tagNovels and NovellasMaragana Girl Ch. 24

Maragana Girl Ch. 24


Chapter 24 -- Prisoner # 98946

While Tiffany was asleep Kim took the precaution of rummaging through her future client's purse, looking for ID's, cash, and drug paraphernalia. Sure enough, she found all three, along with some pictures of Tiffany with family members and some others with young women who must have been co-workers from Dirty Grampy's. Kim's heart skipped a beat when she came across some worn pictures from high school. There were photos of Tiffany with Kim and Susan, and another with a friend who had been killed in a car accident last year.

Kim confiscated her companion's passport, money, credit cards, her state driver's license, and her medical records. She put those items in her own travel bag, to turn over to Vladim Dukov as soon as they were in Danube City. She pondered what to do with Tiffany's meth pipe. She thought about keeping it for her client's trial, but then thought no, I'll just get rid of it. She dropped it in the trashcan in one of the plane's bathrooms.

The two women had about a 90-minute lay-over in Frankfurt. They got off the plane with Tiffany a bit disoriented and cramped from having slept curled up in an airplane seat for eight hours.

As soon as they left the plane, Kim immediately led her companion to find the connecting flight to Danube City. At the far end of the terminal was the gate for Griffin Airlines. She saw the familiar braided hair and traditional-looking dresses of the stewardesses, shortened and modified to accommodate the needs of their profession.

Once they were near the departure gate, Kim began exercising her new role in Tiffany's life. She ordered her former friend to go into a nearby women's bathroom. While Tiffany watched, Kim stepped out of her shorts and T-shirt, replacing them with a long skirt and Danubian blouse. Kim explained that she needed to be dressed somewhat more formally upon entering the Duchy because she would be acting in an official capacity. She then put on the engagement gifts Sergekt had given her: the wedding band, the griffin necklace, and the silver hairpiece.

"I would be greatly dishonoring my fiancée if I'm not wearing these items when I re-enter the country. By the way, one of the things I expect from you is an apology to him for the way you behaved at the café before we got arrested, as soon as you speak enough Danubian."

Kim then addressed the issue of Tiffany's piercings. "OK, you got the piercing in your stomach, the one on your eyebrow and the one in your nose. Any others?"

"No, that's it. I used to have one, well you know...but I had to take it out when I started having customers at Grampy's."

"Alright, I need those piercings out. Take 'em off and hand them to me. You can't be wearing anything like that once we get to Danube City. They don't allow it."

"Kim...fuck...you don't have to be so bossy."

"Give me the piercings. And get your all those earrings out of your ears."

Tiffany, a bit taken aback by the tone of Kim's voice, removed the piercings from her face and stomach and handed them over. She then removed a row of cheap earrings from each ear. Kim promptly threw the items in the trash. When Tiffany objected she commented.

"That part of your life is over. You don't need 'em."

Tiffany resented Kim's sharp way of talking to her, but there was much more to come. She was becoming agitated again, as the first symptoms of withdrawal loomed in her body. Kim was all too aware of the possibility her companion might break away and try to find someone selling drugs. In Frankfurt finding drugs was quite easy. Getting them for free wasn't. Tiffany suddenly began frantically digging through her purse.

"Where's my stuff!? Where's my money!?"

"I have your ID's and money. I'm putting them in your case file."

"You can't fucking do that! That's my money! You can't take my fucking money!"

Apprentice Lee, now asserting herself in the role of Tiffany's Spokeswoman, calmly looked her client in the eyes. With a very cold, knowing tone of voice she asked:

"Tiffany, why do you need money?"

"It's none of your fucking business! You can't just take my money!"

"It is my business, because I know why you want your money. You want one last hit before you go to Danube City. Just to calm your nerves. But that's the way it's always been with you, hasn't it? One last hit! Just one last hit! One last hit before we leave Prague! Isn't that what you said to Susan? One last hit? And for her it was, wasn't it?"

Tiffany said nothing, but her silence gave Kim her answer.

"There's not going to be a last hit for you. Not this time. You're done. You've stopped using drugs. You've already quit."


"It's over! You've stopped! Now, we need to get on our last plane, and you need to get your ass moving!"

