A Short Story -- Fell the Devil

May 29, 2005 at 14:18 o\clock

29 May 2005

Please read the following short story about a tennis player, his prostitute girlfriend, and an al-qaeda network operative and then tell me what you think. I am looking for feedback, negative or positive. Thanks.

Dec 25, 2004 at 06:36 o\clock

Fell the Devil

 “I can feel the devil walking next to me”

        One Night In Bangkok, Chess

 

 

Desire is what leads to sex, to hard on, to drinks bought, nakedness, to showers, towels, tooth brushing, hair combing, clothes shopping, new shoes, new sneakers, new haircuts, lipstick, mascara, false eyelashes, diets, jeans squirmed into, eyebrows plucked, hair dyed, French kissing, glances over pool tables, on sidewalks, across bars, on dance floors, on beaches, across the aisle on the plane, around the baggage gate, from the back of motorcycles, at the salon, with the masseuse, to teacher, the student, professor, cop, bank teller, housekeeper, right now between you and I, right now a zillion looks are being given—where are the eyes around you?—some caught and some passed on. Here she gives a too studied look, eyes out and open, hair thrown back, and he’s at once attracted and repulsed.

             Those looks, flirtations, were irresistible to Marcelo—Mark as he was known, American names tend to conform to one syllable sooner or later—made the leap to stay with one. Ana was pretty, caring, smart, young, with smooth skin. He couldn’t imagine wanting anyone else. He met her at a restaurant. From across the room he thought she’s 100% what I want physically. She obliterated all the other women in his life. At first. They got married after six months. Then desire little by little came back out. Ana was giving him less sex, complaining it hurt. Surely it was something psychological. Marriage messed with your mind. She complained he wasn’t sweet enough with her. Didn’t buy her enough cards, flowers, chocolates, and such. He responded with rougher and rougher sex. A strange dismantling symbiosis was started.

So the glances, the double takes, the—this really happened!—tongue over the proverbial lips from a stranger entering a government building, where he was getting a passport, took great effect on Marcelo. One night he gave in and took one to his car. They didn’t make love, but Mark was changed. He’d unleashed desire—that fantasy—into reality.

At this time in his life, he was training three young talents. He’d given up on his professional career. No Grand Slams, no major tournaments, not even the major tune-ups. Didn’t win any NCAA titles, but he was good. He could serve well over one hundred miles per hour, had a nasty American Twist, meaning the ball spun one way and jumped another, Mark called it a ‘kicker’ (all his understudies had this serve, it was his signature), smacked a killer top-spin forehand and had a solid winner-producing two-handed backhand, which made him dangerous from both sides. Why then couldn’t he win?

Stage Fright.

Coaching was a natural progression. He’d studied at University of Albany to be a banker but developed a stomach ailment called Chrome’s Disease. Something stress related (from the big games). Banking was another big game. Running around with these young guys, telling them when to drive a ball, when to retreat, that was relaxing.

As his eye started to wander, to some of his students as well, one talent—Jeff Martin—decided to go pro and play a year around the world on the ATP circuit. Mark was taking him.

“You can go,” Ana said. “But I’m not going to wait around for you. People like me.”

“Of course people like you.”

“Why couldn’t you go away with me. Remember our plans to go to Europe one summer?”

“But I was needed here. Jeff needed me.”

“I needed you. But you don’t care what I need.”

“I care.”

“It’s all tennis to you.”

“That’s my job.”

“So play yourself. Don’t waste all your time and energy on someone else.”

This is what killed him. They were now married three years. How could she understand him so little? Why couldn’t she understand his problem in front of crowds. He was dangerous from the stands but impotent in the limelight. She knew he had tried the beta-blockers: paxil, prozac, proproponal. She remembered, certainly, nights of endless hard-ons with no semen, didn’t she? The side effects were too much for him. Couldn’t she comprehend who he was? Strangers knew him better than his own wife.

“It’s gonna be like a rock band on tour,” Jeff said. “An endless hip-hop video. Girls, girls, music, drinking, and more girls.”

“You’re going to play tennis. You’re not famous yet, by the way. You have a lot of hard work ahead of you.”

“I know. But when I succeed it’s girls and more girls. You’ll see, Mark.”

“I know.”

Jeff wasn’t going alone. Mark suggested that all his guys come along to get experience: James Wilson, D’Andre Irving, Clay Browne, and Jeff. They were a crew of 16-20 years old and Mark at twenty-seven.

