Biodun. 26 years old, broke, flirting with homelessness. Been kicked out of 3 of the last shared apartments he lived in and day to day fared worse in the thick racism to Black Africans he was exposed to, that is universally recognized as normality in the British society he lived in. Already spent 5 years, studying & working here. Pumping more tens of thousands in Pounds Sterling in foreign direct investments into the country, than collective British (under-educated) expatriates ever did themselves, within the same period, in Sub-Saharan African countries. He came open-minded, eager to experience the world. He experienced all shades of racism known to mankind. Now he's hatred-filled, mentally dangerous, anti-social, progressively posing a menace to the safety of others & himself. Viva Britannia!

Lauren. 21 year old Norwegian/Latvian, remarkably attractive blonde free-spirit, waitressing in Toronto, aspiring to be a model. Lauren is highly intelligent & hated by many young women, for obvious reasons: Their boyfriends can never keep their eyes off her. She contends with draconian customers who treat her worse than slaves, jeers & insults from the unemployed/under-employed youth of the poor neighborhood she lives in, crap pay & inflating living expenses. It has forced her to make her mind hard & her spirit indomitable, though she often feels helpless & defeated. Lauren is a beautiful person who loves love, classical/folk music, nature, surfing & libraries. Put her in either & she's free. The big city with its expensive lifestyle makes her no exception to the pinching to the pinching poverty commonly plaguing a significant amount of its population. But Lauren has a dream & despite acknowledging it's taking her longer to fulfil, because the criss-cross maze called life forced her deal with all the unexpected events it's thrown her way, she's not giving up on it. She'll just have to go into the modelling world tougher, colder & more cynical.

Being stunning and gaining everyone's attention is one thing. Being in between two countries & fighting your way through a third, is another. Being regularly ridiculed by students and obnoxious professionals for being among the working poor, tops it all up. More often than not, she just wants to break down and cry, screaming & violently taking out revenge on everyone who's ever hurt her. But she nurses those feelings to herself & continues to put on the expressionless demeanor, she has mastered over the years. Having a boyfriend would be nice, someone to cuddle up to when the times are bad. That's not been an option for her though, as the majority of guys her age only want to sleep with her & older guys want to use her as their mistress or sex kitten. Basically, the same thing. Mr Right, somewhere out there, perfectly suited for her, still hasn't found his goofy ass out of whatever labyrinth he's confusing in, to meet his princess. Lauren believes in miracles deep down inside. Modern-day life has taught her to develop a Scram/If you try it, I will kill you exterior that serves as an equivalent to an 11-man protective entourage unit around her.

The world is not ready for Lauren.

Mohammed. 19 year old, football ace from Iran. He's 3rd from 4. His two older brothers have left the family nest, a combined ten years ago & have found wives and settled down. The oldest returned to Tehran, to raise his children there, despite reneging on the benefits he could offer them by staying in France. The baby sister is still under ten years & the active care of the loving parents. Mohammed lives in the nest, eager to get out, though the reality facing him, becomes more daunting every month. Young, Muslim, unemployed, not in university though intelligent & restless from the social neglect of immigrants/foreigners do not make him appear favorably to regional security. Living in a largely Islamic community, his friends, cousins & him have had to deal with their fair share of anti-Islamic, social discrimination in the Western 'War On Terror', locally. Consecutive stop-searches from plain-clothed policemen on a regular basis are just some of the changes they've had to put up with. There's one thing Mohammed loves doing, which transports him into a world of sheer happiness. He's been kicking a ball since he was 3 and hasn't stopped playing Football ever since. He's got skillfulness, is agile & has incredible pace. It's evident he's talented & everybody he plays with, tips him to play at a major level one day. For some reason, that hasn't happened.

His dad is a taxi driver & works lots of overtime to cover the bills & secure a bright future for the baby girl. The bulk of the cash however has ended up with the utility providers, the landlord, the local council & the taxman. Not exactly a particularly affluent household. Not being materialistic, Mohammed doesn't mind that; he has the identity & affinity of his neck of the woods. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the opportunities for young, immigrant Muslims... not being there. So he drifts: He opens his mind up to the world and becomes a regular at the town library, reads the magazines & browses the Internet. Wikipedia becomes his favourite website & he takes an interest in Middle Eastern & Asian cultures and their historical influences. As time goes, he stimulates his intelligence so much after a few months that he decides to launch a football foundation for talented Asian kids, that educates them on their continent's cultural diversity & empowers linguistically in an Asian language, other than their native own. Brilliant idea – heaps of enthusiasm & boundless imagination. Mohammed wants to use this organization to integrate foreign youths deeper into French society & in turn show Christian, white French a positive side of their neighbors, worth supporting.

Patiently his parents listen to him when he explains his idea but caution him to go about it carefully, so as not to trust every person he meets along the way. The following morning he intends to go to the city centre & seek advice on how to commence his start-up at the job centre. That same night, he walks to his best friend's house to have dinner & watch a DVD. Shortly before arriving at the block of flats he lives in, he notices his shoelace is undone. Next he hears a siren approaching fast. He looks back & sees a couple of armed police officers running at him with their guns aimed at him. They scream, 'FREEZE!' in an explosive urgency, then pounce him onto the concrete ground. They frisk him from head to toe. The content of his pockets are 5 Euros, a mobile phone, a wallet with an ID card, a bundle of keys & a folded-up piece of paper labelled 'business plan'. They cuff him despite his haggling protest, while his best friend and his family come out of a block's entrance. Seeing Mohammed being dragged to the police van, his best friend runs after them & screams 'HEY, WHAT THE...? STOP THIS CRAP NOW, MORONS!'. One of the cops turns round & with a stern face threatens to arrest him as well if he doesn't back off. Mohammed keeps on shouting at the officers, asking why they're doing this when he did nothing wrong. The other cop just throws him into the steel cage in the back of the police van, slams the doors shut, then enters the vehicle at the front. Mohammed's best friend, slowly breaking out to tears, quietly speaks out in incredulity, 'What the...?', as he watches the men start the vehicle & turn out the parking space. Standing in the middle of the road, he watches the van zoom off down the road, leaving only its brake-lights blur out into the night.

The following morning, both Mohammed's parents & his baby sister come with his best friend, his father & uncle to the police station. It turns out a robbery at a liquor store took place not far from the place of arrest, in which a shop assistant was stabbed, lost a lot of blood & now lies in a coma, in Intensive Care. The officers had been patrolling the street at the time of the incident & quickly caught up with the fleeing culprits. The youths dispersed into the side alleys, while some jumped over fences and ran through random houses. The patrol team of 5 split, with two breaking up to chase two separate robbers, the driver keeping up the pursuit on the road, and the other 2 officers chasing a medium height, slim build , fast & nimble, hooded thief. He was wearing a black sweatshirt, dark tracksuit bottoms & running shoes – in all pretty much matching Mohammed's appearance. He disappeared around the corner by jumping into a fenced garden, fast-crawling into the corner with the perpendicular fence demarcating it from the neighbors, and lied on his side, as close as he could to the garden fence, with his arms & legs fully stretched out, then held his breath.

About 4 seconds later, the the police officers came running around the corner, then accelerated pace. Mohammed, a few yards ahead, was standing back upright after crouching. Only just taking a few steps, he turned and as he looked back, he heard 'FREEZE!' & saw a leaping officer horizontally positioned mid-air, with his arms directly stretched out at him less than 2 feet away, then was rugby-tackled brutally to the concrete pavement, violently tumbling over a few times together. The other gun-toting cop joined the party 2 seconds later & pointed his barrel over the back of Mohammed's head: He didn't lower his firearm until Mohammed was cuffed. 3 of the robbers were apprehended that night, with the help of 2 additional high-speed, performance patrol vehicles, a Special Anti-Robbery Task Force unit of the city's Elite Urban Warfare Commando Reserves. One fugitive remains at large who's now additionally also being looked for by a police chopper, equipped with infrared/geo-thermal mapping devices & highly sensitive sonar-amplifiers. No personnel have so far been injured in the manhunt.

