Exports Chapter Seven

The chapter seven of Exports is simply about the beginning of the ultimate confrontation...

Kevin's consideration lasted a week, during which we barely saw him; he almost disappeared from our lives, and we respected his decision. After a week, the home front department moved a piece on the board.

Mama was arrested as she was going on a "pilgrimage," her belongings seized, and a warrant to search her entire business premises being completed. Junior rushed in with the news yesterday; we had to act quickly, and we did. Luckily, mama's animal instincts were on the way before the arrest. The arrest and search provided nothing substantial, and she assured us through the usual source that the same could be expected from the warrant searches.

 But it had been worrying; mama was a Chief back home, and nobody touched the great Don's woman, not even the meanest Liquid department officer. It was assumed that she was now a former beauty who enjoyed her husband's power but now had very little of that influence to be any threat. Of course, this was false; a strong and well-tailored narrative designed to protect the home front business that image was probably gone now.

Rose Ejiofor

I sat in the oval-shaped office in the headquarters' paint house. The bully was on his 6th cigarette, and we had only been here an hour. He, of course, loathed the regular reports we had to do; he felt the security department was riddled with corrupt officers who obtained information for the liquid dealers, but he had to do the reports; this was the only way the security department maintained any kind of control over his activities.  

The chief commander, a round man in his mid-fifties, entered; he had almost immediately a large aura of power around him; even the bull had to cower a little, but his stubbornness resisted massively against this aura, the commander smiled at Rose familiarly even though Rose made this trip every three months, she doubted the commander kept track of a little personality like hers. This was always the war of the bull and the government; it went almost always the same way: the bull would appeal for autonomy, and the commander would listen half-heartedly and then, after the bull was done, articulately remind him of all the previous demands and how poorly he did with them, and then at the end a kind of compromise would be reached, in which non of them were happy or satisfied.

This time, though, the commander went on the attack. "I heard you detained the late Don's wife," he said almost figuratively as if it was a small pep talk, but his eyes betrayed his more intensive feelings; he stared intensively at both Rose and the bull. "Yes, we did," the bull answered confidently. "On what charges?" "Well, she was caught using suspicious transport systems for her business." "And?" "She was bailed yesterday evening." "By whom?" "Does it really matter?" "Who bailed her?" There was a long silence; the bully stared intensively at the commander, who didn't move a muscle. "I did," the bull muttered. What in God's name did I just hear? Rose thought, but to her greatest surprise, the commander shrugged and asked, "Why did you arrest her? There was no way you would have found anything." "The system has been left undisturbed for a long time now; I thought they might have grown comfortable and sloppy." "And," The bull heaved strongly, "nothing, absolutely nothing."

When you last came here, I explicitly told you not to attempt this. It had very little utility purpose, but you just had to flex your new authority to arrest without proper warrants. I suffered great indignation to secure that privilege for the liquid department, and you use it like a new toy! 

"Who exactly did you expect me to go after with this new toy?" he said to you with an upward diction denoting frustration. "Oh, you went for the jugular and missed; if we are going to win it, it will take generations. This network wasn't built in a few years; it was there before your father was born. It has road networks your smug mind can hardly comprehend". He paused; he was always a reasonable man, a realistic pessimist who approached every challenge with a certain amount of pragmatism.

"It might have heavy government backing; I'll give them that." "Your problem is that you think everyone is hurting from the liquid activities like you, so everyone must hate them vigorously as you do. But that is just completely false." "If they are not hurt now, they'll be hurt tomorrow; it's just a matter of time." "So why are you trying to force it? You are in a country with a massive unemployment rate and a massive poverty rate; what is the incentive for the masses to work for you and take down an organization that makes some of their illustrious sons and daughters billionaires?". "That is the problem of the government, not mine." "Then let the government do its job! You relinquish responsibility left, right, and center, and then you want a quick victory. We are not just dealing with generations of paths; we are dealing with a massive means of income for many in the sub-Saharan region; you can't run ahead of the government in this race".

The bull gave one of his usual smiles, the devil's smile; he sat up, puffed his cigarette twice, and then discarded it... "I was born on the run; my mother barely had time to look at her newborn child before she was dragged back into the mines. The chief who made her pregnant never even looked at her again; she would go on and catch tuberculosis, dying in the mines when I was barely able to walk. The mines took most of my childhood, but that wasn't enough; it took my youth years, too, and it gave me very little in return".

He turned and looked at the commander. "I don't care if the majority of the people think it's a means of livelihood, I loathe it, and I don't care if the government want a weakling leading the charge if you dally too much, I'm out to fight them on my own" "And then what, end up dead?" "You might be surprised at what I can achieve without this bureaucracy of yours." The commander smiled and looked at Rose. "Does she know?" The bull looked at Rose and sighed, "No, but you just told her."

"Listen to me, Max, I know how tough it is for you, but don't get ahead of yourself; for the first time in a very long time, we have a government that is dedicated to limiting and actually ending this liquid business once and for all, it won't be easy, they've enjoyed unprecedented freedom for any criminal organization in the last century, and they've created a seemingly impervious system that works most of the time, it'll take time to water down that defense, continue with our plans, it might seem boring, but it keeps them guessing, and that is a good thing." "yes sir" "That will be all for now, extend my apologies to Don's wife." The bull looked grieved for a second and then smiled bitterly; "Of course, sir." "And tell her, Max," he said without looking at Rose, "people are already talking."

We walked down the curvy green steps and made our way to the blue van waiting outside the headquarters. The bull acted as if the last statement by the commander didn't register, and he didn't look like someone who wanted any sort of argument at the moment, so we stayed out in the van.

"Stop at the round restaurant," the bull said to the driver. "Want a bite?" It was a rhetorical question, and the van was already stopping, so I just nodded and followed him impatiently as he waltzed through the building, acknowledging former acquaintances. After we sat down, I couldn't resist any longer;

"What was he talking about.." "Eat your cake first." The waiter brought an exquisitely prepared cupcake; the bull took only water and watched me silently as I swallowed the sweet-smelling snack. Like a prison guard waiting for his victim to die of food poisoning, he never took his eyes off me for a moment. "Are you done?" "Yea"

"Good, close the shutters and keep your cell phone off." he waited as I followed each command explicitly. "What I am about to tell you is not just about you. It might seem like it, but it is way deeper than it seems, in fact, left to me; I'd say keep it buried forever, but the war is reaching its high point, and a lot of weapons are going to be used both noble and disgusting ones, both fetish and realistic ones, so we have to be prepared". I swallowed. I had never seen The Bull nervous, but he was definitely nervous now.

Kevin looked like the devil.

As he stood addressing a night meeting at the complex, there was no charming personality, hardly any form of warmth; he looked pale and angry and, of course, dangerous. "Firstly, this bickering here has to stop; the doctor and this sector all face the same threat: we face deportation, massive trials, and long-term sentences. Let's not kid ourselves; it's either us or them. There is room for friendly outsmarting when we are against each other, but the enemy we face doesn't have any limitation on resources; the bull is out hunting, and he's hungry."

"You know him?" "He used to work as an independent captor, and he was a ruthless one; for the government to recruit him means they are in for an all-out war, and Mama's arrest has all but proven it." "What about the girl?" Junior chipped in again from the balcony. Surprisingly, Kevin seemed cool about it. "She, she is the single greatest threat this business has had since its inception!". "Two souls, alas, do dwell in his breast; the one is ever parting from the other."

Goethe 

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