Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Number One Under Heaven (63)

Sophie Blake was sleeping snugly in her quarters aboard the Glory, content at having been rescued from the nasty Guilin gang. In her slumber, vague images of ‘Funny’ and ‘Scary’ vied for her attention – they were so nice, these men who had saved her – even if Scary looked a bit… well, scary. They cared for her, had fed her well and provided such a comfy bed… And there were visions of her mother, too – of a beaming Kate boarding the vessel from a launch, rather like she had, and rushing up to her, to hug her and swing her around in a twirl. To kiss her shiny, scented hair… Mummy… Mummy… she could almost hear herself purr…

Bazza, Bazza, Bazza… the former reggae star mouthed to his reflection in the bathroom mirror. What the fuck are you going to do? Wiping the last traces of foam from his newly razored chin, he shook his head with worry. Something Plums had said was beginning to nag him, to gnaw away at his subconscience. Stick to the usuwal stuff… Bazza almost smiled as he mouthed the words, mimicking the affected accent of his Cockney companion of these past few decades. Poor Plums, he mused, wanly. For whilst he loved him as assuredly as night follows day, Bazza knew that Harold Cheeseman had never truly been the champagne to his Guinness. That as a couple, their chemistry had never quite formed the perfect Black Velvet. And this had been the other reason his loyal ginger lover had been forced to witness years of his indulgence – his sordid debasing of child after child as he played out his fantasies in the only way he permitted himself; in the manner he had grown accustomed to, ever since staging that first party for the kids from his old orphanage.

Pursing his lips, Bazza pushed through the bathroom door with sudden purpose. He would make amends for his earlier outburst – seek forgiveness from the one person who had stood by him, all these years. Someone who also, he now realised, had a very valid point with regard to the ‘merchandise’ sleeping soundly in the VIP cabin along the corridor. For until now, it had always been possible for him to justify his errant behaviour on the grounds that his treatment of the child victims on whom he preyed was, on balance, humane and kind. They had always left him with more nourishment in their bellies than when they first arrived, and he was generous with the cash he gave them when sending them off, back to the filthy streets from whence they came. Never mind that many – perhaps all – were murdered before reaching their intended destinations, silenced lest they betray the brutes who pimped them, while handing the slayers all the profit their young bodies had secured. But that was not Bazza’s business.

Tiptoeing past her quarters, the faded Top of The Pops icon thought again of the girl sleeping soundly inside. Someone’s daughter, he reminded himself. Not just some impoverished urchin that’s been plucked from the roadside in some Asian slum. No – Plums was right. This was an unnecessary risk, and he would admit it – would try and quell the turbulent air that now flowed between them.

Arriving at the door, Bazza knocked gently. “Plums,” he half-whispered. “Open up, darling. I need to talk.” Hearing the click of the lock from inside, he paused momentarily before turning the handle and pushing it open, to enter. A rather doleful Plums was sitting on the edge of his bed, staring down at his feet. Bazza moved across the cabin to sit beside him. “Like two sparrows on a telegraph wire,” he quipped, trying to lighten the mood. But Plums was having none of it, such was the depth of his depression. You’re such a bloody woman, Harold Cheeseman, Bazza thought to himself, privately. But the words that parted his lips were kinder. “Plums,” he said, placing an arm around his loyal manservant’s shoulder. “I think you may be right, darling. I’m having second thoughts.” The look Plums flicked him in reward for this confession was truly heart warming. “Oh, guv’nor… Ah’m so pleased to ’ear it,” he replied. “But what the fuck are we going to do wiv ’er, then?” His eyes darted in the direction of the corridor, along which Sophie’s quarters were situated. Bazza dropped his head, the gravity of his mistake now manifesting itself as a crushing weight on top of it. “Right now, I haven’t got a clue, my love,” he almost sobbed. “I think I need a nap. I’m going to lie down for a while. Could you bring me some Panadol, dear?”

A few minutes later, Plums was backing through the portal leading into the Glory’s Owner’s Suite. A glass of milk was balanced carefully in the centre of the tray he carried, together with four white tablets arrayed neatly on a deep blue porcelain saucer. “’Ow’s yer ’ead, boss?” he enquired of the prone figure on the bed. “Don’t worry, Plums, my dear old friend. I’ve fucked up again, I know. Big time, this time. But we’ll find a way out of it. We always do, don’t we?” “So what we gonna do then, guv?” Plums persisted. Bazza, meanwhile, slowly raised an arm, to rest the back of his hand on his forehead. “I just don’t know. I really don’t. Help me out here, Plums. What the fuck are we going to do?” “Why don’t we try an’ get ’er back to China?” “I’ve been thinking of that. Question is: how?” “Can’t we get ’old o’ the same geezers who arranged t’fetch ’er? Ask ’em t’come back ’n take ’er, or somefing?”

Bazza shot up like a bolt and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. At the mention of the men with whom he had originally negotiated in order to acquire the merchandise, there was something he had suddenly remembered. Some terrible oversight. “Shit on sticks, Plums! I’ve just realised something!” he yelled, a look of sheer terror written across his face. “Whassat?” “I haven’t fucking paid for her yet! And if I’m right about the type of men I’ve been dealing with, we’re already in the shit. Deep, deep, deep fucking shit. Fuck!

posted by Kirk at 2:21 am  

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