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Affair of a Foreign Nature

Chapter 8

David Rises to the Occasion

By and © Hans Schrieber

I was freezing in the back of the helicopter. I wasn't sure if a person could shiver or not if they were unconscious, but I wasn't able to control it. Being only dressed in a bathrobe and also being scared out of my mind, I was shaking uncontrollably. One of the room service thugs noticed it and said something unintelligible to a person up front. I picked up the name Antonioand something about a Decke. A second voice answered and in a minute, a rough woolen blanket was draped over me and John. As I warmed up, I fell asleep from exhaustion.

I awoke to my hands being tied behind me and tape being placed over my mouth. I was carried like a sack of potatoes by the BAS thug who had been on the airplane with us. I recognized the mutilated fingers. I no longer pretended to be unconscious and looked around as best I could. I could smell the ocean and hear birds squawking. John and I were carried onto a small fishing boat and put in the lower hatch. It smelled of fish and I worried I might throw up and choke on my vomit. I used every bit of willpower to force myself to stay calm. I tucked my nose into the fluffy collar of my robe to filter some of the nasty fish odor.

Shortly into the voyage, John stirred. He sat up and struggled against his bonds. A look of total confusion was in his eyes. Light filtered into our hold through slats in the deck above us. It was morning. He began trying to yell something at me over the roar of the engine and through his taped mouth. It was completely useless to even try, but he kept at it. Suddenly, I had an idea. I scooted over next to him, reached up with my bare feet and used my toes to pull at the tape on his mouth. I was able to get a small piece to pull loose and then gripped it by curling my toes. I ripped it free, evoking a small cry from him. I mumbled and pushed my jaw toward him. He got the idea and asked, "Should I bite your tape and pull it off?" I nodded.

John pressed his soft lips to my cheek and nibbled at the edge of the tape. If it hadn't been such a scary ordeal, it would have been actually kind of nice. It struck me how soft his lips were against my cheek. Suddenly, a ripping sound was accompanied with a stinging sensation across my lips and cheeks as John pulled the tape away. "What's happening?" John begged to know.

"We've been kidnapped by those BAS creeps, but I have no idea why or where they're taking us," I answered. "We're out in the ocean, because I could smell the salt air and this is a fishing boat we're on. They took us away in a helicopter."

"But why?"

"I don't know, but I'm pretty sure we're about to find out. I have a feeling we shouldn't talk in front of them. Don't speak to me in English, whatever you do?"

"Okay, but why?"

"I heard them talking and they referred to me as Antonio. I think they mistook me for him. It might be best just to let them think that."

"If you say so."

"I'm scared, David. I wish my dad had come for me. I just want to be with him. He'd protect us from these creeps."

"I wish he was here too, but he's not, so we're going to have to keep cool and not panic. We have to figure out why they took us. I'm pretty sure they want to blackmail the Prime Minister for money with me, but it still doesn't explain why they took you."

"They're gonna be really pissed off when they find out you're not really Antonio then. What will they do when they find out, do you think?" John said out loud what I'd been worrying about ever since I sort of put it all together.

"I'm not sure, but it won't be good," I honestly admitted. "That's why we need to let them think it as long as possible."

The boat slowed and then bumped roughly against something. The hatch was thrown open and morning light flooded in on us. Stubby fingers climbed down and grabbed me and another tattooed freak grabbed John. Stubby smelled as putrid as the fishy hold we were in, only his scent was of sweat and unwashed body odor. He wore the same gauze style pants he had on in the airplane and I wondered if he had changed them since then. He certainly hadn't showered. They packed us up a long set of ancient, stone steps that were hewn from the side of a cliff. After what seemed forever, we stopped and there was some clattering of metal on metal. A squeaky gate opened and we were then carried through a stone archway and through a large, heavy wooden door. The walls and the floor were made of filthy tan stones. Light filtered in through small high windows. Rotted wooden walkways circled the room halfway up the tall walls just high enough to allow a man to peer out of the small windows when standing on them.

John and I were deposited onto the cold, stone floor and my gaze fell upon a pitiful sight. A barefoot man dressed only in torn khaki pants sat miserably against the wall with both arms chained to the wall in ancient irons. A second set of irons sat vacant next to him where it appeared someone else had been and left a large amount of blood on the floor before he departed. The man looked curiously at me. He had a scraggly beard and sad eyes. Then John was dropped onto the floor next to me.

