THE ANGRY DOVES
By Dorian Scott Cole
Copyright 1980, 1987, by Dorian Scott Cole
This book is copyright material, not public domain, and all rights are reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form, in any media. This book may not be sold or included in any collection. The reader may make a printed copy of this book for his personal use.
All characters in this book are a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental
Three weeks later another ad appeared in the paper, but this time it was from the opposition. William had composed the letter, hired a middleman to pretend to represent someone ideologically opposed to Ismail and willing to fund a response to his ad. He had the middleman present it to the Lebanese Arabs for a United Arab Front, and had them sponsor it in the paper. Again Hadid called and alerted Ismail to its presence. Ismail took no paper at home, preferring to read it at the office, so Hadid again rushed the paper to Ismail's home.
"Will this thing never wind down?" Hadid said, handing the paper to Ismail.
"Let's see who wrote this one. Ismail skipped to the sponsor's name, and then read the ad aloud. "The three point suicide plan recently proposed by Ismail should be opposed by every loyal citizen of Lebanon. This madman is bringing our nation and people to the brink of war. We must remain a nation where people can expose injustice and retaliate against it. Although we are a nation of many peoples - Muslim, Christian, Jew - our people, if not our government, must remain united to the just cause of our Palestinian brothers, who the Syrians are only trying to help. The great sacrifice we make will one day bring justice to the Palestinian people. Let us not tire before we have helped bring victory to so great a cause, and let us not be distracted by such nonsense as Ismail Hamouz's which will only bring a hopeless war and ruin to us all. Signed, Lebanese Arabs for a United Arab Front.
Ismail's reaction was sharp. "They are fools. Can't they see that our people are suffering all the burdens of war, and they are even fighting each other? War is upon us like a cancer, stripping our bodies of life and laughing at the ruins, yet we are not fighting back. War itself will soon conquer and destroy us as a nation, and these fools want to just sit back and let it happen."
"I think they want it to happen," Hadid added. "I think they want Lebanon's government to crumble so they can build a new Arab state united with Syria, instead of a democratic one for all people as it is now."
"I think you're right, but where should we do our fighting? In the newspapers, or with guns? Let's not bother to reply to this."
Ismail had another three days of solid phone calls, running nine to one in support of him. Again he found himself barely able to refrain from making commitments and taking further action. "Let's not stir up the people to the point of rioting," he would excuse himself to everyone who demanded he respond.
William thought things were going exceptionally well, but continued to monitor the tapes of conversations from Ismail's home. Ismail called Hadid over for a conference.
"We have a strategic problem and time is passing us by, thanks to these newspaper ads. I am sure the President is having us watched, so we won't be able to get our operation going against Syrian troops for some time."
"Yes, freedom of speech, but not freedom to organize "political action groups."
"A law widely obeyed," Ismail scoffed. "Well, our strategy needs to
change. Long term operations are out. We need to move quickly to have the most impact."
"What do you have in mind?"
Ismail continued, ignoring the question for the moment. "I'm amazed at the support we have. Everyone is behind us from government officials to the public. Christians, Druze Moslems, Moslems, even the Palestinians are for us. We have found a cause that unifies the people. We have tremendous support."
"Are you suggesting we give up our plans of using terrorists and follow something like Duvall offers?"
"On the contrary. I think we should go after even bigger stakes. Take over the government. Take control of the nation."
Hadid gasped. "Have you gone mad?" He spluttered, "What… What do you have against the government?
"Nothing. I like our form of government very well. But because of these foreign armies in our land, our government is too fearful now to allow elections which would indicate new direction for the government. But if we take control, we can get things going the way the people want again."
By the time the evening was over, they had agreed on the idea and layed most of the groundwork. They would wait until things cooled down, then they would organize their terrorist army, with new recruits and equipment, into a well trained coup army.
Kenza had been listening to the tapes with William. "What are you going to do?"
William felt depressed. He had been too successful in changing Ismail. "I've created a monster," he said.
"Maybe he will be successful, and it will be the best thing for Lebanon."
William considered that for a moment, then looked at the other side. "Or
maybe his coup attempt will fail and start a reaction that will topple the area toward Syria."
"Do you think he will listen to you now?"
He snorted. "He's like a horse with the bit in its teeth, running wild! There's no stopping him now."
* * *
The next two weeks passed slowly, with both William and Kenza in low spirits, feeling like they had failed their mission. Had failed people they cared about. William wrote long reports analyzing the situation from every angle, and Kenza spent her time working by day on growing vegetables, and dreaming about them at night. Gerald stayed out of sight.
Late one afternoon, Ismail, Hadid, and four other men appeared in the doorway of the showroom. The men carried suitcases. Ismail, Hadid and two of the men approached William and Kenza, blocking their exit. The other two men went into the apartment with the suitcases.
Ismail smiled. "We bought you some new luggage for a going away present. We'll have you all packed up in a moment." He handed them airline tickets.
