Algeria Here I Come
By E Walk
(Copyrighted by the Author)
Edited by Radio Rancher
Chapter 4 - The Undercover Work Begins
Brahim walked me through the facility and it appeared to me that no one was moving very fast. I looked at Brahim, "Does everyone move this slow in Algeria or am I just imagining things?"
Brahim nodded, "We don't move as fast as some of the other cultures of the world, but I agree that these people seem to be moving slower than normal."
I looked around and whispered, "Brahim, I have the distinct impression that we are being followed by those two people back there."
Brahim stopped as if to tie his shoe and knelt down so it wouldn't be obvious that he was looking at the two who seemed to be standing talking. He stood, "Those are some of Stransky's people. They are not Algerian. I'm not sure what country they are from. They pretend that they are Algerian, but they're not."
We walked through the operation from start to finish and I looked at the logs wherever we went. When we got to the distribution point, I suddenly realized what was happening. At some point the refined oil was being diverted from the intended users. But how and why?
I whispered to Brahim, "Let's go talk to Mr. Kazan. I want to tell him what I think is happening."
We walked back to the main office building and went to the top floor. When we got to Mr. Kazan's office, I looked at the gentleman behind the desk, "Would you please tell Mr. Kazan that Mr. Waller would like to speak with him?"
The gentleman didn't even look up, "Mr. Kazan is busy. Mr. Stransky will see you and give any information you have to Mr. Kazan."
I looked at the gentleman, "Pardon me, Mr. Abdul Kareem, my orders were to report to Mr. Kazan and not to Mr. Stransky."
The man still didn't look up at me, "But Mr. Stransky said that you needed to report to him."
I grabbed the phone and pulled it away from the desk and threw it against the wall, "Look Mr. Abdul Kareem, I don't care what Mr. Stransky said. Mr. Safi, make sure that this gentleman does not go anywhere while I talk to Mr. Kazan."
I opened the door to Mr. Kazan's office and he was talking on the phone. I didn't care, "Mr. Kazan, you have some major problems here at this facility. I think we need to talk and talk now. I am going to be alerting the offices in Amsterdam and Houston of my findings as soon as I can get to a secure internet site."
Mr. Kazan immediately came out of his office, "Mr. Waller, what's the problem. Why didn't you come to me quietly?"
I looked at the receptionist, secretary or whatever, "For starters Mr. Abdul Kareem informed me that I couldn't talk to you directly. He insists that I needed to go through Mr. Stransky. Second, you haven't been doing your job, because it is apparent to me that over half of the oil that is being refined here is not reaching the intended market."
"I was able to ascertain that, on the basis of a four hour walk through of the facility. I am going to recommend to the offices in Amsterdam and Houston that this refinery be shut down immediately until suitable reliable employees can be hired or trained. This operation as it is now being run is operating at a loss to the company and the Algerian government. What have you been doing? Sitting with your head under a pillow?"
Mr. Kazan took a deep breath, "Mr. Waller, for starters, I have been here only two months. I am not Algerian. I work for the home office in Amsterdam and was sent here to straighten this mess out. Everything I tried to do was stonewalled by the existing staff because they have gained the allegiance of the workers."
"What we need is proof of what is happening and I don't know how to get it. That's why I asked for help from the Houston office. I was surprised to see someone as young as you, arrive."
I was almost sorry for my outburst, "Mr. Kazan, I would almost bet my eye teeth that Mr. Stransky is behind this mess. I guess I will just need to figure a way to prove it. I'm sure that Mr. Abdul Kareem will make sure that Mr. Stransky knows of this conversation, so maybe that will force Stransky's hand. I plan to have a thorough check done of Mr. Stransky's background as soon as I can get to a secure facility. I would bet that he has informants everywhere in this facility."
I nodded to Brahim, "Mr. Safi, I think I would like to leave now. I need to get some food."
Mr. Kazan looked at me, "Mr. Waller, be careful. You have probably made some people very nervous. I have found out that the walls have ears here in Algeria."
