August 2015

 

Editor’s Note: I didn’t hear from Cliff for quite a while. He sent me an email and told me he was living in the Yucatan in Mexico. I took a trip to Chichen Itza and stopped to see him in Merida where he lived in the Yucatan. We had a few sessions while I was there and he resumed writing at my suggestion. His writing changed, became more journal-like, so I decided to leave it be. It’s almost stream of conscience. As a therapist it tells me that he was healthy  in spirit.

 

August 5 - Thanks, Doc, for taking that side trip to Merida and talking to me. Writing these journals clears my head. It’s fine with me if you want to turn them into a novel. Don’t worry about paying me. Free counseling works and does more good than money. Money’s not the name of my game anymore.

I’m on the shores of the Sea of Cortez now trying to figure out what to do next. All hopes gone of being with V and Freddy long term. The UN shitcanned the case against Lester when Aleksy’s mole testified the flash drive was fabricated and the killers were really West Papuans. Mole told the UN he got scared when Aleksy theatened him, so he made up the whole story.

 

August 7 - I got your email, doc. Why the Sea of Cortez? Met V and Freddy in Ensenada I tried talking V into opening a dive shop here in Bahia de Los Angeles. I was honest with her, told her Lester got off the hook. She’s not going to see me again. When you and I met in Merida I was hoping Lester got what he deserved. Not gonna happen unless somebody does something bad to him. No way I can be with V and Freddy with Lester alive. He knows I turned in Aleksy’s flash drive, so when he finds me he’ll off me. As long as he can get to me, V and I ain’t gonna happen. What’s the point in going on without them? Might as well off myself.

 

August 11- Don’t know if you know Bahia de Los Angeles. Came down here after Ensenada. Beautiful spot on the east coast of the Baja. I wake up to a painter’s sky every morning and watch dolphins. I’m able to think clearly here; haven’t been like this since before 9/11. Back then I was the all-American boy, believed what I saw on TV. Went off to be a soldier - wasn’t about patriotism, was about doing what I thought was right, was about getting even. Watching people dive out of the World Trade did something to me. Couldn’t let Islamist crazies get away with killing; had to get that mofo Bin Laden. Almost 15 years later Bin Laden’s gone and we’re still at it. Never heard of false flag ops until Aleksy told me. Now I realize false flags by CIA, KGB, Mossad, MI-6, and NATO are all part of the game. Conspiracy theorists are delusional? American Dream is delusional, not conspiracy theory. False flag ops are ‘soup de jour’ in intelligence agencies all over the world. The CIA is no better and no worse than the others, but when you’re the spies for the most powerful nation you seem worse than all the others. I don’t know who was responsible for 9/11 and I don’t care. I care about 3000 dead in NYC, Akram’s dead wife and kid in Baghdad, Aamira’s and Sana’s family, V and Freddy.

Watched WTCI and WTCII come down and didn’t trust myself. My eyes told me they didn’t come down from the impact of two planes. WTC7 story was incredible. They said it collapsed because of fire and heat from other buildings. No other buildings collapsed. I wonder why? CIA, Secret Service, Emergency Management info was stored on computers in WTC7. People saw what I saw. Media told us what happened and in less than a day told us who did it. We believed. That’s what a false flag op counts on. When a friend is killed, the enemy’s responsible and we shout ‘Get the bastard!’

August 15 - Been taking the easy way out all my life. Easy way is stop thinking and act. People don’t think things through; they just go along with what they’re told. More than 2,000 architects and engineers belong to Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Opened my eyes. Government’s investigation said the planes did everything and we believed them. Trained architects and engineers know the government story is hard to believe. Never found a plane at the Pentagon. Drone technology could have flown the planes. Implosion appears to take place when WTC1 and WTC2 collapse. Deep state false flag from Cheney, Rumsfeld and the New Century boys. Raised to blame militant Islamists and get payback. Benefits US oil and Israel. Lotta people think it’s a good thing. Military’s paid to fight. Military’s part of our tribal DNA. Tribes become countries, then fight over who owns the Earth.

