Heiress of the Dog
Heiress of the Dog that Bites
“I’ve nothing left!” Locked in an executive washroom, Bob had just taken a strong dosage of heroin but it had yet to fix his gloomy mood. His pronouncement wasn’t entirely accurate either. Much of his wealth was in limbo: his personal money had bought Omani shares at the extremely high proxy war price but they were tied into the company to facilitate the take over. Doubtlessly, the shares would soon be trading at much less.
“I still have a boat,” the Wall-Dorf had finally been delivered, “and I have a Russian slave girl too. I almost killed her with my passions once.” In truth, she had taken too much heroin to combat her depression: her pale white spirit had gone to vomit. “That’s the way I would like to go too.”
“Has Ghazi called in to gloat yet?” The former CEO peeked into his defeated general’s office and wondered how the employee could continue to work as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
“No.” Collin appraised the train wreck of a man and his ego: the geek hadn’t changed clothes or even showered. Rip van Wall is like a college senior woken up with a hangover—thirty years after the frat bash.
“Call me if he does.” Wall’s eyes blinked several times behind his wire frames. He seemed as a prairie dog on the lookout for danger: he ducked from the doorway like it was his gopher hole.
“The asshole is protective of his roommate,” Bob had made the brief visit only to see if Hersker was occupied: he had already arranged for a phalanx of bodyguards to meet him in his office and to bring along a locksmith, “but I need her more than he does, and for normal reasons.”
“The Squid!” As the helicopter banked to land, the dethroned software king saw black lettering prominently on the flight deck and across the face of the gleaming white bridge. “What were they doing for the past weeks?”
“You look even better than the last time I saw you,” the semi-sane man admired a blonde captive, she appeared as the millions of dollars he didn’t have anymore, “and from now on, you’ll be partying with a real man.”
“~No matter how bad it gets,” the Russian girl hadn’t enough English to translate his statement but the visuals were telltales: Bob had gestured shooting a needle in his arm on the word partying, “~I won’t do drugs.”
“There is an exciting sight.” The Iranian quietly uttered: the software ex-mogul had marveled at the one Russian woman’s beauty and here was another in the Sea-Tac terminal to rival and excel Oksana’s allure.
[Every man capable of walking erect would follow Freya home.]
Though the girl noted many eyes turned to watch her red skirt swishing, she only concentrated on one set of male orbs. Those, Jacqueline glanced behind to find on every turn. Outside at the parking structure, she looked over her shoulder to watch him leave the terminal then strode to her rented Porsche Carrera GT convertible and settled her bottom into the driver seat.
“Is this your translation of a covert rendezvous?” Tariq hopped into the passenger side and performed closer survey: a snug sweater accentuated her forward-pointing attributes as temptingly as the silky dress had done for her back view. “I doubt if anyone in there didn’t take notice of you.”
“I drew attention away from your action of trailing me.” She backed out of the short-term parking stall and the rearview mirror reminded her of her burkha’s outlook point. “None of your jihad buddies have seen me as anything but a black toadstool, with eyes in a rectangular window.”
“I suppose even policeman Kareem couldn’t pick your dainty derrière from a lineup of pert posteriors.” As they left SeaTac airport, Tariq’s gaze was drawn to Mount Rainier and a vision of Lawyer Smyth briefly flashed. Lauren’s personality was a snow flurry on a sultry afternoon: Jacqueline’s was a constant temperate zephyr off a tropical sea.
[A hot-cold lawyer doesn’t simmer on the same burner as Freya.]
While the woman navigated the car to the interstate, the programmer’s mind recapped the past week. After leaving Kareem in Denver, Tariq and Jacqueline had hooked in Detroit. This visit was much different than our first, when we were there separately and she was in the box of a delivery van. This time, the pair had done business from a hired stretched limo.
‘The staff thought they were satisfying a frivolous girl’s passing fancy and humored me,’ Jacqueline had giggled at the recall of the flabbergasted faces, ‘until I dropped three billion in bearer bonds onto the counter.’
The brokerage manager had eagerly vacated his plush office to sit at his secretary’s desk for three days. Masseuses, beauticians and some esthetic technicians were brought in to make her wait more pleasurable. The goal was eleven, but Jacqueline had kept buying until her money was almost all gone and had finished up at 11.2 percent.
The work Sam and his apprentice did was obviously first rate. Tariq recalled the expression of delight on the forger’s mug when the job was described. After the success in Detroit, the old man had driven his pickup truck in from Toronto to celebrate with them.
