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I was still living in the Turistik Palas Otel when Christmas came, but I was determined to have a Christmas tree in my tiny room. Nobody was going to feel sorry for me, by God!

In the outdoor garden restaurant which was unused in winter, I had previously admired a six foot blue spruce that looked as if it had come straight from Colorado. It was in a wooden pot, so I asked the Manager if I could have the tree hauled up to my room. He thought I was mad, naturally, but threw up his hands and said, “Buyurun!” That meant “help yourself” but it implied that I had already taken over his whole hotel and staff, so why not take a tree from his garden, too! “Will you give it back?”

“Of course! After Baby Jesus’ birthday, I promise.”

I rounded up my work crew: the doorman and all the bellboys, all two of them. I first asked for a hose to wash off the tree.

Blank expressions.

“Su! Su!” I screamed. (Water! Water!)

One of the bellboys ran inside and came out carrying a glass and a bottle of spring water. I poured the water over the tree and asked for more. They all ran in and came out handing me bottle after bottle of spring water which they had filled from the tap in the basement and capped with aluminum foil seals.

I poured each bottle over the tree, sprinkling and scattering like a bishop from Dubuque.

Then I turned to them and started barking orders like a drill sergeant. My Turkish improved by leaps and bounds every time I got excited.

“Lift” They did.

“Follow me!” They did. The desk clerk, several cooks from the kitchen and a handful of guests were very impressed with our procession.

“Up the stairs!” They went up.

“Oh, God, don’t put it down on the middle of these steps. We’ve got three more flights!”

I thought about unstrapping my belt and lashing them but they juggled it onto their shoulders and almost raced by me.

“Easy! Careful! Good! Now, down the khall! In here! Set it down! There, in the corner! Aaaaaah! Beautiful!”

I greased their outstretched palms, but they wouldn’t leave. They were all very excited about the project and wanted to know what was next.

Toz ol!” I barked. It meant literally “become dust” and they did.

The next day I went to the PX to buy ornaments which I had seen the week before. I bought two boxes of six each—their entire supply! Wiped them out! Orhan, the PX Manager, was delighted since no one on the base wanted them and he was afraid he’d be stuck with the.

Knowing that twelve ornaments do not a Christmas tree make, I bought a variety of cigarettes, chewing gum, and candy bars. I went home to trim my tree the night before Christmas.

Kerim, from the Chaldean Church, helped me.

“Why do you do this?” he asked as we hung the ornaments, cigarettes, chewing gum, and candy bars on the tree ( with US government paper clips for hangers). “Does it have something to do with our Catholic religion—the birth of Jesu?”

“Well, no.”

“I haven’t read in my Bible about a tree. I know about the three Very Intelligent Men who came from the East.”

“Well, a Christmas tree is just a way we have of celebrating the birth of Christ in our homes. It’s not religious. It’s just fun.”

As we were tying on the Pall Malls, Salems, Camels, Lucky Strikes, Hershey Bars, Baby Ruths, Snickers, Juicy Fruit and Double Mint, Kerim said that an American sergeant had given the Chaldean Church several boxes of ornaments two years before. “We didn’t know what their purpose was, so we strung them all across the top of the altar at the church. Did you notice?”

“Yes, I noticed.” They looked cheap and vulgar on the altar and were covered with dust, but I didn’t say anything more.

When we finished trimming the tree, it looked as beautiful to me as any tree I have ever trimmed at home.

I got out my Polaroid camera and had Kerim that pictures of me under the tree with all the Christmas presents which had arrived weeks before. My beloved baby sister had sent me a Steuben air twist cocktail glass because I told her I was collecting a set of them and only had two. I filled the glass with real gin and put a real olive in it. Kerim took several pictures of me: raising my martini glass in a toast, with a seraphic smile on my face, under the most beautiful Christmas tree in the whole Muslim world.

The next morning I zipped down to the Chaldean Church to serve Mass for Father Bloch on Christmas morning. Kerim was waiting for me outside the church. I knew, from the glint in his eyes, that something was up. He beckoned me into the church and there, right in the middle of the altar where Father Bloch was to do most of his praying, was a scrawny Christmas tree (three fir branches lashed together), decorated with the ornaments from the late sergeant, and Yeni Harman cigarettes, and little bags of netting with Jordan almonds and Turkish Delight in them.

I laughed. Oh, how I laughed!

