Written by castor :: [Saturday, 21 February 2015 17:57] Last updated by :: [Monday, 23 February 2015 09:08]
A Conversation in Northern Spain
inspired by Guy de Mupassant and JessP
There are pleasures in one life.
Good food, good drink, good temperature(an under looked consideration sometimes), Good company, Good sensual data(meaning sights sounds), and sensual meaning the other kind.
Eric Robbere of the last 4 years had devoted himself largely to accumulating these. He had purchased a large-villa would be the wrong word, but not the worst word-on the Spanish Rivera outside of Barcelona. It had a good temperature most of the year and when it was bad … well that was when he either traveled or read a good book. It had a beautiful view of the ocean of the sea.
He had accumulated a series of friends who where witty intelligent and not to demanding in friendship which made them reasonable to discard when they grew boring, or denote to dinner parties. He had accumulated a series of lovers-typically models or local maidens who could be models with similar qualities. None had so far been top demanding.
He had given up alcohol 5 years ago after a job in Peru but had discovered that he had a deep and abiding love of Blood orange juice-and well this was the place in the world to get it-where they grew it at the source. Spanish food was acceptable in portions and it wasn’t to hard to get what ever comfort food he would want from the states-which he would never return to but that was a side issue.
In short he had accumulated a fair amount of it.
And it was starting to show. When Eric was working he had prided himself on his hard super lean and fairly large body-he was never Rambo or Stallone-there was no need. But he was a big strong powerful man. Now was still large and arguably powerful-but well … it wasn’t fat but a paunch. His hair was now a thinning peeper was some salt-but well he was glad he was here.
Drinking a glass of orange juice sitting in a veranda wearing a robe watching the water-yes. Life was a pleasure.
Which was interrupted. He heard a knock.
There was a commotion in the background for a few minutes before Manuel his servant came up.
“Sir its Mr. Pickings, he wants to see you”
Mr. Pickings- he was an Englishman who owned a house(which may better be called a villa) several down. He was a neighbor thus who had Jennings had met, and found well … every English. He liked Tweed in the Mediterranean.
“Send him up”
He enjoyed his company sporadically, but life pleasures have to be measured like a fine stone.
Robbiere turned his head to watch him not bothering to get out of the divan. Pickings walked as an agitated man, scared frightened. Robbere had developed great skill at reading this kind of thing, emotions reactions
“Hello my friend” he offered with enough truth to the statement to listen.
“Robbere. Robbere. I need your help, I need your help.”
“What is it? “ said Robbere “That I might be off assistance”
“Its … I know the rumors about you … I know your stories about you … You’re an Ex Mercenary, Ex CIA agent, former …”
“Rambo? Hardly. These are stories. I had some business dealings in south America”
“Come on man. Be honest … I need your help”
“In what kind?”
“Someones in my life … something needs to be dealt with”
Eric sipped his orange juice “Well … since you are here, and are talking I perhaps should effect more honesty if for no other reason then you don’t bother me any more. If I hear word of what I am to say at a party, or more pressing to the police I may enact something- I haven’t decided. We don’t wish to be in the cycle. Do you agree
“Please I need …”
“Relax. Manuel, get this man an orange juice and then leave us”
Manuel walked out.
“Well I started my Career in the United states army. I ended up right out of high school in Colorado in the US Ranger program- where after some training my high school Spanish became quite fluent even though I spent most of it on base in Georgia doing the occasional training exercise. I found it boring and tedious of drills and bad uniforms. So after a tour of duty an opportunity came up0 they transferred me-as you mentioned to the Central Intelligence Agency as a field operative … this was more exciting and as a young 26 year old man I found it very exciting. I was transferred to there operations in Panama in order to …"
“I don’t want your life story” croaked Pickings.
“Your an impatient man. Ahh well the basic question is … I ended as an international mercenary, mostly in south America occasionally in other countries once in Antarctica … but and this is was my specialty was large scale operations. You wanted a rival drug lord taken out- I did so. Occasionally a presidente. This is what I did. Me and my team would enter extremely dangerous environments versus 100s of men and
“But that my specialty. And I doubt you need that”
Pickings trembled “She needs to dealt with”
Robbere frowned “Now now. I am … I was a mercenary. I am not an assassin. I never took a single civilian sleeping in her bed. Not my profession. Now this is something of morality, and something of skill set. Its a very different thing to go to some jungle fight your way past guards, then go into a house and shoot someone at night-it may seem easier, but police, especially in the western world are much trickier. A job like that would be harder or at least make my bed harder at night
“Well maybe you know someone, maybe …
“Tell me your story first maybe I can help.
