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It was still early afternoon so I decided to go back to the yacht port and find the idiot who sold me the weird weapon I had in my pocket. On my way back from Gzundis’ house, I had strayed from the constantly rebuilt Route 001 to try my new gun because I was curious to see it in action. At first, I was very cautious and afraid the entire island might vanish in a bluish cloud of smoke, but when I pulled the trigger, my funny little thing only coughed and spat some water out of its barrel. That was all! It was supposed to be the earthly answer to the positron technology of aliens but it was rather fitter for helping me wash my eyes one morning when I might be lost in nature without water!

I drove back into the city some half an hour later, but I turned my car to the hotel so I could park it there. The area of and around the yacht port was so crammed with Chinese and their numerous carts full of shit that there was not a centimeter left free. Then I walked to the place and looked about for the jerk, and of course, he was nowhere in sight. He had probably anticipated I was going to come back and had scrammed!

I scratched my head and wondered what to do. There was the usual agitation around me with all the shouting, screaming and praising shitty items to the skies. I could easily buy a new gun and forget about my problem but I didn’t want to waste more money, and besides, the result probably would’ve been the same—they were all Chinese here! If I believed the bastards about their stuff, I could gain the impression that mankind was the most powerful race in the Universe, destined to conquer all the stars! The truth was quite the opposite in fact. We were the weakest and we existed by the mere mercy of others—the Couloongs in our particular case. The aliens felt so safe that they were even selling us their old weaponry without any concerns!

I irritably crisscrossed the market a couple of times but it turned out to be in vain—I couldn’t find the moron I was looking for. If he were here, I would have washed his eyes with his gun and asked him if it hurt! Unfortunately, my ingenious revenge was unfeasible so I just wandered around and watched the crowd instead. Unlike the previous time, the yacht port was now full of boats and I gazed at them with curiosity. It was a bit ironical because there were too many luxury vessels on this small, presumably poor island, which was also doomed to sink. Here, every single boat owner was capable of doing business with Greenspace but nobody wanted to, and over there, at the harbor, everybody wanted to but nobody had the means—either the money, or a vessel, or both. The two places were just a few minutes’ walk away from each other!

I kept squeezing through the crowd, still hoping to find the Chinese bastard, and since I had no plans for the afternoon, I started comparing the boats and trying to guess their prices. The variety was truly astonishing—from small ones intended for a crew of five to huge ones, capable of transoceanic trips. They were all good to the very last one. Some were built with emphasis on their speed, and others on luxury and comfort. The owners were usually hanging about on the bridges in the inevitable marine uniforms, looking down at the crowd beneath them with self-complacency. They obviously thought themselves to be people from another world.

One of the boats, however, stood out from the background of all the others. She was bigger than a small Samoan village and she was probably worth a fortune. She had two decks almost the size of stadiums: the upper one intended for sunbathing and wild parties at night, and the lower one, for extravagant dinners or resting at noon. The engine was surely a monster with enough capacity to shoot rockets into space. It had to be, because the vessel weighed about seventy tons and it was just what I needed for my imaginary ammonia deal with Spitting Master!

“The jerk would be so impressed if he saw me on that bridge; he’d spit on the ground at least four times!” I dreamed while watching the boat. “The owner of this thing must be insanely rich. He must be able to buy the Moon itself!”

And just as I thought this, I froze in disbelief. The owner was standing on the lower deck, and I didn’t know if he could buy the Moon, but he was beloved by it for sure! The bastard was talking on his phone and his presence there made perfect sense now.

“Who else would be so wealthy to own such a treasure if not for the boss of the Indian mafia?!” I murmured.

Then I looked around and quickly hid behind a cart full of fake samurai swords so I could take a look at the bigshot undisturbed. He kept talking on his phone and he was obviously angry about something—maybe some of his whores or drug dealers was giving him a headache. The guy was pacing nervously up and down the front of the deck and gesticulating agitatedly with his other hand. Down by the gangway, I saw two of his thugs with huge bulges under their armpits. One of them was a two-meter-high bald-headed Indian with a very long beard, and his buddy was a smaller and whiter man with a terrible scar on his neck. They were both looking around sullenly and the Indian was actually one of the villains who had pushed me into the white limo the previous day.

