| PANAY LAS CRUCES
Marla was convinced that being so far from home was not all that bad,
really, and after all this was what she had originally sought. Last night
in the Manila hotel suite was filled with gaiety not unlike summery
evenings in San Francisco, and traveling in the company of her own
company's two handsome officers really helped dispel any lingering fear she
might have held about making the trip. Still, it was far away and the
seaplane ride they had taken early that morning was very different from
anything she had experience before. New experiences were the reasons for
making her decision. Second-guessing at this stage was ridiculous.
The 4-wheeler jitney that met them on the island of Panay was almost
ridiculous. A joke, maybe, but the jostling ride soon removed any vestiges
of humor. When Marla had first discussed her plans with Michael and Ed,
they had just finished an especially grueling fourth quarter. Thanks to
all of their efforts, it looked as though the company would be rolling in
profits very soon and Marla knew that if she was to follow through on her
fantasy, the time had arrived. She told both of the of her wish
that the three of them journey to the Philippine Islands. Marla had
researched through a business contact who gave her names and places where
she would need to go. It took some convincing, but eventually, Michael and
Ed agreed. She was the boss, after all, and they allowed that a trip for
them was due even if it meant fulfilling their boss's fantasy.
Marla long fantasized about what it would be like to be crucified.
Thatched roofs passed by as their guide and driver, Duarte, fought the
wheel and cursed in Tagalog. Water buffalo grazed among the terraced rice
fields but they too began to disappear, as did the actual road. Much
cursing and bumping later, the party journeyed to the mountain province.
Weavers and woodcarvers gave way to more wild ferns, bamboo, palms and
banana leaves. Duarte cursed his fate. The heat was killing, but the
crazy Americans paid well and the tall woman who seemed to lead them
was very pretty.
In a great cloud of dust, the truck crunched to a stop. Looking on
either side of them, the Americans saw a small clearing in the jungle. It
was a village and though a few corrugated shacks could be seen, there was
not a human in sight. Duarte wiped the back of his sweating neack and
looked back over his shoulder at his passengers. "O 'immaliayu", he said
with teeth rotted from too much sugar and not enough brushing.
"It means", Marla said to her companions, "You are here. Don'tcha get
it? We are here! Las Cruces. Cummon. Let's get out of this heap."
Michael and Ed grabbed the bags and slowly untwined their legs from the
tight compartment. Marla already was out and stood on the sand. Duarte
blared the horn, looking for any welcome. Soon all four stood outside of
the motorized relic.
"Look! Over there", Ed said and the others followed his point. "Looks
like a church. Let's check it out."
They walked across the hot clearing to the small church and knocked on
the wooden doors. At first there was no answer until at last one of the
doors slowly opened. Inside the dark interior stood an aging prelate.
"Mr. Mahdavi-Kini sent us", Marla said to the man. His slumped
figure stood wrinkled and scarred by years of toil. She looked back at her
companions as the inside the church slowly beckoned with his arthritic
hand palm down.
"I think he wants for me to enter!"
The faces of her companions nodded in agreement. Taking a big gulp, she
stepped over the musty entrance and let the darkness seep in as the door
behind her swung closed. Appropriate to begin realizing her fantasy in a
church of all places, she thought.
The cleric, if that was what he was, could hardly be seen in the gloom
and Marla searched around for sight of anyone else. There was just the two
of them. The voice muttered something she thought sounded like please
and he handed her a rough cloth. She understood as he turned away, though
her eyes now could detect that he was watching her in the reflection of a
decaying jar. Oh well, she thought. this was her choice, so she began to
unbutton her and unlace her boots. Once free of the and
slacks, she slipped the rough sack over her head and let it drop over the
bra and she wore. The slowly turned back to face her, but
shook his decrepit head. Understanding, Marla reached under and pulled out
the bra and then slipped the band off of her hips and stepped free of the
panties, The combination of cool dirt under her bare feet and rough rag
scratching her tender skin raised goose-flesh.
