Tanners Virgin Page 27

Sold her into white slavery, that is to say. In Afghanistan.

And, my source reported, it turned out that this was Mr. Shady\s main source of income. He posed as a travel agent, offering fully escorted women-only tours of Afghanistan at an irresistibly low price, and managing to screen out any applicants with close family ties or persons likely to keep tabs on them. Once he had a group of a dozen or so nubile and unattached young women on board, he promptly escorted them to Afghanistan, where he sold the lot of them for whatever the going rate may have been and left them to get on with their lives, or what remained thereof.

’’Not a nice person,’’ said the friend of a friend.

So Afghanistan was more or less handed to me. That was a couple of wars ago, and what I knew about the country you could put in a silk ear. Or a sow\s purse. Or, less metaphorically, in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which is where I did what I had the temerity to call my research.

Back then, all I knew about Afghanistan was that it was a hippie destination, because it didn\ cost much to live there. (It was even cheaper if you\d been sold into white slavery.) I knew about the hippies, and I knew about the coats that some of them (not the ones sold into white slavery) were bringing back, very attractive sheepskin garments with colorful embroidery. And I figured they must have at least one 1955 Chevy there.

Well, that was then and this is now. These days, if you want a 1955 Chevy, you\ll have to go to Havana.

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