Saturday, February 18, 2012


SOL OCCAXUS (Sunset) Monday, 19 September, 2011

CREPUSCULUM (Evening Twilight)

I. Friday, 23 September, 2011
II. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
III. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
IV. Sunday, 16 October, 2011

VESPER (Evening Dusk)

I. Sunday, 23 October, 2011
II. Sunday, 30 October, 2011
III. Wednesday, 9 November, 2011
IV. Monday, 14 November, 2011
V. Monday, 14 November, 2011

CONCUBIUM (First Sleep – Coitus – Rest)

I. Thursday, 17 November 2011
II. Sunday, 20 November, 2011
III. Friday, 25 November, 2011
IV. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
V. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
VI. Thursday, 8 December, 2011
VII. Sunday, 11 December, 2011


I. Sunday, 1 January, 2012
II. Thursday, 5 January, 2012
III. Saturday, 7 January, 2012
IV. Monday, 16 January, 2012
V. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VI. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VII. Friday, 3 February, 2012
VIII. Friday, 3 February, 2012


I. Sunday, 12 February, 2012
II. Saturday, 18 February, 2012

MATUTINUM (Dawn Goddess)

DILUCULUM (Dawn Twilight)

SOLI ORTUS (Sunrise)




The three dark-suited men stepped out of the large Mercedes that had drawn up in the quiet street and hurried up the steps of the house. The front door opened and they were greeted by a figure who stood in the shadows of the atrium. One of the visitors, hesitating at the entrance turned, pushed his dark glasses to the tip of his nose and scanned up and down the street before touching the rim. The hazard lights of the Mercedes and another car almost directly opposite the entrance flickered, briefly, in unison. He then looked down at the steps he had just climbed. He was a young man with a pale olive complexion. A scar, running obliquely close to his left eye, was just visible and the same eye opened and closed in an increasingly rapid tic action. Annoyed he hurriedly relocated the glasses to the bridge of his nose and the door closed with a solid thumping noise behind him. His two older companions walked ahead, their arms linked by a tall central figure, who as if with an afterthought looked back over his shoulder at the younger man. Rod Mallory’s voice had a sarcastic resonance as he greeted him, “Hello, Domingo. I’m so relieved you could join us. Is everything all right?”
“What? Oh yes . . . All clear,” the younger man answered as he looked around the house’s atrium and the courtyard ahead. He removed his glasses and placed them in an inside pocket. The flickering eye was quiet. “Mallory?” he suddenly asked.
“Yes, Domingo.”
“Is this the house where Versace was shot? It looks familiar from the photographs I have seen.”
“No. It’s not the Casa Casuarina, but nearly an exact replica. Built by a heartbroken admirer of the great man, he sold it to me when Versace was killed. Much cheaper than the original but in identical taste.”
“I’d forgotten the circles that you move in and find your pleasure,” Domingo sneered.
A flare of anger flashed across Mallory’s face and he stopped abruptly. The two older men refused to unlink his arms and pulled him forward again, away from a confrontation. Relaxing a fraction, he shrugged his shoulders and led them across the tiled, open courtyard, its mission bell swaying in the swirling evening wind that was sweeping in from the ocean. They entered into the garden and walking along the pebble-mosaic pathways made for a small circular pavilion that lay partially hidden by tall palm trees in one corner. There was a nearby ornamental pond with its waters rippling in the wind. The pond’s lights, sunk into the blue mosaic-tiled depths, shimmered their illumination to the surface to appear like spectral water lilies. Mallory pulled out ironwork Roman-style senatorial chairs and pointed to a drinks cabinet that was secreted in one wall. The light from the pavilion cupola caught the movement of the frolicking nude figures of the back wall fresco and its ornate gilded border that rose in serpentine coils towards the roof. “Pour yourselves a drink and take a pew,” Mallory said as he chose a beer and sat in a chair facing the garden.
The two older men joined him but Domingo preferred to sit on the pavilion steps with his back to the Australian. Pursing his lips he pulsed out perfect rings with the smoke from a lit cigar. The older man, to Rod Mallory’s right, looked first at Domingo’s back and then at him. He held his hands up in a silent apology. Mallory nodded and smiled. He waited for the older man to speak. “What happened in La Paz, Rod?”
“I had to deal with a problem . . . two problems in fact, and it was the only way. A beaut solution though, it cannot be traced.”
“Are you sure?”
“Listen, Miguel. When I established the money laundering operation for the cartel in Belize you asked me then, ‘are you sure?’ When I determined that it was the right time to begin rerouting the cartel’s money from traditional avenues into the new high stake business such as gene technology you asked me ‘are you sure?’ then, as well. Tell me, honestly, that the Columbian cartel families are unhappy with my judgement calls and the profits I have made for you, and I’ll walk away.”
