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Devil in Disguise

Devil in Disguise

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Published by Jude Ellery
Nigel Interlude #6 -- originally appearing in Man and Ball Issue One
Nigel Interlude #6 -- originally appearing in Man and Ball Issue One

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Published by: Jude Ellery on Oct 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Nigel stood in the shade of the Vera-wood tree at the top of the hill. Its bright yellow flowers and leafygreen branches made him nearly in-visible to passersby. Those who didnotice him took no heed of a mansimply getting out of the hot middaysun.Hot was an understatement. It was bloody scorching. Under his tree,however, it was cool and, when asoft breeze kicked up, even pleasant.Still, he was getting damned tired of waiting.He looked down the dusty street tothe compound a hundred yards off.It’s walls were chipped, reddish- brown adobe, it’s gates heavy oakenwood and wrought iron. There weremen with automatic rifles walking
 Devil In Disguise
Illustration:CHRISTOPHER LEE >
the rampart and two more concealedin the alcove at the gate. Not thatthey’d be any trouble. It was their  boss who he had to worry about andmaybe his guests, too.They had certainly thrown him for aloop. Coming down for breakfast, atthe out-of-the-way hotel in a sleepy barrio on the edge of Medellin, hehad sensed them just before walkingout onto the balcony which over-looked the lobby. He drew back andstayed in the shadows. Seemingly,they hadn’t noticed him.A couple, young in appearance, both blonde, immaculately groomed anddressed casually in brightly coloured polo attire, fresh denim and expen-sive trainers, were chatting with therather seedy looking fellow behindthe desk. The husband also sportedan expensive watch and the missus ashiny tennis bracelet and gaudy wed-ding ring. They had ‘Rob Us’ writ-ten all over them but anyone whotried would get the surprise of their lives – and probably the end of it.He had never seen them before andhe had always made it a point to beaware of the competition. Still, hissenses didn’t lie. They were gods.They should have felt his presence by now, as he had not seen themuntil it was too late, but they were ei-ther very good at masking their awareness or were totally obliviousto him.Having gotten what they neededfrom the clerk, they walked out intothe street, both now chatting on cell phones as they held hands. Well, hesupposed that yuppies needed repre-sentation, too, although they’d findnone of their constituents in thisneck of the woods.Deciding that he’d better find outwhat they were up to, even if it wasa trap, he masked his presence andfollowed at a safe distance. Downthe street, some children were kick-ing a ball in the middle of the road.It got away from them and rolled tothe feet of the lady. Laughing gaily,she popped it into the air with her right foot and juggled it for a mo-ment or two. Not too bad, Nigelthought, impressed with her skill.Giggling, she headed the ball to her husband, who scrambled to keep the ball in the air. After two lunging
kicks, he deposited it into a fruit carton the opposite side of the street.That at least partially explained hisnot knowing them. They were obvi-ously American.With the children laughing at theman’s ineptitude and the vendor ges-ticulating wildly over his spoiledmerchandise, the fellow sheepishly pulled out a large billfold andhanded over several American notes.The aggrieved vendor instantly be-came his best friend, offering the best of the undamaged fruit, whilethe children clamoured after a bit of  booty for themselves. Smiling be-nignly, the lady produced a few billsfrom her clutch, passed them out andshooed the ecstatic urchins on their way.As they ran down the street, thewoman watched them go, slipping amaternal arm around her scowling beau and reaching up to peck him onthe cheek. His face brightened a bitas he looked around. His searchingeyes passed right over Nigel, whohad sat in an empty chair outside adoorway, trying to blend in. Satis-fied that all was well, the Yank ledhis lady off down the road. He lethem have another fifty feet before herose to follow.Imagine his surprise when, after fol-lowing them all the way through the barrio, he realised that they wereheading to see the same person hehad traveled halfway ‘round theworld to meet. They had been ush-ered into the compound as thoughthey were expected and had been inthere for two hours now.Their host was not one to be trifledwith and as the time passed, he began to wonder if he should go into find out if they were alright. Theyhad seemed oblivious to him and totheir surroundings on the stroll fromthe hotel to their destination, yetnone of the many street toughswhich they had passed had paidthem any mind. Conversely, as hefollowed, he had found it necessaryto discourage a handful of them.Just what the couple were was amystery.Then, as he finally stirred, his pa-tience at an end, the gate swungopen. He settled back against theVerawood trunk, twirling a yellow blossom in his fingers as they strode

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