The plane ride alone was worth going. They played pranks on each other, they got wasted, Clay got sick, the others helped him then teased him, and soon they were in Germany on their first practice court of gorgeous red clay. In the first session Jeff showed Mark’s first big fear, tightness. Mark now worried how he would do. The looser the better. He tried to talk him down a little. “You’re here to get some experience, not become the world’s number one player. Relax. You’re not Pete Sampras, you don’t have to win at nineteen. Tennis is different now.”

Clay seemed to benefit the most from the first month. After Jeff’s two first round exits, one in Spain against Aurelio Rodriguez and one to Younes El-Aynoui in Portugal, Clay seemed intent on trying his hand at these tours. The way to do it is to play at home, get your ranking up and get invitations to events. As you get higher you get more invitations. Overseas they were losing ranking but gaining experience. Clay was ranked 978. Jeff was 191, not bad. He had jumped up by becoming a semi-finalist in a New York tournament as merely a qualifier. 

 He talked about Clay and got all of them invitations at an Italian clay tournament that was having attendance trouble because of security concerns. Mark made plans. When entering their names into the tournaments he thought about adding his own name to the lot but wondered what his guys would think and hesitated. Then he lost the feeling and felt only the nerves of a crowd full of people expecting him to perform.

When in the zone he could be great but he had never experienced the zone with people watching.

These guys all had power games so, in the Italian tournament, only Jeff made it into the second round—his first pro tournament win—where he lost 0-6, 0-6 to a Swiss player ranked four in the world. The Swiss player won the whole thing. That was his consolation.

The plans were, after Italy, to France for a French Open tune-up. Here many big names would play. This would be a great chance for Jeff, the only one eligible at this level, and barely. Then they would play on the grass tournaments. He would then try to qualify for Wimbledon—especially if he started winning some matches. Unlikely. Then—the would skip the US—Mark wanted them to show at home with experience so they left an impression—and go to Asia. Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, and down under if they could get something going he’d play Australia. At best his career would be in full swing at this point. At worst they’d go back home with experience and a sense of what they have to do. They would at least then rip it up at home.

Of course nothing went as planned. These tournaments only paid if you won some matches. And the traveling and equipment expenses were steep. Mark expected Jeff to get a round or two into these tournaments, make a few hundred dollars each one, but he kept losing in the first round. He was not a privileged kid as many of these players were. James’ parents came with a lot of the money for this trip and now Mark felt like they’d be dry by the end of the month. Jeff needed to make some coin for them but Mark felt that if he knew he would crumble more than he was already. Jeff got frustrated easily.

He played with Mark and Mark hit a kicker with such tight spin that the ball dived down, bounced and jumped up right at Jeff’s head. He started his swing before identifying the bounce and the ball slammed him in the face. He smacked his racquet in half on the ground.

“Why the fuck don’t you play?”

“I’m your coach. You can beat all of us. It’s just a kicker. You can hit that shit.”

“You should fucking play. We’re wasting our time.”

“No.”

“I know I’m not making any coin. We’re going to be broke soon. I know that.”

“That’s my problem. And we’re not.”

They survived the clay, barely, all picking up some junk shots slices that they didn’t know how or when to use.

After a loss where Jeff felt he’d been the better player but lost in straight sets 2-6, 2-6, he sat in the locker room in a towel. “The ball just keeps coming back. I couldn’t put him away. I had him all game. I just couldn’t finish him.”

“Patience.”

“But I’m a blaster!” He shook his head. “Fuck!”

Mark took them to the beach outside of Rome in Capri . Seeing topless girls, the four Americans with hats turned to the back, got back the dicks they felt they had lost on the clay.

 

(continued in Fell the Devil Part 2)

 

 

Jan 25, 2004 at 11:53 o\clock

Fell the Devil -- Part 2

They walked the white sand, four conquerors, Jeff their leader. From no higher than the second round Jeff found his game, on the hard courts of the Philippines, and blew through his first title—dropping only two sets in five matches and winning the grand prize of forty-four thousand dollars (2 million pesos). Now, the girls talked to them, undressed for them, licked lime and salt off each other’s tits for them, went home with them, kept them up all night for them. Jeff had just minted money he’d always imagined, and he was quick to spoil himself. They went to bars, barhopping from one to another, looking for the hottest girls they could and making them into an entourage. He was playing like he was a Don. “So much pussy and only one dick,” he said to Clay as the door girl, one who looked like she’d recently given birth but was still kind of pretty pulled a string connected to the doorknob of a big door. They walked into the front door, through a little passage, then the dark tube opened into a two-level main room. The girls, wearing hot pants and bikinis—both metallic silver—were lowered and raised from a platform. The whole spectacle had a lunar feel. There was a back stairway that led to a catwalk across from them with couches. This led to the Executive Room. Here, the girls were plentiful and they danced in front of a mirrored corner. They did a show, then a slow topless strip tease where one girl got on one round drinking table (with her platform boots), followed by a modeling show.

