It was not the first time Barbara Waleski had been in Latin America, for she had often represented her company in parts of the region; but it was the first time she had been with such a large group. Barbara was Vice President for Development for her company, in the business of producing and marketing certain types of pharmaceuticals and biochemicals, and she was here with four associates attending a trade fair set up by the local government. Barbara was both the senior member of her delegation, and the only woman. With her were two engineers, a legal advisor, and a representative of the Finance Department.
However, these five were among over three hundred representatives of firms, mostly North American and European, in attendance. The objects of the fair were twofold; it was an opportunity for foreign companies to display their wares and make local contacts, but also a chance for the local Ministry of Industrial Development, which sponsored the fair, to attract foreign companies into the country. The area had many advantages, which the government wished to show off to foreign organizations in its effort to attract international investment.
Although the only woman in her own delegation, Barbara found plenty of female company at the conference. Other firms had also sent women among the delegations, and some of the larger groups had brought secretaries and hostesses to staff exhibits. Many of the attendees also had brought family members along to enjoy the sights.
As is usual in such events, the fair made use of a exhibition hall in the center of the large city which served as the country's capital, and most of the attendees were quartered in the numerous luxury hotels nearby. The host government had been generous in providing hospitality to the foreigners attending, and lost no opportunity to display the opportunities which existed within its population.
Barbara had been five days at the fair, and had about had her fill of cocktail parties and speeches by local dignitaries. At lunch she shared her thoughts with Ralph DeMaurice, her legal advisor.
"Ralph, are you getting much from all this talk? I came here to do a marketing job, and meeting with the local buyers and consumers is useful, but I've had it up to here with the political hard sell we're getting. Do you think these bureaucrats really have anything worth listening to? Personally, I'm about ready to pack up and get back home - you know I'm a new grandmother, and this isn't the best time for me to be away!"
"Barb, maybe your grand motherly instincts are getting in way of your hearing. They're not really wanting us to come into this city and set up sales outlets or production facilities, though it sounds like that. Now, I know you're a marketer, and you look at sales opportunities. What they want to do is sell to us - they want to get foreign capital to build manufacturing plants here, preferably light industry, like, say, ours. But they don't want any more building in the capital. That's why you here some much about the 'Terranovas' "
"And have you figured out what these Terranovas are? I've heard the word, but my time has been with the buyers, or ones we think might be buyers. They don't seem to have much to say about it."
At that point, Mark Atwood, who represented an electronics firm, approached the table. "This seat vacant? May I join you?"
"Of course", Barbara replied, her best sales style showing. Mark seated himself.
"Mark, Barb and I have been talking about the Terranovas - you sat in on the seminar about some of them yesterday. Maybe you could explain the concept to Barbara."
"The Terranovas? Well, I'll try. Terranova, of course, is just a way of saying new ground - and that's basically what they are. By the way, are you set up for the tours to any of them Friday?"
Barbara smiled. "Of course. I wasn't sure what the concept was, but I saw the sign up forms for the tours, and naturally our good friend the Minister is paying for them. I've had enough of this city, and so I picked the one that looked like it was the farthest away - that's Terranova Five. I figured it would give me a good chance to see the countryside at someone else's expense!"
She laughed a bit at her reasoning. Mark continued. "You'll find it's a sales pitch. As you have seen this city is awash in people - they keep coming in from the countryside, and all the facilities are overtaxed. There's not enough housing, or water, or telephone lines, or really anything. But out in the countryside, there's a lot of land and not much of it is crowded, because the people, especially the young ones, are gravitating to the city."
"To get jobs, and better pay - as they do in so many countries around this old earth", Ralph observed.
Mark went on. "The government has come up with the idea of creating small industrial centers - something like industrial parks - near a number of the outlying towns and villages. They have selected a number of sites, not in the little towns, but near them, and they have called them Terranovas. I suppose each will eventually get a name, but right now they just go by numbers. Nothing is really built there just yet, but they are hoping."
Barbara was listening with care. "Hoping for some company like us to decide to stick a factory out there and pay for it, then hire the local people to staff it?"
"Exactly", Mark continued. "My company has at least a little interest. The idea is that if small factories are set up at these sites, the workers will not come primarily from the little towns, but will come from the capital and will decide to move back out to these areas to get better employment and probably cleaner air and somewhat more spacious living. Many of the little towns have lots of vacant houses, or land where houses could be built, because people have been moving out of the little communities. To get foreign companies to build these plants, the government is offering incentives - tax relief, relaxation of labor laws, and even some help with financing. It may not be a bad thing to look at."
Ralph interjected, "But - and I heard it's a big but - this hasn't been given a lot of publicity in the country. It's mostly being promoted among foreigners. What I heard is that there is political opposition. What did you hear?"
"Someone mentioned that, but not the Minister or any of his bureaucrats. There does not seem to be any real opposition in the government, or in the city here. These people seem to be all for it. Now, I would think most of the people in the small towns affected would be for it, too; because, if it happens, it will bring a lot of money and jobs into their communities."
"Then who opposes it - other than ones like us, who would wind up footing the bill if we decide to participate?" Barbara asked.
"It seems that there are some in the rural areas, the small towns, who really don't like the idea of bringing people from the city back into their towns. They've sort of said 'good riddance' to many of them when they left, and won't welcome them back. Some of these people just like the small town way of life, and the see the Terranova plan as bringing them an influx of strangers, a lot of congestion, and, in short, big city problems."
"Is the opposition active, then? I heard there were some demonstrations", Ralph asked.
"Not violent ones, as far as I know. This country is pretty stable. But there apparently have been some protest marches, people sticking up signs, things like that. I really don't think it's much to be concerned about at this point."
"Anyway", Barbara observed, "we will see that Friday when we go on the tours. Since I'm going to Terranova Five, I was told it will be an all day trip, from morning to late evening. I'm not sure I'm sold on buying into the Terranovas, but I plan to enjoy the chance to get out of the city and see the countryside, as long as I have to be here anyway!"
"Going to the banquet Thursday night, Barb?" Ralph inquired, then added thoughtfully, "Free, you know. Courtesy of the Ministry".
"Wouldn't miss it. Right price. And Ralph, don't you dare try to put it on your expense account!" Barbara pointed a threatening finger as she laughed a bit.
The banquet indeed ran late, and it was nearly midnight when Barbara got back to her room. She noted that the tours on Friday were to leave early, hers at seven thirty. The night would be short, she noted. She laid out her clothes for the tour, glad to be able to dress casually for once, instead of having to present the proper image of corporate dignity.
Friday morning saw crowds of delegates milling around waiting for the tour buses to visit the Terranovas. She noted only forty people had signed up for her tour, to the most distant location. The shorter trips were obviously more popular, some requiring more than one bus to accommodate those who had signed up.
She found the bus designated for Terranova Five. A few people were standing around it, and others came in. Barbara recognized one woman she had encountered briefly before, and went over to her. "Hi - I'm Barbara Waleski - I think we met in the seminar on Tuesday? Do help me recall your name."
"Nora - Nora Concannon. Yes, we did meet. I have my secretary with me, here somewhere; oh, there she is! Evelyn, I want you to meet Barbara - she sells chemicals or some such!"
The women exchanged greetings, as the bus began to board.
Although forty persons had signed up, only 37 actually boarded - 32 men, and 5 women. There was also a driver and a representative of the Industrial Ministry, both men. Barbara noted the gender difference. "Well, ladies, it looks like we're in the minority - as usual. We're outnumbered about six to one!"
"Seems fair," Nora observed confidently.
Once aboard, they were treated to a rather thorough and prolonged briefing by their tour guide, who turned out to be a long winded minor bureaucrat named Antonio Gonzalez. He was at once humorous, cheerful, loud, and never at a loss for words. He mentioned a few sites of interest in the city, as they passed, but devoted most of his extensive discourse to the need to move people out of the city to the countryside and how the Terranova plan would address it.
