Loki’s Trojan 21 – Smoking Catfish

Chapter 21

Smoking Catfish in Spider Silk Nets

The Programmer bit into an oral-incinerating tidbit: it was tough like gnawing on a smoldering stick of fish-flavored chewing gum.
“My food is fiery so yours must be a five-alarm blaze.” Tariq spit the bite in a napkin and took a gulp of water—but it didn’t quench the burning. He and Kareem had dropped the others at a hotel then went to a floating restaurant on a Bangkok canal. The menu was written in five languages and the color of ink used for each entrée indicated its level of spiciness.
“It’s mild.” The larger Arab answered quickly in strained voice.
[A fish lives in water,] Loki replayed a clip, [how spicy can it be?]
It was a poorly thought out rationalization. Tariq had brazenly ordered a dried catfish starter printed in reddish-brown ink as opposed to the safer looking tan writing. He lolled his tongue out and he fanned it with a hand.
[Duh! A breeze can’t cool a spice burn.]
It did help in this instance: a giggling waitress spotted his distress and rushed to his aid with a sliced loaf of bread, to sponge away the pepper.
“It’s not bad.” The officer’s face was ruddy and his voice, breathless.
“I’m glad I didn’t order from the crimson ink column like you did?” Tariq chuckled as he saw Kareem sweating profusely. He paid in pain for his foolishness with the weights and now his mouth has to foot the bill.
[Jihad Joe’s whole life is an ongoing masculinity challenge.]
“I like my food hot.” The captain pushed the words over scorched lips: he really meant that he liked it to be cooked. But when Tariq selected an item lettered in orange then Kareem had to better the bravery by choosing his from the scarlet letters. He chewed gingerly and swallowed quickly.
“I haven’t developed your constitution’s immunity to chili.” The older man pushed his fish dish away and opted for fruit and sticky rice.
“Taking another bite,” Kareem sped up the tempo of his mouthfuls and almost swallowed the food whole, “slows the afterburning effect.”
“My biggest fear with ultra-spicy food isn’t the heat on my palette.” Tariq waited until the red-faced man was nearly finished his entrée before divulging the worst bit. “The nastier part comes after it passes through the internals and reaches the exit orifice. There, the burn is excruciating.”
“Really?” The beet color of Kareem’s cheeks paled to a pastel.
“I plan on taking a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher to the toilet to cool my ring of fire.” The Iranian plastered on an envious expression. “That’s just me though. You appear orally accustomed to the spices, so your entire digestive tract has doubtlessly built up the same tolerance.”
“Yah.” Allah! Why did I eat this? “I can take it.” Kareem had a bitter recollection of how badly his muscles hurt after lifting weights. Now, he was seemingly due to suffer anal agony for his one-upmanship.
“Well, this has been an interesting meal and the dining establishment is similarly memorable.” Tariq appreciatively cast about at the collection of wooden islands tied together with a series of footbridges. The Thai staff, both male and female, were attired in traditional costumes and stood ready to serve. “Still, the riveting question is why are we here?”
“We’re here staying at the Mercy Hotel,” Kareem Kareem set aside his apprehension of a next bowel movement, “because it’s located in an Arabic part of Bangkok and it’s an easy walk from gogo bars in the Nana Plaza.”
[That answers where but not why.]
“And is this a holiday inside of a vacation?”
“It’s something like that.” Kareem declined on elaboration and even the topic seemed to irritate him almost as stormily as the repast had. Since Tariq’s agreeing to join his squad, the captain had taken the older man on as almost a best friend—but remained closed-mouthed on many things.
“What are the ground rules of this excursion?” Tariq asked, but he was willing to break any to make contact with Fatima again. Two weeks had now gone by since they arrived from Pakistan and this was the first time the programmer had left the compound.
“There are none really,” the jihad commander said, “but as this is your first time in Bangkok, you may wish to stay close to me.”
“These conveyances alone must account for a full quarter of the air pollution.” Tariq remarked as they took a tok-tok taxi towards the hotel. It was a tricycle with a roof and a padded bench seat for passengers: powered by a lawn mower’s two-stroke engine, burning an oil-gas blend.
“Massage?” The driver handed back a postcard-sized leaflet.
“Is it a soapy?” The younger Arabic man asked.
“What you like.” The driver didn’t have a certainty about what he was touting. He just had to usher farangs to the door to get his commission.
“You’ll find this enjoyable.” The squad leader tapped his finger on the color picture of many Asian women seated on a three-tired bench. Inset, were photos of room’s amenities. The difference between this and a fancy hotel’s flyer was the models reclined on the beds, were fully unclothed.
“This is only a three block walk from the Mercy.” Tariq mentioned as the tok-tok blue-smoked into a parking garage off Rama II Road.
“This will be quite an experience for you.” Kareem described. “First you choose a lady or several. You’ll go to a room where you’ll recline on an air mattress. Instead of the masseuse using oil or powder, she will cover your body with hot soapsuds—and then take it from there.”
“It sounds like you’ve experienced a few.”
“Uh,” Kareem suddenly remembered the line of crap he was feeding Fatima’s father and backtracked, “other guys have told me all about them.”
Inside the lavish vestibule, females sitting behind windows matched the dog-eared brochure from the taxi. The women each wore a circular plastic tag with a number printed on it.
“Is there a lovelier fishbowl anywhere in Asia?” A grinning pimp with a gold tooth asked as he showed the Arabic men to some plush furniture. Sofas were set as if the selection of prospective masseuses was the wide screen at a VIP movie theater. “Would you take some drinks?”
“No,” Tariq quickly chose a forlorn looking Asian lady in a sequined ball gown, “I’ll take girl number seventy two.”
“She’s a very good choice.” The tout began to extol her virtues.
“I imagine I’ll determine her skills for myself.” The programmer cut off the spiel. “I only want to know if she shares a language with me.”
“Tiem speaks good English.” The host hurried off to fetch her.
“I’ll wait here for you.” Kareem peeled cash from a large pocket roll.
“That’s two boring hours for you.” After a stop at an ATM, Tariq now had money of his own. Sam’s amazing ID even came with a working bank account. “I’ll just walk back to the hotel and meet up with you later.”
“Handsome man,” Tiem opened with a stock line, “what your name?” She took his arm and walked towards the back corner of the foyer.
“I’m here to ditch my buddy.” Tariq said as they entered an elevator. He pulled a thousand baht note from his pocket. “You can snooze while I sneak away.” He handed her the cash. “Here’s your tip.”
“San-noose?” Her lips didn’t do the English diphthong easily.
“It means sleep or be lazy.”
[Sheik Romeo bin Sneaky stays pure by only taking three at a shot.]
While slipping away through the exit corridor, Tariq spied the captain headed to the elevators with a trio and his mind tried picturing what might happen in the soapy massage. That is one female sponge for each sidewall and a third to lather the roof. “Puke!” He recalled whose corpulent body they would be scrubbing. “My mind didn’t need to see Kareem like that!”

“We haven’t chatted since 9/11.” A real sheik in his traditional robes reclined on a divan aboard his Grumman Gulfstream IV. “The unexpected attack on the President is a wild joker in an otherwise well-stacked deck.”
The other passenger nodded and he blinked several times.
“Is that topic tender just now?” Ghazi needled his guest’s nervousness.
“I’m not sure what to think about it.”
“Of course you’re not. You haven’t been advised of your opinion yet.” The Arab scoffed, but then stroked with the other side of his sharp tongue. “That is one of your fine qualities and it’s precisely why I’ve brought you along on this trip. I want you to meet some influential people with me.”
“In Riyadh and then in Bangkok.” The diminutive guest presumed the true purpose had more to do with the recent stock market fight, than with the recently failed presidential assassination attempt. “The first destination makes sense but I’m unsure of who we’ll be in contact with in the second.”
“You’ll find the Thailand visit especially enlightening.” Ghazi snapped his fingers for the air steward to set up a chessboard. “You surprised me in our first game. I wonder if you’ve practiced since. I will warn you that if I suspect you’re trying to let me win,” bin Omani chuckled, “I’ll eject you from my plane without landing first to do so.”
The small man didn’t answer but focused instead on the onyx and white marble set being positioned on a walnut and ash wood board.
“King’s pawn.” Ghazi ordered the steward to move the piece.
“I expected an easy game in my share fight after my contractor sent word of an attitude adjustment on Bob’s queen,” Sheik bin Omani changed the subject while his mute opponent considered a counter to the opening, “but my threat had precisely the opposite effect.”
“I shouldn’t know about that.” The man’s eyes were as furtive as a rat in a floodlighted alley. He moved his own piece—it was queen’s pawn.
“After our brief stop in Riyadh I’ll have far more cash available to me, than the software geek and his gay asshole surmise.” Ghazi ignored the comment. “Gaining the use of that money will simply cost me some power chips. I need show I can replace the markers—and that brings me to you.”
As the flight continued eastward to Saudi Arabia, the white side of the board won six consecutive games but the guest offered enough challenge to arrive intact and land along with the aircraft.