With a simple scoop of the hand, James called one Japanese-looking girl over. She was in the back, near the mirror. Directly in front the table dancer took her bikini off to show small firm tits. Her ass was incredible. She had a sarong, with a little fish on it, and her bikini top in her hand. She crawled through the air, crept like a crocodile in the Amazon, or dust particles in interstellar space, they watched her ass, James took the other girl under his arm and asked her what she’d like to drink.

Three waitresses flocked over and recorded a mango juice which came in a moment in a very small fluted glass with a bill rolled into a bamboo container about the size of a shot glass.

“You’re cute,” he said to her.

She smiled, and said, “you’re gwapo.” She took a small sip of mango juice that half emptied the glass. She looked at herself a moment in the mirror. Then she turned to him.

“You boom-boom?”

“Boom thing okay.”

“How about finish on the face?”

“Never tried but it’s okay.”

Clay helped the one on the table down. She had her bikini back on now and wrapped a sarong around her waist. It was black with a green luminescent fish covering her firm ass.

“That’s some fish,” he said to her.

He bought her a drink.

“James, you have a nice looking girl in front of you,” Clay said. Then he turned to Jeff. “Look at that perfect ass. “Have you ever seen an ass like that?”

“It’s a good ass. The best in the place,” Jeff said.

She shook it a moment, while turning to simultaneously smile at them with a  pouty smile and big open eyes, then she stopped shaking, and seemed to think of something else. “That’s my sister,” she said, pointing to one of the dancers.

“Is she older than you or younger?” Jeff said.

“In the middle,” she said.

He laughed loud. “Did you hear that?” he asked Mark.

Mark nodded. “They just don’t listen.”

They were bargirls—dancers, waitresses, all on call, all able to go home for a small price paid to the bar.

“What’s bad is I understand.” He took a gulp of San Miguel beer. There are three sisters and she’s in the middle.”

At the table to the right Jeff had four girls with him. He sat back, arms around two, while two danced in front of him. He shot a smirk at Mark, “I told you it would be like a hip-hop video up in here.”

Mark smiled, but he was slightly worried about Jeff. He turned back to James, “Ask her how many sisters she has, don’t be so sure you understand.”

“Hey, that’s not what I meant,” James said to her. “I meant is she older than you or younger than you.”

“She smiled, “she’s older.”

“You have three sisters, right?”

“Nine.”

“So she’s five. Wow. Which are you?”

“Two younger than me.”

“Do they work here? Do they all have asses like you.”

“No work here. Too young.”

“You’re not too young, are you?” he squeezed her ass. “No cherry girl here.”

She leaned back into him, nuzzling her lips into his neck and whispering something.

 

Some days later, Clay and James with a few beers sloshing through their bodies and Mark beside them sober and nursing a cold, they found themselves sinking into this lifestyle. It was raining outside. Inside was dark. On TV were old music videos from the eighties. Over the sound system hip hop boomed. Mark wore his track jacked and a bandana.

“You’re all wet.”

“Yes I am. And I don’t like the way you’re looking at me, like I’m a beave or something.”

This ability to be loud and carefree was something new. It wasn’t prozac or paxil. It was culture, travel, experience, knowledge. As Mark’s eyes opened so did his capacity to extrovert.

 Each of them had at least one girl every day. Sometimes one girl would spend the night, and then after she left in the morning another, who had scribbled her name and number on a cocktail napkin the previous night would substitute. It was an adult sandbox to mess around in. 

As it got wet, however, the sand turned to sludge and held them at the ankles.

Jeff took it further than any of them. He couldn’t stop. One at night, another in the morning, pop into a daytime bar with a short stay room for a quickie. He was insatiable.

There is an old George Carlin joke: I never had a ten, but one night I had five twos.

One night Jeff went home with twenty-girls. He was finding the power of his money.

Mark watched somewhat pejoratively, but took part in it too. Not at Jeff-scale but every night, for seven nights, he had a different girl. Some nights two. He told them about Ana. This night, as he nursed his sore throat and swollen eyes, one taught him bits of Tagalog. He found himself turned away from her crying. It reminded him of Ana.

