Joanne went next door one morning with McConnell’s morning cup of coffee and found five young strangers asleep in his living room, two men, three women. He didn’t really know who they were. He’d only met them the night before in downtown Málaga. I got to know these young people a little, and they really had a great story. It would be a wonderful novel. If only I were a wonderful novelist.
The most serious minded of the young people seemed to be a young Canadian named Elmer. He called himself Rem. Why Rem? When he was in the 8th grade people began spelling and pronouncing their names backwards. Elmer became Remle and Remle became Rem. His mother hated it. All the more reason for keeping it. Rem was engaged to be married but his fiancé decided that it would be better to not go through with it. So Rem decided to treat himself, his sister, and a good friend, to a backpack trip through Europe using money he’d saved up for his honeymoon trip.
The three young Canadians found themselves in Málaga when a cruise ship docked. They went aboard for an evening of vino and dancing. There they met two young women, English and Irish, who had signed on with the cruise ship as dancers. Once aboard, their passports were taken from them for “safekeeping.” In the meantime, in addition to their regular dancing duties, “other services” were sometimes requested. Rem and his party were outraged and readily agreed to help the girls escape.
The ship’s purser returned the passports whenever the ship docked because the girls needed them for customs inspection. This time, however, things were going to be different. After the girls had their passports and had been cleared by customs, Rem, his sister and his friend formed a flying wedge of righteous Canadians, put the girls behind them, and barged their way onto shore through surprised passengers, crew and customs people.
Once away and fairly safe from pursuing pimps, who didn’t really want to catch them and find themselves explaining things to the guardia, our young band of refugees found themselves in the middle of the night in the dockside area of a strange Spanish city wondering what to do. Even if there had been someone to talk to, they spoke no Spanish. They didn’t know anyone in town. They didn’t know where the consulate was. Of if there was a consulate. It was a typical young person’s plan.
Fortunately for them, along came McConnell. On his motorcycle. He agreed to take them to his home. I have no idea how many trips this took.
They were really neat kids. I distinctly remember their story because when I heard it I felt old for the first time in my life. Look at it this way. I would have notified the authorities who would have assured me that things would be investigated and everything would be under control. On the whole, I think the Canadian flying wedge was the better answer.