Under frightening conditions, Mohammed was interrogated for a full two hours. When they covertly acknowledged amongst themselves that they had no hard evidence to nail him, that he was telling the truth and they must have made the arrest in error indeed, they released him half an hour later back into his holding-cell. After that, they called his parents & told them when & where they should pick him up the next morning. Mohammed's father was infuriated and shouted he would take legal actions against the station & the entire force. The officers at the reception desk gave him several attorney numbers to start from. Given the fast unfolding of the incident & the obvious similarity in looks of the suspect & Mohammed, the squad is confident they will be exonerated of their fault and ordered to make an official apology to Mohammed in writing. To protect & serve involves these things and if such mistakes have to happen in the interest of the safety of the rest of the community, then it's a small price to pay.

A week later, after Mohammed calmed down and spent extra time in the mosque – praying to God for additional guidance, he's back surfing the web in the city library. He's been collecting information on how to go about business meetings & giving formal presentations of proposals and has written a chunk of it into his notepad. When he feels he's had enough, he logs out and prepares intensively throughout the evening with his best friend in his room. The morning thereafter, he meets a friendly, middle-aged man at the Job Centre who walks him up to the third floor into his office & interviews him about his business idea. Mohammed gives a heartfelt, spirited spiel of his concept, that captures the consultant's imagination. The consultant smiles & commends Mohammed's social insight and intellectual creativity. Then he explains the motions he would have to go through, within the mechanics of the state system, to successfully give his football foundation a solid footing. After 20 minutes he rounds up and requests Mohammed's ID, which he'll run over the national database, while Mohammed fill out some paperwork. The enthusiastic, now joyful, youth hands out his ID and obediently answers every question comprehensively.

5 minutes later, the consultant, with a disheartened look, returns to his desk with the ID card & a print-out. He tells Mohammed that since he had obtained a criminal record, despite only being issued a few hours previously, he would not be eligible to access state support in the establishment of his business. He explains in detail how convicts & felons are assessed under a different set of rules, by which he would not be able to be provided the help that was explained earlier. Then he apologizes sincerely, being aware of a set of protocols crushing a young man's dreams. Mohammed's face turns pale. He looks blank onto the print-out. Quietly, with a breaking voice, he tells the consultant of how the case is still pending & his dad preparing to sue the police and that the force recognized their wrongdoing & his innocence. The consultant, disappointedly but firmly insists there's nothing he can do & apologizes again. Mohammed bows his head and rubs his eyes. He looks out the window, looks at the consultant, then nods his head. The consultant reaches into a drawer of his desk & selects a business card. On the back, he writes down his personal cell number, gives it to Mohammed & insists that he call him as soon as he can get the case overturned. 'I could give you some assistance, but as it stands now, it's beyond my position.' Mohammed nods again & braves a smirk. They get up & walk to the door. They shake hands, the consultant pats him on the shoulder & urges him to remain hopeful because he's a bright, young man. 'Hang in there, buddy!'

Mohammed walks out the door. What he experienced in daunting feelings, of the future becoming more severe every month, combined, just about add up to his state of shock right now. This one takes the cake! He leaves the building & starts his 30-minute walk back to the ghetto he calls home.

Chen. 28, part-time, Taiwanese undergraduate majoring in Nano Technology & working full-time in his mom & dad's food outlet in Los Angeles. He's the oldest of his 4 siblings, all of whom are girls. This had him become a stronger, protective person. The under-dad of the family. Chen works weekdays in the family business & 20 hours on weekends in a pizzeria as a delivery cyclist. The money he earns in tips, his parents have encouraged him to put into a non-chequeing savings account. So far, he's accumulated $8000.

Not speaking American English well, he's struggled getting through society in the beginning, 8 years ago. Native English speakers have very little tolerance for people who can't speak their language even though most non-English speakers are at least bilingual. Ironically, the majority of native English speakers do not even remotely understand a foreign language. The fact that the English language is spoken by only 10% of the world's population, nonetheless being internationally employed as the global language, gives the overwhelming masses of native English-speakers a surreal hegemony, they however still feel is as relevant as ever. This is part of the origins of the 'White Supremacy' radicalization a significant number of Caucasians fall victim to, in varying degrees. Chen found that out by himself while studying at nights. He empowers himself with as much information as possible and also stores everything because he knows the days of the Internet providing a bulk of uncompromized truths, data & information are numbered. One day, the government will control the Internet. It's only a matter of time.

Being mocked, taunted & openly laughed at was an ordinary occurrence. It taught him to seek closer ties with the Asian & Chinese community, and the African-American community, whose suburb he lives in. It hasn't always been smooth, but for what it's worth, he's been accepted for who he is, and that to him is all that matters. Over the past 5 years, he's noticed a change in social dynamics. The Generation Y now becoming young adults, boldly seeking to make their imprint in society and striving for better welfare has changed the society, that influences a growing part of the world. To a lesser extent do people openly profess their racism or xenophobia as freely as before. Now, even the least-linguistically adept, often cloak their violent bigotry with the most simplistic of diplomacies. It's like we have a new police in town & these Hot Shots are fresh out the academy. Chen struggled with both the new language & different system, in the first year of university. Those fancy, calculator-like, digital translators he wished for every day back then. Now, he's been using a decent one for the last 2 years. His girlfriend gave it to him on his birthday - she bought it at a reduced discount rate, her floor-staff colleagues and her were entitled to, during the price crash promotion in the stationary retail chain she works at.

How they met must have been fate: It was on a bus, she entered & sat near him while he was miserable with the trials of his everyday yet somehow she caught his eye. It was love at first sight because the moment he looked at her, she blew him away. She's mixed-race – half Somali, half Chinese... he had never seen anyone like her! A couple of years younger, but that was about all his brain processed about her age. The rest of it just went gaga & joined him in thinking, 'WO-OOW!' Like many beautiful girls do, she challenged his stare, initially. Be it to not feel cheap, or violated, or to front, ...whichever the case may be. He's shy so breaking the ice, publicly, he knew wouldn't be easy. But he had to get her, he wouldn't let her get away. So, until she got off the bus, he master-planned his pick-up lines mentally, over & over again and drilled his motivation ready to engage. She got off, he followed her, in ways that could be termed 'stalking' and met up. She looked at him pissed off, like what the hell is this guy doing, but he just stood there in a dorky posture in front of her and stammered a few opening sentences, introducing himself. She could tell he was being sincere but scared, and thought he was kinda cute so did most of the legwork for him. She was in a hurry, asked for his phone & stored her number in it. 'WAY TO GO, CHEN!', he remembers thinking as he watched her leave.

They met for a date for a date the following weekend and the rest just took off from there. Her name is Lian & was born in New York but her family moved to Detroit a couple of years later, before residing in L.A. when she was 16. He gives her a sense of stability, she keeps him together. They're kindred spirits with notable differences. The world they live in is fast-paced. Their world is based on a challenge. They grew up quick to attain the maturity that enables them today. They're older than most of their age-mates, mentally but are not really into mingling with their seniors, whose conservativeness often feels off. It's hard to fit. They match. That harmony is needed between Taiwan & China. If only China & Taiwan could get along.

Biodun got kicked out of his apartment. He has a couple of days to pack up & leave. He's got about 200 Pounds Sterling and no where to go. He's already living in the poorest part of town, but cannot think of another alternative. There is one, maybe two areas but they're not as centrally located to the city. Being like a poor slave is one thing, but he will not take away the luxury of walking home in 20 minutes or being able to access anywhere in town on foot. He's gonna need that much if he's to still feel a bit human. He's got back to the 'friends' who mistreated him. They exploited him because of his poverty because they could. And they're all African, like him. So, he makes up with the chief-oppressor of the pack, LAMI, and smoozes his way back into his heart. Everybody loves you when you're weak because you pose no threat and make them feel good because you're lower them,socio-economically. Once you become powerful, you're enemy number one. Lami, agreed to accept Biodun back into the shared house he was not an original tenant of himself, under the condition that he would take indignation & humility as his main attributes during his stay.

Lami was inferior to Biodun because of Biodun's complex background:An African born & raised back home, who never learnt his native tongues despite his parents hailing from different parts of the continent and having been schooled from nursery to junior secondary level in a German private school, only to pursue his higher education in England. In the country Lami comes from, it is a norm to feel essentially threatened when a person has more emotional security than you, a stronger emotional composition. Basically, a more fulfilled life deep inside, not materialistically. In the country Lami comes from, the vast majority of people are not enlightened: They may be educated, employed & enjoy many luxuries, but have never lived a second in their lives, because to them, sustaining their extremely narrow-mind set, in which everything revolves around their them, is the traditional way of successfully living. The word 'exposed' wouldn't want to be associated with them because it would just feel retarded! It is therefore acceptable for Lami, as a person, to overly feel inferior to Biodun, even though Lami hails from a wealthy family in his country of origin, that he often talked about. He used to tell Biodun how much money his family had, be it his parents, grandmother or other family members, and how easily they used to access the best society had to offer. But whenever Biodun used to try and keep up, and talk about his background – namely, a boy from a working class family in a rich school, Lami would just become irritated and feel threatened.