 

August 16 - Another day in LA Bay and I’m still alive. Yesterday was pretty grim; today I made my decision. Lester’s turn to die. Not gonna worry. V will think I’m a killer. Time to end the cycle, make sure Freddy’s got a father. Better to be killer than killed.


 

September 2015


 

September 1 - Sent email to V...

 

To: V

From: Cliff

Subject: El Futuro

Mi Amor:

Thanks for meeting me. Good to see my son, glad you agreed to call him, Freddy. I’m asking you to please wait for me. I don’t have the right to ask, but I love you more each day. Each day without you and him at my side is harder. That has to change. Give me more time. I want to be your husband and our baby’s father. Don’t worry, I can support us. I don’t know how yet, but Lester will be out of our lives. It will happen. Give me time. Please wait for me.

I love you, Cliff.

 

September 4 - She answered. Will stay in touch. Not sure I’m the man she wants. She’s the woman I want, the woman I need.

 

September 6 - Hacked Lester’s calendar. Istanbul in July. Gives me almost a year. Plan will be airtight. Send journal to you. Don’t know, maybe not a good idea, Doc. The less you know the better.

April 2016

April 5 - Getting hotter - May and June the hottest months in the Yucatan. Going to stay here until June. Merida’s called the White City.  Beginning of 20th century was one of the richest cities in the world. Paseo de Montejo’s modeled after the Champs d’Elysee - lined with white mansions they turned into government and business office buildings when hemp trade went bust in the 20’s. Thought thos mansions were the reason they called it the White CIty. Not true. White City because only whites were allowed under Spanish rule; brown Mayas lived outside the city. Racist world we’ve made.

 

April 7 - Lester’s conference is July. Aamira’s coming, Sana’s taking care of her boy. Payback time. She’ll pick Lester up at the airport. Track every move he makes. Lucky, Lester never met her.

 

April 22 - Just back from Belize. Ambergris Key and Key Caulker -  opposite ends of the spectrum. Great nightlife in San Pedro, not much on Key Caulker. Incredible snorkling. Called V and told her that I’d like her to come down and try it with Freddy. Her August vacation works perfect. Should be back.

 

April 23 - Keep asking myself why I’m doing this? Not because Lester fucked over the people in West Papua. Not a political activist. This is about Aleksy and V. Get even with Lester for my friend and I need V. I look in her eyes and see something purely feminine, like springtime, rebirth. You think I’m looking for a mommy, Doc? Another thing...can’t be Freddy’s father unless Lester’s gone. Like the song says, don’t worry, be happy. Kill the bastard.  

 

 



 

June 2016

 

14th - Met up with four others in Istanbul. Have a beard for disguise. Be living on a boat the whole time. Guy in charge is Maori. Traded his waka for a yacht. Sailing’s in his blood. Be out of my mind by the time it’s over. Boat’s called The Awakening. Like to do it at the Tower in memory of Aleksy, but the getaway will be tough. However it’s done I want him to know who and why. We’ll make up plan details this week.

 

25th - Sana here. Aamira stayed in LA with her boy. What family is for. Wouldn’t know, Grandmother was my only family. Lester arrives 11th, Sana will pick him up at the airport. Conference free day the 12th. That’s the day.

 

30th - Went sailing. Most of the time teaching Sana. Shared night watches. No problem for her - gears are all hydraulic or electric, not a muscle job. Two guys are trained sailors from charter company. Aleksy’s buddy, Ari, owns the company. Big bucks. Yacht is Jeanneau Sun Odyssey. Forty-five plus feet with latest navigation, 3 cabins, gourmet kitchen, 50” flat screens. Worth more than $200K. Plenty of room. Crew stays away from each other if we want. Sailed the Mediterranean for a week. Practice, practice, practice. No hardships. Furniture’s comfy. Bed is better than the one at home. Sana looks good wearing Aski Kataski cloths. Japanese designer. Wants clothes to be throwback to amulets worn to ward off evil long ago. Uses retro fabrics, old-style sewing. Got off the plane wearing blue linen work jacket over dark skirt with soft black straw hat. Little girl lost look. Sexy. Helena Bonham Carter face and a Salma Hayek body. Sharing cabin’s not easy. Crew’s been eyeing her all week. Think we’re together. Still a bitter Arabian lemon to me. Can’t blame her. Wish Aleksy, Aamira were here.  

