Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

Nightmare In Egypt…Part 6/ Feras Werr

Saturday, 2nd of July 1960, 2AM
The bundling clouds of humidity in the skies released their earsplitting thunders over the neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Within seconds the soft ticking began surfacing around David as the rain drops began their attack on the street and parked cars in front of him. Despite the fact that an umbrella seemed like a logical standby instrument to take in his directionless ride he lacked the energy or even patience to go back to his apartment and pick it up. The insomnia was butchering his nerves as it deprived him of much needed sleep that he rarely enjoyed during his hectic work days at his office. Soon the cool drops of water were sending chill waves down his spine as he opened the door of his Impala and stepped in. Deep thuds surfaced all around him in the vehicle as the showers picked up in severity and hammered the structure of the car. Obviously the storm controlling the skies was strong and had much still unannounced.  
David steered the car down the wet streets battling with his edgy nerves that kept him awake till now. Diana's anguished yells and blood that thrashed all around her as she was eaten up alive by the beasts were flashing in his mind rendering him in total shock. NYSD and the OCC Department have a long history of combating crime and the biggest mafia connections that ever existed in New York. Over the past decades many agents lost their lives in the line of duty as the big timers and their operations were neutralized. However when they came down their organizations broke down and many of their middle men re-cultivated the grounds and re-organized their own businesses inheriting their leaders' seats. NYSD and its forces are now fighting smarter crime that has adopted the mentalities of the old and mixed them with the briskness of new blood. But never have they faced the blood curdling challenge that their present case brought to their offices. 
David was the Chief of Department at NYSD. During his career he encountered extensive trainings that helped him deal with the vast and varying number of cases that were registered in his portfolio. Never leaving an assignment unfinished his successes were an integral part behind his promotions during his career and also the reason for his notorious reputation in the crime filled sectors of New York during the forties and early fifties. The hear say around him was that when he was out there searching for something he would resemble an unstoppable bulldozer till he got what he was looking for. His appointment as Chief of Department did confine him to longer office hours but things were rapidly changing after Diana's massacre. 
Usually drug dealers placed all efforts in keeping a low profile during their operations and in hiding their tracks so nothing would be left leading to them. However as much as they tried hard evidence was always uncovered especially when their drugs were sold on the market. A lot of loose ends used to come up when drug addicts sometimes were caught and sent to the interrogation table. Conversely the card dealing in the game their new adversary was trying to play on their table was totally different. The only thing that crippled the motivation of any police or military force is fear, and not any kind of momentary fear; psychological fear and terror that would tear down a soldiers will for any up coming battle; the kind of fear that would render him weary with clouded senses as he approached the battle grounds. It was a good thing that he chose to watch the tape along with the captain only and not an extensive audience, or else the outcome would have been devastating for the spirits of the entire NYSD and OCCD. The general that dealt those cards was an influential person with huge understanding in military and security tactics. He was an adversary that had to be approached with caution, calm nerves and cunningness. "General William Canons, you are dealing with someone of your own size and not the small guys. You are dealing with the Chief of Department at NYSD, the chief of the biggest police force in the US." He thought. "You played your cards. Now it's time for some aces from the bulldozer."
 Another series of thunderclaps shuddered the vast skies above awaking him from the deep thoughts he was in. He suddenly became aware that he was crossing the Brooklyn heading towards Manhattan at eighty miles an hour. He slowed down with a wave of embarrassment washing over his disturbed disposition at the thought of himself being stopped by the patrols for speeding. The news will get around very quickly and it would be one hell of a welcome for him at Headquarters. The journals tomorrow would probably scream with the morning headlines that will be close to "Cops needed to monitor thee cop?!" He will never be able to step into the office for a full week from the teasing and remarks. "Mistake detected in the proper time," he thought.  
