Reaching For The Storm,chapter 23, The Irish Spy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 23 (v.1) - The Irish Spy

Submitted: February 11, 2019

Reads: 14

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Submitted: February 11, 2019

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23. The Irish Spy

 

When he raised his head, he saw the girl who had been trailing him, quietly approaching. She acted as if she were looking for something. “She’s trying to get as close to me as possible without causing suspicion,” he mumbled to himself before he looked down.“Despite wearing that naive smile on her pretty face,” he thought, “she is probably a mean CIA agent preparing the ground for my arrest. They’ve been shadowing us ever since we left Egypt!”

 He pretended to be reading the magazine he had picked up from the table earlier.

“Excuse me,” he heard a female’s voice say a few seconds later. “Can I…sit here?”

He looked up and smiled. “Yes, of-course,” he mumbled. “It’s the waiting room. You can sit …anywhere you like!”

The girl giggled. “Yes, I know!” she said. “I just wanted to be…polite.”

“Yes, I understand,” he said before he began looking at his magazine again.

“Are you going to apply for a visa?” the girl asked after some seconds.

“Yes!” he muttered, nodding his head repeatedly as he looked up “Are you?” he asked indifferently.

“Yes, I am,” the girl said eagerly. “I’m going to America, if I can get a visa, that is!”

“That’s…wonderful,” he mumbled moving his head down to look at his magazine, but he couldn’t concentrate because the girl was staring at him with a huge smile on her face, obviously waiting for him to say something to continue the conversation.

“Are you going there, too?” she asked after some seconds.

“Yes!” he said putting the magazine down. “If I can get a visa, that is.”

“Is it…hard…to get a visa?” the girl inquired.

“Well, I don’t know,” he said having decided to stop avoiding her. “Ordinarily, it’s not supposed to be …but…,” he stopped, shrugging his shoulders.


“But what?” asked the girl sounding very interested in hearing the full explanation.

“Well,” he said moving his head to right and left. “This is the fourth time I’m filling out their form. The last three times…they turned down my application after the interview.”

The girl’s eyebrows were up with surprise now. “Really!?” she asked. “Is it that hard to get a tourist visa…to go to the United States?”

“I really don’t know,” the man grumbled. “Actually, I didn’t expect it to be like that, either. For some reason, I’ve been a bit unfortunate lately.”

“My name is…Amelia, by the way,” the girl said holding her right hand out while she stepped forward to shake hands. “I’m from Ireland,” she continued, “I’m a student here in Frankfurt. I was thinking of …taking a short vacation in the United States.”

“I’m delighted to meet you, Amelia,” he lied. “My name is Hooman. I used to be a university student in the States. I came to Frankfurt for a vacation but, apparently, I stayed here too long. Now, they refuse to renew my student visa, for some reason!”

“Oh, really?” said the girl sounding even more surprised. “What in the world…for!?”

Hooman shrugged his shoulders. “If you know their reason, I do too!”

They both smiled.

“I think,” said Hooman after a minute of silence, “I’ve seen you about …a number of times. Do you live…around here, some place?”

“Not really,” said Amelia, “But I have a feeling that…I’ve seen you a few times, too. Or, maybe, I’ve seen your picture in the newspapers or something. Do you happen to be…a famous person?”

Hooman laughed. “Not that I know of!” he said. “Unless some people believe me to be so, for reasons of their own!” he added.

The girl shook her head and made a grimace. “So, this is not the first time you are applying for a visa, huh?” she asked changing the subject.

“No!” said Hooman firmly. “As a matter of fact, this is the fourth time!”

The girl looked quite surprised now. “How come?”she asked, a few seconds later.

He shook his head and pretended to smile. “The first time was here in Frankfurt. After they refused to give me a visa, I went to Munich, and then to Hamburg. My application was turned down in both those consulates, too. So I decided to test my luck here once more, as you probably know!”

“How could I?” asked the girl softly before she added, “What…was…exactly the reason why they refused to…give you a visa?”

Hooman stared at her face for a minute before he shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing much, really!” he then said. “They just said that I was not qualified to return to the States…in spite of the fact that I had spent more than five years of my life studying there!”

“It really…sounds…very odd!” the girl said. “Rather unbelievable, as a matter of fact, to say the least!”

“Yep!” said Hooman bending his back to pick up the magazine again. “That’s what I think, too.”

“Did you take part…in some of those anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, or…” asked Amelia hastily.

“How did you know?” asked Hooman instead of answering.

“I…didn’t know!” the girl said, taken aback a little.“I was just asking!” She paused for a few seconds before she added, “I’m sorry if I’m being too inquisitive! But, remember that, right now, you and I are in the same boat! I just wanted to know…how big of a chance I have …to get a visa!”

“You mean to say that…you have participated in those demonstrations, too?” asked Hooman in surprise.

Amelia nodded her head repeatedly. “Yes!” she then said. “Actually, that’s why I began questioning you. I may have seen you in one of those demonstrations.”

“Maybe,” mumbled Hooman a bit confused now.

