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
William had the sting set up in two days. Since Paul didn't speak Arabic, he needed a collaborator. The only person William could think of was Art. He hated to ask him, but Art was the only one with the talents necessary to do the job. Plus he needed someone anonymous that he could get out of the country in a hurry, to eliminate the possibility of retaliation.
Art took two hours to think about it, and to talk it over with Marge. He loved the idea of being back in action if he was going after a "bad" guy, but no more spy stuff. But he had important considerations to place ahead of that. He called back and struck a bargain. No stress, therefore no danger, and a tight time schedule with an immediate return flight. If it fell through because of the schedule, he was still getting on that plane.
William bought Art and Marge a round trip ticket and set them all up temporarily in a hotel where they could have adjoining rooms. William knew Marge would be better off with them than sitting home worrying.
Meeting him at the airport Marge said, "I don't know about this, William. If anything bad happens to him, I'll never forgive you."
"Don't worry, Marge. His part is perfectly safe, or I wouldn't have set it up."
"Oh, he can take care of himself. It's his heart I worry about."
"OK. Tell you what, you be right in there planning it out with us. If
you see anything that might produce stress, you put a stop to it, and we'll scrub the project."
She smiled fondly at William. "You always were a nice guy."
Paul and Art hit it off immediately and worked out a good approach for the two of them. Art phoned the Deputy and told him he was looking for people who wanted to make good investments that were very sound, but the kind that were convenient without attracting attention. The Deputy bit, and Art arranged a meeting for that evening in the bar of the hotel where they were staying.
Art met the Deputy in the lobby of the hotel. "My friend," Art began in Arabic, with obvious false sincerity. "We are very selective about who we make this offer to."
"Why is that?" the Deputy asked.
"Only certain people have the cash flow to make this type of investment."
"Perhaps you have the wrong person," the Deputy said warily.
Art led him to a table in the bar. "I think not. We have heard from our other investors that you have business interests which have sudden large payoffs." Art smiled at him, knowingly. "There are other Deputies who have similar businesses. So let us get to know each other and find our common interests."
The waitress approached.
"Bourbon?" Art asked. The Deputy nodded. Art ordered and the waitress left.
The Deputy remained guarded. "I'm afraid my colleagues are only jealous of my good money management. My investment capital is very limited. It dribbles in."
William had collected records of the Deputy's cash outlays for the last six months, from his contacts in Beirut, but Art wasn't ready to play that card
yet. "Let's say you had some dribble in, and you didn't want to announce it to the world, if you get my meaning - too much luxury makes people jealous, and suspicious... but you work hard for your money and you deserve those things. So where do you put it? A Swiss account? But they are so far away, and you can never be sure they won't make the account public. But how about gold?
Gold is convenient - you can put it in a safe deposit box in the bank, or bury it in a shoe box in the back yard, and no one is the wiser. You can spend it whenever you want, and then one day you are a retired wealthy man."
"Umm," the Deputy acknowledged, and sipped his drink. "You have a point. But the price of gold goes up and down like the tide."
"Yes, but the average price goes steadily upward. Then, of course, we do have other investments."
The Deputy stirred his drink thoughtfully considering Art's words. Apparently he decided it wasn't worth the risk. He swallowed his drink and moved his chair backward to leave.
Art saw it was time to hook him. "One major purchase a month for the last six months. That's an impressive dribble you have coming in. A pool, a yacht, a new house - completely remodeled - not bad on a Deputy's salary."
The Deputy rose to leave, looking frightened by Art's revelation. But Art had a special one two punch. He always followed a jab by an extended hand.
"There are better investments that make your money grow, instead of just laying there in the bank vault. We can double or triple it for you in a matter of months."
The Deputy paused for a couple of seconds.
Art coaxed the man as only a salesman could. "But no, I suppose you're not the man we're looking for after all." Art rose from the table to leave, but with no haste. Art's game was to always be chased. It was much easier to be chased than to chase.
"Wait," the Deputy said. "Maybe we should talk some more."
Art looked at him for a moment as if sizing him up. Finally he conceded. "Let's go to my room where we can talk more openly, and I will introduce you to the man who handles the finances."
William and Kenza had been sitting in a dark corner, talking. They saw Art pick up his drink and finish it before leaving. That was their cue to have Paul in the room. Apparently Art thought he should be introduced right away. As soon as they were out the door, William picked up the house phone and gave two rings on Paul's room phone - their cue.