Biodun already got so messed about from living in the UK that he didn't mind anymore if he had to lose out a bit: He no longer cared about the pettiness of a superficial lifestyle – he just wanted a roof over his head. So he moved in, into the basement of an old, crickety house because there was no spare room available, Lami moved into the last one. The basement was a dark, humid place with pipe fittings, old bricks, coal-covered walls & more cobwebs than a spider lair. Huge boxes, rats & creepy crawlies he didn't want to bother being introduced to, filled half of the space. There was enough dust in there to kill a miner off respiratory disease and combined, could make the sand on a beach sneeze. And so Biodun hustled during the day and returned at night. Going to bed after they'd all watch TV, being passively stoned from their Marijuana smoking. The basement was only about 3 feet high so he always had to hunch into it then crawl onto the mattress laid out for him, tuck under his duvet, look at the large, portable heater heating up the cold room lastly, then fall asleep – hoping God would keep him safe from whatever dangers he occupied the place with.

The time is now fours years down the calendar. Biodun's opened-up chest from the autopsy has given the information needed. His lungs contain an accumulation of asbestos fibres/residue, the material commonly used in old piping. Given that the coroner was told that he had spent a few weeks in the basement of an old house, it adds up. Some of the fibres were also found beneath the membrane covering his heart. What stood out the most was just the large amount of thick dust & a black powdery substance, almost like powdered tar, built up over large parts of his lungs and in some major arteries. What his cause of death is, is now conclusive: Biodun died of a fatal combination of asbestos fibres tearing the lung cavity in addition to acute environmental poisoning that obliterated lung tissue and corroded major arteries. His heart could not deal with the surplus in blood, crucial to alleviate the ailing organs and was already dealing with a weakened output, due to the foreign particles within itself causing permanent injuries.

Biodun always had a strong mindframe. He went through the Hell of chronic British racism against Black Africans, from the day he started university to several years down the line, all by himself, without ever having any family to turn to. To withstand that insane madness, he had to brick-steel-wall his demeanor to pursue his targets. That would often place large strain & aggravation to his human heart. Regularly, he managed to overcome great problems and social barriers, by himself, but his heart would never tell him of how much it would have suffered. The human body is not designed to be a robot. After a certain build-up of high-pressure over a period of time, it packs up. When Biodun finally returned back home to his West African country, back to his working-class family, who had supported him all his life and he so loved, the riot was over. The pressure that was exerted on his heart to achieve high performances, in the end carried his own heart – it had become so weakened. When he hugged them at the airport – he slumped and died.

His 'friends' were never sued.

Britain is a scenic country with a very endearing culture & heart-warming people. In Britain, racism towards Black Africans is covert. Therefore, my apathy towards the country's numerous racists is evident, likewise. Since I did not mention specific names of institutions & places or blatantly identify people of focus, the finger can also not be directly pointed at it. Very British!

Despite having 3 more outfits to wear, Lauren still can't believe her luck. Last week, audition. Today, runway. It truly feels like a dream come true. This is it. She's finally here. Now. She's gonna milk it for everything it's worth. Every available opportunity that comes up, she will sign up for. Whatever the conditions! Anything this good can only house better or similar chances. Having fought the rough times she's been through, this modelling world really seems like a walk in the park. Everything, she's seen before. The nagging, the back-biting, the jealous looks, the evils, the condescendence. She doesn't like the pain she's experienced, but it's almost like she's glad to have had it. She really is a titan in this game. And this world is about to become her arena. 10 minutes up, she lines up in the queue backstage, around the corner to the runway. She pulls up the top of her corset to cover her boobs a little more. Check. Let's do this! After 5 girls walk on out, she moves beside one of the organizers and takes a deep breath, mentally locking in. He holds the left speaker of his headphone then puts his hand up to her shoulder & whispers, 'Aa-and GO!'

She steps to the stage & runs off. Bright lights. The glitz and glamour. Smooth music. The expressionless look she sports to get through life is paying off: She almost feels like she's not trying to not smile at all. A huge, long runway and a ton of seated guests all around, gazing her every move, scrutinizing every inch of her you're-probably-not-gonna-wear-this-to-work outfit. She loves it. Maybe her inner narcissist is coming out, but no one ever gave her any meaningful acknowledgement, not even a brief notice, so this must be nature's way of making up for it. Lauren struts and man, does she show them what she's working with. She moves confidently and sways her hips side to side, as smooth as a feather lightly blown by the wind. She's moving fast but it feels like she's in slow-motion. It's pure surreality. A girl from the bottom, who everyone always taunted, is now the commandment of the attention of the cream of society. Fall back! As the night draws to a close, all the models walk together down the runway and show the guests the entire collection, one more time. Then the designer, a senior woman, walks out, holding the hand of none other than, that's right, Lauren! The crowd cheers and gives a standing ovation. Lauren tries not to get emotional 'cause it feels a little too much for her. The couple walk smiling passed the people, relishing the thunderous applause. Lauren looks at the guests and recognizes a few A-list celebrities cheering on. If this is her entry into the mainstream, it's one she'll never forget.

On her way home, she hails a taxi but the ones that drive by are taken. She'll have to wait for 20 minutes to get to the next bus, but can't be bothered to freeze that long in the cold. After a few minutes of pondering on the next move, she decides to walk 10-15 minutes and try her luck again. Her phone rings. 'Gabriella Cortiz' displays on the screen. She picks the call. Her agent tells her she just got word in that one of the celebrities from the guest list is launching a new clothing line of chic haute couture for ladies. The launch-party is a star-studded event in the desert-oasis of Dubai and she's been included in the early casting. 'You made the list, Lauren!' Lauren screams & jumps around like she's just lost her mind. She's euphoric & dances on the pavement, not caring about other pedestrians staring. She goes back on the phone & thanks her agent loads. Gabriella gives her the details of the first meeting with the clients. 'You'll need to bring your passport, work ethic & kick-ass attitude along. Don't be late!' 'Right. 10am sharp. Got it! I'll be there 6!' Her agent laughs, 'That's the spirit I'm talking about, my dear. Represent and we'll stack this paper together. Get a good rest. Adios, chica.' Lauren chuckles, 'Bieno, buenos noches, signora.'

The next day, she arrives at the 5-star hotel at 8am & waits in the foyer until the meeting commences. On her phone, she checks her Facebook, posts a few Tweets, then listens to her iPod the rest of the time. Looking at the life of the business taking place, she can't help but to wonder, 'One day, I will be here! And then, it'll be me walking around VIP, with porters carrying my Louis Vouitton travel bags!' She shakes her head and smiles for a minute then goes back to her world of great mixes of even better music.

3pm that afternoon. The clients just rounded up the discussions and the meeting went fab. She's among 40 girls who'll be showcasing Uh-huh debut summer line. Wealthy arab oil princes, top athletes, a few star-directors, business moguls and high-ranking government officials all grace the exclusive event. Much like Lauren, the girls can't believe their fortune – they're all grateful to have come this far. They, Lauren included, decide to help each other out emotionally, to support themselves through the nervousness & the 'star-struck' affliction.

Fast forward 8 days and the international fashion just took place. It was a raging success. The critics loved it, the guests were wowed, the designers secured several juicy retail contracts, the agency got paid, the girls are buzzing & Lauren is over the moon. She's had an informal encounter backstage with a world-famous photographer who's eager to work with her on a photo-shoot for a client in the luxury real-estate business. From then on, she books her calendar pretty much out. Singapore, Paris, Milan, Rome, Athens, Shanghai, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Doha, Canberra, Cape Town, Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Miami & Moscow all fill her schedule, making her agency VERY happy. In a few months, she makes an impact on the emerging-starlet scene. Below the radar, she's one of the industry's best-kept secrets. As she ticks off in her to-do list, new shows spring up. And she just keeps cashing in. Is she rich? No, but she's not poor either. She's entered a new rat-race and even if she doesn't progress any further, she's happy being where she is because she finally feels like she's started what she's supposed to be doing. For the first time in her working career, she feels an overall sense of belonging. And boy, does it feel good to fit in.

