The Last Place on Earth

Part I

It's amazing how many women have played key roles in the history of man. For centuries, women were considered the weaker sex, yet they made history fascinating. Eve was considered the first woman by most of the world's religions, and she was immediately dominated by Adam. The truth was that Adam didn't like his first wife, Lilith, who was created as his equal. Adam actually preferred losing a rib, in order to have an obedient wife.

But the history of supposedly weak women playing key roles doesn't stop there. Christ reportedly died for man's sins, but it was Mary who brought him into the world and started the Catholic Church. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, because she challenged accepted standards of the times. Cleopatra dominated the entire Middle East as well as Egypt, using men as expendable servants. Elizabeth ran England without a husband. Catherine the Great overturned her husband's rule and built an empire.

The list goes on and on.

This is a modern legend of a starlet turned hero.

Fawn Magritte was her name. She was a young movie star who came from the middle of nowhere. She grew up in a small town that no one had ever heard of. She was beautiful, in a child like sort of way. She had the features of a twelve year old girl and the body of a goddess. You never knew what color her hair would be on any given day, but it would always be long and flowing. She loved to shop, and her meager success in B movies allowed her to dress to the nines at all times. Even people who spotted her in the grocery store used to talk about her fabulous outfits.

After four or five moderately successful films, Fawn went to an awards show one night where they were honoring her ideal man, Derek Mobly. Mobly was a living legend in Hollywood. He'd come on the scene as a teenager, and blown away all the Hollywood executives. He'd broken every box office record. He'd won numerous awards and made millions of dollars. He was great looking, and even though he'd passed 40 by the time Fawn had met him, he still looked great. Derek had brown hair, stood just six feet with broad shoulders and sparkly blue eyes.

The night of the awards was magical. Derek had never thought about Fawn until he saw her across the carpet. It was love at first sight for him. She'd loved him from afar for years.

Derek had more than one failed marriage under his belt. He'd fallen for three other Hollywood starlets. They'd tried to be the perfect wife to him while using his fame to make their place in the world of entertainment. Unfortunately, once they were a household word in their own right, they moved on. Derek had spent the last several years being the consummate bachelor, because he was sick of putting his heart out there to be squashed.

Derek tried to be nonchalant with Fawn at first, but there was something about her that made him want to shout from the rooftops that he loved her more than he had ever loved a woman before. The problem with that concept was that he'd just met her. Being a public figure, he could never do something so crazy. It would ruin his Hollywood reputation as a devout businessman who could turn any film project to gold.

It wasn't long before Fawn announced that she was pregnant. It should have been the most wonderful time of her life. Instead, what followed was years of hostile treatment from the press.

Fawn and Derek were married. The tabloids were all over them and their relationship immediately. Every rag in the world reported that she was dominated by Derek, and that she couldn't make a move without his permission. The reporters said that she wasn't allowed to leave the house unless she asked Derek first. They said that he'd forced her to join his religion, even though she publicly proclaimed that she'd chosen to convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormons.

The minute that she joined the Mormon Church, the rumors started to fly. There was talk that she was going to allow Derek to have multiple wives. Headlines read that she would no longer be allowed to work, because of Mormon doctrine. Magazines interviewed her and twisted every word she said. She'd become a laughing stock the second she'd married him. She couldn't believe that she had to suffer so much for falling in love.

Years passed, twelve of them. Fawn and Derek had two children, Felicity and Nathan. Hollywood still maintained that Fawn was a slave to her ultra famous husband. The truth of the matter was that Derek had spent more than a decade trying to convince the public that he didn't have any desire to tell his wife what to do. He even told Diane Sawyer that he had no control over Fawn.

It didn't matter how the family behaved. The world was convinced that Fawn Magritte-Mobly was nothing more than a piece of Derek Mobly's property.

Fawn went back to work. The tabloids still talked about her weakness. She traveled the world and purposely left her husband home. The press still called her a puppet. She ran for Mayor of Los Angeles, husband and children by her side through the entire campaign. She lost by a landslide, reportedly because no one believed that she would be the one doing the job. They believed that her husband would have to be there to help her every step of the way.

By the time Felicity turned twelve, there seemed to be nothing that Fawn could do to improve her public image. She had only two choices. She had to accept her public image for what it was, or she had to leave her husband.

It wasn't a particularly hot day when Fawn collapsed at the grocery store. She'd always put on a cheery face. Not even her husband had realized the depth of her depression. She couldn't take being a trophy wife anymore. She couldn't stand one more word from the Malibu housewives behind her back at the checkout counter. She couldn't take one more pitiful glance from a stranger on the street. The line between having everything she wanted and humiliation had finally grown too thin. Her nerves had given in.

Fawn woke in a posh Beverly Hills rehab center. She didn't know where she was until a nurse had wandered into her room and told her. The nurse went to tell her doctor that she'd regained consciousness.