Tiffany was becoming yet more agitated. Kim decided to get her on the plane immediately. She pulled out her two faxes and showed them to the ticket agent. In Danubian she explained the situation with Tiffany and the possibility her forlorn-looking companion might start going through serious withdrawal on the flight. The ticket agent got on the loudspeaker to ask in Danubian if there were any military or law enforcement personnel waiting to board. Two men in civilian clothing responded. Apprentice Lee saluted them and showed them Dukov's faxes. The ticket agent opened the door to the plane, allowing Kim, Tiffany, and the two police officers to board first.

Kim ordered Tiffany to sit next to the window and sat down next to her. The cops sat in the seats behind. Tiffany was running her hands through her hair and fidgeting, but had calmed down slightly. She was very nervous, knowing a hellish several weeks lay ahead. Kim's next words did not reassure her.

"Tiffany, now that we are on a plane that's Danubian and there's two cops sitting behind us, as far as I'm concerned, we're in Upper Danubia and you're under arrest. Do you understand?"

Tiffany nodded.

"OK. Here's the deal. I now hold legal custody over you as your Spokeswoman. I'm not officially a Spokeswoman and won't be for several years, but with you I have been granted a provisional status. As far as you're concerned, the word 'provisional' doesn't mean anything. You will treat me as your Spokeswoman, and you will do what I tell you. If you make any major decisions, like changing you job, you have to clear it with me first. If there's a guy you like, I have to meet him and say whether or not you can go out. And I can have you tested for drugs when I want, which at the beginning, is gonna be at least once a week. If you don't obey me I can have you charged with insurrection. If I have any doubts about anything I'll consult with Spokesman Dukov. You also have the right to appeal any decision I make to Spokesman Dukov, if you think I'm being unfair."

Tiffany buried her forehead in the hands.

"Do you understand?"

"Yeah-Yeah! I understand!"

"The other issue is protocol. You need to address me as Apprentice Lee, always. That's my professional title, and they're big on using titles in the Duchy. When I get married, it'll be Apprentice Lee-Dolkivna. When I get my degree and my apprenticeship ends, then I'll be 'Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna'. There's something else, and this is going to be hard, but you gotta do it. As far as you're concerned I'm a public official and you are a criminal. That means when you greet me, whether it's to say 'hello' or 'goodbye', you have to get on your knees and touch your forehead to the ground..."

Tiffany gave Kim a horrified look. "You're fucking crazy! You're on a fucking power trip! That's why you got me to do this...to..."

"No! That's not it! It's the way they do things in Upper Danubia and you'll just have to get used to it. I can tell you, up until three weeks ago, I had to kneel in front of a lot of people, because I was a criminal and that's the way things are. All I want is to keep you out of trouble and not have you embarrass me. If you don't believe me, then you can request a different Spokesperson. Now, let's get that issue settled, once and for all. Do you want another Spokesperson when we get to Danube City? If you do, I'll have you re-assigned."

Tiffany was silent.

"Do you?"


"No, what? How do you address me?"

Tiffany looked at her former friend and current Spokeswoman. Kim looked so totally different than she had looked two years ago, with her braided hair, her Danubian blouse, and engagement necklace and hairpiece. The change in what she was wearing, however, was nothing in comparison with Kim's hard, determined expression. The Kimberly Lee Tiffany had known in high school was gone...completely gone. For the first time she really saw Kim for what she truly was, a Danubian public official...and her custodian.

"No...Apprentice Lee. I...I don't want another Spokesperson."

"OK. I know you're about to start going through withdrawal, but I'm hoping it won't be too bad before we get to Danube City. By the way, I need to know what to expect. Is it meth or heroin that you've been using? Joe told me he thought it was meth."

"I've been doing both. You know, to control the binges."

Kim sighed. "Alright, once we're in the air I'll call the police doctor and let him know. I'm not sure what that means for your detox, but that's his job, not mine, to figure it out."

Kim was interrupted by the pilot welcoming the passengers and announcing the standard emergency procedures. The stewardesses took their positions and began safety demonstrations, as Apprentice Lee and her client stayed silent. Within a few minutes the plane was in the air and on its way to Danube City. The flight would be very short, slightly over an hour.