‘A counterfeiter’s most fervent goal,” Sam Levy’s eyes misted when he toasted with his prune juice, “is that his work can pass intensive scrutiny.’ Having samples of the originals, that Tariq had carried away from 911 and with the correct serial numbers gleaned after Jericho fell, gave a rare opportunity to prove his forging skills—to the utmost. ‘My copies are now the genuine articles because the real originals were destroyed.’
The programmer had busied his days with his laptop computer on any available wireless network. He monitored Kareem and Bijan’s emails and half expected a recall when the first bonds were cashed. Obviously, Ghazi had other important matters on his mind and couldn’t have known where those were really coming from anyways.
After the bonds were cashed and the shares purchased, the two split up. Jacqueline had flown on to Washington State, while Tariq went to Denver. Kareem’s urgent recall, along with an electronic ticket to Seattle, had come shortly after the share certificates were presented.
“Did you have any foreknowledge of how complete our takeover bid would be?” Jacqueline still had difficulty grasping how successful it was. “I can’t believe I now own the control of two gigantic corporations.”
“It’s beyond my wildest imaginings. I’m not even sure what to do with them now. My initial intent was to cripple Ghazi financially and see what happened. Then I hacked his system and I surmised the buy was possible.”
“Who could’ve predicted Wall would attempt and nearly succeed at a proxy war? It was similarly unforeseeable that Sheik bin Omani had the cash wherewithal to chew down a giant—before falling to a gnat bite?”
“I was told The King stayed here.” Jacqueline drove to her downtown hotel and commented as they pulled into the lot. “So, who is this Elvis and over which nation was he the monarch?”
“I’m all shook up that you don’t know.” The hotel wasn’t large: it was limited to three floors owing to it’s being built on pilings. By ironic happenstance, Jacqueline was in the exact suite he and Lauren had used. “Many women might be put off by her lover telling about other flings.”
“Let’s discuss your previous tryst here.” Jacqueline was tired of talk. “Demonstrate exactly what happened in this room—in intimate details.”
As had happened once to Tariq and Pun, a cell tone sounded at the most inopportune time. Stylishly attired in a snug-fitting nature-designed skin suit, Jacqueline zipped to her purse, to nab her phone.
“Where are you?” Sam Levy asked without preamble.
“I’m in Seattle,” her voice showed puzzlement, “as you already know.”
“I mean exactly where.” The forger spoke guardedly on the unsecured line. “I have a special delivery package to post.”
“What are you sending?” She asked after telling her room number. I don’t know anything I’ve forgotten or need. She gazed out at the harbor.
“I won’t talk about it on the phone.” The counterfeiter didn’t even dare to hint. Sam cackled. “Sell your uncouth nomad my warm regards.”
“Are you enjoying a scintillating view?” Jacqueline disconnected and turned away from the window: then grinned adopted a model’s pose.
“I’m the world’s most fortunate gigolo.” It was satirical that she had begun the adventure as a prostitute, and was now the one with all the cash. The Iranian held covers open to illustrate his invitation but an unpleasant eerie sensation crept under the sheet along with a welcome young woman. A premonition warns me this could be our last time together. If either of us must be killed—let me be the one.
[Those kind of prayers are generally answered as asked for.]
“Whatever you do today,” the girl warned, “don’t let yourself die.” By coincidence or an esoteric functioning, the train of his thoughts was on one rail, while hers was rumbling down the parallel, but from the opposite direction. “Swear to me that you won’t let go.”
“I promise.” Tariq looked into her blue eyes and spoke the words: his mind added a condition, but someone else might make my vow moot.
“You look the part of a Saudi Arabian prince.” Jacqueline had retrieved the costume from the apartment, as per earlier instructions and had gone the extra step of having it laundered and pressed.
“The gold rings and expensive watch are the perfect finishing touch.”
“I’m glad I don’t have to wear those black burlap sacks anymore. I like my clothing to make my attributes inviting to the intimate touches.”
“It certainly does that.” The Iranian’s words hadn’t been his only mark of approval: his fingers had been drawn into tweaking her wiggling butt in the hotel’s hallway. “If Kareem saw you in these tight pants he’d quit his jihad gig and take up the fulltime job of stalking you.”
“Was the pinch familial teasing or foreplay?” A seething rage filled the observer in his stairwell stakeout. Tariq’s hand had been seen, and his jest was a statement of the non-jovial real life situation.
After watching the suspects walk away, Kareem left his enclosure. He checked the number and tried the handle: the room was not secure. The captain tried letting the door swing and found it had a weak closer unit.
