Sleeping with Dragons Chapter
Three By Leslie J. Weddell
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Sleeping with Dragons
By Leslie J. Weddell
Click here to buy e-book
Click here to send comments
Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques
The McDonald’s had invited Harry over on the Saturday for a game of golf and Julie had teamed him up with her English friend, Constance Pilkington, who worked at the British High Commission as a private secretary. She had readily agreed to Julie’s invitation to come over and meet this handsome man called Harry Thompson, and since she was a good golfer, she would be perfect as a partner for him. Arriving on the lawn outside the McDonald’s house ten minutes late, Connie was giggling with excitement when she saw her friend.
Richard and Harry walked down the pathway from the house and greeted her, then the four set off in Mac’s classic 2 Litre Jaguar Car for the golf club.
From the first tee – off Harry could not take his eyes off Constance. She was absolutely beautiful, and her character shone through her eyes as she laughed along with Julie. As the game progressed they constantly exchanged smiles and small talk, which did not go unnoticed by the McDonald’s.
When the two ladies had set off ahead of them for the next tee, Mac had said, “Harry, yon lassie is a cracker! You had better snap her up whilst you have the chance, my friend.”
They met up several times over the next few days, either at the McDonald’s home, or in a city restaurant. The foursome arranged another game of golf for the Saturday coming, and also booked a table for Dinner that evening, in the clubhouse. Sitting down to table on the veranda, they enjoyed a delicious meal of Singapore style curried chicken, which was the club speciality, followed by cool, mixed tropical fruits, and a few drinks.
It was the club’s ‘Music of the 40’s’ night, and a young man wearing a garishly bright shirt, manned a music system in a corner of the room. Although the club was fully air-conditioned, a large ceiling fan of the kind used in the days of the British Colonial rule slowly revolved over the dance floor.
Picking up his microphone, the DJ announced, “Here’s one for all you swingers!” then hitting a switch on his console, the rich swing sounds of the Benny Goodman Big Band playing the famous “Woodchopper’s Ball,” instantly filled the air.
“Oh, I love this kind of music!” exclaimed Connie, “Come on Harry, shake a leg!”
Before he could open his mouth to protest she had firmly gripped him by both hands and pulled him up onto the small dance floor. The McDonald’s laughed as they joined them. “There you go laddie! Nothing to it!” shouted Mac.
The music ended too soon for Connie, who shouted to the young man, “Oh, play another one - please!”
“No problem pretty lady. “ He replied. The music changed to a slower tempo, when the silky sounds of Tommy Dorsey’s trombone started to play the melody, “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.”
Constance put her arms around Harry’s neck and squeezed herself close to him. He could smell the exquisite perfume in her hair, and feel the firmness of her breasts pressing against his chest. His heart was pounding - and he could feel a stirring in his groin. Because he had been so wrapped up in his work, Thompson had not felt this desire for a woman for a long time. He felt like a young boy on his first date, tingling with excitement.
Her face was flushed with excitement as she whispered in his ear, “Oh Harry, take me out of here –please let’s do it now!”
He looked into her lovely eyes and answered, “Well, it’s not that easy - remember our hosts? What do we tell them – that we feel horny, so goodnight and over and out?”
“Yes!” she exclaimed, dragging him by the arm back to their table.
The McDonald’s followed them and the two women then made their excuses, and went off to the Ladies powder room. Constance told Julie it was the most wonderful day of her life. Harry was so handsome! She whispered something in Julie’s ear, causing her to snigger and exclaim in a husky voice, “WOW – you lucky girl!” Walking back to their table, they found the men laughing at a joke they had been sharing.
“Have we missed something funny?” Connie asked.
“Och, no lassie - we were just having a wee laugh at a joke I heard in the office yesterday. You see, there was this Irishman and a Scotsman, who…”
Julie interrupted. “Forget it Richard –and finish your drink – we are leaving now.”
“Why leave now – we are all enjoying ourselves!” Mac retorted.
She looked her husband squarely in the face and whispered sweetly, “Come on darling, we are going home to do the same thing as Harry and Constance want to do.”
