Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Number One Under Heaven (23)

In a gloomy private room within one of downtown Guilin’s seedy karaoke bars, four rough men were swilling mao tai while hatching their dark plot. None of these petty criminals had any previous experience of the kind of mission their sponsor planned, the gang members for the most part having cultivated their careers by taking part in minor felony; pilfering from neighbours or picking the pockets of the hapless tourists that milled daily around the town’s ancient marketplace.

The leader of this motley collection of lowlifes had at first been surprised to receive an invitation to participate in a significantly more daring and, whilst he feigned indifference to the concept, knowingly heinous crime. But the ‘offer’ had in any event been delivered more in the form of an instruction: it was not something that could easily be refused. And whereas he did not know from whom, ultimately, the directive came, it was clearly someone of significance. When it was further revealed that the successful undertaking of the assignment brought with it the promise of what was a relatively enormous payout, he had put up little resistance to the intermediary’s coercion. The gang had received half the money up front and would be getting the remainder upon completion.

Now, as they drank some of the down-payment, he reflected in his simple way that it was the financial lure that had swayed him, providing sufficient antidote to his instinctive unease that the gang would be moving out of familiar territory, to become involved in something altogether more risky. That it was the irresistible notion of relative wealth that had been enough to suppress his innate fear that the whole episode would end with a bullet fired into the back of his head by some grey-uniformed PLA regular. He unstuck his rear from the plastic seat as he shuffled in the restored anxiety this recurring vision produced. His normal assertiveness was, on this occasion, sorely challenged.

For while the leader of this small group of losers was little more than an uneducated peasant, mentally he was still streets ahead of his three accomplices, all of whom were illiterate, having benefited from no formal education whatever. Uniquely among the gang members, Wei Dang had at least attended a rudimentary, state school at which he learned more about the teachings of Chairman Mao and the re-writing of Chinese history than anything else. Like so many of his generation, he had ultimately given up, disillusioned: in his case turning to crime as soon as he understood the lies that were being propagated in the name of ‘cultural revolution’. Now briefing his accomplices one last time before the alcohol eventually dissolved what little residual wit the gang members could muster, he struggled to gain their full understanding of what it was they had been instructed to do in the marketplace the next day.

But ultimately, there was one aspect of the plan involving the foreign school party they had been trailing for over a day now that he did manage to convey to the fools now rollicking in front of him, giddy as they were with the fumes of cheap mao tai, a liquor only marginally more refined than petrol. For whatever else that had failed to register in their shrimp-sized brains, they at least knew the target was easily identifiable.

It was the child that stood out from the rest.

The girl with the white-blonde ringlets…

It had been four in the morning when Blake finally woke, with Elle now snuggled beneath the bedcovers, beside him. He was still lying on top of the sheets, having remained fully clothed from the waist down throughout his brief encounter with the angel that was now purring softly by his side. He felt a little chilly and wanted desperately to crawl in beside her, but something told him that this would spoil a moment that had been left hanging perfectly: balanced harmoniously, like the tantalising repulsion of like magnetic forces. Slowly and trying to make as little noise as he could, Blake rose from the bed before casting a final glance at her face, tranquil and serene. I’ll be back, he mouthed, silently. Then, picking up his crumpled shirt from the floor, he quietly exited the room into the lounge. Blake did not bother buttoning his shirt before he tiptoed across the parquet and stepped out of the front door into the lifts to descend, back into reality. A reality within which he suddenly felt all at sea, his legs wobbling like jelly, with someone – or something – constantly shifting the ground beneath him.

posted by Kirk at 1:37 am  

Friday, April 4, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (42)

“I think girl you talk about is Bonny,” Lulu abruptly remarked. “She know the bastard army guy. Long time ago he used come to her. Then something bad happen. They argue. They fight. Bastard. He nearly kill her. She so sick after that.” “Why did they fight?” asked Adi, eager to learn more of her story. “I don’t know why, but something happen one day. After that, he never went her again.” She paused. Can I really open up to this man? Can I trust him? I doubt it, but what the hell. “That when he start come to me,” she finally added, now drawing on a cigarette. “But he never say anything about problem with Bonny.”

