ROCK THE CASBA, a short story by Sun Tzu. Date added: 2011-11-21. Times viewed: 2680.
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- Intro: White Slavery, Action, Adventure & Intrigue in 1990's Morocco
ROCK THE CASBA
DATELINE.... Southampton Airport Southern England
I pulled the van up near the hangars; visibility was awful I was able to see barely 20 yards in front of me. As I waited a light flashed, stopped then flashed again. That was the correct signal, without a pause I pulled the pistol out of my shoulder rig, worked back the slide then released it to chamber a round, before replacing it back in its holster.
Tonight was going to be one of the most dangerous business deals of my life and I was taking no chances.
I watched as two figures walked slowly towards the van; their yellow high visibility vests identified them clearly as my initial contacts. Exiting the vehicle, I approached the figures slowly, silently thanking providence for the cover of thick British fog, which would make it difficult for even the most professional gunman.
The two figures walked into the light beams of my van, the luminous letters identifying them as Her Majesty’s CUSTOMS and EXCISE now appeared very clearly.
I recognised them both One a tall lean man of about 6ft, with a slowly greying hair line and his companion who at 5ft 2in looked uncannily like the actor Danny Devito.
The tall one nodded and smiled at me "Hell of a night isn't it". This seemed more of a statement than a question.
"Yeah". I replied " it’s Pretty shitty". The irritation in my voice was quite apparent. (For God's sake get on with it! I thought)
Danny Devito clone who obviously had more sense of the situation than his companion stepped forward "Do you have anything to declare sir?" he inquired.
I slowly pulled out two small brown envelopes and passed them over, Danny Devito briefly inspected the contents and nodded to his companion.
"It would appear all is in order," Stated grey hair. "Good night Sir!" With that, the two figures vanished into the fog. I waited the agreed 10 minutes then; another figure appeared in the fog, making his way slowly towards me.
As he came into the light his features showed him as an oriental. Behind him I could just make out two figures in the fog, their shady outlines betraying the presence of them carrying automatic rifles.
"Kent San?" The oriental inquired.
I nodded "Is this the way the Yakuza does business Sato? I demanded angrily, ensuring I left out the ‘San’ denoting honourable.
Sato stared at me for a few seconds then shouted in Japanese to his two companions who vanished into the fog. "I apologise for offending you Kent San, I forget you British are not accustomed to the overt brandishing of firearms.
"Dam right," I snarled annoyed at this flagrant’ breach of protocol, "The agreement was for one contact Sato and Only One! If you want to continue utilising my services you'll inform your superiors that all future meetings will be as Stipulated. No deviations! No negotiations! Otherwise the deal's off".
Sato nodded "Very well Kent San it shall be as you wish". He paused for a moment as if considering his next words. "I am ready to carryout the transaction if you are?"
"I'm ready, step forward, slowly". My hand was inside my jacket the hard coolness of the pistol felt reassuring.
Sato walked towards me slowly. "May I see the merchandise?"
I slid open the side door to the van the internal light revealed two sleeping bound and gagged forms lying on the vans floor.
One a busty brunette named Karen Sullivan a Law student from Southampton University. I'd met her at a local concert. 22 years old with an adventurous nature, I knew she would be just right for Sato's organisation.
The other a blonde named Michelle Leguner, a school teacher from France who I’d met in Portsmouth, her tanned body, long slender figure of 6ft and the fact she spoke three languages fluently made her a prime target.
Sato inspected them briefly and nodded with satisfaction.
"These are truly fine Specimens, your reputation is well deserved Kent San". Then Sato produced a walkie-talkie. Before he could speak into it, my pistol was at his head with an audible click as I released the safety.
"The next words I hear coming out of your mouth had better be in English, my Japanese is a little rusty, and be sure to tell your men to approach Slowly and Unarmed.”
Sato's facial expression betrayed a hint of nervousness, "I will do as you instruct". He paused again for a moment to gain his composure then issued his orders.
The transaction went without any further hitch the two women were carried off into the fog, Sato then made a call on his Cell phone, I checked my Swiss account via my lap top to confirm receipt of the agreed funds.
