Stickman Readers' Submissions April 19th, 2008

See Phuket And Die, Chapter Eight

Lieutenant Jipthep was not that hopeful as he drove through Patong. It was late into the night and the traffic was still slow, cars and bikes filling the roads. The slow pace didn’t matter to the Lieutenant; he was looking all over, hoping to spot the doctor. If he did it would be a miracle. They would find him eventually, probably at the airport or one of the border crossings, although it would be easy to travel into Cambodia, just walk through the woods. He would have to send the doctor’s photo to the officials there when he got back to the station.

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Doctor Hussein was stuck in traffic, like everyone else, on the back road. The bars and restaurants, mostly open air affairs were jam packed. Parking was impossible and he tried to relax as he edged along the street. He thought what a tremendous success he would be. Not like his poor compatriots who blew up the Madrid railway and the ones that had attempted to set off three car bombs in London. They should have known better than to use hydrogen peroxide. Difficult to control; just the vapor could form contact explosives and go off at any time. It could detonate by itself if it reached a temperature of over seventy degrees centigrade. Of course one could not buy this in a drug store. It had to be industrial strength, sixty percent pure at least.

That mixed with an acetone like nail polish would make a powerful but unstable explosive. Why did they use something so volatile? It was probably all they could obtain, unlike here in Thailand where everything had its price and anything could be acquired. And using mobile phones to set off the explosives? These were not true believers. The one thing that was heartening was that the heroes of Islam seemed to be springing up all over by themselves and any act against the infidels was helpful.

Jipthep sat on his Honda patiently waiting for the traffic to move. He was close to Bangla Road and he wondered why so many people would drive if they didn’t have to, the streets were always alive with people, cars and motorbikes at night.

Where were they all going, like the truck a few cars in front of him? It was a huge vehicle; it could not be making a delivery at this time of night, there was nowhere to stop. If the driver had any sense at all he would be on the second back road, just drive through town easily. But Jipthep dismissed the thought, he could not concern himself with the traffic.

It was trivial compared to him finding the doctor. It helped actually, the stop and go of it all, letting him cast his eyes into the shadows of the buildings, searching for the man who was getting bolder by the day, almost as if he didn’t care if he was captured or not, or as if he simply could not be caught. This thought floated towards the back of Jip’s mind and stayed there, hanging gently in the space just behind his brain.

Why? Questions but no answers. There were always answers, Jip knew that. The unexplained disappearance of a man everyone loved and respected or a brutal murder in the middle of the night – eventually there were reasons for things like this, no matter if people agreed with them or not, there was always a reason.

Tired of the wait, Jip squeezed his bike through the traffic, walking it between the cars, past the big truck, still searching.

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Stuck again. Jip sat in frustration, looking around, glancing into his rear view mirror. The truck driver had a beard. Regular everyday working Thais never had beards like that. Could it be? The space was too tight to turn around and Jip walked his bike back, still on it, and turned it sideways in front of the truck, blocking its way.

The light had changed and the traffic started to move and a man was blocking his path with a motorcycle.

Doctor Hussein was annoyed but not deterred. The Thais were such stupid drivers, always squeezing in front of you.

This one would have a surprise coming. There was space ahead of the small bike now and he was only fifty feet from the back driveway leading to the Tiger Disco. As Jip was getting off the bike, Hussein stepped on the gas and the truck lurched forward, knocking Jip over, the bike underneath the truck now, Jip sprawling on the street.

At exactly the same time, automatic weapons fire blasted through the night air, drowning out the cacophony of noise, music from the bars, girls calling to customers, and all the other sounds of a busy street. Bullets whizzed past Jip’s head as he fell, raking across the front of the cab. Jip scrambled to the side, behind a huge front tire as large slugs tore his bike to pieces, the engine of the truck coughing and dying as more heavy slugs tore through the bonnet. Both front tires blowing out. The shooting stopped and the now silent air filled with girls' screams. Jip looked up. People were stumbling and running in every direction.

A clicking came from the hood of the truck. The driver was trying to start the engine but it was finished. Jip got to his feet and drew his revolver, looking for the shooter. The left side of his eye caught a sparkler going off inside the truck, sputtering and glittering as the driver’s side door opened and the bearded man jumped to the ground and ran back, against the traffic.

