My flat in Cairo was inside the city and in the worst traffic, crime, and lowest price area that would consider renting to foreign service employees; therefore, I could afford quite a respectable place on the per-deim that USGCC gave me. I had always been of the mind that I would rather buy my own housing and cars than have the company pay terrible prices for renting them in the fenced in American getto communities.
The flat I had chosen was two stories, both stories were above the ground so they were –a little– less dusty and a bit safer. Of course the upper floors were also less likely to be over-run with bugs, snakes and weird colored lizards. I actually lived in what we might call a Townhouse in the U.S. with my storage and garage being on the ground level. As I changed countries I would sell everything that I had and usually make a nice profit at the same time as having USGCC per-diem pay well more than any payments I had been making. In Cairo I had a two year old small Mercedes and a ten year old Jeep, which was actually much more useful.
Friday morning started out as it often did, with Bogey at my door at seven o’clock pounding and creating a riot in my hall and head. Being a correspondent usually didn’t entail early hours, but somehow Boge had never held with the lazy morning routine. I pulled on some shorts and dragged over to the door to let in my best friend. We had been at the Club Alex until one in the morning discussing the details of our trip and, already, Bogey had her arms full of guides, newspapers from Alexandria and Cairo, travel brochures from the Company and –Thank God!– my bagel and a pot of fresh brewed coffee.
“Bogey, can’t you see its only seven a.m. and I’m still practically dead?” I said, through stale mouth and crusty eyes. “I don’t understand why your damn clock goes off so early in the morning, why don’t you have it fixed?”
“Well if you weren’t always out until the crack of dawn trying to hustle stories or dark haired boys you’d be better off anyway.” She always said this even though I always spent the entire evening with her. With Boge it just didn’t make any difference, your time was her time and you should just know it. “So I suppose you need an entirely new wardrobe for a week on the Nile?” she said. “I have tons of equipment to round up and need your help all afternoon, so I’m here to help you get your shopping done this morning!”
With a grunt of acceptance, I burned my tongue on my coffee and started scanning the papers for anything interesting. “Hey look at this” Bogey said, “they have Peaches at the market this week for only $1.59 a pound.” God, how I longed for more literate company! Actually, Bogey was the truest friend I’d had since Tim stayed behind at my last post in the states.
He was fabulous in bed, was inked and full of kink, but not the kind of person that could stand dust in his underwear or someone you could count on to have your back in a knife fight. With the damn Egyptian heat and our need to seek out stories, someone who could pull me through a tight spot was probably much more useful to me than someone who had, well you probably get it. So here I was with Bogey, listening to the price of peaches and thinking about my past men.