Saturday, June 2, 2012

'To Serve Intact' XV

An oil platform, well anchored off the coast of Africa. A very clandestine assembly, my employer, a major integrated oil company is not to be involved, no one to know that there has been a decision. Yes, the Emperor is bad for business, demanding mammoth bribes... holding hostage one the largest oil finds of the past two decades.

There is an assessment. With just a modicum of funding, the promise of freedom plus arms for the beleaguered subjects of the African empire, the despotic Emperor can be overthrown.

I do not do politics... sociology... prognosticate the psychology of rebellion. As stated... I train... I fight... and I am hired to effectuate someone else’s flawed analysis.

Money is no object, the value of the sought after oil in the billions. I procure weapons. The logistics simple, all supplies move under the cover of oil equipment. Missing... ammunition. Live rounds are not to be transported with guns and weapons. Not only are explosive and incendiary implements dangerous in areas where natural gas is flared, there must be control established. Rebellions can work two ways, oil companies not having the admiration of missionaries. 

And so there is the one missing element... live rounds. Such are arranged but under tight secrecy and control. The final acquisition and payment to be cautiously arranged on the deck of a company owned oil platform, 20 miles into the Atlantic, just over the horizon from the main land.

I arrive by helicopter, a satchel stuffed with cash. In landing I note a boat one half mile to the north... a tramp freighter, Joseph Conrad perhaps serving as first mate. It is that dingy. Such is the murky world of arms dealers.

I have a powerful light. Though bright and sunny my two flashes are returned with three from the freighter. Within minutes, a launch is lowered. It approaches. In the stern I am surprised to see a woman. Not many females in the grimy world of oil exploration... fewer in the sordid world of arms dealing.

Blonde, though sitting seemingly tall, well shaped, well endowed... regal.... I am impressed.

Within minutes she ascends to the landing pad of the oil platform. Millions in cash, I am also armed, not to rely on roustabouts for support in the well armed world of dealing in arms.

The woman, now known to me as Genevieve, is surprisingly calm and cool, and attractive. But such thoughts have to be put aside.

She remains silent, then finally gestures with her hands prompting me to speak first. She feigns a degree of docility I know serves not in selling firearms... illegal weapons.

“You have the ammo?” I finally inquire.

She nods, crossing her arms... more expression of calm confidence.

“You have the money?”

I nod and she flips her hands palm upwards, a gesture of ‘well?’.

I open the satchel careful not to let wads of greenbacks flutter in the ocean breezes.

“So now you will have the ammo,” a firm proclamation.

She directs a compatriot standing at the top of the metal stairway. He steps forth, ostensibly to take the satchel. I quickly close it and retract it from his grasp.

“Come now, Captain, you are well armed... we are not. With the payment, Miguel will signal the ship and your ammo will be unloaded and ferried here. While being transhipped, you shall have me... as security.”

She appeals to the prurient male mind and I contemplate the outcome of a deal gone bad... the oil company out millions while I procure an alluring blonde.  

‘Sorry boss... it was a tough day,’ a sheepish imaginative explanation.

I hand over the cash. Little do I know the purchase is for rounds that are dead... the top layer of every crate live... those bullets beneath without powder charge.

Deceit, the consequences of which rooting deeper than the loss of cash, funds which a major oil company earns back in minutes of the day. My cursorily trained rebels, their aim open to question, found any shooting skills acquired and honed to be superfluous. So many bravely fired... pulled the trigger at least... defied the Emperor, only to meet his well disciplined troops... and later the Colonel with her hypodermic needle and elastrator.

Yes, we were taken... duped... the calm, cool confident blonde selling blanks. Lying bound and naked every night, I seethe... asking myself... to what end? There is little cost savings in forgoing the powder charge. Live rounds vs. dead rounds... little dollar difference.

Why the mendacity?     

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