Previously the Ghosts of Haggismarshe found out that Lady P. P. had disappeared. She was possibly dead.
Back in the jungle, the night was one enormous sound, so loud that Mata Hari and Kruger could barely sleep. So loud that the noise was enough to scare the cojones off Kruger if he had cojones. But all those lion and tiger and elephant sounds were the romanticism of the jungle for Johnny Eager. It was his song.
Early the next day, the three were up and setting out for the diamonds. Mata Hari in the lead, taking directions from Johnny Eager on which way to go, then Johnny and Kruger following with the native carriers in the rear.
To say that the trail to the diamonds had curves would be the same as saying that Mata Hari had curves. Of course, the woman had curves and what curves she had. Johnny Eager had seen curves on other women. Mata Hari’s put all those curves to shame. Johnny watched her curves wiggle their way along the curves of the jungle trail.
Kaptain Kroger Kruger shoved his krugerand up Johnny’s caboose. “On, you huskey,” the cold steel intimated. So, on the party trekked their trek. Even with the map, it would have been hard to find the diamonds. Without Johnny, it would have been impossible. The map was only the first half of a puzzle. The second half was in Johnny’s brain. He was the only one who could interpret the map and find the diamonds.
It was a long way to Temporary where the gems were hidden. A long hard way indeed. This was one of those times that the Eager Beaver was not eager. Johnny was in no hurry to get to those diamonds.
On and on, the company marched, negotiating their way through the flora and fauna, the massive overgrowth and all the other jungle stuff that you might expect to find in a jungle. On and on, they marched down the long and winding road and up the yellow brick road, following trails that had not been followed since following began. They caught up with Terry Cognito and Terry N. Cognito, the Cognito twins, and passed them by. The native carriers followed, singing their national anthem “One Ton of Tomatoes” to the tune of “Guantanamera”.
The group managed to slip through the country of the Kwabanzi and avoid the tribal war with the Jujus, a war that had been going on for at least one hundred years. They missed Stanley and his I-presuming encounter with Doctor Livingston.
The party bypassed the territory of Tarzan. They were not interested in a close encounter with the notorious Ape Man. Sometime back, Jayne had divorced him and returned to England. “He’s never home,” she complained. “Boy and Cheetah need a father. He’s always gone somewhere, swinging on those damned vines. He knows I can’t keep up. But he does it anyway.” She took old Tar for everything he had, including the tree house he built in the middle of the jungle. She had rented it out and gone back to England for a decent English life.
In his loneliness, Tarzan was now on his third marriage. You really don’t want to know about his second marriage. Besides it was annulled. But this third marriage was not working out any better than the other two. The new bride, everybody said, had the face of a gorilla. That was because she was a gorilla. And she had old Tar on a short lease. He was getting a bit fed up. If he wanted a boss, he would have stayed with Jayne. These days he was plain peeved and a peeved Tarzan was not a pleasant fellow to come into contact with. So, the company went out of their way to avoid his territory.
When they came to the famous Victoria Falls, they stopped to admire the scenery. “One heck of a falls,” Johnny pointed out. While there, they stopped in for some grub at the Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy. It was a restaurant all Africa knew about.
“Time to go, ja,” Mata Hari said, touching the pistol at her side, a Wise & Heimer .45. They left the restaurant, stuffed to the gills if they had been fish. Of course, they weren’t fish but they were still stuffed.
On they trod. Through the kingdom of the Suk of Sukatash. Past several posts of the French Foreign Legion. They encountered potentates potentating. The journey was enough to make Mata Hari regret the evil work she had gotten herself into. If only she could relax. After all, it was the style to spend a while on the Nile. But on they went. Until one day, Kruger had had enough.
“I have had enough,” Kaptain Kroger Kruger said, pointing his krugerand at Johnny Eager’s heart.
“Oooo, you’ve had enough,” Johnny said. “You’ve had enough? I have had enough. You and your krugerand stuck in my back all this way. I am getting tired of it.”
“If we do not arrive soon,” the kaptain said, “I am going to start seeing that my bullets arrive in a place where the stars don’t shine, capeesh?”
“Boys,” Mata Hari said in her best Mae West accent. “We’ve come this far. Let’s not fight. I like my men alive and kicking. As I always say, it’s not the men in my life. It’s the life in my men, big boys.”
Johnny knew he couldn’t keep the charade up much longer. If he didn’t show them the diamonds, he would be a ding-dong-daddy and he’d be dead. The one thing Johnny knew was that he did not want to be dead. In his book, dead was not a good thing. Not a good thing at all.
Besides the soles of his boots were wearing thin. He needed a new pair of boots, preferably black and shiny. The ladies all loved black and shiny boots, and Johnny loved the women. He was tired of this cat and mouse, and he was ready for that new pair of boots. The worst that could happen: he would be dead. And he didn’t plan on being dead. At best, he would get his money, then he would buy his new boots.
“Alright,” Johnny said. “I will show you where the diamonds are. There’s one thing though.”
“I knew my krugerand would konvince you,” Kaptain Kroger Kruger kommented.
“It was not your gun,” Johnny said. “It was my boots. I need new boots. My feet are killing me. And I want this ridiculous trek over. So, what about it? Will you go along with my deal?”