Barbara was the only one from her company on this bus, and she really hadn't planned to do any heavy research on what they were to shown. However, she might be asked about the plan, so she felt it prudent to get out her notebook and record a few notes about what was said. She rather quickly lost interest, however, when the bus reached the limits of the city and set off on a rural road.
"Ah, fresh air" she noted to Nora, sitting beside her. "About time after all that pollution we've been living in!"
"Get used to it - we have almost two hundred kilometers to go to get to the Terranova Five site!"
"Good. I like the country - but this is the best part of it I've seen!"
Like two tourists they focused more on the sights outside, only occasionally mentioned by Tony, as he asked them to call him, than on his continued emphasis on Terranova. However, as Nora observed, "They're paying for this, so I suppose they have a right to talk about whatever they want!"
The bus did make a couple of short stops at sites of some touristic interest, but not for long; as the guide and driver seemed intent on getting them to their destination with minimum delay.
The route passed through hill country, covered with fairly lush tropical or subtropical vegetation, according to the altitude. There were a number of small farms and a few villages, but for the most part their route lay through a thinly populated rural region.
After about three hours of driving, they approached a village they guessed was about ten kilometers from their destination. Tony had explained that the site of Terranova Five lay not far from the town of Nuevo Campinas, which they would visit after seeing the site. This little village ahead was not the town they had expected to approach, but the bus suddenly came to a halt in the middle of the road.
"What is this for? There seems to be some obstruction in front of us," Barbara noted, trying to see ahead of the bus. Several passengers craned their necks trying to see what was in front of them. Their guide, never before at a loss for words, left the bus with the driver.
Through the windows, they could see a number of men, apparently somewhat agitated, moving about. Several walked around the bus, looking up into the windows. Voices were heard, now quite noisy and seemingly disturbed about something.
Clark, a man sitting across from Barbara, turned to her. "I think we have a problem. These fellows don't seem to want to let us through, and they are taking our driver and Tony away to some building."
"Are they police?" someone asked.
"No, there are no uniforms. I don't know who they are!" one of the passengers replied.
All of them waited. A man near the back called out, "Can't we get out, if there's a delay? Some of us need a bathroom stop - we haven't had one since the hotel!"
"Better stay on the bus", came a reply.
Nora turned quietly to Barbara. "That guy who wanted a bathroom stop could have been me! I sure could use one!"
Overhearing, Clark admonished them, "Better stay with it for now. I am not sure what's happening!"
They had not long to wait. A man dressed in very casual attire, but speaking fairly good English, climbed on the bus and called for the attention of the passengers.
"Friends - we welcome you to Nuevo Campinas, which is where you are going to be for a while. Your driver will be replaced by a new driver. I am Miguel Mortinas, representing the People's Committee of Nuevo Campinas. You can call me Mike." He smiled at the anglicized version of his name.
"My friends and I will take you into the town of Nuevo Campinas, which is about fifteen kilometers away. You will not be going to what the government has called Terranova, as the People's Committee does not recognize the government's plan, which would disrupt our town and our way of life. You must understand that we bear no ill will to you, as you are guests in our country; but we must show our government that the Terranovas must not be built. Unfortunately, you were sent here by the government ministry that is planning the Terranovas, and your companies are those which might come into our area to build factories we do not want. We must impress you, your companies, and especially our government, that their ideas are unacceptable to the people of this area. I regret very much that we must use you to show our disapproval, but that is what we must do to preserve our way of life. We are a peaceful people, and our actions are peaceful, but you must understand they are necessary and we are determined."
He stopped for a moment, apparently for emphasis. Meanwhile, two other men had climbed aboard the bus, and one took the drivers seat.
"We mean you no harm, but you must stay with us for a time. If you do what we ask of you, you will be able to return later. We do not intend to harm you, but, I must point out, we are determined and we are many. Some of my men are armed, but we are not trying to scare you with weapons. Instead, we want you to come to a party in our town! We insist you must come - you will be the biggest part of our celebrations! But, please, we mean no personal ill will to you. So please cooperate with us and all will be well!"
The passengers turned to each other. "Looks like we're being hijacked", one noted.
Al, sitting near the front, turned to those behind, saying "You got the message about their weapons, didn't you? I think it's best to cooperate. We're way the heck out in the hills!"
"Who's going to help us?"
Another man was more thoughtful. "We're going to be missed - the police, and if need be, the army, will be coming for us. We don't need to make any trouble ourselves. They just want to make a protest and get a lot of publicity, and this will probably do it. Play along with them - they've no reason to hurt us!"
Barbara looked at Nora. "I don't like this, but it does liven up the day. But, we might as well make the best of it. They're not going to miss us back sat the hotel until late tonight - maybe not until tomorrow!"
Nora was a bit more pessimistic. "I wish I could feel good about it. But I don't. And I still need a bathroom."
Miguel, or Mike, smiled at them, but continued to explain firmly that their cooperation was needed; and he insisted that if it was, things would be peaceful. He left unsaid what would be the consequences if they were uncooperative.
The bus continued along the road for perhaps half an hour. They came into the town of Nuevo Campinas, and the passengers could see townspeople out in the streets looking at them. Their arrival was not unplanned. Something was going to happen.
The bus came to a halt outside a building which apparently served as a market. It was a large, open-sided structure with an assortment of tables under the roof. It was largely empty, but in front of it barricades had been set up, and a number of men, and a few women, were placed around them.
The door opened. Miguel told the passengers, "OK - everybody out; go over by the tables. Leave all your things on the bus. You will not need anything!"
The passengers, all thirty seven, filed out of the bus, and headed for the designated area. More and more people came, forming a cordon around the barricaded area.
They were allowed to carry nothing with them. A woman who tried to take her purse was instructed to leave it on the bus.
After the passengers were assembled under the roof, Miguel stood in front of them and addressed them.
"We want you to know we are not thieves - we intend to keep nothing of your belongings. What you have left on the bus will be taken back to the city with it - but all in time. Your driver and the government man will not be harmed either - they will be taken back to the city, too. Now, if you continue to cooperate, you, too, will go back to the city - but not for awhile. We need you to be part of our little party, here. Now we must get you ready for our party and our parade!"
He hesitated a moment for emphasis. Then he gave a loud command.
"Strip. All of you. Take your clothes off - put them on the tables! They will not be stolen, we will put them on the bus and send them back with it. But for our party, you no longer need them! Now - everything comes off! Men must strip naked - but as for the ladies, we are courteous to the ladies - they may keep on their shoes and underwear. Now - please start!"
He was firm. The group exchanged glances. There were grumbles and shrugs, but the obvious consensus was to comply. There seemed to be no alternative.
Clark looked to Barbara, standing near him. "At least you get to keep your underwear! Let's be thankful for small blessings. Well, ladies, I never planned to do this in front of you, but--". With a resigned look he began to take off his shoes. Other men had started to remove their footwear and shirts. Those with jackets were taking them off.
Three of the five women collected together slowly. None of them had started to remove anything so far; they just looked at each other. Two other women were scattered among the men in the group.
"Well, girls" one woman announced, "we'd better get started before they change the rules. At least we're allowed shoes and underwear!"
Barbara slipped off her jacket, then started to unbutton her shirt. "I feel sorry for the men - they didn't get any kind of break! They lose everything!"
"We'll get it back - they said so", observed Nora, rather cynically.
"Do I detect skepticism there? Here, I'm Grace Collins - I'd rather say hello now than have to meet you in my underwear later!"
"What counts as underwear?" asked Evelyn, not one of the first three, but coming over to join them.
"Underpants and a bra", Grace answered emphatically. "Don't push your luck, and if you don't have a bra, you're in trouble!"
Evelyn was wearing a blouse and skirt, the only female not clad in pants. "I asked, because I have a half-slip on under this skirt - I wonder if they'd let me keep it ?"
"You're pushing your luck, lady", Grace informed her. "We're going to wind up in panties and bras, and I'd suggest you do the same. Be glad you're not a man!"
