Sighing, Christine stretched out her slender legs underneath the metal bistro table. She loved to sit in the sun, observe people scurrying by while thinking about nothing. Pensively she brushed through her long blonde hair, gleaming in the sunlight, immediately earning a pleasing glance from a passerby. Typical male! She wrinkled her nose, familiar with being admired by the male sex. As she sipped her cappuccino, her cell phone rang. She retrieved it from her Versace handbag, and answered.
“Ah, yes, Mr. Dovenmann! Yes? Oh, I did not expect that! Of course I will come! Yes, I am looking forward to it!” Agitated, she stuffed the phone back into her bag, threw a few bucks on the bistro table and hurried to her parked BMW. A confirmation! At last! Professor Dovenmann had accepted her as his orchid research assistant on the Brazilian jungle expedition. What an honor!
Excited, she raced her car through the city and hurried into her ultra-modern apartment.
She thought suddenly and hesitated, I can’t possibly leave on such short notice. Freddy! What will I do with him? She went to the spacious terrarium where her iguana, Freddy, lazed on a branch.
“Oh Freddy!” Carefully she lifted him out of the glass house and pressed him tenderly to her breast. She felt his little claws as they dug into her silk blouse. Carrying him to her white designer sofa, she cuddled with him for quite some time, stroking his smooth, scaled skin.
“I’ll have to ask Martha to take care of you again,” she said sadly. Freddy flicked his tongue in understanding.
Preparations for the journey made time fly by. Before she knew it, Christine was on a plane heading to Brazil, watching as the houses of Hamburg disappeared into the mist below.
It didn’t take long before she had been accosted by her seatmate, feeling the need to suddenly pull the hem of her suit’s skirt further down as the guy ogled her knees quite lewdly. My goodness, she thought, ten hours next to this guy!
She moved as far away as possible from the handsome looking man in his mid-forties. Men are just disgusting! Especially those who undress you with their eyes! Revolting! She rubbed her legs together, feeling them sheathed in quite expensive nylons. I will never fall for such a lecherous guy! She quickly asked a passing flight attendant for a blanket and immediately got her request fulfilled while receiving a knowing smile from the woman. Relieved, she pulled the fabric over her legs.
Before she knew it, Christine exited the plane at her destination airport in Barreiras, and her breath caught in her throat. At first she thought she couldn’t breathe and started to sway slightly. The flight attendant assisted her down the portable stairs as she regained her composure. What a climate! Sultry, humid and downright oppressive!
She looked around for Professor Dovenmann; however, he was nowhere to be seen. Had he forgotten about her? Didn’t he send someone? Now her – the sassy researcher – heart banged like a drum in her chest. She knew the location of the camp was in the jungle, but how could she get there alone?
Deciding to wait, she sat down on her suitcase in the shadow of the airport. In a relatively short amount of time, a group of dark-skinned men had gathered around her and grinning, checking her out like cattle at an auction. Crap, she thought. I have to get away from here. Where’s a taxi? She jumped up and took off in the direction of the information desk, pulling her luggage swiftly behind her. The woman behind the desk, a friendly local, advised her in broken English and helped to secure a cab. Christine thanked her, and in no time, found herself sitting in the back seat of a slightly musty black automobile, cruising through the city.
“Can’t even be bothered to pick me up,” she mused. “It seems, even though I was invited, I’m not welcome after all.” Close to tears, she watched as if through a veil the colorful city rush by. She felt the stress from the preparations and travel catch up to her finally.
“You sad?” her pudgy driver asked and looked at her in the rearview mirror. “No sad - Brazil nice!” He smiled at her reassuringly.
Hmm, that guy better shut up, she thought. She wasn’t looking for any consolation from a scruffy local such as him.
The paved road soon turned into a bumpy, dusty path. The drive over the dirty jungle route and past wild brushwood seemed to take an eternity.
“Camp, here!” her driver said and stopped. Under huge tropical trees that were covered with vines, stood a couple of khaki-colored tents and some rickety wooden shacks. Christine exited the cab with trepidation and paid the outrageous fare.
Only now, after she got out of the car, did she realize that she was wearing completely inappropriate shoes; her gray pumps quickly sank into the sand. Somewhat distraught, she watched the taxi as it left her to return to the city.
“Hello,” she called out. “Is anyone here?” The site looked abandoned.
She peered into all the lodgings, but couldn’t find a single human soul. If no one’s here, I’ll just pick one, she decided. Exhausted, she sat down on one of the two cots in one of the quarters. What have I gotten myself into? Now I’m just sitting here, in a foreign country, all alone in the jungle. Her courage left her.
Disheartened, her gaze fell to the trampled dirt floor. To her amazement, she saw a green lizard about eight inches long curiously look up at her. Ah, a welcoming party! At least one who acknowledges me being here, she thought and smiled at the little guy. However, it swiftly vanished as silently as it had arrived.
Well then, I’m not giving up that fast! First, I’m going to get settled. Surely at some point somebody will show up she said to herself, trying to build up her courage. In passing she had seen some type of make-shift kitchen that was stocked with provisions and drinking water, a clear sign that the camp was inhabited.
Groaning, she got up, first removing her uncomfortable shoes and tight suit, which was completely drenched in sweat. Perspiration had collected under her breasts and ran down in streams between them. Using a bit of water she refreshed herself and decided to rest and wait for the campmates to return.
She covered the dingy cot with some fluffy, clean towels from her suitcase, and laid down on them.
Christine must have dozed off. She sat up startled when she heard a noise beyond the tent. Jumping up, she ran outside. A brown-skinned, wiry guy was rummaging through some old pots and she waved at him. “Hey,” she called, happy to finally see someone. The man looked startled at first, but nevertheless grinned and leered at her.
“Damn it,” she thought and instantly became aware of her blunder. She stood there, in her red lacy underwear, glistening with sweat and disheveled hair.
Don’t lose your composure she told herself and sternly asked: “Where is Professor Dovenmann? DOVENMANN! Understand?”
Ah, a glow emanated from the man’s face.
“Dovenmann in jungle - yesterday.”
Oh, what luck! He’s here after all. He must have been on the road for his research and forgot about all about me, Christine surmised.
“You, take me to the professor,” she ordered the local, who immediately nodded eagerly.
“Tomorrow,” he said, pointing toward the slowly setting sun behind the jungle trees.
“Okay, I’m fine with that too!” Aware of his scrutiny, she walked back into her quarters as gracefully as possible and sat down on the bed. These intrusive glances! Plus this heat! Will I get used to it? To her own astonishment, she saw the little lizard again, sitting in front of her cot and a little further was another one. Both looked at her curiously and flicked their tongues in order to get her scent.
“Oh, hi sweeties,” she whispered so as not to frighten the creatures. “My Freddy would also like it here in this climate! He’s my darling, you know! But he is a few sizes bigger than you are because he’s an iguana!” She eyed the beautiful reptiles. “So, what species are you?” They looked somewhat like big green lizards and appeared to be listening to her attentively. Christine crawled into the towel covered cot carefully, and watched those curious lizards for a few moments longer. She eventually closed her eyes and, lulled by the croaking and chirping jungle noises, fell into a restless sleep. While she slept, she was seemingly protected by her new found small green guardians.
Very early the next morning, she and her companion went on their way to find the professor. This time she was dressed appropriately and even carried a backpack full of necessities. Marching through the lush jungle, the man had to cut a path for them over and over again; the dense vegetation yielding swiftly to his large machete. The advance was arduous and slow going.
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