Party and Pistols - Part 2
“Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I hope you have had a good sleep and had some coffee. This is will not take long and since we have a long day ahead of us, we will make this to the point. What I am about to tell you will change everything and not much in your lives. Your opinion is not requested and is terribly irrelevant. The long story short is that you are all be part of the same agency now.
You Stormi, have ceased working for Stasi. You Zuzu are finished with The South Afrikan Jewish Consortium (for mutual benefit and welfare). You Ev are no longer a free-lance freedom fighter and your B&B is now a parking lot. You Ari no longer even hold an American passport. You, Franco, are not even you-know-what anymore unless I tell you so and you Mauro, you…. you just stay you; it’s bad enough as it is.
Not one of you is a national of your own country anymore.
No one of you has anywhere to go. You Stormi, the moment you set foot outside this office…. you will have anyone that can walk in Gaza after you.
You, Ari, out of this, are still guilty and a lifer. Between Detroit and Denver, it will never be the same because of you. The cemetery manager sent you a thank you postcard from Barbados for your input in his business. And we don’t go “there” do we, I mean “the war”..
Zuzu, you are on a UN must catch list, a Hamas must kill list, a Russian hit list, in the FBI top 30 most wanted, in the awol list of the SA Army.
Between you all, you are officially undesirable in 63 countries. 63.
Franco is now formally institutionalised. We will tolerate the absurdly wrong and indecent parts of your personality (posting a picture for almost every comment) and you Mauro…well, I think it was only last Friday the last time a Cotoletta crew was known to be looking for you. Earl “The Pearl”, Rip “Heads” Ford, Vario“Suntan” Pederiste and Tutu “O’negro” Ancamen and given that in South America there are the wolves after you…. wherever you go, you wont go to your family so what the fuck; you might as well stay.”
“You with me?” she added
“Is the Pope a Cath..” “I wouldn’t say that man, honest” “Bad joke?” “Bad joke” “Get over it?” “Quick” “Done”.
“After 5 years of trial and tests you are now working for another state. This state has enormous resources and deepest clout. This state has ultimate power and responsibility. You will join the untold service that is everywhere. Everywhere. It has power in the most remote corners and in every capital. This, you will understand, is IT.”
Grey naked walls, a table, not Italian* coffee on it, 5 chairs. We’re all seated in front of this total stunner who, I assume, is Maresciallo Midden. I stopped asking; it’s never the same person anyway. I’m just happy this one hasn’t got moustaches…or has she…
She’s intentionally towering over us in a menacing way, she clearly dislikes each and every one of us with a flavour, she is furious that she has to associate with us and she has a venomous mean streak to chill your blood and freeze you like a cod.
“Boss, what happened to swanky offices, espresso & pastries, lunch break at Davide’s in Piazza Risorgimento?”
A look of contempt is all I get.
“You will be explained all you’re worth explaining to in Rome, where you will be in about three and a half hours. Do not pack anything; you’ll be back tonight. You’re going to get cleansed”
“I don’t have to go to Rome for a shower” Ari muttered
“Ari, Mauro, Franco, especially you. Mesh has been purified too and is already in place where you will be in a few days. I remind you he is our insurance. Ours against “them” and ours against you.”
“Thanks for the trust boss. I thought you just said we were going to be made or something today. Can you expand a little? And please, let me have the time to take the guys to Pascucci in Rome, that frullato must be worth a daring visit!” “Oi oi Miss, I am all for Italian frullato!” came in Stormi “Why am I not surprised” said Zuzu” “what d’you mean” “Nothing” “What d’you mean? No say it. Say it” “I was joking, nothing” “I don’t like you, you know, South Afrikan shit, yes? Friend of whatisname the nazi there eh?” “You miserable fuck, look who’s talking, the German lover!” “Wha’dd’you call me? Wha’dd’you call me?” “Ladies! Please!” “Ladies… how many?” Zuzu spat.