 

 

 

 

Mark had a fever. Traveling always gave him a little fever. There were bacteria from the different girls he had kissed, there were sexual diseases, urinary tract infections, there was the common cold floating around the entire globe, there were allergies, sinus infections, virus’ plural, flu, stomach parasites, salmonella poisoning, food poisoning, sulfuric water and so on causing a little fever before the great calamity struck. And these little fevers gave one the feeling of a dream-space—like it was all surreal, all going to vanish upon the instant of waking. That man, with the crooked teeth, how could he ever be real, on the beach, eyes silk-screened with sunlight? Is that a jet ski or a boat? All impossibility.

One felt ball hit with just enough topspin to clear the net and then dive back into the court at a crucial tiebreak gave him the access to this fever. How improbably it all is. But was it?

Now it was done. He would have it forever. They would have it forever. This trip was a success already. Now he had to get his life in order. They could go back. In fact, Mark knew Jeff and the others would leave soon. Ana wanted him back. He could go back. What was keeping him?

 

Marcelo was born in Argentina but came to New York when he was one and a half years old. Tennis was an important sport to his family, as was soccer. He played these two sports well while growing up and throughout high school. He learned tennis at four and maintained it through college. He was never dominant.

Now he looked like a praying mantis, his face was long and angular. He wore a mustache just like the insect. He was tall and he sort of loomed in his triangular way, like he was carrying an invisible load on his back.

Jeff was born outside of Tucson, Arizona. He played sports but was never that interested in tennis. His mother taught him to play and paid for some lessons with a real instructor but he never loved it as much as the other sports. In high school he started with baseball. He was a great athlete. He was the number three hitter on his team and he was a pitcher and shortstop. Then he joined a team with his town that competed nationally. His coach told him not to play high school baseball anymore because of schedule conflicts. Still wanting some sports in his school he joined the tennis team. One season later he was the best player, outplaying guys who were playing seriously their whole lives.

In fact, sports also meant a lot of partying and Jeff never learned how to say no. He was talented enough that he could get tanked at night and then go 4 for 5 the next day or serve out a match with an ace. Because of this, he learned the bad habit of indulgence.

Jeff, now far from home, walked the beach and held hands with this girl. He met her playing pool. She seemed to have very big ‘so-sos’ as they call titties and he wanted a taste. She wasn’t as giving as the other girls he had but somehow he stayed with her. Maybe it was a survival instinct—a self-preservation impulse. The world was crazy, many things gunning for you—there were people trying to get your money, diseases, accidents, tragedy, catastrophe, surprises, and maybe just maybe, he stayed with her just because he felt things, he, could get out of hand and get him hurt. He didn’t really know her, or trust her, yet there she was still in his arm.

He hadn’t hit a tennis ball in five days. It made him feel anxious. He’d established a wonderful harmony between ball, toss and racquet. Now he would have to re-adjust.

It was strange how on the court, ball in air, the world seemed to steady—wrist just there, just enough pressure from the pad of the bottom of the ring finger, the tendon of the forearm taut but not too taut, wrist pronated. Mark said to him again and again, “the court never moves. You move. And the ball does.” This logic unfolded onto the world. People remained essentially the same. It was the other things that moved. At least from the vantage point of the court.

 

(Read the end in Fell the Devil -- Part 3)

Mar 20, 2002 at 13:01 o\clock

Fell the Devil -- Part 3

 

The next tournament was in a week. He finally got back on the court with Mark--Daisy watched from the stands. She was beautiful. She hardly spoke English but she had big eyes, a pretty face, and great body. The only thing wrong with her looks were a series of scars from a motorbike accident.

Mark was surprised when Jeff showed up with a girl. She was on his arm, reluctant to let him go onto the court. Now Jeff was looking up at her as they warmed up. He was hitting extra hard, apparently trying to impress her. His first serve was great, but his second lacked the wrist finesse that allows the ball to really kick up. Mark was able to crush his second serves. And was Mark doing it to show these new eyes his own prowess? Was he jealous of the girl? Of Jeff’s new role as the star?

Jeff started to look a little frustrated and eventually Mark lightened up on him.

Starting Wednesday there would be his next tournament. He was still ready, more or less, from his win. They could ride that momentum.

They came off the court and Daisy had a cold towel to cool him down after he toweled off.

“Where do you come from?” Jeff said, “Romania?”

“Cambodia,” she said.

This was there routine. Jeff just couldn’t get over her. He felt she had a face he knew before, from somewhere, like one of his Polish relatives back in Greenport or a girl he knew from high school or who knows. “Cambodia? No way!” He said. “You’re a chocolate lady. Africa?”

“Chocolate Thai.”