The lights of the down town districts up front flickered brilliantly while his car cruised at a more moderate speed along the long suspended roads. "Heiro what exactly?" Are you Hieroglyphics Restaurant at Madison Avenue? It was an averagely acceptable four stars premise with a calm atmosphere offering an extensive Egyptian Arabic menu. Or are you Hieroglyphics antiquities which sold a wide selection of legally acquired antiques? Are you Hieroglyphics for Architectural Designing?" Hieroglyphics counted five names in the telephone directory with preliminary investigations showing that all five were owned by people whose first names were Bruno. But if a drug dealer wanted to camouflage his real dark trade, he would do so by running probably an exquisitely stylish business clothing him with some deterring decency. Perhaps the other two options were prime time for investigation; Hieroglyphics fashions…and Hieroglyphics jewelry.” Somehow his inner tuitions sparked with the thought of the latter two businesses. Monday would hold for him more extensive investigations of the five places with a special approach on jewelry and fashions. 
Gradually his hands that were randomly steering his car brought him to a lively section of Broadway. Powerful illuminations lit the streets announcing the different produces the area has to offer. The signs of the ceaseless enchanting theaters of fame blended miraculously with the glowing commercial advertisements flooding the streets and cars with spectrums of white, red, orange and yellow. The sidewalks swarmed with crowds of socializing people as the late shows and movies were still in progress. Breathtaking luxury vehicles at times paralleled with the average on the busy streets dwarfing their importance. This was the magic of Broadway's long street that intersected with the different antique and modern neighborhoods that were spread throughout Manhattan. It was a world in perfect constant renewal with an untarnished historic heart still pumping with life in its eventful properties.
Suddenly David pulled to the right and parked his car just half a mile before reaching Time square. He stepped out of his car and looked up dazzled at the brilliant sign that was flashing, "Hieroglyphics Movie Theater." It was a luxury new premises that probably still wasn't processed by the commercial data basis when he asked for a scan on places holding the name Hieroglyphics. His mind instantly glowed with understanding. Nothing veiled any possible illegal swaps better than the dark blankets of a movie theater. He checked his clothes as he decided to enter. He was wearing a light blue short sleeved shirt and white trousers. Not bad for a night at the theaters. 
He walked in to the main entrance and stood at the ticket booth that was situated just to his right. An obese bald man with a tan complexion sat behind a narrow windowed ticket counter. He was wearing a red shirt and black trousers. His rounded face was distinguished by striking chubby cheeks hanging down at both ends and his neck seemed to diminish from his obesity. He calmly stated in a very broken French accent as he saw David step in, "You're five minutes late sir. I'm very sorry…"
David immediately put on a very depressed face and commented, "Damn it. If it wasn't for that flat tire? When is the coming show?"
"At four."
"I came especially from Brooklyn to see Monroe's Some Like It Hot. This is the first time I come to your theater. I will tell Bruno he has quite nice premises here."
The bald personality stood up and portrayed a more attentive disposition, "We've been in business for only three months sir. Mr. Bruno is inside with his party watching the movie as we speak. They say he knows Ms. Monroe personally."
David replied confirming, "As I can remember Bruno knows a lot of people, I can assure you. It's been quite a while since I've seen him as I was on travel for a while."
"Perhaps it is only appropriate of me to inform him of your presence…"
David snapped back, "Of course not. It would be rude of me to interrupt him. It's best I visit him at home tomorrow or the day after. Does he still have that fine place at Park Avenue?"
"Yes he still lives there."
A gasp almost slipped from David at the coincidence. Park Avenue was a wild guess. He thanked the gentleman and departed very content with his discovery. Every single police tuition inside of him assured him that this is the Bruno he was after. 
In seconds he was on the road again traveling through Times Square thinking about the next step. For certain it was going to be a painful step but he had to do it. And to make things worse he had to be cured within ten days maximum. "The wounds would have to be two minors ones but enough to create a small disillusion. 
He sped down towards Broadway Medical Institute and parked a few feet away from the establishment. Dr. Steward should be still on duty. He could rely on him to treat him secretly. He was a very close friend and knew that his line of work sometimes held the unpleasant. He will for sure understand. He paused for a few seconds gathering as much courage as possible for the upcoming moments. He took out a piece of cloth and placed it in his mouth then picked up the razor he always kept for emergency protection in his wallet. His teeth bit fiercely into the cloth from the pain as he felt the razor slice his right cheek. A river of blood flowed down as he did the same to his left side. His eyes began tearing massively as the razor bit into the flesh of his left arm. That was enough. He opened the door of his impala feeling weary and breathing heavily as the fountains of blood drenched his blue shirt and white pants. Within seconds he was screaming for help at the door of the emergency room.   