Around them, men were removing their garments and placing them on the tables. One man was already down to a pair of boxer shorts. Several of the men were making nervous glances at the women.
Miguel watched, but didn't seem to try to hurry the pace. He had positioned himself where he had a good view of the women, but also kept the men in his view. Around the barricades, many people had now gathered, men, women, even children; all looking eagerly at these North Americans and Europeans getting out of their clothes.
Barbara, her shirt off and sliding down her pants, looked up and saw a man now naked, his white skin showing no tan at all. "Like me", she thought. Another naked man was facing her, caught her glance, and quickly reversed his posture, only to find himself standing in front of three grinning local women leaning over the barricade.
"This is terrible for the men!" Barbara muttered, to anyone who would listen. She had found it necessary to remove her shoes in order to get the pants off, but quickly replaced them and then laid her removed clothing on a table.
"Do they want to separate mens' and womens' clothes?" asked Grace.
"All going to the same place. I don't think anyone will care", answered Nora, now standing in a serviceable white bra and cotton panties. A man facing her, had just discarded his last bit of underwear and now found himself naked. He was staring at Nora in her undergarments. Suddenly realizing that she saw him, he apologized, "Excuse me - I didn't mean to look. I don't want to make you self-conscious!"
"Don't worry", Nora reassured him while staring back at his private parts, "Everyone's looking. We can't hide. I really don't mean to look, either, but I can't do much about it!"
By now, a number of naked men were milling about, while a few others were still delivering clothing to the tables or undoing shoelaces. All of the women were now done to pants and bras of varying styles. Their guards were watching the show.
At a signal, several men and women from beyond the barricades came forward and started picking up the clothes from the tables, carrying the piles of clothing back to the bus.
Barbara found Clark, standing not far from her, now fully stripped. His eyes had obviously been on the women, and as he turned to face her she noticed he had an obvious erection. Her eyes fell on it.
"I can't help it", he said to her quite sheepishly. " I never had to do anything like this before, and I was watching what you had to go through, too! I -"
"You don't have to explain. It's a natural reaction", Barbara returned. "None of us is comfortable with this".
While the eyes of the crowd were mostly on the naked men, several of Miguel's cohorts were in the area and it was obvious they were feasting their eyes on the five women. They were standing where they had a clear view of them, and the broad smiles on their faces showed their reaction.
"Why do they have to look at us like that? Like we were livestock at the county fair?" commented a very annoyed Nora.
"Because we are at some kind of fair, and we are the show! Why do you think they made us strip, except to leer over us and humiliate us?"
The fifth woman came over to join them. The youngest of the group, it seemed she had been a secretary brought by her company to staff their exhibit. She seemed little older than a teenager, now dressed in bikini underpants and the briefest of bras. She was shaking and sweating.
"What will they do to us?" she nervously asked the other women. "Are we going to be --- attacked?"
Grace tried to reassure her. "Probably not. They didn't make us take all our clothes off, which is a good sign. I think they just want us to be embarrassed, humiliated, scared stiff, or whatever - so we won't ever want to come back here and our companies will never want anything to do with this place. But I don't think they mean us any real harm. It's all some kind of a demonstration, a show of power-"
"Who knows what they want", Barbara chimed in. "If they want us to develop such a distaste for this place we'll never recommend it to anyone, they've already made their point. Just look at these poor guys - not a shred of cover on any of them!"
"That's, I guess, the one good part of it, if there is one", the new arrival observed. "I never saw so many undressed men in my life. Oh, I'm glad they let us keep a little bit on!"
"I haven't got much modesty left", Nora remarked, "but I sure need a bathroom. Worse than ever!"
"You need to pee?" Myra, the new arrival asked. "So do I. I've needed to for the last hour. Think they'll let us?"
Grace scowled at them. "Fat chance. Right now, the word is hold it!"
"A number of the men were asking for a bathroom stop", Barbara noted. "That was an hour ago. You can guess how they feel now!"
Their attention was drawn to Miguel, who now was calling out orders. He instructed all the men to form in a line, and to hold their hands behind their backs. This had the effect of making several men, who had been using their hands to try to cover their genitals, to now expose themselves completely.
The men formed in a line, the front of which was aimed at a gap in the barricades. As the first man in line was called forward, two of the male guards took his arms and bound them together behind his back. Then the next was called forward to receive the same treatment.
The first man then was moved forward to a second position, where several women were in place. As he stopped in front of them, one woman immediately reached out and seized his penis, holding it firmly and stretching it out a bit. A second woman then took two rubber bands and slipped them over his penis, allowing them to snap in place. He winced noticeably as he felt the snap of the rubber bands tighten around his organ.
One of Miguel's associates told the men the reason. "You won't be peeing for a while. That's just to help you control yourself!"
The men in line squirmed nervously and muttered among themselves, as they realized what was being done. The women picked up part of the conversation and they, too, realized what was happening.
"Wonder what they'll do to us?" Evelyn pondered.
"I think", Barbara speculated, "that any prospect of a bathroom break is being postponed".
"Ohhhhh", Nora moaned at the thought, "I don't know how long I can hold back".
"Want them to put a rubber band on you?" Grace asked.
"Or worse" Myra responded nervously.
Miguel surveyed the situation, then called to the women to fall in at the end of the line. They did as instructed, with a mixture of curiosity and dread at what would happen to them.
As the last man finished having his hands tied, Grace stepped forward, holding her hands behind her, expecting them to be tied also. To her great surprise, she was told to just stand in position, while the rubber bands were applied to the man in front of her. Then, she was told just to move to the next station. She looked at one of her captors with a quizzical expression, as though as to ask, "Why are you not tying me, too?"
Miguel, standing not far away, perceived her unspoken question. "We told you we are courteous to ladies. As long as you cooperate, we see no need to tie your hands!"
Grace moved forward. Nora, behind her, asked Miguel, "Do we get rubber bands, too? Where will you put them?" There was sarcasm and a note of defiance in her voice. Nonetheless, Miguel responded to her with his somewhat distorted version of politeness. "Where would you like them? No, you do not get the little straps. They are not tight enough to be painful, but they may cause a little discomfort. They will make it hard for the men to pee, and prevent any accidents if some have trouble controlling themselves. We do not think ladies will use the street for a toilet, so we will not put bands on you!"
"Are you going to allow them to pee?" Grace demanded. "None of us has had a bathroom break since we left the hotel this morning! Some of them need to pee rather badly!"
"All in good time, ladies, but right now, we have other things to do first."
"How about us?" Nora called. "Will we be allowed to pee?"
"You and your bladder!", Grace said to her softly.
Miguel looked directly at Nora. "Do you need to?"
"Absolutely!" Nora answered with emphasis.
"I will keep it in mind. But, first things first. You must follow along with the "men!"
The group broke from the single file line into a loosely gathered group spread across the street. They were flanked on each side by their captors, mostly men, and were being marched down the center of the street. The pavement was crude, and some of the men were cringing as their bare feet landed on the rough stones. Ahead of them, the group could see a crude sign being carried, its back to them; and a truck was going ahead of them, with a man using a bull horn to address the gathering crowds in Spanish. With the man was another, equipped with a video camera, recording the events, and especially focusing on the naked marchers.
It was obvious they were being taken on a kind of parade.
Now that they were no longer in a line, several of the women broke from their group and rejoined the men with whom they had been associates. Barbara turned to the nearest man, whose name she did not know, and asked "I think it is awful what they're doing to you. Do those rubber bands hurt badly?"
"They're pretty tight, but I can stand it. What I'm afraid of, though, is they're not going to let us relieve ourselves, which is why the bands are on, and ----" he stopped, then turning away from Barbara, added, "Sorry - I shouldn't be saying things like that to a lady".
"Go ahead," Barbara encouraged him. "We're all in this together, and, for what it's worth, there are five women here in pretty dire need of a ladies' room, too."
She looked down at his penis, squeezed by the two tight bands. It was flaccid, but the bands were still compressing it noticeably.