Frankfurt. Lauren just wrapped up a high priority photo-shoot for a corporate supplier of stationary & office equipment. She and a couple of other girls had a blast playing 'boss' and 'chief execs' in an entire floor of a downtown skyscraper belonging to a Russian billionaire. Gabriella just got told, that the client will book the entire team again for subsequent shoots for their online/catalogue promotions in the coming months. The team is excited, the girls high-five each other. Before returning to their hotel, they choose to paint the town red a little bit and let their hair down. They take a taxi to the city centre then proceed their intention of a few, innocent drinks. A small lounge with saucy red-neon colors looks cozy. Standing by the entrance is a bald, 6ft5, 250 lbs suited/booted 40-something year old, observing them approaching. He opens the door and welcomes them in. They giggle as they unashamedly undress him with their eyes.

The place is busy , upwardly-mobile professionals occupy en-masse. Three different guys glance as the girls sit around a central table, but they're really noticing Lauren. A waitress comes by and asks what they'd like to order, indifferently. The tone of her voice is one Lauren instantly indentifies with because it's one she'd put on, over ther years. Not giving a damn really has its way of revealing itself. Lauren laughs to herself as she takes off her scarf, while her colleagues organize the drinks. When they've made their wish, they look at Lauren, and the waitress turns to her, too. Lauren modestly makes eye-contact with her, then reaches into her purse and pulls out a brand-new 100 Euro note. She requests Sex On The Beach and holds up the bill, then sticks it in her shirt pocket. 'I'm a waitress, hunny. I used to love the job just as much as you do. Never give up on your dreams!', she says. The slightly-younger waitress looks at her in awe as the colleagues start laughing aloud. One of them says, 'Ah, might as well. We're leaving tomorrow anyway.', and reaches into her jean pocket, pulls a Hundred note, stretches her arm out towards her boob & also sticks it into her shirt pocket. 'Haha! How come I never got such cool customers in college?', another model asks, who reciprocates the gesture with a broad smile on her face. 'Because you dropped out and didn't get to serve at graduation.', the fourth model of the quartet interjects, as she separates her Fifty notes from the Hundreds. They all break out in laughter. The waitress takes the Hundred note given to her and just looks at the ladies for a while, partly confused. She then turns around and slowly walks away. Lauren hollers, 'The sooner you get the drinks, the bigger your tip will be!' The girls chat away.

'Well, I may have never served at graduation but dropping out was the best thing that happened to me.' 'Say it, girl!' High-fives. 'Yup! You know what my mom said? She was like, “I cannot believe you're throwing your life down the drain!” Now she's like, “I'm still waiting for that Caribbean photo-shoot. When are you gonna send me the pictures?”' Laughter. 'Oooh, your's isn't even that bad. My old ma'am just went, “I don't want to house you if you're going to be a prostitute!” Every time I come around to visit? I see all my discount coupons lined up. Everything, vouchers - all spread out on her bedside drawer.' More laughter. She continues, 'Macy's... Tiffany's. I thought she used to throw them in the trash! Mango... !' They all laugh out loud. Lauren goes, 'At least I know what to expect. My parents told me I'm the shame of the family and because I was waitressing for 3 years, they were assured that I had fucked up. Ever since my audition, I've been sending them emails telling how it's going – they haven't replied, ever!' 'Mmh, that's when they're switchin' reality!' Chuckling. 'Aw-huh, they ain't out of that shock phase yet.' 'Man , it took my dad 8 weeks to believe I wasn't in the adult industry!' Roaring laughter. 'Now and again when I visit, he still gives me occasional sly looks.' Chuckling. 'Hey, he's just looking out for his little girl. He doesn't want his buddies jacking off to your lil' nana!' Laughter. 'Yeah, I think I heard him speaking of less Poker nights, lately.' Chuckles. 'Mm-mmm, speaking of Tacos, those...' Roaring laughter. 'Haha, I'm serious! You see those 2 cuties over there? Are they hot or what?' Lauren looks over, 'Not my type.' The other two girls have a look. One of them goes, 'If them buns come with that ass standard, I'm taking me some chubby-lovin' back to the ho-tel!' Snickering. The other girl adds, 'Wooh! Mr Lanky is hot!' 'I think he's at least 6 inches.' 'Seven.' 'Hu-uh, it better be at least 8 when I ride it!' Laughter.

The waitress returns with a smug grin, albeit not quite over her confusion yet. On handing out the drinks, Lauren asks, 'Spent the money yet?' The waitress replies chuckling, 'I bought a couple of bottles for the night.' 'That's my girl!', Lauren replies, high-fiving her. One of the models holds her glass up and says, 'Make sure you get a bottle with a long neck because it has its uses once it's empty.', twinking her eye at her. The waitress laughs as she turns and leaves. Lauren peeps at the two guys again. 'Listen, “Mr Lanky” is probably gay or a playa.' 'Why do you say that, Lauren?' 'Because he's attractive!' Laughter. 'OK, I'm going in.', a model says, as she pats her hair. 'Watch my swag!' They erupt in laughter again while she walks off. 'Shake those hips, girl!' 'Strut your stuff!' 'A few days since the last show and she's still walking like a model.', Lauren jokes, 'That's commitment.' Her homegirls crack up. 'My girl's probably paranoid there are talent scouts everywhere, ever since she made her audition that got her 'til here.' Laughter. 'Paranoid? Nah, homegirl I bet is self-obsessed like what. She'd wear make-up & get her hair done, just to take the trash out. But hey, I can vouch for that!' Laughter. 'Same here!' 'You know that includes me!' The Lauren says, 'Aw, you're only so biting my style.' Roaring laughter. A couple of minutes go by until the fourth model returns with the two, now blushing, guys. Their faces are blood-red & they're so excited, they're almost drooling on themselves. The girls try not to laugh out loud, despite looking at each other & knowing what they're thinking. They greet each other & introduce themselves. Lauren excuses herself to the restroom, letting the girls watch over her handbag.

Once in the Ladies' Room, she washes her hands & restyles her hair a bit, in the mirror. Suddenly, an explosions bangs and the building is jolted by the blast. She loses her calm but doesn't panic. Immediately she checks if she's OK from head to toe. She is. She then runs out but sees a huge fire cloud right in the middle of the lounge. It's spread to the bar and seems to come from the ceiling. 'This house must be caving in.' The path straight to her friends is blocked by piled up furniture & blast debris. However, the side-door of the bar is open-wide and leads directly to the large window. She could shatter it, once there. She makes a run for it.

A pandemonium ensues throughout the place. Some are hurt and bloodied but no one seems to be worse off. 'Thank God!', she thinks. She jumps over a bunch of crate stacked on top of each other from the blast, then moves to sprint on. Instantaneously, a static figure shows up from the corner of her eye. She stops a second and looks to the floor below the bar's wall-cupboard. She recognizes the face, though she is now afraid: It's the waitress! She goes over, falls to her knees, holds a hand & lifts up her face. 'Hey! Kid, can you hear me?' The groggy waitress is semi-conscious and glimpses at Lauren. 'Mm-mmmh,... where, what happened?' Lauren's elated. 'Erm, word has it you took an order of Filet Mignon & Flaming Hooker... and it was your first time!' 'Damn', the waitress smiles, 'Should have never downed those bottles.' Lauren examines her body. 'Um, I'm actually straight but for you I'll make an exception!', the waitress says. Lauren crack up, surprised she's actually calming down under the pressure. 'Really? I could have sworn we made a connection.' 'That's probably the Flaming Hooker in you.' Both grin at each other. 'Right, from here to your hips, you're fine... does this hurt?' 'AAAAH!', the waitress screams in writhing pain. 'OK, … good answer.' 'Are you sure you know what you're doing?' Lauren holds the injured thigh and asks, 'I think so... this is your ankle, right?', then takes off her top & twists it around itself, in front of herself.