"You are a man of honour Kent San" Stated Sato "And that is a rare thing these days, I look forward to doing business with you in the near future, please accept my apologies for causing you offence this night."
I understood little of Japanese culture, though I had a working knowledge through my research into their history and the code of the ancient samurai warriors; a subject that had fascinated me since I was a boy. An apology had, been offered, as was their custom to save face when having caused offence.
I accepted the apology knowing that I had made something of an impression tonight.
I bowed "We shall speak no more of it Sato San" .This time ensuring I included the ‘San’ showing respect "I will be honoured to do business with your organisation in the future".
Sato bowed in return and headed off into the fog, I watched as he left wondering just what I had got myself into in dealing with the Japanese Mafia".
I returned to my van and headed out of the docks, my heart beating like a jack-hammer, may hands felt clammy with sweat to say that, this deal had been nerve racking would be an understatement. It had been a long time since I had felt this way a very long time indeed. I headed back to The LAIR for some well-earned rest and a stiff drink!
The past three weeks had been incredibly busy, for the first time in a long while I found it incredibly hard to match the orders I’d received.
At first, I put it down to just poor quality target; as I continued however it soon became apparent that my judgement was failing me. I began to make stupid elementary mistakes! Something was very wrong and for the life of me I couldn’t determine what it was!
It had taken me almost two months just to fill this order for Sato. Time well spent but it had taken far longer than usual. I hadn't been sleeping well of late, and found myself experiencing some pretty terrifying nightmares.
I decided it was time to get my self checked out.
ROCK THE CASBA
THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS
DATELINE… Harley Street London
"You can dress now" He said..."I'd say I have all I need"... I put my shirt back on and watched him make some more notes..."So what exactly do you do Mr Kent?" he asked..."I've been your Doctor for what 5 years now? And we've never spoken about your occupation."
I finished dressing..."I guess you could say I'm in the Import/Export Business...Mainly Valuable Merchandise...know what I mean?"
He didn't look up from his clip board..."Yes I know...Art and Antiques right?"
I had to smile at that..."Well mainly art...but I wouldn't call them antiques..."
He looked up at that..."Oh I suppose you have special names for them...much like we doctors do for different conditions."
"Yeah I guess so... So what's the prognosis doc will I ever play the piano again?" I asked trying to force a little humour... Though to be truthful I wasn't really feeling that way inclined.
"Well let’s see... you have been complaining of difficulty sleeping... concentration is down... you've not been eating very well have you? I assume that you've not been exercising much either. Are you still having those dreams? I nodded... "And I would guess that they are getting more intense. More how shall I say graphic?"
"Yes" I said "Very much so".
He put his hand on my shoulder... "Look if you wish I can recommend a very good Psychiatrist...he's an old friend of mine and would help you no end... What you're experiencing apart from over work and stress is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder... I've seen it before many times... particularly among men who have seen combat".
I pulled away in surprise..."I've never said I'd seen combat ...I"
"You don't need to” He smiled...a fatherly and understanding smile...It felt...what? Well I suppose… comforting somehow as if he really did understand me... "I can spot an ex serviceman at 20 paces...your manner and demeanour are all inter-linked you know... You're too young to have been in the Falklands war...but my guess is it's something more recent...maybe The Gulf or Bosnia?
I nodded.. "And other places but I don't want talk about it... at least not now... But thanks anyway ."
"I see ..." he said somewhat dejected "Would you at least consider seeing my Colleague?" he handed me a card. "He's very good and like me served in The Falklands War ... We both understand what you're experiencing...let us help you."
I looked at the address it was up town a private practice...."Maybe," I said "Let me think about OK?"
"Sure...but remember I'm just a phone call away... Now on to other things... You need a Holiday and a long one at that. Maybe a couple of months if you can swing it... You're suffering from acute exhaustion... Brought on by over working and extreme stress... And I might add that your dreams are manifesting themselves through the stress. So it's essential that you rest... you'll at least get some respite from the dreams."
"Do you still suffer from the nightmares too?" I asked
He looked directly into my eyes. A look of ... sadness... "I ah ... yes I do from time to time... But…" He paused for a second... "But eventually you somehow make friends with your demons they don't affect you in quite the same way as they once did...
