Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Episode 58: Shaken

After acquiescing and providing the location to where Bill was being held, Anh was held for an additional three days, and although moved to a small cell from her interrogation room her confidence was shaken.  Early on the third day two guards came for her and escorted her to General Binh's office.  As she entered he stood smoking and looking out the window, he turned as they entered and he pointed to a chair.

Nhà báo này cho bạn là gì? (What is this journalist to you?) Anh pondered his question...but then spat ông là không có gì! (he is nothing!)  Bạn có từ chối bắt cóc anh ta? (Do you deny kidnapping him?)  Anh remained silent but was not able to hold eye contact with the General, he went on Mày đã gây cho tao embarresment tuyệt vời (you've caused me great embarrassment) and without pausing went on cống nạp tiền của bạn bây giờ là tăng gấp đôi (Your monthly tribute is now double).  Anh's knew that protesting would only further enflame the General for which she had no appetite, she just wanted out of this hell hole.

The general nodded to the soldier standing guard at the door, he stepped aside and opened the door.  Anh's gaze fell upon the cold face of General Binh, and noted for the first time that he never seemed to blink.  She stood, nodded once more and left his office.  She was sandwiched between the two guards who led her to the main gate where she waited while one went into the adjacent hut and conversed with the commissar on duty.  The commissar, a wiry man in his mid 40's eyed Anh suspiciously from the office, before reluctantly instructing one of his men to open the gate.

Anh was relieved to be free, but her mind soon turned to the possible repercussions of having been away for such a prolonged period, not to mention the way she and her gang had been rounded up and extracted from the market so quickly and without a show of force made her look weak in the eyes of her enemies, for which there were many only too willing to step into the void.  She steeled herself to the immediate task of reestablishing her iron grip on the market and the change in protection pricing that was about to come into effect.  She must leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to who is in charge, but she knew there would be resistance to the increasing in their tribute...

Sending a runner for Trung and his top lieutenants as soon as she got to her building, and within minutes he and his men entered her office Anh noting the bruised and battered faces of many of them, including Trung.  

As of today, we are doubling our monthly payment from the stall owners she told them forcefully.  Ensure everyone is informed, spare no mercies when you inform them of the new price and crush any resistance she spat.  Turning she walked to the balcony overlooking the frenetic chaos that was the Chợ Đồng Xuân and stared down harshly.  

They will pay she said under her breath..., they will pay.