My phone rang. It was Duncan.
‘I’ll have a termite inspection if you don’t mind.’
He was in Perth busting up a bikey gang who were working with Muslim extremist, smuggling arms into Australia.
‘They are using the Fremantle Port. The Chinese ship comes into port tonight.’
I suggested he watch Lord of War and leave me out of this.
But I was curious what he had planned. But I said that Australia wasn’t my turf. ‘Doesn’t matter,’ he said. ‘You were baptized in the Pacific Rim of Fire and that’s big league. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by Australians, they are softies at heart.’
I said I’d have a long hard think about that.
I then set up an appointment. “I’ll send a technician to your house tomorrow at midday. You better be there, or I might have to kill you.’
I could hear Duncan laughing on the other end. He really did have a sense of humor for a Singaporean.
That banging on my wall won’t stop. It’s raining outside. I confront the cunt next door. His face is familiar. It’s Frank. He’s totally lost it. ‘I’’m going to kill you,’ he repeats. I call up the men in white. They give him a jab and take him to Greylands.
I might be able to get some sleep now. All this nonsense about Mardu and the grannies. Too late, I’ve been given a shot too.
It looks like it’s just me and Frank now. I knew he was a cunt. You really got to be careful what you write these days. Everything word is being monitored. And any unsavory thoughts need to be recanted.
‘Welcome to the club,’ says Bert. ‘I knew you would be admitted eventually.’
Duncan, you gotta help me out here, I said. He wasn’t listening. The straight jacket and white walls were closing in on me.
Maybe when I wake up I’ll be in Bali.
‘Keep on dreaming,’ said Bert, ‘you are here for life. Accusing me of being a wife killer and terrorist just didn’t make the grade.’
Bert was my doctor now, he said.
Duncan appeared god bless his soul.
‘Not for much longer.’ He put the Glock to Bert’s head, and my misery was ended.
‘Only for now,’ he said. “Don’t worry about Bert. We’ll take care of him from now on. We have a bit of tormenting to do. He’ll pay for his stupidity. He’s just been recruited in Vanya’s Twilight Zone. He’ll die a thousand deaths before we are finished with him.’
So far it seemed that way.
‘But you owe me now,’ said Duncan, who was puffing on a Marlboro. ‘Fancy an assignment in Singapore? Someone really misses you,’ he added.
Let me guess, Susan Hoi?
‘She’s waiting for you,’ he said. ‘But she promised no unpleasant surprises this time. She really apologizes for giving you a jab of morphine. She said that really wasn’t fair.’
Nothing was fair I said. But I was really looking forward to meeting Brian again.
‘Meet you at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in half an hour,’ said Duncan. ‘The bagel is on me.’
I walked out to the garden of Duncan’s townhouse. No doubt about it, a nice neighborhood. Even the banana trees seemed happy in this part of the world. The sun was shining and the sky was a deep blue with promise. And one hour, in both directions, by plane, the promise of more adventures in Asia was just one booking away.
This was where I belonged, for now. I might even visit Johor later in the day. Duncan said I could stay as long as I needed too.
‘At least you know you are safe with me around.’
That I couldn’t dispute that. There was decency about Duncan that was a lost quality in humanity these days.
‘It’s a mean world out there,’he said. ‘But you haven’t met my mother yet, have you?’
I thought she was dead.
‘She is, but just watch out for the crystal disco ball,’ he said. ‘And use the ashtray in the garden, only I can flick butts on the ground.’
I was ready for anything. And I could do with all the company I could get.
Duncan’s deceased mother was one of the good guys, that’s all I knew.
And low and behold, the crystal ball appeared.
It was Sambo. ‘She’s fine and says don’t forget to wash your underwear. She’s busy on an Inspector Duncan novel. So don’t outstay your welcome. Thelma and Louise miss you. Hint, always welcome in the Great Sandy Desert.’
Now that sounds like a really good option, I replied. I really should stop talking to myself.
So Duncan had stopped jumping novels and is writing his own? I wonder if I’d get a mention.
‘You’re writing it, you fucker.’
I never argue with Duncan.
I waved to the wizard with the white flowing Moses beard who was slowly vanishing with the crystal ball that was receding to a firefly size point of light.
I was under the spell of the Mardu, whether I wanted to admit it or not.
‘You better believe it kiddo,’ said Sambo. ‘This ain’t Kansas.”
The last pin of light puffed out of existence.
We have lost transmission.