“A rooftop sniper shot at the president.” The programmer read part of an Internet story on his search portal’s home page. That was an interesting development but it didn’t impact on his scheme. His reason for being in the Internet café was to make a phone call and he preferred it on landline.
Four pm in Bangkok is four am in Toronto but Fatima awoke easily.
‘The fight between Wall Soft and bin Omani is turning nasty.’ Tariq looked at more world news while waiting for an answer.
“Is that you?” The girl asked on her hopes.
“That depends on if it was me you were expecting.” The programmer briefly described his situation. “Have I missed anything important?”
“Bob Wall bought a bigger boat.” Fatima reported her findings. When not working with, and learning from, Sam or listening to his fascinating stories, the hacker’s apprentice was delving into Low-Key’s backdoors.
“That’s only pivotal if I have a chance to sink it.” Tariq then listened as his protégé told of more of the doings at Wall Soft.
“Its too bad Ghazi is still in the digital bronze-age.”
“His company is,” Fatima bragged, “but I hacked his home computer.”
“Tell me everything!”
“He might there now so you can ask him yourself.” She continued. “He’s booked into an entire floor of suites in the Royal Bangkok Orchid Hotel.” She supplied the details. “It sounds like an awfully big party.”
“It’s more likely he’s traveling with only a few shy people.”
“I was expecting your call after Bijan’s recent email, telling Kareem to stay clear of the compound.”
“His feeling slighted could explain his sudden mood swing to grumpy.”
“That’s all I have. What it like on your end?”
“This is my first time off the site.” He described it as similar to a free trip to Florida, as won from an advertising flyer. The associated cost is a requirement of sitting through innumerable time-share condo sales pitches. “The amoral lifestyle in a jihad resort is complete with zealous diatribes.”
“Be careful.” Fatima warned.
“You didn’t say be good.” He surmised she had already guessed from his description of the compound, but Tariq confessed about Pun anyways.
“Do what you have to and don’t fret about it. Besides, I’m cuckolding you with Sam: after the crotchety ignition finally cranks over, his sex drive has the torque of a diesel tractor.” She fibbed and then said goodbye.

“We’re headed to the Nana Plaza.” Kareem spoke at the hotel room.
“My butt is spewing napalm after today’s chili peppers.” Tariq held the door as a shield, as if he wasn’t wearing clothes behind it. He held back a smile at the jihad leader’s suddenly ashen complexion.
“Come on over later if you start feeling better.” The commander left.
[Is debauchery the only activity in this city?]
“I’m sure there’s much more,” it was a commentary that the squad left a hedonistic compound only to traipse from one sex venue to the next, “a good example might be the unguided motorcycle tour we’ll be taking.”
[We should reconsider taking a guided boat.]
“It’s too late,” Tariq had bought a map at a convenience store and plotted the roads to his destination, “so clam up and memorize the route.” A shop near the hotel offered a motorbike and he had rented it for the day.
Cars and trucks on Bangkok roads are like square links in long chains that move when a traffic light sprocket turns green. The many motorcycles are as ball bearings rolling along in the channel whenever the chain moves, and surging between when the wider vehicle links, need to stop.
[Turn right but stay wrongly on the left—right here—left.]
“Fortunately, I see what you’re talking about.” In Thailand, cars drive on the left side but the right turn they were to take had a ramp that cut left to an overpass that swung right. To make the corner on short notice, Tariq had to change through four lanes of traffic. Doing so was navigating a jagged maze with car bumpers on the zigs, and fenders on the zags.
[You’re surprised I remembered the route.]
“I am actually.” Without the instructions from his back-brain driver, Tariq would’ve needed to pull over a dozen times already to consult a map.
[Does it mean that I’m real or that you’re an autistic savant?]
“I’ve given up on trying to decide that question.” The Iranian had other things to occupy his mind. He was arriving at the Al Qaeda compound’s access road. “Look for a handy spot to hide the bike.”
After walking the motorbike through a shallow ditch, the programmer leaned it against a tree. I hope there are no spiders, snakes or scorpions.
[Or eels, leeches and tropical piranhas in the river.]
“This isn’t the Amazon: I’ve seen loads of kids swimming in the river.” The Iranian switched on a waterproof flashlight he had purchased from a sidewalk shop and ploughed into dense foliage. “The younger ones even dive in wearing only their birthday swimsuits.”
Tariq had worried about jungle creatures and Loki had warned of the aquatic ones but in actuality, slapping the mosquitoes and brushing aside tangled branches kept him too busy to think about the other potential dangers. Finally, he reached the river: it was the same approximate time as it was on the evening when he had spied Osama alone in his courtyard.
The Arabic-Canadian switched off his flashlight and slipped it into his pocket. Clouds obscured the moon and stars but the sparse lights of the city’s edge sparkled the wavelets. He put his wrist through the carry-strap of a diver’s digital camera and stripped to his silk boxer shorts. Then Tariq waited motionless for a mass of water hyacinth to drift by.
[Like transit busses they are everywhere—until you want one.]

“I would wear only a pink pouch g-string and dance mariachi in a gay pride parade if it meant I could stay with her continuously.” Oksana didn’t think of Collin as an asshole and she was now well aware of his real sexual preference. “What anyone else thinks doesn’t matter to me.”
Since moving in with the Russian junky, Collin Hersker had felt he was walking on air. But then, he needed that cushion, because he was sure that fragile eggshells and glass were beneath. Bob’s mouth hadn’t broached the subject of the temporary living arrangements and as if it were a bubble of soap, his asshole’s lips hadn’t dared touching it yet either.
“Your daily report?” Bob Wall arrived in the afternoon but this time he had a valid excuse. Big customers had consumed his earlier schedule.
“Tediously slow gains, but I’m working on an idea.”
“That sounds good.” The CEO nodded sagely then he closely regarded his adjutant and pensively held his chin.
“Is there anything else?” The executive feared his enjoyable tryst in the adjoining suite was now coming under the hatchet.
“There is one other thing.” Wall braced for confrontation. “I pressured you into an uncomfortable situation. I was worried for your safety and I felt your staying there was the best solution.”
“I fully understand that and I’m not offended in the slightest.”
“If you want to move somewhere else,” Bob offered, “I’ll arrange tight security for you, despite whatever it costs.”
“Had you offered yesterday,” the master asshole saw an open avenue and he angled to it, “my answer might’ve been different. Just now though, the company has to suck every financial belt to a tighter notch.”
“I appreciate your devotion.” Bob grinned as a wallet pinch eased up. “You’re living above the store, as it were—is quite handy.”
“You set an example in dedication by giving up the apartment in this trying interim.” Collin wracked his brain for a subtle way to ask Bob not to peek in unannounced, but he drew a blank. There are many times when his barging in would be exceedingly difficult for a ‘gay’ man to explain.
“My schedule over the next few weeks is hectic anyways.” Truthfully, Bob had been also using Collin’s continued stay with the girl for a sideline reason: a period of abstinence, with her only contact being of no physical use to her, may cause his sex slave to appreciate her manly master more.
“Don’t undertake any large expenditures.” The asshole targeted the one outstanding cash problem. “I’ll need liquid funds in our accounts.”
“I’ll be frugal.” For the fib, Wall crossed his fingers behind his back. He would spend as little as possible but the president would be visiting Spokane and Bob needed to grease the influential axel.
“Buying the yacht drastically sliced away our margin for error.”
“I promise that I won’t get another until you give me a thumbs up.”
“That give me the impetus,” as his boss left, Collin fingered his black eye: after a few days of healing, it no longer hurt and the color had faded to greenish grey, “to take my efforts to the next level. I’m not the one who started using grimy tactics but I can fight as foul as Ghazi does.”
He consulted his Rolodex and dialed Dumont, Bach and Ratzler.
“This is Collin Hersker at Wall Soft Systems. I want Jonathon Dumont and Lauren Smyth in my office—pronto.”
“I’ll check if they’re available. May I put you on hold.”
“No, you may not. I didn’t inquire as to their schedules. I told you to send them here: please inform them of my requirements.”
“Yes sir.” The receptionist spoke only to a click and silence.
“A few weeks!” Collin hooted after hanging up. “I would smooch homophobic Bob right on his lips to positively prove my flaming gayness.”

Plenty of the smaller stems passed and then one clump that was as big as a putting green drifted in. It would provide good cover but was far too massive to control. The following one is perfect though. The leafy cluster was about the size and shape of a four-person Jacuzzi tub. The Iranian took two steps and was now up to his waist in the murky water.
He grasped the plants carefully to avoid breaking up the clump. With a further stride, he was up to his chest and the sluggish flow began to pull his feet into a slide along the mud. He briefly ducked underwater and surfaced in the center of the plants, as if the Hyacinth were foam in a bathtub.
[When you can see out then someone can also see in.]
“I’m presuming nobody will closely examine the passing clusters.”
“Was that a long root?” Tariq felt something suddenly brush his thigh. At the same instant, he spied the compound lights ahead. He used a hand to search around his legs but without a hold, the plants began to separate.
[Stop fidgeting and cover up!]
The programmer regained his grip on the Hyacinth root ball but felt more submerged contacts. The Iranian kicked out a foot and it hit a slimy object. Fish are nibbling at my skin. Another slithered up his chest and he dropped his eyes to see a whiskered snout near the surface. It’s a catfish.
[Luckily, your privates aren’t dangling like a wiggling worm.]
There’s someone on the bank ahead. Tariq went stiff as a stump in the water. The dim light showed he would soon be at the outer wall—and that a roving sentry was about to urinate into the river.
[He’s fly-fishing.]
The guard’s finger tackle didn’t hook into the codpiece in time. The programmer in the plants had passed by before he heard the trickle behind.
Tariq’s drift brought him to the upstream deck buttress and a swirling eddy threatened to turn his chin’s raft. The man dug his toes into the mud in an attempt to stay positioned. He was soon to pass a critical juncture at the wing of the house and moved to prepare his diver’s camera. Suddenly though, a fish the size of his foot squiggled up the leg of his boxer shorts.
“I don’t have enough hands!” The Iranian hissed: his one was holding the camera and the other wasn’t enough on its own, to hold the Hyacinth. Loki, chase the damned fish from the net of my underpants! The spy in the watery hedge found a view of the gazebo. But in that instant, the catfish in his shorts discovered a mouse that fit in its mouth.
[The pussy-fish is a man-eater. If it has teeth you’ll be a eunuch.]
The underwater maw took a larger purchase. I’m swallowed up to its fluttering gills. The suckling fish flipped upside-down and thrashed in an attempt to get free of the silk shorts net—while keeping an intended meal.
This is unnerving: I can’t take it much longer. He pulled the camera underwater and batted his crotch with it—that just annoyed the fish.
[There are three men on the patio.] Loki called for his attention.
Gamely, Tariq tore his mind away from the interspecies oral sex he was unintentionally engaged in. The figures were arranged in a shallow ‘V’, all facing the water. I’m drifting into view and my camouflage is shifting. He sacrificed the camera and held the hyacinth with both hands.
[The man in the upstream position is Osama.]
Yes, the programmer saw the rangy tall Arab in a turban and a beard, and the downstream one in the Saudi headgear is Sheik Ghazi bin Omani.
The impatient catfish redoubled its efforts and tried to gulp the tender morsel whole. Don’t eat it! At this crucial instant, Tariq floated by and was a five pace distance from the Caucasian man in a charcoal suit.
[There’s a Pulitzer winning tabloid shot—by an unready photographer.]
I can’t believe he is standing here with those two men! The submerged Arabic-Canadian knew the third man’s identity: who didn’t. As the current whisked him by, Tariq ducked under and shooed the lusty fish away.
[The press wouldn’t buy the photos from your paparazzi eyes.]
“Buy as in believe, or as in they wouldn’t dare to buy and print?” Both applications fit perfectly. A pun is a play-on-words and Pun had told him the Thai word for smoking, as in puffing on a cigarette, also means fellatio.
“My smoking gum was fishy,” as he found the deserted road and his motorbike, Tariq laughed aloud, “and the fishy gums were smoking.”