Derek came running into her room when he heard the news that she was awake. He sat on the side of her bed and took her hand. "Hi, sweetie. It's going to be okay," he told her.

Fawn sat up, startled. "What am I doing in rehab?" she asked.

"I wanted someplace where the press wouldn't hound you."

"Derek, I'm not on drugs or anything of the sort," Fawn objected. "I don't belong here."

Derek smiled at her. "I know that. It's just that we don't know what's wrong yet, so we don't know where we should take you."

Fawn threw her legs over the side of the bed as though she was going to get up. "I'll tell you what's wrong!" she screamed. "I've spent the last twelve years looking stupid, and I'm sick of it! I love you, but I'm starting to think that the only way I can quit being a laughing stock to everyone on Earth is to leave you. I don't want to do that, but I can't stand one more weird look or one more snide comment when I'm out. I can't take it!"

Derek put his hands on her shoulders. "Calm down. We'll figure out something."

Fawn pushed his hands off her shoulders and stood up. "When are we going to figure it out? I've been trying to overcome this crap for years. It won't magically go away. It won't subside. It won't change." She threw her arms in the air. "You don't get it. None of it happens to you. You're the strong male. I'm the weak female who chose to spend her life with you. How am I rewarded? I'm portrayed as your slave. I'm seen as common property of Derek Mobly. I can't take it anymore!" She smacked him on the top of the head. "Do you get it? Is there a place in your head that tells you this shouldn't bother me, or what? It makes me crazy!"

Derek walked out without a word.

The nurse who had been there before came back followed by a doctor. The doctor was a woman, which for some reason surprised Fawn. The doctor passed Derek on her way into the room. She glanced at him and then turned to Fawn.

"What's he upset about?" she asked.

Fawn fell back onto the bed. "Nothing."

The doctor pulled up a chair. Fawn watched as she sat down and crossed her perfect legs. Everyone in Beverly Hills was beautiful it seemed. If one of the women in Beverly Hills was born ugly, all they had to do was see the right doctor. Pretty soon it would be more like Stepford then a real town. This doctor was just as good looking as every other woman in town. She was stunning.

"I'm Dr. Walsh," she said as she put her hand out for Fawn to shake. Fawn shook her hand, but didn't reply. "Well, we did some blood tests," she began uneasily. "We didn't find anything unusual."

"I could have told you I don't do drugs," Fawn replied, angry.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to insinuateā€¦"

Fawn looked Dr. Walsh straight in the face. "Yes, you did."

"Anyway, you seem very angry."

Fawn got up off the bed and started to look for her clothes. "Imagine that." She looked all around the room. She spotted a closet on the far side of the room and started to walk to it. "I pass out, and immediately I'm taken to rehab. I should be thrilled, right? It's one of the finest rehabs in the world." She opened the closet door. There was nothing inside. She turned to face the doctor. "Look, I'm sure you have nothing but my best interests in mind, but you don't know me. I'm angry because I just had a fight with my husband." She raised her hands in front of her as though she was trying to stop oncoming traffic. "No, we don't need counseling. Believe it or not, couples argue once in a while." She spotted the bathroom, so she walked to it. "I know it's hard for anyone to believe, but I have had many arguments with my husband over the years." She opened the door and looked around the bathroom. Her clothes weren't in there either. "That may be hard for you to accept, since I'm supposed to be a slave to him." She slammed the bathroom door. "Where the hell are my clothes?"

Dr. Walsh didn't move from her chair. Fawn recognized the mitigated calm of a therapist. "Your clothes are being stored on the premises."

Fawn walked to the bed again. "Well, would you be kind enough to get them for me?"

"I don't know that I think that's a good idea," the doctor said.

"Well, I don't remember asking you what you thought," Fawn replied.

Dr. Walsh turned to the nurse who'd been waiting. "Christine, could you please get Mrs. Mobly's things?"

The nurse left without comment.

Fawn stood, feeling uncomfortable in front of the doctor. "Thank you," she stammered, unsure of what was going to happen. "I suppose there are some papers that I have to sign to leave, right?"

Christine came back into the room with Fawn's clothes. She handed them to Fawn. Dr. Walsh rose from her chair. "I'll have the paperwork ready at the nurse's station when you've changed." She left the room silently.

Fawn almost ran into the bathroom to change her clothes. She couldn't wait to get out of that place. She hated therapy and all of the weakness that followed it. Fawn had always thought that the irony was thick. She didn't believe in therapy and weakness, yet she was portrayed as the weakest woman in the world. She wondered if her husband had left or merely taken a walk to let her calm down. She figured that it was the latter. He and he alone knew what an awful temper she had.

When Fawn emerged from the bathroom, fully clothed in her designer originals, she stopped dead. There was a man standing in the doorway of her room that she'd never seen before in her life. He wasn't dressed in nurse or doctor garb, so she wondered who on Earth he could be.