Jip stepped on the running board and climbed into the big rig. The window had been taken out between the cab and the truck. A sparkler was in the back sitting on top of a barrel. The whole truck was filled with fifty gallon drums and the sparkler was a fuse attached to five sticks of dynamite. He squeezed his shoulders through the opening and grabbed the explosives, backing up and falling out onto the street. He pulled the fuse out of the sticks but there was no way he could shut the fuse down. He kicked the fuse aside and it burned fiercely, alone on the street.

Jipthep looked up to see where the truck had been going and spotted the back driveway to the Tiger just a few yards down the street on his right. Jipthep grabbed his cell phone and punched in the sergeant’s name. ‘I’m on the back road across from the VIP Club, call everyone to come here immediately.’

His next call was to the towing company. ‘I need you to come down and get a big truck. No, don’t take it to the police station. I’ll tell you where to move it when you get here.’ The last thing he needed was for the press to get a handle on this. His sergeant was the first to show up.

Jip nodded to the truck. ‘Do you still own that piece of property past the Sarasin Bridge?’

The sergeant nodded and climbed into the cab. When he came out he said. ‘Is that what I think it is?’

‘Yeah, when the tow truck gets here, show him where to put it. Have two men follow you. I want a twenty four hour guard on this. We’ll have the lab boys go over it and then we’ll have it disassembled. The doctor was driving the truck.

No wonder he was getting bolder. This was to be his last night on earth. I saw him. He’s still here in Phuket and he’s on foot.

There’s no place he can go. We’re going to get him. Who did you issue automatic rifles to?’

‘No one. Why?

‘Somebody stopped that truck and saved my life. The guy was about to run over me.’

Colonel Jammeri edged into the crowd with three of his men. Their shirts were over their pants and Jip knew that they were packing. The Jammer probably slept with his weapon. Funny, Jip thought, how everyone in Thailand had a nickname. His close friends called the man Jam but everyone knew that Jammer should be his real name and they knew why.

Jip had to smile at him as he thought about it. The old saying, ‘I got in a jam or I was jammed up’ should have originated with this man. Jammed in the dictionary is described as roughly and forcefully put into a position. The Jammer could do that to you.

‘What’s going on? Don’t tell me what’s in that truck.’

‘Yes, it is. Do I have you guys to thank for halting the truck?’

‘Where’s the driver?’

‘He ran down the street. We still can get him.’

‘We’ll give you a hand to look for him and to answer your question, it was not one of my men. If it was, the driver would be in dead the cab right now.’

A police office ran up to Jip with his hand out. It held a half dozen large brass cartridges.

‘Jeeze, look at the size of those casings.’

‘A-K 47, that guy wasn’t kidding. Plenty of force to stop more than a few trucks,’ said the Jammer. ‘I’ll send all of my men out tonight, try to find this guy. I’ll be at the station. I have plenty to do.’

‘Okay, I have to wait for the tow truck and get what’s left of my bike out from underneath.’

Doctor Hussein was running down the street as fast as he could. He did not want to get hit with flying debris.

He had decided to run, to flee and fight another day. There was no way he could reach his objective with the truck shot up like that. How did they know it was him? Why didn’t they fire into the cab? They probably wanted him alive but he had escaped.

The doctor stopped to catch his breath as he waited to hear the explosion. The blast would do a great deal of damage but not as much as he had hoped for. He wanted to kill thousands, not just a few hundred people. The sound he was waiting for never came.

He had failed. He would try again. When one commits a crime or a great act against the infidels, which was not a crime at all, one usually had an escape plan. Hussein had one. He would go right to Paradise. That would be his escape but he was denied even this and now he was all out of ideas.

There were plenty of girls alone on motorbikes. He needed one. He spotted a girl towards the back on the side of the road. Hussein walked over to her and smiled, grabbing onto one of the handle bars. ‘Excuse me but could you… As the girl looked at him, he punched her in the throat and she fell off the bike sideways. He held onto the still running bike. He jumped on and turned the bike around, against the traffic. The warehouse was the only place he could think of to go.

