My head hurts, I reach out to hold it. Just in case my brain is spilling out.

Where am I anyway? I open my eyes and take in my surrounding. Lots of dust and the acrid smell of death and burnt things.

A lady, her entire body covered but her eyes was screaming a name.

“Jason!!!! you must get up. They’re coming.”

I look around. Just two of us. Who’s Jason? Am I Jason?

I point at myself questioningly and she shakes her head pitifully and runs off, the thin veil around her fluttering in the wind.

Footsteps came soon after and a group of men huddled over me.
“Brother” one said, “come with us. We will help you. It’s all over now.”

I took his hand and they led me to their camp.

After I was bathed, clothed and fed. I started asking questions.

“I’m sorry, but where am I?” I asked the one named Iqbal.

“This one! So funny! You’re in Dubai.” He said. Wiping bits of food from his beard.

“Dubai?” I repeated after him. “I can’t remember coming here.”

Only then did he stop laughing. He called out for someone and a skinny girl came.

“Call Ahmad, tell him our new brother is lost in his mind. ”

Soon after, a short man with beady eyes that made me shiver a bit walked into the room and sat in front of me.

“I am the one they call Ahmad. Who are you?”

“The lady called me Jason.  So I am Jason.”

He nodded checking the folds of his dress for something. It was a pouch of some kind. With a rubbery feel. He opened it and showed me its pockets.

“Check yourself. Do you have one of these?”

I nod and follow his example,  shoving my hand into the spaces in my rough shorts. I brought my rubber pouch out and opened it.

He took it from me and removed some green papers.  Then he picked a white card.

” Jason Thistleford. You’re American.”

I smile. “Okay?”

He gets up and pulls me ” follow me.”

We walk down a couple of halls and I stare out the window. This Dubai was extremely beautiful.  Even this conflict hadn’t touched it.

We rounded into a big room and a Girl was in a chair besides a hollow tube.
“Sit please.” Ahmad said, moving to the tube. He pulled out two   needles and placed on  the table there.

I sat, taking in my environment. This was a lab. Vats and vats of chemicals hung on the walls.  The whooshing and hisses of valves and things filled the room.

“Hi, my name is Mahwah.” The girl said.

“Jason.” I gave and Ahmad turned back to us.

“Today I won’t be asking questions to trigger your past. You get to experience it yourself.  May we?”

He pressed a buttoned panel and our chairs leaned back.

“I thought there’s a war out there.” Mahwah said.

“Fear not sweetling. The building is cloaked, besides we are underground.” He smiled at her and I shivered again.
“I’ll give you a brief rundown of how this works and then we can begin” He smiled and put on his glasses.

“First,  I’ll place these needle spines on the back of your heads, the electrodes thereafter will stimulate the damaged memory bank of your brain and you will relive your past. Please know that you can not interact or alter anything. It is a memory after all.”
He flipped a switch and several tines appeared on the needles.

“I’ll need you to strap yourself in, please”

Mahwah hurriedly did so and I followed.

“Well then, happy holidays.”  He giggled, placing the needle things on the back of my head. It was cold then it was warm.

That’s when the vibrations begin. As my eyes closed. I could see Mahwah reach out for me. I grabbed her hand and Ahmad waved goodbye.

It was dark when we woke up. Well almost dark except for the two holes of light.

“Where are we going?” Mahwah asked. “Mine or yours?”

“Let’s try yours.”

She nodded and we went into her memory bank.

It was a room. Clean grey walls, porn magazine stacked neatly beside a laptop.
Dressed bed.

“This is a guys room, why are we in a guys room?”

The door opened and two girls came in with a guy. I smiled and put my hands in my pocket. She nudged me in the ribs with her elbow. “It’s not funny.”

I looked at her, must be kinda embarrassing, taking someone into your mind and having a sex scene pop up first.

“Which one are you?” I ask her and she shrugged.

The girls pulled out their some envelopes and put money on the bed.