“I’ll get to the bottom of this.” He stormed to the front desk for a street facing room: his mind replayed his airport shock. A commanding officer’s privilege was to arrange details and his flight was booked to land in time to watch Tariq’s deplaning. The older man was easy to spot even dressed in western style clothes to blend in.
“Fatima could’ve walked up from the front and tapped me on my nose, and I still wouldn’t have recognized her.” His eyes, along with many other testosterone-lubricated eyeball-bearings had lingered on her and Tariq only seemed to be walking coincidentally in the same direction.
“Pardon me?” The desk clerk looked up from her paperwork but the Arab she was checking in had, a far-away gaze.
“When they converged on the same car in the garage and as she turned her face to him over the roof of it,” the captain recalled standing stunned for a moment while some picture wheels in his mind turned: as a match puzzle he equated the pleasingly dressed western woman with the decorous girl last seen in Quetta in her traditional garb, “I just knew it.”
In the present moment, Kareem accepted his key and went to his room. His memory though, continued a replay. ‘Follow that car.’ He had budged into the front of the taxi queue and used a tired old line from innumerable detective movies but his drama wasn’t script reading.
“Why did they employ subterfuge at the airport?” Kareem wondered. A daughter reunited with her dad after an absence should be unrestrainedly affectionate. His mental imagery shifted to Fatima’s clothing style: there was nothing chaste or traditional about her appearance. “I don’t like what is springing to my mind’s eye—and his hallway ass fondle supports it.”
“That bastard writer pulled another fast-one in Denver too.” The ex-policeman gingerly walked the hallway’s length: his crotch was hurt and he needed to look at it. “He was supposed to be close by and bring Fatima to him but instead, he up and vanished.” The Saudi entered his room.
Kareem shoved the easy chair into a spot facing the window and spread the curtains. After dropping his pants to his knees, he sat and set his heels on the sill to examine his latest wound: his groin skin was badly enflamed.
“The girl gunned her fancy sports car and zipped across the railroad.” Two cars ahead of his taxi had stopped to wait for the train. The jihad man had thrown money at the driver and then bolted on foot. His headlong run had nearly collided with the Amtrack scenic-cruiser: then he sprinted over the busy road and across the hotel’s parking lot. The stout Arab’s inner thighs were chafed from the chase and his nipples were similarly irritated from his fat-boobs bouncing braless under a rough woolen shirt.
Through the glass, he’d seen the pair enter the ground floor corridor but his traversing the lobby was too slow to see which room. Casting about, the overweight Arab had spied the exit at the far end of the wing. The fire door had a pane of wired safety glass: he had watched from there.
“I’m fat.” The Arab man’s eyes rested on the vast expanse of his belly. The exalted position he held usually allowed his ego to shunt aside this imperfection. Mirrors and moments like now brought his low self-image back. “That’s why I wanted Fatima as I first thought she was.”
His mind reviewed the sight of her butt when the fan lifted her garb. In her traditional attire, the girl’s great beauty would be hidden from all eyes but his. In his possessing her according to his tradition, Fatima would have to adore him and her blue eyes would counteract all other mirrors.
“Plus, I thought she would be a virgin.” He stared out the window and saw a couple strolling to the lobby. They weren’t the two he was waiting for, but the pair inspired a worry. “Tariq is older but not a lightweight. I could handle the girl alone but if they’re together, I’ll need a weapon.”
“I’m here to see Bob Wall.” Tariq’s voice was purposefully very soft for two reasons. The best way of dealing with desk clerks is to force them to listen closely. The second was the Iranian’s spotting the squat mobster who had assisted in the attempted, and presumed successful murder.
[All the ruffians have come to roost in Seattle.]
“He’s not here today.” The receptionist’s voice was louder to hint that visiting Arabic man should elevate his timbre.
“Then may I speak to whomever is left in charge?” The programmer’s tone grew inversely quieter.
“May I tell Mr. Hersker,” she was annoyed, “who wants to see him?”
“This corporation’s new owner.” Tariq whispered a slight fib.
“Please come this way.” Suddenly, the clerk didn’t need to check any schedules. “I’m sure he will see you right away.”
The Iranian seeming as a Saudi smiled and followed her bustling lead.
“Sir,” the flustered woman ushered her charge into Hersker’s office, “Mr. bin Omani, wants to speak with you.” She quickly closed the door as she backed out: the sheik’s fearsome reputation had already hit Seattle.
“Perhaps Ghazi might,” Collin wove his fingers together and rested his elbows on his desk, “but you’re not bin Omani.”