“Is something wrong, Mister John?”

“No, no, it’s beautiful. Beautiful!”

Father Bloch was aghast when he saw it but I persuaded him to work his way around the tree as he said Mass. He did but it was all I could do to keep from giggling out loud during the service.

When I got back to the hotel, my room was already made up. A few minutes later there was a tap on my door. It was the maid and she was beaming at me and covering her face she giggled about “the tree, the tree.”

I invited her in and she stared at the tree in astonishment, holding her cheeks, as I explained in my best Turkish the symbolism of it all.

“Bir daka, bir daka,” (One moment, one moment.) she said, patting my belly, and rushed out of the room.

One moment later she was back again with her girlfriend, another wizened old crone. Their eyes sparkled like little girls as they jibber jabbered in hushed tones as if they were in a cathedral.

Magnanimously, I told them it was our custom that each person could take something off the tree. I kept wishing the tree had gingerbread men, candy canes, and popcorn balls instead of Chesterfields, Tootsie Rolls and Dentyne.

“Are you sure?” they said suspiciously, as if I were feebleminded.

“Of course! Buyurun! Help yourselves!”

They each rushed to the tree, wrenched off an ornament, and held it up to the light to watch it twirl and sparkle.

I had an instinctive urge to grab the ornaments out of their hands saying, “That’s not what I meant!” But I quickly realized that glittering balls were so much more exciting to them than a dumb package of cigarettes.  They thanked me and thanked me. I gave them a tight lipped smile. They kissed my hand and pressed it to their forehead as they bowed out of the room backwards with their sparklers.

I poured myself a little nip in my Steuben stemware to calm my nerves when there was another knock on the door. It was the two bellboys who had carried the tree p, grinning from ear to ear, knowing full well that I knew why they were there.

“Come in! Come in! Help yourselves!” I said stoically.

They helped themselves not only to an ornament but a package of Salems, too.

Then came the desk clerk, the laundry boy, two waiters, the chef, the doorman, the manager, and two strangers who were apparently guests in the hotel.

In less than an hour, I was wiped out. The tree was bare except for a Juicy Fruit or two. It was a wonderful, if short, Christmas season, and I think of it every time I see a Christmas tree or a package of Lucky Strikes or a Tootsie Roll.

My beloved baby sister loved the Polaroid picture of me under my Turkish Christmas tree. Mother wrote back, “You poor thing!”


A Street in Turkey by N. Erguven

The Fortune Teller

We entered the old walled city of Diyarbakir through the Urfa Gate. We were on foot because the cobblestone streets were too narrow for a car. Dr. Tosun led the way and I followed, peering at the high mud walls surrounding the houses on both sides of the street. I knew they enclosed courtyards, some of which were charming with a small pool and a large fig or mulberry tree, but on this sunny Sunday morning in September we saw only the unbroken sun-baked walls with an occasional unpainted wooden balcony projecting over the street.

Shortly we stopped and the doctor knocked loudly on a wooden door. A voice on the inside, far away, answered after repeated knockings by the doctor. The doctor carried on a loud exchange in Turkish, none of which I could understand. I could tell that the voice on the inside was irritated and wished we would go away. The doctor, leaning with his ear up to the door, looking at the ground, shouted away, unfazed. I started to say we were unwelcome, we had come at the wrong time, but the doctor shushed me confidently with his right hand, smiling, and shouted some more to the ground. Then silence.

“Maybe we should come back some other day. Maybe we have to make an appointment–.”

Again the hand movement, the smile, the wink, “Don’t worry, she’s coming.”

The door was opened a crack, and Dr. Tosun carried on a bullying exchange with the voice behind it. Finally the door opened just wide enough to let us slip through. We were in a yard, an empty lot. It was square, flat, without flowers or trees, just gravel. Three sides were blank mud walls, the fourth was a two-story unpainted wooden house with an outside staircase to an upstairs balcony. The whole thing looked impoverished, almost deserted.

I turned to see who had let us in. She was a woman about 50, dressed in the old Turkish style with blue-flowered baggy trousers, a pink=flowered long-sleeved blouse, and a white shawl wrapped around her head. Her clothes were old and faded, but certainly colorful. She was very think and surprisingly tall for a Turkish woman. Without a word, holding the shawl across her mouth, she climbed the stairs.