They stared at each other for some seconds. “Why?” finally asked Amelia, “Why did you think that I knew all about what you had been doing? Did you take me for a CIA agent or  a spy, or something?”

Hooman began to laugh loudly. “Yes!” he finally said. “As a matter of fact, I did, and  I’m still not so sure that you’re not!”

The girl was laughing aloud, too, now. “My God!” she finally said, “You actually thought I was a CIA agent or a spy? How fascinating! ” She giggled a while longer before she added,“I never thought I would make you so suspicious by…following you around a bit. Actually, I trailed you because you reminded me of someone I used to go around with a while back… and, more importantly, because I was going exactly to the place where you were --to the Consulate of the United States, to apply for a visa!”

They were both laughing aloud now.

“How long have you been in Frankfurt,” asked Amelia a minute after their laughter came to an end .

“Oh, about a month and a half, I guess,” answered Hooman with a big smile. “I feel it has lasted for ever, though!”

“I know,” Amelia said. “It’s always like that when you are waiting while you have nothing to do.”

“Yes!” said Hooman laughing, “But our big problem was not having nothing to do! It was… having nothing to eat!”

“What do you mean,” said Amelia beginning to laugh again.

“I mean exactly what I said!” exclaimed Hooman. “You see, a friend of mine who was supposed to bring me money did not show up, and we were left without food for more than five days…before…we could buy a couple of hamburgers with a five dollar bill…my mother gave  me…as my birthday present….”

Amelia was frowning and laughing at the same time.

“I’m totally confused now,” she said giggling. “If you and your mother…live together, then why didn’t she…give you the money sooner…so you wouldn’t starve!?”

“My mother lives thousands of miles away, back home!” he explained as he laughed. “She just mailed me the money. I’m staying …with a friend!”

“I see!” said Amelia now grinning. “So you brought your girl friend along …while you were flat broke, huh!?”

“No!” said Hooman bursting out laughing again. “My friend …is not a girl, it is a boy…. But I hope you won’t start suspecting now…that I’m a homosexual or something!”

“If you were flat broke, as you said, what did you live on after you finished eating that historic life-saving hamburger?” asked Amelia with a smile after they had stopped laughing.

“That ‘historic hamburger’ was eaten the night before I received a money order from my parents. This time they sent it directly to my address in Frankfurt,” said Hooman with a grin. “Do you find this a satisfactory answer, or should I find you a better one?”

 They were both quiet for a couple of minutes before Amelia asked, “Why do you think that the consul general here, who refused to give you a visa a couple of weeks ago, …is going to give it to you this time?”

“Actually, I don’t!”answered Hooman emphatically with a frown, “As a matter of fact, I have a hunch that the reason why they did not give me a visa at the other two consulates, either, was that this guy here had given them a call asking them not to do so!”

He stopped, nodded his head a few times before he added, “To tell you the truth, I’m not even going to ask him for a visa today. I’m just going to tell him that I’ll be going back to my own home country soon, and that, as far as I’m concerned, he can go to hell !” 

They both began to chuckle.

“Aren’t you afraid that,” mumbled the girl then, “he might get angry and do something to…?”

“Mr. Hooman…Azadi,” someone called suddenly, cutting her short.

Hooman shook his head quickly and rose to his feet. “Come what it may!” he mumbled shrugging his shoulders. “Keep your fingers crossed for me, Amelia,” he then added loudly with a smile on his lips “I’ll do the same for you later…if I survive!”

*****

When he entered the room, he found the place deserted. It was soundless with no sign of any living person anywhere. They had pulled the shades down and the room was only half lit.

 Hooman walked cautiously towards a big desk placed right across the room from the entrance, and began looking around for the person who was supposed to receive him. Then he suddenly heard the sound of someone coughing behind him.

“Sorry,” a man’s voice said, “I’ve caught a little cold, I’m afraid. I’ve got to stay away from you…not to infect you.”

Hooman quickly turned around to meet the person who had just appeared.

It was a tall, slender man, about thirty-five years of age. He looked somewhat familiar to Hooman but he was definitely not the consul he had met a month back in that very office.

“I’m sorry,” he heard himself mumble a bit confused. “It looks like I’ve come to the wrong room. I came to see…Mr. Davis, the Consul General.”

“No need to apologize,” the man said as he approached the desk. “Mr. Davis is no longer in charge here!” he added with a slight German accent. He stopped and began staring at Herman’s face with suspicion before he added, “I hope, you don’t mind it, do you?”

“No, sir,” said Hooman hesitantly. “Why should…I?”

The man shrugged his shoulders, smiled and then began looking down at some papers on his desk. “Will you sit down please, sir?” he then said without looking up.

“Yes, of-course,” mumbled Hooman not knowing what to do. “What happened to…Mr. Davis,” he mumbled, just to make conversation.

“Nothing, really,” the man muttered looking up to stare at Hooman with a smile. “I assure you he is safe and sound,” he said. “As a matter of fact, he must be somewhere in Texas right now. He was going to take a vacation before he went on his new assignment. I’m in charge of this place now.”