The girls didn’t like each other; from what I had learned, Stormi was doing a great job in the territories. She was a pacithick chef during the day and a beggar at night. She was on both camps of the enemy. Zuzu instead was a skipper of a 4-strong crew who routinely eliminated the “worst cases” and by accident (yes, by accident) happened to dispose of a case before Stormi had finished linking him to the next on the chain. No point in having your target in sight if you don’t have the next one in view too. Don’t move if you don’t know where you will go next. Stormi had worked at it for months and it wasn’t that worth of a kill…not him, not yet anyway. But hey, Zulu’s crew was one of a kind really and it was in town. Speciality: incursion & stings. A fast trail of death in other words.
“I don’t mean to be venial but what’s the money like in this agency?” “I wouldn’t worry about that. Wherever you are, all you will have to do is walk into a church and ask.” “ Yes, of course, how stupid of me. Marescia`, why Rome? And can I stay a few hours longer?”
“Rome because that is where it is. No, extra hours. See you tonight”
“Is she on drugs?” asked Stormi walking to the plane which seemed to be right outside of that room. “I’ve no idea my friend but if there’s a plane taking me to Rome I really don’t care about anything else. Provide she takes me to Rome, I’ll say yes to any fantasy she has, the maniac. Take me to Rome, you’ll see.”
The car speeds through the roman traffic, yellow taxis, fur covered women, arrogant mopeds, endless roadwork’s, vigili urbani on a war-path, cut through Fori Imperiali, flow into Piazza venezia traffic, a look at the balcony where he used to address the masses, over Largo Argentina and into Corso Vittorio, by passing Campo De` Fiori and the Jewish quarter, down towards San Pietro. Over the bridge, Rome is potent in her looks. A view from that bridge at the right time of sunset it a show of Godly magnitude.
Via Della Conciliazione looks to the square itself. The car negotiates over the low columns and moved solemnly over sanpietrini and beside puzzled tourists, visitors and faithful. The Swiss Guard lifts the bar without a look or a question. We are in Vaticano. Through a small tunnel, the car finds itself on the side of a beautiful garden.
“Fratelli! Benvenuti a Roma.” Suor Annia said, opening the door of the car. As I step out of the car, a perfume that permeates the air nearly knocks me out. It’s beautiful… Suor Annia, second guessing me just points to a magnificent plant…..”and you haven’t smelled those ones….those ones beyond that row or roses….those are for later. We just thought that this garden was a good welcome.” As I look around me, my partners in crime are all looking like on some heavenly drug. I love them all and they all love me. We have grown such a bond. We would die for each other…gee, this drug is strong I am hallucinating a bond that is not there…wakey wakey Mauro, what drug is this? “You seem puzzled Mauro” “I am just taken aback sister”
Things are slowly falling in place.
“Follow me please, take your shoes off, feel the grass while we cross the garden”
As I walk, a surge of power runs through my body, it’s like my body is a washing machine initiating its program.
From my feet to my head I feel a growing push and a drench off of all that is bad within it. By the time it gets to my face, I am the happiest guy to walk on hearth.
“WHAT WAS THAT!!!” we all bursted once out of it. “Wow this is amazing, I haven’t felt like this in. …ever, fucking ever!” Zuzu cried as in going crazy. But that was crazy stuff. Suor Annia asks us to moderate our language and smiling invites us put our shoes back on, now he adds, we are going to meet Monsignor Giuseppe Papi.
Monsignor Papi…I remember him, he was on the right of Monsignor Lefebvre for a period before making a figliol prodigo return to the church. He was seen as a war priest, an irrequieto, alleged to be in soul communion with some of the most reactionary wings of the church. He’s the link between the church and right-wing evangelists. Powerful stuff. Just how powerful, I was about to find out.
Someone up there had decided to move a piece on the big chess-board and he is that piece. It’s like Lucyferus really pissed God off this time and the chips are down.
“Fratelli, did you enjoy walking in the garden? 5 happyness-numb faces staring the depth of nothingness….he claps his hands and we get back. “I love it, now who sold you those plants? You can make a fortune! I mean this could be bigger than anything before. Forget the poppy fields in Afghanistan, forget the Colombian plantations, forget the Southeast Asian golden triangle. This is bigger than drugs, this is bigger than alcohol, this is the next thing” I’ve lost my head, the plant’s scent is still all over my head. I want more.
“Don’t be silly Mauro. What you have just had was a mere whiff of the scent of some plants in Paradise. Just a whiff…anything more could actually kill you if you are in a human body” “Paradise, yes…they must be; heavenly they are…. now how much per seed?”