The present situation had enlarged itself way inside his area of responsibility now. Colonel Jammeri shook his head as he drove back to the police station. At three in the morning the place was deserted except for one man at the front desk. It was as quiet as death. The stink of old sweat and stale cigarette smoke still filled the room.

Stamped out butts were piled up on the floor underneath the mandatory no smoking sign. Jammeri motioned to the one officer left in the precinct.

‘Get the Can on the phone right now.’

‘I can’t do that. It’s three in the morning. He’ll be here at seven anyway.’

The Jammer threw his identification card and badge on the desk. The letters ISOC for Internal Security Operations Command jumped out at the officer as if they were alive and about to tear a large chunk of flesh out of him.

‘Tell him to get his fat ass down here right now and to bring a cardboard box or large plastic garbage bag with him.’

Jammeri opened the Can’s office door. Nice, the air conditioner was left on twenty-four hours. The full bird colonel flipped on the light switch, found a large yellow pad, a few pencils and with one swoop of his arm cleared the contents of the desktop onto the floor leaving the phone and computer. He sat down and started to make a list of the things that he wanted, things that he had to do and firstly the people he had to notify.

A half hour later the Can opened the door to his office and was amazed to see his personal belongings scattered on the floor. He had been warned by the desk sergeant as to who this intruder worked for and of his rank.

‘How can I help you,’ Sanitasut sputtered as his face turned red and the veins bulged out on his forehead.

Jammeri did not bother to look up from the desk as he continued to write on the yellow pad. ‘Chief Inspector Lt. Col. Sanitasut, you can help me by knocking before you enter my office and also standing at attention while you are here.’

‘Your office?’

‘That’s right. I’m taking over the entire case.’

‘I will be glad to work with you in anyway possible.’ The Can was inwardly relieved to hear this bit of good news.

‘We will not be working together. You will be working for me. Get Jipthep on the phone and tell him to report in immediately and then get all of your crap out of here. Come in with Jipthep when he arrives.’

‘But, where can I put it? This is a small station. What will my men say?’

‘You can put it in the toilet for all I care, just don’t put your crap in Lt. Jipthep’s office. He will be needing it.

You don’t have men anymore, they work for me now so you can make that announcement when they come in. Have them line up all the police cars you have along with every wood barricade you can get you hands on and set up an outer perimeter in front of the police station a hundred feet from the front door.’

‘Are we expecting trouble?’

Colonel Jammeri turned his head to one side and smiled slightly. It was the smile of a cobra about to bolt down an entire rabbit in one bite. ‘Excuse me. Did you question my order?’

The Can saluted, ‘Sir, no Sir. Pardon me please. May I be excused and I will get on the barricades at once.’

‘Pick up your junk first; then get out.’

Jammeri needed time to lay out his plans. Running around trying to find the cutter made no sense. He would go to ground soon or be in full flight at this very moment.

Doctor Hussein reached the warehouse in less than an hour. It was towards the end of a dirt road that did not even have a name. It was a cow barn at one time and now the area was deserted, hardly noticeable at night. After a few days the police would start checking barns and garages where a large truck could be stored. He knew that he could not stay here. He had no food or water here anyway. Who would have thought that he would need it. He didn’t even have a gun.

An automatic rifle would be nice. He could force his way into The Tiger and shoot as many people as possible. Imagine the panic, the pandemonium as people ran for their lives. But it would be a waste. He wanted a much larger killing spree.

He looked around the empty barn and laughed bitterly. He had a fork lift, a few tools, a shovel, a cell phone, his passport which as soon as they found the bodies in the Safari Beach Hotel would be worthless and he was holding just about a hundred-thousand baht.

His best chance was to flee and flee now. He punched in the number for information on his mobile and asked for the limousine service inside of the airport. They were outrageously expensive for a mere sedan but they were open twenty four hours. When a girl answered the phone he said he needed a ride to the airport immediately and gave his address and directions on how to get there.

‘There’s just one thing that’s very important to me. I need your help and I will give the driver a two thousand baht tip and a two thousand baht tip for you. It can’t be very busy now at this time of night so I am sure you that can help me.