“Well it started several years ago … how many was it … God, it seemed like forever but was it just five. I owned a large firm in Northampton-we manufactured … what did we do? That kind of company” Parts for Cars, struts
“I was married then not happily but married, Many years. My wife’s father lent me about half the money to buy it … we had entered what might be called a detente … so one night at an industry party … I met her. Sharlene was her name. Fiery Such a strong personality. She was so charming, so so charming at first. Never friendly but powerful enough that you …£
“Get swept up” said Jennings nodding. “so what happened”
“She blackmailed me. Less charming. I didn’t pay.”
I have wondered that. She went to my wife. My wife was pleased at me for not paying, not what I had done … said Pickings “it was hard … then … letters, phone calls odd hours, visits, she had strange men come-it didn’t, it didn’t stop. It refused to stop. It refused … I am not doing justice to it, the attacks waking up in the middle of the night and finding letters on my wife’s car saying what a horrible man I was … terrible things … she just didn’t stop”
“And so what happened”
“My wife wanted no part of it. I didn’t blame her. I didn’t either. We divorced, selling the factory. I did okay from that … enough to live here, probably happily enough for the rest of my life-under a new name … it was her … it was Sharlene.”
Robbere nodded drinking orange juice “and shes found you?”
“Its been 18 months of peace.” said Pickings.
Robbere considered “Well … you have a problem … but a number of benefits. Violence. Has she been violent”
“Not physically …”
“Your main advantage is this. She came at you first for money. That suggests that is her aim And a person who wants money is by its nature will always want that most. And by your nature you have no real reason to give it to her. All of her theatrics no matter how troubling are just that. Theatrics”
Pickings sighed “other people have said that”
“Which goes to another advantage. You live in a country … well where the police are not so much corrupt, but by certain words can be more apt to enforce the laws. Is she in Spain
“She sent a letter.”
“Then probably not. Not wise. I can help you make Some calls to the right people can make sure she doesn’t enter Spain. This will cost you but I will not add a fee on top of it – in any case it may be more reasonable then you imagine That may not stop her, but if shes only after money its only a stop. I would screen your letters with staff … and well see from here. I suspect after 18 months she is looking for quick cash”
“You don’t believe me.” said Robbere “Well sir you sound like a man with troubles … but let me tell you of troubles. Do you want something serious to drink”
“Its early” said Pickings
“True – and I won’t join you for reasons I will discuss – but Manuel!!!”
“Do you have a bloody Mary so early”
“I’ll see what I can do sir” said Manuel
Robbere settled in “As I have observed I was an international mercenary and about 10 years ago I was in a pretty bad spot. The war game had died down a lot in south America, and what was left was mainly drug lords bickering – I was at my lowest professional – and yes personal spot. I was never what one may call a drug addict as you will see in a public service announcement – ahh. I was in Peru kind of bumbling around in a bit of a haze.”
A fresh orange juice arived.
“We had a team of 10. that’s I discovered was a good number. A squad. There was me, Francois who was good with radio, Jack and frankly. The others – they came in went a lot sometimes between jobs. Actually Frankly if you told me that he would be a one mission man I would have believed you. A southern California Beach bum that had drifted to south America, I suspected he would get enough money drift home and become an accountant – actually I was at the point of my life when I thought of doing that”
Pickings nodded “Sometimes”
“Sometimes. So we where in Peru … eastern Peru. Peru is a country in the mountains and bellow it is the amazon. Beautiful place. There where two drugs lords feuding over shipping powders down the amazon from its source. There was a huge drug lab in the foothills of the Andes, are job was to burn it to the ground. I doubt it would have done much good in the overall war, but I am not a strategist”
Robbere shook his head looking at the ocean
“Anyway this lab had about 30 guards plus workers, so it was a nut. It was located about 5 miles from a village – and this was there mistake. They antagonized the village. They weren’t above taking people for what amounted to slave labor. They went in with there guns and drank and shot things up – they acted like big thugs. And I have always found that distasteful … and that’s where I met her.”