Monsignor Papi looks at me bemused by my naivety.
“It’s time you all know what is happening to your lives.
You are what we have, in the centuries and centuries before, called upon in the name of Our Lord. You will be dispensed of sin and live to be one of His mysterious ways.” “Listen Monsignor Papi, I don’t think we need all this stuff you know? We’re grown adults here. I’m having my fills with all this show and to be honest, I don’t think we share all the most important values so, why don’t we just part company now…and….ohmyGordon….what is this….” said Franco as his voiced ridiculously pitched between extremely manly and extremely gay on its own, without Franco having any control over it….we’re all smirking at the bastard…“Be patient please Franco. Be patient all of you. Remember, everything will be revealed and He works on need-to-know basis. Suor Annia will now take you to a cell; one each and you will spend a few minutes inside praying. When you come back, you will understand.”
In the little room there is a small bench to knee on to. As I knee I feel a lump in my heart and I realise immediately that room is my soul. I am inside my soul and I can change whatever I want and keep whatever I want, whatever makes my happiness.
My own happiness. Mine, here’s my soul, here’s my one chance to make me a happy person. I cannot believe this is happening, I am tampering with my soul, adjusting, fixing and as I do it, I feel changes being stored away. I want to be a good man, I want to live a normal life, I never want to see a gun again, I never want to betray any woman I will have, I never want to steal, cheat, rob, deal again. Can I really have all this?
“I must admit some of you have pretty strange expectations from your soul in your remaining time on earth. Frank…ly I am appalled and strongly doubt you will be given what you seem to ask but hey….mysterious ways and all that, remember?”
He looks genuinely bewildered at that piece of white paper in front of his hands. Yet his orders are clear.
“Go back to the garden, the Francescano will show you a path you will need to follow. At the end of that path there is a tree. Yes, an apple tree. Pick an apple and eat it. It will make sure the devil always knows who you are.”
I am making no questions anymore; my entire belief system has been thrown to the pits. I feel like a Lego part. Either this guys has discovered the Nirvana of all drugs and I was going to be the richest drug baron ever, or it was all True.
If it was True, I was in a real pile this time.
“This is all very miraculous…. any chance to tell me who killed Kennedy?” said Ari. “Is Elvis alive?” “Truly, is Lazio ever going to win the league again?”, “The Minnesota National Lottery Numbers?” “We don’t do betting,” grinned Mons. Papi while opening the door.
“Note: He didn’t say no to the rest” notes Ari.
As we make to get out, Suor Annia runs in with a small piece of paper; a message. A look of relief in Mons. Papi’s face.
“On second thought, guys, your list of soul changes has been so alarming that He Himself has decided that more than suited for this service, you are best suited to 350 years in purgatory (where you get to work really hard to get anywhere near to paradise) but, given that we’re all too deep into this now, we’ll look at about 15% of what new people you want to be and work with that. In the meantime, you’re still in. Let’s just skip the second garden bit because, and He says and He’s right, “That’s such a nice garden…”
As we are led away by Suor Annia, we cross the garden we walked before. It’s dead. It’s all-dry, burnt out flowers and cracked stems.
There rests our Sins.
“We had to make room for new terrible sins. What you will be asked to do. There are times, there are places where the Archangels will fight and win the Demons; those places, those times will need to be prepared. While you slay its human incarnation, the archangels rip the demon soul in the heavens”
“Another one on crack” whispered Stormi.
“So, I believe you have met Mos. Papi and his aid Suor Annia
“Yes” I said.
“Ok. Now, I will need to brief you individually over your new mission and new resources” All the others are led out.
“Ok, first, congratulation for wanting to be a sane person after this, unlike most of your associates. I was surprised to be told. As we speak you’re only looking at about 27 years in Purgatory.
“Sounds spectacular” “You haven’t lost your irreverence.” “You haven’t lost your sense of humour. I bet you’re Ms Paradise yesterday eh?” “No actually, 3 years” “I wonder how they calculate, I mean this is a bit dictatorial….” “Well, there are points of no return and points of…what the f…. listen, you; the job at hand now.”
