See Phuket And Die, Chapter Thirteen
Up ahead, Doctor Hussein and Captain Ritak continued their uneasy partnership. Hours and miles passed as they pressed onwards with their journey to Phuket. Every hour or two they would pull over to the side of the road and change seats and take turns
driving. When Ritak opened his door to exit the car he always took his automatic rifle with him and placed it next to him on the opposite side of the Egyptian. The little weasel might be stupid enough to make a grab for his weapon Ritak thought.
Well, if he did it would be an excuse to give him a good beating. If it wasn’t for the five million he had promised the doctor would be hog tied and riding in the trunk. Once the doctor handed over the money he would grab him by the head
and snap his neck, no matter if there was a crowd around or not. Ritak would stash the money and then report that he had tried to stop the suspect from escaping, after all he was a police officer and if there were witnesses around no one would
dispute his word if they knew what was good for them. He was not about to let his prize disappear along with his promotion and since the doctor was going to be kind enough to give him the five million baht of course he could not afford to let
him live and eventually spill his guts out.
It was Doctor Husseins turn to drive and he would soon be approaching the bridge that would take them to Phuket. He felt his zippered billfold pressing into his leg and thought that one of these times when he passed Captain Ritak as they went around in front of the car to change places that he would just reach out his arm and slit the big infidel’s throat, see how smart he was then, coughing and spitting blood, grasping for his neck, unable to stop the life spraying out of him. How would the expression on his face be then? He could leave him in the street and continue on by himself but he was not sure if they were still combing the island for him or not and he felt oddly protected having a police captain sitting next to him. Of course the man had to die, there was no doubt about that. It was just a matter of time.
They had been on a double two lane highway for quite a while and were making good time, finally passing over the Sarasin Bridge entering Phuket. It was one o’clock in the afternoon and both men were
exhausted. Ritak looked towards his driver. ‘Take me to the money right now.’
Hussein gripped the wheel tighter and shook his head. ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that. The money is in my friend’s locker at the bar where she works and they don’t open until midnight.
‘Damn it. Go there anyway and we’ll break into the locker.’
The doctor shook his head again. ‘There’s a metal drop down gate on the front of the bar. It’s not that easy and besides there’s no one there now and we agreed that I would slip you the money with a crowd of people around for my protection. I rented a warehouse outside of town. We can rest there until tonight.’
Hussein turned off the main road as soon as he was over the bridge, driving past Mai Khao Beach.
He continued along the beach road, passing Bang Thao Bay. He would be able to come into Patong from the north as before.
They reached the warehouse and approached carefully looking for signs of a break-in or a disturbance. There was no
evidence that anyone had been there and Hussein reached into his pocket for the key to the padlock. Ritak drove the
car into the building. The lights were off but he could see large barrels along the wall, a work bench strewn with tools
and shovels leaning against the bench. Ritak pointed to an iron cot with a cheap mattress. ‘I’m going to sleep there,
you can sleep in the car. Come with me.’
When the doctor opened the rear door, Ritak pushed him to the driver’s side. ‘Sit behind the wheel;
hold out your hands.’ Ritak pulled a few plastic locking strips from his pocket and secured the doctor’s wrists
together through the steering wheel.’
Hussein squirmed in his seat. ‘This is not a very comfortable position. I can’t lay down like this.’
‘You don’t have to be comfortable, you just have to be quiet.’ Ritack walked back to the cot, threw himself down and was soon fast asleep while the doctor sat up and day dreamed about slicing into Ritack’s throat with his scalpel. His leather billfold was still in his pocket pressing against his leg and it gave him comfort.
Police Lieutenant Jilted crossed over the bridge just after one o’clock; another hour or so and they would be in Patong. He had to turn in the money and drugs and then try to organize a search for Doctor Hussein, set up road blocks, call every officer into service. But would his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Sanitasut, let him do that?
