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by Kev Richardson
Description: Kev Richardson unveils more intrigue in distant lands?all true dramas! Three distinctive true tales are, in Brogan Abroad, threaded into a single adventure. Brogan plans none--all three are thrust upon him and all three are life-threatening. Each destines his future to having his throat slit in some dark alley? Yet what can a man do, he laments, when to accomplish one I must fail at another? While hiding out in Thailand from a Sydney cocaine cartel, he becomes involved in smuggling high-profile prostitutes into Australia--an adventure interrupted when unwittingly used as a courier in a third-world nation counting down hours to bloody revolution.
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: February 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [404 KB]
Reading time: 229-320 min.
Ah! What's this?
Brogan stared about, trying to orientate himself.
Mustafa had mounted, waited until sure Brogan was properly settled, then after barking an order to Brogan's camel to follow, turned to begin riding off.
But surely he's going the wrong way?
Brogan was more than conscious of this being the northern hemisphere, yet even in the north, he was confidently sure, the sun didn't set in the east.
And here is Mustafa setting off in a canter, which my camel is following, to the south.
He searched his mind for what might support his belief in his good sense of direction.
That map showed an only road west--and we certainly drove into the setting sun--and it had a dotted line from the road to Magdub, clearly leading north.
He dropped his feet from their tucked-up position so he could kick his heels into the camel, to then flick his reins, urging it forward.
"Mustafa!" he called. But there was no response.
"Mustafa!!" he shouted as loudly as he could.
Mustafa kept up his canter and didn't look back.
Oh how does a man get a camel into a gallop? Bloody hell!
He again cast his mind back to the map, not believing but that he had it right. And surely if the man ahead were the same Mustafa who had paid him every courtesy and ensured his every comfort up to that point, he would, if indeed true to character, have by then turned around several times to ensure Brogan was coping with his camel.
But if I am indeed being hijacked, what can I do about it? I cannot go back and break into that shed even if I knew how to start the car without keys. And would the family of that village let me do that anyway? They no doubt depend on the largesse of whoever it is I am being taken to.
He thought of breaking through the stitching to reach the micro-tape and toss it into the sand... But if I am somehow wrong about this direction thing? Could the name Magdub refer to the entire district west of El Fasher? Am I in error, thinking I am being hijacked?
"Mustaafa-a-a!" he yelled again.
And this time Mustafa did look around, then eased his camel to a walk. He barked a further order to Brogan's camel as it drew level, which then also slowed.
But the language problem still held the men a kilometre apart.
Brogan pointed back the way they had come.
"Shouldn't we be going that way?"
Mustafa only turned his palms upwards and shrugged shoulders. He touched his lips then waved his hands in a no-no fashion, speaking in Arabic that was as senseless to Brogan as Brogan's English obviously was to the Arab.
Maybe I'm making a problem over nothing?
He continued anxious, having no option but to follow the man.
Mustafa continued south, now containing his pace at a walk, abreast with Brogan.
The man smiled such that Brogan could sense no deceit in it.
Brogan tucked his feet around the saddle-horn again and composed his spine to roll with the camel's now walking gait.
Oh how is it one can feel so completely ignored when you know in your heart that these people are conscious of every step I take, of every glance I make, wondering what a 'farangi' like me is doing in their outback?
He was more and more beginning to feel very much alone, vulnerable, and insecure.
* * * *
* * * *
7th June, Bangkok...
You have phoned Brogan. He is delayed abroad, but assures callers he will return, if not by eleventh or twelfth of June, certainly in good time to depart for Australia. Please call back on the above dates. Thank you.
Neung scratched his head.
It's worded for my benefit. But when would he have cut that?
No. It needn't be subterfuge. Not knowing how to let me know if he couldn't be back by the seventh, he could easily have had a friend cut the new message. And now I come to think of it, it wasn't Brogans voice on that tape.
But ah! He's cutting it fine.
What had he said that prompted the seventh being the date nominated?
He was going to Singapore for research--thought it should take ten days to two weeks? Yes, something close to that.
He pulled his diary from its pocket and thumbed back, his mind smiling at being reminded of all the water that had flowed under his bridge since lunching with Brogan...
But a busy mind makes light work of things, they say...
He found it.
Eighteenth May. So his ten days to two weeks has certainly been stretched.
He frowned, many things flashing through his mind, first and foremost being the fact of having only ten more days before his girl was to leave.
And I'm now to start phoning each day again from the eleventh or even twelfth?
He slapped a hand on his thigh.
That's cutting things too fine for my liking. Only thing saving me from being more concerned is realising the guy is a regular traveller, used to juggling schedules. This is the worst part of liking things neat and tidy. I don't like not knowing loose ends are still waiting to be tied.
Maybe it's a mistake, I now realise more than ever, not letting couriers know that if they fail to front up when due, there'll be consequences.
It was an opulent house, expensively appointed with chandeliers, each of which seemed to contain a score of electric light bulbs bright enough to cast shadows in symmetrical circles on the tiled floor, even from two stories up. It was a huge entrance hall he'd been ushered into, with a magnificent staircase and atrium ceiling.
I can hear no generator, so where the power comes from in this isolated oasis, I simply cannot imagine.
His host was a small man, simply clad in Arab garb, appearing from the shadows of a recess, to address Brogan in the same impeccable English as over the phone.
"You are welcome, Mr. Brogan."
Brogan nodded in acknowledgement. He was eager to sum up his host, that he might quickly discover if the man were friend or foe.
"The man who sent you to me, Mr. Brogan, has a distinctive facial mole. Would you care to show me exactly where on his face, is the mole?"
"My name is Brogan, sir, and I prefer to be addressed as simply that. And your colleague, sir, has a mole here." Brogan placed a finger on his right temple.
"Ah. I hope you jest. Or maybe you come under false colours?"
"Then here, sir?" Brogan placed the point of his finger on the bridge of his nose.
"That is a far more apt description. May I then, please, have the micro-tape?"
Brogan was careful to remain unflustered.
"I am to ask you, sir, in what manner was the gift to be despatched?"
"Come, dear fellow. Surely by now we have established each other's credentials." The Arab held out his hand. "The tape, please."
"I am aware only that you know who was despatching the tape. I have little to prove that it is you to whom its present location should be revealed."
"Then you do not have it?"
"With respects, sir, it is your authenticity that I lack."
His host betrayed only the slightest hint of a scowl.
He clapped his hands, and two men moved from the shadows, one from each side of the huge hall.
"You will be taken to your quarters, Mr.--eh--Brogan. We shall talk later, over dinner."
He then talked in Arabic, brusquely but briefly, to the two men, before doffing his head again to Brogan. He then turned quickly on the heel of his soft slippers and departed.
The vassals, for it seemed that was their station, bowed obsequiously to Brogan. One walked off while the second waved Brogan to follow, to then bring up the rear.
Why am I being despatched under guard? It's him who didn't give the rest of the password, despite he was 'spot on' on the phone yesterday, with its start. And I still don't know his name...