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Journey into Disaster
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On Heger’s fourth day of detention his Filipino friend Michael visits him early in the morning.
I do not believe, but suddenly Michael stands on the wire fence. In one hand two cups of coffee, in the other hand a paper bag. Michael is immediately busy with the distribution of cigarettes to the pitiful Inmates after he sits down.
Michael seems tired and not concentrated. His clothes are crumpled and much dirtier than yesterday. I notice that he has not brought additional laundry from Sendong City and put that on my imaginary list: Give Michael money to buy pants and t-shirts.
“Michael, is something wrong?” I ask in rudimentary English.
Michael hesitates as if he avoids the answer. He looks embarrassed. As an Asian he can not leave a question without answer. I know, a simple “yes” or “no” is also difficult for Filipinos. I relax the situation, by asking him for a cigarette and his lighter.
Finally, Michael answers: “Franco!”
“What’s about Franco?”
“He asked me for money. I had given Franco 350 Piso. He said he got only a little money from you.”
I am confused for seconds and do not know how to react. To win time, I drink the last sip of coffee that suddenly tastes bitter: “But I have given Franco 500 Piso and he has taken 2.000 Piso for his school fees, without asking me.”
Michael looks to the ground and is visible searching for words, is nervous, plays and destroys the paper mug: “I was first in the Born Again Church and waiting for Franco and the Pastor. Pastor’s woman told me the two would be at Attorney De Baron. Then they came late, Pastor drunken and Franco had no more money. I have given 350. Then I told them what Lang, Rica and Silvia talked about De Baron. That he has a bad reputation, is not successful in court and always asks for money from his clients. The Pastor and Franco have become wild, loud and very angry. Pastor said that it is not true and I shut my mouth.”
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