“That’s the sister, said the doctor, “She’s gone to get Gerdji Badji.
This is only an approximate spelling of her name, but she was a fortune teller, fabulously famous throughout Turkey, and her name meant something like “The Blind Aunt.” The doctor had told me that ministers and government officials from Ankara had flown to Diyarbakir to consult her—even the Prime Minister, Adnan Menderes. She would never leave Diyarbakir—they had to come to her. Soccer coaches from the wildly popular teams all around the country would come to see her before an important game and ask her if they were going to win. If they were, she would say “yes.” If not, she would always give some ambiguous answer like, “The best team will win.”

I was newly arrived in Diyarbakir. In July of 1958, our company had won a contract with the US Air Force to maintain nine American air bases all over Turkey. I had spent a month in Ankara working under my older (and only) brother who was the General Manager. I was first put in charge of accommodations—finding hotel rooms for newcomers and meeting them at the airport. Since I was a bachelor, he felt I could stay up half the night meeting airplanes that were always late. It would also keep me out of the bars and nightclubs, an activity of which he wholeheartedly disapproved. After a few days I had trained our Turkish drivers to hold up signs at the airport with the names of the newcomers and soon they were perfectly capable of handling that job. I was then put in charge of registration. Every newcomer had to have his passport stamped to show that he was associated with the American military and as such was authorized to work in Turkey. I trained a pretty little secretary to do that. Then I was put in charge of security—every person had to have a ”Secret” security clearance to get on any base in Turkey. Every other day I was given a new job: to untangle a bottleneck or stick my finger in the dike. I knew this would go on and on as long as I was under my brother’s thumb, so I started looking for an out.

I studied the manning charts at each of the bases and learned that Diyarbakir was the most difficult site to fill positions. Nobody wanted to go there! Diyarbakir was in eastern Turkey, a part of Kurdistan, near the Syrian, Iranian, and Russian Borders. The stories that filtered back to us in Ankara were hair raising (primitive, barbaric, brigands, highway robberies, murders) but I suspected they were concocted or embroidered by the Americans stationed there to get sympathy and a possible transfer. The job of Administrative Supervisor was open, and had been for a month, and I knew the Air Force was bugging us to fill slots in remote locations. I went to my brother one evening after everyone else had left the office.

“I want the job of Administrative Supervisor at Diyarbakir.”


“You heard me.”

“Diyarbakir! Are you nuts?”

“No. I want to get out of this rat race here at the Central Office and I know I can fill the job.”

“But—but—Diyarbakir! From what I’ve heard it’s a terrible place. You don’t want to go there. You, a bachelor. No night life, no cocktail parties, no duplicate bridge, no girls!”

“I’ll survive.”

I knew he was secretly pleased that I wanted to go because it would show the reluctant newcomers that even the General Manager’s brother had agreed to go to Diyarbakir. He gave me his blessing although I later heard he made a bet that I wouldn’t last a month.

I arrived in Diyarbakir early in August 1958. I was the first one off the airplane, and when the hostess opened the door I fell backwards from the blast of heat that rushed in. It was 120 degrees. The other passengers pushed me out the door. An Air Force vehicle was waiting to pick up the new chaplain, Father Bloch, and I hitched a ride to the base with them. It was a twelve mile ride over a flat plain, strewn with lava boulders covered in red dust. We drove in stony silence. As we approached the base, a structure began looming in the distance and got larger and larger. It reminded me of the picture one gets driving across the green fields of France, which I had visited on my way to Turkey, and Chartres Cathedral looms up on the horizon until it overwhelms you. This was the radar antenna, a grid work of steel and wires the size of a football field turned on end and aimed at Russia.

“The American Chartres, eh, Father?”

He glared at me and moved a little away.

At the base, the name of Gerdgi Badji came up many times, especially at the Officers Club bar after work. Most of our new employees, American and Germans, had been to see her and had their fortunes told. She told each of them how long they would be in Diyarbakir. She would say, “I see the number two.” This was taken to mean two weeks or two months or two years. She told Lino, a gentle German, “As long as you want.” He resigned five months later in a dispute with our Site Manager. The stories they told about her predictions were priceless, so I arranged with Dr. Tosun, the first Turkish friend I made in Diyarbakir, to take me to her.

