Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (57)

The General had somehow managed to acquire the luxurious family home a decade earlier, despite the modest pay of a soldier coming through the ranks. Situated on the outskirts of the city, the seven bedroom, two storey structure was fronted by a mock Georgian façade that resembled a miniature White House. As the army-issue Timor now approached, one of its huge wrought iron gates was slowly swung open by the jaga, an elderly man who had been in the General’s employ for many years. “Selamat sore, ’Pak,” he greeted his boss, holding open the driver’s door once the vehicle had finally halted. Good afternoon, sir. But it was a quizzical look that was trying to write itself across his face, despite the neutrally polite manner of his address. How come the General is driving? he mused. And his efforts to maintain a stoic expression were further challenged when he next saw the condition of the disembarking Captain. Sensing this, the General flicked him a glance – more a form of plea than a warning, but a look that nonetheless conveyed a cautionary signal: Best keep this to yourself, my loyal servant… If you know what I mean…

Once out of the car, the three men moved together through the spacious lobby, making directly for the General’s study. Its high, fanned ceiling and teak-panelled walls made it a comfortable retreat, where the old man would often sit alone with just his thoughts for company. On these occasions, his impressive collections of fine cognacs and cigars – mostly gifts from visiting servicemen – would vie for his attention while he mulled ponderously over piles of spurious paperwork. But on this particular occasion, the atmosphere was far from relaxed and as he swivelled around in his large leather desk chair, it was evident from his expression that the gravity of the day’s events had returned to haunt him.

“Relax, Farid,” the General’s deep baritone suddenly cut through the tension, in an address he might easily have been making to himself. Staring directly at his elder son while clipping off the end of a Cabana, he continued: “I want you to know that whatever is said within this room will stay right here, never going any further, never leaving the trust of this family.” Major Yudi nodded in conformity, turning also to look towards the Captain, who now cleared his throat. “Bapak,” the elder sibling began, falteringly, swallowing in order to lubricate the dryness that had returned there, now that he realised this is it… this is the moment… my chance to wipe the slate, to start again… After pausing for a second to compose himself, he went on: “I have a number of things to say, after which I would fully understand it if you chose to disown me.” Captain Farid dropped his head. He had the look of someone who knew that a great burden was about to be lifted, but who was crestfallen all the same – ashamed, in fact, that the course he had chosen to follow had ultimately led him to this particular moment in time and space. “Father, I have struggled with myself in terms of whether I should tell all… or if, in fact, it might be better to hold something back. I’ve wrestled with the problem all the way here, and I’m now convinced that I will only be able to break free from this… from what is consuming me if I tell all: so here it is. I’m… I’m sorry… I just want to warn you now, dearest Papa, that you’ll… you’ll be shocked by what I’m about to say, so please be prepared for the worst and… and above all… I beg you… I beg you to forgive me.”

Strangely, this precursor to the confession that was to follow uplifted the General and, to a slightly lesser extent, Major Yudi. For both men had seen the Captain’s circumstances careering out of control for some time now. It seemed at least that the person they thought him to be was now coming to terms with whatever demons had been haunting him. There was even a shared sense of pride that Farid had the guts to face them, was seemingly prepared to reveal everything, whatever the cost.

The Captain then began his sorry tale by first unveiling his trade in arms with the Colombians: whose demands, he regretted to say, he had barely been able to keep up with, and whose recalcitrant payments had now begun starving him of cash flow. “It should have been so different,” he offered at one point, to the assent of his father and kid brother alike. “If they’d kept to their side of the bargain, I’d have brought thousands of dollars into the family coffers by now.” Admitting for the first time the failure of his enterprise, he now felt foolish that it was not working out as planned – that the risk he had taken in setting up the scam had so far shown such little reward. But neither his elder son’s morals nor the relative lack of success of the illicit commercial venture he had embarked upon bothered the General one iota, the old man nodding his encouragement throughout his son’s preamble. The only flicker of anxiety to flash momentarily across his face came at the mention of the Komdak Detective by the name of Adi. The asshole who had been the aggressor, back there at Sate Blora. But this concern passed quickly, with a mental note to call the Chief Superintendent there – pulling rank if necessary. Then, while sucking on his Cabana, the General barely managed to suppress a smile at his son’s description of how he had organised the demise of his treacherous driver. For turncoats were, of course, universally loathed within the military.

Now that he was almost beginning to enjoy the process, the old man failed to notice that his elder son was starting to lose a little of his confidence as he stuttered towards what was intended to be the grand finale. The description of what a deceased hooker named Bonny had witnessed; the secret that was known, too, by the filthy, prying Detective the Captain had tried to kill, as recently as an hour ago. For up until now, everything the General had heard was manageable, could be quickly put to bed, erased – proved, even, to have never existed. The wily old General had the solutions to all of that, no problem!

But the big secret was not yet out.

posted by Kirk at 12:44 am  

3 Comments »

  1. I agreed with you

    Comment by Alburfalf — August 3, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  2. well done, brother

    Comment by Rhitainancemer — September 24, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

  3. favorited this one, bro

    Comment by Kattandaket — October 9, 2008 @ 12:58 am

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