The Bahrain Incident
In this week’s blog I am publishing a short story entitled ‘The Bahrain Incident’ which I wrote some years ago and recently dusted off, and re-edited.
To date, it is the only ‘whodunit’ I have written, and even though I say it myself, I think it holds together quite well, and at 8,000 odd words it should keep some of you insomniacs out there entertained for an hour or so.
The tale is set in what was then the newly independent United Arab Emirates in the early 70’s. It is somewhat off the normal beaten track of most books in the popular whodunit genre, so I hope it will provide a bit of a change for those of you who love western cop ‘pot-boilers’.
As I explained in last week’s blog, the Pattaya writing group, which I recently joined, were kind enough to offer some constructive criticisms on this little piece of writing, which I have taken on board before publishing. I am much indebted to them.
I am trying something a little different with the way I make this story accessible to readers of my blog.
The Chewing Gum Emperer
When I was a young man in my mid-twenties, I was working as a Chief Accountant, way out at a ‘Base Camp’ in the hot humid desert of Abu Dhabi.
During my time working and living in that 100 degree, 99% humidity hell- hole, I will never forget Hank, the Texan, who was the boss of a fleet of giant Kenworth Trucks which was used to move the massive oil drilling rigs from one exploratory location to the next.
I suppose in today’s parlance Hank might have been called the ‘Transportation Manager’ but in those far off days, we knew him as the Head ‘Truck Pusher.’ (I was head Pencil-Pusher)
For most of the time, when the rigs were on location, drilling for oil, Hank would spend his idle days in the main Base Camp office, sitting back on his chair with his huge leather boots straddled across his empty desk.
Sometimes he snoozed, sometimes he read a ‘wank book’ and sometimes he just sat there, staring into space.
But the one feature of Hank’s day that never varied was his preoccupation with chewing tobacco.
He would chew the revolting stuff all day long, and even from the far end of the office, you could hear the sounds of Hank noisily sucking in his breath, followed by an indescribable splat sound as he spewed out a lump of thoroughly masticated, filthy tobacco.
For most of the time, this expert tobacco-masticator would succeed in landing the revolting, saliva-covered balls into a waste bin at the far corner of the office. In fact, it was probably the only thing that kept Hank from going crazy during those long, inactive periods between rig moves.
But every now and then, he would miss, and the revolting, slimy balls would miss and go splat, on the floor, somewhere in the vicinity of the bin, leaving a messy brown stain in their wake.