She thought she heard him mumble gracious thanks and then once more, he
opened the door. The blinding sunlight filled the space. But where her
friends and the driver had stood, there were now over a dozen native wearing nothing more than white loincloths over their mahogany bodies.
Blinking, she stumbled out into the heat. Coarse hands took hers and led
her around the back of the church and to the entrance of an alley amidst
the other squalor. Frantically looking for Michael and Edward, she finally
found them casually sitting in the vintage Landover. Its doors open, she
clearly saw Michael, Edward and Duarte. Michael was eating a sandwich and
Duarte was cursing while Ed seemed to be holding a PalmCorder in his hand.
She almost started to yell, but fell back in step with her naked guides as
they led her closer to the alleyway.
Marla had to laugh to herself, despite her plight. Here she was, a west
coast entrepreneur, successful, pretty, young, and rich, down on all fours
in some filthy alley with all these strange around her. As they
removed their white wraps, her long fingers wantonly reached out. She
stroked those who were not entering her. and stroking and fucking
like a street slut, she loved it! Her dirty hair that had been up in
a ponytail because of the heat was loosed and fell around her shoulders and
humble garb. The heat blistered down and all that Marla could think of was
to hope that Ed was getting some good shots on tape. This would make some
souvenir once they finally got back home. She'd have to shampoo the real
dirt from her dirty hair
Marla awoke as someone was shaking her shoulder. Looking up from the
mud where she had laid her head, she saw that it was one of the villagers.
He was once more clothed and was motioning for her to rise and follow him
back to the church. Sorely, her legs moved and she got to one knee and
then stood. Two of them stood next to her. She shook her hair free of the
filth and allowed them to tie her arms behind her back.
This must be the start of Round Two, she thought as she secretly smiled.
Once out of the alleyway and back to the church steps, though, smiles were
not in evidence - secret or no. In fact, all of the strange faces looked
From what she could gather, the group of native women where the wives
and girlfriends of the she had been with and they appeared none too
happy to have the tall American visit them, much less, diddle with their
men-folk. The women ranged in ages and all wore shawls over full dresses
of simple weave. Marla started to speak to one, when a woman much shorter
than she swung and slapped her face with a stinging blow across her right
cheek. Marla felt her lip instantly swell as she glared back at her
attacker. Another one of them swung, this time doubling Marla at the waist
with a blow to her stomach that knocked wind from her. A third slammed a
punch to her kidney, dropping her to the dust.
The women chattered so fast that she could not understand. It was
Tagalog, but a rural dialect and she could not follow what they where
saying. Strong hands - they had to be a man's - pulled the back of her
rough dress up and she rose with it. They took her over to a tall post.
Frantically looking around, she saw the three she had journeyed with
laughing amongst themselves over by the truck. Hands pulled Marla's arms
high above her head.. They were retied above her with rough rope. The
rope was yanked up higher so that the tips of her toes could barely scrape
the dust. Her panting body lay into the sturdiness of the post from which
she now hung. Opening her eyes, she looked past her right shoulder.
Below, there was a local woman whose eyes blazed. She seemed to be cursing
Marla. The American tried to protest the woman's curses and the ropes that
held her, but she was now helpless. From the corner of her eye, Marla saw
the native brandish a long, whip. It was the kind the ranchers used
on water buffalo. Looking skyward, Marla rued the day she had ever thought
of actually living her fantasy.
The first stroke was harsh. Marla felt it tear at the filthy rag she
wore and promised to ignore the pain. The second lash wound around her
middle and curled to her front snapping the coarse material there. The
third made Marla jerk. She looked up at her wrists and sweating forearms.
Her wrists were - too red! Succeeding blows brought cries, then
shrieks, then wails. There was nothing that Marla could do but try and
hang on the best she could.
From the relative shade of the truck, the watched the courtyard.
Hanging from the post was their own CEO. The assured boss now was
screeching in pain and the rags she wore now were spinning in flying
tatters as each lash hit her. Blood could be seen where the pale flesh was
shown. Michael asked Ed if he wanted another sandwich and his partner
simply asked for another videotape.
