Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Prologue (revised)

Kinshasa. Democratic Republic of the Congo.
December 17. 1998


I am being offered Ten Thousand Pounds Sterling in gold for my ten year old Zizu, she of the turquoise eyes.

The mercenary Marcel de Merode pondered his situation. That’s not a bad business proposition, but I think I can get more argent – money. Zizu is a dazzling beauty, as her mother Flora used to be. I am certain that I am not her father. The Seller and his agents might care about that because they are obcessed with Goddess blood lines. The way these billionaires go on about their camels and horses genes. Putain la Virge! I would never even mention such a thing. No DNA tests. For that I am grateful to my wives supplications to the Goddess Jiyamangiya, I suppose the daughter of a handsome and merciless jackal like me does not displease them. I won’t concern myself if they don’t seem to.

Flora was endowed with a voracious sexual appetite. Her coupling juju was so fierce; it cooled the fever in my swollen cock. She demanded to be satisfied all the time, and I was helpless before her ripe and clamorous body. I will never again hunger for a woman as much as I did for Flora. I neglected my many businesses and the rest of my huge family.

Marcel had fifteen children, eight grandchildren, three wives and three concubines. They appeared to live in harmony, when he was around. It was all make believe. The intrigues and the character assassination, which took place, were as deadly as those in any harem in the Middle or Far East. Men in polygamous situations invariably fooled themselves into believing they could control their women and keep them in line. The women ensured that their husbands, lords and Masters wallowed in this self-delusion.

"Flora was an independent woman, a troublesome feminist. She filled my wives and concubines’ heads with her feminist jargon. It is nothing but Merde. I wish those bitches the worst bubonic plagues to befall them. Flora was a sexy virago and a troublemaker. I ‘m glad that she is about to do me the favor of riding herself from me.”

He felt a stiff erection growing at the thought of her peach-colored teats, her lithe body, hard ass and sweet smelling vulva. He forced himself not to think of La Belle Fleur – the Beautiful Flower – his unfaithful Flora.

Life in the Congo was difficult enough without a snooty, independent minded concubine who gave herself to every man who struck her fancy.

The tall, urbane, well-dressed Lebanese negotiator Sabry, gazed at his Rolex encrusted with diamonds and did not restrain his impatience.

"Monsieur de Merode, Ten Thousand Pounds in gold is an excellent offer for your daughter. It’s good money. Granted, she is a virgin, has lovely teeth, well-formed bones, and is flowing with good health."

De Merode, ever the mercenary retorted, "Ah! She is a virgin in every orifice, and you forgot to mention those beautiful blue-violet-turquoise eyes, against her olive skin. And you have observed her teeth. They are like pearls from Bahrein. In addition to all that, Zizu can read and write English very well. She is also fluent in French, Portuguese and Congolese."

"Look here De Merode, Twenty Thousand Pounds for your young female. That is my last offer on behalf of my employer."

“In gold? Asked de Merode almost roughly.

“But of course Monsiur,” replied Sabry, who did not attempt to hide the contempt in his voice.

"We have a deal," loudly replied de Merode, who was shocked at the price, but remained impassive at his good fortune. He beckoned to wife number two. "Get Zizu ready. She is going to the Middle East with the gentleman and the veiled woman beside him."

"Should she not say goodbye to her mother?" murmured Onga, in Lingala. As the second wife she was aware that her position and that of her children was tenuous at best, so, she never contradicted de Merode, which is why he shared almost all of his transactions with her. In truth, Onga always agreed to whatever her husband decreed and then did exactly the opposite but in secret. She was devious that way.

"Woman, are you mad? Her mother is dying of sexual putrefaction.” It was his nasty way of expressing himself; that Flora had HIV – Aids.

“If these people come to find out Zizu’s mother is in her last days, they might consider the child contaminated and offer less money or even cancel the sale.”

"But Monsieur husband, they know the child is healthy. They insisted on many tests and even brought their own doctors to examine her,” she protested, keeping her dulcet toned voice even as she glared at De Merode.

"Do as I say. It is in your hands. After a good dinner, when all the other wives and children are asleep, we shall discuss the money and how much I shall give each of you."

"Yes, Monsieur husband, I shall do exactly as you say," Onga replied casting her large eyes demurely down.

To Monsieur Sabry and the veiled woman whom he suspected was either English or American, he explained in French" My daughter will be with you presently. One of my wives is helping her in the preparations."

"Qui. D’accord," replied the husky voice behind the veil. De Merode knew human beings, the kind of venals like him. Indeed, the husky voice was American.

"I think the girl’s mother is either dead, or this killer has disposed of her in some manner. Divorce or murder, I could not give a toss. We have wasted enough time haggling. It is not my concern and I don’t care. I just want to fly back to Riyadh where I am going to mount a seventeen-year-old Princeling, who is equipped with a humongous penis, which is the envy of every stallion in the world. My Grand Master has promised him to me.”