I am Muslim and very devout. I would very much appreciate a man of the same faith so we could converse on the way to the airport. I have had some problems lately and I need to talk things over with a man that understands my feelings. He must know the Shara and read the Qur’an. You can not send me just anybody as I will know and you will not receive your money.

Can you do this for me, as soon as possible? I want to catch the next flight out.’

‘I'd like to help you. Give me some time. I have to leave my desk and go outside. Are you sure you will leave me a two thousand baht tip?’


The girl hung up and left Doctor Hussein to sit and wait. He was safe for the moment. It would be the traveling that would be the dangerous part.

When Lt. Jipthep arrived at the police station he was surprised to see Lt. Col. Sanitasut supervising the construction of barriers, blocking the police station from the sidewalks and street. The man had not lifted a finger in years and now this.

Jipthep saluted and said, ‘Reporting for duty.’ Sanitasut nodded for Jip to follow him. When he reached his own office and knocked Jip could not wait to see who was in there and it turned out to be his friend the Jammer, still up to his old tricks.

‘Sanitasut, get on the phone in the front office and get every man in here. Tell them to be in uniform. We don’t need to go plain clothes anymore. Take the first six men that come in and close the old Thep Kra Satttri Bridge completely. Take two trucks with you and seal off the side of the Sarasin Bridge leaving Phuket. Every car must be stopped, every trunk searched, every truck emptied. Take the photos of Doctor Hussein with you. I will hold you personally responsible if the doctor drives over the bridge. The consequences will be severe. Get up there as fast as possible.’

‘Yes Sir.’ The Lt. Colonel saluted, executed a perfect about face and marched out of the office.

‘Jeeze, what did you do, hypnotize the guy? I’ve never seen him so agreeable.’

The Jammer smiled. ‘You would be surprised how much one can accomplish by being polite. I have a more difficult job for you. We are closing all the ports and docks until further notice. Find every man that you can get your hands on and get to the docks. No one will leave today and that includes: dive boats, long-tail fisherman’s boats ferry boats to Krabi, Ko Phi-Phi, personal cruise boats, sail boats, you name it. Issue every officer an automatic rifle.

If any operator thinks that we are kidding shoot out their engines.’

‘You know that what you are asking is an impossible task.’

‘Possibly, but Phuket has a coast guard cutter which I have enlisted to stop any boat on the ocean. By tonight

I will have one more on the way from Ko Samui. Oh yes, all private planes have been grounded until further notice.’

‘How long do you think you can keep this up? It’s going to cripple the entire economy. The locals will go berserk.

How can you have the power to do this?’

‘We can only do this for two or three days but we will not let that be known. This is just between you and me.

Yes, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on us but I am turning up the heat on the doctor. We have to convey to him that there will soon be no way out of the island. The doctor will be forced to act. If he has a safe house here it could take months to find him. Today I am posting a half a million baht reward for the serial slasher and that’s all the Prime Minister wants him to be known as. That’s bad enough but the news about the truck bomb would be devastating for the tourism industry.’

‘How did you get all this power? It’s unbelievable and the money?’

‘You know I like to get things done. I called the prime minister’s office and explained to him the amount of explosives involved and the importance of immediate action. They have also mobilized a small company of the Royal Thai Army. There will be troops in front of the mayor’s home and office and the governor's also.

We, of course, will be besieged by the news media and angry workers out of a job. That’s why I have tried to cordon off the front area. I asked for additional troops to man the front of our station and they said that since we were police we could protect ourselves.’

‘That’s going to be a big help when a hundred and fifty protesters show up.’

‘Excuse me for a minute.’ Jammeri pressed the intercom. ‘Sergeant Major please take the car, go to the hospital and drag Captain Ritak out of bed. If he has an intravenous drip he can take it with him. He can answer the phones.

We need everyone on the job. Jipthep, you better get started. Gather up your men and drop them off at the Patong pier, Kata, Karon and the Chalong pier, you’ll need more men for Chalong; they have boats going all over.’

Colonel Jammeri pressed the intercom again for the desk officer. ‘Do we have any money in a petty cash fund?’

‘Yes Sir, almost a thousand baht.’

