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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ransomed in Egypt - Excerpt Johnny Oops

Finally, the Embassy forked over $100,000 ransom, and the Egyptian Government released one of their buddies who only had twenty years left to serve on his sentence and was considered a short timer.

Our release was the high point of our trip to Egypt. We were dumped, bound and blindfolded, in front of the American Embassy exactly at 4 PM on a Thursday afternoon from the back of what sounded and felt like a pick up truck, which sped off.  Two big hulking Marines ran out, grabbed us unceremoniously by the seat of our pants and flung us onto the other side of the Embassy gate and into freedom’s outstretched arms. Now I know what it means to be an American and to be saved by the Marines.

We were reunited in the Ambassador’s living room with our families. Our respective parents flew over to meet us and take us home. The good professor was there, looking like he was going to cry, rubbing his eyes with his hands. The tall waspish Ambassador gave us a stern lecture in his office, out of earshot of our parents, indicating how unwise we were. He said, “Two strapping young Americans with blonde and red hair shouldn’t go wondering around in the red light district of Cairo. You should consider yourselves lucky to be alive. You can’t expect the United States Government to go bailing you over-sexed idiots out of trouble every time you get an itch.” He suggested we go home and find another way to satisfy our urges. I can relate to that.

We were filthy and hungry. My folks took us back to the Hilton Hotel for showers and a good meal. They were relieved we were still alive because now as they said, “We will have the opportunity to kill you ourselves.”

The Episcopal Bishop told my parents, “Be patient and have faith. Boys will be boys.” I think I like his religious beliefs.

We returned home to what turned out in my case to be relative house arrest. I think I had more freedom of movement when I was a captive of the terrorists. My old friend Billy offered to come over and keep me company. I was so bored that I said okay. Our meeting was pathetic. He hasn’t changed and said he was sorry for being so boring. No wonder Billy is still in High School. He will probably be there forever. 

I can’t wait for the summer to end so I can return to college and freedom. I’ve made all kinds of plans. You have to be careful what you plan. My experience in Egypt has left me with a more abiding faith in the Almighty.  God has his own plans for us and I believe that on a one to one basis his plans always come first. 

Until this point in my life I have studiously avoided facial ornamentation of any kind. I don’t feature having my ears, nose or mouth pierced—that’s disgusting. I feel the same way about tattoos. But with my newfound faith, I couldn’t resist one small ankle scripture that reads, “God Heals,” in Navy Blue. Getting this Tattoo is one of the few over the top things I’ve ever done and never been sorry for.


  1. I enjoyed reading this excerpt. You ought to have more. Thanks. Lilian Gafni

  2. Thanks Lillian. I post a number of excerpts from my novel Johnny Opps here and will surely continue to do so.

    Arthur Levine