For years after The Falklands War I dreamt about all those men that I couldn't save... how... "He paused again and tears appeared ... He choked them back... "I felt so powerless there... you see being a Doctor sometimes makes you feel that you can do anything...it's almost God like.... But The Falklands and later the troubles in Northern Ireland taught me that I wasn't... All I could do ultimately was my best... My question has always been... WAS MY BEST ENOUGH? "WAR is such a barbaric arena.... No matter how much one tries to make it more civilised...no matter what rules are laid down.... It will never change its Horror and Degradation."
"I'll seriously consider your offer Doc and as for the Vacation... well I guess you're right. It's just a matter of where to go! Choices, Choices."
The solution to my little dilemma came from a most unlikely source, Upon returning to The LAIR. There were a number of messages on my secured E-mail. The first was from Sato confirming that his masters in Osaka were extremely satisfied with the shipment and, that fresh orders would be forth coming.
The second message was from my oldest Client Saleem who had invited me to a meeting at his retreat in Morocco. Not exactly top of my places to go list, But, I needed a holiday and Saleem’s hospitality was Legendary. The thought of being, pampered by beautiful scantily clad women! Well that was the lever that persuaded me, banishing any doubts I had. I called the airport to book my flight.
DATELINE.. Down Town Morocco
"So My dear friend, how do you like my humble retreat?" Saleem inquired grinning with pride.
"It's truly lovely Saleem, you are a man of excellent taste." I sat sipping the cold beer looking over at the Moroccan skyline.
Saleem sat back in his chair his face betrayed his concerns. "You look like a man who has lost a Hundred pounds and found only a pound!" I said with a grin.
"I am how you say, preoccupied with much worry my friend." Saleem replied
I put down my beer, for Saleem to be worried about anything told me enough to know that things were not good. "So what is your problem?" I asked.
Saleem seemed to relax slightly at my question, "I do not wish to burden you with my problems my friend, but you are one of the few men in this world that I know I can trust."
I nodded at this compliment in our business trust was indeed a rare thing.
"You see my friend for years I have been a leading merchant in our brand of how you would put it Art? I have profited greatly by your efforts, particularly with merchandise from the United States and Europe. All of these treasures have been given good masters."
Saleems voice began to sound very sad and I could see tears welling in his eyes.
"About two months ago a new organisation appeared they seemed to be in much the business as ourselves." He paused for a moment as if searching for his next words while at the same time composing himself. "This organisation is headed by a man known as Kabire and he is an evil man my friend. Truly, truly Evil! He and his minions care not for the art or the beauty of women, they abduct, torture, and rape, leaving many of these poor women nothing more than mere shells of their former selves. Bodies have even been found from time to time of the women they have decided are of unsuitable quality"
"If you know this Saleem why don't you inform Mondalez?" I referred to the Inspector of Police of Morocco an incredibly corrupt man but despite all that, his word was law in the city. If it was one thing even he would never tolerate it was the outright torture and murder of women.
"Mondalez is in Kabires pocket, explained Saleem. “He believes Kabire is a respectable businessman and could not possibly be behind such outrages. I would need very strong evidence to convince him otherwise, but there is more my friend, much more. My sources inform me that he has his sights on a new target and if he succeeds the ramifications would be extremely bad for business."
"What do you mean?" I asked now completely absorbed in Saleems story. He handed me an envelope, which contained a number of photos of a tall and rather attractive blonde. "Do you recognise her?" Saleem asked
At first sight she seemed like just an average attractive woman tourist, then I came to the last photo and I immediately recognised her. "Meredith Vana?"
Saleem nodded "The same. Top Award winning American journalist and popular television presenter I believe".
"I wouldn't know Saleem I don't get to watch much TV these days. I replied. These photos were taken right here in Morocco! Are you saying she's here now?"
Saleem nodded "She is here to investigate rumours of a white slavery trade here in Morocco already her snooping has made her many enemies including Kabire. He views her as a direct threat to his business.”
Saleem paused, “Make no mistake my friend he is a ruthless man, capable of anything including the permanent removal of a snooping American journalist".
