First You Die Chapter 17: Rawy’s Redress
First You Die, Chapter Seventeen: Rawy’s Redress
Sonia gripped the automatic rifle, quietly walking barefooted down the long hallway. There was an open door on the right and she edged up to it, peeking into the room. The man in the suit and tie was sitting at a desk, writing in a ledger, his head down. Looks like his office, Sonia thought as she backed up a bit. She could tiptoe past and keep on going.
No, she decided that she just couldn’t bring herself to do that. Sonia stuck her head in the doorway, waving one hand. ‘Hi there,’ she called out, a big smile on her face.
Khun Vichai looked up-startled. The expression on his face changed rapidly to surprise and then concern. ‘What are you doing out of bed? You must go back to your room at once.
How did you get here?’ He pushed his chair back and started around the desk.
Sonia stepped all the way into the room, bringing the rifle around, pointing it at his stomach. ‘I’d like my clothes please and my shoes.’
‘You didn’t have any. You were brought here in a hospital gown.’
Sonia shrugged her shoulders, ‘Okay, I’ll take yours.’
Vichai stared at her in silence.
‘Let’s go, I haven’t got all day.’ Sonia motioned with the weapon and kicked the door shut with her foot.
The man slowly undressed, carefully folding his clothes and placing them on a chair. He was down to his underwear.
‘Where’s the adhesive tape, gauze bandages?’ Sonia looked around the office.
‘There’s some in the cabinets there.’ Vichai nodded with his head. He spoke softly; his whole manner had changed now that the tables had turned and he was almost naked.
Sonia pulled out a thick roll of tape. ‘What’s in that room?’ She said pointing to a door.
‘Just the washroom.’
Sonia waved the gun. ‘Go on.’
It was a small room, white tiles, toilet and sink, no window. Perfect, Sonia thought. ‘Lie down and put your hands behind your back. I’m going to tie you up. I’ll have to rest the gun against the wall to do this. If you move in the slightest, I’ll break your neck. Who
knows, maybe you can be the next bone marrow donor.’
Sonia taped his wrists together and then his ankles. She turned him over, kneeling next to him.
‘Do you have a car here?’
‘Outside- a black Ford Explorer.’
‘In my pants pocket.
‘I don’t know who you mean.’
‘She disappeared from Bangkok a few weeks ago. She worked at Nana Plaza.’
‘She was probably the pregnant girl. I’m not sure. I’m not really involved in the every day affairs of the clinics.’
‘What do you mean pregnant girl? What did you do?’
‘I’m not at liberty to discuss this at all.’
‘Really?’ Sonia reached in back of her for the rifle. She put the barrel between the man’s legs, jamming the muzzle into the man’s private parts.
‘Want to try for a dick transplant?’
Vichai gasped in pain. ‘I’m president of Lao Imports. I only run the business. Porn’s dead, they killed her last week.’
‘The doctor in Bangkok.’
‘Where does Johnny Wou fit into this?’
‘He owns everything.’
‘Who else is involved? Wou never leaves his club.’
‘Mister One-Hundred. Khun Neung Rawy oversees everything. We export coffee, rice and shrimp along with the ephedrine- much more secure than by plane these days.’
‘How does this tie into the health clinics?’
‘The ephedrine is initially shipped to the health clinics. So we are using the health clinics for some medical operations and also to receive the ephedrine. The clinics have sterile atmospheres; good conditions to produce the final product.’
‘Okay, I’m out’a here.’ As Sonia stood, she felt something hard pressing into the back of her neck.
Rick jumped from his seat in Jip’s office. ‘We have to do something. We can’t just sit here. I’m going to get Johnny Wou. God Damn it. Come or don’t come, it’s up to you.’
Jip stood up, grabbing Rick’s arm. He was determined not to let Rick go running off half-cocked. ‘How long has it been? How long has Sonia been missing?’
