Stickman Readers' Submissions May 3rd, 2008

See Phuket And Die, Chapter Ten

Goby stood just inside the mosque gate. There was an open area in front, hardened dirt, about a hundred by a hundred
feet with a few pick up trucks and cars parked on one side. Beyond that he saw a green and white tiled mosque. A tile
patio fronted the building and to the left along a wall was a stone trough filled with constantly running water. Near the
fountain that fed the long waterway were a half dozen pairs of sandals. Goby dipped his hands into the cool water and
washed the dust from his hands, then his face, arms up to his elbows, ears and feet in that order. He repeated this
procedure three times and was now ready to enter the main building. Goby had not been to a mosque in years, not
since the
third grade when his father took him out of class to go to work on his fishing boat. Goby saw a very high
domed ceiling in a room that ran thirty yards deep and thirty yards long. It was bare of furniture and the tiled floor was
covered with prayer rugs. Three men were prostrated in prayer. He admired the script that covered the walls and ceiling. The name of God in all it’s ninety nine variations were written along with verses from the Qur’an. He could
not read the inscriptions but recognized the figures that meant ‘the Compassionate, the Loving, the Just – all names that referred to the One and only God.

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There was not a picture or a drawing of a man or animal or even a tree or any kind of scenery as only God could
make something like this. The rugs faced north west, as did the building, towards Mecca. Goby bent down on a rug and
his body forward, his arms ahead of him. He closed his eyes and concentrated but he could remember only a few sentences. "Allah is He, other than Whom there is no other God. Who knows all things, both secret and open. He, Most Gracious, Most
Merciful. I call upon Alla and humble myself before Him.”

As soon as he had quietly spoken these words, a great wave of calm and well-being engulfed him. He felt that
God in his almighty power was looking down on him and taking care of him. Goby immediately felt ashamed of his
reason for
being here. He had not thought about prayer since he could remember and now it all seemed to come back to him – the feeling of being loved by a higher power. He wondered if he could betray the Iman, tell the Jammer where he stayed in the building
even if he could find his quarters. Goby prayed and thought about God for as long as he could,
until his hind quarters cramped in pain and the small of his back felt as it had a huge rock resting on it. As he rose to his feet, he felt a lightness
and serenity also rising with him. He began to wander towards the end of the prayer room.
There were large open arched entrance ways on either side, should he go left or right?

Doctor Hussein and his Holiness, Mohammad Hussein Mohammed sat cross-legged on a low sofa. They rested
comfortably on large soft cushions, smoked cigarettes and drank spearmint tea. The large room held a canopied
four poster bed,
more sofas and tables, a large desk covered with files and papers and a computer. In one corner, almost covered by curtains stood a heavy chest high Mossler safe. They spoke quietly in hushed tones although they did not have to as the room was
empty except for them. The Iman listened patiently to the Doctor’s entire story. Doctor Hussein hung his head in shame as he spoke. He was totally without merit or sacrifice and had failed in his attempt to be a martyr, a glory to his God.

The Iman felt sorry for his friend, leaning forward and placing his hand on the man’s shoulder as he spoke
gently. ‘Suppose I told you that you did not have to return home in failure. Suppose I were able to obtain for you

a truck with even more powerful explosives. Would you still have the same mission in mind?’

‘Yes. Yes. But how and why would you help me? Last time you told me that you would not interfere but also
that you would not help me and had no interest in rising against the powers that be.’

The Iman nodded his head. ‘This is true but last year we had some hope as the government had just changed leaders. The corrupt and repressive prime minister was unseated by a military coup. We tried to negotiate with the new officials
for more self-rule, more government financed Muslim schools but a general even more ruthless than the last prime minister has come into power again.’ The Iman dejectedly shook his head. ‘And now Brickhead has returned.

You’ll see, his legal difficulties will be resolved and we in the South will be in a worse place than before. If the
government will not deal with us, we must speak louder to them, force them to listen.’

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‘What are you suggesting?’ The doctor’s face grew more expressive, shining with hope.

‘Follow me and I will show you.’ The Iman stood up and walked towards the door with the doctor close behind. A long hallway lead to the main prayer room and as they continued they came upon a small boy in short pants and a ragged
t-shirt. He looked a bit frightened when he saw the Iman in his long white robes and white turban.