I looked through the photos again for a woman in her forties she was very attractive and would fetch a pretty penny on the market. Nevertheless, if what Saleem had told me was correct she was in considerable danger.
"I need not remind you of the ramifications if she were to be harmed, ”Stated Saleem "A woman of her high profile and status, would bring down the whole weight of the American State Department. Not to mention, other American and non American Law Enforcement Agencies. In short my friend our business would be at an end."
Saleem sat back looking dejected "I do not know what to do!"
I sat thinking over what Saleem had told me, as I did so a plan began to form a plan that would could put Kabire out of business and protect both mine and Saleem’s interests. But first I had to ensure Miss Meredith Vana was protected.
The dossier on Meredith Vana that Saleem provided for me was extremely comprehensive. Her career as a journalist was very impressive, spanning many years, gaining countless awards and credits for her work. This woman was a real A1 bloodhound for stories and I could see now why Kabire was so nervous about her presence.
From what I could tell Meredith was taking time off from her TV show Inside Story to go back to what historically she did best ‘Investigative Journalism.’
In this case a story on modern day white slavery. Upon, her arrival she had begun to dig deep, questioning many people, and her enquiries had opened a real Pandora's box of information of an illicit white slavery trade. This had only served to oil her journalistic instincts. Sending her off on the hunt for a story that could all too easily get her killed.
Her Professional and Celebrity status had created strong links with officials at the American Consulate. That in it-self gave her a lot of clout locally. This in-turn opened many doors for her, which was about to culminate with an interview with the local police Chief Mondales.
This in itself did not concern me I doubted that even with her womanly wiles she would not get much out of him. What did concern though was Kabire. I knew so little about him; Saleem could be little help in that area. My lack of knowledge on Kabire left me at a certain disadvantage. My philosophy has always been that of Tsun Tsu as stated in his “Art of War“… 'Know your enemy as you know yourself.'
Not knowing anything about Kabire I realised that I would have to move very fast, or run the risk of him getting to Meredith first!
ROCK THE CASBA
The Damsel in Distress Factor
She felt her arms wrenched up her back, as she was, pulled along. Angry voices sounded in her ears, but she couldn’t understand them. Groggy and weak from all the drugs, she tried to focus. They spoke in Arabic excitedly as they pulled her along.
What was going to happen now she wondered? Why were they doing this? She wasn’t rich, her family certainly weren’t!
She felt a jolt as the angry voices suddenly went quiet and stopped sharply. “This, the one?” came a voice in English.
“It is.” Came another
“Excellent, you have done well.” The voice paused for a moment “Prepare her!”
The next thing she experienced a falling sensation and hitting the cold hard floor, her breasts taking the full force of the impact. “Mmmmpphhh” she cried out through the tight gag, the air violently forced from her lungs. Before she could collect her-self rough hands began to unbind her arms. As they did her arms were, pulled above her head and retied. Then something connected to the ropes. There was a whirring sound and she found herself being, pulled into the air. Her arms now taking her entire body weight and she almost passed out from the agonising pains that shot throughout her arms.
Hands untied her ankles and pulling her legs apart securing them tightly. The blindfold was, roughly removed. A bright flash hit eyes; bright and piercing like a sharp knife embedding itself in her head. As it began to subside, she could make out her surroundings.
She was inside some sort of dilapidated warehouse; her arms secured tightly above her head to what looked like a huge meat hook, her legs dangling only a few feet off the floor. In front of her stood three men; two of them were the rough looking Arabs that had grabbed her. Dressed in dirty T-shirts and jeans, they just stood gawking at her smiling at their prize now dangling a few feet off the floor.
The third was a tall dark well-dressed man, sporting a white tuxedo suit and wore the plant pot type fez hat. He too stood glaring at her, taking in every inch of her form. Slowly he stepped forward and began to circle round her, quietly muttering to himself in Arabic. Taking in the beautiful form of his latest captive.
She was perhaps 5ft 5in tall with a short cropped blonde hair and long slender legs, her passport identified her as Rochelle Clunay, French citizen, Occupation Teacher. Travelling alone on an around the World adventure holiday. Tuxedo man smiled to himself, she’s going to get all the adventure she can handle, and much, much more he thought.