*****
Tracy eyes filled with tears as the lengthy black haired Arabian wearing classical Sinbad clothes opened the glass door for her welcoming. He politely stated in choppy unaccented English, "You are most welcome ma'am. However if you don't have reservations it’s a full house in there."
She answered back courteously, "My party is waiting inside thank you. I'm sure you know Mr. Chase Tanning?" 
He gestured her to proceed, "Of course ma'am, wishing you a pleasant time."
She wiped the wet lines on her face with a tissue and proceeded down the long red carpet path that contained a number of exotic reddish pottery vases at its sides. The vases were significantly big enough for a human being to hide inside them. The infamous Arabian Night's tale came to her mind when the forty one thieves were drenched with wine while hiding inside equally lengthy vases rendering them unable to steal. It was one captivating story indeed. 
Her elaborate lengthy black evening dress bounced around her legs as she took her soft strides towards the restaurant’s dining room. Arabian soft music blended with chattering arose in the distances. Fine perfumes saturated the air around her and refreshed her weeping soul. The spacious two leveled lively room boomed with gentlemen in tuxedos and ladies in stylish evening wear. Bright streaks from the elegant feminine jewelry flashed sporadically across the room as she looked at the smiling and laughing guests seated at their tables. Attractive waitresses in Arabian styled colorful negligees and feminine slippers shuffled between the tables attending to the orders. The walls were all covered from end to end with sand bricks laced with black lines at their intersecting edges while the ceiling and grounds were covered with huge colorful Bedouin canvases. The linen-less brown wooden guest tables that were supplied with archaic benches were full of food served in wooden dishes and pots. Even the cutlery was wooded except for the steel blades of the knives that were shining under the strong chandeliers of the restaurant. Tracy felt as if she had just moved back in time as her eyes bounced back and forth between the seated socializing crowds. 
She was surely to find him as his butler assured her that he was due to dine at Arabian Evenings. Mouth watering aromas of barbecued Shish Kebab and alcohol rose as she passed the tables. A waitress standing besides a table sandwiched six rotisseries full of shish kebab rolls inside a large loaf of Arabic Bread. She pressed the rolls with the upper half of the bread and gracefully withdrew the rotisseries leaving the rolls inside the loaf. Another waitress was furnishing a couple sitting on a small table with a selection of green salads and the famous Lebanese Fatoosh. Full plates came and empty ones rushed to the kitchen continuously as she walked the narrow isles between the tables till she finally spotted him seated alone at a two seater table in a far corner. 
Chase Tanning was a bald man with an average height and strong muscular build. His oval face contained normal symmetrical features aside from his thick mustache and complementing thick eyebrows. He had catching blue eyes and maintained an oily tan complexion. A very powerful man with an eventful past he successfully ran operations at the Government Bureau of Investigations since his appointment as GBI Director six years ago. Involved in the down cline of crime and mafias in many turbulent areas across the US he was honored for excellent achievements several times by his superiors. However one quality made the GBI the least wanted party for business in the crime investigation field. A stubborn one man showiest, Chase and his policies were a nightmare for the other state police departments when engaged with his offices for crime cases. Unending complaints about the GBI's devastating team player performances were filed. Despite the disapprovals the success of Chase's staff covered up for his bad quality and pleaded for him at his superior's offices enraging the other security chiefs that were forced to deal with his unchanging policies. In reality the Vincenzo Drug Massacre was the first and only failure to ever meet Chase during his long security career and the only one that brought him close to being discharged of his duties. Upon receiving a firm letter of criticism from the US president Helen Evergreen, he softened up on his one man policies and a more comfortable atmosphere prevailed between him and the other security departments afterwards.        