"DADDY!" screamed John. He scrambled to his knees and then his feet and ran to the pitiful man, burying his face against the man's chest.

"Dear God, NO!" the man cried out. Then said painfully, "John, son, move off me, I think my ribs are broken."

John quickly pulled away, tears flowing down his cheeks and one of the BAS thugs jerked him to his feet and dragged him to a wooden chair. He tied John's feet to the chair and then his hands were untied from behind his back and refastened to the arms of the chair. Stubby performed the same procedure on me in a chair on the other side of John's father. John was sobbing. His captor slapped his face and told him to shut up. John's father yelled at the little, creepy terrorist and swore an oath to revenge fourfold any harm given to his son. "Now I know why John was targeted," I thought to myself.

Once we were secure, the two cretins pulled out cigarettes and started smoking, chatting in what sounded like German and laughing at us. The heavy wooden door swung open and our captors quickly doused their cigarettes. A slender, dark haired man with deep set, scowling eyes entered. A darker mood followed him into the room bringing, if it were possible, a greater sense of dread than we were already feeling. Like the others, he wore heavy black boots and he walked with the use of a cane. He was followed into the room by the two room service imposters who snatched us. He sized up the situation and flew into a rage. Our guards and the two kidnappers cowered in the wake of it.

I couldn't understand much of anything, but I heard the name Antonio, and he kept saying Makaroni-fresser. I heard the word "Nackt," and I knew that meant naked. He was shaking his cane toward the kidnappers and managed to strike one of them across the neck dropping him to his knees in agony. He grabbed John's robe and tugged on it and kept saying "Nackt" over and over. When his tirade faded out, he walked over to John's father.

The weasel leader poked John's father with his cane in his sore ribs, causing him to wince, and asked, "Now Colonel Randall, Mr. Army spy, do you want to be more cooperative? Simply give us ze name of ze traitor informants, und you and your son can go free."

"I don't know," John's father said flatly.

"Don't know or won't tell?" The evil creep walked over to John and jabbed his cane into John's rib cage. John cried out in pain and his father cursed the evil man. The lecherous animal raised his cane to strike John a severe blow when another large tattooed terrorist burst into the room. He went straight to the leader and spoke in his ear. The leader flew into a rage and came over to me. I averted my eyes and he grabbed me by the hair and jerked my head up. He got close to my face and the mixture of alcohol and tobacco on his breath nauseated me. His teeth were crooked and yellow. He spoke in Italian to me and I glared back defiantly. He pulled hard on my curly black hair and said the same thing again. When I refused to answer, he jerked my robe open and grabbed my dick in his fingers. "Gaaa," he spat on the floor and turned on the two kidnappers. He said something in German to them and they knelt in front of him. He beat them severely with the cane, shouting "Idioten."

The guy with the missing fingers walked over with trepidation and spoke to the evil leader in German. The foul leech glared at Stubby and shook his head as if to imply he was also an idiot, then said to me, "What is your name, boy? I know you live in California, don't you?" I continued to glare at him in silence. He raised his cane and slammed it into my chest. I groaned. "Name!" he shouted. I stared back in stubborn silence.

He returned to John and raised his cane to strike him across the side of his head and I yelled out, "Antonio! Antonio!" He wheeled around toward me and grinned, exposing his yellow, crooked teeth.

"No, you are not Antonio. You have no skin. You are a trashy American boy. But, you do have ze great misfortune to look like Antonio," he glared. He shouted some more orders and everyone except Stubby rushed out of the doorway. When we return wiz ze boat, we will dispose of ze trash."

"No. You don't want to do that," I said.

"Why not? You are of no use to us."

"My father is a U.S. Senator. He can help you get whatever you want and he's rich too."

"Really? Your fazer is a Senator from California?" asked the creepy lizard guy. "What is your name zen boy?"

I panicked and then in the last minute before my bluff was totally obvious, I said, "David. David Feinstein."

"Really? But Senator Feinstein is a woman. Und, so is your Senator Boxer a woman. Foolish American boy, you should have paid better attention in ze school. Now you will become food for ze fishes when I return in ze boat." He leered at John's father as he hobbled out. Before closing the door, the evil leader glared disdainfully again at Colonel Randall and then said to John, "For your sake, I hope your father's memory improves while I am gone. We'll see if he loves you better or if he loves ze Army better."