They went through this regular routine, everyday, a few times a day, and it always made them laugh. It gave them an excuse to love each other. Of course they weren’t at love yet, it was like a mutual adoration based on interdependence and use. She needed him to take care of her with his newfound money and he needed her to give him something stable in this new crazy universe he found himself in, and he required sex.

She was poor, from rice-farmers, near the capital. She went to the capital to work at sixteen years old. Soon she met a rich boy. He introduced Daisy to his sister. He was the first guy she made love to. She enjoyed it. His sister invited her to the beach. It was improbable for rich and poor to stay together in this country. She brought Daisy to be a waitress. When they arrived there were no waitressing jobs, only jobs as a bargirl, only leaving with men. She saw girls with arms around foreign guys, kissing, and thought she could never. After one week she went back to an American’s hotel. They didn’t do it. Every time he started to get hot, rubbing on her great tits, she went to the bathroom for ten minutes until he calmed back down.

Jeff was back on the court now, fucking baking under the sun. She was still watching from the stands, tucked into a sliver of shadow wearing his bandana.

“I forgot how hot it is out here,” Jeff said. “Shit.” Mark hit him volleys, and he pounded them, hitting them cleanly, hard, square, no frame, sweat dripping down his nose, ball clean into the net. Every one. “I can’t take this shit.” He hit a few more, tape, netting, tape, netting. “Fuck!”

He hit the ball to Jeff and people started to fill in to watch him. Jeff had established a fan base of mostly young, pretty girls—those he’d slept with or had targeted for future rendezvous, or friends of one of the aforementioned groups. Often Mark would tighten up when many eyes were on him but recently he was so cool and loose.

In fact, Mark was hitting the ball better than ever—crisp, hard, accurately. Meanwhile Jeff slammed each one perfectly into the net. Jeff stopped and stood with his hands on his hips and his cheeks puffed out similar to Dizzy Gillespie. He fumed.

            “Relax,” Mark said. “You’re out of shape.”

            “It’s been one week! No fucking way!”

            “Still, I see it.” Mark came into the net and he spoke hardly louder than a whisper.  “You’re feet are slow. That’s how this game works. You’ve got to keep it all in balance, this whole game is timing, and feet get out of shape faster than arms, so your hitting clean but your whole body isn’t in it together. That’s the problem boy. Maybe you need a break from this girl.”

            The racquet slipped from Jeff’s hand. He let it stay on the ground and walked off the court.

            Mark looked for a Jedi hologram to consult. “He’s just not ready.” It’s the simple problem between young and old. Old knows better but young can do better. If only I could transfer my brain into his. Mark went behind the baseline with one ball in his hand. He lined up to serve. He hadn’t really hit a serve in about four years. Really cracked one. He tossed the ball, a high toss, he let his weight fall back, knees bent, back leaning, nearly horizontal with the ground. The ball reached it’s arch, and his body started to spring forward, his knees came unbent, and everything dove forward, knees, things, hips (uncoiling hard), stomach, chest, arms, wrist, hand, fingers wrapped around handle, and finally racquet until all his body was one straight piece, all of him was racquet, all of him was serve and the ball—oh, it felt good to hit like this—slammed into the net.

            Mark, like Jeff, walked off the court. Fuck it. Fuck tennis.

 

 

 

 

Jeff and Daisy went to the beach. Her friends kept telling him she loved the beach. “She likes to be boomed on the beach. You’ll see.” Actually, he thought, she was shy. It was dark and still she looked around to see if anyone was around. There was the sound of the surf and some faraway crickets. The city was distant. It’s lights twinkling up the mountain.

Jeff slid her panties off and took her on the blanket. After he came he joked about putting it in the sand and turning it into a chicken cutlet and then shoving it back in. She said some Tagalog word that meant you’re too much and he loved the sound of it out her mouth.

 

 

 

 

 Jeff lacked energy. He went out in the first round. His serve sucked. He left with the word pronate in his head. Pronate. Making sure the wrist pulled out. But something was wrong. He was bending so much but the radar gun hardly showed his first serves over 105 mph. That’s bullshit. He could hit hard.

He found a dictionary at the hotel and looked the word up.

 

One entry found for pronation.