A Door on the upstairs porch opened and Gerdji Badji came out. She came down the steps very slowly, preceded and helped by her sister. She was much shorter and fat—certainly more typically Turkish than her sister, but similarly dressed. She came across the courtyard to us, holding her shawl across her mouth, and shook hands with the doctor and me. One eye appeared to be closed, but I wasn’t sure. The other eye was frightening—milky and greenish like a boiled pearl you find in oyster stew. She spoke to the doctor then turned abruptly and walked to the other end of the courtyard.

“Well, you have two questions, Mister John, what do you want to ask?” I was a bit shook up. I didn’t know that I would have to ask the questions, otherwise I would have stayed up all night thinking up good ones. I also wondered why the sister remained with us (this was too easy), but I was afraid of offending the sister or the doctor so I said, “Will I go to jail while I’m in Turkey?”

This just popped out of my mouth and it probably surprised me more than the doctor. Coming back from the base the night before I almost ran over a Turkish soldier. The driver of an oncoming truck maddeningly refused to dim his lights and when it passed, there was a soldier in his olive drab suit, right in the middle of my lane, walking blithely with his back to me. I swerved the car madly to the left, off the road into a wide ditch, then wrenched the steering wheel violently to the right over the highway and into another ditch, then back on the highway. I had my brakes on the whole time and allowed the car to come to a stop. When I stopped shaking, I eased the car into gear and crawled into town, cursing Turkish soldiers and truck drivers and myself for having had a little too much to drink at the Officers Club.

“Okay, what else?” asked the doctor.

“Well, how long will I be in Diyarbakir?”


Then the three of us walked to the corner of the courtyard where Gerdji Badji was standing with her back to us like someone who was “it” in a game of hide and seek. She turned around and faced us. The sister stood opposite her. I stood between them and the doctor was opposite me—like a cross. The sister had been carrying a small tea glass, urn-shaped with gold bands around it, and full of water. She held the glass up with her left hand at eye level, precisely in the middle of all of us. Then she put her right index finger into the water, paused momentarily, and flipped a small spray into the air.

Gerdji Badji let her head fall back and began spouting my fortune. The doctor translated so fast and furiously that I caught my breath.

“You want to know if you will go to jail while you’re in Turkey—no! You will be in Diyarbakir three weeks or three months or three years. You will marry and have two children, a boy and a girl. You do not work with your hands, you work with your head. You have many enemies all around you, many insects, many bugs, you know, the ones with many legs, what do you call them in English?” The doctor could hardly keep up with her.

“Centipedes,” I shouted.

“Yes, many centipedes, but you needn’t worry, you have a clean heart.  You will take a trip across water. You will be near death in the sky. You will be arrested but released. Someone close to you, not exactly Turkish, will die. You will be rich and successful.”

And suddenly she stopped. She had almost fallen over backwards. Slowly, she relaxed and bowed her head, as if saying “Your humble servant.” The sister lowered the glass and threw the water out on the dirt. I watched it as my fortune seeped into the earth and made dark spots. The doctor and the sister were amiably working out the monetary end of our visit. Gerdji Badji had turned and was walking slowly toward the staircase, as if exhausted. The sister followed. They climbed the stairs and disappeared.

“Come on, Mister John, let’s go.”

I let out my breath and followed the doctor to the gate.

“Isn’t she good? Didn’t I tell you? Come on, we go now to my house and sit in my garden and drink raki. My wife will be so interested in hearing about it. Come along, Mister John. Why are you so white? It was a good fortune. Wonderful! She is always right. You are a lucky boy! Rich and successful! Oh, wait until you see my dahlias!”

The doctor chattered happily all the way back to his house which was outside the wall in the “New City.” It was very modest but new, painted white with blue trim. His garden was four times the size of his house and a riot of dahlias: big ones, little ones, formal, informal, football, pompoms, cactus, dwarf. Nothing but dahlias!

“You see!!” he said, stretching out his hands as if raining blessings down on them. “We call them yildiz—star flowers. Don’t they look like stars? Every color of the rainbow except blue, but I’m working on a blue. Ah! There’s my wife.”

And there she was, as much a shock as the dahlias and twice as beautiful: golden hair in an upswept feather cut, a white sheath dress which revealed everything (and she had a lot to reveal), silk stockings on her firm, classical legs, and high-heeled shoes. She was leaning back against the jamb of the open doorway in profile, her arms behind her back, her neck arched and one leg lifted on a toe. I think she was trying to make a good first impression.

“This is my wife, Humeyra.” He introduced me to her in Turkish as “John Bey.”