July 2016

 

6th - Sana left boat today, staying in hotel until Lester gets here. Went to Suada Club on Galatasaray Island for dinner. Incredible view from the Bosphorous. One side Europe, other Asia. Aleksy was right, not bitter, doesn’t hate me. Told her why I was here. Stopped anything from happening between us. Wasn’t easy. Could feel the magic. Wanted her. Old me would have been in her bed. New me stayed away.

Monday night was runway model night. Not really, just one 10 after another, Sana fit right in. Wore gauzy cotton dress, looked like a Syrian waif. Every macho Turk in the place wanted her. Suada’s owned by Galatasaray soccer club. Met actress/model from Ibiza. Knew Aski Kataski right away. Married to best midfielder from Netherlands. Told Sana to come back on Sunday, place really jumps. Club’s kind of place Lester loves. Celebrities, high-rollers galore.

 

7th - Went on Ephesus tour. Turkish guide - ex-military educated in England. Spoke like an aristocrat. Greeted us with “Aski Kataski” - part of the Ephesia Grammata written on Artemis Temple statue. First 2 words used in religious ceremonies to ward off evil spirits. Modern Greek ‘aski kataski’ means ‘hocus pocus.’ No Grammata on the statues in the Museum. Asked why. Guide said there were no ancient Artemis statues left with the inscription. Greek writers described Grammata as invocation of the gods. Reminded me of Venus pentacle. Venus finds love, Artemis wards off evil. Bought statues in gift shop. One for V, one for Freddy. Should have bought one for myself. Need all the help I can get.

 

9th - Another day off. Captain’s orders. Lester comes, no days off.. Captain works for Ari’s charter company. Yacht’s loaded up. Even have Aleksy’s favorite sandwiches from Emin’s  fish stand. Dropped anchor at Avsa - island in the Marmara Sea. Swimming spot for locals. Bay half-mooned by hills. Good beach. Sunbathed with occasional dip to cool off. Sana’s been here more than 2 weeks. More comfortable now, but not totally. World-class beauty. Never can be totally comfortable with a world-class beauty. Easy to talk to though. Not angry. Hard to believe the hard life she’s had. Educated, smart. WTF am I’m doing here? Once-in-a-lifetime day - sea of the ancients corruscated into blue sapphire, sunset over an emerald hill dotted with alabaster. Sana drifts toward me reaching for my hand. I help her on deck. We spend the night on the boat. I forget why I’ve come to Istanbul.   

 

10th - One of the crew woke us. We’re hungry. Made love most of the night but we’ll eat later on Maiden’s Island then take a ferry. Making love was a surprise. Sana hadn’t been with a man for a long time. Whoring had left her with no desire. Part-time teaching at Long Beach State. Horny when she saw me in Istanbul. Not a seductress. Off-limits when I told her about V and Freddy. Grew up old-school, men pursue women. I had to make the first move. I was intimidated. That’s how it starts with me. Overcome fear then I get hard.

After Lester, not sure how V will feel about me. Lester hasn’t done anything to her or Freddy. Sana wants him dead as much as I do. Last night was good.

Maiden Island restaurant was perfect - except one thing - reminded me of Aleksy’s murder. Had observation deck with a little bar at the top. Why the frown, she asks? I tell her about Galata Tower. Wanna leave? No too damn hungry. Always eat like an animal the next morning after lovemaking. She laughs. I tell her what a good guy Aleksy was. She tells me Aleksy said I was pure warrior, but I didn’t like to kill and was clueless about the Middle East. Wished he could have told me more. Difference between me and him was he knew everything was a lie and I was still learning. Aleksy felt chemistry between us. Said Sana better watch out or she’d get burned if she changed her mind about me...my thing with V was dangerous. Didn’t expect last night. Let it be. Let it be. Lester tomorrow. Put last night behind us. Dropped her off.