Mac muttered an‘Hmm?’ sound and looked puzzled for a moment. Then his face lit up and he said quite loudly,
“Oh, I see! – These two want to have a bang!”
A look of horror came over Julie’s face as she hissed at him, “RICHARD! –Don’t be so crude! –Do you want everyone in the club to know?”
Constance blushed, and putting her hand over her mouth, started laughing. Harry did not know where to put his face and was trying to avert his eyes away from the three of them. Looking up at the revolving fan he said, “Mac, that’s one thing I could always count on with you. Now and again, (wagging his finger at his friend) just now and again mind you, you put your foot in it at the wrong time and place. Sometimes you really do have such a delicate turn of phrase!”
On reaching the Raffles Hotel they stepped into the elevator and arrived at the floor for Thompson’s room. He inserted his card key into the slot and turned the door handle, switching on the lights as they moved further into the room. All the time, Constance had her arms around his neck and was kissing him passionately on the lips.
She slowly unbuttoned his shirt and caressed his hairy chest, as he unzipped her silk evening gown from the back, letting it glide over her lovely body down to the carpet. Then gathering her up in his arms and kissing her as he walked, he carried her into the bedroom and placed her gently on the bed. Removing the rest of his clothes he lay down beside her. Casting his eyes down her lovely form, he gently gathered Constance up in his arms once more, and kissed her tenderly.
They made love several times that night. The gentle, sweet love of two people who had found each other and knew it was for real. Connie had known from the moment that she had first set eyes on Harry Thompson, that she deeply loved him. It was like a beautiful dream from which she never wanted to wake up.
From that night onwards they were inseparable. Meeting every moment they could get off from work they went to the golf club, took dinner in the great restaurants of Singapore, visited all the ‘in’ parties, and other social events.
It did not take long for tongues to wag in the English community.
Although he was in Hong Kong, as soon as he heard about the affair, Simon Wordsworth knew that little problem would soon be taken care of. He would be ‘killing two birds with one stone’ so to speak, for he knew Thompson worked for WOAD and was involved in the raid on the Cartel’s laboratories behind the antique shop. And now he had ‘stolen’ his beautiful girlfriend too!
He’d met Constance at a garden party held at the British Consulate in Hong Kong, during one of her visits to see her father, Sir Robert Pilkington, who was a serving British diplomat in the former colony. Bowled over by Wordsworth’s sham charm she had moved in with him. All was well until the beginning of the second week when he had returned to the apartment after a drinking binge, and had physically assaulted Constance over a trivial incident.
She had shut herself in the bathroom for protection. As soon as it was quiet, she had opened the door cautiously, and tiptoed into the bedroom. She saw him for what he was really worth, for he had vomited over the carpet and fallen into a drunken sleep across the bed. She quietly packed her bags and returned to Singapore.
Furious, Wordsworth decided it was time to call in a favour from a Filipino friend.
A Bellboy opened the door to the chauffeur driven limousine and Cheryl Baker stepped out. Walking straight through the lobby of the Bangkok Hotel she checked in at the reception desk, and signing the register, she caught sight of her guest sitting in a casual chair near the elevators.
He glanced up from his magazine and saw Baker coming towards him, and slowly standing up, he greeted her. The two then walked to the open doors of an elevator and entered. The illuminated indicator displayed the 10th floor as being the destination.
Making a mental note of it, Chung Lee took out his Cell phone and made a call to Thompson.
Born into an immigrant Chinese family who owned a small restaurant business in a suburb of Bangkok, Chung Lee was not the least bit interested in following in the steps of his Parents in the restaurant business, or the thought of slaving away all day and night just to make a few Baht.
So when he was old enough he joined the Army. Finishing his tour of duty with exemplary conduct he applied for, and was accepted, for a position with WOAD. It was not long before he had money problems, for being the one with a job he had used his excellent credit rating to borrow a substantial amount of money to help his unemployed boyfriend to start his own restaurant business, in the hope of attracting clientele from the gay community. Remembering his Parents and their restaurant, Chung Lee was quite happy to let his partner get on with it by himself.