Paul took his place in an arm chair and pretended to read a magazine. Gerald took his place inside a wooden closet they had installed next to the bath, just for the occasion. The closet had a two-way mirror and Gerald aimed a wide angle camera through it. They had covered the walls and floor of the closet with carpet padding and carpet and turned on the bath ventilation fan to muffle the noise. They turned the chair the Deputy was to sit in away from the mirror so it wouldn't catch his attention, just in case.
When Paul heard Art knock, he opened the door, magazine in hand. He smiled at the Deputy and said hello.
"Ready to talk some business, Art?" Paul asked in English.
"We shall see, we shall see," Art replied. Neither knew whether the Deputy spoke English.
Paul and Art walked to the living area, leaving the Deputy the convenient choice of one chair, which he chose, and they all sat down.
Art chose his next words carefully. Too much information now would blow it. "We often do not exchange cash for gold. We find it is often very convenient and mutually beneficial to exchange it for some commodity."
The Deputy nodded his head, indicating he approved.
"We believe you have a commodity we may be interested in."
The Deputy shrugged.
Art frowned, showing his disappointment that cooperation was amounting to no more than nods and shrugs. He made sure the Deputy could see his frown and feel it. He looked at Paul and then back to the Deputy.
Art continued. He took a deep breath, as if going to take a brave step. "The United States has a very great hunger for a certain commodity - A commodity very available in Lebanon. There are many high officials in Lebanon taking advantage of that opportunity. Those are the every day facts of life here."
Art looked at the unresponsive Deputy, and then back to Paul. "There are many who would jump at our offer! We aren't going to waste time persuading fools to become rich. Let's stop wasting our time and his. He isn't interested." Art stood up. Like a cat inviting a clumsy dog to chase, Art was inviting the Deputy to pursue.
The man looked interested.
Paul took note of the Deputy's interest, smiled at him, and shoved Art back down in the chair. "You are too impatient. He is not the fool you think he is, now talk to him," Paul ordered.
Art looked at the Deputy with obvious distaste. "Tell me yes or no, do you want me to continue?"
"Yes," the man stammered, and then continued, "I may know of a supply of a commodity we could do business with. What are your terms?"
Art rubbed his hands together and sat down. "We have a very nice package. To start, just to get you interested, a new car - your choice - American, German, whatever - our gift to you right away, just to close the deal. You will trade exclusively with us."
The man smiled and sat forward. "Nice. How do you get the merchandise?"
"We meet at sea and exchange it there. You have your choice: gold, cash, or we will reinvest your money in our operation at about seventy percent interest a year. Can you meet at sea?"
"Of course. My yacht has an extra large hold especially for that."
"Cocaine? Uncut? How much can you deliver?"
"No! The plants. Fifty pound bales."
Art looked at him in amazement and shook his head. He turned to Paul. "Can we use plants?"
"Humph," Art said. "We would need much more than fifty pounds a month."
The Deputy shook his head. "That's all. I get a bale at a time, and I have my own courier. Everyone deals just enough to make him happy. Make a pig of yourself and you get killed."
Art stood up, huffing impatiently as he walked around. He stopped and looked at Paul. "Are we going to give away a new car for fifty pounds a month?"
Paul looked at the Deputy. "Perhaps we can work a deal. If he can give us some names of others we can deal with, we can give him a car but not the others. Ask him what kind of car he might like to have. He looks like a Porsche man to me."
Art asked him, but begrudgingly.
The Deputy smiled at Paul and told him five names, and then he struck his own bargain. "For a Mazarati, I will get five others to sell through me, and I will deliver two hundred and fifty pounds a month."
Art brightened and translated the offer for Paul. Paul smiled and stepped
forward and shook the Deputy's hand. "We have a deal."
Art then said to the Deputy, "As soon as we can arrange it, you will have a big surprise at your home."
"Make your first delivery in thirty days. We will contact you soon with more instructions," Art said as the man left.
After a little victory champagne, and a lot of high praise for Art and Paul's work, William whisked Art and Marge to the airport for their ten o'clock flight. Paul wanted to see the results, so William dropped him off at the Embassy with instructions to stay out of sight until his flight out, which had yet to be arranged. William, Kenza and Gerald returned to the apartment. And then William delivered a copy of the tape to a television station, saying it was compliments of Ismail Hamouz.