Chase was busy slicing up the spiced grilled chicken that was on his table. He looked up as he saw Tracy approach him and stared at her with a questioning look. Four well built guards suddenly stood up from different surrounding tables and rushed towards her barring her from Chase. One of them firmly commanded, "You can see Mr. Tanning in his office please." The entire operations in the restaurant stopped and all was staring at the incident with curious faces. 
Tracy looked at Chase and pleaded nervously, "Mr. Tanning I have to see you. I'm Tracy Lukas from NYSD."
His eyes suddenly glowed with knowledge but a contrasting frown swiftly crept upon him afterwards. Despite his disappointment he stood up and shook hands with her. 
"Won't you have a seat Ms. Lukas?" He looked at the guards and requested calmly, "Please retreat to your seats gentlemen and enjoy your dinners. Ms. Lukas and I are old acquaintances."
Tracy released a sigh of relief and seated herself across from him explaining, "If I had known how you rolled around these days I wouldn't have dropped by without any prior appointment; but there is something very important I wish to talk to you about Mr. Tanning."
He concentrated on his plate as he forked a slice of chicken then looked at her replying indifferently, "I am forced to take certain precautions Ms. Lukas as my success in my job has angered a lot of people. However if this is about business call my secretary for an appointment tomorrow. I'm here on recreational purposes, as you can see."
"Look Mr. Tanning. I know the complications that rested after the Vincenzo case weren't at all pleasing but…"
Chase looked straight at her and interrupted with a smile trying to cover his impatient disposition with her, "Ms. Lukas I can assure you I'm well over that. Now if you please I want some peace while I continue to eat. I'm paying some handsome money to enjoy the pleasures around here. Just arrange for an appointment with my secretary…"
   Tracy replied absorbing his temper excellently, "If you are over that case the better Mr. Tanning because the case at hand doesn't give me time till tomorrow. It's of utmost urgency." She took out the small reel of film in her purse and placed it on the table. "Someone sent this to us and it made me and David freak out."
Tracy felt relaxed as the reel caught Chase's attention. He studied commenting, A Cine film?"
"Watch the contents at first in total discretion. It’s a warning for the entire security system we have to literally back off and…" Tears made there way back into her eyes as she paused. Chase's attitude softened a bit as he noticed her despair. He calmly asked, "Tracy what is it?"
"I cannot find words to describe the pain she must have felt. The bloody massacre of a colleague of ours is on that film."
Chase gasped at Tracy's announcement. He immediately ordered the check and left the restaurant silently leaving Tracy behind with her regretful tears. "Is there a way out of my guilt? Lord forgive me. I had no way of knowing," she thought as she looked at Chase get sandwiched by his guards and disappear down the isles. 
*****
The Brazilian Mermaid stood silently in the Hudson waters that were adjacent to West Side Highway while the boom of the rotating crane moved its load of containers onto the trailers that were parked on the Manhattan docks. Once the steel chains unwrapped their load, the truck secured its cargo and took off making way for the next cargo lifter to park in its place. The workers securing the chains around the weighty steel worked restlessly in an attempt to finish the three thousand tons of load that were supposed to be trucked to the generals stores in the shortest time possible and thus avoiding a delay till tomorrow. If all goes well the night time would be used to open the two secret compartments embedded within the ship's structure to unearth its antique valuables. An Egyptian bust of Cleopatra the VII Philopator and a Rembrandt waited in carefully sealed packaging for their seekers. 
David and Tracy checked their clothing for the last time before they stepped out of the car that was parked off a distance from the pier. David was in a simple white shirt, blue denims and boots while Tracy was in a sexy hot red dress with a low cut neckline revealing her bust line. They immediately split up and walked in opposite directions like total strangers. Within short moments David was walking towards the busy work sight at the pier eyeing the Brazilian Mermaid discharge its cargo. Ivan was waiting at a distance besides the trucks that were commuting on the docks. He was wearing a blue overall and white shirt as he attentively watched over the operations at hand.
"Rendezvous point achieved; now it was time for Tracy to show up." he looked around to see her coming towards him with brisk strides. He jogged at a distance near Ivan and waited displaying a worried face. 
"Jack you bastard!!!"
