Scene 5. At sea.
Sfx: Sea, old marine engine, wind, gulls.
Indonesian Skipper : Waheed! We have been sighted by a plane.
Waheed : Australian?
Skipper : I think so. We stop here and wait for the patrol boat.
Crewman : Wreck the engine now?
Skipper : Not yet. We may need to go further towards Christmas Island.
Karima : Tahmina! Come here and put your life jacket on!
Tahmina : (complaining) Mum… It’s too hot.
Waheed : (sternly) Put it on Tahmina. We are all putting them on. See?
Sfx: Plane passing overhead.
Tahmina : Are we sinking?
Karima : No, dear, but we will be getting onto another boat soon and you can’t swim.
Tahmina : Help me please, I want to wear a life jacket too!
Skipper : Here it comes. Smash the motor. Get ready with the sea cocks!
Crewman : Aye Skipper!
Sfx: Birds and sea for five seconds then hammering and breaking as high powered motor approaches.
Skipper : Sea cocks!
Crewman : Sea cocks open!
Sfx: High powered motor closes, cuts, then loud hailer.
Australian Officer : Ahoy fishing boat! You are in Australian waters. Go about now. This is a restricted area! I say go about!
Skipper : (yelling) We are sinking. Motor broken and planks sprung. SOS! SOS!
Crewman : You women! Start wailing now! (They do).
Tahmina : (crying) We’ll drown!
Officer : (yells over wailing and crying) Stand to, we are coming aboard!
Sfx: Outboard motors closing.
Officer : Stand back from the gunwales!
Sfx: Thump of inflatable against hull, outboards cut, boots on deck.
Tahmina : We are sinking! Help! We are sinking!
Waheed : Come with me Tahmina. Give me your hand. We jump in together. OK?
Tahmina : Mummy! Mummy!
Karima : I’m here, go with Daddy!
Officer : Stand back from the gunwales! Stand back! Do not jump!
Australian crew : Can’t get to the sea cocks sir, she’s going down in ten.
Sfx: Confused yelling and splashes as people jump into the water. Screams and crying children and demands from Australians to stay on board.
Tahmina : (screaming) Mummy! (coughing sea water) Mummy!
Scene 6. Christmas Island
Immigration Officer: Name?
Waheed : Waheed.
I O : Papers?
Waheed : No papers.
I O : Why no papers, Waheed?
Waheed : Taliban raided my house, couldn’t go back for passports. They would kill us.
I O : Why would they kill you Waheed?
Waheed : My wife, Karima was running a school for girls, she was betrayed so we ran.
I O : So if you ran, Waheed, how did you pay people smugglers?
Waheed : We sold everything, including my shop land.
I O : You mean your shop?
Waheed : No, they burned my shop but I sold my land to Abdul Raheen.
I O : Yes, Waheed, we know about Mr Abdul Raheen. He seems to be buying up half of Afghanistan!
Waheed : We had no choice. It was sell or stay in Peshawar camp forever.
I O : Not forever Waheed, we do take people from Peshawar camp who wait their turn, but you, Waheed, are a queue jumper and will probably be sent back.
Waheed : Sir, if we had our passports we could have come by air for two thousand dollars and stayed on after our visas expired as most do. But we had to run with what we stood up in!
Karima : Sir, I am a school teacher. I speak English, Afghan, Iranian, Pakistani, Russian and some Hindi. I know I can make a contribution here but if we are sent back, Waheed and I will be dead in a week and my little girl here will have to become a whore and she is only ten years old. I beg you to understand what it was like for us there!
I O : OK Waheed, we will check on your bona fides through channels and meanwhile (mocking laugh) enjoy your stay.
Waheed : Thank you Sir, thank you!
Karima : Thank you Sir and our daughter thanks you!
Tahmina : No I don’t, I want to go to Australia and be a dancer like Lutfi!
I O : (laughing genuinely) And so you might young lady. Who is Lutfi? Is he a great Afghan dancer?
Waheed : No sir he is not. He is a little boy even younger than Tahmina who was taken by a Taliban chief to be his private plaything!
I O : (in the too hard basket) I am sorry to hear that. Next!