Stickman Readers' Submissions February 4th, 2006

First You Die Chapter 18: Sat – The Beast

First You Die, Chapter Eighteen: Sat-The Beast

Chapter Eighteen

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Sat-The Beast

Rick looked out of the plane window. The sea was blue-green and there were a dozen islands below. There were long sandy beaches and boats made tiny white lines in the sea. Rick could see more boats, some with white sails, laying in the protection
of the shoreline. ‘Sure is a pretty country. Ever been down here before?’

Jip fastened his seat belt. ‘Phuket is too expensive for the likes of a policeman like me. It’s full of farangs-expatriates from all over and the wealthier Thais from Bangkok have been buying up property for vacation homes.’

The plane swooped in for a landing and taxied to the terminal. Jip and Rick stood up, stretched and joined the line of passengers moving slowly towards the exit. The flight attendants were lined up saying goodbye and thank you to the passengers.
Jip stopped just

before the door. ‘May I please have the bag that we brought aboard?’

‘It was stowed in the baggage compartment. You can just pick it up in the terminal.’ The stewardess smiled beautifully as she gave Jip a wai, placing the tips of her fingers to her face. Jip turned his mobile phone on as he
walked down the portable stairs. The phone rang immediately. Jip glanced at the number on the display just as he was about to hit the answer button. It was Colonel Wansina’s number at the police station. Jip hesitated, switched the phone
to off and put it back in his pocket.

Rick looked at Jip. They were almost to the terminal. ‘Why didn’t you answer the phone?’
‘It was the Colonel. I have yet to receive good news from him, even when I’m at my desk.’

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Jip and Rick followed the signs to the luggage pick up and watched the empty carousel turn slowly. ‘Listen Jip, this may be a few minutes. What I will do is go rent a car while we’re waiting and pick up a map of Phuket. Get
the show on the road.’

Rick walked through the double glass doors and into a crowd of people. Some were holding signs with the names of hotels and clients. Others reached out to Rick. ‘Mister you want ride? We have taxi for you.’

Rick ignored everyone and walked to the car rental booth. He put his credit card and passport on the counter. ‘Can I rent a car for a few days?’ What do you have?’

A young Thai girl in a blue uniform flashed a smile at him. Her red lipstick and brown skin made her teeth seem even whiter. ‘Suzuki Jeep, four wheel drive, air conditioning.’ The smile grew larger.

‘Do you have anything else except a jeep? A sedan possibly?’

The girl put her head down, still smiling and raised her eyes to look up at Rick. ‘This only we have,’ she said softly.

‘Okay, I’ll take it.’ Rick filled out the paper work thinking that Larry the lawyer would certainly fall in love here in a matter of minutes.

‘Please go end of lobby, hallway on right take you parking area. Here your keys and receipt.’ The attendant smiled at Rick as if he was the only man in the world. Rick thought that he might have taken a bicycle if she had insisted.

Rick walked through the crowd and past the rest rooms. He could see the exit sign just ahead. A terrific force slammed Rick against the wall. It felt as if he was in a bomb blast but there was no noise. He was momentarily stunned and as he
reached out to steady himself a huge hand grabbed his shirt and flung him into the men’s room door, crashing it open. Rick’s head banged into the door and he tumbled to the tile floor. A woman cleaning the urinals dropped her brush
and ran towards the exit, her green apron flapping against her sides. Sat smacked her head with a backhand. She careened off a wall and fell to the floor knocking over a bucket of soapy water.

Rick looked up to see a huge man leaning over him, smiling. Rick started to scramble to his feet when the man picked him up with both hands and effortlessly threw him across the room. Rick smashed into a mirror above the sink, shattering
it, shards of glass falling down on him. He slumped to the counter and tried to sit up, his rear end jammed in one of the sinks, the faucet digging into his back. Rick was dazed and braced himself against the wall as the man walked towards him.
Sat came closer and reached for out for him.

Rick kicked out as hard as he could with both feet, aiming for the man’s solar plexus. The man hardly budged and wrapped both hands around Rick’s throat, squeezing tightly. Rick swung his fist at the man’s face but the
man’s arms were longer than his were and the blows landed harmlessly on the man’s shoulders.

Rick saw a blur of green out of the corner of his eye as the weapons bag struck the man on the side of the head. Sat loosened his grip on Rick and turned. Jip swung again. The man blocked the bag with his arm and reached for Jip. Jip front-kicked
to the man’s groin but the man turned slightly, catching the blow on his leg and at the same time threw a punch towards Jip’s head. Jip ducked under the blow, dropped the bag and hit the man four times in the stomach, punching with
both hands, putting his shoulders into it, his feet planted solidly on the floor.

The man closed his arms around Jip and fell to the floor with him. The man’s weight held Jip pinned to the ground and the man worked his hands up to Jip’s throat.