Miguel Mendoza smiled knowingly at the Australian. “You can never walk away Rod, you know that. However, although the cartel families have the greatest respect for your management of our affairs and the direction that it has taken us, we do feel it was an unnecessary risk for you to personally deal with the situation in Mexico.”
Mallory emptied his beer and stood up to retrieve another. “I had to Miguel. Diego Rios trusted very few people enough to expose himself like that without protection. He was on home ground with his cock in the air.”
“Why eliminate him in the first place? I don’t understand.” The man to Mallory’s left spoke for the first time.
“Listen, Francisco, I took the decision to eliminate Rios because his greed was driving him to try and achieve overall control of the ‘casa de cambio’ operation in Mexico. This greed was also beginning to attract unwelcome attention, both at government level and from other cartels. The less people I consulted about the decision, the better. Rios still has… had very strong Columbian contacts and I did not want him alerted by any loose talk at our end. It was yet another judgement call that I’ve had to before, and will continue to make on the cartel’s behalf.” Mallory took his seat again.
“I understand the point you are making, Rod but please explain how his greed threatened us, a little bit more to me. I only ask, because as you may or may not know, his wife was my own wife’s goddaughter.”
“Ex wife!”
“True, but I still need to understand,” the older man demanded, his features impassive and unwavering.
“Certainly, Francisco. When we established the ‘casa de cambio’ operation in Mexico, it provided an unregulated paradise into which we were able to channel the ‘profits’ of the cartel. The continued success of the operation, from our point of view, is that no competing Mexican cartel has been able, or allowed, to wrest that overall control from us and freeze us out of the market. We have managed to divide and rule.”
“What’s that got to do Rios?”
“Diego Rios provided much valuable intelligence over the years but he knew far too much about our cartel’s and my own personal operational involvement. Despite repeated warnings to him about not getting above his station he decided to make a push for total control. This did not bother me unduly from a purely commercial point of view, as the new regime in Mexico and likely regulation of the casas made their future uncertain, but it was important to impose discipline on our associates as well. I had to make an example of him, to send a message to the others.”
Francisco looked at Rod Mallory for a few moments before he nodded his head in agreement.
Miguel Mendoza had listened without comment but then took the opportunity of the silence to question Rod on his reasons for calling them to a meeting at such short notice. “Why the urgency of this meeting tonight, Rod. Surely it could have waited until the next cartel management meeting in a week’s time. I am missing my grandson’s confirmation and my daughter will be furious with me.”
“I am sorry about that, Miguel, but it was extremely important that we meet. There is another aspect to the Rios situation that I need to discuss with you,” Mallory placated.
“Go on.”
Not with that crawler present,” Rod Mallory said loudly as he pointed to the slouching Domingo nearby. “It’s too sensitive.”
Domingo turned and glared at the Australian.
“Give us five minutes, Domingo. Check the perimeter security status,” Francisco who instructed the younger man.
“But – ”
The younger man moved away reluctantly, swiping angrily at the nearby poolside ornamental urn. To his obvious delight he watched as the urn began to waver on its pedestal and after a few seconds the increasing momentum cause it to topple into the pool. Mallory rose to chase after him but was once again restrained by the older men. “The sooner that drongo is put down, the happier I’ll be. I’ll roast his balls yet,” he fumed.
“Calm down and tell us about this ‘other aspect’, Rod.”
“I’m sorry, Francisco, I respect you enormously but I cannot stand that son of yours.”
“He is jealous of your power, Rod.”
“You’re not wrong there mate.”
Francisco stood up and walked to the balcony. He looked into the pool. The urn had sunk swiftly to the bottom but looked undamaged. Francisco turned to face the table and leant against the wall, his arms folded across his chest. “Domingo will grow out of it and learn to trust you like we have. Now get to the point, Rod.”
“Sure, Francisco. As you know The Hoxygene Corporation of California, founded and directed by Michael Mara, was the first major investment vehicle amongst the technology stocks that I identified as being a suitable home for the cartel’s money. I was, obviously, very keen to make it work and that is why I took such a personal and direct interest. That personal involvement brings with it some major advantages.”
“What do you mean?”
“Recently a large pharmaceutical company called Alpanna BioPharm has made a hostile bid for Hoxygene which values the cartel’s stake at about 50 million dollars.”
Jesu! That is almost a 150 per cent profit and clean money at that.” Miguel waved his hands excitedly. “Magnifico, Rod.”
“Yes and no, Miguel.” Rod Mallory stared up at the roof. “There may be a major problem.”
“Go on.” Francisco sat down at the table again.
“When Alpanna and I met to discuss the offer for Hoxygene, their chairman, a man called Charles Alexander, made an veiled enquiry about work that the company might be doing for the American Army. I’d no idea what he was talking about but it set off alarm bells.”