John spat at the leech and it amused him; he laughed wickedly as he hobbled out.

When the door closed, we heard the rattling of the metal gate and John started to cry. "David, they're going to drown you. Did you hear them? Daddy, help us. What are we going to do?"

I was pretty close to losing it myself and John starting in sent me over the edge. I couldn't be brave any longer. I started weeping and crying out for my daddy to come save me. He always saved me when I was little. Like the time I climbed up the tree not realizing I couldn't get back down or the time I stuck my head through the monkey cage at the zoo to get a better look and got it stuck. He calmed me down and pressed my ears flat so they could slip back through.

"All right, boys, let's pull it together. Let's try and think of a solution instead of dwelling on the bad possibilities," Colonel Randall suggested. "I know it's hard."

Stubby had been left behind to guard us and he walked over and stood in front of me staring. He smelled of body odor and cigarette smoke even from a distance. He was wearing the same thin gauze pants he'd had on in the plane and I doubted he'd changed or showered since then. He made me sick and I couldn't look at him. He stepped closer and I notice he had a boner tenting his thin pants the same as he'd been showing off in the airplane the times he came and stood next to us. When he started rubbing it, I had an idea. A wonderfully, disgusting idea. "Damn," I thought, "if only I'd asked my father how to say 'Wanna have sex with an American boy?' Learning how to ask for a bathroom wasn't all that useful right now."

Colonel Randall said something to Stubby in German with an angry tone in his voice. I think he was telling him to get away from me. Stubby shot back a quick retort and stomped over to the Colonel then kicked him hard in his broken ribs with his heavy, steel toed boot. The Colonel cried out in severe pain and dropped his head. Stubby came back to me and pulled my robe open and began rubbing himself again staring at my privates.

"Colonel Randall?" I asked, "Does this jerk speak any English?"

"Very little. He knows only a few words." It was difficult for him to speak with his sore ribs.

"I need you to translate for me."


"Ask him if he wants to have sex with the American boy?"

"What? Why would you provoke him like that?"

"Please sir. I don't want to say too much in front of him, just please translate for me."

"Moechten Sie gerne Sex mit dem Amerikanishen jungen machen?" asked the Colonel?

Stubby looked confused at the Colonel and then back at me. I smiled and winked seductively and slipped my tongue out and flicked it around. I thought back on my last evening's massage and shooting my wad between Gerta's big tits causing my boner to rise to the occasion. Stubby grabbed his boner through his pants and looked again at the Colonel as if wondering what was going on.

"Tell him I am gay. Tell him since I know I am going to die, I want to suck on a penis one last time and if he will untie me, I will pleasure him."

The Colonel breathed a half grunt - half chuckle and translated it into German. I only recognized the words schwul and Schwanz. My friend, Karl, called his dick a Schwanz before and I knew schwul meant gay. Schwanz literally means tail, but Germans use it as slang for a dick.

When the Colonel translated Stubby's answer, I was disheartened. He said he would let me suck him all right, but I would stay tied up. "Tell him, it's okay if he leaves my feet tied so I can't escape but I need my hands free to play with his balls and to put a finger in his ass while I suck on him. Tell him that's my dying wish."

Stubby laughed when the Colonel translated that last part and he bent down and untied my feet. I was confused by this. Once my feet were freed from the legs of the chair, I had a powerful urge to kick him in the groin but, of course, that would have ruined everything. He pressed my ankles together and tied them up again. Then he removed the ropes from my wrists. I rubbed them to get the circulation flowing better. Stubby pulled his pants and yellowed underwear down exposing his smelly five inch trout and hairy fish eggs for balls. I suppressed my urge to vomit. Instead, I smiled seductively and licked my lips and slid off the chair onto my knees.

"Don't David. He won't help us just because you do this. Don't do it," John cried out.

"He's right, David, he will just use you and tie you back up. Don't lose your dignity in what may be your final hours of life," the Colonel agreed.

