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White Lotus / Black Son

White Lotus / Black Son

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White Lotus / Black Son

Länge:
156 Seiten
2 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Jul 8, 2013
ISBN:
9786167817033
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

A Thai journey into a sexual heart of darkness.

A disturbing mystery novel of a family's disintegration, corrupted by its incestuous past. This is not a novel that will let you sleep easily.

As Alec, the youngest brother, sets out on a quest to Thailand looking for his elder siblings, what he thought was a straightforward family business becomes one that includes drugs, people trafficking, prostitution and the smuggling of Burmese rubies. Can he survive the perverse world he finds himself in?

Why doesn't Alec's older brother Janus want him in Thailand? Where is his sister Cristobel? Why is the beautiful Ratree not all that she seems? Why are corrupt Thai policemen so interested in the family business? The more he looks the more evil Alec finds... and so much of it is in his own family.

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Jul 8, 2013
ISBN:
9786167817033
Format:
Buch

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White Lotus / Black Son - Ricardo Guanot

White Lotus / Black Son

by Ricardo Guanot

White Lotus / Black Son

Copyright © Ricardo Guanot 2013

All rights reserved

Smashwords Edition

eBook edition 2013

Published by Proglen Trading Co, Ltd.

Bangkok, Thailand

http://ebooks.dco.co.th

ISBN 978-616-7817-03-3

No part of this book may be used, reproduced, copied, stored, or transmitted in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission from Ricardo Guanot except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Dedication

For KKG with love.

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

I

The wedding, a Gatsbyesque affair even by the standards of Chicago’s gold coast elite, was held at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. The city’s aged Archbishop, lured by what must have been a generous donation from the family, personally performed the High Mass where, with tremulous fingers, he solemnly placed ivory disks of Christ’s body on the tongues of the bride and groom. By my watch, the pageant came in slightly under three hours. But more opulence was to follow. An evening reception held at the Morven House Hotel, a Chicago landmark that had once been consumed by Chicago’s Great Fire but had risen from the ashes to surpass its original splendor and was now the height of Midwest haute cuisine and manners.

It seemed all that money could buy was brought to bear to make the nuptial events perfect: a sleek black limo from my apartment to the cathedral, a suite at the hotel where the reception would ensue — even a generous check for personal expenses — was gratis of the Marr family. And the bride, an heir to the White Lotus Trading Company and regular subject of society page columns, would most likely never be aware of the cost.

Even the November weather, which today pelted the city with a slurry of rain and snow and dampened my somewhat leaky shoes, was not immune from perfect planning, with a line of black bellman in thick navy greatcoats with gleaming brass buttons, holding black umbrellas aloft for the arriving guests. Dark shepherds patiently herding their white sheep from the curb to the shelter of the hotel’s awning covered entrance.

In the warm sanctuary of the hotel lobby, I stared at the turn of the century frescos. Mimicking those of European palaces, they looked down from vaulted ceiling four stories above the marble floor. A white winged seraphim brandishing a sword in one hand, extended the other arm toward a bright cloud within which a gold cross and a surrounding corona of flames burned. He seemed to be urging a gang of trumpet toting cherubs to follow him into clouds dazzling light.

At the center of the ceiling, against a background of Prussian blue and gold compass points of light radiating in all directions, a gilded chandelier illuminated the elegantly dressed guests below as they slowly queued into the receiving line to congratulate the bride and groom. Surrounded by such an ostentatious display of wealth and nuptial plumage, I felt shabby and somewhat self-conscious in my rented tuxedo and wet shoes.

That I was personally invited by Alec Marr surprised me because only the upper class of Chicago society seemed to be in attendance. Alderman, politicians from both parties, even the mayor. At the church I had not seen Alec, who had sent me a personal note asking me to attend. Alec and I had been friends in high school and briefly in college, but I had seldom encountered him since parting ways after our sophomore year. He had suddenly transferred to a college in the east, vaguely explaining that his brother needed him, while I, saddled with tuition debts and blue collar parents, dropped out and worked days in a factory while taking journalism classes at night.

Near the ballroom’s ornately carved oak doors, I spotted several colleagues from the rival papers waiting for drinks at a portable bar. Avoiding them, I found my table and place card where, after awkward introductions, I asked my table companions if they had seen Alec. None had. Across from me was a stout man with slickened strands of thin red hair clinging to an oily moon of a head. He said he was a second cousin of Alec’s, sniffed and looked disdainfully at me.

It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t show up at all, the man said as he speared a pat of butter with his salad fork and pressed it against the roll he'd torn in two. He doesn’t come to family functions anymore. Said he thinks they are a great bore. He’s the bore if you ask me, he added looking to the others around the table for support.

An elderly woman at my elbow leaned close to me. She was thin, wore a stickpin in the lapel of her suit with a ruby the size of a hazel nut and smelled like a musty drawer that had suddenly been opened.

Don’t mind what Bert there says, she failed to whisper to me. He’s just angry that when Alec joined the company he finally had to do some real work for a change.

Heard that you know Auntie because, unlike others at this table, I’m not stone deaf. Leaning forward, Bert adroitly speared the last roll from the basket. All I’m saying is that when Janus ran things alone, everything was a whole lot more — professionally comfortable.

A skeletal older man to my right chimed in. Bert used to spend more weekday afternoons prowling Wrigley-Ville than the ballplayers!’ The others at the table laughed and Bert’s face turned red. Now, don’t get in a huff, the man said to Bert. I’m just giving you the needle — a little anyway."