‘Let’s see. One day, when she went to the health clinic, another day looking for her, a day waiting for you to come, a day on the plane over here and then today, which is about over really.’
‘That’s five days. The doctor said a minimum of six days. Tomorrow’s our last day.’ Jip put his hand to his forehead. He could feel the pounding. Rick was right, they had to act and act now. As Jip concentrated, trying to come up with a plan, the phone rang. Jip took a deep breath and let it ring one more time, saying a prayer. He reached for the receiver.
‘Hello Jip, Ebie here.’
Jip held his breath. He could picture Jerry on the phone, a big smile on his face. The man never stopped smiling. Jip waited.
‘I spoke to some people. There’s some kind of a new drug out there. That’s what’s killing everyone.’
Jip nodded his head, not speaking. He knew that. This was not the news he had hoped for. ‘What else?’
‘That’s it, but I’ll keep checking.’
‘Here, say hello to a friend of yours, Rick’s here.’ Jip passed the phone to Rick, more to keep him occupied than anything else.
‘Hey Rick, What’s up pal?’
‘Nothing good. Sonia’s been kidnapped. We’re trying to find her. I really don’t have time to talk to you now.’ Rick was about to hang up but felt guilty about being abrupt. ‘How’s the art gallery going?’ he said as a way of continuing the conversation for another minute.
‘The artwork is not selling all that great with the economy the way it is, but I did wonderful in the back room yesterday. A driver comes in, a big black limo outside; his boss wants some stuff to keep him busy for a few weeks. The guy bought a dozen books and two-dozen videos. I’m branching out, trying to carry regular movies, but not that much call for it on this street.’
‘Well, that’s good Jerry, I’ll be in touch.’ Rich sighed involuntarily as he started to replace the receiver.
‘Some big-shot’s going to have some kind of fancy blood transfusion or something; be laid up for a while. I wonder if he’s having any girls stop in, help him convalesce, ha-ha-ha.’
Rick’s heart jumped, pounding. His head filled with the noise of it. As usual, in a situation like this, he spoke clearly and loudly, as if the other person was hard of hearing. ‘What kind of blood transfusion?’
‘The poor guy’s got cancer-gets all kinds of treatments. He’s been a good customer for a long time, renting all those videos. I wonder if the porno movies help his blood pressure, you know, make it flow faster through those tubes and stuff, ha-ha.’
‘Jerry, do you know the man’s name? Where he is?’
There was a pause. ‘I’ve never met him. Only his driver comes in. The guy sits outside in the car. Sorry about that.’
Rick spoke slowly and clearly, enunciating each word, not speaking like a New Yorker at all. ‘Jerry, listen to me, this is very important. What else did the man say?
‘Not much really. He was taking his boss to the airport. That’s all.’
‘Going where Jerry, going where?’ Rick shouted at him.
‘I wasn’t paying much attention, counting all those videos, adding up the sales. Seventy thousand baht, can you believe it?’
‘God Damn it Ebie!’
‘Let’s see, mmmmm, It may have been Pattaya, no, no, maybe it was Patpong, no, of course you can’t fly to Patpong. I got it. His boss was going to Phuket, he said.’
‘Is this guy a government official? High up?’
‘Oh yeah, well connected. Too bad about his condition though.’
‘Jerry, I love you pal. Thanks! See you soon.’ As Rick hung up the phone he heard Jerry’s voice, it sounded tiny and far away as the receiver was almost in its cradle. ‘When are-.
‘She’s in Phuket. Let’s go.’ Rick shouted; he couldn’t help himself. He was elated, excited. He had hope again. ‘We need to fly. Can we take the guns on the plane with us?’
‘No problem on a domestic flight. We just have to ship them as baggage. Let’s beat it out of here before Colonel Wansina comes back. Jip picked up the duffel bag and headed towards the door, as it burst open.
The colonel stood there with his hands on his hips. ‘Jipthep, I need every man on this case, I don’t care who this is with you, we have to find a Farang and a Thai that have invaded a legitimate business and kidnapped a doctor. The politicians are all over us on this.’