Lulu’s stare was fixed on the floor, so Adi gently placed a hand under her chin, raising it until she was again looking directly at him. Her eyes were moist and she appeared close to tears. Fleetingly, she wished this handsome young man before her would take her in his arms and comfort her, perhaps even find a way to get her out of this place. But she knew that this could never be – she could not trust it to happen, after all that had gone before. There had never been any fairy tale endings in this girl’s life. “Come on, don’t worry,” he whispered, sensing her wariness. “You can trust me.” “Huh,” she scoffed back at him. Then, after a pause while he surveyed her features, distracted by the beauty of her face, he recovered his purpose sufficiently to say: “Who else here knew Bonny well? Who can I talk to that might know something more about what happened between her and the Captain? I can’t help Bonny any more, or the driver. But I can get this bastard. Make him suffer. Let him know what it’s like to be on the receiving end, instead of dishing out pain all the time. Who can I talk to?”

Lulu was still unsure whether to fully trust him, but she nevertheless decided to take the risk. Leading Adi back down the snaking corridor to the reception area, she began forcing herself to think logically, to reconstruct events in her mind, in the hope that something would spring out at her, jogging her memory. The handsome Detective was right: there had to be something they could do to punish this wicked army man. Having slipped a cardigan over her silken nightdress, and with her face frozen in concentration, Lulu now had the appearance of a frightened refugee, fleeing somewhere at short notice, in the middle of the night. And then it occurred to her. One of the other girls had been extremely close to Bonny. She would surely know everything there was to know about the Captain. “Wait here, handsome,” she instructed Adi as they reached the reception. The Detective was happy to oblige, instinctively sensing that Lulu was on to something. As he then perched himself on one of the sofas in the main room, he could not help smiling as a dozen pairs of eyes emerged from the gloom, each searching his expression for a glimmer of interest. But their attention was wasted on this occasion, for Adi had no appetite for self-indulgence. Out of earshot, Lulu was already talking to another of the girls who at first listened, then could be seen putting her hands up to her face, while slowly shaking her head. She was visibly upset as her attention was once more demanded by Lulu, who continued to gesticulate with obvious urgency. Suddenly, there was a scream: “No! No, no, no!”

Her arms outstretched, the other girl was now shaking her head violently and, despite efforts to restrain her, jerked herself roughly away from Lulu to dart for the darkened corridor, in the direction of the lifts. She was getting out of there, fast. Real fast. “She scared,” Lulu explained, having rushed over to Adi. “You go get her! Bring back! We need talk to her! Calm her down!” Adi sprinted after the girl, crashing into a wall at one of the bends in the corridor, before eventually righting himself and making it to the end, where the passage widened into the elevator lobby. As he reached her, the girl was frantically banging on the call-button, begging the lift to appear. With a firm hand he took her arms, at which she collapsed into him, sobbing. “No, no… Please… He animal… He’ll kill me…” “Shhh…” Adi tried to sound reassuring, but he was far from calm himself. For the girl’s pleas were reminiscent of those he had heard the driver utter, and failing to take heed on that occasion had cost the man his life.

Just then, Lulu reappeared with two of the other girls, who gently prized her from his grip before leading her slowly back down the corridor, towards the reception area. With a nod, Lulu also turned and followed, beckoning him to do likewise. Once they had reached the main room, she gestured with a simple movement of her hand for him to remain where he was, while the three of them took her off in the direction of Lulu’s room, presumably to work on getting her back into reasonable shape. Thirty minutes later, Lulu re-emerged to escort him, hand-in-hand, back to her room. It was a sorry sight that greeted the Detective there. The mascara-streaked face of the girl was more that of a down-trodden, world-weary hag than that of an attractive twenty-something. She held a cigarette between fingers that would not keep still. Her eyes could not bear to fix upon his gaze. And all around her, the other girls were offering comfort, concerned for their friend but also eager to learn more.

