Friday 14 December 2012

Important Message From Mr Fakmit Uday

My dear friend,

Kindly forgive my indisposition for contacting you in such manner but I have ben looking for someone honest for making a business proposal and your name was suggested by a contact from your country who said you are a good and trustworthy person.

Let me introduct myself. My names are Mr Fakmit Uday, and I am working as midlevel executive in Al Ciada Security Services. Al Ciada is very big firm and performs security service for many clients including in European Union and Washington. Most recently we have been fulfilling big orders in Libya and Syria, fighting evil dictator Assad and setting up democracy.

Please understand that it is not being true that I am a terrorist. That is lying propaganda of regime. I am Al Ciada assistant commander and completely honest and reliable fellow.

Duyring one of recent actions in Syria, my Al Ciada unit captured building in Aleppo which had been headquarter of evil regime. In one room I found a trunk containing the Hugh sum of money, € 2,850,000 (Two million eight hundred and fifty thousand Euros only). This money was part of illegal fund of evil dictatorship of Assad, and three other of my men and I were only fellows who found trunk. No other fellow but me knows the trunk because I was only fellow who brought trunk out. It is confidential secret. (Alsoplease do not believe lies that I kill others who found trunk. It is all lies. They just vanished.)

After bringing out money I transferred it out of the country and then had it sent to security company in Timbuktu, Mali, where it is now at present in safe keeping of Ansar Dine Associates. However, I am not able to access this Hugh sum of money while I am working in Syria. Also I do not want Al Ciada to know about the money because then they will take it for their own use and buy drones with it.

So I suggest that I transfer the ownership of the trunk to your name and have it delivered to your address. Or if you wish you can go to Timbuktu and collect it yourself. Once it is in your country, I will pay you 40% of the amount, the remainder 55% will be for me, which you will invest in whatever good business is in your country, and 5% for incidental expenses. I am sure you will find this very beneficial offer.

Please do not be afraid that this is Nigerian scam. In first place I am not Nigerian. Also I am honest fellow and so this is not scam. I am sending photograph of myself so you can see I am real.

If you agree, please send me the following information by return email:

·         Your full names
·         Your age and sex
·         Your address including country address
·         Your phone number and email address
·         Your International Passport and driving licence
·         Your bank account number
·         Your specimen signature.

If you not agree, I will track you down and kill you.

With warm regards

Fakmit Uday.


Tuesday 11 December 2012

The Cheaper Man

The odds are on the cheaper man.

~ Rudyard Kipling, Arithmetic on the Frontier

Below its wings, the earth was a blue curve against the black infinity of space.

It swung in its orbit, its sensors probing the planet below, licking at oceans and mountains with electronic eyes, probing beneath the desert sands with ground-penetrating radars. Its computers whirred, each a miracle of engineering, processing information at a fair fraction of the speed of light. Beneath its wings, the pods of communications sensors listened in on the voices of the planet below, from lovers’ tiffs to business discussions, from a politician talking to a general to a punter placing a bet on a horse. And once in a while it turned its eyes outward, because it was not alone here.

To men of only a few decades before, it would have been a thing almost of magic. The money and effort that had gone into creating it would have fed and clothed several nations for years, run schools and hospitals without count. Its eyes saw all, its ears heard all, like a god of ancient times. And like a god, too, it could strike out of a cloudless sky, calling down thunderbolts and divine fire on those it found wanting.

Day or night, cloud or shine, nothing was proof against it. No enemy submarine base, no oil well, no pharmaceutical factory or railway marshalling yard but was naked to its surveillance. It could destroy unerringly, without pity or rancour, those who posed a threat to its masters – or those who might, someday, pose a threat, hypothetically speaking.

It was all the same to it.

Deep beneath the earth, in an underground bunker which cost more than the health budgets of entire countries, a man sat back from his monitors and stretched. Before his eyes, the information feed scrolled, showing him what the sentinel in the sky was seeing. For a moment, he paused the image on the white domes of a nuclear reactor somewhere in an oil-rich nation. There was nothing new there, but on each orbit he did this, taking photographs for analysis. The image was so clear he could clearly see men standing near a truck, talking. He grinned, white teeth flashing in his tanned face, imagining how with a finger on a button he could cause missiles to be launched which would wipe out the men, truck and all.

Rolling his muscular shoulders under his uniform, he scanned the readouts which showed him the craft’s path in orbit. Suddenly, he frowned, hunching forward. Something was approaching, at a high speed, on a trajectory which would bring it close to that of the craft. His fingers hovered on the buttons which would fire rockets to make an emergency change of orbit, and with his other hand he readied launchers which would, on command, send forth missiles to eradicate the oncoming object. The craft was well-provided with the means of offence and defence.

