Get In Its Way (Part 5)
On the fourth day Nadal was taken upstairs and Corporal Valid asked several questions about the theft in Halaveli. He kept scribbling notes.
Later that evening Sergeant Mody joined. “Look! I’m trying to set you free. I can’t just let you go. We are following a suspect in Halaveli. If you go they ask about this arrest and you’ll talk.”
Nadal cried, “Mody! You can’t keep me detained here for nothing.”
“Huh! You are wrong. We can do anything. And you do like I say. What’s the use of going there? Halaveli is closing at the end of the month.”
“How come?” asked Nadal.
“Their season is over. They close this resort on 30th June and reopen Bathala.”
“But I have a job at TIE.”
“Not so. If you wish I can get you a certificate of job termination. Think about the stuff we found on you…”
“I wasn’t carrying stuff…”
“Now, don’t make matters nasty. You cooperate with me. Tonight I’m taking you somewhere.”
He asked, “Where?”
“Wait here!” Mody left.
When the guard called for dinner he followed a group of detainees to Alibé restaurant, the police mess, on the other side of the road around the corner. He was halfway through his meal when the phone rang and the staff who picked it cried, “Anyone called Nadal?”
“It’s me, sir,” Nadal waved.
“Go to the station immediately.”
Nadal hurriedly drank some water and reached the depot to find Sgt Mody in a police car. “Let’s go!”
“Mody, I don’t know anything about the theft or the fire, these drugs and gold.”
“You are spoiled in all that. Now I want you to shut up and not to talk about these things. If someone asked, say you gave a report on the theft, okay.”
“Fine,” he said.
“If you’ll do that I can let you go.”
“Of course, I’ll do that.”
Mody pulled the car outside Lubna’s lodge and they entered the house.
A ritual of exorcism was taking place at this house. An old guru was reciting holy verses. Some guys held Lubna wrapped in a blanket in a bed full of beach gardenia. She shook violently revealing nude.
Syd picked a chair and sat down next to Nadal. “Asshole!” cried Nadal, “I’m beaten up!”
“Hush!” Mody gestured.
“When did you come?” he whispered.
“Yesterday,” Syd replied.
“What’s happening here?
“They are going to ask questions about the gold stolen from her.”
“Can she tell?”
“Hush!” Mody gestured.
That was the first time Nadal saw this lady. He obviously knew her uncle. He even suspected it was Syd who reported him to the cops.
“Who are you?” the guru began.
“I am Fariké Handi,” she growled.
“Who took the gold?”
“I won’t tell you,” she snarled.
“Tell me or I kill you,” cried the guru.
“He’s there,” she pointed at Nadal.
“What is his name?”
“I won’t tell you.”
“Tell me or I kill you.”
“His name is Tu-Tu.”
“Liar!” cried the guru lashing the whip on her; a branch of sea hibiscus. “Bring me the torch! I’ll set you on fire! What is his name?”
“Na-dal…” her voice reached from the deep.
“Where is the gold?”
“I won’t tell you.”
“Tell me or I kill you.”
“It’s in my room.”
“Where do you keep it?”
“I won’t…I can’t! I don’t know! I don’t know!” Her voice came out and she began to shake. The blanket turned and she was exposed in the flesh.
“Who are you?” cried the guru.
“I don’t know.”
“Who are you?” he barked at her.
They quickly held her down.
“This session is over,” said the guru.
An hour later as she settled lying idly he began to ask, “What did you see, Lubna?”
And she spoke in a frail voice, “I saw the sky…a blanket white sky.”
“Did you see anything moving?”
“Perhaps, a shadow, an object?” he asked.
She shook her head.
Mody said, “Let’s go!”
They arrived at the police station and sat down talking. Nadal asked repeatedly, “So when will you let me go?”
“Who is Fariké Handi?”
“It’s a demon they raise through this ritual.”
“I don’t think you should exercise this kind of sorcery on human beings.”
“She’s in great pain.”
“You forget pain.”
Nadal felt helpless.
Sergeant Mody yawned, “Well, Nadal, you may go home but you must promise not to talk about your arrest. If you talked before we finish our job I will have you back in jail for what we found on you.”
Blackmail he thought but promised instead, “I swear I will not talk to anyone about anything.”
Nadal came home to find his room plunged in a mess. “What the hell have they done?”
His mother cried, “It’s the police. I didn’t touch anything. They found a bottle.”
“All lies, mother. They planted it on me. I’ll try to go back to work tomorrow.”
Sgt Mody was called to report immediately to the Police Commissioner’s office. There were a bunch of senior officers gathered.
Commissioner waved as he entered. “Sergeant, you are doing an excellent job. Have a seat and listen to Major Luthfi.”
