WHEN THE CROCODILE BITES
Read PART ONE here.
Bituin – A Filipino exiting the country on tourist visa.
Mr. B – Immigration officer. Dark, a bit heavy, hard-featured. He wears earphones.
Ms. B – Immigration Staff. Very fair, medium size and height, long hair, chinky eyes.
March 2012, late morning
Mr. B who is inside the window-counter adjusts his earphones as Ms. B who is inside the interrogation room does something on her phone.
Bituin approaches Mr. B from the back counter.
Bituin – The lady staff told me to give this form to you.
Mr. B – (Gets form then gives it back to her) Okay. Go and line up for departure.
Bituin – I’ll go straight to that line?
Mr. B – Yes.
Bituin breathes a big sigh of relief and follows the line going inside the departure area. She looks for her boarding gate and slumps at the first chair she sees. She trembles from an overwhelming mix of emotions. All the excitement of her flight is drained away.
She straightens her back and raises her head high. She checks her watch. 20 more minutes. Someone taps on her shoulder. She turns around in surprise.
Ms. B – (Angrily) Do you really think you can get away from me?
Bituin – What?
Ms. B – I thought we had a very clear talk! You are so hard-headed! Did you really plan to escape?
Bituin – What do you mean, ma’am?
Ms. B – Where is the paper I gave you? I told you to return it to me! Are you slow and cannot understand commands?
Bituin – (Fumbles for her documents) Do you mean this form? You didn’t tell me to return it to you. The last thing you said was to give this form to the immigration officer. He didn’t get it back or ask me to give it back to you. He just told me to fall in line.
Ms. B – Why didn’t you return it to me?!
Bituin – You did not tell me to. I just followed all your instructions.
Ms. B – You cannot leave. Stand up and let’s go back to the immigration office.
Bituin – Ma’am, please. I am begging you, if I didn’t return this paper, then I’m sorry. Here it is, take it. I did not intend to take it with me. My flight is about to open for boarding, please, I am begging you.
Ms. B – Go explain yourself to the immigration officer.
Bituin stands up, gathers her bag and documents and walks all the way back to immigration with Ms. B.
Ms. B – (To Mr. B) Here she is, this hard-headed person. What are we going to do with her? You talk to her.
Bituin – (Steps forward) Sir, you were the last person I talked to about this form and your only instruction was to go straight to that line. You did not tell me to give it back to her.
Ms. B – I told her to give it back to me! She is just trying to escape.
Bituin – How can I escape? You have airport staff everywhere. You can follow me in the plane. I have a stop-over in Singapore, you can even follow me there, or tell authorities to stop me there.
Mr. B – You did not return the form. That’s it. You are denied. You cannot leave.
Bituin – Please, sir, if this is just because of this form I am begging you, the paper is here, you can take it. Please, please let me go.
Mr. B – You talk to her (points at Ms. B).
Bituin – (Slowly) Ma’am, I am sorry, it is my fault, you are right and I am wrong for not following instructions. I am sorry.
Bituin – Now I am asking you for the last time, are you letting me go or not?
Ms. B – (Angrily) Fine, ok! Go!
Bituin walks away and lines up for the departure area again. Ms. B slowly follows behind her.
Ms. B – (Whispers Loudly) I know you are going to Dubai to find work. You are such a liar!
Bituin runs to her gate as the last call for her flight is being announced. Her body aches with every step like flesh being torn apart. She wipes away a tear as she hands over her tickets.
With heavy shoulders, she triumphantly enters the walkway. Last thing she hears is Discovery Channel playing on TV in the passengers’ boarding area.
”Crocodiles are the world’s largest and perhaps most exciting reptiles. They are key predators at the top of the food chain and eat a wide range of prey. Crocodiles are ambush hunters, waiting for their prey to come close, then rushing out to attack. They are cold-blooded predators.
Since crocodiles feed by grabbing and holding onto their prey, they have evolved sharp teeth for tearing and holding onto flesh, and powerful muscles that close the jaws and hold them shut. These jaws can bite down with immense force, by far the strongest bite of any animal…”