One of the men, an one, brought over a large wooden bucket that he
had filled at the village well. He threw its contents onto the torn back
of the American, then told the women to let her down. As her moaning body
collapsed in a heap, other came over and lifted the back up to
her feet. He leaned the slumped form with her bleeding back against the
upright and looked back over to where the two American sat. Getting
the wave from them, he told the others that the passion would now continue.
Marla was dazed. Her lips shivered and what remained of her functioning
mind told her that this was certainly not in any travel brochure she had
seen. She tried to pull away from the strong hands that grasped her, but
they held fast. She was forced down, once more, to kneel. Looking up, she
saw one of the villagers approach. He held in his hands what looked to be
a crudely fashioned crown. What Marla did not realize was that the
so-called crown was made of concertina wire and its razor-sharp prongs were
made of steel that would bend under force much stronger than any flesh
could bring to bear.
Hands held up her head by its chin as other hands crammed the crown onto
her head. She screamed out again as the barbs cut, but this time her yells
were not as loud as when she had been whipped. Another bucket of water was
doused over her to revive her and this time the once proud mane of was darkened.
A roughly carved branch of indigenous wood was brought over. Its bark
was not completely off and it was roughly laid over Marla's shoulders. Her
arms were outstretched and tied to the wood.
"Please...", she said gasping as her body bent and head hung under her
wet hair, "Enough....Enough."
The village elder ignored her and motioned for his people to follow the
trail that would lead to the hill where the American would get her wish.
From elevations up the tropical mountain the procession could now see
glimpses of the shoreline, hundreds of feet below them. Long departed from
the tiny village, progress was achingly slow for a number of reasons
determined by Man, Machine and Nature but through the dense and rotting
foliage the winding trail came to a fork in the road. Natives urged the
American woman toward the right.
Above a cormorant described a lazy circle and though it had strayed from
its usual marine habitat, the raven predator patiently awaited what
appeared to soon be a fresh kill.
Shouts came from the left fork of the trail and there appeared
three other Americans. These were Peace Corp workers on assignment and
when they saw the beleaguered woman, protests arose from all three. The
natives, seeing the interlopers quickly subdued them, tieing the wrists of
one behind his back. A brief struggled insued, but quickly
On the order of one of the male leaders, the rough-hewn wood was lifted
free of the female's shoulders and placed over the back of the other newly
arrived American. The goo-soaked mahogany chilled his neck and he did not
have to be told the dampness was from where it had chafed the white woman's
upper shoulders as she had been made to heft the burden. Small wonder as
the potential coffee table he now hefted felt like it weighed a ton.
Freed of her heavy burden, Marla staggered and dazedly looked around.
The faces were all foreign, though behind them she could barely make out a
familiar site. The light blue, rust-dented shape of the truck's roof was
trailing them in this jungle. Michael and Ed had to be there and surely
they would come to her aid. Looking back, she saw the new arrivals and the
villagers ripping the from the other white woman. Gulping, she
allowed her wrists to be bound with heavy hemp as she watched the native
women giggled with their gaped-tooth grins. Each tried on the girl's white
bra over their dark peasant clothes.
Somehow, her fevered brow thought, this was not the scene described to
her when she had signed the check to that greasy travel agent, back in the
States. She recalled something about a quick nailing using only surgical
steel "Of course". Right. Gazing around the fetid foliage, Marla longed
for a mere bar of soap, much less anything sterilized. Shrugging off the
pain pounding in her wounded head, she reminded herself that she had to go
through with this fantasy no matter how brutal and wacky it now seemed.
The short was stripped to her waist. Her hair was cut shorter
than Marla's and her perkily bounced and jostled. A sheen of sweat
already made them glow though her frantically darting blues hardly meant
the perspiration was passion-driven. The woman's patch pocketed
pants didn't need blousing in this heat and covered the tops of her boots.
