith, is the assurance of things you hope for, and the certainty of things you can't yet see'— Book of Hebrews Chapter 11 verse a (My own paraphrase)
'No rest' (for the wicked)
“Mr Tariq has some work for us,” Luka began again, “I think you’ll like it, he wants us to go with him as translators”
“He doesn’t need translators!” Samir shot back, “his Arabic is as good as ours” at that both of them laughed, it was true, but he often used Luka to translate into Kurdish so as to break the hostility of speaking Arabic, though when the locals found out he spoke Arabic they often switched and spoke quite freely in it, kind of honoring the one who bothered to learn the language.
“He still wants us today” Luka replied, “and I think he wants to go into one of the christian areas!” that was a lie as Luka had no idea where Tariq was planning to go, but just wanted to take Samir’s mind off feeling sorry for himself, thinking about something else would give him a clear mind to think through what he needed to say to Sara.
The villages were still well and truly ‘off limits’ but there were still plenty of things they were involved in around the town itself. So many things that needed attention, and almost none of the agencies working in the urban centres.
“Come on” Luka encouraged him, “We’ve got plenty to do”
'Isn’t that the truth?’ Samir thought to himself, 'always so much to do, and so little to do it with’ as they climbed into the Dodge.
Tariq was waiting at the office, he had a toolbox with him, he was sat drinking tea with the guards, as soon as they pulled up, he reached down, took hold of the toolbox, and with two steps forward, swung it onto the back of the truck.
“No need to get out,” Tariq spoke as he pushed the half dismounted Luka back into the cab. “Samir, you know where the diesel generator for the well in Mehandik is?” he asked as he climbed into the passenger side.
'Mehandik’ had been a village on the outskirts of town three years before, the name meant 'three wells’ as there were three wells there, all deep bored at about ninety feet, and all had their own generators. Two of them were electric pumps, but Saddam had cut the electricity two years before, consequently all the work fell on the last one, the diesel generator.
That one lasted a year before it blew a gasket and seized, leaving a couple of thousand people without access to water.
No one had said anything, they'd just got on with things and struggled with what they had, not wanting to 'be a trouble’ to anyone.
“We going to fix the generator?” Samir asked, he'd seen the toolbox Tariq had been carrying, he knew they'd need more tools that Tariq had brought.
“You could say that” Tariq replied.
“You do realise” he began, “it's a big job Mr Tariq,” he swung the wheel as they turned onto the main road out of town, “we're going to need more than those tools!”
“I know” he replied, “these are just to unbolt it from its mounts, then we'll 'chuck’ it on the back and you can take it to your workshop”
“What workshop?” Samir half spun round.
“Keep your eyes on the road!” Tariq shot back, he waited until Samir brought the vehicle to a stop, they were at the intersection where they needed to turn off, then he continued, “Samir, we've got a heap of vehicles, all of which are getting a bit old, they spend a lot of time being fixed, and doing it in the freezing cold, soaked through isn't much fun” they were crawling along the mud that was meant to be a street, they were having to be careful where they went.
They saw the shed housing the generator up ahead, people, mostly women, were milling around, the women were waiting their turn to draw water from the well ninety feet down, the men were just watching, drawing water was women's work.
“Tariq” Luka spoke up as Samir brought the vehicle to a stop, “I think we probably should go meet with the local ‘Mukhtar’, don’t you?”
The ‘Mukhtar’ is like a village chief, he’s the man in charge of a village, and nothing happens without his say so, he’s appointed on his ability and courage by the village, and it’s an appointment for life, not an elected office, but also not a paid office, with the Kurds there was also usually one other requisite, they usually hated the government in Baghdad!
“I think the message’s got to him” Tariq replied pointing to a group of men that were hurrying along from the opposite direction, two of them were armed, but the weapons were slung over their shoulder in a non threatening way. Tariq stepped out front, so that they could see him, Luka and Samir moved so they could be seen clear of the vehicle, so that the locals could see they were unarmed.
“Salam aleykum Mr Tariq” the Mukhtar walked upto the Englishman and gave him a small hug as well as the customary kiss on each cheek.
“Aleykum Salam, wa rahmat Allah a berakaatu” Tariq replied in Arabic, the Mukhtar's face lit up in a huge smile, Tariq had replied with an Egyptian blessing they all understood, his Egyptian accent speaking Arabic always brought a smile.
“We’ve come to take the generator and get it fixed for you” Tariq carried on, switching to English, it took Luka a second to realize he’d switched to English, then he translated, he was only marginally faster than Samir. “We need to take it away for our mechanic” he pointed to Samir, “For Samir to work on it, as it needs a total overhaul, just like you said”
The Mukhtar stopped and looked at Samir, “How long will you need it for?” the machine was useless as it was, but that didn’t stop him asking, he’d be the one explaining to the village why foreigners took their generator and pump away.
“Four days” Tariq replied, “Maybe a week, depending on how easy the parts are to get!”
The Mukhtar nodded, they’d known that in the village, they knew what was wrong, but no one had the money to get the work done, now this group were saying they’d pay for it, and do the work themselves. “Can we help in any way?”
The Medieval Bridge in Zakho
The door may be closed, but has anyone checked the windows?
“As soon as Samir has unbolted it,” Tariq replied, “we’ll need a few men to help lifting it onto the truck, and getting it off at the other end, if you don’t mind”
The Mukhtar wasn’t a young man, but he was fit, years of back breaking work in the fields, walking up and down mountainsides had left him with a lean physique that was stronger than most westerners half his sixty years, he signalled the other men to give a hand, all of them followed Samir in and began helping him take the couplings holding the generator to the pumps apart.
Within an hour they had the generator uncoupled and mounted on the back of the truck, four village men jumped on the back, they were going to help him unload it at the other end, pretty soon they were setting off.
“Samir, remember the place you told me about, down in the mechanic’s quarter a few weeks ago?”
“Yes” Samir replied.
“I told Mr James about it then, he agreed, we do need a place to fix the vehicles, a place that’s secure, and dry, he's paid a month’s rent for the place, that’s where you'll be working on the vehicles from now on”
Samir was a little confused, “But does that mean?”
“No, you’ll still be working with Op Mercy when we need you” Tariq replied, “It’s just that we’re not the only ones wanting to use your skills, we’ll probably have enough to keep you busy most of the time, but you’ll be able to take any other work in, and get them to pay you directly, though don’t make too much of a show of it” they were speaking in English, the three of them had a habit of doing this when there were things they didn’t want others to understand, and when there were foreigners they didn't want to ‘let in’ on any dealings, they spoke in Arabic.
“This way Samir” Tariq spoke in a low tone, “You’ll be able to build up your finances, taking in other work, if you get my meaning!”
All for now.
Think about it, when life seems to give you a good kick in the teeth, did you check the windows?
My wife is always reminding me to check them at night, I may have bolted the doors, but are the windows secure!
I think God's a bit that way, someone may have closed the doors on us, but he's found an open window, it may be just a small crack, but it's open, and he can work with it!
Question is, are we aware that window's open?
Samir's window took time to open fully, but that's another part of the story.
Have a think about it, and leave me any comments you have.