Every night I said The Lord's prayer before I went to sleep. I never quite got used to it, had to remind myself to do it all the time. Whether it was in the bush, a hotel or any of my homes, I did it without fail. It kept me sane in all this madness, I doubt God cared to listen though, but I prayed non the less.
My mother always took me to church, I learned a lot about God and His son. I liked his son a lot. At least the son felt what it is like to be in this body and exist in this trouble sink. Somethings did not make much sense to me but I obeyed for mama 's sake.
She wanted me to be a good boy, grow up to be a descent gentleman. In all fairness, I gave it my best shot. I tried so hard to be the perfect poster boy. I went to church twice a week, got accepted into the alter service. Scored straight As, enlisted as a reservist and graduated top of my class. I even joined a college and got a job, a decent salary and a wife. May mama's soul rest in peace, she knows I tried.
For twenty four years my spirit battled my will. The real Lenno versus the fake Lenno curved out by everyone's expectations. I hated myself, I hated society but never my mother. Or maybe I hated her too. I had suppressed so many feelings for so long I had grown numb to many. All I knew is that I was two men in one body. One was wild and free, the other was guarded and cautious. The wild Lenno lost so many battles in the past but he always spoiled for a fight. The fight to take over my soul.
I guess that is how I became so out of touch. I have practically stood up my wife for a dinner date to go be with murderers. I doubt my old lady would be so pleased.
"Why are you so pensive? " That ever happy voice jolted me back to the chopper." Was just thinking about my mum Ricky"I answered as I slouched back on the bench. "Seems Lenno wants to suckle some more guys."The funny man did what he did best. Just like all the previous instances he surely did not disappoint as he stuck his thumb in his mouth and made a baby face. The entire group burst out in laughter. We all knew we needed it and that is perhaps one of the main reasons everyone always wanted him to come along in these night missions.
The speaker a top suddenly crackled to life. "Boys, 30 seconds from ground zero, count down to ETA begins. Everyone get ready for the drop ". Khamali's all too familiar voice instructed in a heavy Arab accent. He always flew us whenever the boss needed us to go. A fine man, very dependable. He knew and understood all the ranges and parks in all the countries in the entire south-eastern block. The rivers, the distribution of fauna, security protocols and pretty much everything one would need to know in this business, however the most important was his knowledge of open areas the rangers did not have enough resources to patrol at such times. This single thing ensured he got fatter cheques than his peers in the airlines and army. I guess that was the reason we were flying at low altitude in total darkness. I put on my night vision goggles and prepared to jump out of an airplane into the dense forest with a bunch of men who would not hesitate to shoot me down if one thing went slightly wrong. It is greed, such a strong driver, only love and fear could conquer it.
I grabbed my new suppressed and scoped Noveske, strapped a honey badger on my vest just in case things got nasty, and hid a desert eagle in my boots. You never know when double crossers will decide to cash in. My webbing and medivac intact, I strapped the chute together with the other three and jumped towards our price.
In Meribah park there were around 200 elephants and 90 rhinoceros carrying million dollar tasks and horns about. We were in on a 19 billion dollar business and I was not late in grabbing a piece of it. If that vet had properly tagged the rhinos in the morning check up, then I was in for a $190000 pay day. That translates to slightly over 7.7 million for a one hour operation.
Thanks to the Vietnamese, my money was growing like mould on bread. I never would have made this much running guns for those stupid Jihadists and most definitely not as an engineer in the service. Nice change of "careers" . For some reason I do not care to know why the pea-eyed people from the far east were willing to pay more than the price of Gold for the same weight in elephant ivory and twice as much for an ounce of rhino horn. With that much money, there was no way I was going to leave all this milk and honey to some two bit AK 47 carrying poachers.
They would instead be the perfect decoys for the fodder hungry media when we set up a full operation. I am going to take over the entire demand chain. Besides running guns and trafficking cocaine wasn't that much fun any more. The senior administrators are cheaper in this business, the logistics simpler and turfs are less crowded.
This was the real me. Nothing felt better than making millions when everyone else was asleep and blissfully ignorant of the impending total wipe out of national treasures. I did not care, money tasted better than loyalty. My mother must be disappointed but I was in too deep. Only death could suck me out of this damned miasma. I am a born criminal.
As soon as we touched the ground, our trackers picked up signals from the chips shot into the Elephants earlier in the morning. They were exactly where Khamali guessed they would be, all gathered for the night. The Rhino tags bleeped on our screens far more separated because they were loners but that would not deter me. I am the real King of the jungle.
The moon was casting our shadows so far ahead of us. That would warn anyone else of our approach and expose us to an ambush. I hence ordered the men to crouch the whole two kilometers to where our nearest targets were.This was a business and a war at the same time. The Shabab had gotten in after their revenue streams had been dismantled by the army. They were a bunch of whimps and no match for my fire power but you do not want to invite the rangers to the date when all you want is a quicky. In a gun fight, three camps is freaking rally.
Today would be like last week, and the next like this week only that I will be far richer and way more connected. I like to refer to myself as a hands on grab the rhino by its horns kind of leader. I liked the money and the power but nothing made me more alive than the possibility of an all out gun fight and constantly outwitting the guards and rangers. Once again mama I'm very sorry because all I want is to be more like me and less like everyone else. Deep within me I know my fate will catch up but let me enjoy while it still lasts mama.
We soon made visual, there were eight of them herded together grazing in the cool of the night to avoid the morning heat. "Bingo !" Ricky whispered direct into my ears, a wry smile etched in his face. He never was serious about. anything but I liked him. He was smarter than all of us and thanks to his genius we have cheated death several times before. "Boss, do you know one of those fetches no less than $60000? "He queried rhetorically the laser from his gun pointing to one of the elephant tasks. I tried not to think too much about it, I'd rather get the job done first. Later I will think about where to get the new BMW I had promised my wife. She incessantly kept on complaining that the range rover made her look fat.
The other two men opened their bags to prepare the knives we would need to split open the elephant head in order to extract the tusks. Meanwhile Ricky took aim of the ten tonne beast. "Wait a minute! "I shouted to him. A little startled he quickly scoped all the nearby bushes and then turned to me. "What the fuck is it?" "How is Konakova?" I asked a giggle betraying the forced look of concern on my face. " Seriously now? " Ricky rolled back his eyes in utter disapproval of my distraction. " Well if you must know, I'm done with Ukranian girls. When this cheque drops I'm going down to Sambaland. Brasilia!" He exclaimed in utter excitement. His eyes just lit up at the thought and he just couldn't resist grabbing me by my shoulders as he often did.
He again got a hold of his MP7 and steadied himself so he could look through the scope. The silence of the night was abruptly cut short when gun shots rent the air. Almost by reflex I jumped towards Rick shouting at him to duck while making for his head. I was too late, he turned to me, exposing a bloodied chest and his smile still on his face,. Now it looked stupid and I hated it. "Too late bro" He said with that his gun dropped from his hand and blood started flowing out of the corner of his mouth. As life slowly departed his body, anger welled up in me so much I did mot realize there were more incoming shots. All I could think of was "why did you not put on your vest you fool? "
He slouched on me and went. Around me the other two men also lay dead. I suddenly felt a sharp blow right on my sternum and I knew it was lead. It knocked me down and my world went dark.