‘Good. Go out and pick us up some breakfast. Buy lunch, dinner, water, coffee and a few beers. It’s going to be a long day here.’

Jammeri had at his disposal three more ISOC assault teams. Seven men in each team; team captain, medic, communications, weapons, explosives, sniper and a forward scout. Each man knew how to operate their partners equipment and perform their duties; it was a tight cohesive unit with plenty of equipment and firepower. They would be his hunters.

He had called them first. They would fly down and be here within a few hours. Having traffic cops hunt for a man like Doctor Hussein was simplistic. The Colonel would give the teams all the information that he had and then turn them loose. These were the men that played hide and seek with the Delta Force and the Seal teams when the Cobra Gold exercises came to Thailand.

This all interfered with his primary mission – going south. If he could set this up right he would get down there in a few days. Drive down, shoot, grab and run. It could not take long. His thoughts were interrupted by the desk officer.

‘Excuse me Colonel Jammeri, there are television newsmen coming over the barricades.’

‘What the hell are you doing in here then. Grab an automatic weapon and shoot a few of them. No wait.

Better warn them first to get back or throw some smoke and tear gas grenades at them. What we will do if they keep it up is arrest a few of them, put them inside the cells here, see if they listen next time. Make it clear that I want no filming.

Arrest anyone you see holding a camera.’

Jammeri heard a small voice call out and he turned to see a young boy standing at attention, saluting just inside his office door. ‘Assistant trainee Goby reporting for duty.’

The Colonel stared at the kid. He looked like nothing, no one would pay the least bit of attention to him.

Jammeri had received some his best leads and information from odd sources and he was never one to turn away help or hesitate to use any resource at his disposal be it machine guns or putting people in harms way. They were all fodder to be used to further his mission.

‘I want to know what’s going on outside, past the barriers. Hang out, walk around the newsmen. Listen to what they say. Don’t be obvious. Leave by the back door and report only to me. Do you understand your instructions Trainee Goby?’

‘Sir, Yes Sir,’ Goby snapped a salute, did an about face that would make any officer proud and marched out of the office.

The Jammer and purposely left out assistant when he spoke to the boy and he could see by the way he straightened up a bit more that he had noticed it. It never hurt to hand out a small award or promotion, a pat on the back, a kind word. Jammeri knew that he had the reputation of a man that would stop at nothing, even a man that was a killer.

He also knew that his men would fight with him to the very end, to the ends of the earth, to the death. He was one of those rare men who was charismatic and could inspire men to almost anything, faithfulness, heroism, love, hate. There, that was the word again because he was well aware of the fact that he was hated but he was also feared and that fact made up for it.

he phone rang. The desk officer had gone outside and the Jammer had picked up the call. He knew that it would go on all day and he was settling in, anticipating the tumult, expecting a long difficult day requiring all of his patience.

It was the Sergeant Major calling from the hospital.

‘Sir, Captain Ritak is gone. Didn’t check out, just disappeared.’

‘When was this?’

‘Yesterday, about an hour after our visit.’

‘All right, go to his house. If no one answers the door break it down. If his wife and child are there, arrest them and bring them here. Report back to me in person.’

The desk officer came running into Jammeri’s office. Jammeri had left the door open for the day.

‘Sir, there is a group of men storming the barriers, all carrying black duffel bags. They ignored my orders to stop and when I said that I would shoot they just smiled and kept on walking.’

‘This is very good news indeed. I am sorry that I neglected to tell you that these are my men. Stay away from them.’ Jammeri smiled. He rose from his chair and went to the front office to greet his teams. They were all in civilian dress but were at ridged attention, lined up in two rows, perfectly spaced. Jammeri’s Major stepped forward and saluted.

‘All present and accounted for Sir.’

Colonel Jammeri returned the salute. ‘I’m glad that you are here. We can’t waste any time. Choose your best enlisted man and send him to the hotel two doors down with the rest of the men right behind him. I need a diplomatic person for this. Do you have one? Tell him to be polite. Empty out the hotel; we will use it for your barracks. Have him tell the owner that we will pay for the rooms. Please report to my office right now with your team leaders. I want you and all of your people in full uniform in twenty minutes.’