Jip managed to get one arm around the man’s neck and punched him with his other hand but it didn’t seem to bother the large man one bit. The weight of the man was crushing the air out of Jip. He was getting weaker with each
punch that he pounded on the big man’s skull.

Rick slid off the sink counter to his feet. He immediately thought of the green bag. But the guns were useless in their container, broken down and unloaded as required by the airlines. Rick looked around for a weapon and saw a fire extinguisher
on the wall in the hallway. He rushed out and grabbed it from its holder. Sat was holding on to Jip, pressing the breath out of him. Rick raised the extinguisher over his head but Jip’s arm was still wrapped around the big man’s
head. ‘Damn, I might break his arm if I miss, Rick thought, setting the extinguisher down. Rick pulled out the safety ring and pressed the big black nozzle against the man’s face. Rick squeezed the stainless steel levers together
and there was a loud whoosh as white foam covered the man’s head, spilling onto Jip. Immediately, two small holes appeared in the white lather and then another hole for the man’s mouth as he tried to breathe, sucking the froth through
his nostrils and mouth. Rick squeezed the lever again, pressing the cone against the man’s face. The white foam exploded as the man stood up reaching for Rick with one hand, trying to wipe his face with his sleeve. Rick squeezed the handle
again as the man scrambled up and charged. Rick dodged to the side and the man stopped for a moment using both hands to rub the foam from his face. Jip rose to his feet as the man rushed Rick again. Rick shot the foam lower, covering the man’s
feet and the floor in front of him. Sat’s legs flew upward as he slipped on the foam, his back slamming into the floor. Sat turned and tried to push himself up again with his hands but they too slid on the slick foam. Rick raised the canister
and brought it crashing down on the man’s head. Sat collapsed on the floor and lay still on a bed of white froth.
Rick brushed his hair back as he steadied himself against the row of sinks. His hand came away covered with blood and
bits of broken mirror. Rick turned on the cold water and splashed some on his head.

‘Christ, look at the size of this guy, he’s as big as a Volkswagen. Thanks for your help. I was just about to beat the shit out of him when you came in.’

Jip wiped some foam from his shoes with a paper towel. ‘Yeah, I could see that.’

‘I thought you were a champion karate guy. Couldn’t you put him in a death hold or something?’

‘You really have been watching too many kung fu movies. When that guy fell, it was like a house collapsing on me.’

Rick put the green duffel bag on the counter. He unzipped it and took out the barrel and stock of one of the guns, rummaging around for the clip. Rick shoved the two pieces together, slammed the clip into the lower part of the weapon, and
pulled back the slide, chambering a round into the barrel. ‘I bet that’s why Colonel Wasina called you, to warn us about this guy.’

‘I doubt it. The Colonel has been trying to get rid of me, transfer me to another station but no one wants me. Luckily, I’m a captain now and they can’t send me to just anyplace as I have some rank. I know that the Colonel
has already tried to send me to the traffic division but they said I wouldn’t be helpful there.’

‘Why don’t you know how to direct traffic?’ Rick smiled.

‘I would actually try to get the men to do just that instead of collecting hundred baht fines from everyone they can stop.’

‘Hundred baht fines for what?’

‘Doesn’t matter. Cop stops you, asks for your license, what you gonna do? Tell him no?’ Want your license back, you have to pay. Or they tell you; you threw out a piece of paper from your car. Littering is a two thousand
baht fine. They let you knock them down to a thousand or five hundred or so and you get to go on your way. Fool with them and they can arrest you. I would put a stop to this nonsense. That and collecting fifty baht a day from every single motorcycle
taxi in Bangkok.’

‘Why do they do that?’

Jip looked in the mirror and dabbed at the foam on his shirt with a paper towel. ‘Most of the moto-taxis are not regulated. There’s no licensing system for them all so they can be said to be illegal. The cops have it down pat.
You know how the moto guys all group together on a street corner, well, the cops assign one guy to collect from everyone else in their group and he had better have the money ready at collection time. Of course, the police can only collect on the
streets that they patrol. This kind of money can add up. If I stopped this legalized extortion, I would be transferred again and it would start all over. Annoying as hell.’

‘Why don’t you relax, go along with it?’

‘My father wouldn’t and I won’t either. Not in this lifetime.’

‘Yeah, sorry to say this, but that’s why he got killed. What’s happening with your investigation anyway? Any headway on finding his killers?’

‘There was a gambling den on his street. Numbers, soccer, cards. The neighbors complained to him and he shut it down. Knocked on the door with his pistol and ordered everyone out of the house. Turns out that they were paying protection
to the precinct and there was a big to-do about what happened and then he got shot.’

‘What happens now?’

‘I want to find someone who actually worked in the gambling operation. Take it from there or interview as many people who were on the force at that time as possible. No one wants to get involved. That’s the problem. No one wants
to stick out their neck for no reason.’
‘What are we going to do with this guy? Do you have handcuffs?’