"Candy, Candy, if you are able to acquire the filly with the deepest blue eyes at twenty thousand Euros you have my permission to ride the Princeling and be ridden by him all day and all night," stated her paymaster and absolute owner.

"The elderly Prince had offered fifty thousand pounds for Zizu. The difference will now end up in my Boss and Master’s bottomless pockets. If I initiate the young man into the sexual rites to my master’s satisfaction he might just give me a couple of thousand Euros plus a pretty diamond or two for my pretty pussy."

De Merode spoke to Onga out of the corner of his twisted mouth.

"Bring Zizu to me when she’s dressed prettily. I never liked her. She is not my child. You all know her mother made me cornu (figurative horns of cheated husbands), but we must observe the forms of civility."

There was something feral about the woman with the veil, which reminded him of Flora.

"I can see that she does not tolerate the niqab, which shields her hair and lips from the curious and the lustful. Yet she carries it with grace. She is uncomfortable with the khimar (gown) that covers the naked curves I sense with such craving. This is a creature in a state of perpetual sexual heat. I can smell her. Bien sure. She is definitely wearing the ensemble to hide her true identity."

His antennae warned him to watch his step. He intended to do just that. De Merode was not one to throw away reason in order to whet the appetite of his engorged cock. Flora had vaccinated him against that pussy passion and obsession for all time. He detected a slight Anglo inflection in the woman’s speech.

"And so? Child trafficking and slavery was a global business, just like diamonds, drugs, telecommunications, medicines, weapons of mass destruction, designer clothes, deseases and foodstuffs. The same monopolies involved in all those global empires exploited women and children without a qualm … just like me," reflected de Merode in a greedy and vengeful silence.

Zizu had known her beloved mama was never coming back. That hyena De Merode had ordered all her clothes burnt, her bedroom suite fumigated and then scrubbed with Lysol minutes after he had paid for an ambulance to take her to a private clinic. This had annoyed De Merode.

"Uff! Mother Teresa’s hospice is more than adequate for the putain (slut) but people would have called me cheap. It might become difficult to bed another desirable woman once word spread that I had placed one of my concubines with the Sisters who dedicate themselves to the indigent and the poorest of the poor."

"Mon ange, the cross will remind you of me forever. Remember to say your prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Saint Jude. Promise me.”

The dying Flora had gasped to her Zizu, before she was seized by a paroxysm of coughing, which covered her white dress a bright crimson red. Her daughter would never know that Saint Jude Thaddeus, one of Jesus’ most loved disciples, was the Saint of the Impossible and of all things hopeless.

"Papa is talking to some people in the garden who are going to take you away. If you must know he has sold you for "beaucoup d’argent" a great deal of money.

"Shut up about it Marie Claude. What am I to do with you? It is not your place to reveal such things. Onga is supposed to talk to Zizu and inform her of her new situation," Marie France snapped at her daughter. She was wife number one, and by Congolese law, the only legitimate spouse of Marcel de Merode.

He had taken the rest of his wives in tribal ceremonies and he had paid in goods, which they had demanded. This rendered him responsible to the tribe for their well being, Tribal law was often fearsome for those who dared to break its bonds. He feared its consequences more than the so- called Law.

Marie France felt pity, guilt and relief at the same time. Zizu outshone all her brothers and sisters without even trying. She was aware of this for she was intelligent as well as perceptive. Marie France was an accomplice to the sale of a human being.

“Better he sell Zizu than one of mine,O chere Mon Dieu,” she prayed not with some guilt. She was sensitive enough that she could not stand to remain in the same room with Zizu. She strode out with her eyes downcast.

This revelation from Marie Claude, her eldest stepsister, an envious troll who spied endlessly on all her siblings, wounded her to her entrails.

"My father is selling me for a great deal of money of that I’m sure. That nasty stepsister Marie Claude would not have told me so if it were not true. In the entire world I have a feeling that people are routinely bought and sold. It never entered my mind that it would happen to me,” she spoke these words out loud for all to hear. But there was only silence.

The man I call Papa is probably not my father. I think he always intended to get rid of me as soon as my Mama had left the house. Why? I do not know. But I am not going to allow anything or anyone to upset me. I am not going to give that hateful man who behaved so cruelly towards Mama and brutally cold vis-à-vis me, the certainty that he has wounded me by his rejection of me. What a hateful way to show his rejection. The monster has sold me like a piece of property or a thing.

"I am so sad that I will not get a chance to say goodbye to my Mama before she dies. Last night I prayed that God end her suffering very soon. I think Onga must have known that de Merode was ridding himself of me like a broken piece of porcelain. I will not break down, come what may, for Mama’s sake. It was kind of her not to tell Mama."