“Simple again. Mesh has been sitting on a roof for three weeks now. He’s part of the furniture. He’s waiting for a good shot and he’ll wait as long as it takes. In the meantime he’s also pot shot other birds. It’s a bit of a blurr in the bees nest. Can’t find the shooter and lost of nervous people about.” “Haven’t they caught him yet? I mean, same roof? 3 weeks? How many birds did he take?” “4, he’s found a great spot and you know he doesn’t say much. He’s just saying he’s enjoying the new resources.” “Is he?” “Sounds like it yes, anyway. There’s all the fuss we need to get in, take the big one out and walk away.” “Kidnap your taxy driver, put him in the trunk, you need him for about 4 hours, so adequate knocking only please. Get his papers, go to this address. It’s a laundry. It’s where they do the ministry’s tapestry and all that. Someone you know will work there. Stuff yourself inside a rug or something. You’ll end up in the staff and delivery area. Someone you know will work there by then. Here’s the plant, here’s the staff door, follow this arrow and your target will be here.” “And what’s between me and my target?” “At the time you’re going, not much.”
“What about Ari and Franco, Stormi and Zuzu?” “And what’s it to you?” “Just curious….I mean, I am getting a difficult job and we’re all on the same dough you know?…” “Wha’; you think they’re getting the easy jobs?” “Well, we’re talking killing again for starters and I though I was purified and all that” “Yes, you have, imagine how dirty you were. But there are times where swift actions must be carried out” “Hence Ari?” “Hence Ari, yes. He’s much faster than you at decisions.” “This is the good guys yes?” “Yes. Now. Once you’re out of the rug, in your nice burqa, you just make your fast way. Someone will have already eliminated as many as possible without rousing suspicion in the run up 20 minutes before you arrive.
As from the moment you arrive, you will also have Mesh support. As you leave, in the rug again and to the laundry, take the taxy and go to the home of the driver, some you’ll know works in the taxy company, he’ll find out who’s missing, send your “way out” there.”
“Sounds preposterous like all your other plans boss”
“You’ve been in the Vatican”
“Leave that alone. What’s so good about going into a nest of bees and stick my head in it? Security will be high, big numbers.”
“Like I said, there is Mesh from the outside and another colleague from the inside to weed off a few.” “Boss, I want out. I prefer giving a go here on earth than 27 years of Purgatory.” “Go to bed, it’s all enough for you guys today. Really. Go and have a rest Mauro” she says rubbing her gun. I’m sure you’ll feel all better tomorrow.
“No doubt I will Boss, no doubt I will.”
1 month later…
Beirut South. 427 yards from Nashi’s lair.
Interrogating Abdul, some “in the know” guy deep in Beirut
“So, make me understand; you were king in your homeland; now you’ve got it half destroyed and half occupied while you call this a victory.
You’ve suffered human losses about tenfold of your enemy’s and still you call this a victory.
Your children run amongst piles of rubble, while your enemy’s ones go to the beach and yet you call this a victory.
You have infidel soldiers in their thousands in what was Umma-land and guess what? You call this a victory.
You had monopoly over the border with your enemy, now you can’t even see it with binoculars and again you call this a victory.
Please, more victories like this mate…if that’s a victory for you, what would be defeat? You know, the Jews have totally destroyed your infrastructure while you damaged a couple of villas and they call this a defeat.
They suffered human losses about 10 times smaller than yours and still they call this a defeat.
Their children have probably missed a few days of school whereas yours have schools in rubble and yet they call this a defeat.
They now have thousands of other nations’ soldiers occupying your territory and to protect Israel’s border and guess what? They call this a defeat.
They had a vicious enemy over their border and now you can’t see that border even on a postcard and again they call this a defeat.
Wouldn’t you want defeats like this?”
Abdul was silent. He said all he had to say last night. It was time to kill him now. I mean, I should have killed him a few hours ago already but just thought I’d let him live a bit longer, he’s so nervous. Easy to call martyr, less easy to approach to be one.
Sing your prayers pilgrim of death, your gatherer is looming.
As I load my gun Ari comes back from the shops, “This fucker still alive?” WHACK-WHACK “What’s wrong with you! You were supposed to pop it 3 hours ago. What’re you keeping him alive for? Christmas decoration?” “You’re a fucking psyco Ari” “But you love me, so fuggerabourit”
I am not cleaning this mess.