“Surely it would have been mentioned in company strategy meetings.”
“Never. If such work was being done then Michael Mara had kept this to himself. I needed to be sure and in his absence in Spain it was not difficult to take the opportunity to search his ‘secure’ files.” Mallory paused to gather his thoughts.
“And?” Both older men asked in unison.
“What I discovered has profound implications for the cartels.”
“You mean with regard to our investment.”
“No! More than that. To your very survival!”
The two older men looked at each other and then at Mallory. Miguel spoke for both of them. “We don’t understand.”
“Mara appears to have developed, with the US Army, a virus that attacks the cocaine leaf. I don’t understand the science but I have some independent experts analysing the information I managed to obtain. This has all happened in the last week, hence the urgency of this meeting to explain my need to react quickly.”
“Good God. By investing money in Hoxygene, we are funding our own destruction.” Francisco held his head in his hands.
“Yeah. Ironic really,” Mallory smiled.
“Fuck irony, Rod. This is serious. Could you not get any other information as to what stage this work is at?”
“That was the reason I primed Rios to try and seduce the woman, Mara’s wife, when they met up in La Paz. It was far too good an opportunity to pass up on.”
“Did she know anything?” Miguel looked concerned as he spoke.
“Diego Rios was quite ruthless in his interrogation and I’m convinced that, like me, she knew nothing of her husband’s virus work for the army.”
“Was it necessary to kill her?” Francisco almost whispered. “I hear she was a federal agent.”
Rod Mallory smiled again. “Yes! She could not be allowed to escape to warn her husband or the authorities. We need time to check this out without risking our position.”
“Why not kidnap. It’s a powerful tool.” Francisco spoke wearily.
“I thought of that Francisco, but decided if the US army are involved it would be too dangerous. No, it was better to kill her, making it appear that she was the accidental victim of the assassination of Commander Diego Rios. A real beaut scenario of a tragic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“So! No information from her at all?”
“She did give one name, Miguel. A General Arnold. I have my sources checking him out right now.”
“Be careful, Rod.”
“As if I was close to a cut snake!”
“What?” Miguel looked puzzled.
Mallory laughed. “I’ll explain some other time. I’ll be careful.”
“What is your reading of the situation, Rod?” Miguel persisted in his probing, his mind racing as to what action he needed to initiate.
“I’m certain that Charles Alexander knows more than he has let on. Since our initial meeting I have had our security boys check up on him. I don’t . . .” Rod paused again, composing his thoughts.
“You don’t what?”
“I don’t want to concern you unduly just yet but there are rumours of links between Alexander and the anti-Taliban faction in Afghanistan.”
“So! I don’t understand.” Francisco had stood up and was refilling his whiskey glass. A generous pouring was swallowed quickly.
“The anti-Taliban faction controls the illegal drugs trade out of Afghanistan.”
“You mean Alexander is directly linked involved in the opium trade out of Asia. . .” Miguel looked at Rod, shaking his head from side to side. “Don’t you Rod? Our competitors.”
“Perhaps, but I don’t think its commercial.”
“Please explain.”
“My sources indicate that Alexander is heavily involved with many separatist groups, such as the Continuity IRA in Ireland, the Basque Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA in Spain, Shining Path and TUPAC in Peru, and others such as the GIA in Algeria, AUM in Japan, KACH in Israel, as well as the FLNC in Corsica.”
“The FLNC?”
“The Fronte di Liberazione Nazionale de Corsica. In fact that is where I am heading tonight.”
“Corsica. I’m catching Air France to Paris and then an Air Littoral connection to Figari, in Southern Corsica.”
“I contacted Alexander and said I would like to talk to him about the offer for Hoxygene in more detail. We had planned to meet in New York but he called me back to cancel that arrangement and suggested that I come to his villa near Corte, which is the centre of the island. The arse end of nowhere, it seems.”
“What’s his reason for involvement with the terrorists.”
“I’m unsure but all the information points to his involvement with narcotics as being a way of orchestrating and funding international destabilisation. I need to determine if this is his real agenda and what risk it poses to our operations. Cheap opium from Afghanistan could destroy our markets, particularly if Alexander gets control of the ability to destroy our cocaine crops.”
“What about the situation in Columbia, Rod? Does Alexander have any links to the FARC? The recent arrest of the Irish terrorists worries me. Is Alexander responsible for their appearance on the scene?”
“I don’t know, Miguel, but certainly FARC is increasingly looking beyond Columbia for its direction.”
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the cartel families to deal with the FARC leadership. We cannot afford any further disruption to our supplies.”
“Listen, Miguel. If it’s any help, I’ve just received the list, given to the Columbian authorities by Interpol, of foreigners involved with the FARC. I’m trying to identify any possible links with Alexander.”