‘Yes Sir.’ The major relayed the instructions to his men and could not help smiling. He wondered how tactful the Jammer would be if he went in person and the hotel owner hesitated at his orders. Also full uniform meant battle dress, body armor, side arms, Glocks of course, 19C’s with ported barrels and slides to reduce muzzle climb, fifteen round magazines, Sig Sauer 556 automatic rifles holding thirty rounds, capable of firing seven hundred bullets per minute.

The Sigs also had a grenade launcher attached under the barrel. Good, the Major thought, they might finally see some action.

Jammeri was seated at his desk with the three team leaders, all Captains, and the Major standing at attention in front of him.

‘Relax men, grab a few chairs from some place and listen up.’ When they were seated, The Jammer passed out the fliers of Doctor Hussein’s passport photo and told them the entire story and where they lost the trail.

‘This man is our main target. He’s all important. I want him, dead or alive and I want him now. I believe he is still on the island. You know what to do. Grab three police vehicles for your transportation. Leave me a radio so we can keep in contact.’

Jammeri passed out copies of another man. This target is secondary but I want him SOS. Get started right away. Any questions?’

The officers stood and saluted. No questions were necessary. They had their orders. Jammeri picked up the phone again and punched in a number. ‘Jipthep, where are you? Okay, stay there, I am sending some people to pick you up.

The Jammer picked up the police radio and called the Major. ‘I have a man, Police Lieutenant Jipthep waiting for you at the Chalong pier to pick him up. Bring him back here. Change into your uniforms first, bring all of your equipment.

Jipthep rides in the middle of the back seat. Jammeri would have said, ‘and keep your eyes open,’ but that would be unnecessary.

Gorby burst into the office. ‘The photographers and television people are setting up grandstands and cameras on the tops of trucks.’

'Thank you Goby. ‘Go tell the desk sergeant to come in here and then go out the back way again and mingle in with the crowd again. Good job, well done.

‘Sir,’ the sergeant saluted and stood at attention.

‘Find the reporter from the Bangkok Post and a television news reporter. Tell them they are about to have a private interview. Bring them into my office.’

When the two men arrived, Jammeri began his speech. ‘Gentlemen, here is my badge from the Internal Security Operations Command. You don’t need my name nor do I want any of my men or myself photographed. I will keep you informed of developments and you can go back and relay the news to the others. You can tell them that the first man I see pointing any kind of a camera in this direction will be arrested immediately.’

‘What about freedom of the press?’

‘It is superseded by the interests of national security. What other questions do you have?’

‘Is it true that you have completely closed down the island of Phuket?’

‘That’s a laugh. All commercial flights, both in and out of the country are operating and land vehicles are coming and going smoothly over the Sarasin Bridge.’

‘Why are all the boats in the harbors and not leaving the ports?’

‘The Meteorological Department has issued storm warnings in the Andaman Provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga and Karabi but we do not want to panic the public just yet. We need to be sure; this is just a safety precaution.’

‘Do you have any information that you can give us on the clitoris clipper?’

‘A good question. We are looking at Doctor Sayyid Hussein who is not a suspect at this time but merely a person of interest to us in this case. Here are some photographs. If you want to print something in the papers, print these. In fact I would appreciate seeing it on national television. The interview is over for today. Now I believe you have some work to do.

Thank you gentlemen.’

When Lieutenant Jipthep walked into the office, Colonel Jammeri pointed to a chair. ‘I didn’t expect to be involved in this but it’s important. Now that I have all my men in place, I will put my major in charge of the search and continue on my mission.’

‘What happened to Lt. Col. Sanitasut?’

‘He’s directing traffic.’ The Jammer smiled at the thought of it.

‘You’re kidding.’

‘I put him in charge of the Sarasin Bridge. I have him searching every vehicle that leaves Phuket. The Doctor will not be able to leave the island by road. It’s completely closed off. The Can will be up there until we find this Hussein.

In the mean time it’s imperative that I get down south on my original assignment. I would like you to come with me.

Are you interested?’

‘What about fnding Doctor Hussein?’