Not far away, Grace was walking next to a man who obviously was having an erection he didn't want. The rubber bands were tightly squeezing his erect organ, and Grace perceived that they were causing him some distress. She said something intended to be comforting. He wasn't comforted. He rather roughly answered her with, "Lady, you're not helping. The more you look the worse it's going to be. Just leave it alone - at least you've got your underpants on!"
It seemed obvious that they were being paraded around the town. People seemed to line the sides of the street, calling out to them, and making what they took for jeers and catcalls. For the most part, though, the onlookers were orderly. The bull horn continued to broadcast something about them from the truck ahead.
"What are they saying?" Grace asked of Jim, her erstwhile companion at the fair, knowing he spoke the language.
"I think", he began, "the sign says something about the 'People's Committee of Nuevo Campinas' and says that no foreign factories are going to be built here - he's telling them that any foreigners who come here to disrupt their life are going to be treated--- oh, excuse me!"
He groaned for a moment, then began again, "He's saying any others that come will be treated like we are being treated - they don't want the Terranovas, and their government must abandon - ouch!"
"Something bothering you?" she asked.
"I've got a heck of ache at the bottom of my stomach, that's all!"
"Are you sick - anything you ate?"
"More likely everything I - oh, oh, drank for breakfast and before. It's just needing to be let out; and these cursed rubber bands aren't helping any. Oh, but you're lucky they didn't do anything like this to you!"
"Jim, I know the feeling - I may not have rubber bands but the women all need to pee like - well, pretty awful, too. We're all in it together!"
"At least you've got some clothes on - nice of them to let the women keep some of their dignity! We didn't get any!" He grimaced with his growing discomfort.
Something was happening ahead of them. The march was slowing, as the truck pulled ahead away from them. The crowd ahead of them was filling the street. Their guards were holding open only a small path down the center of the road, perhaps eighteen inches wide. Ropes were stretched along the sides of this little path for a distance of perhaps forty feet. The entire march halted as their guards stood by.
"What's this?" Barbara asked, looking to Clark. "Looks as though they are going to make us go through that narrow gap - it'll have to be single file. Look - people are crowding up to the ropes. They're going to do something!"
"Looks like the people on the ropes are all women. Are they going to make us walk right between them?"
In a moment they had their answer. One of the men was told to walk through the path. He immediately found his way hindered by hordes of female hands reaching out to him, grasping mostly at his genitals. They weren't holding him; if a women touched him, she gave him a small tug or a squeeze and let it go. Some of them reached for his testicles, grabbing and squeezing quickly.
"They're making us run a gauntlet between crowds of pretty grabby women!" Clark noted. "Oh, if there was just a toilet at the other end it would be worth it!"
One by one, the men were made to walk through the path. The women weren't unduly rough, but each was trying to get a momentary grip on some piece of a man's private parts. Most of the women were young, some probably teen-agers, but a few were middle aged and even elderly.
Barbara turned to the other women near her. "This is terrible. They're doing everything they can to humiliate the men! And they're making us part of it!"
"How are we part of it? We're victims, too?" Grace retorted.
"They made the men strip off everything, but let us keep a few of our clothes. But they made them strip in front of us, as well as the locals. Now they are making them go through this with the local women, and they probably will just wave us through without a touch! I tell you, they're using us to humiliate the men with us!"
"Nothing we can do about it, Barbara! We're victims, too!"
"Oh, yes, there is! I've seen enough of this. I'm not going to be part of embarrassing the men any more!" Barbara's words were emphatic.
"What can you do?" Evelyn asked. "If we tried to help the men any way, they'd stop us! There's nothing we can do about it!"
"Oh, yes, there is!" Barbara repeated.
Grace stared at her. "What are you going to do?" she inquired.
"What any red blooded woman ought to do in a situation like this! They told us we could keep our underwear and shoes on - they didn't say we had to! Well - if the men have to be naked, I will be, too!" With a quick gesture, Barbara reached down, pulled off her shoes, and tossed them to the crowd lining the street. While the astonished onlookers stared, she reached behind her back, unhooked her bra, and threw it to the crowd on the other side. Finally, she pulled off her panties, and tossed them in the same manner.
Several of the naked men were looking in the women's direction and saw Barbara's actions. They stared, standing still in their spots as they awaited their turn for the gauntlet ahead.
The other women stared at Barbara, too.. Then Grace quickly began to do the same thing. A moment later Nora followed suit, then Evelyn and Myra. In seconds all five of the women were naked and barefoot, just as the men were.
Now a number of men had turned and seen what the women were doing. Their hands cuffed behind them, they were unable to make any kind of hand gesture. Suddenly a voice went out, "Let's hear it for the ladies!" A rousing cheer went up from the the group of naked men, realizing they had now been joined in their nudity by the women.
Their captors were dumfounded. The men acting as guards just stood and stared. Men on the sidelines pushed to the front, the better to view this new found sight.
Meanwhile, the men continued to be sent through the gauntlet of groping female hands. In a few more minutes, the last man stood in position to be started down the path. Behind him now stood five naked women, ranging from the slender and youthful Myra to the more corpulent and graying Barbara.
As the last man ran through the lines, the make up of the crowd began to change. Men pushed themselves into position along the ropes. Some women drew back, others held their place.
Grace was the first of the women in line. She was signaled to go down the path. Before she had gone even one foot, a male hand had grasped her left breast, administering a hard squeeze. At the same time she felt a hand running over her genitals. As she moved, the other breast was groped, too. Both men and women were groping the naked captives, squeezing their breasts, pulling their nipples, pulling their pubic hair and poking their genitals.
Barbara pushed herself to second position in line, and went through the same chaotic reaching of hands, aimed mostly at breasts and pubic regions. It was awful, and there was no way to avoid the constant handling. Finally, she emerged at the other end of the path. She awaited the remaining three women who still had to run the course.
The men were standing about, pushed rather closely together, and their captors were preparing to march them further down the street. Clark found Barbara after she emerged, and spoke to her.
"Every man here thinks what you did was great! I can't believe you women voluntarily gave up the clothes they let you keep and then went through that!"
Other men joined in support for the women. One came up to Grace, remarking, "I couldn't believe what I was seeing - five women stripping in the middle of the street! I still don't believe my eyes!"
"You might as well get a good look at us", Barbara returned, with a bit of a smile. "Everyone else is looking at us. No reason you shouldn't!"
After another three blocks of walking, they were stopped again. Something
was happening up front.
Finally, they realized what was taking place.
Two of the naked men were taken from the group, by women who were leading them by their penises. They were taken a short distance away from the street and made to stand facing a drainage ditch. A crowd, mostly female, gathered around them.
The women who led them then reached down and removed the rubber bands from their sexual organs, then each held the penis of her captive and pointed it at the ditch. The men were then instructed to release their urine, as the women held them.
With great relief, the first two men were quickly sending copious streams into the ditch. The waiting men realized what was occurring, and the response was almost joyous. "They're letting us pee! Bless 'em! They're actually going to let us pee!" one exclaimed. Another cried out, "Oh, thanks for little blessings! We're really going to get to pee!"
Others followed. Throughout the crowd, men with badly overfilled, aching bladders rejoiced at the thought of relief. It came slowly, though, as they were taken by women, two at a time.
"What will they do with us?" Myra wondered. "Do we get taken down there, too?"
The question was answered sooner than they expected.
Miguel came up to the women, another man at his side. "Ladies", he addressed them, "would you like to use the toilet?" he inquired, rather politely.
"Oh, would we ever!" answered Nora, her enthusiasm obvious.
"Carlos here will take you. There is a toilet in that building", and he indicated a small structure nearby.
The five women, led by Carlos and guarded by another man, were escorted into the building. Inside there were two rather grungy bathrooms. He motioned for the women to go ahead and use them. Nora was the first to enter. "At least there's one advantage in being naked - nothing to unfasten or take down!" she observed, seated herself on the toilet.
