The Perils of Paula

08Dec10

8th December, somewhere in the Middle East

Dear Diary,

This is the first time I have been able to write. This has to be the worst week of my life and I am pretty sure that it is not over yet.

I never thought that I would look fondly on Aunt B’s hairbrush. I don’t think I will ever be able to sit down again.

After losing Mr Aziz and being arrested, I was thrown in a very smelly cell with some other women. There was no washing and just a hole in the corner, which I really don’t want to think about. I was there a day and a night before they found someone who was supposed to be able to speak English. I can’t say I was all that impressed with the interpreter they came up with. He didn’t even know the English word for where we were and there is no way I could follow the sounds he made in what ever language they do speak.

He also has the habit of breaking off into very angry gibberish whenever I ask the simplest of questions. Like when I asked if I could pay a fine or when I would be getting out.

At least the lawyer is nice. I wish he was the one who could speak English.

Apparently I am up on public decency laws for going into a men’s coffee house, wearing the wrong clothes and asking for a beer. Also I had the wrong visa, which was one of the things that Mr Aziz said when he got cross, now I come to think of it. Oh and because of the visa thing, I also might have been a spy, which doesn’t seem half as bad as going into the café in the first place.

Oh, oh, owie! I just thought I would write that down as it sums up what it is like to move at the moment.

Anyway the lawyer said that the local magistrate can only send me to prison for three years. Any more than that and I have to go the city court. This is good apparently. My lawyer was very happy about this and kept smiling. He smiled so much I wondered if it were a joke.

He said that the magistrate doesn’t like sending cases to the city and the city doesn’t like him doing it either. That meant that I probably wouldn’t face the death penalty, which I didn’t know until after because the translator kept on about mortgages and not death. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. I have decided that most of his English is actually French by the way.

I like French. It was my best subject at school. If only they had wanted to know how well done I wanted my steak. Mrs K at B… School never taught the sort of French needed while under a death sentence in a country you can’t pronounce.

Anyway I am not now. Apparently they think I am an Imbellyseel, some sort of religion I think, and can’t possibly be a spy. I did say I was C of E, but they weren’t listening.

After those charges were dropped, the lawyer explained that it is not actually illegal to ask for a beer, just drink one. The magistrate was very cross about this and shouted a lot, but the up-to-then smug prosecutor guy went into a huddle and after frowning a lot agreed to drop those charges.

When the lawyer reminded the court that they couldn’t hear visa violations, the magistrate ordered that I was to get a visa at once. They stamped my passport there in court. They really didn’t want this to go to the city I gather.

I was beginning to think that it was going to be alright, when they mentioned the public decency thing. The magistrate, the prosecutor, all smug again, and even my lawyer were all smiling.

I was sentenced to 1,000 days in prison or 1,000 lashes. The lawyer said that I would be whipped in prison anyway, so obviously 1,000 lashes on the derriere was a good result.

I started to cry. Why always my bottom?

The first part was 50-100 on the bare bottom on this frame thing in the courtyard of the prison. Then every three to five days until it’s done.

It was horrible, everyone was there, even some women from the village. They were the worst in fact.

I had to wear this cotton thing that covered me completely except it was spilt at the sides so that it could be raised to my waist to bare my bottom once I was strapped over the frame. When they bared me for the first time, there were howls and taunting.

Then a very large man arrived carrying a triple cane thing! I mean it was like four feet long and split into three thin lengths.

I was just about to ask if I would have my own room in prison when the first stroke crossed my bottom. Yeowie!!

The count was in foreign so I still have no idea how many I got. When I asked this morning, the first time I was able to face the answer, all I was told was that I nearly got the full amount.

So now I have to move around my cell like I have lumbago and I doubt if I will be able to sit down by the time they come for me again. Or as Mrs K might have said, I am bien cuit.



One Response to “The Perils of Paula”

  1. A delightful blog.


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