Rick put his foot on a chair. ‘Excuse me for just a minute.’ Rick pulled his pants cuff up a bit and tugged on a few Velcro straps, releasing a small zippered cloth bag from his ankle.
‘The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America has expressed their concern to me about the safety of American citizens aboard flights here in Thailand and has authorized me to conduct a full research program.’
Rick opened the bag and spread a stack of hundred dollar bills on the table, fanning them out with his hands. ‘I have decided to use Captain Jipthep to help me with this and have been authorized to use any funds at my discretion.’
Colonel Wansina stared at the American money, trying to estimate the amount. Rick saw his hesitation and shuffled the money together and picked up the cloth bag. ‘Of course if you can not release Jipthep from his duties, I understand fully.’
‘No, no, don’t be hasty Agent Randel. How much are we talking about here?’
‘Five thousand right now, another five thousand if we complete our project successfully, that’s in U.S. dollars’ Rick stuffed the money back in to the bag. ‘I would need you to arrange for a car to the airport immediately. I need two tickets on the next flight to Phuket. Wait, it’s really too much for me to ask of you. I realize you might not be able to do this and I apologize for any inconvenience.’ Rick closed the zipper.
‘It has always been our policy to help our American counterparts with their investigations and I probably have enough men on the other case. Captain Jipthep, I am assigning you to Special Agent Randel as of right now.’ The colonel picked up the desk phone. ‘I want a car and driver outside right now, yes- immediately.’
Wansina turned to Rick. ‘I’ll call Thai airways. Everything will be arranged for you. It’s a pleasure to help our friends.’
Rick handed the stuffed money belt to the colonel. ‘Thank you Colonel, you’ve been very kind.’
Jip picked up the duffel bag and they headed out of the office, down the hallway and out of the front door. There was a brown and white squad car parked in front. Jip threw the duffel bag in the back seat and sat in the front. Rick climbed in the back. The driver turned on the roof rack of red and blue lights. The lights flashed against the building and the siren screamed as they raced out of the parking lot.
The ride to the airport took only twenty minutes and the police car was waved through the gates and right onto the runway. Rick could see people walking up the boarding ramp. A man in a dark blue suit and tie held boarding passes for Rick and Jip and took their bag to be stowed in the baggage compartment. Rick and Jip headed up the boarding ramp and were directed to their seats in first class.
When Neung Rawy and Sat-the Beast landed in Phuket Airport there was a car and driver waiting for them and they sped to their destination in less than an hour. Rawy had been assured by the driver that every thing was as it should be. He strolled through the warehouse and up the steps to the second floor to the manager’s office. He saw a man’s clothing folded on a chair and heard voices coming from the restroom. He was amazed to see the manager on the floor with a girl kneeling over him. Neung Rawy pushed his pistol into the girl’s neck as she stood up and he grabbed her arm in a firm grip.
‘What happened here? I leave this girl safely strapped in bed and now she has you tied on the floor. And you-spilling your guts out about our operations.’
The small room was enveloped in the blast of an explosion as Vichai’s head burst in a mass of blood and flesh as a bullet from Rawy’s gun slammed into it. Rawy spun Sonia around and put the pistol underneath her chin, forcing her head up. ‘You whore. You’re going to get it now.’
‘You can’t shoot me, I’m worth too much.’ Sonia swung her free arm up against the gun, turning it away from her face and kneed Rawy in the balls at the same time. Sonia ran out of the bathroom, snatching up the clothes and dashed down the hallway, sticking her hand in the pockets of the pants looking for the car keys.
She found the keys, dropped the clothes and ran across the warehouse floor in her bare feet. She could hear the door slam open and Rawy’s footsteps close behind her. As she turned to look, she ran into a solid wall of flesh. She bounced back and fell on the floor, dropping the keys. A man loomed over her blocking her vision. He was the largest man that she had ever seen.