I followed Brahim to his vehicle and after he opened the door for me to get in, I just fell against the seat. I was emotionally drained. When we started to move I began to speak, "Brahim, .."
Brahim shook his head and motioned his free hand to signify that I shouldn't say anything. He pointed to the visor and there was a very crude listening device.
I started again, "Mr. Brahim Safi, I need to get some food and I need to find a secure communications site to let the home offices know what I have found out so far."
Brahim was so calm, "Mr. Waller, you'll feel better after you have had a shower. Why don't I drop you at your hotel and I'll come back and take you to eat wherever you would like to go. The hotel has decent food if you would rather not go out."
I answered, "I'm sure the bad guys will find a way to invade my privacy at the hotel too. It appears that there is a ring of hijackers operating here at the oil refinery. They have been lining their pockets with contraband money. I plan to take them down and make them pay. I'll have the Algerian government help me if necessary. I hope we can find a government official who isn't corrupt."
Brahim looked at me in the rear view mirror, "Mr. Waller, I know a judge who isn't corrupt and I know my Uncle who is in charge of the military isn't corrupt. I'll contact them when we get to the hotel."
When we got to the hotel, Hussein opened the door for me, "Good afternoon, Mr. Waller, Allie is out shooting pigeons in the park with his sling shot. He said he was tired of doing nothing. He said he was going to turn into a date or a prune if he swam any longer."
Brahim and I walked to the park across the street from the hotel. We saw Allie, and Brahim whistled and got Allie's attention. He started toward us and all of a sudden I felt myself being surrounded by a strong set of arms. Fortunately I had taken self defense classes and I had the person on the ground, but Brahim was immobilized by his assailant.
Allie fired a shot with his sling shot and his projectile hit Brahim's assailant in the head and he fell to the ground. Two other assailants were bearing down on us as Allie let go two more shots and hit them in their mid section where it would hurt the most. They both doubled over.
Two of Oran's finest security people came running to see what was happening and Allie and Brahim were talking in Arabic so fast that I didn't think anyone could understand what they were saying. The two police officers made a call and four more officers almost immediately arrived on the scene.
The officer in charge looked at me, "Mr. Waller, I hope you haven't been inconvenienced by this incident. We really are a friendly people. We'll take these people to the station and question them. If there are any problems, we will get back to you. We'll contact you at the Sheraton Oran Hotel, Room 3201."
I thought to myself as everyone was leaving, `How did he know my name and hotel room number?'
When I was sure that we were alone, I looked at Allie and Brahim, "There is more going on here other than the refinery problem. That policeman knew my name and my hotel room number, and I don't recall any of us telling him any of that information. We need to be extremely careful."
We walked back to the hotel and Hussein nodded and whispered, "Be careful, my friends."
When we got off of the elevator, Wahib met us, "Mr. Waller, I am almost positive that someone was in your room today. When I came back this afternoon to deliver the laundry, the door was open. I looked around and it seemed as if everything had been moved. You might want to check to see if anything is missing."
I stuck out my hand, "Wahib, thank you for alerting us. We'll take care of you after we get some more money. Please keep a watch on the room and Master Allie when Brahim and I are gone,"
Allie looked at me, "Mr. Waller, the bad guys aren't interested in me. I'm a dumb kid."
I decided to let the comment pass and we went to our suite. I looked around and pointed to a transmitter on the overhead light in the sitting room where the two beds were. I took Allie and Brahim into the bedroom and sure enough there was a transmitter on the overhead light also. I picked up the phone and showed them that there was a small transmitter in the transmitting portion of the phone.
I went and got my computer and typed, "Guys, we need to be extremely careful what we say. The bad guys have already tried once to hurt us. Please promise me that you will be careful. Allie, I don't want anything to happen to you because of me."
Allie typed back slowly, "Daddy Ed, I promise I'll be careful. We can't let anything happen to you and Bra either. I think I'm going to need you both."
I looked at Brahim and he was laughing. "He typed, I think we should go get some food. Why don't we go to the Algerian Brazier? We'll pretend like we're going to the Cas Bah which is across town and the owners can make a few bucks while the bad guys are sitting around waiting."
