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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Blog 71: His Second Shadow (Lethe Three)

So for years I lived a lie and for no reason it seems. My son knew all along who I was. I wondered. I guess plastic surgery only works to deceive vague acquaintances. Usually the hand tattoos are enough to distract people anyway. Those who knew me before would say I’d rather have died than have a tattoo. In Russian culture my tattoos represent two kills in the mafia. One of the men who referred me for having my face cut apart had the tattoo and laughed when I said I killed me and my wife. It should have scared me to hear the hit man laugh but something about dying, even if it was a lie, made me feel braver.

Lethe introduced me to his wife. He told me she lead a militant woman’s rights group who had been disbanded by an even more militant band of puritans. Apparently Lethe managed to dissuade the would be killers from stoning her to death with a nuclear bomb. Having convinced them to set her free my son punished the men who might have killed his bride to be by letting them drink from his stores of poison. Immune, he drank with them and watched the small army writhe in agony. Lethe’s second shadow Sacer took on the role of bodyguard for my son and clearly takes it very seriously. I saw the handles of six throwing knives in the pockets of her body armour and a silenced pistol in its holster at her side.

For the first time in years my wife and I would meet our son and it seemed he would be multitasking as he arranged munitions deals on his palmtop while we tried to ply information from him. He looked nothing like the shadowy child I’d seen in my chair only months before. He was a man enjoying knowledge withheld from the world. I was going to ask his new wife to join us when she kissed one of the guards who’d been relaying information to her. Our son smirked as we sat, shocked, watching his wife kiss another man. He told us the marriage was more of a formality. Neither he nor his bodyguard were under any allusions as to the purpose of their relationship. She had sworn to protect him in return for his aid in her cause.

We’d created an unashamed monster. He told us if we wanted to know him then we would know him for what he was without polite vagary. He was no more a squeaky clean merchant than I had been an honest lawyer. We had no right to judge a son he said that we’d let think us dead.

It seemed slightly unfair for him to sit there and tell me his crimes were no worse than mine. His mother took the deal as he’d offered it, accept him for what he was and join the ride or be left in the dust behind him. She told him that no matter what he did we would be there for him, I was not so sure.

He told us that during all of the back and forth with European security agencies it had become inevitable that at some point a taskforce would be put together to find him. He’d taken the initiative to start that group himself and as yet the best efforts of that task force had proved unsuccessful. He wanted to know if I had ever considered a career in criminal psychology. I had not. Apparently security wages were far more substantial than those of a regular psychologist. I agreed more for the sake of his mother to become the consulting psychologist in the group meant to catch him.

Two weeks later I was in a conference room in Brussels looking at a photo of the man the others thought was behind the mayhem all over the world. The photo was of an older, more beardy gentleman from either Iran or Syria thought to be the head of a terrorist cabal with nuclear ambitions. Clearly my son was spinning his stories well.

I gave my opinion that the suspect while drawing conviction from his religious views was more than a mere fundamentalist. Sad as I was to be my son’s puppet he does write a good script. He wanted me to build him a legendary counterpart behind which to hide. I will not disappoint.

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