“Are you the person,” the Iranian grinned, “affectionately known as the asshole?” I’ve lurked over this man’s working—and I couldn’t resist.
“Some just call me Colon.” The executive scrutinized the ballsy Arab. If just a stunt, he would have security toss him out—on his ring hole.
“As the front line officer, you were doubtlessly aware of a third army in the war. You simply didn’t know that we already possessed certificates for forty percent of Omani’s stock.” Tariq explained. “That’s not surprising, since the sheik was not aware of that pertinent fact either.
“I bet Ghazi loved that!” Collin laughed but he was too stuffed with questions for the mirth to linger. “So pardon me boss, but who are you?”
“If you have aspirations of retaining your current employment, what I’m about to tell you isn’t going to leave this room.” The Iranian waited for an accepting nod. “I wrote the program your previous employer stole.”
“You’re supposed to be dead!”
“The newspapers will be thrilled.” Tariq chuckled. “They seldom get to run any retractions from the obituary section.”
“Do you have any solid proofs?” The executive’s eyes narrowed.
“Would my fixing your defective program suffice as evidence?” While speaking, the programmer walked around Collin’s desk and entered a code. The application instantly revived and the incriminating message vanished.
“You purposely circulated a virus,” Collin was unsure whether to shake his hand or call the FBI, “and used a Trojan to cripple this corporation.
“I wrote an application that worked perfectly for each registered user. Bob Wall stole it and sold it as his own. Instead of acquiring the rights and having my security features removed, he threatened me with murder.”
“How did you survive?”
“One day maybe I’ll tell that story but just now, I have other pressing issues.” Cool as icicles in his adopted country, the Canadian appraisingly stared at the acting CEO. “My first is learning where you stand now?”
Normally, Hersker could make a decision in a heart’s beat, but this one had vastly more variables. Bob Wall wasn’t only ancient history he was a junky who kidnapped Collin’s girlfriend: this man though, had doubtlessly committed numerous serious crimes too—like the costly vandalisms.
“What are your orders?” As always, Collin’s duty was to the company.
“Where is the geek?”
“He’s hiding on his new boat.”
“Where’s Bob’s sex slave?”
“She’s on the boat.” Collin shot the answer back as he had the previous rapidly fired one but this touched a nerve. “How do you know about her?”
“Put that one into the maybe you’ll know someday file as well.”
“You’re going to be far more interesting than working for Bob was.”
“A man shaped like a furry fireplug is in the lobby.”
“He’s a Russian rodent.” The executive answered what he thought was a question. “I haven’t figured out yet, what pesticide will work on him.”
“Have him brought in here.” Tariq rounded the desk. “Do you mind if I use your office for a few minutes?”
“Not if I can sit in on this meeting?” Having made the call to the front counter, the asshole stepped back against his file cabinet.
“~My mind pictured this coming off differently.” Sergey Yanderiev sat grumbling in the corporate reception area. His reality though, had a recent history of not meshing with his optimistic imagination. His Internet porn empire had fizzled, the starring stud role in smut was a flaccid flop and an expected flood of revenues from dealings with Wall Soft had turned out as a wet floor as from a leaky roof. Why should his extortion ploy be better?
“~I’m not even sure Bob is in charge anymore.” When Sergey and his few troops left Kiev, Wall’s banners were surging forward on the proxy battleground but his travel arrangements weren’t quite as effortless as they were when the client footed the bills.
The mafia man glimpsed the distinguished Arabic one sweeping his robes through the reception but paid him little heed.
“~Why does he get to traipse straight in?” The Obshina growled like a circus bear, forced to wear a silly hat: he patted the toy gun in his pocket. “~When I manage to get a real one, a desk clerk won’t bar in my path.”
“The owner will see you now.”
The gangster jerked upright after being caught fingering his squirt gun. He had been sitting still so long that his back didn’t straighten well and his walk was like a big-top bear, riding a too-small bicycle.
“Where’s Bob?” The mafia man snarled.
“We meet again my murderer.” From a casual seated position behind the desk, Tariq stared impassively at the mobster from that eventful day.
“You’re dead!” Sergey fumbled for his weapon but stopped when he remembered that the gun wasn’t even loaded with liquid.
[It has a cork in the back to hold the water in.] Loki supplied a detail.
“People keep telling me that.” The Iranian quipped.
“I wanted to talk to Bob.” Sergey’s head craned to the man behind but he wasn’t the software geek either.
“Why?” Tariq had to strain to keep his face expressionless.
“To offer protection.” Utterly flustered, Yanderiev was unable to think up another viable excuse for being here.
“That’s timely. Bob does need some defensive services.”