Once the plane was airborne, Kim pulled the phone off the seat in front of her to relay the information about the mix of methamphetamine and heroin in Tiffany's body. After she hung up she continued.

"It's gonna be rough for you and I understand you'll be saying things to me over the next few days you don't mean. Whatever you say I won't hold against you 'cause I know you can't help it. This is it, Tiffany. There's no turning back now. You're gonna be clean and you're gonna see your 30th birthday. It's over."

Tiffany tried to smile, but she was terrified of the commitment she had made, a commitment she no longer could reconsider.


The plane landed and pulled to a stop at the King Vladik International Airport. The airport was primitive, so the plane did not pull up to the terminal. Workers instead wheeled staircases to the front and back doors of the plane. Kim, Tiffany, and the two cops accompanying them walked with the other passengers to the terminal. Right outside the entrance Vladim Dukov, as well as his son Vladik and his partner, were waiting. Kim's temporary escort saluted Vladik, said goodbye to Kim, and departed into the terminal. As her nervous and forlorn client looked on, Kim saluted Vladik and his partner, who saluted back. She then presented Vladim Dukov's faxes. In Danubian Kim announced:

"Officer, I am entering the Grand Duchy of Upper Danubia with the United States citizen Tiffany Walker, who has volunteered to return to the Duchy to face charges of marijuana possession, direct perjury, and indirect perjury resulting from offenses committed July 2, two years ago."

"Very well, Apprentice Lee, I am declaring your client, the American Tiffany Walker, under arrest for the crimes of marijuana possession, direct perjury, and indirect perjury."

Kim turned to Tiffany to address her in English. "OK, that's it. You're under arrest. Turn around because Officer Dukov needs to cuff you."

Once the handcuffs were on, Vladik's female partner firmly gripped Tiffany's arm, not painfully but with enough force to let the prisoner know who was in charge.

Once Tiffany was properly subdued and handcuffed, Kim saluted Vladik and made another for-the-record statement in Danubian.

"The United States citizen Tiffany Walker will require medical treatment for methamphetamine and heroin addiction before she is processed through the Danubian judicial system. I request that my client be placed under medical confinement instead of judicial confinement. Furthermore, I request that the National Police of the Grand Duchy of Upper Danubia utilize the public resources necessary to conduct a full medical evaluation of her condition and to remove all traces of illicit narcotics from her body. I request that Tiffany Walker's medical needs be fully resolved before any judicial action is taken against her by the Grand Duchy of Upper Danubia."

"That request is granted, Apprentice. I will escort this prisoner to the medical treatment center of the Danube City National Hospital and have her processed for medical observation and chemical detoxification."

Kim turned to Tiffany to explain in English what was going on.

"Alright, these two police officers are taking you to the Danube City National Hospital and putting you under the care of the police doctor. They'll have to test you to see what's in your body. I'll have to catch up, 'cause I need to get my bags and get our passports stamped. I gotta drop my bags off at Spokesman Dukov's office and pick up your police file from two years ago."

Tiffany was shaking from both fear and withdrawal, which was starting up in earnest. Vladik and his partner pushed her into a nearby squad car and they took off. Kim and Vladim Dukov entered Customs to get the needed stamps for the two US passports. The Spokesman and his trainee signed a series of certificates to formally declare Tiffany's entry into the country as a prisoner. Then they went to the luggage claim area and picked up Kim's two suitcases. Since they were not police officers, they had to return to Danube City by trolley.


By the time Kim and Vladim Dukov appeared in the hospital with Tiffany's paperwork, Kim's client was in a large hospital room with a large group of medical students. Kim realized from the noises coming from the room that Tiffany already was suffering from full-scale withdrawal. She screamed and ranted as she endured bouts of extreme paranoia and delusions. When Kim entered the room, she saw Tiffany naked on a hospital bed, with several students trying to control her by holding her arms and legs. Other students and doctors were standing near the door frantically taking notes and thumbing through reports or papers downloaded from the Internet. Tiffany was the first real case of methamphetamine withdrawal any of them had directly witnessed, which presented them with a real learning opportunity.