Then, abruptly, he relaxed, sitting back. The cameras showed the object to be merely a chunk of space debris, part of some long-forgotten satellite. Meanwhile, the computers showed that it would comfortably miss, so there wasn’t even a need to change orbits.

Rubbing a hand absently on the rich leather upholstery of his seat, the man looked forward with anticipation to the weekend. He was planning on taking his wife and daughter to the beach. He deserved the holiday, he thought. It had been a long time since they had been down to the seaside.

For a moment he let his thoughts drift to his brother, who had been laid off from his job as a teacher and last he’d heard was working as a short-order cook, making hamburgers. He frowned slightly and dismissed the thought. His brother’s problems were his alone.

Taking his eyes from the screen for a moment, he glanced at the clock on the wall. Forty minutes to the next shift. He wished he could knock off a few minutes early. There was, anyone could tell, hardly any kind of risk.

After all, he thought, scanning the readouts on his screens, what could possibly stand up to something like this?  

Why, he thought, I'll bet we can beat off an alien invasion now. I'll bet we can do that.

Impatient to be gone, he looked towards the clock again.

Thirty-seven minutes to go.


The jezail was almost two hundred years old, and almost as long as the boy was tall. It was a work of art, its curved stock inlaid with ivory, its barrel bound by hoops of brass. One of the boy’s forefathers had used it at the Battle of Maiwand, and it had become a treasured family heirloom in the time since. Nobody had ever thought it would be used again.

Until now.

The boy had never been to school, and did not know how to write his name. He was perhaps fourteen years old – he was not quite sure – and short for his age, a shock of blue-black hair escaping under the edge of his pakol to fall over his forehead. His clothes were the same dun as the dust of the hills, his shoes cracked leather, and when he lifted the old rifle to his shoulder he staggered slightly under its weight.

Below him, the road was a white scar through the rocky plain, and the village a smear of smoke behind the nearest hills. It was along that road that the Enemy would come.

Stopping, the boy carefully measured out the powder from the horn at his waist, tapping it into the barrel of the ancient weapon and ramming it home with a scrap of cloth at the end of a stick. He fumbled in the leather pouch slung around his neck and extracted a lead ball. It was rough and chunky but slipped down the muzzle easily enough, the rifling gripping the soft metal.

Spreading a little more powder in the firing pan, he lay down behind the rock and waited for the Enemy to come.

The boy had not meant to be lying here with a gun. Normally, at this time of year, he should have been helping his grandfather in the fields. But the Enemy had burned his grandfather’s fields because of the poppy crop, and then one of the Enemy’s drones had bombed his father’s old truck. His father and elder brother had both been in the truck at the time.

And then last night the Enemy had come in the night, smashed down the door, and stormed into the house shouting unintelligibly, even into the women’s quarters. Nobody knew what they’d wanted, so couldn’t give it to them. When his grandfather had objected, one of the big foreigners had knocked him down with the butt of his rifle. The old man had not lived out the night.

That was why the boy was lying here now.

Suddenly he stiffened, his eyes narrowing. Far away, a line of angular shapes was coming along the road, trailing dust. He shifted the jezail, bringing up the long barrel, propping the end up on a flattened stone as a convenient rest. His entire body became still, like a piece of the rock itself. Only his eyes moved, tracking the Enemy.

The first of the angular vehicles stopped, as he knew it would, near the smear of black marking the ruined poppy fields. The turret turned, its questing cannon like an elephant’s trunk sniffing the air for danger. Behind the shield in the turret, one of the big foreigners stood, a bulky figure in blotched brown uniform, made all the more huge by helmet and body armour. The man’s head turned, eyes beneath mirrored sunglasses scanning the hillside in the boy’s direction.

For the hundredth time, the boy wondered why the Enemy had come, what they wanted. He had heard they were from a land far away, a land so rich that it was virtually beyond imagining. What could a country so rich want from something so poor as his own land? It was a mystery beyond understanding. That man down there, for example – he was bigger than anyone the boy had ever seen, his skin smoother and his teeth whiter even at this distance than the wrinkled visages and stained grins of the villagers. What could such a man want from his people that they were willing to kill those who had done them no harm?

Softly, with infinite care, the boy took up the slack of the jezail’s trigger. The ancient weapon’s butt slammed into his shoulder, its report like a thunderclap in his ears. The centre of the Enemy’s face vanished in a smear of blood. Slowly, like a collapsing statue, the man threw out his arms and tumbled off his turret and into the dust.

Hardly daring to breathe, the boy lay behind his rock and watched the rest of the Enemy blast at the hillside with machine guns and cannon. The firing lasted a long time, but none of it struck close.

After the foreigners had gone, carrying away their dead, he came down from the hill and went back to the village.

He was a man now, the only one left of his family, and his mother would have need of him.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2012