Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Friday, December 14, 2007

Through The Godless Hours (12)

There was a subtle change in Detective Adi’s purpose the second time he visited Endang’s – one he was initially reluctant to admit to himself. Now that the girl had calmed herself and felt more comfortable in his presence, she proved a most willing informant. They even shared a few jokes, after which she allowed him to order a bottle of fake champagne. But despite her growing trust in him, fuelled in part by the bubbles, there was nothing she could tell Adi that would assist in his investigations. Evidently, the Captain was highly aware of the pitfalls involved in mixing business with pleasure and had refrained from boasting of any achievements, least of all the gun running scheme the Detective was pursuing. Captain Farid Azasti was a consummate professional, then – and a highly dangerous one, at that.

Knowing that this particular lead had dried up without delivering a result – which meant he no longer had a professional reason to remain with her – Adi finally found the courage to introduce the subject that was, in fact, the main purpose of his visit. “Lulu,” he began. “Ya, sayang?” “Tell me about your life.” As the girl spoke, he reached out a hand and laid it on her shoulder, touching her skin for the first time. But she recoiled at this, shying away. And although it seemed a rather curious reaction from someone who was penetrated daily by total strangers, it spoke volumes that both she and the handsome young Detective were embarrassed by this awkward encounter. Taking a deep breath before resuming her story, the girl then took Adi’s hand in hers and reconnected its touch, this time on her cheek. She kissed his cupped palm and threw a glance briefly into his eyes, before twisting sharply away from him once again, unable to confront the possibilities that were now flooding her mind. Presented with the sight of her naked back as her flimsy garment rode up, Adi could not help noticing the image of a spider that was tattooed on to her skin, just above her coccyx. Here was his device for reopening their discussions. “What’s this, baby?” he asked, stroking the silky down that nestled there. And this time, the girl did not flinch. “Laba-Laba gang, Kota,” she replied, now sobbing quietly. “I property before.” “You what?” Adi quizzed. “Before I property Laba-Laba gang,” the girl repeated. “Before come here.” She turned to face him, wiping away her mascara tears, then held out her right hand, revealing a miniature version of the same form of branding, this time between her middle two fingers. “How did all this happen, Lulu?” the Detective asked, softly. The girl sighed deeply once again, before recommencing her tale. “When I fourteen year old, my father sell me to gang in Kota, north Jakarta. They rape me, every one. Then keep me in room. Dirty room, where men come and fuck me, every day.” How did she survive? Adi asked himself, his brow furrowed. “Go on, baby,” he encouraged, now stroking her hair. “Then one day I escape, and my friend help me come here. There was big fight, but I stay. I happy here, now.” The girl shrugged her shoulders, her composure and some of her earlier good spirits now restored. “Come, handsome boy,” she finally smiled, sipping some more of the flat champagne from a plastic beaker. “Lay down and let we forget about it a while.”

For a few more days Detective Adi continued to pursue his uniformed quarry, still without any significant breakthrough. Then, late one afternoon, as the mosques began to call the faithful to prayer and the sun dipped behind the barracks he was monitoring from across the road, he witnessed a sudden and unexpected change in the officer’s routine. As Adi sat in bored observation from inside his old Toyota, an army-issue Timor emerged from the rear of one of the administration buildings, making rapidly for the security gate. Flashing its lights repeatedly, the driver of the vehicle announced that the occupant in the rear was on some kind of urgent mission. And when the tinted window slid silently down, it was Captain Farid’s profile that, despite the failing light, could clearly be seen inside. Gesticulating impatiently at the security detachment, the surly officer gave instruction that the gate was to be raised, PDQ. Adi instinctively gunned his engine. Once through the barrier, the Timor’s tyres squealed as it sped off with the young Detective in tow, now trying desperately to keep up the pace without overtly advertising his presence. He tailed the car right up until the moment it entered the major highway that led to only one destination – the airport – when he veered off and slowed down, satisfied that at last he had a plan. For when contemplating the two men in the vehicle in front, it had suddenly struck him. The driver. The driver! Of course. The Captain’s driver – whoever he was – was the key to the whole investigation, he now saw. FIGJAM, he smiled to himself. Fuck I’m good, just ask me.

A while later, he parked his car directly outside the Captain’s private residence, making no attempt to conceal his presence. He knew the officer would not be returning today, and from the transcripts alone was almost certain where his flight was taking him. But he also knew that the car would be back, and with it the driver – the person who spent more time than anybody with the Captain, observing every last detail of his habits and movements. Someone who overheard one side of the treacherous officer’s many telephone conversations. After weeks of fruitless surveillance Detective Adi was at last beginning to develop the essence of a plan, and in contemplation of this he allowed himself a contented smile, pleased at the momentum the case was now finally gathering. About to put the squeeze on the Captain’s driver, he decided it was time to have a little fun.

posted by Kirk at 3:03 am  

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