C08 The Mission Song by John Le Carre

C08 The Mission Song by John Le Carre

Author:John Le Carre
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Unknown
ISBN: 9780340922002
Publisher: Hodder
Published: 2006-05-15T14:30:51+00:00

* * *

Haj: How sick are you anyway? [staccato of crocs, up a couple of steps, down three, stop. Abrupt silence) Very sick? (Mo answer. Another staccato. Returns) Wives too? Kids? (Is Dieudonne nodding? Apparently yes) Holy shit. How long have you got? (Mo answer) Know where you picked it up?

Dieudonne: From a girl. What do you think?

Haj: When?

Dieudonne: Ninety-eight.

Haj: The war of ninety-eight?

Dieudonne: What else?

Haj: Fighting against the Rwandans? (another apparent nod) You were fighting Rwandans and fucking for the one true Democratic Republic of Congo? Holy Jesus! Has anyone thanked you yet?

Dieudonne: For catching the plague?

Haj: For fighting another useless war, man. (dancing up and down the steps) Shit. Damn, (more low-key expletives) This no-name Syndicate wants your arse, know that? (garbled) The Banyamulenge have got the best warriors, discipline, motivation, the best minerals .. . gold and colt an on the plateau .. . and you don't even mine them, you love your fucking cows too much! .. .

Dieudonne: (through his coughs, dead calm) Then we shall dictate terms. We shall go to the Mwangaza and say: first you must give us all you have promised, or we will not fight for you. We will fight against you. We will say that.

Haj: The Mwangaza? You think the Mwangaza is running this thing? What a hero he is! What a world-class enlightened .. . What a selfless friend of the poor! That guy owns the poorest ten-million-dollar villa in Spain you ever saw. Ask my dad .. . plasma television screens in every toilet .. . (violent tattoo of crocs, speech very garbled, then clears. Softly, in counterpoint to din that preceded it) Dieudonne. Pay attention to me. You're a good man. I love you.

Dieudonne: (unintelligible)

Haj: You will not die. I do not want you to die. Okay? Deal? Not you, not the Banyamulenge. Not again. Not of war, not of hunger, not of after-war, not of the plague. If you've got to die at all, die of beer. Promise?

Dieudonne: (grim laugh) Beer and anti-retrovirals.

Haj: I mean, I do not want any fucker to die anywhere in the Congo for a very long time, except quietly and peacefully, of beer. You're sweating like a whore. Sit down.

Reception improves. Anton reports via Sam that Dieudonne has settled on a stone bench under a beech tree beneath the gazebo. Haj is jiggling round him in a radius of eight to ten feet. But I am there beside them.

Haj: .. . the Rwandans are stronger than we are, know that? .. . stronger than the .. . Banyamulenge, stronger than the Mau Mau knuckle-draggers {making ape noises) .. . stronger than the whole of.. . Kivu put together .. . Okay? Admit it.

Dieudonne: It is possible.

Haj: It's a fucking certainty and you know it. Listen to me {returns to Dieudonne and speaks intensely close to his ear twenty-twenty reception, presumably from mike in overhead branches of beech tree) ... I love my father. I'm an African. I honour him. You got a father still? .


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