The waitress looks at Lauren in her bra. [Coughing] 'If I were a Lesbian, I would so do you.' 'What makes you think you're not going to?', wryly replies Lauren. 'Because there's a hickie on your neck.' Lauren chuckles & places the spinned top gently below the injured thigh. 'I'm here on business & last night we picked some guys up & got a little crazy.' The waitress smiles. 'But don't act all innocent with me. Is that your iPhone over there?' The waitress peeks over. 'Someone's definitely sprung.' The waitress looks away. 'Ex,... still fucking... I dunno what we're doing.' She watches as Lauren wraps the top around her thigh. The place is gradually becoming an inferno and the temperature is rising. In some parts, the roof is caving in further into the lounge. 'Guys are like bargains.', Lauren says tying the final knot. 'There's always something better out there!' The waitress just looks at Lauren. 'Listen, I don't know why you're being so nice to me but I wanna thank you for all you've done.' Lauren looks at her. 'You're welcome. But thank me later because I will take you up on that Flaming Hooker!' She strokes back the waitress' hair, 'What's your name, babe?' 'Anoushka.' Lauren smiles. 'OK Anoushka, in modern-human spirit, everybody has left us here to fend for ourselves. This place looks like it's pretty much coming down and the firemen haven't arrived yet. Let's, go!'

She puts Anoushka's arms around her and lifts her up. A set of burning ceiling tiles suddenly drop at the end of the bar counter, in front of them, blocking their way out. 'Don't panic!', Lauren tells Anoushka as she puts her back to the floor. She gets up, looks around, opens a few lockers below the bar, then cusses out loud, 'DAMN!' Anoushka lifts her voice, 'If you're looking for something to put out the fire with, there's an old fire blanket above this cupboard here.' Lauren steps to it & reaches up but can't get to it. She looks by the side door, then stops trying. She quickly fetches a pair of the stacked-up beer crates & piles them on top of each other, at the base of the cupboard. They're not very secure, and wobbly. 'Damn it!', she thinks, 'In & out. Let's go!' She firmly places her first step along the edge and powers herself up with both arms stretched out. Finally she reaches behind the top edge and pats along the upper surface frantically. A package, lean like an old laptop, is felt under her right hand. She desperately grabs it, turns around & jumps down, off the crates. Anoushka coughs profusely. 'Hold on, we're gonna get out of here. Just sit tight!', Lauren exclaims. Anoushka nods her head but keeps on coughing. The room is turning into a blazing furnace. The flames have risen several feet high and the CO2 is choking the oxygen out of the atmosphere. Breathing is getting more and more difficult & Lauren knows this, but still she continues to tell herself that they must make it out alive. And so, she changes her breathing rhythm to one deep breath to 3 short ones then e-x-h-a-l-e.

As she rips the box open, she realizes the blanket is so old, it's begun to dissolve powdered crumbs along the edges. 'This stuff must have been made before I was born.', she thinks. 'Whatever!', she snaps out as she hastily grabs the entire cloth out and unfolds it. Every second, she is conscious, counts now. The fire blocking the path to the window, burns violently in full wrath. She runs to it in a few steps, then throws out the fire blanket over the fire, holding it at the corners. A splash of liquor where she stands, causes her to slip & edge he forearm into the flames momentarily. The scornful, blistering fire shows no mercy & meltingly tears off a chunk of flesh from her lower forearm, near her elbow. Lauren gives out a single, incisive scream and throws herself flat out backwards to the floor. Anoushka yells out to her, beginning to cry, fearing the worst. With her eyes squeezed tightly & grinning her teeth, Lauren doesn't even bother to look: She knows it's a bleeder. She thinks amidst the cringing pain, 'You've come this far, you've got a choice: Stay, and die here or continue,... and survive!' The words echo in her mind a short time, 'You've got a choice' 'You've got a choice' '...stay – or continue...' Her eyes open, tears pouring out. 'Come on, you bimbo!', her mind orders her. 'Every wound can be healed. GET UP!' And she tumbles until she leans on her forehead& knees, then gets up. Anoushka's crying becomes audible again, she's holding onto her injured thigh, wailing continuously. Lauren staggers over to her, then kneels beside her and asks, beaten down, 'Did you miss me?', looking at the flames ahead. 'Magic carpet actually worked!', she observes. 'GET US OUTTA HERE!', Anoushka yells in her face. Lauren puts her arms underneath Anoushka's thighs and around her back, once more. 'You got it!'

Meanwhile, 3 firemen from the outside run towards the panoramic window, swing their axes and break into the glass. Lauren struggles with the strain on her wound but continues marching on, step after step. 'Keep going... you can do it!', her mind rallies her. Both girls are streaming tears down their faces, but Anoushka's still crying while Lauren re-instates her demeanor. Half way across the blanket. The firemen have now broken through enough glass to climb through the hole in the window and get the girls out. Irratically-blazing flame-tips are being whipped all over the the girls' bodies but they soldier on. A fireman is in. They're past the flames! He rushes to them and grabs Anoushka off Lauren's arms. He turns and hurries back to the broken window. Once they start getting Anoushka through it, Lauren, several steps behind, blacks out & collapses. The firemen outside look through and yell, pointing inside with panic. The fireman inside leaps to Lauren, lifts her up in one swoop and gets her out the fire-storm. She's still conscious but has a weak blood pressure. 2 gurnies are rolled over straight away and the firemen place them onto it. An oxygen mask is fit around Lauren's lower face & both girls are carried into the same ambulance. The models have been watching the rescue from behind the police line and haven't stopped fretting for Lauren. When they see both the waitress and Lauren stretchered into the ambulance, they dump their one-night stands, run to the EMT and insist on going along. Two of the girls ride shotgun, while the other, carrying Lauren's handbag, jumps into the back cabin with a medic. They rush off for 12 minutes through the city, weaving in & out of traffic with the driving-dexterity normally associated with race cars.

In that period, Lauren got her wound looked after: The light grey powder was removed from the burnt flesh & the wound was disinfected, cleaned, temporarily stitched & dressed. Anoushka got the piercing underneath her thigh taken care of. The medic looks at the ladies' top strung around it. She then glances at Lauren being in her bra and puts 2 and 2 together. Dressing the wound, she says, 'This bleeding is from a major artery.' She looks at Anoushka. 'Your friend saved your life!' Anoushka looks at the medic but is too shaken to reply anything. In her thoughts she says, 'I know!' When they get to the hospital, Lauren's vitals get weaker. The medics rush her on the gurney through the corridor inside, the doctors on standby outside the main entrance transport Anoushka off the ambulance and into an operating theatre. All three models run after them then stay in the waiting room. It takes 20 minutes before they get the first report. A young doctor comes out of the operating theatre and tells them Anoushka will be fine. They are relieved and hold each other's hands & pray for the best.

Time goes by. 5 minutes. 8 minutes. 13,... it seems to be crawling. That fire must have charred their time in there as well, 'cause it doesn't feel like it's going as fast as it usually does. When you meet a person and you get to know each other – you click, you connect, you have fun and times flies. When you risk losing a person, it doesn't matter how much you hope & pray, time just takes its time. 21 minutes go by. 24. In the 27th minute, a firewoman checks into the waiting room and tells the girls that cause of the explosion was a leaky pipe at the mouth of a gas tank that got incinerated near the central heating boiler. The blast was contained by the internal walls separating the utility chamber towards the back from the rest of the lounge. 'The whole building could have come down. You're lucky to be alive. Have yourselves checked out and get some rest soon.' The firewoman wishes them well then leaves.

34 minutes since the first news. 37. Finally, at the 40th minute, a doctor comes in and approaches the girls. They've all been crying and their cheeks glitter semi-dried tear-streams. They get up and meet him. The senior, in his 60s, with a painful look on his face, looks at the girls and says, 'Your friend is a fighter! She suffered a deep 2nd degree burn to her lower forearm. It resulted in a substantial amount of blood loss. There were significant traces of a powdery material rubbed into the wound. We discovered it had entered a main artery in her arm, which directly caused blood-poisoning. She inhaled lots of smoke, which greatly burdened her heart. She fought to stay alive, vehemently. However, her heart could not bear the additional pressure from the blood-poisoning. She slipped into a septic shock and never made it out. She died 2 minutes ago. But she fought to the death!' He pats the models by the shoulder, 'I'm sorry for your loss.' As he leaves, the models almost simultaneously start crying. They hold each other and sit back down. They don't know what to do, what to say, where to go. They. Are. Distraught.