 

Main Entry: pro·na·tion
Pronunciation:
prO-'nA-sh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: pronate, from Late Latin pronatus, past participle of pronare to bend forward, from Latin pronus
Date: 1666
1 : rotation of the hand and forearm so that the palm faces backwards or downwards
2 : rotation of the medial bones in the midtarsal region of the foot inward and downward so that in walking the foot tends to come down on its inner margin
- pro·nate /'prO-"nAt/ verb

 

 

Why didn’t someone tell him that long ago? Mark always said the word, but Jeff figured even Mark didn’t know exactly what it meant. To bend forward. That changes everything. He always tried to snap it as hard as he could without bending it forward. This would make things so much more effortless. He wanted to get right back on the court and whack some serves. He phoned Mark but Mark wasn’t there. He knocked on his door, but no answer. He got his things on anyway and went down to the court. It began to pour.

 

Rainer was born in Samar but moved to Mindanao at thirteen years old. He met a Muslim girl named Daisy during high school. She was a cute girl who had a beauty mark to the lower left of her mouth. She lost her cherry to him. This is important. He wasn’t terrible well-hung. This is also important.

Unfortunately few people in Mindanao were making money. Daisy was told by a cousin about a waitressing opportunity near Manila. Shortly she was drafted to Diablos City. She was brought into a bar with many dancing girls. Many were talking with foreigners. Soon she noticed it wasn’t just dancing, it was also going home with them. She found out another thing that night. There were no waitressing positions. She was drafted to be a dancer.

There she lost her cherry to a Westerner. She was okay with him. They lived together in a hotel until he went back to his law firm in Virginia. He was a good guy why studied law, then taught English in Korea for five years before going back to law school. He had a boy-next-door face like he was everyone’s little league teammate who never hit a homerun but never struck out either. He went to law school on money saved during teaching overseas, mainly in Korea and Taiwan. When he graduated he rewarded himself with a trip to Diablos City. There he met Daisy. After some time he joined his brother-in-law’s law firm. He continued to support Daisy. He wanted the good life for her, didn’t want her to be a whore in a bar. But she got bored waiting. She was far from home, away from her family—except her cousin who also worked in the bar—and didn’t have anything to occupy her time. After four months she couldn’t resist. She went back to work in the bar. She didn’t barfine (that is, go home with a foreigner) just danced and had ladies’ drinks. She didn’t talk to the other girls much. She stayed in the hotel that Ben was paying for until moving in with another girl from the bar. After being back a few weeks she met Jeff. He was her first barfine.

 

 

 

 

 

The irony of the bargirl thing is that this Daisy was very concerned with her health. She was a very smart girl, a very poor but smart girl. That fucking bargirl, thought Mark, looked like Ana.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff had his favorite song ‘rift’ blaring on the hotel CD player. The stereo system was one of the perks of being in a good hotel, not to mention a kitchen with fridge stocked with beer and whisky, a nightstand stocked with hash and a pipe, a pretty girl dressing in front of the big window looking out over the small city and the beach, the clean blue water caressing, massaging, beating, walking on, letting up on the dark rocks, the palm trees blowing in the soft salty wind. She clasps her bra around her back while he finds the zipper of his favorite training suit. It’s hot and he doesn’t really need it but he likes it. It’s dark blue and the chest, has the brand name over the left breast in blue, white, and red, the arms are pure white with two double red lines and the shoulder and a navy blue arm band a few inches wide. The pants are navy blue with the same two red lines going down the seam. They zipper at the bottom so Jeff can take his shoes off without taking the pants off. Today he will play in a shitty t-shirt for some beer from the Philippines and some shorts he picked up in Korea but on top, in public (so he thought to himself) he would be dressed up, hot, sexy, he was preparing himself for GQ. Why not?

 

 (continue to part 4 of Fell the Devil)

Sep 20, 2001 at 11:56 o\clock

Fell the Devil -- Part 4

  

What nobody knew in Diablos was that Daisy married Rainer before coming. He turned into a muslim for her. Muslims rarely turned Catholic but sometimes Catholics converted to Islam. Then he began going to the Mosques. They instructed him in the ways of Islam, in the ways of Mindanao, in the ways of Abu Sayeff, the terrorist group funded by Al Qaeda. He added a second wife—an Indonesian smuggled in from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia to Zamboanga in the Philippines. Although he had the second wife he still sent Daisy SMS messages asking her to send money and such. He knew she was working near Manila. He didn’t know what she was doing. If he knew, he would kill her—put a knife through her kidney.      