She dropped her pose and laughed gaily with flashes of gorgeous white teeth as she shook my arm out of its socket. I was enchanted with her lack of guile after that ridiculous pose.

“Humeyra welcomes you to our home and says lunch is ready, but first we must sit in the garden and have raki and mezeh (hors d’oeuvres) while we tell her your fortune.”

She brought out tray after tray of meats, pastries and assorted Turkish mysteries that would have been enough for ten soldiers coming back from the war, then poured us all raki over ice. I loved watching the clear liquid turn milky white as it splashed over the ice.

“You like Turkish raki?” she asked through her husband, her brown eyes sparking with pleasure.

“Oh, yes, very much.” I told them I had just come from france where I had gotten used to Pernod. “But this is much better. It’s not so sweet, and I like the color.”

“We call it lion’s milk,” said the doctor raising his glass.

Sherefinize!” said the wife.

“To your honor!” translated the doctor.

“And to yours,” I said “ Sherry-fizzy”

We all laughed and dug into the hors d’oeuvres.

The doctor told Humeyra my fortune in Turkish and she clapped and laughed and bubbled over.

“She hopes you stay in Diyarbakir thirty-three years.”

I almost choked on my lion’s milk.

“Are you married?” she poked her husband to ask me.


“Wonderful,” she said, “we’ll find you a Turkish girl so you can make Turkish-American babies.”

“But I’m 36 years old!”

“The perfect age! Ekrem was 38 when I married him; I was 18. Turkish girls love older men!” she said shaking the loose flap of skin under her husband’s chin. He purred. “and you hair is too beautiful. Turkish girls love a little snow on the mountain.”

“And a fire in the furnace?” I asked playfully.  But my joke was a dud.

“Now we need a Turkish name for John Bey,” said Humeyra. “Let me think—.”

“Oh, I’ve already got one! It’s Mehmet Ali. I chose it myself. John is the most common name in English, so I chose the most common name in Turkish.”

They both congratulated me as if I had just been baptized. Humeyra clapped her hands and then took a deep breath. She gently poked a lacquered fingernail into my chest and said, in labored English, “You Toorkish name—Mehmet Ali!” Then she poked the same fingernail deep into her bosom and said, “I Amerikan name—Cadillac! And dissolved into giggles, covering her face.

The doctor hastily explained. Everyone in Diyarbakir called her “Cadillac” he said, especially all the young bucks who called her on the telephone everyday to talk sweet nothings to her. She pretended she had no idea why, but I think she knew she was sleek and stacked and loaded with extras. The Turks, being dark and swarthy, adored blonde hair. Hers, I noticed, came out of a hydrogen peroxide bottle. Being a doctor’s wife, she knew it  had other uses than disinfecting wounds.

About three o’clock in the afternoon I staggered back to my hotel, my stomach bulging with shish kebab, chicken, veal balls, liver, kidneys, pressed red caviar, potato balls, rice pilaf, cheese, fruits and Turkish Delight—and my head reeling with raki. I stretch out on my bed, shoes pointed straight at the ceiling, and tried to sort out in my mind the predictions of Gerdji Badji.

It turned out that she got everything wrong.

The number three had nothing to do with my stay in Diyarbakir. I stayed exactly two years (my favorite brother lost his bet) but I actually spent a total of ten years in Turkey. By that time I was half-Turk!

I didn’t make any babies, but I did everything else I could think of to cement Turkish-American relations, and steered clear of centipedes.

Gerdji Badji was right on one thing: although I got into every delicious kind of trouble possible, I didn’t go to jail.


The Mouse

The first full sentence I constructed in Turkish was: “There’s a mouse in my bedroom.”  This wasn’t just an idle exercise, it was a dire emergency!  And it wasn’t really a mouse – it was a rat! A foot long!

I had just got back to the hotel after work when I opened the door to my room and noticed something big and black scurrying across the rug. I moved warily down the passageway into the room and Zoom! The lightning flash of a rat!  I had been promising myself to learn Turkish—the time had come!  I grabbed my dictionary, flipped madly through it, picked up the phone and shouted to the desk clerk, “Fahre oda var!!!” (Rad, bedroom, there is.)  I flipped again and added, “Imdat! Imdat!” (Help, Help!) I considered it a triumph of communication, a breakthrough in Turkish-American relations.  I hung up and waited, owl-eyed.