Grace was directed to the other toilet. She started to go in, then hesitated. She turned to Carlos, shaking her head, and moved to withdraw.
Carlos was perplexed. Evelyn looked at her. "Don't you need to go?" she asked. "I thought we were all pretty desperate!" With that Evelyn started to go into the toilet, but Grace called her.
"It's like the underclothes thing. The men don't get a toilet in a bathroom - they get taken to a dirty ditch, and have to stand there in the sight of everyone, while they pee. Even then, a woman takes them in the most humiliating manner and has to take off those rubber bands and then hold them by their private parts. We get taken to an inside toilet and privacy! Even if my bladder aches, I'm not doing it!"
"She's right!" Barbara proclaimed. "You saw how they reacted when we took off our bras and pants to be like them! I'm not going here, either. Even if I have to squat and pee in the street!"
Myra then joined in. "Which you may well have to do. Look, men are more used to doing it in public than women! It's not that bad for them!"
"Then it won't be bad for us either!" Barbara retorted sharply.
At this point Nora came out of the toilet. "Oh what glorious relief! Whose turn--" she stopped short, seeing no one else had made a move to use the other toilet.
"We're not using it" Myra said with emphasis, rethinking her position. "We can do it like the men have to. If they can do it, we can do it!"
Thus one woman, smiling and with an empty bladder joined her four unrelieved sisters in turning back and marching out of the building, as Carlos and his associated watched in amazement.
The men captives standing by assumed the women had all used the toilet. One asked Barbara, "Feel better now? It must have been a lot better than that ditch up there!"
Barbara answered him without even looking in his direction. "Four of us, including me, decided we would wait for the ditch!" His jaw dropped in a moment of stunned silence as he contemplated her statement.
Grace, despite her resolve, was running out of endurance. "That ditch is looking better and better - but if I don't get to it soon, I'm going to leak!"
"Don't you dare!" Barbara warned her. "Not after we decided to use the ditch!"
The women, except for Nora, fell into the line of men waiting to be taken for relief. A man in the forward part of the line saw Grace moving into the line, and courteously allowed her to step in front of him. "Thanks - I don't know your name-"
"Mark", he replied. "I didn't think they'd make women get in this kind of line. It must be rough for you. But, I want you to know we all appreciated what you did when you took off your clothes back there!"
A few minutes later, Grace stood at the head of the line, Mark behind her. One of the female escorts came back, leading one of the men back by holding his penis. When he saw Grace, he averted his eyes, mortified at the thought of one of the women in his group seeing him being led that way.
The woman escort looked at Grace. She seemed uncertain what to do with a female captive. She hadn't expected women in this line. She consulted with a colleague, then motioned to both Grace and Mark. She stood aside, indicating that Grace should lead Mark down to the ditch. She spoke little English, but Grace got the words, "Him first - then you!"
Looking at Mark, she muttered a soft "I'm sorry, Mark!" as she gently grasped his tightly bound penis. He quickly answered, "It's OK. I would rather it was you than her, anyway! Let's go!"
She led Mark down to the edge of the ditch. Then she turned to him to remove the rubber bands, now tightly stretched around his partially erect organ. Struggling a bit, she muttered an embarrassed, "I'm trying not to hurt you - they are really tight, aren't they?"
Standing still, his hands bound behind him, Mark could only nod and await the completion of her task and the blessed relief it portended. Shortly she had the bands off, and she aimed his organ at the ditch. "All right - now you can let go!" she told him.
It took a moment for his stream to start, but when it did, Grace was overtaken by two powerful feelings - her obvious arousal at seeing his stream while she was holding him; and a surge in her own bladder, demanding immediately the kind of relief Mark was achieving,
Straining to repress her own urge, she held on as he continued to produce an increasingly powerful stream that shot splashing into the pool at the bottom of the ditch. Quickly it was joined by a second stream from the next man who had now been brought up.
Finally, he finished. Grace realized it was her turn. She released her grip on his penis, and he turned his back to her to return. On a whim, she pulled him around to stand beside her and grasped his hand tightly, as she spread her own legs. At first she had been tempted to squat, but then she was seized with an urge to accomplish the function as the men had to -standing. Her legs spread, and with male onlookers gawking, she squeezed Mark's hand even as she released her own stream.
To be sure, she could not achieve the distance the men had, but her water shot out to the bank of the ditch, from where it ran down inside. She stood rigid, her grip on Mark's hand tight, her body erect, her eyes looking straight ahead. She felt the stream pouring out of her, but did not lower her eyes to follow it. She noted, however, that Mark did.
When her bladder was empty, she released Mark's hand, turned around, and grasping his penis as the others had done, she led him back to the group.
Her return was greeted by smiling approval from the others. A few places behind her, Myra had her place, and already she had turned to the man behind her, indicating that he would be her partner when called. As she moved to front of the line, she received the same signals as Grace had, earlier. Taking the man by the penis, she led him down to the ditch, where she repeated the procedure Grace had followed. When her own turn came, she reached over and took her partner's penis in her hand, as she leaned back slightly, projecting a strong stream into the ditch.
Then she led him back to the group. As she walked, she said softly to him, "I didn't think I could do that! Never did I do anything like that before!"
A bit farther, Barbara prepared for her turn. Jim was behind her, and she anticipated what she had observed with the other women. However, they evidently decided to change the ritual. As Barbara came to the front of the line, the woman who had led the last man back turned Jim around and untied his hands, then used the cord to tie Barbara's hands behind her. She noticed Miguel standing and watching, apparently the one who had switched the signals. He smilingly told her, "You're the woman who started this business of being like the men - we're going to let you be just like a man this time. He can lead you!"
Wondering just how he would do it, with her hands now bound, Barbara watched the woman guard take Jim's right hand and place it on her left breast, indicating he should grasp it. His fingers tightened around her nipple. "Barbara", he told her, "this doesn't mean anything - they're making me do it!" Perhaps it was unintentional, but Barbara noted that he tugged the nipple a bit toward him, and her breast, more flexible than those of the younger women, now extended considerably to her left side, giving her a very asymmetrical appearance as they walked side by side.
"I know - go ahead. We both need the relief - let get it over!"
This time Barbara was to go first. She hadn't planned to stay standing, but it was indicated that she must, presumably to be "like the men". With Jim holding her by the nipple, she spread her legs and released her stream. While it poured from her. she observed to Jim, "Boy, does this ever feel good! I've been needing it for hours- look at all the people watching us! You don't have to wait for me - why don't you just go ahead?"
Taking her cue, Jim released his grip on her nipple and used his now freed hands to remove the rubber bands from his penis, then released his stream which then joined hers pouring into the ditch.
When they had finished, they returned to the group, Jim again leading her by the nipple. As they passed the woman guard, she removed the bonds from Barbara's hands and retied Jim's.
Jim seemed to feel he owed Barbara another apology. "I didn't want to hold you that way - I hope it didn't hurt you!"
"Let's just say you found how far I can stretch. No, it didn't hurt that badly." She smiled at him.
When all of them had been relieved, they were marched a bit further, then herded into small park where there were a few tables and some benches. They could see that there was some kind of food on the tables. Miguel, as their host, welcomed them into the park.
"My friends! Our guests! You must be tired. Perhaps you are hungry! Did you not think we would feed you? Please know that our hospitality is not lacking! Enjoy yourselves - there is plenty to eat and drink. Relax a bit - for you will need to be ready for the festivities of the evening!" immediately guards began to unbind the hands of the male captives.
"The food looks good", a man remarked, "but the 'festivities of the evening' sounds ominous - I'm not sure I look forward to that!"
Grace, overhearing him, added "Looks like we're going to be part of the festivities whether we like it or not!"
They did get a break, though they were still all naked, exposed to the view of each other and the townspeople and guards who surrounded the park area with watchful eyes. The tables were supplied with food, though hardly the luxury type. There were large pots filled with rice and beans, a large basket full of fruit, a pile of bread, and containers of water and some kind of juice. A assortment of well used plates, cups, and eating utensils were stacked on a table.