He reached down and wrapped a huge hand around her neck and pulled her up, her feet dangling in the air. He held her easily, as if she were a child. His face was so fat that his eyes squinted and his cheeks puffed out. He wore a short sleeved shirt and his massive chest bulged up and out almost to his face, as if he had no neck at all. Each one of his arms was larger than Sonia’s waist. Sonia cupped her palms and slammed her hands against the man’s ears. He smiled, tightening his grip on her throat. She couldn’t take a breath now. She grabbed on to his huge forearms for support and drove her knee into his stomach as hard as she could. It was like kicking into the side of a cow. She felt the hand on her throat grow even tighter.
‘Don’t kill her, for the sake of Buddha,’ shouted Rawy. Sat shifted his grip on the girl and held her with one arm wrapped her arms and chest. He carried her sideways like a long loaf of bread. Sonia was held so tight that she still found it difficult to breathe.
She could see that she was going up the stairs and back down the hallway towards her room. Rawy and Sat stopped at the guard on the floor. The man was awake and moaning in pain.
‘What happened to you?’ Rawy looked down at the man in disgust.
‘The so-pheeh-nee crushed my knee. Help me please.’
‘The whore crushed your knee? With what?’
‘The daughter of a pig took my gun.’
‘Unbelievable. I will help you. You can start a new life.’ Rawy shot the man twice in the chest, the sound of the blasts echoing in the hallway. ‘Come on,’ he said to Sat as they opened the door to Sonia’s room.
‘What’s going on? Get him off the bed,’ Rawy nodded towards the dead man. Sat picked the man up with one hand and dropped him on the floor. He still held Sonia in an iron grip. Rawy stared at the pencil eraser barely sticking out of the man’s eye and shook his head. A stupid homeless street whore had done all of this?
Sat dropped Sonia on the bed and pushed down on her chest with one hand. Sonia put both of her feet against him and pushed with all of her might. Nothing happened; it was like pushing into a wall. Rawy forced her wrist up and strapped it into place, and then the next one. Rawy strapped her ankles to the bed and turned to the Beast. ‘It stinks in here. Throw this man into the garbage bin and then take the other two out.’ Rawy picked up a white plastic chair, pulled it near the bed and sat down, staring at the girl he had brought from America.
After a while he got up and went into the office and called Bangkok.
‘Khun Wou, I am here and the girl is safe.’ Rawy hesitated a minute and then took a deep breath. ‘The doctor here has been killed. We need to find another doctor if we are to do the operation.’ Rawy held the phone away from his ear as Wou screamed curses.
‘Kee Moo, can’t I trust you with anything. Do I have to do everything myself? The Member of Parliament is there already in the Phuket Chedi Resort. He will be arriving at the warehouse tomorrow afternoon for the operation. If you can’t sort this out, I’ll come down there and cut your head off.’
Rawy heard the phone click off. He replaced the receiver and picked it up again and dialed the Kanchanaburi number and obtained a secure telephone line. He tapped in the number of Ricks Bar in America and asked for Rick.
‘I’m sorry Rick is not here right now.’
‘May I speak to Sonia please,’ he replied.
‘I’m sorry she is busy right now, would you like to leave a message?’
Rawy hung up and dialed NYC information for the police station nearest Lafayette Street. ‘I’m trying to find my brother. He’s disappeared. He is a large Thai man and I am worried about him. I’m afraid he may have been hurt.’ Rawy was given the phone number of Bellevue Medical Center and an extension number. He punched in the numbers and then the extension when he finally made a connection Rawy nodded his head in acknowledgement as a man’s voice came on the line, ‘Coroners Office.’
He had expected as much. ‘I’m looking for my brother. I have not heard from him in over a week. He is a large quarrelsome man and may have come to some harm. He is Thai with a tattoo of a dragon on his right arm and he is not familiar with New York.’
‘I see, let me check. Can you hold on please?’