 

11th - Check the airline first thing in the morning. Lester’s ETA is 3PM. Sana call to let me know everything’s cool. From the time Lester’s plane touches down I’m a nervous wreck. Waited a long time, more at stake now - Sana’s at risk. 5PM - airport to the hotel, Sana waiting in limo. Never been jealous of Lester before. Will she stay out of his bed? ‘So much travel makes Lester a dull boy’ was her answer.

Sana calls from her room. She’s alone. Coffee in his suite before setting out for the day tomorrow. I breathe easy. We’ll take him after lunch.

 

12th - We anchor off Galatasaray and wait. Sana and Lester lunch at the Suada. Chartered yacht for the afternoon - our yacht. Text tells me they’re finished eating. One of the crew sights launch headed our way. Lester’s standing in the prow with his arm around Sana. I hurry below deck and stay out of sight. I get another text from Sana. I go on-deck about an hour later. Lester’s passed out in a fisherman’s chair. His drinks were laced with chloral hydate. A couple of the crew tie him to the chair. We take him below.  Sana and I sit and wait. He’s blindfolded. An hour or two before he wakes.

“What the fuck?” Incredulous, he groans, tries to get out of the chair, can’t.

“She’s a bartender. Did you like her Mickey Finns?”

Lester swivels, trying to shake off the blindfold.

“Never saw me with a beard before did you?” I take the blindfold.

“You motherfucker!”

“Someone you met at the airport’s been waiting for hyou to wake up too.” I step away so he can see.

“I’m Sana, Aleksy’s sister-in-law. I’ve been waiting more than 2 years to meet you.”

“Now, now girl, there’s no I in team, this is a joint venture. You’re a business man, you know about joint ventures, don’t you Lester?”

13th - Don’t know where she learned details, but Sana spent the afternoon telling Lester what happens to bodies when they drown at sea. Big fish break the skin and eat flesh, then smaller fish dine on the internals. Can take up to 3 months. Many feet in sneakers wash up on beaches. Lester wasn’t happy listening to her. She asked him if he knew Giselle Bundchen when she was dating DiCaprio. Lester had bought Brady’s wife a drink at the bar. Robert Kraft introduced them at a Super Bowl VIP party. He asked if he could get some fresh air. Told him to go ahead take a dip we didn’t mind. His hands were still tied. Told me to go fuck myself.

August 2016

Editor’s Note: I’m back as Cliff’s editor.

 

Homer’s wine-dark sea changed color between Europe and North Africa. Starlit skies canopied the lights of Sardinia, Sicily and the Balearics. It felt like we were voyaging through an expanding universe in search of our origin. A nightly fugue of sails, sea and wind played while the Mediterranean gleamed black under a yellow sliver of moon.  

We docked at the Puerto de Sotogrande marina near Gibraltar for a few minor repairs. Over lunch Lester asked, “How long you going to keep me on this fucking boat?” He poured himself a cup of coffee; under guard he had free reign below deck.

“Not important.”

“Who are you talking to?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve kidnapped me, you’re not just going to dump me overboard. You call my wife or my lawyer?”

Sana gave Lester a page from the NYT International Edition. Lester’s photo was in the upper right corner. The by-line read - TECH CEO MISSING.

Lester read hungrily. “What the fuck’s wrong with you. What do you want from me?” He tore the page into shreds.

I moved between them. “You’re missing, Lester. Get it? You haven’t been kidnapped. Aleksy was my friend and he was family to Sana. We want your life not your money, motherfucker!”

“Who’s bankrolling you?”

“The people who know what you’ve done. Didn’t you notice it says you’re a Tech company CEO helping the Turkish government to computerize? No mention of murders in Turkey or West Papua.”

“What are they paying you?”

“It’s not about money.”

