Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (32)

“Thank you, boys,” said the Detective, counting out another forty thousand Rupiah into the tallest one’s hand. “You did well: exactly as I asked. Here’s a bonus for your trouble.” Four pairs of young eyes lit up as he added a further twenty thousand, plus all the coins from his trouser pockets. With a wink, Detective Adi then began to move off. He had more work to do – and some additional information to gather – before the night’s big event took place. As his shadow disappeared around the next corner, the street urchins excitedly distributed their booty. They would again have some interesting tales to tell on their return tonight to the ramshackle hutments they shared with their fellow Kampung-dwellers. Their efforts to scrape some cash together no doubt greatly appreciated by their impoverished parents and kid siblings…

Captain Farid pulled off the main highway and came to a halt shortly after entering the small side street. Disembarking from the army issue Timor, he walked round to its rear, springing open the boot lid with the key fob once again. A pitiful sight awaited, inside. In his terror, the driver appeared to have entered a state of shock: his eyes staring into nowhere, his body stiff, and trembling. Drooling spit, his blood was still seeping from nose and mouth, although a little less profusely than before.

The Captain gave him a few slaps across his face, gentler this time. But even this invoked instant panic: the memory of his Boss’s earlier brutality still fresh in the luckless driver’s mind. Flinching, he began to blubber – begging the dispassionate officer not to mete out any further punishment. As his focus began to return, to his surprise the Captain took his arm – a firm but unthreatening grip that ushered him from the boot and down, on to the road behind the car. “Come. I overreacted. My temper… my goddamn temper. It’s always been a problem for me to control,” the Captain said, somewhat unconvincingly. “I’m–” “Shhh… Don’t say anything. Come on: get back in the car. I’ll drive.” The Captain again sat in the driver’s seat, with the driver now beside him. They drove in silence for about twenty minutes as the man slowly regained his senses. But the restoration of full consciousness came at a price, and the pain arrived too, in particular from the broken nerve ends sunk deep within his gums. “Boss… Sorry, ya? Boss… My mouth is hurting so bad… I can’t take–” “Shhh… I’m taking you to a doctor friend of mine. He’ll take care of you. I’ll have someone call your wife, tell her you’ve been instructed at short notice to join me on an official trip. Once the doctor has seen to you and you’ve rested up for a couple of days, you can go home to your family in reasonable shape. Take a few days’ paid leave.” “But Boss: you don’t need to–” “Yes, I do. I’ve messed up and I’m going to make amends. We’re here now, in any case.”

They pulled into the driveway of a motel that was often frequented by the Captain – the kind of no questions asked place where cash was the preferred method of settlement by customer and proprietor alike, and rooms were often booked by the hour. “Wait here,” instructed the Captain, alighting from the car. The motel’s proprietor knew of this particular army officer through earlier visits, and was a member of the growing club of people who were terrified of him. Approaching the front desk, the Captain banged loudly on the counter and asked to see him personally. Ushered by a timid young girl into a small office at the back, he began speaking to the man in a low voice that was just above a whisper: a throaty sound that augmented his sinister manner.

“I need a good room in a quiet part of the hotel for tonight. A friend of mine has been a loyal servant to me for over ten years and I want to reward him with… well, I think you know what I mean. I don’t want him disturbed unless he calls for something, or have any of the comings and goings to and from his room to be questioned or even noticed, understood? He’s travelling incognito and needs your total discretion.” “Of course, officer,” said the proprietor, shuffling uneasily in his chair. “OK, let me have the key to the room. I’m going to take him there personally and settle him in. He’s never done this sort of thing before and he’s a little nervous at the prospect.” The Captain grinned in a chilling manner, as the owner of the cheap motel then handed him a key. “Room 414,” he stated, anxious for the imposing figure before him to leave. “Thank you,” replied the Captain. “I think this should be sufficient compensation for the… arrangements.” The Captain then handed over the cash equivalent of approximately double the normal room rate to the visibly twitchy proprietor, who nervously beamed his satisfaction. “Thank you, officer. I guarantee your friend will enjoy our complete discretion. And a late check-out, of course,” he quickly added. “I’m sure he will have a most enjoyable stay.” “I’m sure he will,” said the cold army officer as he then disappeared back around the counter and out of the main entrance to the car. He’ll be checking out sooner than you think, he thought to himself, with a smirk.

posted by Kirk at 10:28 pm  

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