10 minutes later, they gather the strength to walk and go be with the waitress, Anoushka. Halfway down the path, Lauren's phone rings. Her handbag is still around the shoulder of the girl she left it with & the model forgot all about it. She grabs the BlackBerry out & shows the two other girls the screen. They huddle around it, shaken to be accessing Lauren's phone under such circumstances. The girl holding the phone touches the screen and opens the SMS from sender 'Mom & Dad'. They try not to cry as they go through it. It reads, “We've realized our mistake in never believing in you enough. Forgive our old-fashioned views. We can't wait for your first visit home. Love Mom & Dad xoxo”

It's 1pm. Mohammed's at a park not far from his suburb. Eating a small portion of Chicken & Chips from a nearby chip shop. At the top of the slide he sits, eating slowly, thinking about a thousand different things, thinking about nothing. Looking at the graffiti on the park walls, he admires each expression gratefully, though he's seen them a million times. Grateful that he can enjoy each piece of artistic brilliance, for free. Yet how such genius will not be applied to the mainstream of the system of the world's so called most developed countries, he cannot understand. His intelligence is far too high for such stupidity.

He ponders, 'I'm sure graffiti artists don't mind giving their art to the ghettos for free, but what's innovative about a labour market if it leaves real talent out in the cold and instead promotes absurdity: A handful of mostly white, male “painters” who draw a line across a canvas, point a gun to themselves and then have their insanity hailed by all the critics as avantgarde, modern art?' He shakes his head, grabs a few chips & takes another bite at the drumstick. He looks at another graffiti-covered wall, then glances at them all, around the park. 'And what does the government say? That they're vandalizing public property which costs a lot to clean up. Well, maybe if they provided jobs/opportunities in the first place, there wouldn't be so many ticked off youths, who feel ignored, neglected & make themselves noticed only by messing other people's stuff up!' He sips from his soda can. 'Let me be fair, a few millions is a lot of money for a few Euros in art supply.' Then he screams out, 'BUT NOT AS MUCH AS SOCIO-ECONOMICALLY EXCLUDING US FROM OUR OWN COUNTRY!'

He looks around the park, it's empty. Going back to his thoughts, 'But wait, I forgot, our skin is darker and our roots, which they say is the main indicator of heritage, do not come from here. Not that their's do either, but apparently that's irrelevant.' He speaks out while munching on a few more chips, 'I wonder,... Romanis,... or Gypsies as they're racially called, have been in France since the 15th century. The FIFTEENTH bloody century... and they're still not French!' Grabs some more chips & munches with his mouth half open. 'Over 600 years here and we still can't give the brethrens nationality!' He takes another sip. 'They're apparently claimed to be from Northern India instead of Eurasia, … maybe because that makes it easier to expel them off their bloody land in the first place!'

Looks at the old see-saw next to him, in the centrally located playground of the park. 'This is probably from 1970, and they expect our kids to play with it!' Takes some more bites off the drumstick. Says, 'You know,... why is it then, that Dutch people, … who visited South Africa for trade in the 17th century,... *BURP*... ended up staying,... I'm sure without visas,... and then settled down, hijacked it 'til the late 20th century, put the native inhabitants of their own bloody country under apartheid, that the West at that time supported,... never got expelled like the Romanis and are now universally accepted and recognized as white South Africans? Imagine what would have happened if the Romanis did the same here!' Continues chewing, begins to bop his head slightly as he cheers up. 'I guess when you're white, anything goes!' He pulls his nose & spits to the side. 'Anything goes,..', he says as he picks the last few chips left and puts them in his mouth.

Now speaking quieter, 'That's why they call us Arabs, even though we're Persians, but do they care?' Swallows. 'We're all Sand Negroes to them!' Wonders, 'I've never ever even been to Iran. All I know is my home-country. But I'm both!' Shaking his head he says, 'So how the hoot can they treat me like a bloody pig in my home?' Downs the last sip of soda and crushes the walls of the can with both hands. Holds it in front of himself and goes, 'If this can is racism, institutional racism and imperialism – this is what I think of it!' He places the can horizontally between his palms and squeezes it together. Then looks at it from different angles. Throws it to the ground, while saying, 'Allahu Akbar!' Mohammed stays silent for a while and just focuses on nothing, on everything. Afterwards, he find his resolve, 'I can't stop them from being racial to me & negating my life, but I can prevent it from happening to others like me. Someone has to do something. Someone has to take a stand. This tyranny must stop!' He slides down and chucks the drumsticks-bones in the small lunch-box and into the bin by the entrance gates.

Walking down the street, he feels a stronger sense of empowerment and less of a feeling of helplessness: 'I can if I want to. I only have to put my mind to it.' 5 minutes later, he's almost home. Turning into the cul-de-sac he lives in, three figures in front of the house on the corner across the road, catch his eye. He recognizes two them – they're the same undercover cops that once searched him, at the start of the year. Looking at the third figure, he becomes appalled, thinking, 'What the... that's 10 year old kid!' Mohammed hesitates for a moment, then runs towards him. 'WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, HUH? WHAT IS WRONG INSIDE YOUR HEADS?' The men look surprised at the angry approaching teen. Mohammed steps onto the pavement and waves his arms violently, yelling despite being terribly terrified. There's no doubt he's shivering but they won't see it from his tracksuit.

One of the men places his hand on his gun below his sweater & warns Mohammed with his other hand held out, 'Young man, this police business. You better calm down before you do something stupid & get yourself in trouble!' Mentally, the adolescent reneges already,... but a small voice tells him, 'GO, you Idiot! That's what they want you to do!' Pushing himself, he shouts, 'YOU ARE CRAZY FOR SAYING THIS TO ME! YOU THINK I'M A FOOL? THE ONLY ONES IN TROUBLE HERE ARE YOU BECAUSE THIS IS HARRASSMENT!' The other cop shields the subject from Mohammed & places him against the mini-brickwall surrounding the tiny garden of the adjacent property. 'Sir, this is my last warning! I don't want to have to arrest you for public disorder! Now, BACK OFF!' Meanwhile, a woman in hijab looks out the window of the house behind the tiny garden. Holding the lightly transparent, white curtains cautiously, her face bears an obvious shock of the sporadic commotion. 'PUBLIC DISORDER MY FOOT! I WILL TAKE OFF MY SHOE & SHOW YOU WHAT I THINK OF YOUR WARNING! STOP HARASSING US IN OUR HOME! GET OUT OF HERE & TAKE YOUR GUNS WITH YOU! WE ARE A PEACEFUL PEOPLE!', Mohammed shouts furiously in the officer's face. He pushes Mohammed back and raises his voice, tilting his head back towards his partner behind him, who's holding the 10 year old by both shoulders, 'THIS MAN IS MAKING THREATENING REMARKS WITH AGGRESSIVE BODY LANAGUAGE !' He now draws out his gun and holds it with both hands in front of him, diagonally to the ground. The shopkeeper of a kiosk a couple of houses down, steps out & stares puzzled at them. Several doors of the houses around, on both sides of the road, open with a diversity of people coming out.

Students, young professionals , unemployed youths, senior citizens, a dad with his children behind him, a lady in a wheelchair. Put them next to each other and you could follow the colors white to dark brown on a spectrum. The cop with the kid taps his colleague and tells him, 'Stand down, I got this!' In the same motion, he walks to Mohammed, grabs him by the collar & shoves him to the parked car by the kerb. Standing right in front of his face and now raising his voice, he says, 'Now listen up good, boy. The way it stands right now is YOU provoking, verbally assaulting & inter-personally harassing a police officer on duty. We are now legally entitled to take you in and charge you with several counts of gross public disorder for which, if you are convicted, you can serve a prison sentence. I don't know what's gone into you but that boy you think we're searching is a lead witness of a burglary that happened just up the road. He can positively identify all 3 criminals, who broke into a lonely pensioner's house, assaulted her and stole her electronics & mobile phone. We were just about to write down their description when you, drama-queen, decided to theatrically aggravate this largely quiet area. Now, to ensure you're no further threat to the community, I'm gonna have to frisk you as a precautionary measure. Turn around and put your hands on the roof!' Mohammed turns around and in disbelief places his hands on top of the sedan. His eyes begin to tear up. Some residents across the road give him disapproving looks & go back inside. A few giggle & call more of their family members to lo & behold. The rest just stare on, empathizing with the youth. Like seeing how restlessness drives an idle person too far.

