For example, I tapped the fear I felt being dragged off a beach in Torremolinos by a crazy man, only to discover he may have actually saved my life. It was 1975 and Franco was still in power. As a solution to drug trafficking from Morocco via the beaches, he’d ordered the Guardia to shoot anyone on the beach after 10:00 p.m. Needless to say, I bought my savior a drink, and discovered the fun of drinking Snowballs in a bar in the south of Spain.
For Example, late one afternoon my eleven year-old daughter and I boarded a southbound bus in Tel Aviv. We missed our stop and ended up in an ultra-orthodox area of the city. Realizing our mistake, we got off the bus intending to turn right around and head back north. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the right bus stop. It was just around sunset and families were coming out to stroll the streets. They were dressed in conservative Jewish attire: men in their long back coats, payots, top hats and wool fringes; women in dresses with conservative necklines that covered their arms and knees, the married women in wigs or scarfs that covered their hair. Being American and coming straight from a beach day in Tel Aviv (a very cosmopolitan city), I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. My daughter had on a tank top and flip-flops. Needless to say we were inappropriately dressed for the location.
When the men started saying “lech” and spitting at us, I turned to Danielle and asked her what they were saying, not really expecting an answer. I was surprised when she answered “they are saying go home.” When I asked her how she knew that, she said it’s what our good friend and neighbor in Colorado always says to his dog Hamoodi.
To make a long story short, I would have gladly obliged and gone home, but no one would talk to us except to hurl insults and spit. The cab driver wouldn’t let us in his cab because we would taint it, and we couldn’t find the bus stop to catch the northbound bus. Finally a young teenage girl whispered, “Cross the street, go up a block, and take the 92 north.” When I tried to thank her, she shunned me.
Later, an Israeli friend told us how lucky we were. He said that even a conservative Jew like himself wouldn’t go into that community, especially at that time of day. He shared stories of women being stoned for not dressing properly. Suffice it to say, Danielle and I made it back safely.
That set the stage for this scene in Dark Waters that begins:
He heaved the stone. It struck Jordan in the back. She winced and her hand instinctively went to where her holster should be. Then she remembered she had left her gun in the car.
Jordan picked up her pace. Clearing the yard, she figured the men would stop at the edge of the grass, but they followed her into the street.
The sedan was parked halfway down the block. She jogged toward the car, and the men followed, moving so swiftly the tails of their long black coats flared out behind them. Another stone was hurled, then another. Both missed. A fourth rock slammed into her ribs.
“Tamei, lechi habaita,” rose the chant….