My heel was broken as I starred at the end date stamped on my visa, realizing that my beach paradise was coming to a premature end. After concluding that there was no physical way I could make it to a border in time, there was nothing left to do but drown my sorrows in a bottle of Sansom whisky and howl at the moon in sorrow. ‘I know someone,’ whispered a German living on my resort. ‘He can get you to Malaysia and back in 12 hours if the price is right.’ My ears perked up. The howling stopped. I accepted.
Standing blurry eyed and slightly nauseous the next morning, I waited to see in what form my saviour would arrive. Within minutes, an old Mercedes pulled up on the side of the dirt road. A man with a moustache to rival Magnum PI, pulled himself (and his belly) from the rusted shell of the vehicle. ‘Natalie?’ he asked in a strong Middle Eastern accent. I nodded. ‘I take you. Malaysia. My name: Bin Laden.’
Moments later, I was flying down a dirt highway, my white knuckles clenching Bin Laden’s torn leather seats. If I hadn’t feared for my life, the comic value of being whipped across south east Asia by a man of a notorious namesake, and driving as if pursued by Obama himself, may have struck me. Unfortunately, I was struck only by sheer terror- (I didn’t pee myself this time). He didn’t speak. He didn’t smile. His lead foot just lay heavy on the gas.
Hours later, we arrived at the border. Finally, beneath that heavy moustache, flashed a row of yellowing teeth. ‘Malaysia!’ he announced, and I had the urge to applaud. I crossed the border, renewed my visa (the whole debacle took 10 minutes max), and climbed back into Bin Laden’s car. ‘See!’ he exclaimed proudly. We smiled at each other and for one endearing moment, I wanted to hug him. When I heard Bin Laden’s death announced this past year, a part of me was doubtful. ‘He’s not dead,’ I thought. ‘He’s saving paradise in Malaysia.’