“Rod. I’m unhappy about all this until we have more concrete information.” Miguel spoke as Francisco looked up to see Domingo return to the pavilion. He indicated for him to sit down as Miguel continued to press the Australian. “Don’t you think it’s dangerous at this time to go to Corsica? It might attract unwarranted attention.”
“What’s up Papa?” Domingo had seen how serious his father was looking.
“Rod has just explained about a possible threat to our interests from the opium dealers in Afghanistan.” Francisco smiled at his son.
“What possible threat could they be to us?” Domingo snorted.
“I will explain later but for the moment, Domingo, I want you to shut up and listen.” Francisco admonished him.
“But Papa –”
“Shut up, Domingo.” It was Miguel who barked at the younger man. Mallory smiled smugly as the older man turned back to look at him. “Go on, Rod.”
“I’ll be ok. We need to question Alexander.”
“Agreed. What about security?”
“Two teams. Already flying in there as hiking tourists.”
“And a third will join them when they are finished in Spain.”
“What’s in Spain, Mallory?” Domingo butted in
“You never listen Junior, do you?” He spat back.
“Easy, Rod. This animosity will not serve our needs.” Francisco tried to placate him.
“Sorry, Francisco. Michael Mara is in Spain and he is the key. He’s the only one who can give us the full information on the virus work with the American army. The team I dispatched are going to extract him.” Mallory looked at his watch. “About now in fact. I should hear soon.”
“What are your intentions, Rod?” Miguel asked, his face betraying his anticipation of the answer.
“If the information is confirmed I’ll take them out?”
“Mara and Alexander, both.”
“Who? Why?” Domingo could not restrain himself.
“Listen, idiot. Do as your Daddy says and shut up.” Rod was enjoying the freedom.
“Rod. I am losing patience. Do not push this any further.” Francisco put his hand on Rod’s shoulder and squeezed it hard. Rod nodded.
“Look, Francisco, Mara may or may not have developed a cocaine virus for the Army, but it is my gut feeling that he has. If your cocaine crops are destroyed then the Afghans, perhaps orchestrated by Alexander, will swamp our markets with cheap heroin. We will be out of business and sonny-boy over there will lose his allowance and have to go back to pimping or shining shoes.”
“Rod! Enough! You are insulting one of my family.”
“Sorry, Francisco. I would never want to insult you but I just wish that you two, were not related.”
“Well we are. Now continue with your assessment.”
“I need to evaluate the double threat to our operations. If convinced by the evidence I’ll take both Mara and Alexander out. This will allow us retain control of the market while we delay, if not prevent, the threat to our production.”
The night air had become quite cool. The four men around the table were silent, lost in their own thoughts. “By the way,” Mallory said quietly.
“Yes Rod?” Miguel asked.
“I’ve instructed our broker to sell our stock in Hoxygene. The cartel’s money is –” Suddenly, and with a startling effect on all four, the cell phone in his breast pocket shrilled into action. “Excuse me for a moment, gentlemen.” Mallory took a deep breath before flipping open the lid. “Hello,” he said brusquely as he stood up to listen. Every now and then, his face would flicker before he finally terminated the call.
“Was that the team in Spain?” Francisco asked.
“Yes.” Rod Mallory appeared distracted.
“Mara has disappeared. Snatched by what appears to be a goon squad from his hotel this morning.”
“Who were they?”
Mallory left out a deep sigh as he held his hands behind his head. “Don’t know.”
“As our security advisor you appear to know very little, Mallory. Maybe one of your queer friends might help. I hear they are great in tight situations.” Domingo pouted his lips and blew a kiss in Mallory’s direction.
Rod sprang from his chair and in one movement had Domingo pinned against the ground with a gun against the younger man’s temple and a hand crushing his windpipe. “Move one muscle and you’re dead, you fucker.”
“I doubt it.” Domingo smiled as he looked up to see both the older men with their guns trained on Rod.
“Let him go, Rod. Now!” Francisco barked. “We are leaving.”
Rod looked up at the two older men and gradually slackened his shoulders. He ran the muzzle of the gun along the length of the younger man’s facial scar before uncoiling and standing up. Domingo followed suit, gingerly rubbing his head where it had slammed off the tiled floor, before wiping the dust from his jacket.
“Very well. I’ll show you out.”
“That’s not necessary.” Miguel had holstered his gun and took Rod’s hand in a firm grip. “Go to Corsica. Keep me informed.”
“Goodnight, Rod.”
“Goodnight, Miguel. Goodnight, Francisco.”
Francisco was nearly half way across the garden and Miguel hurried to catch up with him. Domingo held back and turned to face the Australian. “Mallory. Next time you do something like that, I will kill you. Understand amigo!”
“In your dreams dingo-shit. In your dreams!”
The younger man touched his scar and sneered before sauntering away. He stopped by the pool edge and peered down into its depths before turning to snap back at Rod. “Keep your back to the wall you faggot. The next penetration you experience might not be to your liking.”

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