“Send them in.” Collin answered the Wall Soft receptionist.
The barristers entered awkwardly, as truants reporting to the principal’s office. The two stopped and stood through a long uncomfortable silence.
“You both look more fully-clothed in person, than you appear on TV.” The line was quite funny but Hersker’s countenance held no mirth. His better amusement was in seeing the lawyers both livid at the remark but with no comeback for the cutting quip. To let them squirm a bit longer, he looked at his new Russian chronograph—as if checking their punctuality.
“Today,” Collin abruptly spoke, “you can start earning your retainer.”
“Gladly.” Jonathon breathed sigh of relief. He had only expected this to be another brow beating over the public gaffe. Dumont was under dire orders from his named partner father to stoically accept any chastisement.
“What do you want us to do?” Lauren shared a feeling of respite. The very public humiliation had made her and Jonathon into office pariahs.
“I want you in New York gathering some information. Contact brokers or anyone necessary to obtain a list of bin Omani shareholders. You can offer bribes to the administrative staff in Ghazi’s employ and I’ll see that they are paid.” Hersker continued for a few minutes to outline the mission details to the pair of flabbergasted attorneys.
“That,” Lauren was first to find a faltering voice, “isn’t strictly ethical.”
“Is rolling over on someone you represent and disclosing privileged info to land a bigger client, a display of lofty principles?” After rebuking the woman, the executive shifted his gaze to the male half of the tag team. “Lawyers specialize in different aspects of practice. You two have clearly demonstrated your turpitude. In fact, your perfidy is the only qualification that makes you uniquely suitable for this assignment.”
The two ruby-faced lawyers glanced at each other and the brief eye contact confirmed that both were desperate enough.
“I’ll do it.” The pair answered in unison.
“You’ll report only to me.” Collin handed over a card with his private number. “Take the next flight out.” The words served as a dismissal and the lawyers departed as if frog-marched out by a bailiff.

“I wish I could weave a web to trap Sam Levy.” It was mid-afternoon and Katya stared at a spider walking on the stippled plaster ceiling. “After wrapping him in my silk, I could suck out information like his vital fluids.”
‘The sheik and geek are just dancing in the ring and exchanging jabs.’ The Iranian had called last night and the hacker’s protégé gave her take.
‘A soapbox derby is the better sporting analogy.’ Tariq had suggested. ‘We gave strong shoves: gravity will send the carts to a break-neck pace.’
“Thinking of neck-breaking, I’d enjoy snapping Sam’s stiff vertebras.” In the present, Katya heard the phone rang. “His vow can be damned.”
“I’ll get it.” She spoke quietly but doubted Sam would hear even if she had shouted. Not in any particular hurry, she was on her feet and across the room on the third tone. She lazily pulled the door and it moved without sound: her stocking feet made no noise as she stepped into the doorframe.
“Sam?” Scratchy words emanated from the telephone’s receiver. “Do you know who this is calling?” The oblivious forger’s back was turned.
“Yes, I do young son of my very good friend.”
Young son of my very good friend? The girl replayed his words in her mind. She made her breathing shallow to remain absolutely quiet.
“I need some more of your fine work.” A male voice quickly outlined a procedure and a pre-determined time for another conversation. It would be over disposable cell-phones and to give a complete description of a job.
“How much did you hear?” Sam’s cheeks went flour-paste white.
“I caught it all and both sides too. Which old friend has a young son?”
“I—uh—I.” His mind’s flywheel lost synch with his mouth’s gearbox.
“Do I have a half-brother?” The young woman’s hands were on hips as if she were a mother scolding a five-year-old. “I don’t care beans about a stale-dated life-debt promise to a dead man.”
“Katya—.“ The counterfeiter withered under the fuming girl’s glare.
“This secret you’re desperately clinging to,” he was studying his shoes, so she softened, “is like a girl dressed only in a wet silk negligee. I already see almost everything—and you’re tearing us apart over the rest.”
“You just think it’s all that transparent.” Sam defended but the promise he made was becoming far too complicated. “You heard the part about the untraceable phones.” He looked up again. “You can go pick them up.”
“I want you to tell me everything.” The female didn’t budge.
“I’ve wanted to do that right from the start,” Sam paused, “and not just with you either. Your errand will let me think through my thorny issues.”
“We’re going to have an honest and complete discussion when I get back.” She was tempted to wag a finger but that might be overdoing it.
“My dear old friend,” Sam watched out the window for the pickup to drive away. “I hope you’ll forgive my blabbing, but we didn’t foresee this predicament.” He peeled back the living room rug to reveal a loose board. After rummaging, he set the cigar box out of sight beside the couch.
“I’ll tell you all,” the counterfeiter spoke his terms after Katya returned, “but only if you clam up until I’ve finished the phone call.”

“If one dips an oasis too deeply it stops filling the bucket.” A recently promoted Rajah Fakir ladled the favorable opinion out. Being close to the Arabic CEO held increased pay and elevated status, but it came with a steep price tag—as his fellow executives recently advised. “At this turtle’s pace, we’ll all be dead of old age by the time Wall takes us over.”
“My sons,” with an unreadable expression, the sheik regarded the man standing by the desk, “would then be underlings to his.”
“And,” the unexpected look gave Rajah a sudden inspiration—it was speaking his mind that got the junior man elevated. Ghazi had scads of yes men but they weren’t promoted, “that worries me more than if Hersker was buying shares hand over fist.”
“The queen opened with some good gambits,” Ghazi’s thick eyebrows arched upwards and his lips curled up into a repressed smile, “but in this mid-game stage he’s holding his power pieces in behind the pawn shield.”
“He’s waiting for an error.” The assistant tested his bond with the boss by pulling up a chair: since the action didn’t result in an instant death, he sat in it. “Could the board be turned on him instead?”
“I do prefer attacking over defending.” Emboldened by the success of his trip overseas, Ghazi considered a now possible alternate strategy. His mind wandered to the related subject.
The Stryker Group controlled a vast political influence and Ghazi had inherited a large stake in that entity. The bin Omani family had ready cash to bail Stryker out of a long ago situation. With the units under his indirect control, Ghazi had enough voting stock to actually usurp leadership.
“Taking the Stryker Group,” the sheik thought aloud, “would be akin to swallowing a poisoned apple while it’s gripped in the coils of rattlesnake.” Bernard had held the power reins for long enough to have installed many corporate cyanide pills for his protection.
“That man doesn’t just have skeletons in his closet.” Rajah Fakir had a distinct impression Ghazi wasn’t speaking to him and he wanted the boss to have the opportunity to stop before he said too much. “Stryker’s whole basement is full of the bones of his previous enemies.”
“Wresting the Stryker group from Bernard,” the sheik’s eyes focused on his employee, “would easily enable me to buy out Wall Soft Systems.”
“You would also reap the benefits of Styker’s political connections.” Fakir offered a bold snippet and was rewarded with a smile.
“You know that,” Ghazi chuckled grimly, “and Stryker is aware of it. Maybe Bob and his queen are fretting it too.” He shooed his man away.
“But with Wall Soft merged into my company, I don’t need Stryker or his group.” The sheik could now speak freely and he did. “Bangkok was a deft stroke in the art of manipulation. Both those men are now under my influence and Bernard was unknowingly cropped from the big picture.”

At the appropriate moment, Sam dialed his new cell phone and waited for the rings. He took a very deep breath in anticipation of a conversation he had been both dreading and eagerly anticipating.
“Hello,” After establishing connection and confirmation of identities, the boy outlined his requirements—and the words froze in the pit of Sam’s stomach like liquid hydrogen. Why there? Cruel history repeats itself.
“Sam?” The young man took the dead air in his ear as a disconnection.
“I’m still here.” Sam confirmed his continued presence—then paused. Breaking the letter of my oath might in fact be keeping the spirit of it.
“John, when you used that name that I won’t say on a cell phone, so publicly, I began to worry. You threw open a door that’s been shut for a very long time. It might’ve been something your father wanted but I know it’s not what he expected. If you had completed your task in that city, the name would’ve been a capstone to it. You didn’t finish and that word has complicated things. You have exposed yourself to certain people.”
“You know my real name and what I’m doing!”
“I know that and much more but I also made a promise to your father and I’m not going to tell you until I can. You’ll understand when I do but until you fulfill your oath, I can’t. The name you used has now involved dangerous people who could possibly expect you to go to Ukraine because of something your father did. Don’t go there unless you can find a way to indicate that you aren’t. Your father taught how to use misdirection and now you really need it.”
“Join me,” after finishing the call’s business, Sam disconnected and looked to the silent girl: she had kept her end of the pact, “on the sofa.”
“Okay.” Her voice was meek.
“This is John.” Sam opened the box and withdrew a photo that he had secreted from the last set used for false identification.
“He was my brother!” Katya recognized the face and put her fingers across her mouth. John was the young gunman in the Windsor strip club. He saved her life by killing Anaconda and the gangsters. My lack of sexual response to him is now understandable—but how did my glands know it?
“Look closer.” Sam wondered if her use of past tense was due to her shock. “He is your fraternal twin brother.”
“He grew up alone without me too.” Katya’s mind raced to times in her life when the pre-birth memories of him swimming together with her in the womb had sustained her in periods of loneliness.
“He matured in many ways more lonely than you.” Sam Levy hugged her shoulders to quell the shuddering. “Still he wasn’t alone either because he had your father from his birth to the instant of the man’s death.”
“Why were we separated?”
“For good motives, your father killed Kennedy from the Dallas grassy knoll. He only learned afterwards that he was betrayed and the true reason wasn’t honorable. John is on a mission to correct that error.”
“He’s going to the Ukraine and I can help him.”
“John has to be completely focused. He doesn’t know about you and he won’t find out until he’s finished.”
“I met my brother in Windsor.” Katya continued after no words issued from his agape mouth. “I didn’t tell you exactly how Tariq and I finally hooked up.” She gave a brief accounting.
“Your family’s fate has more twists than a licorice factory!”