David crouched a little bit as Tracy hurried towards him. Her short hair bounced sideways behind her head and her breasts danced superbly as her determined steps brought her close to David. She gave him a royal strike with her purse on his back and yelled out, "You no good bastard!!! They came and took the living room!!! You promised there would be no more gambling you bastard!!!"
David crouched behind his arms as he answered out loud, "I swear I quite!!! I didn't gamble last week at all!!! That was from a game last month.!!!" Suddenly a couple of heads turned including Ivans' as Tracy continued to yell, "There is no more furniture in our apartment you good for nothing lazy cow!!!" Tracy gave him another banging with her purse, "They took everything!!! You don't even have a job!!! From where are we going to live!!! My job barely pays off the rent!!!" Tracy raised her purse to hit David again but he dashed off towards Ivan who immediately spread his elbows out trying to stop David, "Please tell her to stop sir!!!"
The giant exclaimed in a Russian crisp accent, "It's not my problem. Leave before I have my men throw you out!!!"
David hid behind Ivan's huge back while Tracy ignored Ivan's comment and stretched out her arm around Ivan attempting to strike David. Ivan spread out his arms and tried to separate them repeating, "Go solve your problems away from her!!!" The crane stopped its rotating and the workers on the ship and around the loading site stood interested in the brawl. Tracy continued screaming, "Don't come back tonight if you don't have a job. I don't care of you have to work in an all ladies striptease bar. Get a job you useless cow!!!"
David suddenly looked at Ivan and pleaded, "She's going to throw me out of the house. Don't you have a job for a strong bloke like me sir?" Ivan indifferently swooped them away with his huge arms saying, "Sorry I don't" He watched as they walked away fighting and arguing till their voices minimized to faint murmurs in the distances. He looked back at the labors that resumed their job on the ship. Suddenly voices erupting in the distances at the high way grabbed his attention again. He looked as Tracy began banging David again with her arms and screaming at him. She walked away leaving him standing by, his face towards the ground in total despair. 
Ivan gave him a strong evaluating look and thought things over for a moment's time. He did have work for such a strong muscular man, especially at the stores. They were also preparing to travel to Jordan in a short while. They needed man power. It's true he would pick up with him slowly till he researched his background carefully. But the thing was worth a try. He finally decided to approach him. He called out, "Hey you over there!"
David looked towards him then hurried up to him, "Yes?"
"Maybe you and me can talk a little bit." David's heart skipped a beat as he heard Ivan's words. He was in!
*****
Ivan entered the general's handsome two story estate that was situated peacefully between the exquisite properties of East Side Park Avenue. He passed the spacious ground floor living rooms that were filled with the infamous Louie the sixteenth styled furniture. He climbed the marble spiral staircase that was situated in the middle of the premises and slowly walked down the long corridor of five bedrooms towards his room. Exhausted and heavy-eyed he opened the door and entered into the room thinking of nothing but the good sleep he was about to savor till the dawn hours when the night operations were to begin. As he removed the covers to lie down he spotted a closed envelope on top of the bed sheets. He searched and retrieved a small piece of paper with number codes on it: LXI/LXXXI/LI/LI + VII/LXLI /XXII/ + II/XXII/XXXI/XXII/IX/LXII/LI/ + IV/LXLI/XXII/XXXI + LXLI/XXII + XLII/XXI/XLI/XXII/VIII + LII/LXII/XLII/LXI + XII/IX/XXI/XLI + LXXI/XXI/IX/XXXII/LXII/XXXI. It was the agreed upon secret codes that he used with the senator when exchanging messages.  
He took out a piece of paper and began deciphering the code. The first stage was to turn the Roman numerals into regular numbers for the convenience of the decoding. Then each set of numbers referred to a letter of the alphabet. The numbering of the alphabet was reversed, 26 referred to A, 25 referred to B. However the numbers were switched around. 26 was written as 62, 25 as 52 and so on. As the message began to take form Ivan read the words Kill. His eyes opened wide as he wrote the rest of the letters down. In short moments he read, "Kill the General when he comes back from Jordan."

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