“Tell me what she look like, this girl you found with driver,” the young woman’s frail voice implored. The mask of her face remained focused somewhere down around her feet. “She was fairly unremarkable,” observed Adi, half-whispering. He tried to cushion the words as best he could. “Except for a small mole on her face, about here. Adi pointed to a spot just beside his upper lip: a simple gesture that caused the girl to break down once more, her shoulders shuddering as she sobbed hysterically. “Aah…” she moaned. “He’ll kill us all… He monster… Aah…” Once more she shook her head, which was now gripped firmly in her hands. “You don’t know what he like… Aah…” she cried. These oft repeated words were now becoming familiar to Adi, irritating him. He wanted more than ever to do something bad to the bastard Captain: Captain Fucking Farid. He wished the guy were here now: wanted to take him on – to kill him, even. But he suppressed his anger momentarily, knowing that he needed to use this opportunity to extract as much information from the girl as he could. “Look, you’re going to have to calm yourself. I know you’re upset. Scared. But I’m a Detective. I am the law and I’m going to get this bastard and put him somewhere he’ll never be able to hurt anyone again.” He paused. “Understand? Good. But I need your help. You’re going to have to trust me. Tell me everything you know, however small or unimportant it might seem to you.”

By now, the other girls were all spellbound, nodding their consent. Encouraging her with soothing strokes of their hands on her shoulders and hair, they willed the girl to find the courage to comply with Adi’s request. “OK… This what I know,” she finally managed to utter, between sobs. “Long time ago, he always go to Bonny if she here. She was only one who do what he wanted.” “What was that?” quizzed Adi. Pausing momentarily, she looked up at the other girls, who returned discreet nods of encouragement. “He like it here,” she said, leaning to one side while pointing at her anus. She paused again, sucking hard on her cigarette. “Then one day he – bastard – bring someone else with him and three of them in room together,” she continued. “Bonny said he watch first. She told me he touch himself, bastard. Touch himself, yeah, while Bonny fuck with other one.” “A lesbian show,” contended Adi. “No. Other one also man, not woman.” “What?–” “Let finish. Other one man, not woman. Bastard army Captain like watch her fucking other man. One day Bonny go out of room for a while, get drink. When she come back she saw bastard Captain fucking other guy. Fuck him anus. He so mad when he know Bonny see them. And she laugh, too. So he get even more mad. She thought he will going to kill her, he punch her so hard. And kick her. Bastard. Insy’allah, other guy pull him off her, they run away… We take her hospital, she there more than one week.”

Despite the tragic nature of the girl’s tale, Adi was beaming inside, his faith in the mysterious ways of The Lord now fully restored. Captain Fucking Farid is bisexual… A fucking queer, no less! he laughed to himself. Fucking unbelievable! How’s that going to look on an army man’s CV! Taking Lulu’s hands, he looked once more into the deep wells of her eyes. “Wait for me – I’ll be back,” he said as he quickly turned to rush off. So he had been wrong. It was Captain Faggot Farid, then.

posted by Kirk at 11:32 pm  

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Number One Under Heaven (22)

“To serendipity.” “Serenpidipy,” she giggled. She could barely say it. They raised and chinked their glasses together as the tanguero popped another champagne cork, at Blake’s instruction. It was now approaching six in the evening and this was their fourth bottle. Blake was truly grateful that he had bothered to call her, and Elle glad to have submitted to her instinct to slip a business card into his jacket pocket, for a reason she now better understood. For there was a good deal of natural chemistry between them, this other couple.

“Must be time for dinner, soon,” he remarked, still sober despite the vast amount he had imbibed. “My place,” she abruptly responded, surprising him. “What? You run a business and cook, as well?” “Of course! My Mum showed me everything when I was young.” And what must you have looked like then? Blake asked himself. For this woman sitting next to him, probably in her mid-thirties, was stunning, even now. She must be attached, he thought. It’s inconceivable that she’s not. Unless I’ve just got lucky. Maybe she’s in between lovers, husbands, whatever. But he put these thoughts to the back of his mind, for it was surely too early to be thinking them. And I’m married anyway, he threw in, for good measure.