For those needing other forms of relief, they noted that the park was equipped with a small building containing toilets. However, the doors to the toilets, one designated for men and one for women, were wired open, so that anyone using the toilets would do so in full view of the numerous onlookers.
They were tired and hungry, and most partook of the food and drink, though quite uneasy about what was to follow.
Someone noted, "This must be what you call a naked lunch!" Several of them laughed. They were getting a bit used to their nudity, at least among themselves.
A male captive came up to Nora, noting "You women didn't have to take off the clothes they let you have - you could be standing here now, with at least a little covering. Why did you decide to do it?" Her answer was her own question. "Would you rather we were here, with clothes, while all you guys had to run around bare naked?"
He replied with one word, "No".
They were given almost two hours of relative peace, before the next activity began. Now the sunlight was fading, and the captives were wondering what would be done with them during the night.
The rest period over, their guards began a new activity. Captives were selected, two or three at a time, taken to the edge of the park, and their hands were again bound with cord, but this time in front of them. They were then taken away. There would be a lapse of ten minutes or so between groups being removed.
The first four groups were all men. Not until the fifth group did the guards select a woman, and they chose Nora. With two men, she was taken to have her hands tied.
"What are they doing with them?" Grace wondered, looking at Barbara.
"I fear we are all going to find out shortly! I hope Nora's OK - and I hope the men are, too!"
Nora was led by a guard, holding her arm, down the street. She was taken to what appeared to be a market square, a moderate sized open space surrounded by buildings, shops and small businesses. Most the buildings had large overhangs extending the roofs to cover the sidewalk area, the edge of the overhang being supported by posts at intervals. The buildings without overhangs in front were now fronted with wooden frames, set on posts, with a horizontal beam being held some seven feet off the ground. She and her two male companions were led to a place under one of the overhanging roofs, where they were made to stand facing the open square, their backs to the sidewalk and storefronts. Here their bound arms were raised over their heads and attached by ropes to the roof above. They could twist and turn, but could not bend over or move far from their positions. They were left in this posture, Nora in the center between her two male companions.
As Nora looked about, she saw others of the captives tied up in similar fashion. As each group was brought out, new locations were set up for them. Meanwhile, in the center of the square, a small band was setting up, tables with food and drink were being arranged, and a variety of other supplies were being placed on tables.
Finally, all the captives were tied in positions, and the festivities seemed ready to begin. People began milling all over the area. Food and drink were being served, the band was playing, and for the local people it seemed like a great party was in the offing.
People were free to come up to the captives and touch them, and they did. Favorite items of attention were their private parts, the men's penises often being tugged or touched by both men and women. Nora was soon aware of a boy tweaking her breasts. The touching, though humiliating and annoying, was being kept gentle, and there was no attempt to do injury to any of them. Apparently the people had been advised to keep their play within limits.
A man began haranguing the crowd with a bull horn. First there was a long address, then the music resumed and the people occupied themselves with the food on the tables, and what appeared to be an abundance of drinks, of assorted kinds.
Nora's left hand companion attempted to interpret the proceedings to Nora. "It's all about the Terranovas, and how they want to show that they disapprove and that no foreigner should dare to come into this place to create a disruption of their town. He said something about signs the foreigners will bear - I didn't quite get that. The people were told they could play with us all they want, but to be careful they don't harm us - he doesn't want anyone to come here and say they had caused injuries. Ouch!!" He ended his explanation as a girl grasped his penis, tugged it, and started flipping it up and down. He squirmed, trying to free himself from her grasp, but she held on, looking into his face and laughing. Then she let go and wandered off.
The groping and handling went on, and they were powerless to stop it. Then, a new activity began. Several people came up to Nora and her companions, carrying small paint brushes and some kind of paint. The man on her right let out an exclamation as he felt something drawn down his back. He tried to twist away, but several people restrained him. Then he realized something was being painted on his back.
A few minutes later, Nora felt herself seized by several people and held still while a paintbrush was used to apply some kind of lettering to her front - beginning just below her shoulders and then down over her breasts and her stomach, even to her pelvic area.
For quite a while the process went on, as each captive was turned into a signboard - words being applied to various body parts, most often on their backs, but on other areas too. It was like they were to become walking graffiti. They soon realized the words were expressions of protest - complaints about the Terranovas, the government, and warnings to foreigners to stay out.
While the painting was going on, people continued their periodic touching and groping of the hostages. Someone apparently thought up a gesture of hospitality, and decided to offer one of the captives a drink. It appeared to be weak tea, or something like that, but it was held to his mouth in a large cup, and then poured into his mouth.
As the sign painting came to an apparent end and the party became more raucous, the idea of giving drinks to the captives turned into a major event. It became almost a contest to see who could get one of the captives to drink the most beverage. People would stand around one of the naked captives and offer him drinks, pouring it in his mouth if he would cooperate. At first, there was some appreciation for them, because the drinks offered were not offensive, and the captives were getting tired and many were thirsty.
Now it became almost a feeding frenzy. The captives could hardly speak to each other, as people continually tried to get them to take more liquid. Some coughed and choked, but this only temporarily held off the offerings by the captor townspeople. If the captives would not open their mouths to receive the drinks offered, their noses would be held until they opened the mouth to breathe, at which point a drink would be poured in.
They could hear the bull horn, instructing the people and admonishing them to go easy, not to injure their captives, but just to be sure each received plenty.
At this point the captives were a mess. They hadn't been allowed to wash all day, and had been marched through dirty streets, barefoot. Words and messages of protest had been painted on the backs, as well as on many other parts. The drinks they were being force fed spilled all over their faces and ran down their bodies. People had groped them all over, especially their private parts, and some had paint or ink colors applied in spots. Two men were sporting red penises, a result of the application of extra paint. Grace found she had one green breast and one red.
Barbara also had been tied between two men. Looking about as best she was able, she could see that the women had been separated, and no two women were together. She herself had been the victim of continual breast groping, as men tried to make her breasts shake and stretch. Her back and stomach now bore painted signs, but no one had put a sign on her elsewhere. She had been given more drinks than she could count, mostly tea or water, as she judged by the taste; and her stomach was beginning to feel bloated with its load of liquid.
After an hour or so, there was apparently an order given to stop force feeding the captives, and the infusion of liquid to them came to an end.
Nora looked to the only clock she could see. It indicated a few minutes after ten. It was quite dark but the square itself was brilliantly lit. All of the captives were clearly visible in the lights which had been set up for the festival. Her right hand companion, whom she now knew as Bill, was expressing some relief at reduced level of activity. "Looks like they might be winding it down. I don't know what they'll do to us yet, but my belly is loaded. I'm not going to want a drink for a week!"
The man on her left echoed the feeling. "I've had more than I can hold And I don't mind telling you, I've got to pee, and in the worst way! I'd like to get back to that ditch. How are you doing, Nora?"
Nora was trying to get her breath. She had belched several times, trying to relieve her stomach of air she had gulped along with her liquid intake. She knew it seemed unladylike and not very polite, but she felt terribly bloated and needed any kind of relief she could get.
"I'm just full - water, tea, whatever they poured in me. I'm getting cramps in my arms from standing like this, and my legs hurt. And, oh, do I ever need to pee! What torture are they going to give us next?"
Bill decided he was at his limit. "I don't know about you guys, but I've held all the water I can- here goes!" With that, he relaxed his sphincters and began to urinate into the street. A forceful stream was coming out of him. A young girl came up immediately, and started manipulating his penis to move the stream around.
Others were having to relieve themselves, too, in much the same way. There was a bit of a new game brewing, as several of the younger onlookers watched for a captive to urinate, then rush to grasp his penis and play games with aiming his urination.