At some point, Sengupta sharply stopped moving and put his phone into his pocket. It seemed that he was staring at something but I couldn’t see what it was because my position was lower than his. Then the guy vanished for a moment and soon he appeared at the upper end of the gangway with a woman—probably Mrs. Sengupta or one of his most favorite hookers. He helped the lady climb down, and meanwhile, his white limo on the wharf started arrogantly backing up toward the boat, shoving the noisy Chinese merchants aside. Just a few minutes later, the vehicle was already in position, waiting to accommodate the “royal” personas.

The two figures slowly went down to the car. Before the woman vanished into it, Sengupta leaned to kiss her but it took a while because it was a rather passionate thing. Afterwards, the lady turned around and quickly sank into the limo but right before doing so, she stopped for a second, which was enough to make me jump up, staggering with surprise. It was Sharon! It was my Sharon—the bitch I was looking for! Sengupta closed the back door and then the limo immediately set off. This time the Chinese were ready for the action and they instantly scattered like chicks on a dirt road, screaming twice as much as before.

Zou kai, zou kai! Ruguo ni bu mai, gun kai!” I suddenly heard a cry too close to me. I sharply turned around expecting to see one of the merchants here vocally express his solidarity with the ones who suffered from Sengupta’s arrogance, but it was just the guy whose cart I was standing by. He was making some gestures to me, and judging by them, I gathered that he wanted me to get away. His shrieks somehow reminded me of the problems I had left in Greenland, and besides, they were attracting too much attention so I listened to the guy and scrammed.

By that point, both Sengupta and the limo had vanished. I was simply not able to do anything about it because my old Ford was parked in front of my hotel. It was about ten minutes’ walk from here, which was well enough for me to forget about following anyone. I angrily cursed my bad decisions and headed back toward the hotel, disappointed. Had I acted like Sengupta and ran over the Chinese when I came here from Gzundis’ house, I would’ve actually been after Sharon now!

On my way back, while thinking, I started realizing I had acted too hastily when I hired a boat to take me to Ofu the next day. The guys who I was chasing were still here arranging things, and it could take a while. I definitely had to know their plans first! Until just minutes ago, I was more than sure that Bobby Bjornson was the one who had allied with the Indian mobster but I was obviously wrong. It was Sharon, and the fact changed everything. And on top of that, she was kissing Sengupta now!

After a few minutes, highly annoyed, I got to my hotel and hopped into the Ford, driving it to the harbor. I urgently needed to put off my trip because I didn’t want to leave Marty and Sharon to play their game undisturbed. When I arrived, I nervously stopped the car by the cart of some merchant and leaped out. He was selling shish kebab of rat meat, frying pans and pots, shorts and boxer shorts, ice-cream, and of course, his special recipe for mona. It was pretty much everything a decent man on this island could ever want. The man glared at me for a while because I was disturbing his “business activities” but I showed him my water gun and he decided to shut up.

Then I followed my path from the previous time because otherwise, I doubted I would be able to find Saranya-82 and her owner in the terrible crowd. I had just passed by the guy with the oysters and confidently navigated toward the boat of the Spitting Champion, when I suddenly had to stop and turn around to look for someone who was selling Santa Claus outfits, or at least very large cowboy hats or sombreros. It was really a day full of surprises! Marty Cork stood near “Mountain Cougar”, talking to the asshole who owned the boat. The former couldn’t see me because he had his back turned to me but the latter could recognize me so I needed to hide.

I quickly dove into the crowd, kneeling down and pretending I had problems with my shoelaces. Every now and then, I stretched my head to see what was going on. At the same time, I thought about the ups and downs of life. Just minutes ago, I was cursing my bad luck but it turned out it was not so bad after all. Instead of Sharon, I got the chance to get Cork now and I was definitely not going to miss it!