“Sana, you think you’re doing this for a good reason but you’re wrong. The truth is I didn’t have anything to do with Aleksy’s death. The murderers were people he got involved with in Indonesia. Cliff’s been fucked up in the head by the war. He’s not thinking straight. He’s been seeing a shrink for years and I’ve been paying for it.” Lester reached out; Sana backed away. “Give me the computer. I can prove it. He has PTSD. I have a letter from my insurance company. They pay for his therapy. Something reminds him of the war and he freaks out. I’ve seen it happen.” Lester lit a cigarette. “You’re a beautiful woman. I can introduce you to people who can put your face on magazine covers, tell the world your story about getting away from the war. You’re educated; write a book. With the right publicity campaign you’ll be famous.”

“Aleksy told us about you. I’m not buying your lies.”

“Aleksy was misinformed. My company had nothing to do with killing anybody in West Papua. He pissed off a lot of Muslims in Indonesia and then he married your sister. Not a smart move. I tried to save him. I couldn’t. But I can set you and your family up in LA.”

“With wealthy perverts like Prince Majed Al Saud? His family got rich taking oil from the earth. War and rape is in their blood. Prince Majed was arrested in Beverly Hills for rape, but he bought his way out like you bought your way out of West Papua.”

“He was just another Middle East hypocrite like you! One day with you was like being in a porno flick. Best sex I ever had. She do all that shit with you too, Cliff?” He sneered at me.  

“You’re scared out of your skull, Lester. You can’t buy your way out and you can’t lie your way out. Shut up and die like a man. I can’t believe you walk around with a phony trident!”

“George W. Bush gave me that trident. It’s not phony. You and your Polack friend are the phonies. What makes you so high and mighty, jewboy? His grandmother was born in Auschwitz.” He hesitated. “I can tell by the look on your face you didn’t know that, Sana.”

Sana looked at me.

“Another lie. The Nazis imprisoned gypsies with Jews at Auschwitz. My grandmother was Roma who thought she was a Jew. Not that Roma or Jew matters one way or the other, she is buried with the Roma in a Catholic cemetery in Poland.”

Sana took my hand. “Doesn’t matter to me.”

 

The next day we sailed for the open sea. Looking east through the Straits of Gibraltar I remembered V and I drunkenly wandering the streets of Cadiz during Carnaval. Now Aleksy was dead, Sana’d become my lover, I’d become a father about to become a murderer. Could V accept me after that?

Sailing the open sea is a different ballgame. By mid-afternoon we were 100 miles west of Morocco and North Africa. No land in sight with swells one to two stories high and wind gusts up to 25 knots. “Batten down the hatches” took on new meaning on the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey once we were in the Atlantic. In spite of constant jostling the day had been pleasant. Alternately reading and talking, Sana and I laughed at the challenge to stay in separate bunks. I wouldn’t have minded sharing.  

The sea calmed by nightfall and I went on deck for the first watch. A Cimmerian sky and sea shrouded me. I wasn’t in the dark long; Sana came on deck. “How long till we get to Cabo Verde?”

“A week, maybe less.”

“You know morna?”

“No.”

“Cesaria Evora sings morna.  She was from Cabo Verde - very popular. Called the Barefoot Diva. Sang without shoes. Dead now. Sodade, sodade.” Sana sang a bluesy melody. “Sadness and longing.”

“I felt a little sad before you came on deck. Must be the neighborhood.”

“Big neighborhood. How far?”

“If we do between 3 and 4 hundred miles a day we’ll be there in 4 or 5 days.”

“I’ll bet on 6.”

“You’re on.”

“Winner decides who dumps Lester?”

“You serious? We have to wait until we’re halfway to Barbados.”

“Why wait so long? I’m sick of listening to him and his lies. I want him gone.”

“Me too, but halfway to Babados is the farthest we’ll be from landfall. He’ll never be found. We discussed it.”

“I bet if we dumped him here they wouldn’t find him.”

“Maybe. He’s really gotten to me with all his political bullshit. Trump this, Trump that. Guy doesn’t have a chance.”