“Sergeant Mody, from now on you discontinue all activities on Halaveli,” Major Luthfi instructed. “You will hand over all files and contents you picked from Engava. Coastguard watch is now under my command. At this moment we can’t give you any further details but the messages you sent to FBI and Italy and the rest of its correspondences are given Red Notice which means Angelo was an Interpol listing.
“You will be called if there is an operation. You will be briefed. I understand you have a Halaveli staff in custody.”
“I’m afraid, sir, he’s gone. I released him.” Mody confessed.
“Get him!” cried the major.
Sergeant Mody reached his desk and made calls but he was late. Pamela left the airport half an hour ago. He called Cpl Valid, “Send a boat to catch him.”
He picked the files and the contents to the new command desk. Major asked, “Did you find him?”
“No sir. I have sent a speedboat to pick him. He is on a boat heading to Ari Atoll.”
“Call it off. Don’t send unnecessary signals.”
Sgt Mody was back on the phone, “Call it off!”
Nadal called the Capo who said, “Catch a boat and come quickly.” He didn’t bother to ask why he was taken to the police.
He crossed to the airport and climbed Pamela leaving sharp at noon.
Captain said, “You were taken to the cops. You are a thief. You stole a lady’s gold. Sit outside.” He was still angry.
Nadal thought better not to say anything as he promised to the sergeant. Everyone though seemed to know about it.
The sea was rough. In the middle of Ari Atoll Channel the engines produced smoke. Captain stopped the boat and lifted the hoods. Engines caught fire as air filled in. Engine room was flooded. Bilge pumps stopped working. Crew extinguished the fire quickly.
Captain called operations on an emergency and Colonel gave instructions.
All the passengers were taken to the deck and they wore lifejackets. Next they pulled out the luggage from the compartment. Meanwhile the police speedboat reached Giravaru and it was called off.
Next the boat crew were instructed to axe down the wooden wall between the engine room and luggage compartment. It did the trick. The flood water subsided in the engine room. Captain started the engines and it crawled at slow speed to Ari Atoll.
Captain expressed his anger to Nadal, “You’re bad luck. This all is your fault. You’re on my boat.”
Nadal remained silent. He was still in shock. It was a moment of hysteria.
Next day, TIE Reservation Manager rang Nadal, “We have two FIT clients. They won’t carry passports or any IDs. Book them and show them to their room. You don’t tell Capo. Don’t ask questions. Understand! This is instructed by the lady boss.”
“Got it,” said Nadal. “When do they come?”
“They will arrive in an hour by speedboat.”
“Okay.” He called the housekeeper to prepare a room.
An hour later, two FIT clients arrived. Welcome drinks passed and showed to bungalow 11.
Reception replied a call, “Good afternoon!”
The person on the line said, “I’d like to speak to Tutu. It’s very urgent.”
“He’s not at the office. Can I leave a message?”
“I’ll call back later.”
An hour passed and he called again. Tutu was in and attended the call.
Nadal overheard the conversation. It was like an unfamiliar guy.
Ending the call Tutu ordered, “If anyone picked a call from this guy, Ron Eduru, tell him I’m not on the island. He was in a suite at Oberoi when I was there. He ended up washing dishes in the pantry because he could not pay.” That was a laughing matter.
Ron Eduru was free, eventually. He picked help from somewhere and arrived home. Ron continued to ring and the reception couldn’t get hold of Tutu on line. On the third day it was Nadal who picked his call.
Ron Eduru requested, “Tell him I found a good dealer who is very interested to buy his gold.”
“What?” Nadal cried.
“You probably know he carries a golden girdle. I want to introduce him to a buyer.”
“No. I think you’re calling the wrong guy.”
“No mistake,” Ron Eduru assured.
“I’ll tell him. If he was interested he should call, okay.”
Nadal replaced the handset and absorbed the shock. So there was a gold ornament in possession of Manager Tutu. Nadal could pinpoint the location.
“This guy is real bad,” said Nadal, “like he said Ron Eduru calls must not be answered.”
That afternoon, Tutu left on the speedboat to Maya. Nadal couldn’t resist without a peek. He returned to his room. He got a secret tool that could unlock the lockers. It was his key.
He opened Tutu’s locker and moved his hand towards a paper tin. He grasped it. It was unexpectedly heavy that its lid popped in his hand dispersing talcum powder on the shelf. He dug a finger and touched the gold belt coiled inside. He saw it. Nadal quickly reset the powder topping and wiped the shelf.
He sat on the beach thinking what to do about it. One thing came to his mind; to steal it. But if he did how could he return it to Lubna or hand over to anyone. Nobody would believe him.
Nadal entered the sand-filled bar and inserted one of his favourite cassette tapes, picked his malibu and climbed the moodhu bar deck. He sat down facing the glow of the setting sun. Those two FITs were seated with Angelo enjoying a good chat. Surrounding speakers softly played Gary Moore’s version of ‘Still In Love With You’ and that guitar played like melting gold.