Another voice came on the line and asked for a further description and a return phone number. Rawy hung up. They would certainly know if a man like that was in the morgue or not and by now Rawy felt sure that his man was on a slab in the refrigerator. Rawy called Ricks Bar and asked when he could speak to Soopies or Rick. Possibly tomorrow was the answer. Could he leave his number?
Rawy called his contact at Immigration in Bangkok. ‘Check all of your records for the past week for a Rick Randel arriving from America, I’ll hold.’
‘Yes there was a Randel that had arrived at Bangkok only a day ago.’
‘Good God Buddha, call Thai Airways and check the flights from Bangkok to Phuket. Do it now.’ Rawy gripped the phone tighter; it was all coming together. The connection to Thai Airways came on the line.
‘Yes Sir, as a matter of fact, Mister Randel is on a plane and is scheduled to arrive in a half-hour. He is flying first class with a Captain Jipthep. We had to bump two people to make room for them, an emergency we were told.’
‘By who? Who told you this?’ Rawy was furious. He would kill many people by the time this was over.
‘We received orders from Police Colonel Wansina in Thon Buri.’
Rawy slammed down the receiver. He knew Wansina. They had done business together for a long time. Rawy wondered if Wansina was betraying him and Khun Wou. No, it wouldn’t be possible. Wansina was making too much money now and besides he had a large family. It would be impossible to place them all under twenty-four-hour guard and by god they would have to, and even then they would not escape his wrath. No, he thought, as he dialed the station house number and asked for Colonel Wasina, the colonel would not dare attempt to deceive him.
‘Listen to me and listen carefully. Do you know who this is? All right. Why are you sending the American and Captain Jipthep to Phuket? Be truthful, your life depends on the answer. What? Are you completely mad? You stupid swine. Special Agent Randel and your man checking the safety of our airplanes? Did you see the Farang’s identification? I’ll have your balls for breakfast if anything comes of this. What else? Anything else that happened there?’
‘Only that Jipthep locked up a crazy man in a holding cell. The man is waiting transport to Bang Kwang, completely crazy, claims to be a doctor and threatened to cut people up.’
‘Get him on the phone. I want to speak to him now.’ Rawy was screaming at the top of his lungs. He was furious but his brain was accelerating. If it was the doctor- he could get him on a plane right away and he would be here in a few hours and the operation could take place as scheduled and Khun Wou would have his five million baht.
A shaky voice came on the line. ‘This is Doctor Pizan. Who is this?’
‘You know who this is. What happened? Never mind. You must come to Phuket immediately. Let me speak to the colonel.’
Rawy screamed instructions at the second highest-ranking officer in the entire district. ‘Get the doctor on the next flight out, immediately and recall your Captain Jipthep. Just say to him that you have found Soopies. Never mind why you pig shit. That’s all you are to say to him. Say you have her there at the station house. I will be sending some men over and don’t interfere if you know what’s good for you.’ Rawy slammed the phone down.
Was everyone he worked with completely stupid? No matter. He would take pleasure in killing the Farang dog and the Thai policeman. He would solve everything and Khun Wou would be in debt to him. Not a debt of money, something much more important, a debt of face. If he found the doctor; proceeded with the operation, saved the five hundred million baht and killed Rick and Jipthep, it would bring him a huge amount of face.
Khun Wou would have to come up with a tremendous reward so as not to loose his own face. Director of not only American operations but internationally as well? Who knows how far this will go?
Rawy screamed for Sat. ‘Take the car and get back to the airport. There is an American and a Thai arriving on the next flight. Stay there and make sure that they don’t leave the airport. They should be going right back to Bangkok. Come back here after they get on the plane. If they don’t get on the plane, kill them. Is that clear?’
Sat bowed his head in answer and hurried towards the door as Rawy jabbed at the intercom box pressing the button for the guard at the front gate, ‘Doctor Pizan will be arriving today from Bangkok. Send him right up to my office.’