One of the native handed the a long reed made of bamboo and
gestured to where the other American woman stood, now free of the timber
she had had to lug. He effortlessly spun Marla's back to her as the
volunteer stood gripping the reed. His leathery fingers reached up and
tore the rag from the neckline to the small of her back. The younger woman
winced at the sight of the reddened and bruised flesh. For a moment, at
least, she forgot her own plight. The then gestured for her to use the
reed to cane the other woman.
Bemused at first, the short proved a fast study as one of the
village matrons started to cane her back. The party resumed its agonizing
progress with one naked American female striking another naked American
female's back. The natives laughed at the sight, especially when one
bamboo reed shattered only to be replaced by a fresh and stronger one.
Both of their pale backs soon glistened angry crimson.
From above and on high, the procession mildly interested the gliding
seabird. The feathered beast was growing hungry and delays were making it
think twice about passing up the usual diet of marine life. Besides, even
those who could soar had to eat sometime and this day was proving way too
hot for bird or fowl. Pragmatically deciding to opt for the usual course
of fresh seafood over what potentially could represent a new feast, the
bird flew back to his usual hunting grounds over the water.
Her name was Danielle though no human or creature really cared,
especially the large bird soaring overhead. Danielle, the just newly arrived, stumbled under the rain of blows. She did her best to
keep pace with the others, even so far as to strike out at the other
American before her, yet it became too much and pretty Danielle fell
to her cargo pants knees.
Damn the rotting foliage. A rustle stirred the mango leaves and
suddenly there appeared dark, shaped figures. Banditos and not just any
band. The black masked gang were members of the notorious Los Muerte
Negros. The party verged on a trail to the left. Staggerdly, the
procession trailed until met by the dark shapes. Cuervo and Ernesto
commanded the others to flee. Their commands where pointedly directed by
M-16's and other weaponry.
Quickly, the tribes people and the Anglos and the driver, Duarte, fled,
but not before the rebels first tore apart the roof satchel-carriage of the
truck. Each end was then honed to a razor sharp edge. These the devils in
scarves were to use as their implements of crucifixion, an execution now to
be performed the way only the bandits intended.
Long gone was any hope derived from state of the art known as GPS. Hope
of finding any direction was useless. There was no way that even with a
basic compass Michael or Ed could hope to find them in the dense terrain.
The Anglo male who had been made to heft the heavy timber was also
released, and sent packing. The two American females were directed to
carry the wood by each lifting up one of the ends. In single file they did
as ordered. Away to the arid base of Mount Mbasi, or as the natives called
it, Mt. Mubuai. It was near a rocky promontory that Marla, despite her
earlier preparations, was to be executed and hung in infamy. She and the
young American hardly knew what they were in for, yet at least one
of them had willingly arraigned this operation now gone awry. Only until
the party reached the volcanic base did they stop to wonder. Few of the
rebels held any doubt. The Americans were t o be slaughtered, as they so
wished and that crazy plan, volunteered or not, would prolong their
agonies. Few, if any of the Los Muertoes had ever been so close to white
women. The closeness excited them all.
Simultaneously arriving at an executive decision, Cuervo and Ernesto
ordered a halt to the sad procession. They would let their satisfy
their lust with these two after they first savored the delights the
Americans had to offer. The stockier, Ernesto, roughly grabbed Marla's
torn sleeve and hurled her to the hard earth while Cuervo ordered Danielle
to drop her end of the cross-beam and turn to face him. He then ordered
the American to remove her stained trousers.
Both females had no choice but to comply with the two, weakly eyeing the
strange dark faces surrounding them. At the moment, they had never felt
more alone and vulnerable. Each acquiesced to the multiple rapes.
Later that day, Danielle lifted up Marla's head as she lay across the
ground. The crucifixion had been brief, but its memory lasted. Michael
and Ed returned and knelt alongside of Marla. The rebels and villagers had
all disappeared, leaving just the Americans behind.
Wearily, Marla looked at her two employees and murmured their fate.
Michael and Ed needed to contemplate their whereabouts for the next fiscal
year. She knew for certain that her place in 12 months time was another
return to Panay Las Cruces.