“I don’t like Clinton either. She’ll do what the corporatocracy wants. You heard of Arundhati Roy?”   

“No.”

“Writer and political activist. Her father was Indian, her mother Syrian Christian. The God of Small Things won the Booker prize 20 years ago, been compared to Faulkner and Dickens, writes in English, but lives in India. She said, ‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ about overcoming the corporate oligarchs.”

“We’ll never hear Hillary say that. She’ll be the next liar in the White House probably.”

“People are either ego-centric or critical thinkers as voters. Not much difference between Trump and Clinton. Both of them appear ego-centric to me. The USA’s the most ego-centric place on the planet. It’s become a vacuum of critical thought. Whoever gives the election the most energy will win. Without critical thinking bad times repeat themselves. Germany in the 20’s became ego-centric and Hitler replaced critical thinking with hatred. The Germans bought the message of the Third Reich lock, stock and barrel.”

“When you turn on TV in the USA, it tells you what to think. Happened to me with 9/11.”

She took me by the hand. “Poor baby. I mean that in a good way. You’ve had a tough time of it. Less TV would help America.”

“Fat chance.”

“You went through the hell of war and came out better for it.”

“You’ve had a tougher time than me.”

“Tougher in some ways. But I had family and you didn’t. What’s that like?”

“Hard to say what’s worse; losing family or not having one. I’d rather talk about what’s possible for you and me now. PTSD’s a bitch but I found someone to work with and put it behind me for the most part. If the Doc and me never happened, you and me wouldn’t be together.”

“Together? You’ve got a son and his mother.”

“I’ve got a son, not his mother.”

“You still love her.”

“I still have feelings for her but it’s over. She doesn’t understand me like you do.  I walked out on V at the Hollywood Bowl. Lester was there. When we put Lester down we’ll have killing in common. V will never understand how anyone can be a killer.”

Keeping watch in the middle of the Atlantic was the perfect setting to get to know each other. Sana made it clear in Dharham she would never be seduced and she never was. The nights we spent together on The Awakening were more than an a metaphore.

 

Lester had permission to smoke on-deck. The first time he came up we ignored him, but each night our watch became more difficult to talk as he walked the deck.

“I forgot my lighter. You have one?” Lester held an unlit cigarette between index and middle finger. I lit his cigarette. “Want one?” He offered a Balkan Sobranie; I demurred. “I understand. You can’t take gifts from a prisoner. So the two of you oppose the corporatocracy? Good luck to you. There’s no end in sight, however. Trump speaks to the disenchanted and they believe he’s on their side. He’ll make American great again with an all-out war. Corporate America will love him for it. That’s why I’m a supporter. He knows that America’s greatness is tied to the military-industrial infrastructure. We’ve outspent and out-invented the world on weapons of mass destruction for almost 100 years. ‘Make America Great Again’ message is not subtle. Steve Bannon’s knows the meaning of the message. It’s the message of white supremacy.”

“You honestly think in 8 years we can go from Obama to Trump?” I lit one of his cigarettes.  

“The last election was an aberation of minorities. It happens from time to time. A black man running for president got black people to vote who don’t usually. They won’t vote for Hilary. What has changed? The Republicans have the power. Obama couldn’t appoint a Supreme Court justice. The war is still going on and when Trump takes over bye-bye ObamaCare. Trump will make George W, Bill Clinton’s new best friend, look like a dove.”

“Obama’s made things better.” I stayed cool, even though, like Sana, I felt like Lester’s time to go was ovedue.

“Never underestimate racism. It’s payback time. She taught you any of her tricks yet?” He made a lewd gesture with his tongue; I reached for him.

“Let’s go.” Sana steered him to the hatch.

The next night was a parade of squalls. As I stumbled toward the stern, a wave swept over the deck and Lester grabbed Sana. I rushed towards them as she struggled to free herself.

“Don’t want you to go overboard. I didn’t know you worked for my agency. A Saudi prince told me all about a menage a trois with 2 sisters. Did she tell you?” Lester let go; I smashed his face. I was about to hit him again.