‘You were assigned to the case by Sanitasut and now he works for me, as you do if I may add. My Major is in charge here now. We can be on our way, of course it’s going to be dangerous.’ The Jammer threw that last part in as kind of a deterrent, said it discouragingly, as if he had suddenly changed his mind and he did not want Jipthep to go. It might have been a bit obvious, of course, but these simple things often worked.

Jipthep hesitated. ‘I would need to do something with Goby for a week or two. I don’t want to leave him alone here.’

‘If you call your wife, I will arrange for his transport to Bangkok. It would be nice for you and I to spend some time together. We haven’t seen each other in quite a while. It’s going to be an interesting trip and I could use another shooter.’

‘I have a feeling that there is something you are not telling me.’

‘You know when the truck full of explosives was blasted to pieces?’


‘No one was shooting at the truck. It was you they were shooting at. Captain Ritak has disappeared. My men are hunting the doctor and they also have pictures of Ritak. I want to tell you that I have him down as SOS. The doctor is listed as wanted dead or alive. It would be interesting to question him, see who his connections are here.’

‘What’s SOS, all help needed?’

‘Kind of. It means shoot on sight.’

‘You’re kidding. You have no proof that he was shooting at me even if it was him and we don’t know that for sure.’

‘Tell me what you think makes the world go around?’

Jip smiled. He had known the colonel for a long time and he sensed one of his lessons coming on.

‘Love makes the world go around.’

‘Ha-ha. If I didn’t know you better I would think that you were kidding me. Most people would say money and power. If you think about it, they are the most important things in the world, to those that have them, that is. But to the majority of us and even to the rich and famous, it’s two things. Face and gear ken, literally, fixing business, revenge in other words. Face and revenge. You see, when a husband kills his wife or the other way around they say it’s a love triangle. It’s not. It’s a simple case of revenge. Face is all important. Say I have a new Mercedes and you run into me with your motorcycle and keep on going. Who is higher on the ladder now. Me with my new car and all my money? No, you are.

So I must have closure. I must regain my face. In our world, Thailand, there is no other way.

Oh, you would have been safe for six months or a year. But Captain Ritak would have to see you every day. It would prey on his mind, become a load too much for him to bear. Then eventually he would just snap, get roaring drunk and shoot you. Then he will go home and kill himself and his family. Believe me, I’ve seen it all before. My mistake is that I misjudged him. It took him much less time than anyone else. It was you that he was shooting at, not the truck.

Let’s take our trip and when we get back all of this will have been resolved.’

Jammeri pressed the intercom to the front office. ‘Go out and get me that Goby kid. He’s out there somewhere.’

When Goby came into the office he stood at attention.

Jipthep spoke softly. ‘Colonel Jammeri and I have to take a trip for a week or two. I don’t want you to stay here alone.

It’s not safe. I’m still concerned about the X-Men gang.’

‘That’s okay. I’ll go with you. I am your trainee. You told me so.’

‘You will go to the airport with an officer and stay with my family in Bangkok. I have a boy your age. You’ll like him. My wife will pick you up and take good care of you.’

‘How can I be your trainee if I am in Bangkok?’

‘Do you know that part of being an officer is following orders without question. If you want to continue to be a trainee wait outside in the front office.’

The boy saluted, turned and marched out.

‘Jip, go home and just grab your toilet kit and a change of clothes. I’ll get my men together. We’re leaving right away.’

‘You stay right there. I’m coming right back.’ Jip pointed his finger at Goby to let him know that he meant business.

When Jip came back the car was full and waiting for him.

‘Where’s Goby? Did he leave already?’

The desk sergeant shrugged his shoulders.

‘Who was supposed to take him?’

‘I didn’t call anyone. Have to find the damn kid first.’

‘What happened to him? I told him to wait right there.’

Another shrug of the shoulders from the sergeant.

Jip climbed in the back with Jammeri and held his small gym bag on his lap.

‘You.’ Jip shouted and pointed to the man, something that was considered very bad manners. ‘Make sure he gets on a plane to Bangkok and then call my wife.’

Stickman's thoughts:

Excellent! For those of you wondering, this story is in 14 parts….and having already read it to the end myself, I can confirm that it is a great ride the whole way!

nana plaza