The two jerks kept talking for about ten minutes, during which time they put me in quite a stupid situation. I looked like a moron who was exploring the marvels of contemporary shoe making in the middle of the marketplace! I was afraid that someone might eventually come and offer to help me with this “tricky” and “complicated” task and ruin my ingenious disguise. Fortunately, no one did.

At some point, Marty’s cellphone rang, and after a very short talk, he had to prematurely finish his conversation with the boatman, which he ended with a handshake. This miraculously helped me solve my terrible shoelaces problem, and just seconds later, I was already after my target. We squeezed nervously and chaotically through the crowd. Marty was in a hurry, probably because of the phone call, and after a while, I realized he was going to his car.

And then yet again, I had to think about the ups and downs of life! His car was obviously parked somewhere at the other end of the marketplace—not the one where I had left mine. If I kept following him, I was going to be too far from my car and not be able to chase after him when he reached his vehicle. If I walked back to my Ford now, then I probably wouldn’t know what his car looked like and I would lose him!

I nervously stopped, thinking feverishly. Then I quickly turned around and wildly ran toward my Laser because by doing so, I still had a fifty-fifty chance of catching up with the bastard outside the harbor area. On the other hand, if I kept following him, the chances of me outrunning his presumably hydrogen driven vehicle were probably one to one zillionth against me; not to mention that I would become a star in the sports news on National TV!

Unfortunately, in this part of the world where nobody is ever hurrying, a running man usually looks suspicious and most often it means stealing. I had just taken a few steps back, when some Chinese people started pointing fingers at me and crying out, and their numbers were multiplying geometrically during my run. Nobody asked themselves if there was something missing; everybody just wanted me to stop, or at least to be stopped. Eventually, I had to take out the fake police badge I always carried in my pocket, and I waved it with the toy gun in my other hand in order to stop the racket. Everybody shut up immediately. And then—ups and downs again! Marty was just passing by me in his dark blue Omisumi without even looking around.

I feverishly hopped into my feeble Ford, praying to every god on this planet that it would start. It started right away but it still didn’t mean everything was going to work out well. I was afraid that driving such an antique in the twenty-first century would attract too much attention to me. Fortunately, the Laser happened to be too slow and it dragged behind Marty’s Omisumi at a safe distance, but it was still sufficiently good to stick with it. The fact that Marty was in a hurry and he was a terrible driver helped a lot. Soon he took the exit out of town and it was harder for him to get away after that moment.

Ten minutes later, we had already established a steady balance between us, with him driving at first on the ubiquitous Route 001 and then west of Leone Bay on 009, and me following him about fifty to seventy meters behind. Somewhere at Failolo, Cork sharply turned north and started climbing up the hills. After a few minutes, he stopped.

I pulled up at the curb too and waited. We were in some resort area with sparsely growing palm trees and small motels in between them. Beyond all this, in the distance, there was the mountain. Marty stayed in his car for ten or so minutes and I stayed in mine too. It was terribly hot though. I had the feeling there was no oxygen in the air, probably because of the high humidity near the ocean. Then, at last, the door of the Omisumi slowly opened.

I promptly slipped down behind the wheel. The jerk looked around rather carelessly and tucked a gun into the back of his pants. He crossed the street and headed toward the nearest motel, some twenty meters away from him. The entire scene suddenly reminded me of an almost identical one in Greenland where I nearly ended up dead, and I shuddered. Despite the unpleasant feeling, right after he had vanished behind the corner, I started the engine and slowly went closer. Then, I stepped out of the Ford and cautiously approached the motel.

The building was a three-floored structure—pretty old and poorly maintained. There were no balconies on this side of it and the windows were looking directly to the street. On the front wall, there was a decorative wooden trellis, on which some plant had climbed up, and a thick thorny shrub had grown underneath. I looked around, worried, but I saw no entrance here—it was probably at the other side of the building where Marty had gone.