“Stop Cliff!” Sana placed herself between us. A brilliance burned in her eyes like molten metal. “He will feel our anger slowly. It’s not just Aleksy he will die for. He owns Style agency. That’s why I’m here. We owe him for what happened to Aamira and me there.”

“Fucking scumbag!” I backed away, knowing if I didn’t, I’d mash his face into a pulp. “How do you know?”

“Aamira knew. Never told Aleksy. He’s been trying to bribe the crew with women.”

“Get below, asshole.” I pushed him through the hatch. “It doesn’t change anything between us. You and your sister saved your family. I have no regrets.”

“Many regrets for me.”

We found the  in the main cabin. He agreed to keep Lester below decks during our watch.

 

Chivalrous to the core, I did not collect my bet with Sana when we reached Sao Vincente in 4 days. Lester went on a rant when we docked.

“When it all started Trump was a joke, but he thinks he can win and so do I. Lotta white people want change just like a lotta black people 8 years ago. Nobody thought Obama would win when he started. Obama was an outsider just like Trump. Both of ‘em were alternatives to business as usual in the Beltway. Cheney did Bush’s dirty work.

“Obama came along and promised transparency. Bullshit! Government ain’t transparent. Never was, never will be. The whole time he’s been president the CIA and the American military’s been doin’ his dirty work. Any given Sunday turn on TV and get the message. THe NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball all deliver the same message delivered by the boys in uniform. Be all you can be, then we play the National Anthem before every game. White guys don’t want a woman president. Trump’s a business man. War’s good for business. Let’s go to war and fuck up some rugheads. You watch what happens this time around. It’s still a man’s world, motherfucker, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

“Obama’s a lawyer, Hilary’s a lawyer, Bill Clinton was gettin’ blow-jobs in the White House. No more lawyers. Especially one with the personality of a used rubber. Hilary’s goin’ down!”

I hadn’t seen Sana. “How long’ve you been here?”

“Heard it all. Something’s wrong in the head with men like him. I wonder how he came to hate women like that.”  

 

We docked for minor repairs and supplies in Sao Vincente for a couple of days before we started on the final leg to the Caribean. We would deal with Lester once we were offshore from the Cabo Verde islands. On the 5th day at sea a front came through so we had to wait until calm seas. Lester walked the deck in the rain and the wind for 3 days of squalls spouting his bullshit like a whale. Not fun listening to his politics. Finally the weather changed and Skipper gave us the go-ahead. I mixed Ambien into Lester’s pasta sauce. Two glasses of wine with dinner along with 50 mg of a sedative should be enough to get him where we wanted. When he had finished eating he went for a smoke. A half an hour later we followed; we could barely understand his slurring. “What are you doing up here? You don’t want anything to do with me.”

“Remember Blade Runner, Lester? Time to die.” Wise-assing belied my inner state. I was a bundle of nerves.

“Not gonna be easy.” He backed away, grabbing the winch.

“We kinda guessed that. You’re not sleepy?” Sana was in his face. I stepped to her side and grabbed his hand. We had no plan, but instinct kicked in. Before he could take his other hand off the winch I twisted his arm behind his back, Sana tied the hand on the winch to the one I held and we forced him into the cockpit, tied a rope around his chest and strapped 2 cement blocks on his feet. Lester was going to sleep with Luca Brasi and the fish.

He sneered at us. “Your crew boy wasn’t so careful on my walk around the marinas. I made a couple of phone calls. My boys have your friends and family. You need me alive to save them.”

Sana and I walked away in silence. “Been 2 weeks since Gibraltar. We need to find out what’s happened.”

“He could be bluffing.”

“I know. But we can’t kill him without knowing. Call Aamira. I’ll call V.”

  

I was lucky; second ring V answered my ship-to-shore call. “Hello.”

“It’s me.”  

“Where are you? I’ve sent you emails and you don’t answer my calls.”

“I’ve been busy. Something’s come up and I’m worried that you and Freddy may be in danger. Why have you called me?”