He stopped standing in front of her and pulled out a cigarette from a silver case. Placed it between his thin lips and lit up, taking a breath he took in the smoke and then blew it into her face.
The smell was foul, it assaulted her senses. She tried desperately to control her stomach, which retched from the awful odour, almost forcing the contents of her stomach up.
Rochelle focused with all her might to keep from throwing up keeping her eyes closed tightly, knowing if she didn’t control herself, she’d choke on her own vomit. The tight gag bit hard into the corners of her mouth, she focused on her breathing fighting hard to slow it down.
Opening her eyes she met the stare of the well-dressed man, he smiled at her then nodded to one of his henchmen who produced a large knife and began to advance upon her.
“Wait!” A voice rang out
All heads turned to see a tall slim dark hared woman, walk slowly and gracefully towards them. She was about 6ft tall slim with long dark hair and piercing green eyes. She too wore a white tuxedo suit
“I will inspect this one!” Her statement was an order and not a request.
“As you wish my dear," replied Tuxedo man.
The woman approached slowly again walking around inspecting Rochelle.
There was a sudden sound of a click and the woman appeared in front of her brandishing a barber's cut-throat razor. Without a pause the woman cut the hems Rochelle’s shorts, which fell away to reveal her thin white panties. They too met the same fate as the shorts.
Rochelle became enraged and tried to kick out at the woman, but her legs were secured tightly, her strength was gone and all she could manage was a feeble groan and a flick of her legs.
She had no idea how long it had been since the men had grabbed her. How much time had passed during the time she had be repeatedly drugged. And at one time raped by the bigger of the two scruffy Arabs? He’d laughed as he used the chloroform to make her weak and groggy, ensuring she was aware as he had forced himself inside her.
They had used drugs and kept her food to a minimum in order to keep her quiet, weak, and passive.
The woman inserted her fingers between Rochelle’s legs, working them around, then withdrew then licked them, savouring the taste. She smiled and nodded.
Next the woman cut away the Rochelle’s white blouse that was tied in a bow, revealing a pair of firm white milky breasts, with large pink nipples. The woman ran her hands over them. Kissing and licking Rochelle’s breasts, while running her hands all over Rochelle’s voluptuous figure.
“Perfect!” she declared stepping away “One of your best yet!”
“I’m gratified you approve my dear.” Answered Tuxedo man; still smoking his cigarette. He could feel himself becoming hard; the way the woman inspected his captives always excited him. She was a real pro. He turned to his men and issued orders “Cut her down and place her in storage.”
The two men quickly moved to carry out their instructions.
Tuxedo man turned to the woman “I did not expect to see you here my dear.”
“I came because we have a problem.” She replied.
“You are my head of security Salma deal with it I am too busy for such unimportant matters,” growled tuxedo man.
“Well this unimportant matter, Requires YOUR! Attention!” The woman spat. “That American Journalist has been snooping around, asking a lot of shall we say awkward questions around town. She is even going to interview Mondales!
Tuxedo man lit up another cigarette; things were becoming extremely uncomfortable for him. This American Journalist was making him nervous. His clients were becoming decidedly, anxious, and reluctant to place orders with him. This Meredith Vieira’s enquiries unnerved him. She was a liability to his business.
“Kabire We have to deal with her and soon,” declared the woman.
“You are of course correct Salma, I think it is time this Journalist was taught the price of interfering in my affairs.”
Both of them smiled.
“I assure you Miss Vana there is no Illegal slavery trade going on in Morocco, if there were I would know about it.” Morocco’s chief of police had stated for the third time.
Meredith sat back in her chair “Then tell me Inspector how do you account for the disappearance of at least five female tourists over the last year?”
Mondales had sipped his coffee nervously, visibly agitated by the barrage of questions being, hurled at him. Meredith waited for him to finish his coffee, smiling internally, this man knew far more than he was telling. He was being evasive, and had become extremely uncomfortable when she had mentioned the missing female tourists. He had even challenged her over her information. To which Meredith had produced a three inch thick file, provided by the American Consulate containing the names and photos of the missing women. To which he had become silent and had asked her to leave, claiming he had another appointment.