"Mrs. Mobly?" the man said.

Fawn approached him cautiously. "Yes, who are you?"

He put out his hand for her to shake. "I'm Griffin Mastiff. I work for the Adventure Channel."

Fawn shook his hand. She wondered why this man was here and what someone from the Adventure Channel could possibly want to talk to her about. "I'm charmed," she stammered.

Griffin took a deep breath. "Let me cut to the chase. I've watched you for years. I've seen your plight. I understand how traumatic it is to have to pay for your happiness with your professional reputation."

Fawn sat down on the edge of the bed to put her shoes on. "I'm listening." Now she was being drawn in. She had to know what this guy wanted.

"I think I can help."

Fawn put on the last of her two shoes and stood. "Good luck pal," she scoffed. "Some of the best publicists in the world have tried to no avail." She started to walk past him out the door.

"They didn't do it right."

Fawn stopped and turned to look at him. "Okay, I'm curious. What makes you think that you have some idea that no one in show business has thought of yet?"

"For one thing, most of your so-called publicists are in bed with the tabloids. They don't want to change your reputation."

Fawn turned to face him dead on. "I'm listening." She came back into the room and sat down facing him.

He knew he'd get her attention. "Look, if you want to convince the world that you are not governed by your domineering husband, then do something that he would never agree to. I have the ideal project for you."

"I'm still listening."

He became excited. "Have you ever heard of The Most Dangerous Places on Earth?"

"The places or the Forbes list?"

"The list."

"Yes."

"Well, my channel is making a ten part series based on the list, and we want you to host it."

"Why me?"

"There are several reasons why. One, because you're a woman. It makes for better drama than having a man as a host. There's also the fact that you bring a well established name to the project. Regardless of what the media says about you, I think that you're extremely intelligent; otherwise, your image wouldn't bother you. There are many other reasons, but those are the main ones."

"I'm guessing that I would have to go to these dangerous places to make the shows."

"Yes. Not exactly the kind of thing that the tabloids could say was approved of by your husband."

"True."

"So, Mrs. Mobly, is what the tabloids say true? Or would you like to travel to the ten most dangerous places on Earth?"

Fawn thought about what the man said. She knew that in some twisted way he was right. She knew that there would be no way that her conservative husband would be in favor of her traveling in the ten most dangerous places on Earth. Her first instinct was to tell Griffin that she had to discuss it with her husband. She instantly realized that if she did that, she would continue to perpetuate the image of the slave in the minds of the public. She couldn't discuss it with Derek, because it was the only chance she had to regain her reputation.

"I'm in," she said, almost without thinking. She saw no other option. The only way she could see to regain her own identity without leaving her husband, whom she loved, was to do something insane. This offer was the most insane thing she'd heard in years.

Derek walked into the room as Fawn was shaking hands with Griffin. He didn't have the slightest idea what was going on.

"There is some preliminary work that we'll have to do before we get started," Griffin told Fawn.

"What's going on?" Derek asked.

Fawn turned to her husband of twelve years. "I've just agreed to do a ten part series for the Adventure Channel that will finally change the way the public views me."

Derek was floored. "The Adventure Channel. What are you going to do?"

Griffin answered him. "Your wife has just agreed to travel to the ten most dangerous places on Earth. We're doing a whole show on each place. There are ten shows in all."

Derek stood, blank faced and silent; staring at Griffin.

"Honey, are you okay?" Fawn asked Derek.

"Yeah," he almost whispered. He didn't want to voice the thoughts that were running through his mind. He loved his wife, and he knew that she'd been struggling for years to regain her own identity. He didn't want to ruin it for her. It was just that the idea of it scared him to death. He looked at Griffin. "So, where's the first place that she'll be going to?"

"Well, as I was going to explain to Fawn; there's some preliminary work to be done before we go anywhere. You can't just grab your passport and go to any of the locations. We have to go to Washington and meet with all the agencies for clearance. The CIA, NSA, DEA, and Interpol will all have to have details about the project and an itinerary. Getting security clearance shouldn't be hard for her, since she recently ran for public office and her life is pretty much an open book."

Fawn suddenly became nervous. "I have to do all of that to travel to these places?"

"There's a reason why they call them the most dangerous places on Earth."

Derek wanted to throw up. He couldn't imagine worrying about his wife the entire time that she would be traveling to these places. "After all that, where's the first location that you want her to go to?" he asked Griffin.

Fawn broke in. "I've always wanted to go to Africa."

Griffin heaved a heavy sigh. "There are some countries in Africa on the list. Coite Divoire and such."

"Can we go there?" Fawn asked.

"Eventually," Griffin replied. "The execs want us to start with one of the more well known places on the list."

"Where?" Fawn was getting excited. "Dubai? Turkey? Where?"

"Afghanistan."