“Ari, am I really the only one that thinks this was the best outcome possible? After the dust settles, it will be Hezbollah to suffer stigma from all Lebanese and then, they will not be able to shoot at Israel from over the hill to give themselves a purpose. There’re more infidels on that hill now. South Lebanon looks like Dresden and is reduced to handouts, the 10.000U$$ may taste good now but in reality? It will not go far; you don’t rebuild a house and you don’t rebuild a life with that.
Soon, the dollars for the populace will dry, then?
Soon enough the deluded Arabs and the radical-chic pacithiks will realise that Hezbollah has nowhere to go now whereas Israel will have handed “the hot potato” to a host of others. Israel borders with Europe now. That’s a great move. Anything that happens from now on will have to be sorted by Europe via the UN whereas Israel will have earned a nice cushion/buffer between itself and South Lebanon. A 15.000 soldier’s buffer precisely.
All Israel has to do now, if any Hezbollah manages to bypass the UN soldiers (and they will), is resist temptation of raids or retaliation for a few months. Let Europe see for itself Hezbollah’s treachery and then, when the time is mature, payback, which was always legitimate, will also be supported rather than antagonised.
And then, Israel will have the free reign it needs to dismantle Hezbollah.”
“Did you smoke while I was out?”
He’s a such a puritan prick, I lie “No, smoke what”
Look of contempt my way.
Anyway, I had “word”. Stormi is in place at the laundry, Zuzu at the staff quarter, Franco at the taxy station and I’ll be wherever the fuck the guy you’re gonna kidnap lives. Do me a favour, make it a nice area of Beirut.” “What happened with me flying out and flying in another person again just for this stint?” “Forget that, we ran out of dough” “Are you joking me?” “Couldn’t find a church, we’re in South Lebanon here, not exactly Oratory playground. It was that maniac of Maresciallo Midden idea anyway. The megalomaniac. Monsignor Papi thought it was extravagant but apparently even him just looked the other way when she came up with it.” “Listen mate, really, what’s this story of going into a church?” “You mean you haven’t tried it yet”? “No, I thought…” “SO did I. Just go” “Ok, will do.”
It all unfolds as fast as it always does. Speed, precision and surprise is all. The driver is one Ahmedjan Mahaj. Whatever. I call the office and claim to be a friend who’s looking for him. Soon, they’ll report him missing. I go to the laundry, Stormi is there, no one else seems to be, she opens a door, 3 corpses, a pile of rugs, I roll into one. I am loaded in a van, I am downloaded into a staff room large table, I unfold and Zuzu is there, she smiles and I can see a bloodied blade just peeping through the sleeves of the burqa. I get the picture; there won’t be many left, she got as far as she could get, it’s men only after that door. I follow the arrows in my mind, one, two, four, six, seven bodies then a door. Stormi indicates me to just knock.
As I knock a hole opens up and an eye scrutinise me. I am a man, I have a beard, I have come so far. The door opens and as it does a knife whiz next to my ear and right through the man’s forehead, not a sound, he doesn’t fall, he just stares at me, dead. I bypass him and two men look at me. One, two. Dead. A corridor, an aide, dead, a stair, a door ajar, I enter, 3 men, one is my man.
“Have a nice victory gentlemen.” I tell them.
3 seconds later that’s over too.
As I come out a carload of men erupts from a government vehicle. I watch little fountains of blood springing from they skulls. 4 in 3 seconds. This is Mesh, this is the Insurance.
I’m in the rug, I’m driving off.
“I am not at home, please see Rajawis’ down Al-Sharallallah-lallah bar” Ari, you fucking crazy? You’re supposed to be my “way out” here! This address! As I get to the bar, Ari’s having a drink with the others. Only Ev’s missing. “Where’s is he?” “He had a conscience crisis” Franco said “After the Vatican thing he converted to some obscure cult in Arizona and now has 82 wives and 166 children, a ranch of 150 square km, 350 cattle, a worshipping crowd of about 650 e 2 cadillacs”
“2 cadillacs?” “ye, ain’t that funny” I said…..”Mysterious ways”, I just wish.
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