In her childish innocence it never occurred to Zizu that the money, which the hyena that was supposed to be her father received from the smartly dressed man and the veiled woman for selling her, would be shared among his all wives and concubines.

"Running away from the murderous de Merode is useless. How could a monster like that have fathered me? The people who have bought me must be powerful people. They will not hesitate to hunt me down like a lion cub. Jesus have mercy on me," Zizu prayed quietly as she resigned herself to her new fate.
Then she pulled herself as tall and erect as her spine would go. At that very instant Onga came into the room. Zizu assailed her with determination.

"There is no need for you to be diplomatic or to use flowery words. Marie Claude with her usual lack of tact has already informed me that I have been sold."

"Oh Child," she murmured, glancing at her briefly and lowering her head. "What else can I say? I am not such a good hypocrite."

Zizu did not reply. She continued examining her books and belongings.
"I might be a thing to be bought and sold but inside my heart and my mind I will always be a free spirit. Nothing will ever crush or cow me. Nothing! I swear to God and to my dying Mama that I will die a free person."

Zizu strode imperiously in a royal blue organza party dress, which heightened the deep blue of her eyes. It was a hand-me-down from Margotte, another stepsister who despised her.

"This is the last time I shall ever be seen in some one else’s rejects. Even if I am more beautiful than you or Margotte and therefore, the dress looks more ravissant (ravishing) on me. From now on, I shall have nothing but Haute Couture," she hissed at Marie Claude, who was too taken aback at Zizu’s catty comments to retort.

"I will outgrow all my clothes. It is pointless to take them," she addressed the mysterious young woman with the veil, who was shod in the highest and most opulent heels she had ever seen, gold leaf. They looked real and she thought that they might be, considering that their occupation was buying and selling pretty children.

"Oh my dear, you will have the most fabulous wardrobe," she replied loudly, bending slightly over Zizu.

"This woman is bathed in the most delicious perfume or perhaps it is oil? I shall have as much as I want except that it will not be so overpowering,” she decided.

Then she answered the woman, "I shall not bother taking my battered suitcase. My leather school bag which Mama gave me will do nicely for my favorite books."

Mama gave me these books because she said they inspired and comforted her. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche and Le Dame au Camellia by Dumas.

"And so it shall be. You are a clever little girl, Zizu," she chuckled, fiddling with the thick gold and diamond circlets on her wrists, which covered her elbows. Each strand had a horned beast in its center, much resembling a devil.

Very visible on Zizu’s neck was her mother’s cross, of rough blue and white diamonds. This caused the woman to suddenly tense but Zizu did not see it because all she could think off was to get away from her wicked Papa.

She approached her father, wound her arms around his bull neck and whispered softly into his ear.

"Monsieur canaille (sewage scum). I curse you. Jesus told us to forgiv but I cannot and will not. I hope never to see you again. I shall always pray for my beloved mother."

Despite the fact that he had just sold a human being, his daughter, an illegal and immoral act in most parts of the world including the Congo, De Merode was an empty vessel. He insisted and constrained everyone around him to observe "the forms." He would have wanted nothing better than to kick the little tart to death with his heavy boots, but he smiled as if she had murmured the sweetest things into his ear.

“It’s the best thing for you Zizu.You will soon be an orphan and girls like you with beauty and brains surely have a better future elsewhere,”uttered Merode the monster.

Zizu turned towards Onga and ignored de Merode’s remarks She smiled her most captivating smile.

"Thank you, Onga, for your kindness.”

"Onga was the only one who came to visit my maman in the clinic and she was generous enough to take me to her, " she reflected silently.

Zizu turned towards the man and the young woman, symbols of her new Master and of a new beginning.

"I’m sure anything will be better than the inferno of de Merode. He has denied my mother and me the mutual comfort of saying adieu, till we meet again. May God punish him and condemn him for all time."

Without a backward glance at De Merode, Onga and the house she had lived in for ten years, Zizu declared loudly and clearly, "Bien. Allez. Madame et Monsieur."

"Ah jolie Zizu, you may call me Candy,” exclaimed the husky voice.

In Saint Mer, a wealthy suburb of Kinshasa, its residents considered Marcel De Merode an odd personality - the Belgian mercenary who went bush and possessed many wives and concubines. He was a rich man because of the raiding and the plundering he had committed all across the Congo as well as Africa.

"La vengeance c’est une plat qui Se mange bien, quand on le mange froid."

"Vengeance is a plate best eaten cold," so declared the French aphorism.

De Merode had sold Zizu for revenge … against Flora, her dying mother and his former great passion. Indeed, his only passion and the one woman he had ever lusted for with his whole heart and soul. Perhaps, he might even have loved her.

