Mark Greaney by On Target

Mark Greaney by On Target

Author:On Target [Target, On]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Group USA, Inc.
Published: 2010-08-03T07:00:00+00:00


TWENTY-EIGHT

Court sat in his tiny hotel room in Al Fashir. Outside the open window above his tattered and soiled mattress on the floor, the morning bustle of the city rattled and whistled and bleated and shouted, as men and animals and vehicles passed by.

He was filthy and wanted a shower, but there was no shower here. Just a hole cut into a closet floor down the hall for a toilet. He’d spent the evening scratching bloody flea bites and had not gotten much sleep but, he asked himself, what did he expect for nothing?

It had taken a day and a half and most of the rest of his Sudanese pounds to get a car and a driver to transport him back to the capital of North Darfur. Court bought a satellite phone with the rest of his cash, using his watch and the two AKs to make up the difference. The man who’d driven him from Dirra had a cousin who owned a filthy boardinghouse in Al Fashir for Darfuris there to work construction on whatever project the NGOs were paying them to build, and the driver and the cousin had spoken and offered Court a room free of charge. The two men even took Court shopping for some local items and paid for them out of their own pockets. Many Sudanese, Court had noticed in his day on the road and in the town, possessed an intense kindness and willingness to give of themselves and their meager property for a complete stranger.

Court had little to offer in return but his gratitude, a few Arabic words of thanks, and an understanding of the body language of the culture. He held his hand to his heart and nodded deeply so many times in the past day he almost felt as if he could pass for a Darfuri, if not for the pigmentation of his skin.

Court had worked in dozens of different places in his career, either as a CIA singleton operator, as a CIA Paramilitary Operations officer, or as a private sector assassin, and many of those places, for want of a better term, sucked. But from time to time he found himself somewhere remote, both geographically and culturally, and completely taken in by the scenery or the people or the way of life in ways that stayed with him after he’d done his job and left the place behind.

He felt this way about Darfur. He wasn’t supposed to be here. There was much to hate. It was hot as hell and thick with bugs and controlled by a despot and murdering bands of marauders, but Court felt something about this place, the people, the stubbornness and discipline needed to face a miserable day armed with nothing but one’s own devices. He could not help but respect the people for scratching out what existences they had, and he appreciated their kindness to him.

He would love to repay the kindness by removing the man from power who was systematically killing them.

He reached across the mattress, picked up his phone, and called a number in Saint Petersburg.



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