“The raisins may prove out sweet,” Rajah quoted old Arabic lore and the nubs straining at the material of her tight gown were as plump raisins, “but the juicy grapes are already ripe.” The lady was offering him a bowl of green grapes, but Fakir’s eyes were feasting on the fruits above the dish: those were more like halved pomegranates with thick puckered stems.
“The taste is just to roll over,” Lauren Smyth seductively put one to her mouth: caressed the skin with her lips and then bit it in half, “and die for.”
“The roll-over part is easy,” his enhanced statue at bin Omani gave him access, “but I’m certain Ghazi could make the dying slow and painful.”
“That’s the pessimistic projection.” The lawyer pointed her tongue and with it, she scooped the pulpy insides from the remaining half grape skin. “You should focus instead on the positives. They are before your eyes.”
“They are?” Rajah had stopped breathing while the lady performed the erotic act of eating: he had to gasp for air. The enticing female wore a pale jade evening dress that encased her figure snugly from her chest to the knees and from there it flared to her shapely mid-calves. She had invited him up to her hotel suite, on a pretense of not being ready for dinner yet.
“Those could certainly be yours.” By not specifying what those were, Lauren had deliberately implied that her succulent body parts, that his eyes were in the process of devouring, were definitely included in the deal. “As I see it, Wall could buy bin Omani—and you would loose. Or, a take-over might fail and Sheik Ghazi would no longer need his trusted advisor. But, you are currently in a perfect position to hedge a bet for either eventuality.”
“How so?” Rajah recalled a drop of grape juice that had dribbled down her chin and he wiped his face to ensure he wasn’t drooling too.
“If you provide me with I really want,” she squatted down between his knees and rested her elbows on his thighs, “my employer will handsomely reward you and you’ll earn his favor. If Wall isn’t successful, you will still have the cash and you can further impress Sheik bin Omani with a timely detection of an almost unforeseeable ploy.”
“I could report it to him right now and prevent the action.”
“Will Ghazi pat your back,” her hand tapped his leg to simulate, but the fingertips were also high enough to stimulate, “and say attaboy Rajah?”
“I brought the disk.” The bin Omani corporation executive made his decision: his eyes hungrily flicked to an invitingly ajar bedroom door. “I’ll hand it over to you—afterwards.”
“I’ll call my assistant now.” Lauren stood. “So that—later,” her hands smoothed the wrinkles from the slinky gown: it was snug as spandex and left none of her curves to the imagination, “your money will be here too.”

“Jacqueline Antenenko.” Katya fanned out a passport, driver’s license, birth certificate and credit cards. “Don’t I get a choice of given names this time? Jacqueline has too many syllables. I’ll have to shorten it to Jackie or something. The middle name is abnormal too.”
“Do whatever you like with it.” Sam smiled wryly.
“What’s so special about this ID set?” The young woman squinted to figure out what Sam was up to: he had an odd look about his wrinkled face.
“This and one other I made for your brother, represent the best sets I’ve ever created.” The forger let her absorb that for a pause before explaining. “Your parents never registered your birth but I did—well, sort of.”
“This can’t be my true name,” Katya looked with renewed vigor at the lettering, “because I don’t have one.”
“Your parents initially called you Jacqueline, just as they called your brother, John. The middle one is your mom’s maiden name and your dad’s surname was Antenenko. After you were born, I submitted paperwork and over the years, I’ve kept up a legacy on them. Each year children illegally in Canada have gone to school under those identities.” Sam’s expression was as prideful as William Shakespeare’s must’ve been at the premier performance of Macbeth. “The ID set you’re holding is as good as the real McCoy because it actually is: this is government issued—for you.”
“I have a name!” Katya’s mind waffled. “What if I don’t want one?”
“Then toss it away. This was a labor of love so my godchildren would have a choice. I’ll still make as many false sets as you want.”
“I know what I’ll do with in identity.” Jacqueline had assumed the new persona already. “It should be done in this bulletproof manner.”

“Make yourself at home.” Bernard waved his guest to a den adjoining his office. Two easy chairs sat semi-facing a blazing fireplace. “I brought you here because Mr. Dumont is an acquaintance of mine.”
“Jonathon has gone back to Seattle.” Lauren Smyth apologized. Even the limo driver sent to pick her up had seemed surprised he wasn’t there.
“While your travel ticket was inexplicably and accidentally cancelled.” Stryker sat then took up a poker to rearrange the burning logs. “That was nightmarish service from my airline. Should I fire someone over it?”
“They were nice enough and gave me some compensation frills.”
“I’m sure we haven’t offered nearly enough.” He put the poker down.
“Ah,” Lauren brightened, “Gerald Dumont is who you referred to.”
“Why should I need the son, when his father is already on my payroll.” Bernard clasped his hands together and made a finger steeple. “You on the other hand,” he pointed his two digits at her, “have shown some interesting aspects of yourself—and not just your pink on the links either.”
“I suspect the reason I’m here,” the lady lawyer blushed on the topic of her public shame, “involves information on Bob Wall and Ghazi Omani.”
“I could easily get that from Gerald.” Stryker reclined further back into his chair and crossed his knee: as if in preparation for a lengthy discussion. “I much more eager to learn what really happened to Ethan Smyth.”

Loki’s Trojan 20 – Here Siam Without Remorse

Chapter 20

Here Siam Without Remorse

‘I’m authorized to take you to a special training facility.’ Kareem had not extended the offer to the girl after all. ‘Your daughter is welcome to come along on our flight, but only to stay in the nearby city.’
As Tariq pulled his luggage from a lavishly decorated lorry, he recalled the invitation. The ex-cop hadn’t seemed overly disappointed when I told him Fatima left suddenly to tend a sick aunt.
[Osama bin Airlines has some state-of-the-art equipment.]
“We’re flying on that?” Tariq asked on seeing a chartered aircraft that could’ve been acquired as Vietnam War surplus.
“It’s slyly listed as carrying a cargo of vegetables.” Kareem bragged.
“That freight seems too valuable to risk in an antique plane like this.” Tariq muttered to himself as he ascended a wooden crate step to enter the seat-less cabin. Onboard, he sat on a pile of cargo netting, then closed his lids and tried to shut out the rattling take-off.
“Rivets pinning the plane’s skin are so loose that we may shed like an airborne snake.” The Iranian self-commented after the craft had lurched aloft. “I hope the bolts securing the wings aren’t similarly slack.”
The programmer pushed the airplane’s mechanical condition from mind by revisiting his final evening with his girlfriend.
‘I’ll wait in Karachi, until you know where that nearby city is.’ Fatima had offered. ‘You might need me and your computer handy.’
‘You’ll go straight to Toronto.’
‘Okay,’ the girl had her one condition, ‘but tonight is our last one for awhile and we’ll play by only my rules.’
‘Won’t we get complaints from the neighbors for our being obnoxious.’
‘We’ll be gone before any eviction orders.’ Fatima looked playfully quizzical. ‘Don’t you really mean obstreperous? They shouldn’t find us unpleasant and offensive but we will definitely be noisy and boisterous.’
‘I used the wrong word but you were persnickety in pointing it out.’ Tariq thought about her faultless command of English and extensive vocabulary. ‘How did you come by such an astonishing linguistic talent?’
‘My grandfather was American and my grandmother was East Indian. Both were well educated. My mother grew up speaking English and Hindi. She was abducted and lived in the Soviet Union where she spoke Russian. During my childhood we switched between her three primary tongues.’
‘Those are your best ones then?’
‘Yes, but living in other countries I picked up marginal ability in more.’
“We were certainly rambunctious enough to disturb folks living next door.” Back on the ramshackle flight and with a smile, Tariq’s memory skipped pleasurably to the last portion of the night.
[Bubblegum and duct tape keeps the parts flying united.]
I presume you referred to the airplane and not some kinky aerial sex techniques practiced behind the sacred gates of Asgård.
[Don’t be blasphemous. I’m not a good-standing member of the Æsir.]
I just provided you with ambrosia for your prurient thoughts.
[And given yourself puerile grist to prevent your mind from chewing through the assassination cud.]
“I was more surprised than she was.” Tariq recalled her reaction. ‘You sick, twisted bastard.’ He wondered whom was Zafira referring to? ‘Were my marital infidelity and my life only grizzly notches on your bedpost?’
“I’m certain she wasn’t talking to Kareem: Zafira gave no indications of having ever seen him before.” The programmer’s words were whispers but even a shout wouldn’t have carried far over the old aircraft’s noise. “I am so glad my Fatima will never see that remorseless killer again.”
“Bangkok?” Tariq emerged from his reverie as the plane clattered into an approach to the airport. Seen from the aircraft’s window, ‘the City of Angels’ was shrouded in an omnipresent haze of vehicle emissions. With canals randomly crisscrossing the city, it looked like lush tropical Venice.
[There were once more waterways and it was called Asia’s Venice.]
I suppose that’s a snippet I read somewhere and have since forgotten.
They had left Pakistan as cargo and they arrived as freight as well. An open-boxed transport truck met the plane on the ramp and the ten bags of produce unloaded themselves. Men sitting as uncovered cargo might raise suspicions if seen in North America, but here the sight was commonplace. As the vehicle trundled through Bangkok’s early traffic, he saw numerous people on the non-passenger parts of transports: Tariq even saw four Thai men riding a tanker-truck like it was a saddled water buffalo.
They entered a private road south of the main city of Bangkok but it soon came to a barricaded chicane and a security post. Thai guards, who awakened as the van snaked around the offset fences, gave an impression of this being a lavish resort. Inside the high chain-link fence, the grounds were tended but there were also sections of natural jungle. Doubtlessly, the water frontage on a thick channel of the muddy Chao Phraya River was a 4-star hotel at one time and the guest rooms were individual cabanas.
“That area is the private dwelling of our host,” Kareem nudged Tariq and indicated an upstream portion of the complex divided from the rest with a wall, “but I doubt you’ll be invited in to meet Osama quite yet.”
“He’s not in Afghanistan!” The programmer nearly dropped his bag.
[A matador in a turban has the NATO bull charging at only a red cape.]
“People assume the world’s most wanted man is holed up in a remote spot,” Kareem snickered, “but he’s hiding in a throng of the onlookers.”

