For All Nails #200: The Lads From Luanda

by Johnny Pez

Luanda, Federative Republic of Angola
19 February 1975

Lionel Stackpole was becoming increasingly annoyed.

He had been rather suspicious at first upon receiving Colonel Mocumbi's telefacsimile, but he had made certain inquiries (well, gone to the library and looked up a book on Angola) that had satisfied him that the Colonel had indeed been an associate of the late former President-for-Life Fernão de Almeida. And, really, one of the fundamental principles of business was that you had to risk money in order to make money. The opportunity to earn a ten percent commission for couriering twenty million North American pounds from Angola to Hamburg certainly seemed worth the trouble of opening a bank account in Hamburg in his own name and depositing N.A. £15.

But then there had been all those unexpected transfer fees and bank fees, and back taxes owed, and government officials who needed to be bribed to allow the transfer to take place, and before he knew it Stackpole found that he had contributed nearly N.A. £3000 to the enterprise.

However, all the obstacles had been overcome, and here he was at last in Luanda to take possession of the N.A. £20,500,000. Stackpole kept his eyes open, but he couldn't see anyone in the airpark who resembled the telefacsimile'd photograph of Col. Mocumbi.

"Ah, Mr. Stackpole," said a voice behind him.

Stackpole turned, and saw a man standing before him who did not in the least resemble the photo. "Who are you?" Stackpole demanded.

"I am Mr. Savimbi, Colonel Mocumbi's associate," the man said. "You understand of course that the Colonel is under a great deal of scrutiny due to his association with the late President. He prefers to remain out of public sight as much as possible. He has sent me here to pick you up and convey you to him."

Stackpole felt his suspicions subsiding. Of course the Colonel couldn't come to the airpark in person! Feeling a bit embarrassed, Stackpole followed Savimbi out of the airpark to a waiting locomobile.

He didn't particularly like the looks of the neighborhood to which Savimbi drove him, but of course Angola was a rather poor country and you couldn't expect it to look like Pennsylvania. Stackpole followed Savimbi through the front door of a seedy-looking hotel, and into an elevator that looked as though it hadn't been repainted in thirty years. Savimbi himself remained cordial, asking Stackpole how his flight from Philadelphia had been. Stackpole had been going into some detail on the deficiencies of airline peanuts when they reached a door on the third storey. Savimbi knocked on the door and said, "I'm here with Mr. Stackpole."

The door opened, and Savimbi politely gestured for Stackpole to precede him. He did so, and entered a hotel room that was both relentlessly generic and in poor condition. He was mildly puzzled when the man in the room proved not to be Colonel Mocumbi. He was rather more puzzled when the man produced a gun and pointed it at him.

Turning to his escort to ask what was going on, he found that Savimbi also had a gun pointed at him. With indignation in his voice, Stackpole said, "Colonel Mocumbi had better have a darned good explanation for this, or the deal is off!"

Forward to FAN #201: Notes from the Investigation (Part 2).

Forward to 22 February 1975: East or West? Minsk at the Crossroads.

Return to For All Nails.

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