“This is $5000, Marq, just about enough for your surgery.”

The other girl said, “and this is for your clothes, shoes and makeup.”
“What will you call yourself tho?” Girl one asked.

“I don’t know,  Uniqua,  maybe something not too far from my name.”

“Like Marquetta” girl two said.

“Hell no, gurl. What about Mahwah? It is an Indian name after all.”

” I like that” Mark said, ” hi I’m Mahwah and these are my girls Uniqua and Denzelina”.

Mahwah covered her face in her hands.
“Are you okay?” I ask, reaching for her. She falls into my arms and I just watch the real her talk about telling her mom.

“Oh my god, my mother.”

The next thing, we are downstairs and it’s dinner time.

“Mum I have something to tell you.”

“Now? What’s wrong child??”

‘Mum I been thinking and I don’t want to be a guy anymore mum.”
Her fork clattered to the ground and her head swiveled slowly.
“What did you say? ”

“I don’t want to be a guy anymore. I have the money and I’ve booked the appointment, I just thought i should let you know.”

“Get. Out. Of. My house. You devil child.” She said “18 years I have loved you and kept you safe and now you want to be a man. Get out. And don’t come back till you change your mind.”

It faded out and we see Mark out in the snow, smoking a blunt.
There are screams coming from the next house and a girl emerges, yelling back at the house.

“I’ll do it. You’ll See!!  I’ll change my name and you’ll never see me again.”

Only then did she notice Mark.

“Damn Parents,  never letting you do anything you want.”

“Tell me about it”
“You have a place for the night?”  She asked.

“Naw, you?” He replied, offering her the blunt.

“I’m going back in my room, come with?” She dragged expertly on the blunt. Smoke leaving her nose in tendrils.

“They just kicked you out.” Mark deadpanned. “They won’t open up again”

“Who said they had to? ”
Next scene is in the girls room. I and Mahwah lean on her dresser. A sheet of paper fluttered to the floor as they climbed in through the window.

“Jason Thistleford” Mahwah said, reading off the paper.

“Lookey here, we were neighbours.”
I looked at the paper again. And again.

“So Jodie, right? ” Mark said, lighting another blunt.

“Yeah” she said, pulling off her jeans.

He passed the blunt and looked subtly at her ass.  “Whatchu getting kicked out for anyways? ”

“I’m giving up my vagina” she said between drags.

“No way, I’m getting a vagina.”
She put her fist up for a fist bump. “Well since we are here, wanna fuck? ”

“Yeah sure. It won’t hurt.” He patted his pockets. “No rubber,  Jodie.”

She leaned over him and opened the drawer. A handful of condoms lay there.

“May we?”

As we, they, had sex. I look at Mahwah.

“This is unbelievable.” She said ” we were neighbors.”

“And we got to fuck.  And dammnnn are you good.”

The next scene took us into my memory bank. The further we went. The more I recollected, we were at
the hospital.

Our beds were next to each others.

” you look so pretty Mahwah”

“How did you know that? ”

“Your room window is right across mine.” She smiled, “I’ve seen and heard everything.”

“Everything? ” I ask.

“Yes Jason, if only you knew how many nights I lay just across masturbating to you and another girl fucking.”

“Oh! You should have said something.”

“I did, yesterday. ”

The next scenes were rushed and blurry : getting released from the hospital. Going home. Mahwah being a stripper. Me relocating to dubai for work.

Mahwah’s strip tease show in Abu Dhabi, a road trip down to Dubai and the beginning of the war.
The back of my head would be numb for a few days.  I knew it.

Ahmad was sitting at the end of my chair, with a smorgasbord nearby. He had changed his clothing.

“It’s been three days.” He said ” I was about to pull the plug.”

Mahwah looked at me and I smiled back at her.


She winked at me, so I ask Ahmad.

“You have a room where we can shower and rest ?”

“Yes, we had a suite arranged for you.”


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