Kim winced at seeing Tiffany going through her personal hell. The Danubians believed in treating drug withdrawal cold-turkey, so there were no sedatives, just multiple hands holding her down. A couple of the medical students who spoke English were trying to communicate with her, but were making little headway.

Kim grimly watched for about an hour. After a protracted struggle, Tiffany finally calmed down, as her keepers nervously checked her vital signs and consulted their notes. Kim realized her client was about to crash again. She asked the old head doctor for his evaluation of Tiffany's condition. He responded by handing her a copy of the results of the medical tests. Tiffany had tested positive for high levels of methamphetamine in her body. She also had tested positive for heroin, as well as trace amounts of cocaine, marijuana, and valium. She later would need to be treated for Chlamydia and amoebas, as well as have some serious cavities in several of her teeth filled. He commented:

"There's quite a bit that's wrong with her, but fortunately it looks like we can fix all of it and she'll lead a normal life. Well, a normal life for a criminal, anyhow. She's not damaged beyond repair, and you should give thanks to the Ancients that you managed to get her treatment when you did."

The doctor handed over some additional papers and signature forms, along with Tiffany's mini-skirt, G-string, and t-shirt. Kim took the clothes, not really sure what to do with them. As a condition of her impending sentence, Tiffany would not be allowed to get dressed again until she was 55 years old.


There wasn't much more Kim could do for Tiffany that night, so she spent the evening with Sergekt. He chose not to go to the airport when he found out about Tiffany, knowing that Kim needed to focus her energies on her new client. Kim, hugely relieved that Tiffany was safely undergoing withdrawal in a supervised situation, finally decided to go home and change, then call Sergekt.

Sergekt and Kim greeted each other in the proper manner of an average engaged couple, using correct protocol. Sergekt kissed Kim's hand and then she kissed his. They did not hug, because hugging was something done in private. Criminals hugged in public and no one said anything about that, but Kim and Sergekt no longer were criminals. They were free citizens, and with freedom also came responsibilities and protocol. They would be a serious couple determined to be strict and upright in their behavior, and exercise "proper values" at all times.

Precisely because Kim and Sergekt had suffered so many humiliations and indignities as criminals, they were fixated with achieving respectability from the people around them, which was a common obsession among recently released offenders in Upper Danubia. Ex-criminals tended to over-compensate for their sentences with proper protocol and formal behavior during the first several months after their collars were off, an obsession that usually faded after while. Kim and Sergekt were in the first stages of their lives as free citizens, which meant reasserting their dignity was still very much on their minds.

As the long summer afternoon slowly faded into dusk, Kimberly Lee and Sergekt Dolkiv walked down the streets of Danube City. It was the very first time in their lives they were downtown together as normal citizens, not criminals. Kim had changed into a light sun-dress, while Sergket was wearing a loose-fitting traditional shirt and modern cargo pants. Kim was wearing the three engagement items Sergekt had given her the previous fall, which she would be expected to wear on a daily basis for the rest of her life, unless she was at the beach or exercising.

Kim talked about her trip to the U.S. and her feelings about having extracted Tiffany from her death spiral.

"It's strange how it all happened. In school she was the leader of our group. She was real popular and always got everyone to do what she wanted. You never argued with Tiffany, because if you did, she knew how to put you in your place. But, you wanted to please her, because she was a lot of fun to be around. She had real charisma and people really liked her. But now, she's...just emptied out, maybe like a glass of wine that got tipped over. There's nothing there, except her addictions and a bunch of self-pity. Everything she was in high school, the way she got people to like her, the fun, it's gone. I'm confident the path of her life is to recover, but she won't be the same. I don't know whether to feel good about that or not."

They walked in silence for a while, along the river in the twilight of the European summer. Kim continued.

"She learned a very hard lesson in Frankfurt, when I cleaned out her purse and started bossing her around. I'm not her friend anymore. I'm her Spokeswoman and she's my client. I'll run her life, and she'll have to do what I tell her. She'll have to get on her knees when she greets me and ask my permission if she wants to do anything. If she disobeys me I'll ask Officer Vladik Dukov to switch her. That's going to be hard, because I still have some pictures of us, back when we were in high school, when it was her telling me what to do. But, with her addictions, I don't see how it can be any other way."

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