"I know what you're up to, Ismail. Your plan to topple the government isn't going to work."
"You have nothing to say about it." Ismail smiled at William. "I like your style, William Duvall. You don't take no for an answer, you just keep smiling and pushing until you get what you want. You're as persistent as a hound digging out a desert rat. Well, here is your style in return. I'm not going to talk to you, I'm just going to smile and keep pushing until you're out of the country."
Gerald appeared in the doorway.
"The US Marines have landed," Hadid said of his arrival.
William motioned Gerald inside. He walked in casually, but warily. "What's going on?" he asked.
"Ismail has decided we're leaving... with help."
"Anything I can do?" Gerald asked.
"No, forget it," William replied.
Ismail's group threw their belongings into a car. "Let's go," Ismail said to them. He got into a car with two men, and Hadid put them in his car with two other men.
They drove toward the airport, leaving Gerald behind. After a short distance, two of the men in the car pulled guns and pointed them toward William and Kenza. Hadid turned the car and sped out of town to a remote area. They pulled Kenza from the car, holding William at gunpoint, and beat her with their fists. William tried to leave the car, but they shoved the gun barrell into his face. The men slapped Kenza unconscious, and then removed William from the car, beating him similarly and leaving him bleeding. "Your bags will be at the airport. Be on that plane tomorrow, or your life is going to be hell until you do," Ismail said as he left.
Kenza was awake, but groggy from the beating. William lay beside her, shading her from the hot sun until she was fully awake.
"Is anything broken?" he asked.
She sat up, wincing from the pain. "I don't think so; I can move."
"We're going to have to walk. It must be ten miles back to Beirut. Maybe we can catch a ride."
She struggled to rise, and he helped her to her feet. "I hurt all over, she said as she tenderly touched the bruises on the side of her head." She took a few wobbly steps. "And I'm so dizzy."
"I'll help you," he said, barely able to stand himself. He put his arm
around her waist and they began the long walk back to Beirut, strengthened by one thought. Ismail was going to pay for this.
A truck picked them up shortly after they reached the main road, and the kind driver dropped them off at their apartment. They nursed their wounds and slept the night. The next morning, after breakfast, Kenza sat on the couch and began to weep softly. William held her.
"We've failed," she cried. "It's all over. We have to leave... there's no reason to stay, anyway." William tried to comfort her, but he had no comforting words left.
They heard pounding on the showroom door. Kenza embraced him anxiously. "Oh, no! Not again!" she cried.
William went to see who it was, cautiously peeking through the apartment door. "It's Shahad, the woman you helped with the garden, and she has four men with her."
Kenza looked terrified. "Maybe something went wrong. Maybe their garden failed and they're here for revenge."
"We can buy them all the food they can eat," William replied. He entered the showroom and let them in. Kenza rose slowly, still wincing from the pain and followed him.
Shahad and the men entered. She was very excited. "Look! Look!" she said, holding up a small but healthy looking carrot with a lush green stalk. "The fertilizer was very good. My garden is doing very good. Please, these men also want their soil tested. Is it too late now to fertilize?"
Kenza was shocked momentarily, but finally found words and began to smile. "No... no, it isn't too late, there are a few weeks. Have you brought soil samples?"
They all showed her lumps of earth.
"That won't do," she said, and told them exactly how to take the samples from the ground.
They were all back within an hour, plus three more men. She took the soil and told them to come back in the afternoon.
After they left, William asked, "What about that flight?"
"I don't know," she said.
"Let's go for a walk," he said. They left the business area and entered a residential area, and then he detoured them into a church. They sat quietly, each in their own thoughts, feeling the peace around them and letting it calm their fears. And then they returned home, hand in hand.
As Kenza tested the samples, William said to her, "I'm willing to take us home now. This area is growing less safe for you, and I feel we have made an impact here, even if we haven't solved the world's problems. I want to do what's best for you."
"We're not through here," she replied decidedly. "For now, I want to remain here and test samples. Ismail can't really hurt us. So you go to the airport and get our bags, please."
He gave her a big hug and a kiss. "I think God knew exactly when to send Shahad. He knew what you would do."
She smiled at him. "Don't think I'm getting predictable."
"I'll get Gerald over here while I'm gone. I think he should move into the showroom, we don't need another round with Ismail."
The following day, Kenza sent William out for a variety of chemicals to use for testing soil, and for a lot of lab equipment. He took the list and took until late afternoon finding all the equipment she needed. He returned to find his usual parking place beside the showroom was filled with three giant
mounds of something. He parked in the street instead, and as he entered the showroom, he noticed there was a customer viewing the yacht and Gerald was doing a lot of explaining.
William pulled Kenza aside. "What in the world are those giant mounds of whatever in my parking spot?"