“Her” said Robbere.
“of course there was a ‘Her’! Counsela When I first saw her – a nothing. She was probably 90 percent Indian if not a 100 percent. The village was too. They had seen western civilization, and it had somewhat took, but yes – quite a primitive place. 15-16. She was gorgeous a black hair that glittered, a beautiful form, strong arms and long legs – but well … when I met I didn’t think all that much of her intellectually. She was a small ignorant Indian shy and awkward. In a world she probably would have spent her life there raising children – in another some tourist would take her the US to do the same”
Picking considered “Its not wise to look at stereotypes I have found”
“And your right” said Robbere. Oh yes. She had a brother who had been lamed by the drug lord in some dispute – needless cruelty. Now I will tel you something. There is a strategy in these kinds of assaults I was planning – get some people – ideally locally people. Give them a gun … and well send them at your enimies – not with the hope of victory necessarily … but well
“There are some people who imprison people kidnap them. The ancient Turks did that. Its a bit of the idea of the Child soldiers of Africa – I never did that, bit of morality, and worrying about people with a gun – but in any case there was a strategy of sending a small team in front of you – a sortie … in this case since the operation wasn’t very popular with the locals, I figured they would see these people, assume it was them taking revenge – and well not be prepared for the real force behind
“While the first group is sitting ducks”
Robbere smiled “its not all that bad odds. Modern Gun fights are survivable if you win … but well it was not a concern. When I first recruited her I didn’t say that was my prime concern …”
Pickings sighed “You where a good sort”
“And you where a man who came to me for murder” said Robbere “ we raided the base around 9 PM. We sent the first wave in told them to form a position outside the base and start shooting while we came in on the right in a weak position in there base … we gave them 10 minutes … tons of gun fires, tons of it … then it went quiet.
He shook his head “And now quiet wasn’t a good thing. You wanted chaos and destruction – had they died to quickly – but we came in anyway expecting fire, guards … but.”
He smiled “It was her. All the guards where dead. The workers where fleeing. But all the guards – they where mangled. They where mangled and destroyed as if there bodies had been ripped apart – some where just shot, but most of them … she had just came to them and tore them limb from bloody limb. It was incredible – I never saw anything like it … before … it was carnage. The members of her team – there where 7 – the guards had manged to kill one of them but the rest where huddled behind a rock confused as we where … she was sitting down in the middle, just covered in blood preying in Spanish. When I first saw her I wanted to join her. It was awe”
A bloody Mary arrived.
“Well that is a whale of a story”
Pickings smiled. “But not the ending. Oh no. Consuela after that … well she didn’t have a lot left in the village – how does one go back to being a pretty senorita? So well being a business man I asked her to join us.”
He gestured “This house is a product of that decision … but well …
He sighed. “There is an expression – that the first time you see someone die, kill someone its the worst experience ever. The second is even worse. The third time you forgot why ever was the problem with it in the first place. Now by this time – I was far past three. Far Past … but a couple weeks latter when I saw her in operation myself up close … that is what reminded me”
He shook his head “We where dealing with now the dealers headwaters – though in fact we never did get the man himself. He was shopping in Rio or something … but his headquarters – we raided. She was with us – and I learned of what she could do …
He looked at the sea for a second.
“Sir” Pickings prompted.
“She was strong, very very strong. That day I watched her rip off an iron door. Now that’s just a sentence, words … there … it was the sound the sound of metal moving being broken in ways it shouldn’t – and it was quick seconds seconds. I don’t know if she was a strong as superman, or wonder woman or other creatures of fiction – but well I did know she would use it … we can in to the room … they shot there guns. We went for cover she stayed … and … she would go to them and ripped there arms off. I suppose there is the trick you see where superman turns the gun into curly cues – much simpler to remove the guns arms and again – and the screaming … the screaming … men scream when they die – brave or cowardly they do when it comes – but yes … the screams … the terrible screams.”