‘No and the police will not be here for a while. So if we want to hold him, we have to find some way to tie him up, have any rope?’

‘I’ll be right back.’ Rick left and returned with a luggage cart. ‘Can you help me lay him across the lower shelf?’

Rick and Jip managed to drag the man on to the bottom half of the cart. They put the green duffel bag on the upper wire mesh container. Rick pushed the cart to the elevator, the man’s legs dragging along the floor. Rick pressed the
up button.

‘Where are you going?’ Jip said as the door slid open.

‘Departures. Have to go upstairs. We’re in the arrivals area now.’ Rick pushed and half dragged the cart towards the check-in counters. There was a conveyer belt and people were in line, putting their luggage on the belt
to be x-rayed. After that, the luggage was sealed shut by a fiberglass band that an attendant wrapped around the suitcase. He pressed a lever and a small machine tightened the band around the luggage, sealing it tight. After that the luggage was
checked in and sent to the airplane.

Rick and Jip waited their turn and then rolled the big man on to the belt. The belt moved automatically and the man started to pass through the x-ray machine. A Thai lady in a blue security guard’s uniform shut the conveyer off and
started jabbering to Jip. Jip opened his wallet and showed his badge, motioning with his hands to start the machine. As the man passed through the machine, a pistol was outlined on the video screen along with keys and coins.

The unconscious man reached the end of the line and there was an attendant sitting on a stool near a large roll of the light yellow fiberglass ribbon. ‘Two around the chest please,’ Rick said.

The man stared at Rick as if he were crazy. Rick turned to Jip. ‘Badge this guy will you.’
Jip produced his identification and explained what he wanted. In a minute Sat was held by three bands around his chest, pinning his
arms to his sides and two bands on his thighs and two on his ankles.

Jip turned on his cell phone and called the Phuket Police. ‘This is Officer Jipthep. I have stopped an attempted murder and have the man in custody. Can you please pick him up. We are at the airport in the departure area by the x-ray
machine I will leave the man here for you. Don’t worry you can’t miss him. I will be along later to press charges. He also has a pistol in his belt. No he can’t get to it. You might see if he has a license for the gun.’

Jip clicked the phone to disconnect the call and it immediately started to ring again. Jip shut the phone and put it in his pocket. ‘Let’s get the car. Do you have a map?’

‘Yup, do you want to drive? I’ll check the map as we go. We have to drive through Phuket town and then we hit Ko Sire. The warehouse is there by the docks.’ Rick walked back to the elevator and punched the down button.
A scream came from inside the elevator, ‘Stop that, stop I said.’

Rick and Jip looked at each other. Rick shrugged his shoulders and Jip set the green bag down and stood to the side of the elevator door. As the door opened there was another scream and two bulky white kids burst out.

A boy about nine years old was chasing a smaller girl and a buxom blonde lady shouted ‘Joey stop hitting your sister.’ There was an equally hefty husband carrying luggage. Jip and Rick started towards the exit sign. ‘Do
all Farangs seem overweight and the kids particularly ungainly or is it just that the Thai kids are slim and usually more quiet.’

‘Thai children certainly eat less than foreign kids do. But more importantly, harmony is prized in family life. The children are taught respect for their parents and elders. Thais spoil their kids rotten especially the boys but they
also learn how to behave.’ Jip smiled at Rick as they opened the door and a blast of heat enveloped them.

They walked through the parking lot and Rick checked the car’s license plates. He stopped at a white Suzuki Caribbean, unlocked the door and handed the keys to Jip, climbing in the left side of the car while Jip got behind the wheel
on the right. ‘You drive. I’m not used to driving on the wrong side of the road.’

‘Here, the wrong side is the right side as we drive on the left side, which is the right side.’
Rick bucked his seat belt. ‘Christ, sounds like Abbott and Costello baseball patter.’

Jip pulled out of the parking lot and onto a feeder road leading to a three-lane highway. Jip stayed in the middle lane doing a hundred and ten kilometers an hour while cars flew by them. ‘Wow the traffic really moves along.’

‘I wonder how many accidents they have here?’ Rick said as a huge truck whooshed past.
‘About the most in Thailand. But it’s really the motorcycle drivers that pile up the accident reports. Most of the kids
here never had driver’s education in high school, fact is most of them never had high school.’

‘Never mind, how are we going to get into the factory if there’s a guard outside, shoot our way in again?’

‘No, the factory’s probably too big for a fast search. What was that doctor’s name that I put in the cell in our stationhouse, Doctor Pizan? I doubt that they have ever seen him so I will identify myself as the doctor
and say that I am expected.’

‘And me? Who will I be?’

‘You can be my assistant or do you want to be the anesthesiologist?

‘I really want to be the FBI guy again but it doesn’t matter. Suppose they ask for ID?’

Jip reached over and patted Rick’s weapon. ‘Then we’ll be forced to show it to them.’

Stickman's thoughts:

Great stuff.

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