            He was being trained at the mosque to make SEMTEC bombs, to use remote controlled fuses, to kill a man without so much as a knife. He attended a school. It was funded by foreign sources: the Brotherhood of Islamic Farmers, the Islamic Children’s Fund, the World Islamic Front for the Prevention of Hunger. Soon there were schools, doctors, medicine—all because of the Islamists. Rainer, now Mohammet Ali Iskender Maju, was drawn to this. Mindanao was having its greatest moment due to this foreign funding. They were selling a holy war in the mosques, and he was buying it. These people couldn’t be wrong. Look at the progress all around. The jihad was a necessary reality. Because of poverty his youngest brother died, because of poverty his young first wife left to make money in the city, because of poverty Mindanao was a mess. If he knew she was working for a lightly veiled brothel owned by a US Special Forces Pilot he would start shooting. If he knew that she was fucking guys for money he would put a knife into her. He messaged her asking for money. She sent him some. She considered them broken-up but still felt she could spare some of Ben’s money. She didn’t ever tell Ben she was married. She only said that she would send money home to family. What she never anticipated was that Rainer would have some money from an Abu Sayeff mission and come to diablos City. That he would come armed and feeling jihad burning in his blood was even less expected. This town was loaded with the Great Satan. An ex-US army base once blanketed with molten lava with a virtual mile of bars with girls for hire. There was blow road for quickie fellatio. All bringing the Filipina girl to her knees, all economic power tripping, financial tyranny, all proof Allah must destroy the Crusaders, the Infidels.

Mohammet Ali Iskender Maju, sent by the Abu Sayeff, walked the streets of Diablos alone. His mission was to set a remote bomb in one of these tourist places. Diablos was a perfect target.

 Jeff was with Daisy. They walked hand in hand. Jeff dropped Daisy off at the club she worked in some she could work an hour or two while he barhopped with his friends. He was about to meet the other guys: Clay, Mardy and the rest. Jeff kissed Daisy.

Mohammet Ali Iskender Maju, previously known as Rainer Ramirez, saw that when Daisy kissed Jeff and then disappear into the bar called the Lizard King she simultaneously squeezed his cock. Rainer almost screamed and reached for his weapon. The jihad was already launched in his mind but he had been taught the power of restraint, patience, and timing.

Rainer followed Jeff. He wore his white visor backwards, his hair came out like a pineapple. He disappeared into a bar. Alcohol, another devil. Then he came out with two other crusaders.

Rainer, now Mohammet Ali Iskender Maju, followed them. They went into another bar. This time Rainer went in behind them. The door slammed shut. Then a doorgirl just inside clapped her hands and said, “somebody ate fish tonight.” This was code that a native was coming in. The girls put their tops back on.

“What is a Filipino here?” Jeff asked Freddi, who had given him a blowjob in the short time room the previous night.

Rainer was sitting in the back like a dirty cloud of smoke. To fit in a little, like the terrorist training camp had instructed, you must act the part. He ordered a tequila.

“He’s in the back. You want more fun five me 700 pesos and come downstairs now.”

Jeff bought her a drink—a courtesy for last night’s service—and took his entourage to the next bar. Now Clay had a girl on his arm too. Another Ana, but, of course, not Mark’s Ana.

In the next bar the girls were wild, licking each other, giving blowjobs at the bar, and licking shots off bared chests.

This was when Jeff thrived, in this environment. A girl flicked her tongue at Jeff, then giggled and smacked her friend’s ass. Now, fifty-two thousand US dollars richer, he ordered drinks for all the girls in the place. “Lose the tops girls,” he said. They did as told. A platter of tequila was brought to the bar. All the girls, topless, huddled around picking lime and salting the backs of their hands. But then came the clapping and, “so many people wearing blue today.” The tops went back on and the dirty cloud again loomed in the back.

This time Rainer, now, as you know, called Mohammet Ali Iskender Maju, had two more tequilas. The room started to loosen a bit. There was all this sex in front of him. He wanted to be all cock and put himself inside all of these different girls. This was like the martyr paradise of a thousand virgins. Here they were in front of his eyes. But Daisy. The fury was still foremost—now copulating with this sexual depravity. He went back to the bar in which Daisy worked. She saw him immediately, came down off the stage, tied a sarong around her plump and cute ass, and confronted him.

“You can’t be here,” she said.

“This is the devil’s work,” he said. “You’re a Muslim. You should be home, with a veil.”

“Not here.” She took his hand. “Wait here.” She let go and went through a door at the back of the club. He saw the girls. They were dancing to “In Da Club.” Most looked at the mirror and watched there dancing wearing serious faces. There were three older men drinking beers while sitting with young girls in bikini tops and sarong bottoms.

Many of the girls looked at Rainer closely. He looked different, like he was from far away. There were no sneakers, instead he wore sandals, similar to a Hindu or a Muslim. Different from the hip hop styles of the north of the country. When he looked they looked down or back to the mirror. There was a certain tension there.