If Ronald (as his partner had named himself) had done his homework properly he would have found that a glut of gay bars and restaurants already existed in the City. So it had not turned out to be the success he had expected and the business closed as quickly as it had opened, leaving him, or rather Chung Lee, heavily in debt.
Chung Lee returned home from work one day to find his lover had put a gun to his head, leaving a suicide note explaining how sorry he was to do this, but he just could not stand the pressure anymore.
To pay off his debts, Chung Lee had started ‘Moonlighting’ as a personal bodyguard, on his rest days. Then he had a call from a Miss Cheryl Baker, who had heard of his success in watching over clients. She had paid off his debts on the condition that he would make himself instantly available to her at anytime she may need him in the future, which he had readily agreed to, relieved that he now had his slate clean once more.
But the tables had turned when he visited a Gay Club, and saw Cheryl in the arms of another man. He had left the club in a jealous rage after confronting Baker, who had just laughed in his face and said, “I own you – remember? I paid off your debts, and I tell YOU when I want you –not the other way around. Now get out!”
Hearing people in the bar laughing at him, Chung Lee was intent on revenge. He was going to get even with that bitch. He’d find out everything he could about her, starting with the side of her life that did not go with her public image of the rags –to- riches ‘Miss Goody two shoes.’
Chung Lee made it his business to use his position in the Bureau to gather information, leading him to visit a Filipino man named Valentino Lachica on ‘death row’ in a Bangkok prison. He’d heard of this man from a colleague in the narcotics division of the Bangkok Police, who believed Lachica was working for a Drug Ring when he was arrested.
Sentenced to death for Murder and drug dealing, Lachica turned out to be a willing informant for the price of a few luxuries, and Chung Lee soon had the kind of information he was looking for on his second visit to the prison.
Conditions in the prison were dreadful. With the heat of the tropics and the stench of human excrement, the air was stifling in the little cells in which the prisoners were kept locked up for 16 hours each day.
Prison meals were basic and tasteless, so Chung Lee went armed with a hamper of food and cigarettes on his visit, and using it as a lever, he soon got all the information he needed out of the condemned man. It turned out that Lachica had not actually met his boss face to face, since all orders and payments given to him came from a secretary in an outer room of the Hotel suite.
But he had occasionally seen this woman through the open doorway to the adjoining room. And in Lachica’s words, she ‘looked a little like a man’. She was not always there, but appeared every four weeks or so, for a few days.
He never asked questions, since he had always been well paid and decided it was none of his business anyway, as long as his money was waiting for him when he delivered drugs, or whatever else he was asked to smuggle across the boarders from neighbouring countries. Asked why he was on death row, Lachica explained to Chung Lee that he had been drunk one night and had shot a man who made a pass at his girl friend.
Returning from the jail, Chung Lee learned from a colleague in the office that Harry Thompson from the Singapore Bureau was investigating the Far East Import & Export Company, as being a front for a big Drug Ring. He decided to give Thompson a call just in case Cheryl Baker was involved.
Harry and Mac thought it important enough to board the next flight to Bangkok.
He came out of the hotel shop and walked over to meet the two operatives from Singapore. Mac, who was carrying a huge bouquet of flowers approached the reception desk and asked for Miss Baker’s room number. Telling the clerk that he was her brother, he wanted to surprise his sister, since she did not know he had arrived in Bangkok earlier than planned.
Slipping a 50 Baht note across the desk Mac put his finger to his mouth and reminded the receptionist it was a surprise, then walked over to the elevators. He joined his colleagues as the doors started to close, and pressed the button for the 10th floor. Placing the flowers outside the door of one of the suites, the three men then approached room 201. Mac whispered to Chung Lee to be alert, as Harry knocked the door.
It opened, and Cheryl Baker stood ogling her eyelashes at Thompson.
“Well, hello handsome! Where have you been all my life?”
Grabbing the transvestite by the arm and twisting her around, Harry frog marched Baker back into the room and pushed her towards a settee. She landed awkwardly, and slipped, falling onto the floor.
“You animal! – You HURT me! And you – you little Turd!” Baker squeaked at her ex-lover, “Did you lead this Orang Utang here?”