“Ok,” mumbled Hooman waiting for the man to complete his inspection of the papers spread before him.

“All right, sir!” the man finally said, as he put the papers away and looked up. “So you would like to …get another visa and go back to the States, right?”

“Yes, sir,” said Hooman halfheartedly.

“What was your reason for…leaving the United States, if I may ask?” the man inquired.

“I just wanted to…take a long vacation,” Hooman mumbled. “I thought I needed it after some years of…hard work,” he added. “I guess…it took me a bit longer than I originally expected.”

The man nodded repeatedly and rubbed his lower lip with his tongue before he asked, “What university did you say…you attended…in the US?”

“I was going to U. C., sir,” Herman explained, “University of California in Berkeley.”

“And…how long, did you say, you went to that university, if I may ask?” the Consul inquired.

“About four years, sir,” Herman said. “I’m almost through my university program, sir. I only have one semester left.”

“Really?” the man said nodding with a smile. “What a strange time …to take a vacation,” he mumbled. “How come?”he then asked, “They didn’t give you a visa …here and at the other consulates in Germany, then? What was their objection?”

“I don’t know, sir,” Hooman said, “They must’ve had their own reasons. They just said that I was away from the US soil for too long, or something like that.”

The man leaned back and nodded his head a few times. “Did you go …anywhere else while you were in …Germany?”

It took Hooman a long while before he answered, “No, sir! Not really!”

“What do you mean by…not really?” the man asked looking at him closely with deep suspicion. “Did you or didn’t you leave…Germany during this period?”

“Well,” said Hooman, “I wanted to go to Egypt for a visit…but …they did not give me…a visa.”

The man looked like he was thinking of something else now. “So you did not…go to Egypt,” he mumbled absentmindedly. He remained silent for a little while before he suddenly asked, “Where else …did you go ...while you were …in California?”

“Not anywhere far,” Hooman answered with a sigh of relief “I just went to…San Francisco and around the bay area…to visit…my friends and relatives. I have my uncle and his family in San Francisco, and some old friends from the time I used to go to…San Francisco State College.”

The consul was now frowning and nodding his head at the same time. “You said…you studied at San Francisco State College at one time?”

“Yes, sir,” mumbled Hooman nodding his head. “I attended San Francisco State College for one year…before I went to U.C. .”

“And may I ask, what year it was that you went to …San Francisco State…College?” the man asked.

“Fifty-eight fifty-nine, sir,” mumbled Hooman now helplessly confused.

“Did you…have…any…German friends …while you attended San Francisco State College,” asked the consul frowning with narrowed eyes.

Hooman paused for a long while. “Not, really, sir,” he finally answered. “The only German friend I ever had was a guy I met in 1958 when I had just started going to College.” He stopped for a few minutes before he added, “As a matter of fact…he looked somewhat like you.”

The Consul suddenly stood up and began to laugh. “Yes!” he said emphatically, “He looked like me because…it was me! We met the year I got my college degree. You are the person who had the same first name as I did. When I met you …you had just arrived!  Isn’t that true, Herman?”

“Yes! I remember well, Herman. I remember clearly!” said Hooman laughing.  “You were the one who changed my name and called me ‘Herman’ for the first time. You were also the person who taught me the word ‘exaggerate.” You told me that I shouldn’t ‘criticize’ Hitler because what he had donehad been ‘exaggerated’.”

They were both laughing aloud now.

“You know,” said Hooman, “it was the easiest thing for me to remember your first name because it was similar to mine, but one of the most difficult things for me to remember was your family name! All I can recall is that it sounded like the name of that horrifying fellow in the scary movie Frank Stein!”

The consul was now laughing his head off. “You’re absolutely right, Herman!” he finally said. “My surname is Finkelstein! Not so very different from ‘Frank Stein’. The only difference is that I have never been so horrifying!”

They both burst out laughing again.

“God!” Mr. Finkelstein said eventually. “I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you again. It’s so wonderful to meet an old friend after so many years, especially when you have the opportunity to do a favor for him!”

They talked and laughed about the “good old days” for a while before Mr. Finkelstein looked at his watch and stood up. “I really don’t understand why those guys refused to give you a visa,” he said. “For all I can see, you are more American than I am! And I think, giving you a visa is really an honor! It’s the very least thing that an American official can do for you.”

When they were saying goodbye, the consul said, “If that friend of yours who is with you here needs a visa, too, tell him to come here tomorrow, first thing in the morning. It’ll be a pleasure for me to give him a visa too.”

****

As he walked out of the consul’s office, he saw Amelia standing up near her chair. Her face looked sleepy and worn out but she still had the shadow of a smile on her face.

“Here, Mr. Finkelstein,” Hooman turned to the Consul General, “This lady is an Irish spy!” he said, “but she is also a good friend of mine. Will you, please, be kind enough to give her a visa…to go to the United States?”

“It’ll be a pleasure!” declared Mr. Finkelstein with a big smile on his face. “Walk right in, beautiful Irish spy!”

 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 Herman Azadi. All rights reserved.

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