“I wish I could say it good was to be back.” Katya gave her godfather a hug: she had switched identification after Fatima’s landing in Toronto.
“Let’s have a cup of Earl Grey and you can tell me all about your trip.”
“It was a long and lonely series of flights.” The female collapsed into a chair and she rested her tired head in her hands. “I fretted the whole way.”
“I didn’t mean just the journey back.” Sam set a cup in front of her and poured: he already had it made before she had arrived.
“I don’t even know where in the world Tariq is right now.” She stared into the liquid and the color reminded her of his skin. “When I learned of the assassination in Quetta, I felt a chill and immediately thought of him.”
“We didn’t talk much about this,” the godfather changed the subject: this one was obviously painful, “but I owe you a substantive amount of money in accumulated maintenance payments.”
“Okay?” Bemused, Katya looked up at his twinkling old eyes. Where does this topic come from? She didn’t really care squat about money and especially at this moment, it was unimportant to her.
“Alas, but you’ve caught me rather short of funds.” Sam Levy tried to appear contrite. The programmer had phoned after her plane departed: he asked the forger to keep the girl’s mind as occupied as possible. “I used to pay part of my obligation to you and your mom in the documents I made.”
“There’s no hurry.” The girl was puzzled about where this was coming from or headed towards. She turned it around slightly, with a wink. “I am shy of a man right now and am more than willing to take it out in trade.”
“Oye vey!” Sam hooted. “My stiff corpse better end up with a stiffy-on or I’ll still be indebted to you, even after my very early death.”
“Alright, what else did you have planned?
“To young people, a decent education is worth more than wealth. If I teach you what I know—would you call us square?”
“Would you?” Katya asked excitedly.
“I’m far too near to mandatory retirement age to fear an apprentice opening up a shop in competition.” The antique forger was already well in advance of that number of years. “I don’t actually have to worry either: it would take both of your scrawny feet to fill even one of my shoes.”
On the comment, Katya pointedly looked at his footwear’s dismal state of disrepair. Her smug smile was a vicious retort that needed no words.
“I didn’t buy this building because I liked my neighbors.” Sam led to the alley entryway and moved aside a door-sized shelving unit: it swung on well-oiled hinges. “It was built in the mid-sixties and the owner thought surviving to see a nuclear winter might make for some great skiing.”
“This room is even below your cellar.” Katya estimated. The forger’s pupil was astounded at his ultra-modern computers and advanced gear. I suspected we’d be surprised—but I’m staggered beyond any fore-inkling.

How can Osama be here without being noticed? After stepping on the captain’s claymore mine of surprise knowledge, Tariq walked in a mist of frenetic mental activity. He was barely aware of being shown to his hut.
“Drop your bag,” Kareem held the door, “and we’ll go for a coffee.”
If the recognizable personage travels at all it would be in a limousine with shaded windows. After tossing his suitcase on the luggage stand, he took the proffered key and trailed along behind. It makes sense: anyone’s going to the Thailand capital to meet him, isn’t likely to arouse suspicions.
[It’s a secure keep with a moat and 10 million shield-maidens.]
A western-leaning population center is safe from being bombed to target only one man. Although, I’m not certain I would put much beyond the current American presidential administration.
From the room, the two strolled along a flagstone sidewalk bordered with lawns and shrubs. The twisting way had a few forks to the other guest rooms and circled past a tennis court, before arriving at the café. This was an open air dining area with a terrace over the water. A few Arabic men with female companions were sparsely occupying the tables.
“Is this place a type of school?”
“What we learn here is more valuable than education.” Kareem spoke guardedly. “It’s also a staging area with amenities for rest and relaxation.”
“My impression,” Tariq saw scantily clad Asian girls frolicking around a kidney shaped pool, “is that this retreat is in breach of Koran Laws.”
“This is where potential martyrdom,” Kareem signaled for service, “is edited from a rough sketch into Technicolor cinematography.”
[Osama’s soldiers come here to partake of earthly pleasures.]
Immorality is against the religious articles even when fighting a holy war. Tariq flicked his eyes to the relative safety of the menu. He needed a moment to decide what attitude to display.
“How about a drink?” The overweight commander asked. “If the bar in the coffee shop doesn’t have what you want,” he nodded over a shoulder at another building, “we’ll have it sent over from the lounge.”
“I’ll start with an orange juice and call it breakfast.” Tariq avoided the offer of liquor until he finished thinking. He looked at indicated structure.
Gables and peaks on the pitched roof were decorated with traditional Siamese carved spike accoutrements. Frosted glass doors opened a few times before their order arrived. Once was admitting a trio of single men: the other was as some emerged—each with a female date on his arm.
He was zoned and watching out while the jihad captain ordered the juice. Coffee for both and a tray of fruit had been brought over on spec.
“My mind was wandering,” the Iranian heard disjointed words and he realized Kareem had finished talking with the waiter and said something to him—he had missed it, “in trying to understand what I’m observing.”
“That’s understandable as this is your first time here.” The portly Al Qaeda man had also been absorbed in a study of the writer’s expressions. “After the rigors of our missions, some troops like female companionship.”
“Isn’t decadence what the Jihad is against?” Tariq sipped his coffee: in contrast to Afghanistan’s strong brews, this was like hot muddy water.
“The Koran tells men how they should behave and the official rules of personal conduct remain true to scriptures but here, adherence is up to each man’s personal choices. Our commitment to the cause brings us special dispensations and a soldier isn’t chastised for his off-duty behavior.”
“My one guess would’ve been this place was to test a man’s resistance to temptation but you’ve just confirmed that it isn’t the case.”
“If a man dies in a jihad,” Kareem explained a Koran principle, “his soul goes to paradise: despite how piously the warrior conducted his life.”
“I doubt many Mullahs would approve.”
“Some do.” The officer took a fork and speared a slice of watermelon. “Why should a soldier be denied some pleasures in life, when his death in service of Allah will offset all earthly sins anyways?”
[The root of human problems is in rationalizing wrong for right.]
The captain didn’t stop with one fruit sampling. He took bite after bite.
“That holds a certain common sense.” But it’s based on warped logic. Tariq considered the reasoning. If a jihad warrior had a heart attack while with one of these girls, would it count as a death in the throws of battle?
[Can a holy war be fought by impure troops?]
“Every Islamic man is responsible for his own decisions in life.” Tariq offered a platitude to avoid sounding either self-righteous or willing to debauch until he decided which to portray. I need to balance an illusion of Islamic fervor that brought me here—with being amiable enough to stay.
[Oarsmen who backstroke are tossed from the longboat.]
“Osama has provided houris,” as the jihad man was finishing the last of the fruit, the programmer summed up what he was witnessing, “to grant the thousand-year orgasm ahead of death’s reward.”
“In life,” Kareem laughed and some honeydew juice dribbled down his whiskers, “that’s far beyond a normal man’s stamina.”
“I still taste exhaust fumes from the trip.” Tariq’s tongue licked around the inside of his mouth. “I need to brush these diesel filters off my teeth.”
“I’ll stop by your room later and we can visit the lounge together.”
[This place is as insidious as a cult.]
“Yes, disenfranchised Arabic young men gravitate to the Jihad in hopes of changing the world. Yet they love life and really don’t want to die.” As he meandered to his billet, his vocalization was an unintelligible mumble: it was just for himself and his soul rider. “After the inductee’s urges have been indulged there is doubtlessly indoctrination. They come to realize the way to offset their sins and gain paradise will be to die when instructed to.”
[Hence, there is no shortage of volunteer for suicide bombs.]
“The Al Qaeda organization has spoiled their chances of eternal reward in any other way. This terror sect takes brainwashing to a lower plateau.” The Iranian arrived back at his bungalow. “First they help the conscience to get dirty and then launder it with propagandized detergent.”
[You’ll have to soil your clothes too, and put them into the hamper.]
“I don’t want to think about that quite yet.” Tariq stretched out on the coverlet and put his hands behind his weary neck. One or more of the 911 terrorists may have slept and sinned in this very bed. He watched a skink run along the upper portion of the teakwood wall and his imagination gave the creature the wings and fuselage of a 767 jumbo jet.
“That lizard is clever.” The Iranian watched the creature scoot over to a fire protection device mounted on an upper wall molding, and then skitter across to the ceiling and hide in the light fixture. “Flies are drawn to the bulb and they end up in his hungry gullet.”
Wait a second, his eyes backed up, smoke detectors don’t work there. A corner between a ceiling and wall is a dead air space. To do its job best, the unit needed to be on the flat of the ceiling and preferably at mid room. Is that a lens in the center? Again, this was at odds with his fire services training. A detector used a lens and a mirror but they were internal, to look for smoke particles inside the unit. That’s a crafty surveillance camera.
The scaly creature had now secreted itself away from sight, but the man realized that his entire room was under observation.
[Are skinks reptiles or amphibians?]
“One species is a homo-sapient and it has a hyper-active mating urge.” Under scrutiny or not, the long journey caught up and he closed his eyes. Kareem knew what was here and he knows how it will be to his benefit.
[He wants leverage on you—set on Osama’s fulcrum of vice.]