Chung Lee lunged forward and hit her in the face. Mac swiftly moved in to stop him going further. “Stop that. We want information before you settle your little love tiff!” Turning his attention to Baker he demanded, “Now start talking. I want to know everything about the Cartel, and your involvement in it.”
Cheryl was nursing the bruise on her face and glowering at Chung Lee. “Just you wait. I’ll get even with you for this! My face is going to be swollen in the morning!”
Harry again took hold of her arm, and putting an iron grip on it he pulled Baker close to him. “My colleague asked you a question. Now either you answer him, or I am going to break every bone in your sorry body!” He had a mean look in his eye and Baker could plainly see he was not bluffing.
Her manly eyes and mouth did not match the application of too much makeup applied to her face, and to McDonald she looked like a character out of a Children’s Pantomime.
Staring at him, she asked quizzically, “By Cartel, do you mean some of my business activities? If so, I can only tell you that I am a money angel at times, and make a good profit from my services. If a proposed venture is sound, and an investment by me is going to turn a realistic profit, then I usually go ahead with it.”
“What do you know about a man named Eric Butler?” Harry intervened.
“Oh him. I have done business with his bank in the past, but I’ve not met him for several months now.”
Mac looked at her and made a ‘tutting’ sound of disbelief. “That’s strange, for he was seen with you in Melbourne just a couple of weeks ago, when you were addressing the Charity Dinner at the Civic Halls. He was sitting next to you at the table.”
Baker looked uncomfortable as she replied, “Oh yes, you’re right. Sorry, I’d completely forgotten about that. But it was only casual conversation concerning a donation from his bank to my favourite charity.” She looked away from his glare as her voice trailed off.
Chung Lee looked at her with contempt and asked, “And what charity would that be - Cheryl Baker’s personal account?”
She ignored her former lover and addressed Mac. “If you have been doing so much checking on me, you will know about the charity I was raising money for with that dinner!”
Still intent on provoking her, Chung Lee produced a photograph from his pocket and poked it under Cheryl’s nose. She gave him a flick with her hand, and a hateful look.
Harry sat quietly, for he knew the power of persuasion that Richard had in getting information out of people.
Mac ordered Baker to look at the photograph. “Do you know this man? He was also seen attending your dinner on that night in Melbourne.”
The expression on Baker’s face softened as she replied, “Yes, he is a lovely man. His name is Roger Kingston, and he used to work for me before retiring. He was an area manager in my restaurant chain in Western Australia.”
Looking up at Mac and Harry, her voice suddenly became louder as she demanded: “Look here, you come barging into my suite and assault me, start asking very personal questions - and I still don’t know who you are!”
Mac replied dryly, “All you need to know is that we are the good guys. Now where is this Roger Kingston, for we know he came up in the elevator with you.”
Cheryl looked at him and replied, “ Well, he is resting at the moment. He has not been in good health recently, and has fallen on hard times. So I decided to treat him to a vacation here in Thailand.”
Baker had no sooner finished speaking than the door to a second room opened and an elderly man stood holding a handgun, fitted with a silencer.
Chung Lee reacted on impulse and withdrew his weapon and fired. The bullet thudded harmlessly into the doorframe. Unfortunately for him the old man’s aim was more accurate, and Chung Lee dropped to the carpet in a pool of blood.
Baker was now on her feet and kicking for Thompson’s head. But Harry was faster, and ducking down at the same time, he grabbed her leg and pulled her towards him to take the second bullet that the old man had aimed at him. It hit her in the thigh, and she screamed in pain.
Mac had moved instantly too, lifting a flower vase off the table next to him and hurling it at the weapon in the gunman’s hand, which clattered to the carpet when the vase broke on impact. The man bent down to try and pick it up again but Harry had anticipated this move, and pushing Baker away from him, had leaped into the air and crashed his foot into the shoulder of the gunman sending him slamming into a wall.
Picking up the weapon, Thompson pointed it directly at him and ordered, “Now stand up real slow. No false moves, or I will blow your brains out without hesitation if I have to.”
The man got to his feet and walked into the middle of the room. Mac took hold of an upright chair and sat him down, then ordered Baker to get up off the floor and sit on the settee. She was screaming her head off - which was beginning to irritate McDonald. “Oh for goodness sake –shut up! It’s only a flesh wound. Here, tie this round it!” He threw her one of her silk neck scarves she had placed on a chair.