He closed his eyes “What could she do? She was strong as mentioned. When ever she was hit or hurt – it healed – very quickly. Seconds. I don’t know if she was bullet proof – this is something you don’t know but you never see a bullet so I can’t say … but I believe it … she could scream sometimes and break your ear drums … she was fast when she needed to be running jumping – but why? Juggernauts have no need for speed. She was a living engine of destruction … there where about 25 men at the base for us to fight – all of them died, all of them at her hand … and afterward … she puked buckets.
This created a warm chuckle.
“Because she was human then – at least I think she was – I never got a perfect answer on that. “
“it sounds like you found …” asked Pickings
“A meal ticket”
“I was going to say a monster”
Pickings laughed. “The story got around. Oh yes it did. She it turned out, after living most of her life living in the villages when a radio is a neat idea, was interested in money to – but unwise to them. I was. Over then next 6 years my team turned from what was almost pathetic bandits to one of the most highly sought out mercenary teams in the world – wasn’t over night, but it was there. It was there. First mostly in south America – then Africa a lot, sometimes the middle east – mostly for tin pot what ever or rebel groups – occasionally the CIA … it was good work, great work for awhile. I would organize the deals and get the money because of it, the rest of them would be cover watch the flanks – we would at first do more traditional tactic, squads groups – we even tried to teach that to her, god help us – but after awhile, why bother – she would go in and kill who needed killing.
“May I ask a question? Did you sample the good so to speak” asked Pickings
“No. No. after the metal doors not for the tea in china. I mentioned Frankly though – the Beach bum … He did. Oh yes he did. She was beautiful of course I mentioned that – I mean not sure if that was that awe – I wondered if being closed to her was a tactic, a way to draw her into him, into wanting to protect and serve him – make her compliant – but then again I was very smart, and he was dumb. Even after all that happened, I don’t think he ever lost faith in her. What was the sex like? I dunno. He liked it. Who cares.
“The point was – at first she hated it, hated it terribly. The violence the guns – we all did. She liked the things that would buy her, but hated the life. She would go to churches and pray to god … but well she didn’t stop did she? Could have at any time, That was in her. Because she didn’t know how to stop it – she would go in and slaughter everyone … just slaughter – no prisoners. No innocents … all death. Even like the janitors. Sometime just the people around.
“Once I suggested to her ‘Why not spare the people?’ very rarely was are brief to kill everyone … but well she didn’t know how not to. She couldn’t even express it in words. She just killed, and killed a great many people – by the time it was over … it was in the thousands – now that’s a statistic … but when your watching it, watching it everyday”
“It sounds rather ghastly” said Pickings after a pause.
It was. She liked it I guess. Or found the part of her that did. Found the monster inside of her, when I saw a a cash cow … because she had no interest in that end. As are rates went up she could have demanded more money – but never did – never cheated her, but she could have asked for all the money and who was I to object – but she never did. Just took what I gave her, and would go off with frankly to the Caribbean to sun between – if anything she got more beautiful as she aged into a woman – she discovered makeups and powders and haircare – she was a beauty of death”
He paused looking out the window “Now the question maybe how, what caused it – the 90% Indian some treat of genetics or mutation. Aliens However in the years since then I have studied that it seemed rather impossible. She was impossible. Sitting here trying to make it makes sense seems impossible – War I suppose afterward always does though – but that follows physical laws, natural laws of man . She wasn’t. She didn’t work according to god, and I don’t think god had sway”
this produced a long pause. Which Pickings was at forced obligated to end with a cough.
It was Franky in the end who started to make wave. Get a little bit of smart that transferred to greed. He started to get a mouth, more worth and trouble then he really was … what he really good for, which was a competent sniper … he started to drink a little get into drugs – and introduced her to them which was a hole other end of fish …
Robbere paused “Mr. Pickings, are you familiar with the bible”
“The story of king David”
“Do you remember his sin? “ asked Robbere :The sin that caused god to turn from him?”
“Enlighten me” said Robbere.
“Well he wanted to have a beautiful girl all for himself, a beautiful women – but she was married to one of his loyal soldiers. Not even A real solder. A mercenary. Not even an Israeli – but a Hittite. He sent him off to a position in a battle he knew he would die – and well he did.
“A murder of sorts one could say “ said Robbere.
