READ CHAPTER 2 OF ‘BIG WHITE LIES’ BELOW:
Tall and blond and built like a champion surfer, KA43 strode into the de-commissioned army barracks’ mess hall. He made his way to a refreshments table and poured a coffee, then turned and shielded his eyes from fluorescent lights while he scanned the room.
A hundred men in black combat fatigues sat at square tables, their faces serious, their chatter murmured. Brick walls painted in a camouflage pattern of black, brown and white met a curved, olive-green ceiling. KA207 waved from a table near the middle. KA43 sipped the coffee and savored its’ bitterness, then zigzagged through the crowd to join his two team mates.
Chubby KA72 stroked his red beard. “Good of you to grace us, 43. Did you get some action in the cells?”
“I wish, there’s some cuties down there,” KA43 said as he sat. “I’ve been speaking to a boss after the prisoner handover. He said we did a good job with the Tindall girl this arvo, and they’re putting free beer on later.”
KA207 bit into a muffin. “Awesome…” In his mid-twenties, half the age of his team mates, he had a cinnamon mop of hair and a pink face. “Business must be good?”
“Booming more like it,” KA43 said. “He was checking the girls’ target numbers on a list, the main numbers man. He s–.”
“So he was high up?” KA207 blurted.
“His shield number was six and he wore purple.”
KA72 whistled, low-pitched. “KA6 is the Secretary. High Council.”
“See his face?” KA207 persisted.
“I’m not answering that,” KA43 said in a harsh whisper.
KA72 shook his head at 207. “You’re such a simpleton…Bosses never show themselves. Ever seen one without a mask?”
“Shut up, both of you,” KA43 snapped. “Eyes and ears.”
All three peered at the ceiling. A surveillance camera with a microphone dangling from it stared back.
KA207 screwed his face. “Just because we stay in this old barracks don’t mean we’re in the army. We’re not in frickin’, Russia, they can’t spy on us…”
KA43 pointed at him. “The uniform you’re wearing and that shield pinned to your chest says otherwise…This is an army, like no other. Here you’re just KA207, a nameless grunt. Mad if you think they’re not watching and listening to everything we do…”
KA207 slouched in his seat. “Okay…” He leaned towards KA43. “What else did the boss say?”
“Plenty more girls were captured this week and the Supreme Leader’s rapt.” KA43 sipped coffee. “But there’s so many orders for Koori girls coming in, we can’t keep up with demand.”
“I don’t get it,” KA72 said. “Why Koori girls? Ones’ we’ve grabbed, young and pretty, but hardly stunners. And the skinny Tindall girl…Who’d buy her?”
“Exactly, dude.” KA207 smiled like a deviant. “I prefer sexy Latinas any day…”
“You’re both idiots,” KA43 said. “Our clients are the richest men and women on the planet, they collect these girls like luxury cars and need all makes and models. A black Ferrari’s not the same as a black Lamborghini…And mega rich dudes in the Middle East find these girls exotic.”
KA72 sniggered. “Exotic my arse…”
“You’re right, but they’re the flavour of the month.”
“To each their own, and suits us…More orders, bigger pay day.”
KA43 nodded. “There’s more good news…”
KA207 jammed half a muffin into his mouth. “What?”
“You’ll be more stoked than a Kings Cross pawnbroker at Christmas.”
KA207 gulped the remaining muffin. “Tell us. What?”
“There’s a ceremony tonight, and the High Council’s nominated you and me to help run it.”
“No way?” KA207 sat back, his face like a sideshow-alley clown having a ping pong ball shoved down its’ throat. “Where?”
“There’s a massive world war two air raid shelter below us. Access is via the cells.”
KA72 huffed. “That’s a joke…Why him?”
“You’ve assisted before, and as this grommet hasn’t stopped telling us, he did good to chase her down today. He deserves a pat on the back…”
KA207 smirked at 72, then turned to 43. “Lucky they chose our team, eh?”
“No luck about it, we were the only team to secure all three targets this week.”
KA72 snarled at 43. “This arvo, coming here, the prick…” He shook his head. “And now he gets to–.”
“Shut it!” KA43 clamped a hand over 72’s forearm. His eyes flashed a warning then darted to 207. “What’d you do?” he whispered. “We can’t touch these girls, the boss wants them fresh.”
Pink drained from KA207’s face, his voice trembled. “She was starkers in the back of the van. I got horny…”
KA72 sighed. “Dangerous, messing with the boss’s girls. His, priceless princesses, as he calls ‘em.”
KA207 gave a nervous chuckle. “Hah, that’s funny as fuck.”
“Won’t be if he finds out…”
KA43 spun towards him. “You should’ve stopped him.”
“I dozed off, didn’t think the dirty bastard would jump her…Anyhow, you get paid to watch him and tell the bosses what happens, not me.”
KA207 snarled. “Fuck you, 72. Fat prick…”
KA43 glared at him. “I said shut it…This’ll stay between us. We’ve got bigger problems to worry about.”
KA207 exhaled towards the ceiling.
KA72 tugged his beard. “What bigger problems?”
“Killing those council gardeners in the park,” KA43 said. “It increased the risk of detection big time.”
“We didn’t have a choice, they saw us throwing her in the van. Coppers would’ve come from everywhere.”
“Well, pray the other crew takes good care of them and their truck. Otherwise, we’re fucked.”
“Those boys are top operators, they’ll leave nothing behind.” KA207 stared at 72. “And no-one needs to know about me and that Tindall girl. Right, 72?”
KA72 gazed at his entwined hands.
They sat silent for a minute.
KA43 finished his coffee then stood. “I’m going for a nap…” He read his watch. “The ceremony starts at twenty-two hundred, in four hours. Don’t be late, you won’t wanna miss a second of it…”