The cop finds nothing & turns him around. 'You see all these residents?', he points across the road, prompting Mohammed to take another look, hesitantly. 'They're all disturbed or upset, and it's YOUR fault. You think some of them wouldn't mind seeing you get arrested for causing a scene for no apparent reason? ANSWER ME!' Mohammed nods, tears now flowing down his face. 'Part of being an adult is understanding that you you're not the only one who has problems, my friend. Taking out your anger on others & not assessing a situation before you act on it, is wrong! Now, I want to believe that you're a good boy who made a dumb mistake. I'm going to tell myself that letting you off, is the right thing to do – BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO PROVE, RIGHT?' Mohammed wipes some tears away. He nods again. 'That's exactly what I knew you'd say – because you are GOOD! Now, go home, drink juice & get some rest. You'll feel better afterwards. Get outta here!' Dejected, Mohammed slowly crosses the road amidst some locals whispering to each other & a couple of quiet insults. Getting home, he runs to his room, shuts himself in, drops to the floor & cries.

This day is over.

The next day, it's a familiar scene: Mohammed sits on top of the slide in the middle of the park. His face looks like he's had the life sucked out of him. Eyes are droopy. Been crying most of the evening. What pain! Intuitively, he turns his head left and sees a large black butterfly with yellow stripes/dots on its wings. The black is brilliant & it looks beautiful. It flutters across the playground, stopping at every flower along the outer edge. This it continues, in a rush that doesn't seem pressured. The happiness to live, truly exists in this animal. Mohammed watches it play, dance & celebrate the day without worrying about the next moment. It changes course & lands on Mohammed's knee. With his legs stretched out, he looks at it. The Butterfly slowly moves its wings up & down, not moving from its new landing place. It display its sheer beauty in all its glory, in a private exhibition, just for Mohammed. 10 seconds later, the Butterfly leaves, to the excitement of a new adventure.

Mohammed feels a change in his mood. Can't figure it out. Sort of... dunno. He rubs his eyes then, curiously, a little singing bird lands about 2 feet away from him, on the wooden construction supporting supporting the slide. They look at each other for a few seconds. When you look nature in the eye, you feel a phenomenon. It's completely different from looking humans in the eye. When you look at raw nature in the eye, it puts you back into your place. The actual place you really belong to, not the invented one humans created, in the bastardization of the Earth. The bird breaks eye-contact. Mohammed stays still, careful not to scare the companion away. 'It's like that song', he thinks, 'where two strangers meet but their spirits dance with each other.' The bird looks around then glances up. Another bird, of similar size but different species, lands close to her. Neither the 1st bird nor Mohammed move. For a moment, they look at each other then the birds look away again. 'If only humans could be this way. Where no politics exist.', Mohammed thinks, as he gently smiles, relieved to get nature's therapy. 40 seconds later, the 1st bird leaves, tweeting a soft melody. A minute later, the 2nd bird leaves. 'Thank you!', Mohammed says in his heart. He bows his head, closes his eyes and speaks to God in prayer. The he looks at a wall whose graffiti says 'Indomitable'. His heart fills with resolve again. 'It's not over.', he thinks then quietly says, 'I will not stop living!' He makes his way out of the park and strolls to town, via a detour to the high-end part of the city centre.

10 minutes go by and he sees the first few modern buildings, jewellery shops, upper-end clothiers & stylish restaurants. In his black Nike hoody, dark blue Puma tracksuit bottoms, black Nike Shox & blood-red New York Yankees baseball cap worn backwards, he doesn't feel self-conscious about his appearance or think he's out of place. He's fallen past that and doesn't give a damn anymore. With his hands in his pockets, he walks with a confident swagger, unafraid of his home his society tries to restrict him from. He glances on the road & sees a variety of supercars, lined up in the parking spaces. Lamborghini Aventador. 'I thought that car isn't out until next year!' Maserati GranCabrio Sport. Brabus CLS. Triumph Daytona, in front of a Ducati naked bike. Drophead. Jet-black Novitec Rosso F430 Spyder. M6 convertible. Nissan 370Z and open-roof Evoque Stretch – with a muddy Scott Sparks Limited mountain bike in between. Mohammed stops for a while & admires the vehicles.

At a fancy restaurant right behind him, some guests sitting at their table, outside by the pavement, notice Mohammed & become irritated. A 50-plus woman from the group gets up & talks to the guard at the entrance, discreetly pointing her finger at Mohammed. The guard nods repetitively, then the woman returns to her table. The guard looks through the glass windows of the doors into the restaurant, then leaves them unattended & walks to the pavement, staying a couple of feet away from Mohammed. Standing in front of him, Mohammed has no idea of what is going on behind him. The guard keeps a sharp eye on the youth, with the kind of look that would make you think Mohammed just psychically broadcasted to everyone within a half mile radius that he was gonna jack an expensive car in broad daylight. Mohammed strolls slowly up the high street, occasionally looking into the car windows. The guard takes out his mobile, dials a number & makes a call. After 5 minutes, Mohammed leaves the place. Decides to go through through the city centre to the library and read up about those cars.

At the large central fountains of the renovated market square, two youths about his age, are handing out flyers to passers-by.The majority of them courteously accept the hand-outs but as is in the world, a couple of dickheads reject them rudely, making obnoxious grimaces. Like everyone knows they don't take flyers, who are these youths to denounce the golden rule? The girl, wearing a yellow shirt, with 'STOP THE MASS MASSACRE OF ORDINARY PEOPLE – END WIDESPREAD ASBESTOS USE' printed in bold, large, red letters, locks eyes with Mohammed & smiles, stretching out her hand. Mohammed smiles back and reaches out to take the flyer. Impulsively he thinks, 'White supremacy is evil but how can I be a racist when I'm accepted ?'

'What's this?', he asks. 'It's a petition calling for the international ban of the active use of Asbestos in industrial and domestic products. Asbestos is a mineral that's extracted from mines. It's popular in industrial and commercial use because of its versatility in product creations & high resistance to heat. It's lethal to humans because the fibres that break away from it are easy to be introduced into the body by inhalation and cause a rare malignant cancer, called Mesothelioma. This disease commonly grows in the lung cavity, around the heart & abdomen and gives the bearer up to 2 years left to live after diagnosis, in most cases. It's a time-bomb because it takes decades before it shows the first symptoms.'

Mohammed looks startled. 'Wow!', he says, 'Is there no cure for it? Maybe treatment or something?' 'Little is known about Mesothelioma but more is known about Asbestos. Diagnosing Mesothelioma is tough because its symptoms can fall under different kinds of ailments. Treatment is for the very rich. It's so expensive, most people who have had it, couldn't afford it, so suffered and died. Some choose to go to specialized mesothelioma lawyers to sue the establishment they got afflicted in & use the payout for millions to cover their treatment costs, if they get lucky.'

Mohammed shakes his head, 'Wooow! So, still play politics before they get help?' The girl smiles, 'Exactly, no matter how good your attorney is, once it's in the court, it's anyone's game. It's best to just ban Asbestos altogether! If you look at the back of the flyer you'll see an incomplete list of everyday household items that all contain Asbestos: Duct tape, baby powder, generators, adhesives, clay, paint, rope, pumps, mittens, hair dryers,... even cigarette filters! And dozens more. Everyday people like you & me need to be sensitized about these hidden dangers, that's why we're out here, raising awareness. We're collecting signatures to send a petition to the government to enact tougher laws against Asbestos use. We need 120,000; so far we've got 35,000 and the space to notify them you're the bearer of the next one is riiiiiight here!' Mohammed grins and takes the pen from her stretched out hand, holds the open folder & signs his name on the dotted line. Next, he returns both to her. 'Thank you, my friend. You've just been a superstar!', she says & high-fives Mohammed. They smile at each other as Mohammed carries on his, now surprisingly uplifting, journey.

He folds the flyer into his pocket. 'Unbelievable!', he ponders, 'Baby powder?' His thoughts go to his little sister and her potentially developing Mesothelioma. 'Who's gonna pay for that? The supermarkets? The manufacturers? The government?' As he arrives at & walks into the city library, he exclaims mentally, 'Crazy!'.