I ignored my friend and his father. I knew what I wanted to do and they weren't going to talk me out of it. I hoped I wouldn't regret what I was about to do. I reached out and pulled his pants and foul underwear down his hairy legs to his ankles. I pulled his heavy boots off then helped him step out of his pants and underwear. I spread his legs and crawled partly under him. I took hold of his Schwanz and stroked him slowly, pulling his long foreskin away from the head and then I reached up with my other hand and caressed his ass cheek. Rising up, I sucked one of his nasty, hairy balls into my mouth and swirled my tongue over it. My back was arched and my chin tucked against his crack. I peeked up to see him watching me doing all this and I smiled seductively with my eyes. I swirled his ball around my mouth some more and slowly stroked his throbbing Schwanz. His Schwanz was as hard as the tail of a hunting dog on point at a pheasant in the grass. I waited until he rolled his head backward and moaned softly before pressing his small testicle against the inside of my cheek.

"Here goes," I thought, and I bit down hard with all the force I could muster. I felt the tender tissue of his testicle squish and separate between my molars. The wailing screech produced by my foul captor was inhuman. I'll never forget the sheer anguish of his cry. "Remember what sensei taught us in karate," I thought. "If only I hadn't quit karate before getting my black belt."

When Stubby doubled over in pain, I slid through his legs and whirled around. I hooked my tied feet around one of his legs and using a hand on each ass cheek shoved him hard, knocking him to the ground. I did a leap frog and pounced on Stubby's back. My limp dick pressed into the naked crack of his ass. My sensei's voice came into my head, "Do not start to fight until you have no other choice. Once you begin to fight, do not stop. Do not give your opponent a chance to recover. Fully disable him." I grabbed two fistfuls of hair, lifted his head and slammed his face forcefully to the stone floor, provoking a fresh scream from the scumbag. From the blood that flowed, I suspect I broke his nose. I stuck my fist into the neck of his dirty t-shirt and twisted it tighter and tighter cutting off his air supply. He thrashed and flailed but my stranglehold was secure and firm and the more he thrashed the tighter I made it. Suddenly, he collapsed and lay still. I held the choke collar a few more seconds to be sure he was out then released it. I quickly untied my feet and hog tied him, including a rope from his hands and feet up around his neck, in case he got any ideas about getting loose. I pulled my robe back on and shuddered at the thought of what I had just done. I checked to make sure Stubby was still breathing and was relieved to know I hadn't killed him. I hurried over to John and untied him. He stood and hugged me. I hugged back then pulled away and pulled him over to his father.

"That was amazing. I am very impressed," praised the Colonel as I examined his shackles.

"Thanks. It was disgusting, though." I scraped my tongue across my teeth before looking closely at his bonds. I said, "There's no key. These ancient things are just held together with rusted bolts. I strained to loosen them but there was no hope. "Is there a wrench they used to put them on with somewhere?"

"Yes, they had a toolbox. I assume it came from the boat they brought us here in. They took it away after they shackled me and my fellow officer."

"What happened to him? Is that his blood on the floor?" I asked.

"Yes. There actually are two informants in the BAS and they have helped us thwart several large scale attacks. My companion knew who the two informants are, but would not tell. He was also the officer who shot Siegfried, the leader of the BAS, in the hip about a year ago causing his limp. In a rage, because he wouldn't disclose the informant names, Siegfried struck him across the temple with his cane and killed him. He never did disclose the names of the informants. Not to them and not to me. I couldn't tell the creeps who the informers are even if I wanted to, but they will never believe that I don't know."

"Let's see if we can pull the chains out of the wall." I handed a chain to John and I took the other side. The chain was bolted into the stone wall above and behind the Colonel's head. We jerked and tugged and pulled with all our might. John went a little bit nuts as he frantically pulled on the chain. Finally, it became clear that we wouldn't be able to pull them free and John dropped it in anger and plopped onto the floor in tears.

"You two go. Save yourselves," John's father urged. "They won't hurt me until they find you again. They want to use John to persuade me to talk. Perhaps you can get help and come back here to save me."

"No, daddy. They might kill you. I won't leave you." John pressed his cheek against his father's, being careful not press against his ribs. Tears were flowing down their cheeks. I reached down and pulled on the metal bracelet but it would not clear The Colonel's hand.

"We need an oil lamp," John said.

"Why? We have plenty of light coming from the lookout windows up above," I said.

"No. Like on Pirates of the Caribbean when Captain Jack Sparrow is making out with Angelica when the Kraken is attacking the ship and she shackles him to the whipping post because she realizes the Kraken is just after him. To escape, Captain Jack pulls his sword and gets an oil lamp off a hook and breaks it and the oil spills on his trapped hand. It makes it slick enough to pull loose."

"I see." "But what else is there we could use?" I wondered.