Barbara watched this for a bit, then twisted her body toward her nearest companion. "I"ve got to relieve myself, too - I wonder what they'll do with me!" She turned to the street and released her urine stream, which sprayed in front of her and ran down her legs, soaking her feet. Several men and boys came up to her, watching, pointing, laughing, and showing amused expressions.
They left the captives standing in position until about eleven o'clock, when their guards began taking them down, but not releasing their bound hands. However, with their hands in front of them now, they could protect their privates a bit from the continual gropings as they were taken away, they knew not to where.
It developed their place for the night was to be a room in a small building. The room was about twenty-five feet square, lit with two glaring light bulbs hanging overhead, with high windows and only one door. It had a cement floor. The captives were led in. When all were inside, the door was closed, and, it seemed, locked.
It appeared they were alone, and perhaps this was their hotel for the night. No beds, no blankets, no padding on the floor, and hardly roomy for thirty seven people. The floor was reasonably clean, but hard, and there was no furniture except for one wooden table. Looking under it, they found a single drain hole, perhaps four inches across, covered with an iron grill.
After most of an hour, Miguel opened the door and came in. "Friends, we offer you this for your room for the night. It is not spacious, but we are a poor community. We will see you in the morning, about six. Your bus and driver have been sent back to the city, with your clothes. All of us thank you for your excellent and generous participation in our little festival. We hope you enjoy the little markings you have acquired, and we hope you will show them off to our government officials and your friends when you return. For tonight, if anyone needs to use the toilet, our guards will open the door every two hours and will take up to four people if they need to go in the night. Tomorrow, we will have a farewell party for you! Good night!"
The door closed and they were left with their thoughts. It was now about midnight. Most of them were sitting or lying on the bare floor, using each other's bodies as cushions or sitting with the walls as backrests. A few were sleeping. All were exhausted. All were dirty, messy, covered with painted messages, and with the huge liquid intake they had been given, most were needing to urinate in varying degrees of intensity.
The men were complaining of their discomforts. It was cool, but not terribly cold, and their collective body heat was keeping the room temperature at a tolerable level. They complained of the hard floors, their own untidiness, and of tomorrow's uncertainty. But, after another hour, most of the complaints were of one overwhelming need - most of them needed to pee, and badly.
At least twelve men had placed themselves near the door, awaiting its promised opening in another hour. One loudly observed, "He said they would only take four of us at a time! That's an hour for four people - and at least three hours for the rest!"
"I'm not going to be able to wait that long!" one man protested. Someone sitting on the floor said, "Look, why don't we use that drain? At least it'll be better than swimming in the mess we're going to have when some of us start doing it on the floor!"
Several of them moved the table, leaving the small drain in an open area. Immediately one man knelt down beside it and, aiming his penis into it, started urinating. Several others took places behind him, forming a queue. The process was slow, even though two men could use it at a time if they took care.
"Be sure your aim is good - we don't want this place awash in pee!" one of the men loudly instructed.
Nora was leaning on Grace, trying to get a bit of rest. It was difficult. Although she was exhausted, the light was in her eyes, the floor was hard, there was noise around, and her bladder was demanding relief. She looked toward the door, where eight men now stood, waiting for its promised opening, now about fifteen minutes away. "Think we should get in line for the door? Maybe some of the men would let us in the line?"
Grace looked at the line. As she did, she noticed men breaking up the queue for the drain hole, thinking it not a good idea for the guard who would open the door to realize how they were using it. Fearful that the door line might get longer, she got up and moved toward it. Grace followed her. As Nora had hoped, several men allowed the two women to go to the head of the line. They waited.
At about the promised time, one of their guards opened the door, holding up four fingers to signify four people. The two women went quickly out, followed by the two men next in line. The guard closed the door, and everyone waited about twenty minutes, when the door again opened and the four were ushered back in. The door closed with a noisy slam. Almost immediately, men again began to form the queue for the drain hole.
Mark was near Evelyn, and asked her why she had not gone to the door. "They might have taken four women- you could have gone. Or don't you need to?" She looked back at him sympathetically. "Do you think I needed to go worse than those two men they took? My bladder probably isn't hurting any worse than theirs was. I'm going to try for the other line - excuse me!"
She got up and went to the end of the queue for the drain hole. Eleven men were in front of her. One turned and saw her, the first woman in that line. He quickly said something to the men ahead of him, and quickly Evelyn was ushered to the front of the line. When the two men using the drain hole had finished, they gestured for her to use it next. The man behind her turned to the others in line. "Look, fellows, let's give the lady a bit of privacy. Why don't you turn your backs?" Most did, and Evelyn smiled an appreciative glance as she positioned herself squatting over the hole. Then she began a prolonged urination, as her body rid itself of some of the huge amount of liquid she had swallowed.
Waiting for her to finish, the man next in line asked her over his shoulder if she was finished. "No - still going" she answered, "I don't mean to hog it, but I was awfully full!" Then she added, thoughtfully, "I know you are too - just a minute or so." Finally she finished, and moved away. Aware of her dampened lips and hair, she momentarily wished for something with which to dry herself, but there was nothing.
The man beside Barbara asked her, gently. "Do you think you can wait for
the door? It's going to be at least an hour and half!"
"No - I can't", she answered. "Might as well get in the other line now!" She moved over to the line for the drain hole. Immediately the man ahead of her offered her to go ahead of him. "I'll take my turn!" the steely faced grandmother answered quickly.
Myra, the remaining female who had not moved to relieve herself, got up and went to the end of the line, now two places behind Barbara. Like Barbara, she declined to be moved ahead.
Barbara reached the head of the line, watching two men use the hole together. When they had finished, she moved to position herself over it. The man behind, as had been done for Evelyn, suggested to the men they turn their backs to allow her some privacy. Barbara stopped them. "You weren't given any privacy, and we're all in the same situation. I'll do without it, too. Now two people have been using it at once - you can use it with me, if you're not afraid!" she said to the man next in line, then added with a smile, "And if your aim is good!"
She squatted over the hole, on the side away from the line, and indicated the next man could come forward. She spread her legs as wide as she could, allowing him to kneel between her splayed legs and aim for the hole. Suddenly her body began releasing a torrent into the drain. Her male hole mate tried to release his stream, but found he was developing an erection as he watched her. Finally he got his own stream going. Barbara finally finished, and got up, motioning the next man to move in.
Myra, the youngest and arguably the prettiest of the women, finally got her turn, Following part of Barbara's example, she declined the offer for the men to turn their backs, but also declined to share the hole. Relieved at last, she moved away from it.
It was a long night. The room was crowded and uncomfortable. While there remained a queue for the drain hole, much of the urgency had been relieved. Some managed to sleep, others just dozed a few moments at a time.
Grace awakened to see sunlight coming in the windows. She had managed at least to nap, and now she felt cramped from her position sitting on the floor and with her back against the wall. She looked down at herself, the sunlight illuminating her body clearly and showing off the bizarre appearance of her painted breasts - one red and one green. She was almost laughing at her ridiculous appearance. She tried to scrape the paint with her fingernails, but now it had dried hard and little came off.
Shortly, the door opened, and their quasi-gracious host, Miguel stepped into the room.
"Good morning, my friends!" he began in what they began to believe was total sarcasm. "We have a breakfast for you, and then your farewell party! You must all come outside, now!"
They began to file out the door. They were made to line up, single file, with their guards watching on each side, and marched back to the square where they had been given their meal the previous afternoon. Once there, they found the same tables, now set with a supply of bread, a bit of fruit, and a generous supply of water, fruit juice, and weak coffee.
"You are welcome! Enjoy yourselves!" Miguel instructed them. They began to take of the food and drinks.
As there had been no offer of a toilet break after they were awakened, several moved to use the toilets in the small park. Of course, the doors were still wired open, so those who used the facilities did so in full view of not only other captives but the numerous onlookers who were gathering. Nonetheless, lines began to form in front of each of the two toilets.