Half an hour go by and Mohammed's been reading a lot of information on the Asbestos use worldwide. Once it got too depressing for him, he switched to the exotic sports cars on image directories online. It's early evening now. He logs off and leaves the library. 'I'll check those cars out again on the way home.' He walks through the market square & looks at the spot where the canvassers were, but they've left. 'I'm only interested in her, to be honest.', he goes on thinking. 'She was fit!' Not long after and he's in the uptown part of the high street. The cars are visible already down the road. He gets excited. '700 hp, 0-62 in 2.9 seconds!', he's getting closer. Looks to the snowhite Aventador with all-black rims, ahead. 'That must be an experience!' Meeting up with the cars, the restaurants & bars around got livelier. Even the rich enjoy happy hour. He stands next to the Novitec Rosso F430 Spyder and crouches near the front wheel to look at the headlights.

Seconds later, the guard of the fancy restaurant storms out & apprehends Mohammed. He pins him down then drags him up to his feet . Somehow, Mohammed snaps out of reality for a moment: He cannot believe what just happened. He looks shocked at the security guard, who demands from him, 'Let's see some ID!' Then he snaps back to reality and powerfully pushes the guard back, in one short burst. 'I'M A BLOODY FRENCH, YOU IDIOT!', he screams at him. Some of the guests, at their tables behind them, fret at the sound of the scream. The guard steps back to him, 'I'M WARNING YOU, YOUNG MAN. I have already notified the patrol team and you better comply with me if you want to stay out of trouble!', the guard threateningly points his finger in Mohammed's face and carries on yelling, 'NOW SHOW ME SOME ID!' Mohammed smack the guard's finger out of his face and charges into the guard again, getting more furious. 'I'M FRENCH! I'M FRENCH! I'M FRENCH!', he now begins to stream tears down his face in pure anger. The guard this time resists & grabs Mohammed's arms, attempting to throw him to the ground. Mohammed though is filled with rage, that comes with temporary insanity and begins punching the guard's torso in fast, successive hits, from the neck to the abdomen. They increase in power and sustain painful injuries to the guard, more intense with every blow. The collective guests behind start panicking and move away from their tables, towards the outside windows of the restaurant, but Mohammed unknowingly blocks out everything else happening around him & just hones in on his target. He screams on, 'I WAS BORN AND RAISED HERE, I'M FRENCH! WHY SHOULD I SHOW YOU MY ID, YOU RACIST, BLOODY MORON?YOU CANNOT TAKE MY FRENCH-NESS AWAY FROM ME! I'M FRENCH!' About 30 feet away, 2 armed policemen haste towards the scene and draw their guns out. 15 feet away, they stop and yell, 'FREEZE!' Mohammed meanwhile is crying in his rage & doesn't hear a word as he punches the security guard on the ground, whose face has now turned into a bloody pulp. The men open fire of a round each. Mohammed is hit in the back below the shoulder and around his kidney and is catapulted forwards, to the ground. It's a pain like no other & he's not sure what happened to him but his instincts take over and he gets up sloppily and takes a few steps in an attempt to sprint away from the danger. The policemen step forward and pump a combined 8 bullets into the 19 year old French youth. Mohammed defencelessly imbibes every single shot and gravity with his momentum slam him down to the ground, with no remorse.

What were once two highly-endangered areas on his back have now become his entire body. He's losing his consciousness, but his mind manages to slip some thoughts through, 'Got... get up. Can-can-not... give up!' A gentle soft voice in a mild but bright shining light appears right before his eyes. His body continues to writhe and contract in the indescribable convulsions. Soothingly to his senses, it tells Mohammed, 'It's OK. I am here with you now. Let go.' He lets go.

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” - Timothy, 2:1

France Has A Beautiful Diversity. Fight Racism Against Non-White French Natives !

The clock just struck 3pm. Chen is on campus, in the library. He's been studying hard since 12 noon. He gathers his notes & journals together and exits the building. It's exam time so the buzz of the campus has considerably died down. Pockets of small groups of students still spring up, here & there. Probably of people who are in university for the socializing. Must be such social butterflies, they prioritize the experience above the education. In contrast though, the library has become the meeting place of most. It's always a bit off, seeing people who are known to go like once a month to the library. They've got a sense of fish out the water. When you're in the real world, those consistent, close-knit community events are a lot more sparse & not as open to whatever. University in that respect really does give an unparalleled experience.

Being in both, Chen knows the difference. His kind are few, it really is luck finding & getting along with them. They socialize perhaps once a quarter or less, work a lot of part-time hours, study hard & are usually more responsible juggling life than their fresh-outta-home peers. It's a fluke, because they may hardly meet, be on different campuses, be of different ages and/or not get along. However, university trains for each. It really is a life-changing institution – if the student allows the exposing experience to take place. Chen is fortunate to have the opportunity, he knows it will serve him well for the rest of his life. He's not sure whether he'll get a high-paying job with lots of perks & international travel but he's quietly confident that what he will learn from his course, the relations with lecturers, staff & his uni peers will aid him in his achievement of his own measure of success, which is realizing his dream.

Life in the village of a rural area in Taiwan, where he was born & raised in, has stark differences with life in the USA. L.A. is one big city and his hometown definitely doesn't have as many skyscrapers & massive highways. Where his future will lead him to, he has no idea, but he'd like to keep in touch with his family – and have his girlfriend with him. His phone vibrates. He just approaches a waiting streetcar. He checks his phone – it's a message from her! Must be good karma. He texts back as he boards the vehicle. Deletes & re-composes several times. And then: SEND! Dinner, DVDs & sleepover is arranged for tonight. Chen & his girlfriend, Lian, get closer. They work hard & don't stop saving. Using what they've got to do what they can, they progress towards their dreams, with every single day.

Chen got a lot of work experience in farming, laboring in the construction industry & helping out in a Plastics-manufacturer, growing up in Taiwan. He first started working when he was 16. Back then was on a little farm of an aunty on his mother's side. When he turned 18, he got a job near the capital, mixing cement and carrying out strenuous, manual labor on different construction sites. One & a half years later, he got work experience in the manufacturing sector. Regularly, since he was 8 years old, for several hours every month he would visit the Plastics-producing factory, watch & spend time with the workers by the assembly line. The owner used to employ his dad & took a liking to Chen. A few workers and himself worked in the molding department where the molten plastic gets shaped into cups, buckets and other items for domestic use. Working in the USA somehow felt much easier to him. Taiwan definitely made him strong for the hustle of life. And now with an internationally competitive education, he's privately smirking to himself, within. They say people who come out of poverty, have the best work ethic. If there's one thing Chen has noticed since he's been in the States, is that it's one big country of opportunities – it's just out there. And if people can't see them, they're not looking the right way. All he knows is he's going to make a killing, while the killing is good.

By the end of the year, Chen's parents' food joint booms and expands into a neighboring location. It's taken over by his mom, who's hired a few extra workers on a full-time basis. Chen shuttles in between both shops whenever he helps out. At the end of his studies, he emerged best not only in his class but in the history of the course running at the university. He got an overall grade of 90% and commanded the respect of his course-mates, especially the ones who never took him seriously. Such is life because the underdogs rule!

After his graduation, on a beautiful, picture-perfect summer's day, Chen & Lian held a small reception & got married. The guests included people from his neigborhood, co-workers, some course-mates & friends from university, a couple of past employers, family – some of who visited from both China & Taiwan and well-wishers. The couple were emotional together as they were getting married. When they finally embraced each other and had their first married kiss, the crowd roared in jubilation and gave a thunderous applause. They hugged & stayed hugged for about a minute and just savored the moment: The end of a trying era full of struggle and sacrifice had at last come and a bright, shared future of the rest of their lives had just begun.

Deep within the cavity of Chen's lungs, several dozen minuscule fibres of Asbestos, reacted out of a lengthy inactivity, spanning over two decades, and collectively began to permanently lacerate the host's tissue that surrounds them.

This story is dedicated to the world's youth, and every other people who just want to live!

(The above story is a work of fiction & a fact-based dramatization. Some of the events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any resemblance of the characters herein to any person, living/dead, is purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names or named features herein are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if I use one of these terms.)

Author's Bio: 

Specialist Listings contains resources on mesothelioma & how current affairs & contemporary history affect people who suffer from it. It contains an up to date account of litigation experts on mesothelioma/asbestos-exposure cases, many of whom have impeccable reputations & impressive track records in their respective niches. More importantly, it provides a voice for people who have been affected by any of such diseases & strives to make their plight a lot more understandable to the vast majority of otherwise healthy people, so that more positive actions can be effected for the betterment and healing of cancer-inflicted people's lives. Bookmark Specialist Listings now at http://specialistlistings.blogspot.com.