“No special reason. What kind of danger?”

“Lester may have men looking for you.” The motherfucker’s drama was in my head big-time.

“How do you know that?”

“He told us, but he’s probably lying.”

“You talked to him?”

“We’ve captured him. I’m sailing to the Caribean.”

“He found you in Mexico?”

“No I found him. It’s a long story. He said that he had men looking for you and I was worried they found you, so I called to make sure you and Freddy were cool. Nothing strange in the last 2 weeks - people watching the house, cars, phone calls?”

“I went out on a date.”

“Someone you just met?”

“No. A guy from dance class. You haven’t answered my emails or phone calls. At first I called you to chat, but then it was to tell you I was gonna go out with the guy.”

“You don’t need my permission.”

“I know that. What do you mean by capture?”

I didn’t want to answer her.

“Long story, can’t tell you details now. When I get back to Mexico I’ll call you, maybe you and Freddy come down. On me.”

“You don’t owe me anything and I don’t owe you. We both owe Freddy our love though. You do what you’re gonna do and I’ll do what I want.”

Her date was a blessing: my guilt over Sana eased.

“How’s Freddy?”

“Good. He talks about you a lot. To him his daddy’s a super hero in a video game, especially since he’s only seen you twice.”

“Don’t bust my balls.”

“I’m not. I’m as much a part of that as you are. You didn’t even know he existed.”

“I want that to change.”

“Me too.”

“Is he there?”

“He’s asleep.”

“Give him a kiss from me. We’ll talk when I get back to Mexico. Send me an email if anything strange comes up and I’ll call you.”

“OK.”

The line went dead. V and me were too.

 

Sana talked to her sister. Same story as V. No bad guys around Westwood except for actors. Lester had played us. Nothing new about that. Breakfast the next morning was a sham. We didn’t say anything and Lester drank de-caf coffee mixed with ambien.

Skipper joined us. “Irish coffee, anyone?” He placed a tray of Jameson, cream and sugar on the table. “Decide right away. I don’t leave liquor on the table. Lost a bottle in a squall once. Never again.” We had clued Skipper in on Lester’s ruse. Skipper suggested Irish whisky, de-caf coffee and ambien should put our boy in the shape we needed him.

“What do you do with a drunken sailor, what do do with a dunken sailor earl-i-i-i in the morning?” The crew’s sea shanty was surprisingly on-key. Lester partook unaware that his postprandial drowning was the macabre answer to their question.

“Another please, sir!”

Skipper tipped a generous pour into Lester’s cup and returned to his cabin.

We waited 30 minutes then joined Lester on deck. He leaned against the gunwale smoking.

“Fuck you! They’ll find her. If I were in LA I’d have her already. Check it out. Call this number.” He tore a post-it from a packet in his pocket.

Sana and I hesitated. I wasn’t going to do what we had planned. I thought Sana was in the same space I was. Not so. She grabbed Lester’s hand as Skipper came on-deck. He grabbed the other.

“I thought you might need some help.”

Lester resisted weakly. The booze and sedative had done their job. Within minutes Sana and Skipper trussed him; I stood and watched.

“This is for my sister and all the nights we spent in bed with your buddies. And for her husband, the father of her child. You weren’t half the man he was.”

We lifted him above our heads. Skipper did the heavy lifting; Sana and I helped.

“I hate all you motherfucking nigger Muslims!” Lester tried to wriggle from our hold on him to stare at Sana.

“I’m no nigger Muslim, motherfucker, I’m Maori!” Skipper flipped him.

“For Aleksy, my friend!” I watched Lester thrash in the dark blue waters of the Atlantic before he disappeared.

“I’m sorry.” I stepped back from the gunwale.

“You’re not a cold-blooded killer. I am when it comes to what he did to the Melanesian brothers in West Papua.” Skipper’s eyes were still filled with hate

“Once Aamira told me he owned the agency I knew I could do it.” Sana drank the Jameson Skipper offered. We all did.

 

Published by Bill Snyder