“I’m not a hired bodyguard.”
“You just said you were one,” Tariq extracted the memory stick and a reader: he plugged it into a USB port and swiveled the monitor so Sergey could view it as well, “and I was about to scan your video résumé.”
The scene opened to a low budget porn flick with a pudgy male star.
“I could release it for worldwide distribution.” The programmer turned from the screen test to lock eyes on the mortified porn actor. “I’ll title this film, Limp Dick of the Thieves in Law: isn’t that catchy?”
“I’ll see you really dead this time!”
“You had no lead in your pencil,” the Iranian-Canadian blustered, “and I’m not fearful of any water in your squirt gun either.”
“How much do you want not to release copies?” He was almost broke but Sergey Yanderiev would pay everything he had left.
“Money means nothing to me but you came here offering protection. If you and your men spend the next week on Bob’s yacht as his bodyguards,” he ejected the stick, “I’ll lock this away with my life insurance policies.”
“It’s a deal.” The bear was tamed.
“I have rules that you’ll obey.” Tariq outlined conditions that included not accosting the CEO and not disclosing who sent him.
“You’re not to even look at Oksana!” Collin tacked on an addendum.
“In fact,” Tariq scanned the executive’s obvious concern and suspected Jacqueline may approve of what he interpreted, “she is not to stay on the yacht. Send her back with the helicopter you arrive on.”
“Tell Bob the immigration service is looking for her.” Hersker had a plausible excuse to offer. “Housekeeping turned to whistle-blowing.”
“Go wait in the lobby.” Tariq rattled a chain and a furry beast obeyed. “I’ll have someone collect your men and get you guns that squirt bullets.”
“Does Bob really need the extra protection?” After the now muzzled omnivore left, Collin stepped from the wings.
“Wall is in very real danger from a well-connected and pissed off sheik. I would bring him out too but I don’t know Ghazi’s intelligence gathering capability. Anywhere is unsafe but his yacht is the most containable.”
“The sheik has contacts in the rough part of town and he’s not above using them.” Collin knew this firsthand. “What are my marching orders?” The Wall Soft general was tempted to salute and he would’ve handed over a ceremonial sword—if he had one.
“Arm the Russian mafia and put them onboard Bob’s boat.”
“Consider it done.” Collin didn’t need a notepad. “What else?”
[I still like this asshole—now spin his mind even further.]
“Contact him,” Tariq’s finger stabbed the photo on the front page of Collin’s newspaper, “and get me a private meeting for later this evening.”
“I can’t have him here on such a short notice,” Hersker’s thoughts went for the whirligig ride that Loki had requested, “on a whim!”
“You’re second in command of one of the nation’s great corporations.” The programmer was playfully condescending. “Surely you can muster up sufficient clout to demand the attendance of one paltry official.”
“Paltry?” The school of Collin’s brain synapses swam upstream to the task. He surmised it be like the sockeye salmon swimming up waterfalls to spawn. Some do make it or those fish would be extinct. “I’ll get it done.”
“Then were finished here and I have to run.” Tariq started towards the door but a friendly hand restrained him.
“I’m guessing you’re going out to the boat too. Please be careful.”
“I felt I would like you if only because of your nickname.” The Iranian said. “When a congregation of butt holes believes one of their number is a rectum, it’s more likely that colon is the least anal of the whole lot.”
“Up until this very moment I’ve been annoyed by the handle.”
“One last item.” Tariq wrote a name on Collin’s desk blotter. “I fibbed slightly about my ownership: it’s all in her name.”
Jacqueline Antenenko, Hersker watched his new boss leave, is empress of two corporate empires—I wonder if she is also the heiress to a third?
The long black limousine looked as out of place as a white one that had earlier pulled up in front of the decrepit warehouse. This one was more so due to American flags fluttering at the corners of the hood. A pair of dark sedans had accompanied, in front and again at the rear. The doors of those vehicles were the first to open and men in sunglasses exited.
“I’m going in alone,” the lone occupant of the stretched limo emerged and waved his entourage away, “and you’re to leave.”
“This was all very sudden.” The detachment commander didn’t like it.
“Tasks like going to a toilet and this, I prefer doing on my own.” He clapped a hand on his minder’s arm. “I’m as safe here as on my crapper.”
“Call me when you need picked up.”
“This meeting is of higher than top-secret classification,” the man held up a warning finger, “and it’s not to be disturbed for any reason.”
“We’ll be on an adjacent block.” The lead bodyguard circled a hand over his head: the signal originated in the cavalry. Mount up and ride.