William returned to find Gerald and Kenza in a heated philosophical discussion about Kenza's helping the Palestinians. Gerald was opposed to her helping the "warriors and terrorists." He could see no way that feeding them was going to bring peace. It would just make heartier terrorists.
That evening, they watched the tape together on the television news. It made the morning paper's headlines and the scandal grew throughout the day. By that evening, the movement was strong enough to force all the Deputy had named from office.
They called Art to congratulate. He had had a wonderful time getting the crooks, and had seen the story in a Lebanese paper he picked up at the newsstand.
Paul called, saying he wanted to stop by on the way to the airport for his eight o'clock flight. He said he had good news.
Paul entered the apartment saying, "Well, this is it. This is goodbye."
"This sounds kind of final, Paul," Kenza replied.
"It is. Samuel asked me to fly to Central America. El Salvador. He wants me to set up cover for an operation there like this one. If this one works and he gets clearance from above, we'll be prepared to go down there. So keep doing a good job, OK?"
"I can't do a good job without you around. You're splitting up a winning team," William cajoled.
Paul had to run, so without many more words, he left.
Hearing three shots fired outside the building, William pulled Kenza down quickly, and then Gerald crouched beside the outside door and opened it, looking out cautiously. He stood and went outside. After a minute he came back.
"Paul isn't going anywhere. It was just goodbye," he said sullenly.
Kenza started for the door. William held her back.
"Don't go out there," Gerald said firmly.
"We had better disappear until after the police have finished questioning," William said. "We weren't here when this happened."
Late that evening they returned. Entering the back door, Kenza stooped down and picked up an arm sling, and brought it inside saying, "Thank God the boy wasn't hurt."
"What?" Gerald asked.
"The boy. He was outside on the sidewalk a lot today. He had his arm in this sling. He must have dropped it and ran when they shot poor Paul," she explained.
"How old?" Gerald asked intensely.
"Fourteen to sixteen."
"You fool! The boy did it!" he exploded. "He shot Paul with a handgun he hid in that arm sling. Somehow he was sent here."
Doves 222 "Ismail!" William seethed. "The Deputies probably asked Ismail who had done this. He put them onto us. They waited for Paul."
"Sent here? But he was just a boy?" Kenza said, unable to fathom such a statement.
"Children aren't children here," Gerald shouted intolerantly. "They're adults! Soldiers! Killers! When they reach puberty, the PLO hands them a gun. Anyone can hire them - they'll do anything for money. You have to stop arming them!"
"We're not giving them guns!" Kenza replied heatedly.
"You put food on their table, and that gives them money to buy arms with. I saw the same thing in Viet Nam. Boys fifteen to sixteen, even younger, we killed the same as any VC. The only way to sop the entire thing is to break up the economic system. Keep their money from putting food in their mouth and buying medicine, so they can't buy arms."
Gerald turned to William. "This is no place for women. You have to be callous here. You have to be able to look at a kid and believe he's a killer. Women can't do that, it's against the "mother instinct."
He turned toward the door to the showroom. "I'm getting the hell out of here and going back to Europe. Don't ask me to help again!"
Kenza turned to William, tears in her eyes. "It's all your fault! You have to play those stupid CIA games and go around making enemies and putting men's lives in danger. If you weren't always trying to manipulate someone, this wouldn't have happened. Well let's see you manipulate someone and bring Paul back."
She rushed to the bedroom and slammed the door. A moment later she reopened it saying, "You can't do anything more with Ismail anyway. I'm going back to Morocco! I can't take any more of this."
William tried to talk to her, but she wouldn't talk. Pushing her way past him, bags in hand, she left for the airport.
Depressed, he called Samuel, telling him that everything had gone wrong and he was ending the mission. Samuel replied with some smooth words about Williams having done everything he could and taken every precaution. It wasn't his fault. William hung up, feeling every bit the failure.
By evening he was lonely and in pain. He thought of his old boss, Cecil. Cecil knew the pain. He had lived with it. He called late at night, waking him up at home, and explained the entire situation. He expected some words of comfort.
"I'm sure you did everything you could," Cecil said bluntly.
"Talk to me, damnit! It's getting to me."
Cecil paused, took a deep breath, and started slowly. "It's a nasty fellowship you've joined, but you didn't get there by being weak. It hurts - hurts bad - and you anguish over it, and it haunts you a little every time you send someone on a mission, and you wonder in the end if it's worth it. Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes no. Usually there is no answer, but there's a job to do.