"Find something to cut my hands with and the blood may work," suggested the Colonel.

"Maybe, but you will probably get a horrible infection from that, and besides, I'm not sure that's slippery enough. What else could we use?" Then I had an idea. "This is kind of extreme, but so is the situation." I pulled my robe open and began masturbating.

"Oh David, I don't know. I mean I suppose it might work, but are you sure? It is probably the most viscous fluid available to us, though. John, look away," Colonel Randall instructed.

John bit his lip and turned away. I got a boner but I had a hard time staying focused on it. I kept thinking about what we would do next if we got the Colonel loose or what would happen if the creepy BAS gang returned, and I would start to lose my boner. No matter how I tried, I couldn't stay focused.

"What's wrong, David? If you don't want to do this, you don't have to. I understand. Just go and save yourselves." I suppose the Colonel noticed I was struggling to maintain my erection.

"I don't know what's wrong. I just can't concentrate on it. I usually can't keep it from happening. But, I keep thinking about the mess we're in and my mind wanders."

"Well, close your eyes and think about something very sexual and try to forget where we are. Pretend you're home in your bedroom."

"I am trying, but I need something to keep me focused." I felt my hand being pulled from my semi-hard dick. John sat down next to me and placed his right leg over my legs and his left leg behind me. He took hold of my penis and told his father to close his eyes. He started stroking me and I closed my eyes. I thought about jerking off in front of him in the airport bathroom. I remembered softly stroking his tender, hairless ball sac and fluffy pubes under the blanket on the airplane. I remembered gently rubbing his small boner and causing him to erupt into my palm. I smiled as I remembered my tickle toe and our wrestling match ending with him holding onto my balls. I thought about lying naked in bed with him and sucking on his big toe. I reached down with my hand and rubbed his toes as he stroked me. I traced my finger along each of his toes and rubbed and pulled on his big toe as he stroked my dick. John began slowly humping his own little boner into my hip. I suddenly became aware of how far along the path to orgasm I was, and just before shooting, I frantically cupped my hand in front of my dick. "Aim it into my hand."

John aimed my boner downward as the first blast of cum exploded into my hand. I shuddered and quivered. I was panting. "Oh, John. Oh, oh, oh. Keep stroking it. Get it all." Finally, he released me and I added a second hand to prevent losing any of the precious lubricant. I don't think I had ever shot a bigger load in my life. I panted heavily, trying to get my breath.

"I want to help out too," John said. He knelt beside me and began furiously stroking his dick aiming at the pool in my cupped hands.

"Dip it in." I said. "It will speed it up for you." I held my hands up close and he pressed his cute, little penis into the puddle and then resumed his stroking and shortly after, he tensed up and cried out softly, "uh, uh, uh." He made his small contribution to the war effort. I spilled half the creamy liquid onto the Colonel's right hand and instructed John to rub it over his father's hand and wrist. I did the same to the left hand.

We pulled and tugged and tugged and pulled. The Colonel strained with all his might and though we got it further than we had been able to when it was dry, it became painfully clear that the Colonel's hand simply would not pass through the clamped, iron bracelets. John threw himself on the floor and pounded the stone floor letting loose a string of cusswords I doubted his father knew he was capable of.

I pulled him up and held him until he calmed down. I put his robe back onto him and sadly said, "C'mon. Let's go try and find some help." John was weeping but did not argue. He moved to his father and the Colonel raised his shackled hand. John knelt and pressed it to his tear stained cheek.

"John. Go with David. Try and get help, but do not return here yourself. I love you, son. Tell your mother that I love her too."

John shook and wept as I pulled him away. "I love you, daddy." He called out as we left the stone prison. When the door was closed, John pulled me close and kissed me on the lips. It caught me by complete surprise, but his lips were soft and inviting.

"What was that about?" I asked. "I'm just so happy to know you're gay like me. I wondered, but I wasn't really sure. Last night when I wanted to get my massage from Peter, but I figured if you were gay, you would want him, then I just got selfish and spoke for him. But when I saw you doing that with Gerta and said you liked it, I wasn't sure. But now I know."

"John, I ... er ... I mean, I don't know if I'm gay or not. I mean I like messing around but I might like it with girls too. I'm really not sure, you know?"

"But inside, you just said you were gay. I heard you."