Elle’s apartment was larger than he expected, and situated in central mid levels, just a mile or so from her business premises. He sat on a stool in her kitchen, glass of wine in hand, looking down at her as she ground spices with a mortar and pestle, sitting cross-legged on the floor. As she pummelled away, he was mesmerised both by her enthusiastic dexterity – despite the alcohol – and her determination to create a meal from scratch, using her own combination of spices. She could so easily have taken a pack of processed food from her freezer compartment, or dialled a takeaway from Fone-Food, he mulled.

The Sichuan-style vegetable curry she eventually served was delicious and fresh, balanced perfectly by steamed fragrant rice, which acted as an antidote to the fiery chilies that were locked inside the gravy. “That was incredible,” Blake enthused, mopping his brow with a serviette at the meal’s end. “You’re certainly multi-talented.” “Thanks,” replied Elle, smiling. Her face was reddened with either a blush or the effect of the spices. “Let’s leave the dishes and have a relaxing glass of red on the sofa,” she continued, now flicking him a nervous glance. For she knew that what she was thinking about doing would be a gamble.

They moved through into the lounge, where she deftly snatched up a remote control, instantly summoning Gwen Stefani’s Love.Angel.Music.Baby. from her surround system. Flopping back on to the cushions where Blake was already sprawled, she pulled out a pack of Sobranies and lit one, drawing smoothly, while striking the definitive posture of a female smoker. Music, food and wine – now this. The pose she cast stirred an urgent, primeval response from Blake and he was at once on top of her, the swiftness of his actions surprising them both. Her immediate reaction was to resist, to push him away. But this was simply her natural response to the suddenness of his intrusion, rather than any lack of desire.

Within moments their tongues were intertwined and she sighed a willingness to submit, but to what Blake was still a little unsure. “Not here,” she finally confirmed, gesturing with her eyes to the bedroom. Blake now knew there would be few, if any, boundaries to cross. She took his hand and pulled him up from the sofa, before leading him to the door. “Wait here a moment,” she instructed. Entering, she switched on a bedside lamp, its rays at once casting a soft glow about the room, while Blake propped himself against the doorframe, wine glass still in hand. He watched as she loosened her skirt and shook it down, off her hips. What a body, the voyeur thought, as her silhouette tantalised.

Elle lay back on the bed before summoning him with an elegant gesture, slowly patting the space beside her as she turned on one side, a knee raised up seductively. Blake moved forward into the darkness of the room, losing his glass upon a chest of drawers. His erection made a comical bulge in his trousers as he loosened his shirt, pulling it from the grip of his trouser belt before discarding it carelessly on to the floor, revealing a passably muscular torso. Out of practice, perhaps, but the basis of something that could be restored with due care, attention and a reasonable amount of effort. Lying next to her he gently kissed her lips and then her neck, while she put a hand behind his head, drawing him closer. Too fast? he now began to question. For this was a woman Blake would like to know much more about, to forge a relationship with. He was not looking for a one-night stand. “Are you sure about this?” he asked. “You’re not a little… tipsy?” “Yes I am. But I need you,” she whispered. “Please.”

He pulled carefully at her panties, while she helped him slide them down the smooth skin of her legs. Then positioning himself between them, he knelt to smell the sweet scent of her slit. As the tip of his tongue first flicked across her clitoris, she squealed and jerked away, tickled. Blake sensed instantly that it had been some considerable time since she had felt the sensation of this form of intimacy, which surprised him. Gently prizing apart her legs he resumed his lapping at her bud, which now swelled obligingly, grateful for his attention. Within a few moments she climaxed with a long moan, before abruptly drawing her legs together and rolling away from him. Blake slumped face first into the soft duvet, savouring her smell. Just seconds later he was fast asleep, the energy-draining emotions of the day having finally overtaken him. And this was lucky for Blake, because on this occasion he would scarcely have been able to take his performance to the next level, even if he were conscious enough to wish it.

posted by Kirk at 11:41 pm  
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