Meredith studied her notes, there was a real story here, she cold feel it in her bones, she just needed to get a solid lead, it was frustrating, every avenue she had tried to date had been of little help. She was a pro and pro’s didn’t give up because of a few hurdles, one way or another she would get to the bottom of it.
I entered the Nomad bar, situated just around the corner from the International Hotel that lay in the plush Tourist sector of Morocco. It’s reputation for being the finest Hotel in the city was well deserved. All the famous names and well to do people stayed here. As I knew Meredith was.
She sat at the bar, wearing a sleeveless Cream top and long matching skirt, her hair worn loose to her shoulders, just as I had seen in her photos. There was no doubt in my mind that she was an extremely attractive woman.
Taking a seat at the opposite end of the bar I ordered.
Meredith looked up from the paper she was reading as another drink was, placed in front of her. “I didn’t order this.” She stated to the barman.
“No Madam you did not, the Gentleman over there did.” Replied the barman
I watched as he indicated to me as having bought the drink for her.
She picked up the drink and walked confidently over, I stood up to meet her.
“I make it a rule never to accept drinks off strange men.” She declared.
“Very wise Miss Vana,” I replied smiling “then Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Nathan Kent.”
We sat talking for quite some time I got the impression that she welcomed my company.
“What do you know of Illegal Slave trading?” She asked directly.
“Illegal by whose standards?” I replied sipping my drink.
She looked at me questioningly “What do you mean by that?”
“This is Africa Meredith, not America they do things very different here. To many of these people the buying and selling of slaves is as normal as you and I buying and selling cars or washing machines.” The look on her face told me she disapproved of my views on the subject. I added “I’m not saying it’s right but that’s how it is and to them it’s far from being illegal or wrong.”
As I spoke a large Bedouin Arab approached, after politely greeting me he began to speak quite rapidly. I had to concentrate hard it had been some time since I had studied Arabic.
I could see Meredith watching intently, as we spoke, to which the Arab finally bowed politely and left.
“Mind telling me what that was about?” She asked
“You have an admirer.” I said trying hard not to laugh “He thought you were my wife and just offered me Three hundred Camels for you.”
Anger appeared in her face. “He did what!” She exclaimed.
“Consider it a major complement.” I explained trying to placate her. He was very taken by you. I said they do things differently here.” I paused for a moment then continued. “He said he had rarely seen such beauty in a woman and to be frank I have to agree with him.”
She smiled a little still not sure how to take the situation. “So what did you tell him?” She demanded.
“I told him that such beauty was a gift from Allah and was beyond price, he understood that argument and graciously left. I have to say though Meredith Three hundred camels was quite a tempting offer!”
For the first time I saw her really smile, “I guess I can take that as a compliment.” She said then stood up “I’ve really enjoyed our chat but I must be going its late and I have a big day tomorrow.”
“Ok let me walk you back to your hotel.”
“No that’s alright, I’ve ah enjoyed meeting you but.”
“But you’re happily married right?”
She nodded, “Very.”
“That’s fine.” I replied, “So how about you let me carry out an age old British custom of escorting a lady home.”
“Oh you British are so gallant.” She replied laughing.
We left the bar and started walking towards the Hotel, I was so busy talking to her I didn’t notice the figures in the alleyway as we passed. Two jumped out pushing me against the wall, the other grabbing Meredith. I managed to punch one of the attackers in the face sending him to the ground and kicking another in the groin. He doubled up and staggered into the alleyway. The third man had hold of Meredith, his hand over her mouth to prevent her screams being heard, she was struggling with him quite aggressively.
As I moved towards them a movement appeared in the corner of my eye and then something hard impacted on the back of my head. I saw stars and flashing lights and fell to the ground. My last recollection before losing consciousness was seeing Meredith struggling to break free of her attacker.
Another figure suddenly appeared and forced a white pad over her mouth and nose she tried to scream, but instead only inhaled the sweet sickly fumes that forced her into unconsciousness.
I could only watch helplessly, then my vision blurred as the two figures carried off Meredith’s limp form before I fell into the abyss of the black void.
To be cont...
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