The Iman bent over and put his arm around the boy and smiled. ‘Where are you going my son?’

‘I don’t know. I’m lost,’ the boy said in a small voice.

‘You’re so thin. Are you hungry?’

Goby nodded his head. The Iman clapped his hands and a servant appeared.

‘Take this boy to the kitchen and feed him, then settle him in my chambers and we will pray together later.’

Doctor Hussein and the Iman continued their walk, reaching the front patio and paused to put on their sandals.

They continued their walk to a Toyota Landcruiser, four doors, all black and chrome with smoked windows.

‘These are real beauties, expensive, aren’t they?’ the Doctor exclaimed as he rubbed his hand along a fender.

Iman Mohammed smiled, ‘Money is not the problem; it’s how to dispose of it and dispose of it we will.’

The doctor opened a rear door and lifted the seat to expose dozens of silver wrapped brick-like packages.

‘All the seats, door panels and trunk are filled with C-4. This vehicle will easily double the blast that you described
almost happening from your truck full of fuel oil and fertilizer. C-4 detonates with a pressure wave of twenty

thousand feet a second. Imagine a wind cutting through the infidels at that speed and that's exactly what will happen –
a divine wind. One might say that the Kamikaze has been reborn, called back to service from long ago.’
The Iman smiled at his own analogy. ‘We want to drive it to Bangkok but it will not stand up to a close inspection, too many check points and all the government buildings, where we want to go, are closed off. So it’s just been sitting
here – waiting for you it would seem.’

The Iman pointed to a mobile phone jammed in-between the bricks. It was attached by two wires to a fat fountain
pen like device which in turn was pushed into one of the bricks. ‘This is the detonator. The phone is off for safety
reasons and to save its battery. I have another phone with a pre-set number; simply turn on both phones and push the button.’

The doctor could not believe his luck. God was watching over him after all. ‘May I take it to Phuket?’

Yes, of course. We will destroy their tourism. No one will came to Thailand after this’ The Iman put his arm around Hussein. ‘You can set this off from quite a distance my son.’

‘Thank you but this time I will not fail myself or you or my God.’

‘Drive carefully. A traffic accident would be a surprise to many people.’

When the doctor and the Iman returned to his apartment they found Goby sitting on one of the many prayer rugs.

‘Let us all pray together,’ said the Iman as he and the doctor sprawled upon the small rug. The doctor and Iman Mohammed started saying the first prayer, Goby joined in the words right behind them.

The Iman stopped and said quietly to Goby, ‘You don’t know your prayers, do you?’

Goby hung his head and shrugged his shoulders.

‘Have you gone for religious training my boy? Where do you live?’

‘Would you like to live here with me? You can go to school. We have many boys your age coming to learn to read and write. What is your name.’

Goby nodded his head yes, tears streaming down his cheeks. ‘My name Goby,’ he managed to sputter out.

The Iman laughed and clapped his hands twice. ‘Now you will bathe and ready yourself for dinner. My man will give you clean garments and tomorrow I will give you a proper name, possibly Ameen which means trustworthy and faithful.’
Iman Mohammed scooped Goby up in his arms and gave him a quick hug. ‘You are just my son’s age when he left me.’

Goby started crying out loud, blubbering like a baby as a servant came to guide him out of the room.

Why couldn’t the Imasn have given him a different name? He felt so ashamed of himself.

‘Where did your son go?’ Doctor Husseins voice became soft. He had spoken before he had thought.

‘He’s with God. He was coming from the market with his mother, past a demonstration when the soldiers opened fire. A rubber bullet went right through his head and splashed his mother with blood. She still refuses to part with
her robe. There’s plenty of boys in the school but they all have families. May be this one will stay and live with us.

The Iman handed Doctor Hussein a small mobile phone. ‘It’s all set to go. Just turn it on and push the letter A for Allah. Don’t forget to turn on the phone in the Landcruiser. When will you leave?’

‘Tomorrow, God willing, after a good night’s sleep.’

The Iman searched Husseins face for any sign of weakness. ‘It’s not too late to be put aboard the ship.

It’s leaving in the morning.’

Hussein shook his head. ‘My mind is made up.’

‘Good,’ smiled the Iman.

Captain Ritak was in a foul mood sitting for hours on a small plastic stool at the food stand.