Jilted had no idea. He drove directly down highway 402. It was paved and had two lanes in each direction. He made
good time and passed through the towns of Surin and Kamala. He was amazed to see construction all over the island,
trees and rubber plantations bulldozed down and only plain brow dirt left behind. In their place, million dollar houses
and fancy condominiums were springing up as fast as mushrooms on a rainy day. Who bought all these places he wondered, surely not Americans with their dollar and economy in the toilet, it had to be rich Europeans and Asians.
As Jip came closer to the police station in Patong he grew nervous. He should have called Chris to see what awaited him.
Good news, Jip saw two satellite dishes on top of trucks in the police parking lot. That meant at least two TV stations.
Jip pulled into the lot and drove carefully around cars and trucks and a crowd of people, right up to the front of the station.
Colonel Sanitasut was the first to reach the truck and he was fuming mad. ‘Damn you Jilted.
What are you trying to pull, going over my head like this. I’ll have you assigned to helmet duty permanently when this
is over. I’ll get you for this. Where’s your uniform? I told you to come in uniform. The damn commander of the entire
police force is here, General Chavali flew down from Bangkok.’
Jip turned to see the general and his aids headed this way. It was like a field of walking silver, all those stars on the officer’s epaulettes and medals down the front of their shirts. He recognized General Chavali from his photographs. His staff consisted of colonels and majors and they had an equally impressive display of medals.
Jilted saluted Col Sanitasut and turned to face the oncoming team of police. Chavali was in the lead and Jilted
stood at attention and saluted.
The general returned the salute and smiled. ‘Relax Lieutenant. Come inside the station house and
let me hear your story.’
General Chavali waved off his entourage and Jilted followed him inside. The general nodded to the desk sergeant who jumped up and quickly walked to the door. The general looked a bulldog in uniform. He had a stout compact body, close cropped hair, a round hard face with flared nostrils and a flat nose. The term pugnacious immediately came to mind. ‘Okay Jilted let’s have your story and I hope it’s a good one.'
Jilted told the general everything, leaving nothing out. He told how Colonel Jammeri had traveled to the south not to capture the iman but to rob him and how Jilted had been forced to shoot Jammeri. Jammeri was dead along with his men and in the truck were a million capsules of Oxy Contin and a hundred million baht in thousand baht notes.
‘Now, now, Lieutenant, Let’s not be overly excited. Colonel Jammeri was just doing his duty, you know that and as for the contraband in the back of the truck, did you have time to count it all? No? Well, don’t exaggerate too much. We’ll have a proper accounting when it’s turned into Bangkok. In the meantime you are to report directly to me and only to me. Do you understand?’ Chavali stood close to Jip and smiled, revealing beautiful white teeth.
‘But Sir. What about Colonel Sanitasut? He’s my immediate superior.’
‘Let me worry about the colonel. Come, let’s go outside and have our press conference now.
I’ll do all the talking of course. Just stand beside me.’ The general put his arm around Jilted and they walked into
the sunlight. There was a table set up with microphones and the three plastic gasoline cans and the aluminum suitcase had also been placed on the table. Jip saw Chris from the Phuket Gazette in the crowd along with reporters from the Nation and the Bangkok Post, three Thai papers were also represented by reporters and photographers. The general began the press conference by praising the heroic Colonel Jammeri who had lost his life along with that of his men in defence of his country Luckily Jilted was along on the assignment working directly under the supervision of the general himself. Jilted had brought back an undisclosed amount of money and drugs, the total of which would be reported after it had been properly accounted for.
Lt. Col. Sanitasut was being transferred to The Department of Safety and Traffic in Bangkok for his inept handling of the closing of the Sarasin Bridge and for not apprehending a certain foreign suspect. Lieutenant Jilted was being promoted to the rank of Captain and would be in charge of the Patong police, reporting directly to and under the supervision of the general himself. The general thanked everyone for coming and sorry there would be no questions taken.