I closed the lap top after making sure everything was deleted. I looked up at the speaker in the living room, "Brahim and Allie, why don't we go to the Cas Bah again. I enjoyed the food and I don't like the looks of the restaurant food here in the hotel. It's too expensive and sounds a little too rich for my tastes."
Brahim winked, "Whatever you say, Mr. Waller."
We left the hotel by a side door and walked about two blocks to a small family restaurant. We were seated and the young woman who seated us spouted off the menu. Allie ordered for us and before I knew what was happening we had some sort of chicken soup followed by a beef and vegetable main course with a fresh orange salad with coconut. Of course Allie wanted to have a date pudding for dessert.
After Brahim haggled with the owner to change some money, we started to walk back to the hotel, I reminded everyone that we needed to be very careful about what we said in the room. When we walked into the hotel, Abbas was on duty. "Mr. Waller, I have a package for you. A young police officer was in and asked that I give this to you personally."
"Thank you, Abbas. I very much appreciate your taking care of it. Are you a student or are you just trying to make a living?"
Abbas laughed, "How about all of the above? I am in my last year before I can go to medical school. I want very much to become a children's doctor. I think you in America call it a podiatrist."
I started to laugh, "Abbas, a podiatrist takes care of people's feet. I think you were saying you wanted to be a pediatrician. Here take this so you can be the best pediatrician you can be. Thank you for watching out for me."
When we got to the 32nd floor, Wahib was waiting for us. Mr. Waller, there were people here looking for you. The room next to yours is empty, so why don't you all sleep in there tonight. I already informed the people in reception that I didn't have time to make it up since the previous occupants checked out so late."
"Wahib, that's very thoughtful of you. I would feel much better if I did not place Allie in any more danger than I already have. We'll get our clothes and see what tomorrow brings. I handed Wahib another bill. "Wahib, I really appreciate your help and concern. Maybe you and your family can do something special. Why don't you bring us some cheese omelets and French toast for breakfast when you get here in the morning? You may have to play musical rooms when you get here."
Wahib hugged me before he walked away. Brahim challenged me, Ed, how much money did you give Wahib?"
I was confused, "I gave him 500 dinars. I figured he deserved that much for the way he has been watching out for us."
Brahim shook his head, "Ed, I don't know what it is about you, but not many Algerian men would even dare to hug another man in front of others let alone an American man."
Allie decided to say something, "Why don't we get ready for bed and then the two of you can hug each other?"
I held up my hand, "Before we go into the other room, let's see what's in this package."
We sat on the bed in the extra room and I looked at the note.
You have made some very powerful enemies in the short time you have been in our country. One of the prisoners, we took into custody this afternoon, has been telling us the story of what is happening. Be very careful. I have reason to believe that they have bugged your room and are hoping to discredit you.
When you go to bed tonight, pull the two ends of these apparent pens apart and they will transmit a wave that will negate any transmission of their transmitters. Also it would be helpful if the three of you slept in the extra room that Mr. Wahib provided you the key for.
That is probably being overly cautious, but as you in America would say, 'Better to be safe than sorry.'"
I motioned for Brahim and Allie to follow me and we went into the suite, "Guys, I'm going to take a shower. I'm exhausted."
I went into the bathroom followed by Brahim, I just dropped my clothes on the floor and got into the shower. I started to sing as the water was running. I probably sounded terrible as I was singing `Just Walking in the Rain' as loud as I could.
When I finished my shower I heard Brahim yelling from the living room, "Mr. Waller, you will never be known as a singer. You sure can't carry a tune."
I yelled back, "I suppose you and Allie can do better?"
Allie came in and winked at me, "Mr. Waller, you sound like a sick cow."
He climbed into the shower and started to sing a song in Arabic. I stood and listened to him and he had a beautiful voice. I thought to myself, `What would he sound like if he were being accompanied by some musical instruments?'
When Allie got out of the shower I helped him dry off and he challenged me, "Mr. Waller, please don't sing in the shower anymore. We sure don't want Brahim to sing in the shower or we'll all go deaf."