“You may want to see this.” Katya hollered out: Sam had just flushed the toilet. “Someone just tried to assassinate the American President.”
“Did he kill him?” The old man shuffled faster than his frail legs could safely move. He cut a corner sharply and cracked an elbow on the wall.
“Be careful!” The girl watched Sam quicken his pace after the impact. With eyes wide, the forger leaned towards the picture tube. He’s so enrapt that I’m worried he’ll fall. She took his hips in her both hands and guided him to sitting on the sofa beside her. The two watched the breaking story out of Akron, Ohio. Is this the season for assassinations?
“The shootings at a rally are still occurring.” The anchorman’s voice was tense as visions of carnage flooded across the screen. “This graphic footage is live and viewer discretion is advised.”
‘Bang!’ The view panned to an unfurled banner fluttering in a breeze. Words were boldly lettered. ‘Shiva’s Messenger has spoken’.
“Finish it boy!” Sam was so engrossed in his viewing that he forgot he wasn’t alone. “You’ve said Shiva—so now you have to kill him!”
Sam knows what’s really happening here! Katya had watched the news with interest. Now, the more riveting drama was on the couch beside her.
The final shot of the day, at least as far as the TV covered it live, was a bullet aimed at the president, that struck a female Secret Service agent.
“How could you possibly miss him?” Sam Levy gripped his face with both hands. Suddenly, but much too late, he remembered he wasn’t alone. The old man turned to face the inevitable questions.
“Who is Shiva?” Katya looked accusingly into his guilty eyes.
“The name Shiva,” Sam Levy withered under the girl’s stare, “hasn’t been said aloud in a long time.” What can I safely tell her?
“It’s been chanted plenty often enough. My mother instructed me in Tantra and the Lord of the Dance is a very important figure in our faith.”
“Your mother was a follower,” Sam nervously laughed at the absurdity of so much happening that he was still unable to explain to her, “and even a precursor of Shiva in more ways than you could possibly guess at.”
“And?” Katya urged for an explanative follow-up. “You can’t stop now after dropping that ultra-tantalizing tidbit!”
“And yes, I do know who the shooter in Akron is. I may as well admit it because that was so instantly apparent.” He put a consoling hand on the young woman’s knee. “But, I also made a blood vow.”
“It all involves that one pledge to my father.” The girl’s mind shuffled her prior hand of information in with some new cards. “Whoever that was in Akron must’ve been featured in the pictures you wouldn’t show me.”
Sam tightened his lips and refused answering her correct supposition.
“There were snapshots of my mother, father and me in the collection.” Her mind forged a next link in the chain of logic. “My family has another member.” She glared accusingly at his stoic face. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

In the evening, a rap on his door ended Tariq’s after-travel nap.
“Don’t sleep the whole night away.” Kareem’s affable grin turned to one of humor on seeing the man with bed creases down the side of his face.
“Give me a second for a bracer shot of Blue Whiskey.”
“I was referring to mouthwash and I spit it out instead of swallowing.” The programmer scurried to the washroom and gargled while examining the lines on his cheek that were caused by sleeping on rumpled bedding. I can’t do much, but wait until my blood circulation smoothes them.
“Those are rails,” Tariq joked, “for a train of my slumbering thoughts.”
“We can switch tracks here,” the squad leader took a different fork on the walk, “for a shorter distance to the lounge.”
This route took the two men near the entrance to Osama’s private living area. The buildings there matched in style to the ones accessible to the rank and file troops, but a cinderblock wall had been recently erected. The one break had a wrought iron gate, flanked by armed Arabic guards.
Arriving at the door observed earlier, Kareem opened it and ushered the programmer into the air-conditioned room. They took seats in wicker basket chairs near the corner, and Tariq looked around.
A hollow oval bar was ringed with stools and the female bartenders in the center were all working topless. Along one mirrored sidewall, a long narrow stage had a wide selection of females dancing in bikinis. The end farthest from the door also had a stage, but chrome bars fronted this one and the girls there, were performing in the nude.
Besides the women on the two stages, a number of others in bikinis or skimpy clothing circulated the room or sat in the empty lounge chairs. Tariq noted most of the men already in seats, had a female or two at their sides—or in their laps.
“I neglected to ask what happened to Fatima’s mother.” Kareem asked.
“My wife,” Tariq paused while composing an appropriate answer: the truth obviously wouldn’t work here, “passed away quite some time ago.” Why did I waste time sleeping before deciding how to run this play out?
“The Kingdom of Thailand is called the land of smiles,” the grin that Kareem flashed was intended to nudge the girls into turning up the alluring routines, “and the people here are certainly accommodating.”
[Would they be so hospitable if they knew who lived here?]
“I’m stunned that the jihad operates around here.” Tariq remarked as he viewed the entertainers. The women rhythmically shuffled and their eyes were continuously darting. Many are covetously looking at this table.
[You and Captain Puffy are the only unaccompanied males.]
“It shows the brilliance of our leadership,” Kareem beamed as if the complement directly reflected on him too, “but the location isn’t quite as mismatched as it might seem. South Thailand has a strong and politically active Muslim community. The City of Bangkok also has areas that are primarily Arabic, so our activities can blend in.”
“The nation is also bordered by some Islamic countries.” Tariq added. “I see the connection.” I also see what I must do: I have no other option.
“The command facility here, doesn’t directly support the insurgency in Thailand but this part of Asia is definitely on our to-do list.” The squad leader’s frustrated eyes scanned the girls to find most were focused on him instead of Fatima’s father.
I assume Bijan Kiani know what this place is about: he would not have invited a journalist here. While Kareem nattered, Tariq’s mind chattered. This horny Arab’s clear-thinking brain should’ve twigged to that.
[Freya’s full mooning dazzle-blinded him.]
“I was hoping to see you suitably attended before leaving to submit my reports.” With a cock of his head, Kareem offered a visual hint aimed at the females, his guest, or more probably both.
“I’ll be just fine.” The programmer refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing his nefarious scheme come to fruition—in his presence. Patience is a virtue seldom found in many police departments either.
[You do have to select a companion though.]
“Then I’ll consult with my superior now.” Kareem leaned forward in the low chair and stood. “If you’re here later, I’ll join you. If not, have a wonderful time.” He winked. “Everything here is free.”
[His thobe isn’t even free. It’s stuck in the crack of his butt.]
That’s not a flattering view either. The Iranian chuckled as the hefty man walked away: material wedged in between his ass cheeks had his huge legs flopping like a pair of beached dolphins trapped under a canvas sail.
With amusement from the sight still on his face, the programmer swung his gaze to the arrayed courtesans. Many had eyes turned to the departing Arab and they displayed expressions ranged from disappointment to mirth.
“Kareem isn’t a prime physical specimen.” Tariq muttered into his non-alcoholic drink. “The ladies must receive an activity bonus.”
[You’re not exactly in the hot young stud category anymore either.]
I feel like I’m shopping in a meat aisle. A weight of selection pressure was suddenly as palpable as a cold weather front moving in. But a rib eye steak doesn’t wink and try to look extra lean and tasty.
“Perhaps I should gear my pick to the types the other men here have?” Tariq mumbled as his eyes evaluated. Common features were slender and buxom. He also noted that women Arabs chose, used heavy eye makeup. Alike to the black mascara that Fatima wore.
[Freya was obviously aware of what appealed to Islamic males.]
“But I’m more North American and other than on Fatima, it isn’t what I prefer.” He abandoned his copycat idea and turned back to his task. “The girls are all lovely: I could outdo Kareem’s scheme by taking the lot.”
[Our physique is no longer eighteen-years-old.]
“I haven’t decided if I’m actually doing anything with one or not yet.” His panning kept returning to one Asian girl with soulful eyes.
[Osama’s candid camera sent the script from platonic to pornographic.]
“I swore I would never pay for sex again.” Tariq grumbled.
[I see a moldy memory box in here marked do not open.]
He recalled the frosty Edmonton evening. A streetwalker had looked attractive when shrouded by ice fog. Retrospectively, I should’ve seen it as indicative of frigidity: she turned out far colder than the winter weather.
A different picture of bruises and pasty skin emerged from the wraps. Her attitude had also made a 180-degree turnabout when cash transferred. Her mouth’s machinegun emptied a rapid–fire clip of pre-coital rules. It started with no touching and ended with talk of a double condom process.
[Your memory file doesn’t show the promised happy ending.]
I gave her the best possible climax—by sending her away before we even undressed. The actual sex act would’ve only been depressing.
As the Iranian’s gaze lingered, the girl’s almond shaped liquid brown eyes twinkled beneath bedroom lids and seemed to ask—do you want me? He nodded, and watched her gracefully exit the stage and walk to him. Her steps were tiny like a geisha’s and they set her body parts in fluidic motion.
“Handsome man.” She took Kareem vacated chair. “What you name?”
“Ah.” The programmer’s core brain program hit an error sub-routine. Nubile females switch male thoughts from cerebrally based to pheromone inspired and the intellect drops into negative integers—that don’t compute.
[That’s why they call you computer types—geeks.]
“Ah,” she said the easy name and smiled, “I Pun.”
“My name is Tariq.” He corrected.
“Taalee,” She tried to wrap her linguistics around the name but the Thai language hadn’t provided sufficient training in the ‘r’ and ‘q’ sounds.
“Taaleek.” She tried again to mimic him without success.
“Close enough,” he chuckled, “and your name is Pun.”
“Pun.” It was her turn to try correcting the pronunciation. The name sounded as pun, a wordplay joke, but there was an inflection difference.
“Pùn.” The Iranian attempted it again but his enunciation to her ear was as imprecise, as her rendition of his was to him.
“My name P-L-E. Like apple.” Her accent made it into ap-pun.
“I see that’s where we hit a cultural wall.” He laughed. Further talk on it, determined that the fruit apple, is called by the Thai word appun.
“Where you from?” The Thai woman in the green bikini asked.
“Canada.” He felt her fingers idly playing with the hair of his forearm. That feels quite nice, and strangely comfortable coming from a hooker.
[Do you judge all archers on the targets of one?]
What if they all use identical arrows and train in the same school?
“I come Issan.” That was a province in Eastern Thailand.
Over the following few moments, they spoke in simple sentences to exchange some small talk. Then, the exterior door opened to admit three of Kareem’s men. The sight of those reminded the programmer that he didn’t wish to be here when the commander got back.
“Well Pun,” he turned to her, “what do we do?”
“Up to you.” The girl blew the words into his ear.
Tariq awakened at about 2 am when Pun tiptoed to the toilet. His hand touched the warm place on the bed she had left and he smiled contentedly.
[Thailand is an awfully long bowshot away from Alberta.]
Tariq recalled his query regarding an archery academy. An accepting Asian society taught Pun to feel pride in whatever she does and it shows. Westerners look judgmentally on the sex trade. A hooker feels the negative attitude from other people and translates it into lousy customer service.
[Freya twangs a fine string too.]
It’s difficult thinking of her as a courtesan. A memory of Fatima had him considering staying awake, but he fell into dreams of her instead.

“You had a good time last night.” The jihad captain joined Tariq at the table where he was breakfasting with Pun.
If he watched the surveillance feed from my room, the older Arabic man looked up from his eggs and toast, then that was not said as a question.
“Leave us.” Kareem’s words were not barked but they were meant as a firm order. He waited until the Asian girl had left her unfinished bowl of spicy rice mush. “I received no instructions to bring you here: I did so on my own recognizance. My belief is that the jihad needs men of intellect.”
“You authorized my being here?” The programmer held a poker face: the email he had forwarded from Bijan Kiani comprised a direct order.
“You’ve been doubtlessly unaware of my stature within the command structure. I lead only a squad, but it is an important unit that is different from the others: our final duty in Quetta surely proved that fact. I brought you, in hopes of recruiting you into my special team.”
“I’m not a soldier.”
“Every man is when his need arises.” Kareem countered. “However, my uses for your talents would be a wide range of duties. I envision your continuing to write, while we support your research travels.”
“While reporting my coincidental findings to you, for your fast action.”
“Precisely,” the captain’s lips curled up, as a crocodile’s mouth in lieu of a full smile, “and as dire circumstances arise, you would also be one of my elite troops. I don’t bestow this honor lightly: you’ve impressed me.”
Fatima’s ass impressed him, Tariq thoughtfully stroked his chin, and he wants me as the grease to slide him between her thighs.
[But Officer Shakedown has you in handcuffs.]
“I know that.” The programmer’s comment was appropriate for either Loki’s observation or Kareem’s statement.
“So far, you’ve experienced only potion of this facility. Give my offer serious thought while you see of the rest. You slept through the discussion period yesterday, so I hope you will attend today’s talk,” the commander chuckled ironically, “on living a life of purity.”
“The ambiance of this place is compelling in ways that I didn’t expect.” Tariq forced his face into appearing contrite about his enjoyable night.
“I steel my body against such distractions with my resolve to serve Allah.” The rotund Arab’s smug smile showed that he believed he scored a point. The father had just seen the suitor’s worthiness for his daughter in contrast his own weakness. “I’m saving myself for an admirable woman.”
“That must be excessively difficult,” it required a strain for Tariq to put some fake conviction into his compliment, “but it certainly is noble.”
Kareem soon left on a pretext of having an important duty. The Iranian returned to his room: where the Thai girl was patiently waiting.
“I with Taaleek,” she explained, “until not want more Pun.”

“What do ancient reprobates do,” Katya asked, “for fun?” While Tariq had been enjoying his breakfast in Bangkok, she and Sam Levy ate supper.
The old counterfeiter looked up, and his inquiring eyes blinked.
“Is that from deafness?” she laughed, “or in asking for a punch line?”
“I still have my hearing,” he chuckled with her, “your query did sound as the start of a joke though.” Sam mused for a few seconds. “Just waking up to find I’m still breathing is the thrilling start of a fun-filled day.”
“My tone was impertinent,” the young woman stood to gather the dirty dishes: suddenly, she had another scheme, “but my question was serious.”
“My response sounded flippant,” the forger’s eyes followed her until his neck couldn’t swivel more, “but it was truthful: life is fun on its own.”
“Do you live partly in old memories,” Katya tossed utensils noisily into to sink: it covered her other actions, “to supplement your daily life?”
“I guess I do.” Sam hadn’t really thought of it consciously. The sound from behind was a faucet filling the kitchen sink. “Past times live in me.”
“Then a semblance of youth,” she walked back into sight—buck-naked, “is in acquiring some new remembrances, by actually having real fun.”
“What aren’t you wearing?” The forger’s eyes bulged.
“Did I forget something?” She acted as if fully clothed, by dusting off an imaginary pair of slacks and craning to look behind her body.
“Ha!” Sam Levy hooted. “My dirty old man side may undress with his eyes but a god-fatherly prude half, needs to put your under-frills back on.”
“You know,” her playacting imagined clothes was over: the girl stood in front and leaned over to grip the back of his chair, “that a godfather—is not actually related kin.” She moved her chest to slap one bare breast and then the other, against the sides of his rather large nose.
“Uh—.” A thousand offset printers in his brain cranked off sheets but none told of the right glib words to say. The nude young woman also was overlaid onto hundreds of scenes in his memory. She seemed to be pulling a bygone Sam from the pages of his history, to give youthfulness in today.
“Does this squirt fresh grease,” for an ultra-long moment, a tantalizing female stood above and glowed at a rapturous expression on his youthful seeming face, “into some rusty old ball bearings?”
“It’s a new memory.” He breathed. I feel as twenty years old! Letting an old man’s imagination fondle her, was the young woman’s selfless gift.
“If you ever find you are up to play,” she added coyly, “I’m game.”

Surely some must find the dichotomy here unsettling. Tariq had been in this compound for three days. He had brought Pun back to the lounge: not to trade her in for another, as some Jihad men did, but for companionship. Having a girl along also precluded his being the object of female scrutiny. He looked at Pun: she smiled: her teeth were white as a kitchen appliance.
[Don’t look a gift whore in the mouth.]
The Iranian nearly laughed aloud at the twist on a well-worn platitude. Yes, it is hard to rail about gambling—when you’ve just scored the jackpot.
The programmer’s mind resumed its mud-wrestle with Kareem’s offer. He didn’t have a choice on whether to accept it or not, but in voicing the affirmative decision, his conviction may sound as hollow—because it was. His policeman’s instincts might see though my insincerity. That could be even worse than a flat refusal. He had seen the commander several times since: Tariq had managed to stall, but the man’s patience was wearing thin.
They returned to the room early but the Iranian didn’t feel sleepy. He went out for a stroll and found his way to the water.
“I should throw a bottle note into the river.” Tariq skipped a stone.
[Then the U.S. Marines may come and save you.]
“So I could spend the next few years in Guantanamo Bay as a special detainee being tortured without charge or hearing?” He meandered along a tropical river shore. My life here is confined but luxuriously so. It was a sharp contrast to the expected American treatment of a presumed terrorist.
“History could conclude,” the Iranian’s dusk river walk had started at the downstream fence and progressed up to the inner sanctum’s wall, “that Afghanistan and Iraq were cases of NATO warmongers assaulting people who were just defending their homes, loved ones and way of lives.”
[It depends on whose writer pens the accepted annals.]
“I still can’t find total validity in the jihad’s terror campaign either.” Tariq stooped for another rock, and from under a bough, he spied Osama.
[Speak of the scruffy-bearded devil.]
“He’s gone out for a breath of the mild evening air.” An outside bend in the channel allowed the programmer to see the courtyard. The tall Saudi had stepped onto a central patio that was accessible from both wings.
[A fly on the wall might hear what he is muttering about.]
“A frog on a drifting lily-pad could observe the interior.” The Iranian’s voice was barely louder than a breeze in palm fronds. The man who lost his family in 911 faintly heard the FBI’s most-wanted fugitive murmuring.
[A fish in an aquarium can see well enough, but it can’t overhear.]
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Tariq looked at the moonlight sparkling on the Chao Phraya River: big leafy clumps of hyacinths drifted down towards the delta, “and a single snapshot might be all that I need.”
As his continued stroll neared the bar, he stopped: figures emerged.
[Porky the Arab isn’t as chaste as he would have Dad-in-Law believe.]
There’s quite the sandwich. Tariq could see the beefy Saudi was bound for his quarters, and had an emaciated Caucasian woman under each meaty arm. Two thin slices of white bread wrapped around a thick slab of ham.
[While a vision Freya dances in his pickle.]
The Iranian slipped into his bed, and his Asian cohabiter squirted out.
It was about 2:00 AM and Tariq still had insomnia. He stared at light echoes on the ceiling while thinking about his dilemma then forced his mind onto a more appealing notion. A sexy female will soon to emerge from the bathroom. He heard a toilet flush and waited.
Pun has been in there long enough for any normal bathroom function, and in fact for all of them consecutively—even the lengthy female types.
Tariq stealthily moved to the lavatory door: it was open a crack.
“What are you doing?” The Iranian pushed his head into the light. Pun sat cross-legged in the shower stall and her cupped hands held a cell phone.
“I wait UK boyfriend phone.” She confessed in a guilty voice. “Him send money each month for Pun not do.”
“He calls to check up on his investment,” the programmer wagged a playfully reproving finger, “but Pun is a bad girl anyways.” This dove’s fine flying won an ardent fan—and he wants to clip her wings.
“A little.” It sounded as ‘a lit-tun’ with her tle, the same as ple in pun.
“Come to the room and be comfortable about waiting.” He offered. “If your other guy calls, I won’t make a sound.”
They were back in bed: awake and naked—naturally, a bit of nocturnal frolic commenced. The Oriental woman climbed atop the Arabic man and straddled his hips. Her cell’s ring-tone interrupted a passionate embrace.
Pun snatched up her phone from under a pillow. She settled down onto his body: they still held genital affiliation. The girl briefly closed her eyes, to get into a character. “Hello.” She smacked her lips to sound as having been roused with a dry mouth. “I awake.” She continued her conversation with a sponsor who had obviously ignored who she really was.
[Is this the mirror image of phone sex?]
Too right! Tariq visualized a female operator wearing frumpy clothes and knitting—while moaning and seductively talking. Pun chastely chats with an unaware boyfriend, but in the unseen background—here we are.
[A trickster god wants grab the phone and laugh into it.]
No way! Tariq kept his promise and didn’t speak. She’s a consummate method actress in an Academy Award caliber performance, but the script and onscreen action are as mismatched as a poorly dubbed foreign film.
The overheard conversation also spoke volumes on the so-called plight of ‘all’ sex trade women. Prostitution wasn’t a hardship for Pun. She had an easy route away from the life but simply chose not to opt out.
“I talk Buddha now.” After the call and all, Pun sat up onto her knees.
This portrait is soul moving. The serenity of her faith shone as a halo. Is anything more beautiful than a woman or a child knelt in prayer?
[It makes you want to provide what she’s asking for.]
You’re the god: I can’t offer absolution.
[God can’t forgive.] Loki’s inner voice was wry. [The gift of freewill makes it impossible for a soul to do anything requiring any atonement.]
That statement invalidates half of the Koran, and the Bible too.
[You also have freewill and can immerse yourself in a role.]
Yes, Pun’s masterful acting here has shown me what I need do. I’ll wholeheartedly accept Kareem’s offer, only to cast it aside when I can.

Loki’s Trojan 19 – Checkmate in a Queen’s Rookery

Chapter 19

Checkmate in a Queen’s Rookery

“You are like shrieking cloth hawkers in a Marrakech market.” Ghazi bin Omani cursed as the principle officers of various attacked companies traipsed into the boardroom, in a piecemeal throng, to display endless bolts of bad news. “According to each, new money should be applied as suture thread to stitch up my rent empire.”
“Wall Soft’s bank account is a awfully big pair of scissors.” The Vice-President of bin Omani Transport had entered with the first bearer of woeful tidings but he had stayed on. The sub-company Rajah Fakir was in charge of wasn’t affected by today’s activities as Ghazi had secured a 51% percent interest in that one in the proxy war’s opening shots.
“It will take more than money to bring me down!” By only shortly past midday in downtown Manhattan, the beleaguered sheik looked as if he’d just climbed off a trans-Sahara caravan camel.
“Bob’s queen pulled a new gambit.” Rajah noted that the sheik seemed to like chess analogies. “He pushed forward a row of day-trading pawns by short selling to trigger a price slide. The tiny players leaped in to make a quick profit and they short sold too.”
“But it was a sly ruse to sacrifice them.” Ghazi took over describing. “The Wall Soft brokers were already replacing shorts during the plunge.”
“When the queen moves forward,” Rajah had read some chess books after gaining rapport with his temperamental boss, “the opponent needs to protect in all directions.”
“Shareholder stop-loss delimiters brought even more shares into the market so Bob took units into his portfolio at a rock bottom,” bin Omani lamented, “but with many small owners whipsawed out of the market, my buffer was weakened. I’ve had to buy just to bolster my own holdings.”
“The day traders also had to make up their short sells.” Rajah added. “Your buys weren’t quite so inexpensive as Wall’s.”
“It wasn’t just once. It’s been six times so far today!” Ghazi took off his headdress: it was as if the Aswan dam broke to flood the Nile Estuary onto his forehead. “Wall’s queen has threatened five separate companies today and hit my bin Omani Holdings entity twice.”
“She’s likely drained the day-traders’ brokerage accounts so the board is now devoid of any more pawns.”
“Probably devoid,” Ghazi corrected, “but after gambits I’ve faced so far, I’m not discounting Bob Wall’s business acumen anymore.”
“A grandmaster’s skills aren’t honed by playing against weaklings.” Rajah Fakir smiled ironically. “Sly Bob fox had the world believing he was just a lucky ugly ducky.”
A special phone tone sounded from Ghazi’s adjoining office: he shooed his new confidant away and grabbed the handset on the fourth ring.
“~Bob Wall’s star player is Collin Hersker.” An Arabic speaking male voice passed information. “~They call him The Asshole due to his sexual preferences. He’s gay.”
“~I’ve been calling him Bob’s queen,” A sardonic smile showed through bin Omani’s full beard, “~and he actually is one. That’s rich.” Continue reading  

Loki’s Trojan 18 – Extremists of a Trading Floor Jihad

Chapter 18

Extremists of a Trading Floor Jihad

“I don’t want a food menu.” The programmer declined the waiter. The two men had chatted while Tariq finished his workout: Kareem had begged off owing to his past strain. Fatima had shown up and that prompted the jihad man to insist on a lunch together.
“Aren’t you having a meal also?” The six foot tall and approximately twenty-eight-year-old man folded a chunky frame into the chair. “It’s not the time for Ramadan restrictions yet.”
“You’re both welcome to eat if you wish.” Tariq smiled at the thought of the special restrictions during the Arabic holiday. I could go without the food and water during daylight hours—but I’d have zero chance of Fatima letting me off without sex too. I don’t within an hour of my exercise.”
“Religiously?” The jihad man hadn’t heard of that requirement. He put his order in with the waiter and so did Fatima.
“Yes and no.” The programmer’s poundage loss after 9/11 was in part owed to this quirk. “I religiously hold to my personal rule, but it’s for non-sectarian reasons. During that hour, my muscles need refueling: they have to burn my fat instead of taking easier energy straight from the stomach.”
“I’ve trekked the Hajj,” Kareem hadn’t paid attention, though he could doubtlessly benefit from it, “the Umrah, and Ziyarah pilgrimages.”
Fatima nodded appreciatively at his pious accomplishments. She was seated slightly back from the table: so the men could catch her full female effect. The display of skin was culturally restricted but she maximized all tiny allowances. Her posture was crisply erect with knees tightly together. Her hands, folded carefully in her lap, were painted with coffee-brown henna designs like lace on the backs and down onto several fingers.
“In the gym,” the Iranian abruptly changed the topic, “you spoke only of general knowledge that I could’ve gotten from nearly anyone. You were ordered to speak with me because I need your in depth perspective.”
“Uh.” The younger man had been rapt in Fatima’s spell but conscious willpower had held his clandestine gaze from overt staring. “I shouldn’t discuss too much until I’m certain you’re not with the C.I.A.”
“The American Central Intelligence Agency is doubtlessly the most reprehensible organization in recorded history.” Tariq’s words seemed to come from his heart. “They’ve caused as much death and suffering as the Nazi SS but Americans are blind to it—just as people in Germany weren’t observant to what their government sponsored criminals were up to.”
“Puppeteers control the western media.” The jihad man offered sagely. His eyes flickered to see the woman’s reaction to his astuteness.
Fatima’s eyelashes fluttered to denote her favorable impression.
[A tastier cheese never baited any other mousetrap.] Continue reading  

Loki’s Trojan 17 – a Burkha’s Window

Chapter 17

Scene Through a Burkha’s Window

With the final destination of Quetta in Pakistan, Tariq Muhammad and his lovely daughter Fatima lifted off from Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport. People seated near them in business class were at first enthralled by the girl’s exquisite and exotic beauty but it was her genuine affection for her father that completely won their hearts: she clung to him as tenderly as a lover and snuggled against him, as they chatted quietly.
“Let’s go join the mile high club.” Fatima giggled into Tariq’s ear.
“That would put an awkward rent in our father and daughter routine.” His mind couldn’t resist a fleeting temptation at her lewd suggestion.
“We can play hide-and-seek,” the playful young woman spread an in-flight blanket over both their laps and pulled it up to her neck to cover any fun that might ensue, “for a small object hidden in our clothing instead.”
“You’re too skinny,” the beleaguered man switched the subject away from her proposals of sky high jinks, “for the name of Fatima.”
“Fatima means daughter of Muhammad. As soon as you took that name, my choice was obvious.”
“You like to pick names that mean something.”
“Was that phrased as a question,” the girl’s hand found his inner thigh, “or as just an observation begging for a comment?”
“What’s the difference?”
“If you asked then I would be impolite not to answer.” Fatima pinched her fingernails into a sensitive nerve center. “But if you stated a perceived fact then I can confirm by not contradicting it and your ploy to evade my rapacious desires will have failed—yet again.”
“I should pour ice water under the blanket to cool your ardor.” Tariq scanned the aisles. “The flight attendant hasn’t finished the meal service.”
“I’ll bet she’s joined the sex-in-an-aircraft-lavatory fraternity more than once.” The naughty young woman nodded slightly to indicate a mature stewardess. The woman had bleached blonde hair and heavy make-up.”
“Why don’t you ask her?”
“How about if I fix my lonely dad up with a fling? After learning from an experienced mile-high club member, you can pass the moves on to me.” Continue reading