I cautiously went to the corner and looked carefully behind it. I was not quite sure if I wanted such a close contact with the guy because I felt nervous about my weird gun but I had no choice. I had to figure out what he and Sharon were doing. In fact, I didn’t have to worry too much about the contact. It was not up to me to choose as it turned out. Suddenly, a sharp noise of something tumbling down echoed above my head and the sound of trotting feet followed. Then, the dull hissing of a positron gun added to the entire scene and made me shiver.

I looked around, alarmed. It seemed the noise had come from the third floor. I nervously turned the corner and sneaked along the driveway, which led to a small parking space on the other side of the motel. I was just half the way through, when a car engine started around the next corner, and for a few seconds, I wondered whether to go ahead or get back to my Ford. I thought about it too long, however, and my hesitation eventually proved crucial. Very soon, the car appeared abruptly in front of me and it ran straight at me at full speed.

I had not much space to maneuver and even less time. The driveway was quite narrow and the vehicle left only about forty centimeters on both sides for me to go through. It was still enough but unfortunately, I couldn’t pick a side. On my left, was the building itself, and on my right, was the concrete wall dividing the motel from the next building. I couldn’t predict where the car was going to turn after going out on the street because that would be the worst side for me. Since the time for my reaction quickly elapsed, I eventually ended up with the third available option!

I froze in the middle of the driveway and bent my knees a little, ready to jump on the front hood. It was a risky stunt but it was too late for anything else. I looked tensely at the windshield to assess the time. There were just two seconds before the collision but they proved to be enough for me to notice a familiar face behind the wheel. I saw Bobby! She fixed her gaze on me when she recognized me, and after a short hesitation, she coldly stepped on the gas. Right before hitting me, she stepped on the brake for a brief moment, which gave me the time to jump.

Suddenly, I found myself in the air, flying. I was flying like a bird! After my jump, I quickly turned sideways to meet the windshield with a shoulder and hip and avoid smashing my head into the glass. This way, I escaped the heavy impact but I rolled onto the roof at full speed, then I rolled along the roof, then off of the roof, and then at last, there was nothing to stop me from rolling all the way to the Moon!

Somewhere behind me, I heard the car sharply revving up, and shortly after that, I totally lost my orientation. Earth and sky melted into some bluish green amalgam and the world suddenly exploded into thousands of beautiful and colorful strips. Weirdly enough, I didn’t lose my consciousness while spinning. During the entire adventure, I never actually ceased making plans how to stop!

It turned out I didn’t have to worry about that either. I absolutely had no chance of rolling all the way to the Moon and even of rolling for too long, simply because there was someone who took care of it and prevented both things from happening. The guy flashed before my eyes for an instant, which was enough again for recognition. I saw Marty Cork who was just turning the corner after Bobby, and before he had even seen me, I rolled over him, taking him with me toward the parking space behind him.

It all happened in a split second but all the while, I was perfectly aware that whoever stood up first won. I gave it everything to be the winner. As soon as I felt the ground again, I tried to focus my eyes on a single spot. Unfortunately, the world was spinning around my head and my right hip hurt terribly. Almost an eternity passed before I rose on my knees, shaking. By that point, Marty Cork was already on his feet, looking about for something. I desperately tried to find my pocket and take out my gun to sprinkle him with water but just then, a few cries echoed from my right. Cork looked there anxiously, he looked at me, he looked around again, and in the end, he turned his back and quickly ran toward his car.

I finally found my pocket and reached, disorientated, into it but all I could see were weirdly moving green and yellow splotches before my eyes. Then unsteadily, I took my fake police badge out and feebly waved it in the air, after which the world shook and sharply collapsed around me. It pressed down on me so hard that I had to experience quite the unpleasant feeling of losing my consciousness. I didn’t even remember falling down!

©2016 S.T. Fargo

Eurasian Gambit—Chapter 22 | a science-fiction crime novel by S.T. Fargo

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