"I've lost a couple of agents - you didn't know about them, they weren't operatives. I lost another to a foreign prison. It's no fun, is it. But I wouldn't have done anything any differently. You do what you have to do, and you did that. Now get on with it."
"Thank you Cecil," William said sincerely and hung up. He took a bottle of bourbon and a glass from the cabinet in the end table beside the couch. He poured himself two shots and placed the bottle back in the cabinet, vowing not to touch it again that evening. He would survive. He would pick up the pieces and move ahead. Maybe not in Lebanon, but somewhere. He sat down on the
Doves 224 couch where he and Kenza always sat, and felt lonely. He moved to an armchair and sipped the bourbon.
"Things always look blackest before the dawn." Her voice startled him. He had not heard her enter. She looked beleaguered, but tried to smile. She came to his chair and stood at an angle to him. "On the way to the airport, I saw the streets leading to the Palestinian refugee area. I couldn't get it off my mind, so I went there. I drove around for awhile, and I just pulled over and cried for a while. I thought about things for a long time."
He rose from his chair and held her. "It wasn't your fault," he said. "Gerald was wrong."
"Gerald was right, you know," she continued, ignoring his words. "If I hadn't been here, Paul might not have been killed. And maybe I am feeding them so they can go kill others. But I believe in what we're doing, and I have to see this through. Maybe, somehow, someway, there will be a miracle, and peace will come. It might have been me that was killed, or you, but we've agreed to take that risk. I believe Paul did, too. Paul was like me, he wasn't a fighter or a killer, but he was here, and he accepted the risks."
She broke into sobs and clung to him. "I don't think Paul blames me, do you?" she asked through her tears.
"No," he said softly.
* * *
William continued to monitor Ismail as the terrorists moved forward with their plans to seize the government. They planned to sneak into the President's palace at night and depose him. In preparation, they would jam all radio and telephone signals, block all roadways into the city and the palace, and seize key military command posts. Key military commanders in the area were assigned two terrorists who would kidnap them from their homes and bring them
Doves 225 to a central location until the country was calm. The men had been trained in their roles, and had practiced their assignments. The jamming equipment had arrived. All that was in question was the date. Ismail was keeping the date quiet from even his closest men.
William devised a simple but effective plan to stop them, but without a date he couldn't put it in place. It also puzzled him that Ismail probably knew William would try to stop him, but he had done nothing about it.
William finally decided Ismail would have to carry out his plan within the next week, or lose control of his secrecy. But William couldn't risk setting his plan in motion on several successive nights. His plan was to set off explosives near the outside fence of the palace to put people on guard. Ismail would not dare attack with the guards on full alert. But if William was caught setting off explosives, he would end up in jail.
Finally Ismail announced the date to his men. It was to take place four days from then. William could see his mission failing. He felt desperate to do something. Discouraged and needing to talk things through, he took Kenza on a long walk. She aimed them toward the Palestinian section, saying a look at their gardening efforts would cheer them up.
"Ismail has finally broken silence on his date. His operation is planned for four days from now. I have been expecting him to try and take us captive any day now, just to keep us out of the way. But he hasn't. What is he waiting for?"
"Maybe it's just my naive opinion, but I think you're underestimating Ismail."
"What do you mean?"
"He knows you can stop him. He knows you're very shrewd and probably have a backup plan in case you fail. Somehow he's figured out a way to outmaneuver you."
"That's exactly what I'm afraid of. But what?"
"I'm sure you'll figure it out."
"I'm glad you're so confident."
"I'm not," she said laughing. "Ismail will probably seize the government, and figure that since he can't get rid of you, he'll make you a wise counselor."
They laughed. "Court Jester, more likely. I think he likes having me around, just for sport." William turned serious again. "We've come down to the wire, and I've failed. We not only didn't find a spokesman for the Palestinians, I've created a monster who may drag the entire region into war. I think we should go home before I do any more damage."
Kenza pointed to Shahad's garden, which they were just passing. "Have you ever seen the desert bloom?" Kenza asked.
William smiled at her, feeling they shared a bond that wouldn't break. A bond that not only held them together, but held them to the Middle East. He knew there were ingredients, things needed that might be provided by powers greater than he. "OK, one last try," he agreed. "I'll see Ismail tomorrow."
"You had better go early if he's preparing to do it immediately."
"Early! That's it, Kenza. That's how he's going to get past me. They're not going to do it in four days. They're going to do it tonight."
Next: Chapter 19