I was at 3200 meters collecting a very interesting patch of moss containing Teagueia, when I heard machine gun fire. I instinctively dropped to the ground from my crouching position to lying down. The fire was returned. My breathing quickened. The gun battle continued. I dare not go anywhere; I just maintained my cover, which was negligible. I was alone. I thought it must be Chuck, for he was the only one that had a machine gun. But who was firing at him?
I felt a presence behind me, and someone said “No mover Señora por favor.” I noticed the barrel of a machine gun at my ear. I eased my hands up around my head in surrender. The gun battle continued in the distance.
“Despertar.” The voice commanded. I didn’t understand, so I glanced behind me, and the single gunman was gesturing with his machine gun for me to get up. So I did. He looked military, but not Ecuadorian. He looked kind of like a Columbian Guerrilla. But if he was, he sure had strayed far from home.
“Despacio.” He said. I had no idea what that meant. I kept my hands in the air while he patted me down for weapons. I was terrified. Then he stuck his gun butt in my back and pushed me forward toward the gun fight. So I walked towards it. Eventually I saw his buddies on the ground shooting at Chuck’s position. He kicked one of their feet and gestured to me. The guy smiled and stopped shooting.
He called out in a loud voice with a distinct South American Spanish accent “Stop firing. We have your woman. One more shot and she gets it!” Then they pointed a machine gun at my head. Chuck immediately stopped firing. “Throw out your gun and surrender!”
Chuck tossed out his machine gun and stood up. He raised his arms in surrender. A couple of the guerrillas, there were four in all, ran over to search him. When that was done, they tied his hands behind his back and forced him to kneel. They took me over to kneel beside him. They looked through all of our stuff, which wasn’t much, since we were out for a day hike from our camp to collect moss. Were they just going to rob us and let us go? Where was Oscar? Would they find our camp?
* * *
Allen really thought that Mr. Butterfly had been too rough on him earlier this morning. It’s not like he had committed a crime or anything. So he got a bit selfish in pursuit of his own sexual satisfaction. Like that never happened to Mr. Butterfly before. But to say that the sexual part of their relationship was over, that was going too far! The nerve of him! Just who did he think he was?
He would show that Mr. Butterfly that he was wanted! He would land that Oscar dude when he came back from his trip with Sue. That is what he would do. Ha! He would steal that big dicked Oscar right from under his nose! Ha!
But for right now, Allen was stinging from the rejection from Mr. Butterfly. It was harder on him than he would have liked to admit. It hurt him right to the bone. It brought back all of the old memories of his ex-boyfriend who overdosed on intravenous heroin. He just could not control his ex’s drug habit. He just could not control Mr. Butterfly. He told himself that he, Allen, was not a heroin addict, because he only snorted it and not since his ex had overdosed. He searched through his bags for the new stash he bought on the streets in
Five minutes later, euphoria. He lay on his sleeping bag, and entered another world, where what people thought of him made no difference whatsoever.
* * *
“Where is your camp gringo?”, said the lead guerrilla to Chuck.
But Chuck was not talking. “Tell me where your camp is or I hit the Señora.” He emphasized this by grabbing my hair.
Chuck said “I will take you there.”
So we all got up to go back to camp. In no time we were there. The guerrillas went through all of our stuff in the better part of an hour. When they found our three sleeping bags zipped into one, they leered at me. Then the leader said “We have found three sleeping bags, and three packs, but only two of you. Where is the third person? I assume he is close by. Actually I assume he can hear us now and will appear if I threaten to hurt this woman.”
Then he hit me hard with the back of his hand in my mouth, splitting my lip. It hurt like a mother fucker and I could taste my own blood. “I will hit her again if you do not come out.” His hand went back again to hit me, but Oscar came out of hiding with his hands up.
Two guerrillas went out to search him too then led him over to kneel with us. They tied his hands behind his back.
After taking a knife and pistol away from him, the guerrillas went off a short distance to discuss the situation. They came back a short while later. The leader spoke.
“We think that you are part of a small band of plant collectors here in the jungle. There are other bands too. But not close by. That is why you have a radio. We mean you no harm. But we need money and you have none. So, we will take your woman for ransom. Do not follow us. We will contact you by radio for the location to make the exchange in a week’s time. That will give you time to raise the money. We want a million dollars for her. We will take your radio also. Adios amigos.”
Then they grabbed me and pushed me along with their machine guns and we left. I looked back at Oscar and Chuck still tied up and on their knees. I was terrified. How would they help me?