Daisy came back with in jeans, a black blouse, and her purse and took him by the hand.  She led him past the bar to the door. “Remember you’re barfined. I’ll text you if you’re not back,” Mama said.

Mama sensed it was an old boyfriend. She didn’t know he had recently been secretly staying with her. They left and a new song “Smoke Weed Everyday” came on and the girls exploded on the stage—free again.

It was hot and dusty on the street. Daisy walked fast, heading toward her apartment so that people wouldn’t see them together. Just being around Rainer made her nerves vibrate.

“Give me three hundred pesos,” he said.

“You’ve been drinking. I can smell it.”

She led him to a tiny road. The sun was nearly completely down. Dust whipped up in the wind. She wanted to get away from people. Daisy counted 300 from the 1000 Jeff had given her earlier.

Then Rainer, now called Mohammet Ali Iskender Maju, messenger of Allah martyr for Abu Sayeff, took out a gaucho knife. The knife was the kind used in the Argentine pampas for cutting beef. Nobody was there but the two of them. He intended to stab her in the ass, teach her a lesson, but something moved. Perhaps the prophet Mohammet (Rainer’s namesake) shook the earth at exactly the moment he stabbed her. The blade went into her kidney. She collapsed on the street, and bled to death on the dusty road.

Rainer ran back to her house. He was drunk from the infidel tequila. Some guys found her body and rang the police. Nearby vendors saw them walk into the alleyway. They could indentify Rainer. They also saw him with Daisy before and knew he was staying in her house. They told the officers her exact address. The police went to her place. Outside they stopped and had cigarettes. There’s a joke in the Philippines: Jesus went to the top of a mountain and told the Filipinos, ‘don’t do anything until I get back.’ They haven’t lifted a finger since.

The police wouldn’t go inside, where Rainer, now Mohammet Ali Iskender Maju, was sleeping off the terrible drunkenness he was suffering, because they didn’t have a search warrant.

 

 

Jeff never saw the body. He never cried. He went to get Mark but Mark didn’t answer—he was on the phone with Ana. What he did do, Jeff, was he cracked the shit out of everything in his hotel room while snorting a ton of Shaboo. The mirror lay shattered on the floor, the chest of drawers was splintered in a thousand shards, his room had become rubble and debris.

Buzz. The phone electric shocked him while he lay in his stupor amid the pieces of wood and glass, or actually volcanic hematite. Buzz.

He reached for the phone and read the display: “You ready to boom me?” Maricel. He smacked the phone against the smudged wall where the mirror used to hang. The phone bust into a thousand little pieces, semiconductor, sim card, and battery now mixed with mirror and wood.

“It’s all your fault, Mark. Fucking tennis.”

He lay there comatose for nearly four hours. Blood dripped from his knee where a shard tore through the skin. Maricel knocked but he didn’t respond. She let herself in.

 

 

When Jeff woke up his knee was severely cut. He should have gone directly to the hospital but instead he went directly to the Shabu dealer.

 

Jeff was beat up. When he finally went to the doctor he found out that he had torn a ligament in his knee. He wouldn’t be able to play for some time. Also, he was almost out of money because of the girls and the Shabu.

  

Mark entered the Philippine tournament instead of Jeff. A new mindset came over him. It was a job nothing more. What he had to do was do his job. On his first serve he hit the ball with the frame and it went into the audience. The next serve was a screaming ace up the T.

Mark advanced easily and with it saw his confidence rise. He took home the trophy.

            He lay in bed that night thinking of Ana. Eight months had passed. He now did  what she always had wanted him to do. He played for himself. She wanted what was best for him. He was just too timid to see it before. He picked up the phone to dial her number. A rush of blood filled his face. Weird, he didn’t know one on one situations made him nervous. He thought it was just crowds. He looked at the trophy on the vanity counter—reflected by the mirror. Then he dialed.

 

 

© 2004 by Ralph-Michael Chiaia

Sep 11, 2001 at 09:40 o\clock

Al-Qaeda, good friend or foe?

There's a lot going on about how bad Al-Qaeda is and what not, but I don't understand how America hasn't realized one fundamental fact: that when there's great economic inequality there's going to be trouble. I think for all the benefits of the American way of life there seems to be a real problem dealing with economic difference -- see any inner city ghetto for the proof.

Terrorists should not bear the brunt of the blame. There are many complicated factors that go into the creation of a terrorist. The way to really stop the problem is not with war that breeds more poverty, but to evaluate and corect the situation that caused poor children to become so enraged as to become terrorists.

 

Feb 2, 2001 at 14:59 o\clock

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