"John, dude, I was playing the creep to get loose." John realized what a fool he had just made of himself and he got a pitiful look and went extremely red in the face. "Hey, I might be, and I really think it's cool that you know what you are. I still like you tons all right? BFF, okay?" He looked up and forced a smile.


On the landing, we recognized our newest challenge. "I can climb that," John said reaching out for the metal gate blocking our escape onto the stone steps. I grabbed his robe in the nick of time and pulled him back.

"Hey! Why'd you do that?"

"Look," I said pointing at the base.

"So, it's just a dead rat that got stuck there and died."

"Think about it. A rat could easily crawl under that space. I think it stopped because it got electrocuted. Look, there are electrical lines running to it inside that metal pipe."

"What will we do then?"

"Let's try lifting you up and see if you can climb using the gaps in the stones and go over the gate and drop down on the other side." He stood on my shoulders and tried his best, but there was simply no way he could do it. He struggled over and over but clearly did not have the strength to hang on to such a tiny finger hold. Finally we scrapped the idea, and I caught him as he dropped back into my arms.

"If only I were a monkey, then I could climb it," he said. "Maybe we should go see if my dad has any ideas."

"Wait. That's it." I grabbed him by both arms and smiled.

"What's it?"

"A monkey. Do you know how to catch a monkey using just a wooden box and a peanut?"

"No, how?"

"You cut a small hole in the box just big enough for the monkey's hand to go in and put the peanut inside the box. The monkey reaches in and grabs the peanut, but then it won't fit back through the hole. But monkeys are too stubborn to let go of the peanut see, so they get trapped."

"So what's that go to do with anything?"

"You just gave me an idea, but you have to stay out here and keep watch, okay?" I thought about the time I stuck my head in the bars of the monkey cage. My dad had to fold my ears in and press hard against my head to squeeze it back out.

I entered the stone room and bolted the door closed so John could not come in. He didn't need to witness this. The Colonel looked up at me alarmed. "Where's John? What's wrong?"

"Nothing, sir. I have an idea to free you if you're willing. I asked John to stay outside because it's not going to be a pleasant thing to watch. We both know if we leave you behind, your chances of survival are very small."

"I'm listening."

"We have to make your hand narrower like a monkey's paw with the thumb more in the middle. I can put on his heavy boots." I nodded toward the bound guard lying in misery and motionless on the stone floor. "Then I will stomp on your hand and break your thumb joint. It should make it possible to get your hand free."

The Colonel contemplated my suggestion. "Do it."

I quickly lashed the heavy boot to my right foot and approached the Colonel. John knocked and asked what was going on. I told him to just hold on and wait. The Colonel bravely positioned his hand against the stone floor and said. "Don't hesitate. Use full force. I don't want you to have to strike it a second time."

I positioned my foot on top of the joint, raised it and slammed it down hard as if trying to crack a walnut. The Colonel screamed in agony. I bent and pulled at the shackle. It was still tight, but it slipped free. I threw my hands in the air and shouted a triumphant "YES!" I moved to the other side. The Colonel laid his hand in the position, closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. I stomped down equally hard and the Colonel cried out equally as loud. John was now pounding on the door and screaming to be let in. I tugged and the second shackle cleared the painful, broken joint and the Colonel was a free man. I helped him to his feet and he crossed his arms over his broken ribs and we moved to the door. He breathed in shallow gasps. I unlatched the door and John spilled into the room.

"What happened in here? I heard ... Daddy! Oh, daddy, you're free!"

Colonel Randall stooped down and John wrapped his arms around his neck. Tears of great joy flowed between them. I reminded them we still had to get off this rock and we moved to the stone landing outside the door. I pulled off the boot and for spite tossed it over the ledge and watched it splash.

I looked across the channel and could see a walled, medieval city. The buildings were almost all constructed of tan stone like our prison with orangey-red tile roofs. The old city was surrounded by a stone wall attached to a massive sea wall along the edge of the sea. The newer city sprawled out behind the original city in a fan-like image.

"I wonder where we are." I said. The distance to the coastal city seemed easily swimmable. We were apparently on an abandoned lookout tower out in the middle of the channel built as an early warning device against attacking vessels. If it hadn't been such a scary circumstance, it was actually pretty cool to look at. There were several domed churches inside the city walls. I wondered if we could safely seek refuge at one of those.

"Somewhere in the Mediterranean, I'm pretty sure," said the Colonel.