General Chavali shook Jip’s hand. ‘You are in charge as of right now.’ Chavali motioned for Sanitasut. ‘You have three days to pack and travel to Bangkok. Report directly to my office for your assignment. We’ll see if you are any better at directing traffic in Bangkok than you are here. For now, you’re under Jipthep’s command.’
Jilted saluted the general.' Sir, what about a dragnet for the Egyptian? We need to act on this.’ The general shrugged his shoulders. ‘I said you’re in charge. Do what you want.’ And with that, the colonel climbed into the back seat of a police cruiser and headed towards the airport with the money and drugs right behind.
Colonel Sanitasut was behind Jilted, hopping from one foot to the other, red faced and breathing hard.
‘Damn you Jilted. You engineered this whole thing. I’ll get even with you if it’s the last thing I do. I’ll get you for this.’
Jip held his hands apart. ‘I’m innocent. I had no idea this was going to happen.’
Chris from the Gazette whispered in Jip’s ear. ‘Can you give me that exclusive now?’
‘Jeeze Chris, I’m really sorry. The general tied my hands or rather gagged my mouth on this one but I owe you one for sure.’
‘Yeah, that’s what they all say. Chris turned back to his photographer. ‘We’re done here.’
Goby tugged on Jip’s pants leg. ‘What about the doctor?’
‘Right.’ Jip went back into the station and spoke to the sergeant on duty. ‘Get every man in here now and in full uniform. No one goes off duty. Everyone stays. Put out that we are looking for a black Toyota Landcruiser. Arrest and hold anyone in the vehicle. Approach with caution. Individuals inside the car may be armed and dangerous. Call it in if you see it. When the shifts change at five, we’ll have a meeting and set up road blocks. I want the west end of the beach road to be barricaded. Any black Toyota Landcruiser will be stopped and held. The same with the east side of Rat-U-Thit, the back road. Set up a road block, look for a black Toyota SUV.’
With the changing of the streets to one way traffic only two years ago it would be a lot easier to move cars through if they were going only one way. At least I have that to be thankful for Jip thought. Here we go again the desk sergeant thought as he picked up the phone to carry out his orders.
No vehicle would be able to drive near the Soi Bangla area of Patong without being checked. Doctor Hussein had come close to blowing up the Tiger Nightclub. Would he be stupid enough to try it again Jip wondered. Of course he would try it again that’s why he’s here, Jip's train of thought continued. But we have his explosives and they are well guarded. Possibly he would not use a bomb. He could murder many people with just an automatic weapon and some hand grenades. No matter, if he was in Phuket he would be planning some kind of mayhem and he has to be stopped.
Jip waved to the desk sergeant ‘Can you get someone to drive me home? I’ll be back in a couple of hours. I need take a shower, grab a few hours sleep and to pick up my motorcycle.’
The sergeant jumped to attention and saluted. ‘Yes Captain, right away.’ There he had done it.
He was the first one to address Jilted as captain. One could not forget that, the sergeant smile broadly to himself, as he picked up the phone for a cruiser to immediately report to the station house.
Jilted grabbed Goby who was waiting patiently and they climbed into a police car. ‘We’re going back to the apartment and get cleaned up and take a nap. I have to be at work in a few hours so you should take
a nap too or at least be quiet.’
‘I slept in the truck; I’m not tired. Colonel Jammeri promised me that he would have a uniform made for me. I suppose now that I’m not going to get one.’
Jilted smiled wearily. ‘I suppose I’m not going to have any rest until this issue is resolved.
Let’s see how well you follow orders for a while and while we’re at it, I want you to stay in the apartment tonight,
there may be trouble later.’
‘Yes Captain,’ Goby smiled gleefully and bounced up and down on the seat.
‘Cut the Captain stuff. You know you always call me Jip.’
‘Yes Sir, Captain. Goby gave a mighty laugh and ducked under Jip’s playful slap.
A superb story! The best multi-part story published on this site, in my opinion.