Brahim came into the bedroom, "I heard that nasty comment. For that you pay. Brahim just dropped his clothes and went into the shower. As soon as the water started he started to sing a song from an opera and I couldn't recall the name since he was singing in Italian. I thought to myself, `These two young men are even more complex than they seem.'
As Brahim was getting dressed, Allie pointed to a door at the side of the living room. I went to see if it would open and it opened into the adjoining room to which Wahib had given us a key.
I yelled, "Goodnight guys."
Both Allie and Brahim yelled back, "Goodnight Mr. Waller."
I pulled apart the equipment that Mr. Khalid had sent to me. The three of us slipped into the adjoining room and locked the doors. The sofa bed was already made so we were set. Allie went into the sitting room and closed the door to the bedroom and Brahim and I shed our robes and climbed on the bed.
I looked at Brahim and thought are we or aren't we?
Author's Note: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might want to visitwww.tickiestories.us.
Editor's Notes, as Moe, of Three Stooges once said, "Ah, the plot sickens." We seem to have a lot of people trying to cause trouble for Mister Waller, Don't we?
I think the bad guys are bad in more ways than one. They are evil to the core, and they are bad at hiding what they are trying to do. There are a lot of different kinds of miniature and even subminiature listening devices which have been produced to spy on people. These things exist in real life, not just in the movies and in stories. Being the Geek that I am, I would have put a different telephone listening device on the phone instead of the one they used. I would have connected the phone line directly to a transmitter. And not used a tiny mic. Putting the mic in the mouthpiece would only get one side of the conversation, that of the person using the phone. The person on the other end would not be heard. Of course the point is moot since they noticed the bug and therefore didn't actually say anything that could be used against them, but I just wanted to vent a little about how stories and movies often get technical things wrong.
One of my favourite things to get upset with is what happens in movies and TV shows when a person who is talking on the phone gets hung up on; you hear a click and then instantly afterwards, you hear a dial tone. My suspension of disbelief goes right out the window when ever I hear that.
I know it is done to signify strongly that the call has been cut off, but in real life, if someone hangs up on you, you do not get a dial tone, EVER!!!! First, you get silence, and then depending on several factors, such as who placed the call and what phone company you are dealing with, one of several things will happen.
If you made the call and the person on the other end hangs up on you, you will continue to be connected to them for several seconds, possibly up to thirty seconds. This was set up to allow someone the opportunity to answer the phone, let's say, the kitchen, then hang up their phone and go to another one, like maybe the living room, where they can sit comfortably and continue the conversation. Once the call times out, you might get a beeping tone, which resembles a busy signal. Or you might just continue to get silence. Eventually the switching office will probably send a very loud beeping tone or, in some cases, a loud warbling siren noise, after thirty seconds or so of either the soft beeping or the silence. This loud tone is to get the attention of the person who's phone is off hook. Different phone companies had different loud signals and some of them were most annoying, but that was the idea. They wanted you to hang up the phone. After maybe thirty seconds of this tone, the line will go silent again and remain so until the phone is hung up, or, as the phone company people would say, "placed on hook". Then if you pick up the receiver again, you will hear a dial tone.
If the person on the other end called you, and they hung up on you, you would instantly be disconnected from them, and you would get all the other things I described immediately, instead of having the thirty second delay.
I have been messing with the phone system since I was a teenager, and I can assure you that under no circumstances will you ever get an instant fresh dial tone when someone hangs up on you.
There was, a long time ago, one possibility where it could happen, and that was if you had called an operator or another number that was "unsupervised", like an 800 number or one of the free numbers that used to exist. Those kind of calls are virtually unheard of any more, since everything is routed digitally and is no longer dependent on the presence of voltage on the line as it once was. In the old days though, if an operator hung up on you, you would have eventually received a dial tone. However, having said that, people talking to their neighbour or anyone else besides a phone company employee in the central office, would not, under any circumstances, have gotten a dial tone if someone hung up on them. See you never know what will set me into the rant mode, do you?
I want the next chapter if this very interesting story.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher