Djibouti

Free Djibouti by Elmore Leonard

Book: Djibouti by Elmore Leonard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elmore Leonard
find if I stay ripped it’s easier to follow instructions. ‘Aye, aye, Captain.’ He’s teaching me how to sail, in the fucking ocean. I don’t know how many times I thought of sticking a finger down my throat.”
    â€œBut you hung in.”
    â€œStill his little sailor. I have to actually mop the fucking deck.”
    â€œPart of the trial, eh?”
    â€œI guess. I’m not sure it’s worth it.”
    â€œOutside of that, you still like him?”
    â€œHe’s weird. Always looking for pirates, his elephant gun handy.”
    â€œBut he doesn’t try to shoot them.”
    â€œHe sunk their boat. If they happen to drown, tough shit.”
    â€œWhat’s he talk about?”
    â€œThe rules of the sea. How to tack, come about. How much money he has. Arabs. He doesn’t care for Arabs, I found that out. He said, ‘The Mohammedans scored with 9/11’”—Helenetrying to sound like Billy from East Texas—“‘now they’ll try for a bigger bang.’”
    â€œDoes he mean al Qaeda? Bin Laden and his people?”
    â€œBilly doesn’t say. I think he’s dreaming, trying to think of a role he can play. And I happen to be with him, I’m his gang.”
    â€œHe isn’t CIA, is he? You mentioned that once.”
    â€œHe hinted at it, sounding like he’s some kind of government agent, but he’s not. I came right out and asked him and he smiled, very condescending, and patted my cheek. Like what do you expect from a chick works fashion shows. He said why should he get tied up in rules and red tape when he’s got the way to get answers on his own. He means he’s got enough money to bribe anyone who can help him. He believes terrorists are playing a part in this, letting the pirates have thirty million, less than half of what’s been paid so far.”
    â€œThat much in ransoms?”
    â€œAt least. More than sixty ships have been hijacked—the latest number he told me this morning—ransomed off or still being held.”
    â€œHow does he know that?”
    â€œHe makes phone calls. To Billy, the bad guys are the lawyers and Mohammedan terrorists. He always calls them that, Mohammedans. At first he thought it was al Shabaab, the strict Muslim gunmen. They’re supposed to be against piracy, but Billy says bullshit, they’re taking a cut like everybody else. He told me al Shabaab means ‘young guys’ and calls them ‘the lads.’ He got that from the BBC.”
    â€œBut if Idris and his guys are doing all the work—”
    â€œBilly says Idris is afraid to complain.”
    Dara shook her head. “He doesn’t know Idris.”
    â€œBilly says they’ll shoot him and get somebody else.”
    â€œBut Idris is having a ball hijacking ships.” Dara paused.“There was something on the Internet about middlemen, lawyers handling the ransom negotiations from Nairobi, even London. Billy thinks the lawyers represent terrorists?”
    â€œOr they don’t know who they represent, or care. Billy can be terribly boring, but he’s not dumb.”
    â€œMaybe melodramatic?”
    â€œSerious,” Helene said. “Sometimes he’s so fucking serious it’s scary.”
    â€œThe money’s delivered directly to the pirates,” Dara said, “by boat or dropped from a plane. I’ve seen it.”
    â€œBilly says they get only part of it that way, for show. It keeps the lawyers out of the news.”
    â€œIdris,” Dara said, “has never even hinted at someone telling him what to do.”
    â€œAsk him about it. Maybe Billy’s full of shit.”
    â€œI don’t know—Idris has always seemed straight with me,” Dara said. “It’s why I like him.”
    â€œI do too,” Helene said and took a sip of champagne. “The other night at that club in Djibouti, Las Vegas, he asked me to go for a

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