Harry looked at them both and spoke with authority. “Now this time I want the truth, and I want it fast. And to get the ball rolling we will start with this.” Placing his hand just under the old man’s chin he grabbed hold of his ‘skin’ and began to pull upwards. A complete latex facial mask came away, revealing the true identity of the old man.
In surprise, Cheryl exclaimed, “Butler! – What the hell are you doing here? A moment ago I thought you were Roger Kingston!"
“That would be very difficult. You see, Kingston’s body was pulled out of a river a week ago in Melbourne.” Mac replied.
“They are WOAD Agents!” Butler shouted at her, “And so was your boyfriend. That’s Harry Thompson - he’s the one who shut down Boon’s operation in Hong Kong!”
The Air France 747 ‘Jumbo’ landed at exactly 4.02pm on French soil and Mendoza sat at ease in his seat. Four French plain-clothes policemen sat around him. Taking shifts, they never took their eyes off him throughout the 13 hours flight from Singapore. Whenever Juan needed to visit the latrine, he was handcuffed, and escorted by two of the guards, positioning themselves outside the door.
After all the passengers had disembarked he was removed from the aircraft and placed in a top security vehicle and immediately driven away, closely followed by an escort of police motorcycle outriders.
A truck carrying armed men spearheaded the little convoy as it made its way down the Charles De Gaulle Airport perimeter apron towards an exit. The Gendarmes were taking no chances with this killer. On reaching the exit reserved for VIP’s, the convoy went through the opened gates and turned right onto a slip road that would eventually lead to the main Paris Freeway.
Five hundred metres down the road a group of heavily armed men waited in the bushes, and further back amongst the trees, three men held rocket launchers on their shoulders.
The first missile hit the leading police truck, which exploded in a ball of flame instantly killing the crew. Two more rockets swished out of their launchers and hit the vehicles following Mendoza’s armoured car. Pandemonium broke loose.
Motorcycle policemen skidded to a halt, and taking their automatic weapons from their shoulders, returned the fire whilst running in all directions towards the side of the road looking for cover.
But the Cartel ‘soldiers’ had organised this ambush well, and a second wave of men came running through the trees immediately opening fire from behind the luckless policemen, who were trying to take cover from the main bombardment of shells and bullets coming from the first attack.
The vehicle carrying Mendoza started up its rapid - fire machine gun, spraying the attacking Cartel men. Increasing speed, it headed for a clearing to negotiate around a burning truck blocking its path. Having cleared the obstacle, the armoured truck raced along the tree-lined road, and rounding a bend it came immediately on a collision course with a giant earth-moving vehicle blocking the entire width of the road.
There was little the driver could do to avoid it. Stamping his foot on the brakes, the armoured car slithered around and slammed sideways onto one of the massive wheels of the huge vehicle.
The rear doors of the vehicle burst open, and Mendoza was kicked to the ground by the enraged guards. He could not run because of the leg chains chafing at his ankles. The guards clambered out of the now burning vehicle, and began dragging Mendoza to the side of the road. One of them was frantically shouting into his police radio, calling for backup.
Yet another group of Cartel ‘soldiers’ emerged from the trees and opened fire on Mendoza’s guards, killing them. Four burly men then picked Juan up and carried him around the huge earth - moving vehicle to a waiting van.
Juan knew the Cartel would not let him down.
Mac called the Bangkok bureau and requested a team to clean up the room and remove Chung Lee’s corpse. Harry had then phoned the Police Commissioner and had a Senior Officer come over to participate in the interrogation of the two suspected Drug Cartel members. A police medic finished attending to Baker’s wound then closed the door behind her as she left.
Richard MacDonald opened the questioning by addressing Butler. “Besides killing one of our operatives, you are also responsible for the murder of Roger Kingston, aren’t you? I am sure we would all be interested to know why you are disguised as him. So start from the beginning, and please don’t leave anything out.”
Butler gave Cheryl a distasteful look as he began to speak. “Baker came to see me in my capacity as the VP of the Hong Kong branch of the Anglo Eastern Bank. She wanted money to start her restaurant business. When I went over her referrals and predicted business plan, they did not meet the bank’s requirements for security against a business loan. When I turned her down she started threatening me, saying, ‘I had better watch every step I made and keep an eye on my family’ because she had friends - who in her words - ‘would be in touch with me’.
I knew what she meant and was very concerned for the safety of my wife and daughters. Leaving my office one day soon after that interview, I was forced into a car at gun point by two men, who put a cover over my head and took me to a building somewhere in Hong Kong.
When the blindfold was removed I found myself before a committee of so-called business associates of hers. Baker was sitting at the conference table, and told me they were the directors of the Far East Import & Export Company. They had agreed to pay off my considerable gambling debts if I joined them as a financial advisor. I must say that I felt trapped.
Fearing the worse for my family if I refused, I reluctantly agreed to their proposal. It was sometime before I realised that the company was a front for the biggest drug cartel in the Orient.” He looked at everyone as if he was a Saint and declared, “ I really am quite innocent in this matter.”
Baker glared at him and exclaimed, “Oh my bleeding heart. Tell them the truth –YOU are the Vice President of the Far East Cartel!” Livid with rage at the effrontery of Butler, she looked directly at Thompson.
“He is trying to save his own skin - but I’m not going down because of him. I’ve never killed anyone in my life and have nothing to hide. I’ll tell you everything you want to know!”
“Aye, now that’s better!” Mac exclaimed.
Cheryl Baker began to tell her story.
When she wanted to open her first fast food outlet she could not raise the capital in Australia. On a trip to Hong Kong, one of her gay friends had introduced her to a member of an organisation that loaned money at high interest rates of interest to business people without too much digging into their past. So she had borrowed 500,000 HK Dollars to start up. The obliging moneylender was called the Far East Import & Export Company. Gradually the organisation had infiltrated her business, and loaned her further money to expand. Before she knew it, they controlled 51% of her business.
On discovering this, Cheryl decided the only way she could get free of their stranglehold was to find out much more about her willing lenders. She had finally met up with Butler, who promised her that if she worked for the organisation with her business skills, he would see to it that her ever-increasing debt through crippling interest repayments would be paid off by the Cartel. In return, she would be expected to create more revenue for them. He also authorised further legitimate loans from his bank to help her open new franchises in Australia.
“But I cannot understand why he is disguised as poor Roger Kingston.” she exclaimed.
Mac replied, “That bit is easy. Butler found out that Kingston had been taking you to the cleaners so to speak, by ‘cooking’ the books. A little here, a little there – I’m surprised that you didn’t know this?”
Baker lit a cigarette and replied, “I have a team of very expensive accountants to handle the business books, so I would not know every little detail about what is happening in all my outlets. Each Manager is responsible for running that business and submits his/her accounts to head office on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, it was not until 2 weeks ago that we switched to computers, and it will be another month before all financial transactions in our outlets are automatically received electronically into Head Office.”
Mac continued, looking at Butler, “When your gambling debts got too hot and your creditor’s started to put on the pressure, you had to do something. Obviously you could not take the Cartel’s money, for that would be certain death.
So you did the next best thing. Discovering that Roger Kingston had opened an account with your bank –no doubt to avoid detection in case he had been caught with his hand in the company till – you had found the perfect way to cure your own problems. After killing him, you disguised yourself as Kingston and made a withdrawal of £100,000 in sterling, using a special release form. Falsifying Kingston’s signature, you then signed it in your usual handwriting and had the document countersigned by the President of the Bank.”
Butler smirked and said arrogantly, “Very good my friend - how did you find all this out?”
Mac gave Thompson and the Police Officer a disbelieving look. Pulling a chair close to Butler and slowly sitting down, and in his broad Glaswegian accent, he said quietly,
“First of all, I’m not your friend. And secondly, we don’t sit around all day playing cards. Now, what you are going to tell us is the day, date, and the venue of the next Cartel meeting here in Bangkok.
We know there is a meeting, and our sources tell us that a big deal is also going down this year between a major armaments dealer in the Middle East and your Cartel. Now tell me what you know, because you have no choice. You are going to be charged with the murders of Kingston and Chung Lee, or depending on your co-operation and the resulting outcome of this operation, we may be able to persuade the Thai Authorities to consider a life sentence in a modern corrective institution, instead of the death penalty for you.”
Mac gestured in the direction of the Thai Police Officer and continued, “On the other hand, this Gentleman is perfectly within his rights to arrest you right now and haul you off to the nastiest jail he can think of, where you can rot for a few months amongst the perverts, drug addicts, and the other scum of the earth until you are dragged into court and sentenced.” Mac gave him a sardonic smile and continued, “So… you have your choice. Cut out the crap and spill the beans or go straight to jail and join the perverts right now. What’s it to be?”
Butler looked at both WOAD Operatives and the Senior Police Officer. He knew Mac was not kidding around. It would certainly go better for him to co-operate.
“The meeting is in four weeks time on Sunday 27th November, and it will be held at the King Prawn Palace here in Bangkok and is scheduled to start at midday. Most of the members of the Cartel executive committee will be there, and yes, I am the vice president. I must attend or else they will know that something is wrong and cancel the meeting. Baker has to be there too, as the elected company secretary.
On December 9th of this year a large shipment of weapons will be loaded aboard a freighter out of Macao. The ship will sail to Port Said in Egypt, and dock on January 20th. The cargo will be transferred to trucks and driven across desert roads at night to a makeshift airstrip and loaded aboard aircraft. They will then fly the cargo to their secret destination in the Middle East.
I can’t tell you any more than that since Simon Wordsworth, the President of the Cartel, is the only one who knows the identity of the buyer and he is in Singapore on a business trip and will not be at the meeting. The freighter will then take on a new cargo consisting of replica Egyptian artefacts and antiques, and within them will be heroin and other drugs with a street value of three hundred million US dollars. The ship will then sail to Mexico, for the drop off point for the US market.”
“What is the name of the freighter?” Thompson asked.
Butler’s attitude had changed drastically in the last few minutes of questioning as he realized the seriousness of his problems and he replied meekly,
Born in Chicago, Rita Harrison had got into WOAD via Thompson’s security company, having been recommended by her parish priest on her discharge from prison after serving a four months sentence for drunk driving. The priest was a long time friend of Harry’s, and once in awhile he would send people to Thompson to give a second chance in life.
He knew that one day he would retire for good from WOAD, and Thompson had set up the company as a front for his involvement with the bureau, and it also supplied a good income for his future years. His clientele ranged from rich businessmen and women to Film stars, pop stars, and sports personalities. He had selected intelligent and hard working people to staff and run the business in his absence.
Rita worked in the offices for a few months before Harry decided to train her for surveillance work, and she soon started to produce excellent results. So he had asked her if she would like to join the bureau. When Harry was posted to Singapore he discovered there was a vacancy for a legal consultant and asked Scott to requisition her to come and join the team.
She had been a corporate lawyer before her jail sentence – caused by a double-crossing lover who had broken her heart, and stupidly, she had got in her car blind drunk after leaving a cocktail bar. She had gone no further than a quarter mile before knocking down an old man crossing the road. Luckily he survived, but Rita had to pay the price for her drink driving.
But now life was good. Harry Thompson had given her a fresh start in life. When he called her to come and join the Singapore bureau, Rita Harrison was overjoyed with the prospect of working outside of the United States of America for the first time in her life.
Johnny had taken his uncle home from the hospital, for Haw Pak Lao was feeling much better now and could walk slowly up and down his home watering his beloved flowers, or make himself some noodles or a cup of green leaf tea. He was sitting in a wicker chair with his spectacles on the end of his nose, trimming a bonsai tree, when his nephew returned from work.
“So glad to see you are looking, and feeling much better, Uncle. By the way, Harry sends you this – with his apologies for not being here himself. He is in Bangkok right now, but will be round to visit you as soon as he gets back.” Johnny handed his uncle a small package.
Haw Pak Lao loved surprises and carefully opened the wrapping paper and the box. Inside was a handcrafted miniature Chinese warrior sword. It was beautifully engraved with intricate silver dragons down each side of the blade.
“Oh my goodness!” he exclaimed, “I cannot possibly accept this – it is much too valuable and… and…” the old man was stuck for words.
“You must accept it uncle – Harry would be offended if you do not, because he says he owes you his life since that knife that hit you was actually meant for him.” Johnny put his hand gently on his uncle’s shoulder and continued, “He would like you to accept this gift in token of his respect for you.”
Haw Pak Lao was silent for a short while before replying, “Please tell Harry Thompson my home is open to him anytime of the day or night. If there is anything at all I can ever do for him, it will be done.”
Johnny could see that his uncle was deeply touched by the gift, and the gesture behind it.
Simon Wordsworth was released from custody the day after his arrest because of lack of evidence. Although he had approved the transfer of money to the account under the name of Roger Kingston, he could prove his involvement in the matter was an everyday business transaction made in the presence of others.
All the documents for the loan appeared to be in order, and there was no reason to think that an area manager for one of the Bank’s biggest customers, ‘Ma Bakers’ was not applying for a loan in good faith. Kingston’s lawyer had sent on the documents showing that his client wanted to start his own business and even had the full blessing of Cheryl Baker, his former employer, who was willing to stand as a referral to the bank for him.
Wordsworth had signed the approval forms for the loan in the presence of the chief cashier and two other representatives of the Bank, and everything had appeared to be in order on that day. It was not until the audit that bank experts became suspicious.
They had contacted Kingston’s lawyer for a forgotten minor procedure paper to be signed by him, and had discovered that although the request to the bank for the loan was printed on the lawyer’s business paper it was not his signature, and he knew nothing about it. On the date given on the supposed documents being signed and sent by him, the lawyer was actually on holiday in Florida with his family for two weeks. Although the paperwork presented to the bank seemingly from the lawyer and ‘Ma Bakers’ offices looked authentic, they were indeed forgeries.
Harry phoned Constance at the British High Commission in Singapore. He would be in Bangkok for a few more days, as there was still business to clear up. Could she come up for a short break? There was no problem with this, and she booked a seat on the next plane to Bangkok. Collecting her from the airport, Harry took her in a cab back into the city and went straight to his hotel rooms.
Johnny Lee also received a call from McDonald to come up to Bangkok, as he was needed for his specialist knowledge in electronics.
Meanwhile, Wordsworth boarded a plane to Singapore to visit his ex girlfriend. He would make the bitch pay for running out on him, and then he would find and kill that two-faced swine Butler, who had cost him his job.
London Head Office had insisted on his resignation as President of the HK branch when they heard about the loss to the bank. Simon knew it had to be Butler – he was always in debt with bookies and lived a lifestyle way beyond his means. Even with all the money he got from the Cartel as well as his huge Salary as VP of the bank, the idiot was still in debt. Some people never learn.
Simon walked into the ‘Hotel Singapura’ and signing in at the reception desk, he then went up to his room. After a shower and a change of clothes, he picked up the telephone and dialled the British High Commission.
“Good afternoon, my name is Simon Wordsworth. May I speak with my fiancée, Constance Pilkington?”
“I ‘m sorry Sir, but she is not here today.” Wordsworth remained silent for a second or two before replying, “Of course, -how silly of me! I remember now - she said that she might be off to Kuala Lumpur, shopping today!”
“No Sir, I believe she went to Bangkok. Would you like to contact her? Miss Pilkington left a phone number for the Hotel where she can be reached.”
Turning on the charm, he replied in a matter-of-fact way. “Well now, she must have changed her mind again. Honestly - you Ladies! Us chaps never know for sure what you are going to do next! Yes, I would like the number so that I can contact Constance, for I miss her terribly!” He jotted down the telephone number and with a smirk on his face, replaced the phone in its cradle.
You can find this book online at www.Authorhouse.com. Or www.Authorhouse.co.uk Click on bookstore, and enter the title ‘Sleeping With Dragons’ and the details page will appear. Besides the paperback version you will find an e-book version on the US website. (authorhouse.com)
It is also on sale in some larger book stores in the USA.