“God did. We where in a mission Africa. I sent him to snipe and scout out a base … give the go ahead for the mission … it was risky, probably unnecessary … and he got shot in the head. You never see it.”
Pickings finished his drink “that could have been …
“Oh wasn’t a disaster. She never suspected me – but it was the beginning of the end. Because it hurt her – what all the bullets and knives never did that did. I wounded her. And what happens to an animal when its hurt – it lashes out”
he shook his head. “Her violence only increased – and I didn’t think it was possible – not just physically … but emotionally she started to taunt her victims, yell at them scream at them … and us to … she was before mostly quiet keep to herself kind of psychopath – now she was a yelling screaming monsters. I tried to find others to fill his place – but yes, I began to fear … I feared my own woman. Which is the kiss of death in the industry because you know it will come. Just a time.”
he continued. “Francois. The french radioman. I barley mentioned him, because 90% of the time he was just a quiet man in the corner who did his job and barley talked. Hell I couldn’t tell you if he had a family, real friends – just a man. Except one night in the monitions of Peru on a mission – now for the government against rebels … he was dead. Dead. A bloody corpse. She said he tried to take advantage … and who can say in this world?”
Robbere sighed. “And so are story reached its climax – we where going against rebels that controlled a valley … we where on the top of the hill – you know the high ground looking in … we had fought up the hill to get I thought … well it was turning out to be a bit like the ending of butch Cassidy if Butch Cassidy had an invincible killing machine – which I am sure everyone would have liked more of.”
“The thing of it is I didn’t think we would survive. As we stood and waited – I realized that we where as the saying go so rounded – only that a part of it was less surrounded then other It was there that I made my decision. We would flee. Run away. She would have no none of it … calling us cowards, Pansy … chickens … so I told her … stay. Fight. See what happened … see what would do versus an entire army. .she agreed
This created a hearty laugh by picking “ I bet for dramatic purposes she did well”
this created a half smiled on Robbere face “we ran so I can only tell you in half measures the noises – but from what I gathered for an hour or so … hundreds yes … and she covered our escape. They where two busy paying attention as we went into a side canyon.
He gestured “from this point I got a view of the battlefield. She had descended into a valley. Full of dead bodies countless many – I can’t begin … and she was over them covered in blood and she roared.”
“When one of the rebels “Robbere smiled “took out a rocket launcher – he didn’t aim it at her … but the mountain behind her … it hit like a smart man. It hit … and an avalanche came instantly and she and the bodies where covered with hundreds of tons of rubble”
“Thus the end to all violence” said Pickings “I am sorry for coming to you, I apologize I shan’t”
Robbere smiled he looked at the empty glass of bloody marry picking it up. “The night afterward, we made it to a village a safe one. I found a large stash of fine Vodka somehow in South America … and drank myself silly. Drank myself as I ever had, or ever would – because I realized afterward that was my response. That’s what I would do. I would drink and drink and drink the rest of my life a drunkard after what I saw … to forget it. Forget the horror … and that was no way to live ones life. I decided then and there never to drink again … because otherwise there was only the abyss, only that abyss that was half full. …
“I had at this time roughly 14 million saved up – the government gave us 5 million . The name of the mercenary company was worth something. I sold it. A year latter they where all slaughtered in Afghanistan. But I was alive … I came here, and have lived since … waiting”
“For what?” said Pickings “it sounds like your …”
“She’s not dead – do you think a little thing like a million tons of rock could kill her? I don’t think she can be killed. Shes not human. I created a … monster. The rebel army fled and ran – the solder who shot it – died strangled in his own blood years latter after taking a government pardon – now that could be anyone, anyone … but we didn’t end on good terms. She was never smart or cunning … but she can find me when it comes to her head. And when its does … well”
The room was silent for a very long time
Pickings shook his head. “well my problems don’t sound nearly as big any more”
“Ah your women … get me as much information you have on her, and I will make a few calls … its no problems
“I have a dossier on her … its by my coat”
“Pictures address, things of that … the letter”
“As I said this is fairly simple. If it doesn’t work I can think of two or three other things to try”
Manuel came and brought a file. Robbere opened it.
His skin turned cold,
“Manuel if you’ll be so kind I would like a good stiff drink"