"It's Dubrovnik," John stated matter of fact like. "It was originally called the Republic of Ragussa and was founded in the 7thcentury. I recognize it from reading about the Barbarian invasions of this area. This is an important fortress city in Croatia protecting the Isthmus of Dubrovnik, a critical shipping channel and gateway to the settlements within the Adriatic Sea. They could easily fire cannons on attacking ships from the holes in the massive walls of the fortress surrounding the city. Very few would escape and the ones that did could be dealt with by the naval ships further up. It was a very effective means of defense for the prosperous maritime trade. Napoleon conquered it and when his empire fell, it was given over to Austria. Now, it's part of Croatia. Hey, that's sort of like South Tyrol. No wonder the BAS are here."

"Wow, you really are a military history nut. That's amazing." I peered over the edge, and I noticed the water was darker directly below us. We were maybe twenty feet up in the air. "John, take your robe off."


"Just do it." I peeled mine off also and we stood naked on the stone ledge. "We have to jump."

"No, I can't ..." John began to say, but I cut him off.

"We have to." I bent down wrapped my arms around him. I lifted him off the ground and bear hugged our naked bodies together. He instinctively wrapped his legs around me. I moved to the edge and he started to panic.

"NO!" he protested as I held him tighter and leapt, "I caaaannnnt swiiiiiiim!"

"OH. SHIT." I thought. Splash. The water engulfed us. The force of impact separated us and I grabbed hold of a flailing arm. I kicked with my strong legs and pulled myself and John upward with my free arm. When we reached the surface we gasped for air and then John really panicked on me. He began thrashing and grabbing at me. That's why lifeguards never get too close to drowning victims so they don't get dragged under the water with them. They always try to hand or throw them something to hold onto instead. Finally, I had to smack John hard in the face to get control of him and I dragged him over to some rocks he could hold onto. The absolute horror on his face would have been funny if it wasn't so pitiful. I swam out and used my eggbeater technique that I learned in water polo to tread water and waved an "all clear" to John's father. He waved back and took the plunge.

I stuck my face in the water after he entered and saw he wasn't moving. I dove furiously toward him and pulled him to the surface. I got him to the rocks and he was breathing, but the force of the entry on his broken ribs and thumbs, I assumed, had knocked him briefly unconscious. He revived, but he was in no condition to swim. He would gasp for air, cough and then groan in misery from his ribs. I now had two people unable to swim in the Adriatic Sea alongside a sheer cliff wall of rock rising like giant penis from the sea and a boat load of terrorists expected to return at any time. "Good plan Joe." I thought to myself. "Way to think it all through." I wondered what Frank Hardy would do in this situation.

I made certain both John and his dad felt capable of hanging onto the rocks for a bit on their own and swam away from the walled city toward the opposite side of our rock. I found it difficult swimming into the current once I cleared the protected side of the rock and faced the open sea. On the front of the rock, I found places where the waves crashed into its face and exposed soft spots in the belly of the cliff carving out small pockets. One was quite large and almost cave-like. Inside it, there was a beach of sorts and I swam back to John and the Colonel. I told them about the cave and they moved along the edge of the cliff. I helped John where there weren't any finger holds by doing my eggbeater and holding both him and me up out of the water until he reached the next place to hold onto. For long stretches, I had him float on his back the way Heiny had taught him to do in the hot tub and I would tow him along. I felt sorry for having silently cussed my conditioning coach at water polo so many times for making us swim and tread as much as he did. I had no idea it could save my life and the life of my friend one day.

At last, we reached the cave and once they were safely settled into it, I began my swim toward Dubrovnik. It was exhilarating to actually be out in the open water. It felt cool and refreshing against my naked skin. It felt wonderful to finally be on my way to freedom. I just had to alert someone to our plight and get help from the Dubrovnik police. Soon, it would all be over. I saw a fishing boat pulling away from the harbor and I pushed myself up out of the water by doing the eggbeater motion extremely fast and I waved to get their attention. They saw me and turned toward me. I sunk back down and treaded calmly until they pulled up alongside.

When Siegfried peered over the side of the boat and smiled at me with his yellow, tobacco stained teeth, I vomited. I pushed off the side of the boat to swim away, but a large net draped over my head and the more I struggled to free myself the more entangled I became. I was hauled up the side and then grabbed and pulled over onto the deck where they bound my hands and feet again. I started crying in deep despair.

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