What if he saw the maroon Honda again? He didn’t have his truck or his gun. The damn kid was still in the mosque.

The smoke from the grilled chicken stand was blowing across his face and the aroma of sizzling chillies assaulted his eyes.

He stood up, threw a few baht on the tiny table and waved down a tuk-tuk. He needed his truck. After a fifteen minutes of being bounced around on the rear seat he reached his vehicle. It was still on a side street and in one piece thankfully.

He unlocked the door and reached for his automatic rifle under the seat and placed the extra clips next to the weapon.

It was almost three in the afternoon. He was thinking that the only chance he had to find and kill Jipthep and the colonel was to wait at the mosque. At the same moment that he had this thought, the maroon Honda drove by.

Ritak started his truck and turned onto the road. He could see four men in the car. That meant two others were unaccounted for. He knew that he had to kill all of them at once and an easy task it would not be. The Honda drove past the mosque
and kept on going towards the docks. As he got closer he could see outlines of large ships being unloaded by cranes.

It was a huge port and he was afraid that he would lose them but the car turned off before the docks and drove along
the shore line. There was no beach here, just shacks, clapboard houses and mangrove swamps. Ritak abruptly jammed on
the brakes.

The car had pulled off the road just ahead. Two men got out; one carried a black padded cloth satchel and they
disappeared into the mangrove trees. Ritak turned his truck around and drove a half kilometer before stopping. The satchel
contained, he was sure, a spotter scope used to find targets for the second man – a sniper but no gun case was
removed from the car. Ritak stared out to sea and saw nothing except a dozen old wooden fishing boats. The were all
the same:
about twenty five meters long, wide and deep enough to hold a thousand kilos of fish and ice with a
rectangle wood cabin situated in the middle of the deck with a second area on top, six open windows on each side
holding the ship’s
crew. All of the boats had strong but slow diesel engines. Why were they watching the fishing boats?

Weren’t they here to kidnap the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood? Would they take him out by boat?

Ritak waited in his truck for twenty minutes and was rewarded by seeing the maroon Honda pull out of the wooded area and head back in the direction of the mosque. He followed the Honda from a distance and almost lost them a few times, not
wanting to get too close. After a hot and dusty drive the Maroon car pulled into the bungalow motel and Ritak kept a steady pace and only made a u-turn a kilometer down the road. He drove back and pulled off the road within sight of the bungalows.
He would wait until after midnight and kill everyone where they slept and then burn the car.

He would pick up a few bottles of gasoline sold on roadside stands for passing motorcycles.

Lieutenant Jipthep was bored sitting around the motel and he was concerned about Goby who had not returned. ‘What are we waiting for? When are you going to break into the mosque and capture the Iman?’

‘Paitence, patience Jipthep,’ the colonel smiled. ‘Hunters must have patience and we don’t have to break into any where. They will open the door for us.’

Jip put his hands on his hips and cocked his head towards the colonel. ‘When are we going to the mosque?’

‘Possibly tonight; we have to wait and see.’

Just then the maroon Honda pulled onto the packed dirt that was the front parking area of the motel and the colonel’s men climbed out, one reporting directly in a low voice. ‘It’s here.’

‘Good, pack up and then pick us up a new set of wheels. Three men on the subject and you return here for us.’

The man almost saluted but stopped himself in time. ‘Sir.’ He turned and then loaded a few duffle bags into the trunk of the car before driving off. There was a small shopping center and the Honda turned in and cruised slowly
down the lanes until it stopped in front of a new four door pick-up truck. One soldier exited the car and slipped a thin flat metal band down the window and jiggled it until it caught on the door lock. He jerked it up and the door opened. A metal
rod with a hooked ending was jammed into the ignition and then forced up and out taking the ignition and wires with it. The soldier touched two of the wires together and the engine sprang to life. Three soldiers climbed into their new truck and
drove to their old position on the bay. They backed the truck into the bushes as far as it could go and scrambled down to the mangrove trees. They were covered from view and still had an unobstructed view of the fishing boats. One soldier spread
out a few blankets and set up the spotting scope. Sergeant spoke quietly to his men. ‘We’ll take
twenty minute shifts watching the boat. It will be dark soon and then we’ll switch to the night vision goggles.

Stickman's thoughts:


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