Thursday, December 11, 2014

their skulls will hang from the tree tops

The next scene opens...

Sight:  Cairo, Egypt

We see tall, thin towers, and a large bird, flapping slowly; then another large bird, then a third drifts into view.

Sound:  Arabic music, its ancient, shimmery plaint droning ominously, shrieking its spooky warnings and laments; the sliding, nervous rhythm scurrying mysteriously.

The belly-dancer, Charlie's friend from Texas:

(Zvi Rafiah, back in Jerusalem:  "This meeting's going to be run professional?")

("It's always been her dream to perform in Egypt"...)

Charlie Wilson and Gust Avrakotos have brought Zvi

with them to meet with Egypt's defense minister

and his deputy.

The deputy watches the young lady dancing, and remarks calmly, "That's an extraordinary woman."

Charlie -- "Oh yeah."

(Even if you are hardly an expert on belly-dancing, you can kind of notice that maybe some of this girl's moves are perhaps -- Western-ized, or Western-interpreted, or choreographed by someone from -- possibly -- Cairo, Illinois, or maybe, um, Cairo, Nebraska -- not necessarily Cairo, Egypt.  "It's always been her dream to perform in Egypt."  Well that's a worthy goal and challenge -- going to be your toughest audience.)

On the floor, the dancer muscularly "shoots" herself, if you will, forward -- sliding toward her audience.

The defense minister's deputy speaks with faint skepticism, never taking his eyes off the girl:  "That's not any belly dance I'm familiar with."

Charlie smoothly rejoins, "That's why I wanted the Defense Minister to see her."

The deputy (a little shocked, and incredulous) -- "This is your girlfriend?"

Charlie -- Carol's a friend.  She's an old friend.
The deputy -- I understand her father didn't allow dancing because of their religion?
-- Yeah, that's correct.

The deputy continues to keep close track of the dancer's movements with his eyes, and asks, curious and somewhat befuddled, "And what religion -- is that?"

The meeting continues, the participants sipping from small golden cups.  Zvi Rafiah and the Egyptian deputy smoke cigars; Gust Avrakotos, the CIA agent, has a cigarette.  Smoke floats, drifts, swirls -- like the insistent, wailing music.

The deputy -- "As I was saying, the Russians will learn, I'm quite afraid the hard way, to fear God's vengeance upon those who oppress his humble servants who submit to him in Islam.  Their skulls will hang from the treetops!"

With a studied air of calm, Congressman Wilson says, "You can do whatever you like with their skulls, I suppose.  What has Gus here concerned is the SA surface-to-air missiles you all have.  For some reason, he thinks they were stored poorly."

The deputy -- No no, no, the SA-7s were stored properly.
Zvi -- Excuse me.  What about the oppression of my people?
Charlie -- Oh, Zvi.
Deputy -- I beg your pardon?
Charlie -- Fellows, do we have to do this now?

Zvi (angrily) -- I am about to arrange for 35 million-dollars-worth of guns, to be put into the hands of Moose-lems!
Deputy -- I meant no disrespect.
Zvi (glaring) -- Oh really?

Charlie -- Well anyway, that -- None of this is important.  You have Soviet-licensed factories that can put out Kalashnikovs at a rate of 25,000 a week?
Deputy -- That's correct.
-- What about city warfare devices?
-- What kind?
-- Bicycle bombs, limpet mines, plastic, tripwire mines?
-- Yes, yes.  Whatever you need.

Charlie -- We can't improve the price now, but when we come back for more, we'll make it up to you.

The deputy -- I agree.
Charlie - All right.