“It is possible,” Mata Hari said, studying his eyes, studying for a trick. “What is your offer?”
“I will show you where the diamonds are. Kruger, you can’t come along.”
“Why should I go along with that deal?” Kruger said.
“Ja, why should he go along with that, Johnny?” Mata Hari said.
“Because you’ll never get the diamonds,” Johnny said. “I will never tell you.”
“I will just shoot you up until you tell us,” Kruger pointed his krugerand at Johnny’s leg. “And I will start with your third leg. How would you like your wiener to be schnitzelled ? Then there would be no Johnny for the ladies, ja?”
“Go ahead, Kruger.” Johnny reached over and grabbed the barrel of the krugerand and pointed it at his package. “Go ahead. I will guarantee you will not get the diamonds. Capeesh?”
“Hold it, Kroger,” Mata Hari interjected. “He means it. He would let you blow off his wiener rather than tell you. I say we agree to his offer.”
“You’d better listen to the lady.” Johnny smiled at Kruger.
Kruger shoved his gun into his holster, then stared at Johnny. “I don’t trust him.”
“Well, I don’t trust you either,” Johnny said.
“We will do it your way, Johnny,” Mata Hari said. “But no crossing doubles.”
“No double cross,” Johnny agreed. “You make sure you have my money ready when we come back.”
“If you cross us, I will hunt you down,” Kruger said, “and you will die a horrible death. I know things and I shall use those things on you.”
“It’s a deal,” Johnny said. “Get your gear, Mata. We’ve got a bit of a walk to take.”
Johnny Eager and Mata Hari gathered up a canteen and some beef jerky. “Let’s go,” Johnny said.
The two of them walked out toward the morning sun. They had a half day’s hike out into the open, then up a hill and into a cave. That was where the diamonds were. Johnny was hoping her greed would help him pull off what he was hoping to pull off.
But why were these diamonds Johnny Eager had hidden in a cave in the heart of Africa, why were they important.? Well, they were extra special diamonds. And they were purchased for an extra special purchase. Johnny Eager had only been the middleman, transporting them from a Boer in South Africa to Mata Hari.
Mata Hari belonged to an organization known as the Wah Wah League. The Right Reverend Henry Wah Wah formed the organization as a way to enforce his anarchist theories. He recruited a few hundred anarchists to join him in an effort to bring down governments everywhere.
Through the use of terrorist tactics, the governments would eventually yell “ouch,” and give Henry Wah Wah what he and the Wah Wah League wanted. Unfortunately the Russians discovered the Right Reverend in Moscow and executed him. However, and there’s always a however in these sorts of stories, his reign of terror was not over. Two of his disciples took over the leadership of the league. They were Mata Hari and The Mighty Paddington, the Iranian Cubist Assassin.
The two had changed his strategy. Now they were out to turn governments against each other, then those states would go to war. In achieving this, they were using WMD, Weapons of Mudpie Distress. They were assassinating with mudpies.
Their henchmen gave leaders of countries mudpies in the face. The victims died of embarrassment. When someone said that a politician got a pie in the face, they meant he really got a pie in his face. This tactic worked on leaders of state everywhere save one place. The United States of America. Everybody hit with a pie died from embarrassment but not the Americans. Nothing embarrassed them. Nada. As Buffalo Bill often told his audience, “That’s show business.”
What do diamonds have to do with mudpies? They were special diamonds produced especially for mudpies. I know, dear Reader, you think I am making this up. But ’tis true, ’tis true. In a ceremony created by the Right Reverend, he ground up these special diamonds into the mud.
Once they were ground up in the mud, he baked an especially potent mudpie that really embarrassed folks. The diamonds provided a solvent that glued the mudpie to the victim’s face. The only way to get it off was plastic surgery.
Several months earlier, the league had used up their last diamonds. They had ordered a new batch and Johnny Eager was hired to pick them up. Mata Hari was supposed to get them from him and take them to the league’s headquarters in Barcelona. Johnny Eager and Mata Hari stood on a hill overlooking a savannah.
“The diamonds are here, ja?” Mata Hari smacked her lips in anticipation. “My package is here.”
“There are packages and there are packages, Mademoiselle.” Johnny smiled at her greedily. “You sure are one hell of a package. No reason we can’t trade packages. I will give you mine and you can give me yours.”
Then he turned and walked up the side of the hil. She followed him into the dark heart of a cave. Johnny reached over and grabbed the woman by the waist and took her in his arms. He kissed her hard. She kissed him hard. Their bodies met. Then she pushed him away.
“Where are my diamonds? If you don’t give me my diamonds, I will kill you myself.”
Johnny loosened his hold on her. He walked further into the dark and returned minutes later. In his hand, he held a bag of diamonds. He also held a gun. She reached out to him. She felt both packages, one of gems, another cold hard steel.
“Man, I love your packages,” she said, taking the diamonds, moving the gun out of the way. She leaned over and kissed him. Kissed him hard. Her body close to his. His body close to hers.
“Let’s do it, Johnny,” she whispered into his ear. “And let’s do it with a verb.”
He wrapped his arms around her and the two lit up the cave with their passion.
Then Johnny pushed her body aside, raised his cold steel revolver and fired.
Next Week: A ride to the other side and back again.