When I first arrived in Diyarbakir, I was told I could live on the American air base, rent-free. I was shown to my room: two iron ary cots, two iron chairs, two steel desks, two steel wall lockers, and one roommate.  The next day I moved to town.  I had won the war in the Pacific only to get out of the Army, and I wasn’t about to put up with that lifestyle again.

I moved into the Turistik Palas Otel, just outside the great wall of the old city of Diyarbakir. It was considered by the local Turks to be choke luks (very deluxe). I had a walnut bed with a lumpy mattress, a walnut table with a case of rickets, a walnut wardrobe whose doors refused to stay shut (they would open eerily at unexpected times as if to see what was going on in the room), and a walnut rocking chair that squeaked and made me feel like Whistler’s mother. The carpet was a flamboyant red, the chintz curtains were black with orange and blue mythical flowers, but still, I considered all this a step up from the base accommodations.  That is, until I got a Turkish roommate: the fahre!

I waited five minutes, rigid, listening to my heartbeat, then lifted up the phone again and started shouting, “Imdat! Imdat!” loud enough for them to hear me without Alexander Graham Bell’s invention.  Eventually, there was a tap-tap-tap on my door, hardly the proper signal that emergency help had arrived—I was expecting the fire department! I rushed to the door, ripped it open, and there stood the smallest bellboy I had ever seen in my life, except for the Phillip Morris midget.  He was actually an adult and had a fierce mustache, but he was hardly a match for this adversary. He also had a weapon in his hand: one of those sawed-off brooms that look like a bunch of weeds tied together.  Was this to be my savior???

I pushed him into the middle of the area. He started poking around the corners of the room, behind the drapes, behind the wardrobe, and out shot the enemy! I jumped onto the bed while the bellboy swatted the monster as it went tearing around the room. I had never seen a rat so big and I realized I was holding my breath all the while—I must have been turning purple. Suddenly all became quiet.

Tamam,” said the bellboy, bowing to me in triumph.

Well! I knew that tamam had a variety of meanings in Turkish: “finished” or “all gone” or “complete” or “enough” or even “okay” but none of them applied in this situation.

        “What do you mean tamam??? It is like hell tamam!! That damn fahre is still in this oda! Now, look behind those curtains.”

He poked gingerly around the bottom of the drapes and stirred the animal into action. The rat ran up the draperies and poised on the top of the curtain rod, twelve feet off the floor. The bellboy jumped up and down swinging ineffectually. Then the rat took a flying swan dive over his head and ran out the door. The bellboy followed, hot on his tail. I, too, took a spectacular leap off the bed (it was like a trampoline) and ran toward the door just as the rat came running back in. Apparently the damn bellboy had headed it off at the pass instead of letting it escape into the upper reaches or lower depth of the hotel. I let out a blood-curdling howl which caused the creature to leap straight up, do a 180 turn in mid-air, plop down and streak out again. I grabbed the doorknob and swung the door hard enough to break it off its hinges. But the rate had run  into the bellboy again and turned back into my room. It saw the door zooming towards it, turned again, and the door slammed shut on it, catching it right in the middle! Its head was on the outside, its rump and tail were on my side.

“Kill it!” I screamed in English. “Kill it!” Oh God, I thought, do I have to get my dictionary?

I could hear the bellboy swatting it with the broom.

“Not the broom! Step on it! Take off your shoe and beat it to death!”

I doubt if he understood me but I began to hear some more substantial thumping. I had my shoulder against the door, pushing it with such strength I began to worry that the door-jamb might give way. The wiggling, squirming rump and tail began subsiding, and finally fell limp.

Tamam,” said the bellboy cheerily, but I wasn’t about to open the door until rigor mortis had set in.

After about five minutes, I poked the rump with the tip of my shoe and it didn’t do anything. Was it shamming? Warily, I opened the door. It didn’t move. Then I saw the head, quite properly mashed. The bellboy was beaming triumphantly, holding his shoe in the air like a gladiator.

“Remove the carcass.”

He picked it up by the tail.

“And clean up the blood.”

He held out his hand.

“I’ll give you your reward tomorrow.”

I locked the door, slid the bolt, and took to my bed and bottle.

This was my charming introduction to Turkey. I had been apprehensive about accepting a job overseas—especially in the land of the “Terrible Turks”—but I survived.

I even thrived!