"I do not consider that the handsome profit I received for the transaction would ever be adequate compensation for my wounded pride and loss of face before Society.”

What De Merode would never admit to himself was that he did not give a toss about the opinions of so called Society. Flora had hurt him and his thirst for vengeance would never be quenched.

As a consequence, De Merode never felt any guilt or remorse over his action. The passing of time only exacerbated his rage and bitterness.

"I regret I did not ask more pounds sterling for that piglet daughter of a sow. A cheat to the end, Flora died too soon, thus depriving me of my only opportunity to torment her as she did me."

Flora felt a series of stabs perforate her heart and lungs.

“ Something dreadful has befallen Zizu. He has sent her away. That is the punishment De Merode is exacting upon my person. May Jesus and Saint Jude protect her for I am powerless and unable to lift a finger. I hope she had the opportunity to take the four books we both love. Each one of them has a key to a safety deposit box in Credit Suisse, Banque Pictet, Sal Oppenheim and Julius Baer in Switzerland, There is enough liquidity and diamonds in the banks to see her through the best schools and live a very decorous life away from De Merode’s evil clutches. More stabs of endless pain ran through her whole being. Wave after wave of coughing attacks left her in rivers of blood. They colored her gown and her bed crimson. Tears of blood flowed down her cheeks.

“O Deus Meus, I am about to die. I love you Zizu,” she murmured and entered into a coma.

It was past midnight when Onga was at last able to steal away to the clinic.

"Flora died peacefully in her sleep this afternoon. Brother Jean Leon administered the Last Rites. It seems Flora had turned to Sister Nita of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s Religious Order) when she felt the end was near. They will give her a proper Catholic burial. Flora was Catholic and never abandoned her religious beliefs even if she strayed very far from the flock," the Head Nurse informed Onga.

I envy Flora and Zizu, thought Onga. In one-way or another they have left the Congo. Perhaps they are the lucky ones?

She thanked the Head Nurse and gave her a generous tip. It was a local custom.

"Thank you Madame de Merode, but I cannot accept it. A young stylishly uniformed Congolese Officer, Police I think, who may also be involved with one of the multinationals in the Congo, delivered a thick envelope with more than enough money to build a small mausoleum for Flora dos Santos, beloved mother of Zizu. He assured us that someone powerful in the West would assume the financial responsibility of educating Zizu in Switzerland."

"That could only mean Zizu’s birth father!"

Onga fainted on the spot. When the smelling salts revived her she revealed that just a few hours ago, Zizu was sold in marriage by Marcel De Merode to an unknown family in the Near or Middle East."

"Please keep the secret," she implored the Head Nurse. "There’s no telling what influential and bad men will do to all of us in their wrath. My husband hated Zizu. He might have abandoned her on the streets of another African country or even sold her to marauders who would have raped her until she died."

"Perhaps we could say Zizu just disappeared? She ran away because of the cruel attitude of De Merode towards her? I shall stick by that story if you will," suggested the Head Nurse in desperation.

"We are comforted by the fact that Flora will have a lovely final resting-place. Zizu will certainly lead a serene and pampered life. May God forgive us for passing out these lies," sobbed Onga, who embraced the Head Nurse. Tears of guilt blinded her and she ran out of the clinic to disappear into the night.

"Flora, forgive me. I could do nothing. How can you ever rest in peace? How will I spend the rest of my life knowing I was an accomplice of De Merode because I did nothing?" Onga cried silently.

Her lover’s car was waiting a block away from the clinic. She sat next to him and made sure that her thighs rubbed hard against his. He was ready for her. She saw his unbuttoned trousers. She ran her hands over his genitals and bent down to greet them with her tongue. "Comme ca va mon grande dessert?"

"Don’t be too upset about it. You could do nothing to stop the sale of the child. Your position and mine is precarious enough as it is," said Thierry in solidarity tinged with bitterness.

He was himself one of de Merode’s mercenaries. If he ever found out that all his wives and concubines had chosen men in his army as lovers he would shoot them all dead. Danger was always a concomitant to howling dog sex.

"How much time do we have?" asked Thierry, caressing her thigh and slowly lifting her soft skirt. Onga raised it past her pubic area and spread her legs as an eagle would its wings.

"We have all the time in the world. I gave him a strong sleeping potion," she murmured

"Whose turn is it to look after all the children?" he asked stroking her clitoris lightly.

"Monique (wife number three) is sleeping with him tonight to make sure he does not wake up for any reason. All his drinks, including the water have been mixed with valerian, passiflora, hawthorn and Bella Donna." She explained in short and quick breaths.

"My sweet. Tonight’s the night for good coupling," replied Thierry.

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