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Reader Comments on Getting Killed for a Living

From Rontiara, 19 January 2008

I enjoyed your story about Charlie, the guy who got killed for a living. If he truly did go pro, my hat's off to him! Those professional Hollywood stuntmen are fascinating! I got so involved in watching the stuntmen in The Mask of Zorro I forgot what the plot was about.

If it weren't for the age difference, I'd wonder if your friend Charlie was one of my co-workers several years ago. I used to travel internationally, and Bill was on my team. Bill, like Charlie, liked being the center of attention.

One day in Cairo, as an Egyptian was leaving his car, Bill pretended to be slammed by the swinging door and fell in a heap on the street. The shock among the passing pedestrians turned to annoyance when Bill rose to his feet grinning, obviously uninjured. Crazy Americans. . .

I was the foil for one of Bill's best charades.

The team had set up a temporary office in its Cairo hotel, where we worked long hours against a strict deadline. Bill would often drop by just as we closed up for the night and take me for a walk to get rid of the kinks from the many hours spent at our computers.

One night we had been working especially hard, and it was nearly 3:00 a.m. when we finished up. Bill snagged me and we set off down the dark streets of Cairo. I was glad he was with me; I wouldn't have tried that alone!

We got involved in our conversation and probably walked for nearly an hour. As we re-entered the hotel, Bill dropped to his hands and knees, panting as if he were dying, and crawled agonizingly toward the front desk where the night clerk eyed us with concern.

"If she ever — pant, pant — asks you to — gasp, pant — go for a walk — pant, gasp — tell her you're sick!" Whereupon he collapsed in dramatic splendor right in front of the desk.

I guess my burst of laughter reassured the horrified night clerk, who smiled uneasily and returned to his paperwork.

Crazy Americans!