"I must have had fifteen people come here by now for soil testing. They all say the same thing - those who have come before aren't able to buy the fertilizer I specify. Well, there's no way to just give it to them, I mean they won't take it, and we can't afford to fertilize the entire refugee camp.
The whole problem is, it's too expensive to buy retail in little sacks. It's inexpensive in bulk quantities, so I ordered some truck loads and I'll sell it to them at cost. They can fill their own bags."
"Oh. Very good. I don't mind losing my parking space for that. Now, what is this fellow doing who is looking at the yacht? Is he serious?"
Kenza nodded, with a look of astonishment on her face. "He's one of the Chamber Deputies. I guess he is actually wanting to buy a yacht."
William put on his salesman smile and went to him. Gerald quickly ducked out, looking grateful that William was taking over. "Pretty, isn't it?"
"Yes, a beautiful vessel," he replied.
"How would you like to own one? Can't you just imagine yourself sailing out of the harbor after a hard week in the Parliament, sailing alone or with your wife - "
"Or my mistress," he interrupted.
"That too, fishing and lounging, maybe heading for some small island or a distant beach, arriving in some port just in time to take in a nice dockside
restaurant." William was laying it on thick, but it was his first real customer, and he really didn't care if he sold a yacht or not.
"Wonderful, wonderful. I must have one of these; I need that kind of relaxation."
"Allow me to show you the catalog of our yachts and accessories." They sat and browsed through the catalog. After two hours, he had picked out one of the larger yachts with just about every accessory imaginable. William was afraid to total it up, but when he hit the Deputy with the price, he didn't even blink.
"Will cash be OK?" he asked.
"Of course," William replied.
"I'll bring it tomorrow."
William smelled something fishy. He thought back over the two hours of conversation, and remembered too many references to the seamier side of life. This politician was a dirty politician, and he aroused William's curiosity.
"Sounds like you work very hard for your money. I'll bet this yacht will give you a well deserved rest, and maybe a little opportunity to make some more money. It has a nice cargo area."
The man nodded, with a sly smile on his face. "Doesn't it. Bigger cargo space than any of the yachts. I see we understand each other." The man was obviously involved in the drug trade, which was unrestricted in Lebanon. As soon as he left, William told Kenza.
"Of all the bloody profligates," she responded angrily, her face growing red. "Our first sale has to be to a drug dealer. I hope his yacht sinks with him in it."
The next afternoon the man returned as promised with the money. William talked his line and got invited to his first yacht party, managing also to pull
from him that drug dealing was common among the Deputies. As the Deputy left, he handed the money to Kenza.
She carried it to the counter like a decomposing carcass, and dropped it. "Yech! I hate to touch it, knowing the lives that have been wrecked by all the drugs it purchased."
The idea of a drug ring set William to thinking. "I have an idea," William said.
"Burn it?" Kenza asked.
"No, burn him. Paul Schaefer ran a sting operation in South America just before coming here. I'm thinking of getting Paul to do the same thing here; let him get a video tape of this reprobate admitting his drug deals and giving names of others. We'll give the credit to Ismail."
"Why? Ismail is as degenerate as the rest."
"Yes, but it will keep him busy and in the public eye. He'll be less likely to start this coup attempt. He may even see our value."
"Go to it," she replied enthusiastically.
When Ismail returned home again after his day at the office, William was waiting for him outside his home.
Ismail saw William before getting out of his car. He exited looking frustrated and angry. "What is it you wish, Duvall? a more elaborate going away party?"
William belted him in the stomach and watched as he staggered around. He hit him twice more in the head, bloodying his nose. "That was for Kenza." William took grim pleasure in his task.
As soon as he could breath, Ismail asked, "Are you going to kill me?"
"No," William said, kicking his legs from under him. Ismail landed on his
back with a thud. "I've never killed anyone, and I don't like hurting people, but just like you had to beat us the other day, now I have to beat you." He kicked Ismail in the side, purposely missing the kidney. Ismail writhed in pain.
"How is your public image doing?"
"Good," Ismail managed to choke out without breathing.
"Extremely good, actually. Did you do a thing to make it that good?"
Ismail shook his head. William helped him to his feet. Ismail, hunched over, holding his stomach, gave William a steely stare. "What are you getting at," he croaked.
William smacked him on the side of the face backhanded. "Just the fact that public images are like vapors. They can occur or disappear with the stroke of a pen."
Ismail clutched his face. "Have you been writing newspaper ads?"
William hit him twice in the stomach, and Ismail slid to the ground. "Lets just say that I'm in a better position to hurt you than you are to hurt me. So let's not hear anymore talk about my leaving the country or I may take your public image with me. Understand?"
Ismail nodded, unable to breathe.
"You're not taking over the country, Ismail. I can be very nice about it, or very nasty. You choose."
William walked away, despising what he had done, but knowing that Ismail could not kill them, and feeling the beating was probably an incentive Ismail would not forget - he would be unlikely to touch them again.
Next: Chapter 18