An international private detective and good friend of mine gets a message from his UK colleague:
– Hey, I've got a customer here. A total nutter, possibly even clinical. You game?
– Like we'd ever been about normal people. Of course I'm game. Has he got cash?
– He's got cash all right, but he's a proper loony.
My friend makes an appointment, at which the client appears to be telling some very tall tales:
– You see, I am being watched. Any country I'm arriving into – I'm being followed. My phones are being tapped and nobody's believing me…
"Garden variety paranoia." – my friend thought – "About half of our clients are in that category, I don't even remember how many I've had so far, could be triple digits by now. Hmmm, that's a hot chick in the picture. So… being followed and being tapped. OK, time to cut it." A detective always has a special price list for obviously paranoid clients, with the kind of figures he'd be reluctant, but rather tempted, to show to a regular one – with outrageous prices. But the Brit unexpectedly agrees.
Ah well, damn it all, let's sit around in London for a while. Outdoor surveillance guys were summoned up to Blighty's capital and told to follow the guy and check if he's got company, unlikely as that had seemed. And so my friend stocked up on light reading and checked himself into a hotel – there wasn’t much else to do on the rainy island, apart from saving up GBPs; that was a free money contract. His counter-surveillance guys turned up in the evening:
– Dafuq you just signed us up for, man?
– What's the matter?
– The guy is being watched, by bloody serious specialists.
Oh dear. And there he was, hoping for a slow evening and a morning flight home… the following morning was spent interrogating the Englishman. After a few hours, the paranoid guy fesses up. He's a musician, playing in bands and touring the world. He ended up in Hong Kong one day, and met a girl. They fell in love and got married. But he was a musician, and so experimented with various drugs. His young wife got addicted, overdosed and jumped out of a window after hallucinating about being a bird. That was unfortunate about the bird; the person particularly aggrieved was the bird's father, who was blunt:
– I had asked you to take care of my daughter. You did not. Now you are fucked.
The dad was a businessman from Hong Kong; and our loony was a musician, who was travelling a lot. And in the last year or so, in any country he'd turn up at, he'd be turned back at the airport by the pointedly polite spooks: "How about you go back to your Britannic home, good Sir?" Hoursvof conversations about the beauty of London and the shortcomings of the local cuisine.
But our paranoid Brit was a musician and had to earn his keep by travelling and performing. So he had to be firm, stay and perform. But as of late he wasn't even able to get a visa anywhere – everywhere was suddenly off limits to him…
Our detective thought hard.
– Your deceased wife's dad, he's not a billionaire by any chance?
– Nope. He's rich, of course, but no yacht or even a private jet.
Damn, that must have been expensive, our detective thinks. A pressure like that, in every country… how did he even do that? What about we get him into our country and try asking our guys at the local law enforcement about what's going on. No way the long hand of the Hong Kong businessman could have reached as far as here. A week later we knew what the dead girl's father had done.
The Oriental man did everything in a clever and inexpensive way. He bought a counterfeit passport in the name of the Brit – just 20 thousand bucks. He got some bank accounts opened in that name, and from those accounts he had made transfers to organisations involved in funding terrorists, even including some cute comments like "to my bothers in jihad", "allahu akbar", etc. And then the bureaucratic wheels of the Interpol start turning. Interpol has something called the "Green Notice" – a warning that a person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety. In the near future – hence the special attention.
And so the unsuspecting British musician had become a terrorists' accomplice and ended up on a Green Notice. The dad from Hong Kong had spent a hundred thousand bucks for the privilege, tops. But there's no way the Brit would get un-noticed now. He can explain his circumstances all he'd like, and wax lyrical about the terrible revenge, but special services are a bureaucracy. And a bureaucracy is a bureaucracy – some things cannot be reversed. Funny thing is that it's hard to pity the musician; he really didn't look after the girl he had been entrusted with. And the vengeance was beautiful. Just like the Orient.
Text, illustration © The Dark Side of Business
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