Well, I’m not the only one here that finds Alec strange ever since that funny business in Thailand with his sister Cristobel years ago. Cousin of mine or not, Alec is no Janus. Not by a mile.

When I asked what he meant, he said that Alec was no longer in good stead with the family and that if I was so curious perhaps I should ask Alec myself. Alec’s fond of telling tales, he said, then turned away from me and began discussing the merits of the vichyssoise with a young man sitting next to him.

After giving up at picking the bones of the stuffed squab for more meat, I excused myself and wandered through the vaulted lobby to stretch my legs. From across the way to my left, I heard a piano and followed the sound down a short flight of marble stairs and along a faintly lighted corridor to the hotel lounge. I decided to go inside to have a cigarette and a quiet drink.

While I waited for the bartender to acknowledge me, I recognized a minor politico, a somewhat infamous congressman, sitting two stools away from where I stood. From various news accounts and scuttlebutt at the paper, I knew that he was being investigated for some sort of ethics violation involving construction kickbacks and a fact finding mission to Caribbean Islands.

Sitting next to him was a young woman, who I guessed was neither his wife nor his daughter. She was wearing a short maroon dress cut low at the neck. The congressman, a rotund man with a sparse fringe of silver hair, leaned eagerly forward, spoke in a low tone to her for a moment, then he reached inside his jacket pocket and handed her a small rectangular black box. She coyly smiled, opened the box and erupted with an outburst of delight that caused the others at the bar to turn their heads.

From inside the box, the woman removed a necklace of a single large ruby set between two smaller sapphires. She held the necklace by its gold chain up to the light for a moment, staring with grey-blue eyes at the refracted light of the ruby.

The congressman took the necklace in his thick fingers and placed it around her neck while she held up her dark hair. The woman studied her reflection in the mirror behind the bar for a long moment before turning quickly and kissing the congressman’s cheek.

I signaled to the bartender again but he continued to ignore me. The woman rummaged in her handbag and took out a gold cigarette case. The congressman fumbled for a light but the bartender, as if by magic, produced a lighter from the pocket of his black vest. She bent forward to accept the light. In the reflection of the mirror behind bar I could clearly see the curve of her white breasts and the ruby that, against her pale skin, looked like a small oval of blood above her cleavage. At that moment she looked up. Her eyes held mine and her mouth briefly rose at the corners before she straightened and looked away.

I see they’ve all come to feed at the trough, I heard someone say in a low, mirthful voice from behind me.

Startled, I turned and saw Alec seated alone in a black leather booth directly behind me. His face was barely illuminated by the candle in front of him and a recessed light in a small alcove above the table. But even in the half-light, I recognized his voice. He looked much older to me than his fifty years, with deep lines at the corners of his mouth and spidery creases around his eyes. There was an empty whiskey glass on the table in front of him and an ashtray nearly full with spent cigarettes. Giving up on the bartender who continued to hover in close proximity to the congressman, I went to Alec and shook his hand and sat across from him.

I’m sure they’ve all brought the requisite gifts for the couple, though, don’t you think? I said, trying to make light of what seemed to me to be an odd comment.

Gifts? More like barter. Tokens for favors to be collected at some later point in time. He laughed slightly to himself. Well, whatever you politely choose to call them — gifts, donations, booty — there is undoubtedly enough to last the young bride and groom for more than a few lifetimes.

Do you know him? I nodded toward the bar.

The Honorable Congressman Kincaid, Alec said. A pig ripe for the slaughtering, if what I’ve read in your paper proves to be true.

That’s not my desk, I said. But I know he’s allegedly dirty.

Humph, Alec snorted. More than allegedly. Janus is one of his biggest donors and my brother knows more than most how to spread the fodder for effect.

He signaled to a waitress and ordered two whiskies. As we waited, we exchanged pleasantries followed by a series of banal historical narratives on my part. I tried to revive the personal intimacy that had been lost between us through the years. For the most part, Alec remained silent as I uncomfortably prattled on about my work at the Tribune and some of the less embarrassing details of my personal life. To me, he seemed to be indifferent or in a reverie of sorts. Simply waiting for me to finish or leave. When in desperation I changed the subject and said, referring to his brother, Janus, that it was a proud day for a great man, he laughed shortly and said, Tell me why you think he is great man?

For a second time I was startled by his words. Everyone knows he is. It’s common knowledge. Look what he’s done for the world, for his family. For you, if I remember correctly, I added; an oblique reference to the checks his brother used to send Alec while we were in college. You should, I would think, know better than anyone the good work he’s done.

I do know, he said quietly, what he’s done for and to others. I know because I’ve been close enough to see him, not as the outside world does, but as he is for those of us living inside his world.

He took a sip from the glass, rattled the ice, and distractedly shrugged. Anyway, greatness in others is usually more a perception of the misinformed than anything else. The only ones who really know even a fraction of a truth are those who see firsthand, and they usually manage to screw it up upon recollection. He leaned forward and briefly rubbed his watery eyes. Do you have a few minutes?

I knew that Alec had just issued me another invitation. When I didn’t immediately answer, he stared at his empty glass without moving, as though all functions had ceased in him and he had become immovable and uncaring one way or the other. He was only waiting for me to decide. I looked away from Alec. The congressman at the bar laughed loudly and I saw him put his hand on the woman's bare back, lean close, and whisper something into her ear that made her murmur a low purring laugh.

Although I found the idea distasteful of listening to what I thought would be an extended history of sibling squabbles, perhaps there might be something I could use for a story. So, I smiled, feigned interest and said, First tell me if I can print any of it and second, why me?

"Print what you like. As to why you,

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