They were given about an hour to eat and fortify themselves for the day. They looked at themselves. They were a sorry looking lot. All were naked, and no one had bathed for a day. They had no combs, no razors, no deodorants. The men were unshaven, and all had uncombed hair. They were dirty, and a certain amount of body odor was becoming evident. They were all painted with slogans and messages, and some of their body parts were smeared with paint. The paint was now dry and virtually unremovable by any means available to them.
Miguel now announced that they would have to go for photographs, to "record a memory of this time you have been with us!" as he put it.
One at a time they were taken outside the park, to a place where each was made to stand against a wall while two photographs were taken; one full frontal, one back view.
"Looks like they're going to use us for cover girls and boys," Barbara noted in disgust.
"I guess they don't care how we look - we're all such a mess!" Grace noted.
Once the pictures were taken, they were formed up into a double line and again their guards went down the ranks, binding each captive's hands behind his or her back. This time there were no exceptions for the women. Then they were marched back down the streets, two abreast.
Periodically, there were made to stop and face outward. This gave them a short rest period, but while they were standing stationary, once more local citizens were allowed to come up to them and amuse themselves with the genitals and breasts of the captives. Many took advantage of this opportunity.
The process went on for the rest of the morning. As noon approached, Miguel again addressed them. "Perhaps you are now a bit weary. We have enjoyed having you with us, but the party is nearly over and it is almost time to say good-by. We cannot offer you lunch, but we will provide you some drinks." They saw a bench at the side of the road, on which containers of water and weak tea were placed, with a small number of cups. The guards untied their bound hands, but kept watch around them.
"I've had enough of that tea to last a lifetime!" Mark almost snarled as he looked at what was offered. Still, there was a limited alternative. They began to drink of what was available, sharing cups as there were many fewer cups than captives.
"For those who need relief, this way - and two at a time, please!" Miguel pointed the way back to that ditch they had used in pairs the previous day. There was, as usual, a catch. Anyone wanting to go and relieve himself must first have drunk of the fluids offered, and then again had his hands bound behind him. Two at a time, they went down to the ditch to urinate, crowds watching them.
Grace was among the first of the women to be escorted to the ditch, along with one of the men. As she stood on its edge, she started to squat, and was immediately pulled back up. "Stand!" she was told, firmly. She stood and released her water in that posture.
When those who sought relief came back, their hands were not unbound. Instead, those who had not gone to ditch were tied in like manner, and the whole group were taken down a side road for a bit, where they saw two ancient, rather decrepit trucks, their beds open but with low sides. Several boxes had been stacked to make a type of steps to allow them to board. They were directed to load up, still with hands bound behind them. Then they were made to sit on the truck beds.
After all had been loaded, the trucks were started.
"Now where are we going?" was the standard question. Their seemed to be no certain answer. Several of their captors rode each truck to insure they made no attempt to leave, but their destination was not announced.
They wandered down lonely country roads through the rural region. For two hours the vehicles meandered through small roads. Eventually they were stopped at a point that seemed desolate. There was a flat grassy area to one side of the road, but no buildings or evidence of any local population.
They were ordered out of the trucks, and assembled in the flat open area. Miguel stood before them. "It is time to say good-by. We will miss you, we wish you well, but we do not wish for your return. We hope you have the same feeling. We want our towns to remain as they are, and not to be polluted by new factories and warehouses. We hope you will remember this. Now we will leave you!"
"Where are we?" One called out.
"You do not need to know," Miguel answered. "The Federal Police are being told where you are. You will be rescued. Do not try to leave here and you will be all right. Now we go. Good-by!" He waved merrily to them, and the two trucks drove off, leaving thirty seven naked people with bound hands, standing in the grass.
At first they could do nothing but mutter to each other about their plight. Then they began to try to help themselves. Mark suggested they back up to each other, everyone trying to free the bonds of his partner. They struggled with the cords for a number of minutes, but finally one man was able to get his hands free. From that point on, it was easy, as they began to untie one another.
"Free at last" Jim called out, with a big smile.
"Free in the jungle of Heaven-knows-where!" someone answered him.
They conferred, finally deciding their best course of action was to remain together for the time being, in the hopes that there really would be a rescue. So they waited. Some sat or laid on the grass. Some walked around aimlessly.
Several of the men stood at the edge of the clearing to relieve themselves.
Evelyn tapped on Grace, saying "Look - there's a bush! I can go behind it and pee in privacy!"
Grace opened her arms, and looked down at her bi-colored breasts. "At this point" she declared, "Who needs privacy!" With that she squatted where she was and started to urinate. Mark, standing close by, turned and looked directly at her, pouring a stream on the ground.
"Two days ago, I would never have let you see me like this! Now I'm past caring! Look all you want!" she told him, almost laughing. She glanced down at herself. "Look - one red and one green! Did you ever see anyone colored like that?" She seemed amused at her own absurd appearance.
Mark pointed to another man. "See Patrick? Look what they did to him!" Grace stared at the man's penis - painted red. She went over to him and inquired, rather brazenly, "Will you be able to get that off?"
"Could have been worse", Patrick replied. "I'm Irish - suppose they had done it in orange?" He laughed at his own predicament.
Gradually, the captives were developing a rapport with each other - sharing in the absurdity of their appearances. They were openly looking at each other and trying to decipher the markings each bore. Though they were all naked and of mixed genders, they were arriving at a camaderie born of the experience they had been put through. They had ceased to be embarrassed at displaying their nude bodies to each other - now nudity had become a mark of honor, a sign of the adventure they had shared. They were beginning to relax and recover.
They waited for what must have been hours. They had no idea where they were, and not a single vehicle had passed down the road. They were getting hungry and some were thirsty again. They considered alternative strategies, but stopped as they heard the approaching sounds of a helicopter.
Then they saw it. It was a military helicopter, and it flew over them slowly, then gradually descended on the road. As it settled, two men in uniforms stepped out. They stopped and stared at the naked group.
One called out in English, "Have you no clothes?" The answer was obvious. The uniformed men informed them rescue was indeed on the way, and that a bus had been dispatched to pick them up. They would now radio precise instructions for the rescuers to follow.
Then they continued to stand and stare at the sight. Naked people, smeared with paint, covered with slogans and writings, dirty and disheveled. No one tried to hide or cover themselves from view.
It took another hour, but three police cars, followed shortly by a bus, appeared. They were quickly greeted by the police and then ushered into the bus. Unfortunately, their rescuers, knowing of their location but not their condition, had no clothes to offer them. They did have some food in the bus, which was quickly distributed and consumed.
Aboard the bus, they were taken back to the capital, three hours away. The bus stopped briefly to obtain more food for them at a village shop, but none of them left the bus, preferring to go back to the capital instead of wasting time looking for clothing.
Finally, back in the city, the bus pulled up to the hotel from which they had left early the previous day. It was now dark, and as they approached the hotel, a welcoming crowd was in evidence. As the bus stopped, some were expecting the passengers to disembark, but they remained aboard. From somewhere a supply of plastic coats had been obtained, and these were hastily passed up the steps to the bus.
Inside, the coats were quickly passed out to the passengers, who now could cover themselves. Once so attired, they began to disembark.
As Barbara stepped off the bus, Ralph, her legal advisor, was awaiting her. "Barbara!" he called out. "Are you OK? We heard all kinds of stories about you. We understand there was even a videotape of you that was delivered to the police, but they wouldn't let us see it. What happened?"
She came up to him, gripping the sides of her ill-fitting coat. "Don't you ever let them show that videotape! And don't you ever look at it, either!" she fumed at him.
"OK, Barbara. We just wanted to see that you're OK. We can talk about it later!" He held out his hand in greeting.
Barbara released the grasp on her coat, which she had not yet figured out how to fasten, to receive his hand in greeting. As she did, the coat fell open, exposing her paint smeared breasts and her body down to her pubic hair. Ralph received her hand, but stared in surprise at what he saw.
"Oh, that", Barbara noted with a bit of a smile, but not a hint of embarrassment
or fractured modesty, "I'll have to remember that I'm back where we're
supposed to wear clothes!"