Another two weeks in this damnable paradise before he could go home. Minnesota ice and snow never looked so good.

He looked up to catch the last of another bruised purple sunset when his chief house servant, Bao, approached with an envelope of rich vellum bearing his name and Sukhumvit address. He brushed Bao away and the servant vanished like a puff of smoke. No postage stamp. Must have been hand-delivered to the building’s security guard. He slit open the seal with a breakfast knife. On the card, the message read:


The plasma screen TV blossomed into American talking heads reading from TelePrompTers. American Taliban fighter John Walker will be brought back to the United States to stand trial on multiple charges, including conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad, the Justice Department said Tuesday. . . . . British police have refused to rule out taking action against Prince Harry over his cannabis use and underage drinking. . . .

What was Gilly worried about: some Brit smoking a little pot? He chuckled. No one, not even a royal prick can stay off good grass. Couldn’t be our weed unless somebody’d been careless and crossed the wrong ocean. Another laugh. Then he saw the trailer inching along the bottom of the screen.

US Coast Guard raids Thai fishing vessel in Pacific Ocean . . . .13 tons of cocaine hidden under frozen squid . . . .

If he’d been drunk he might have missed the significance but now, clean and clear-headed, all synapses were firing. He lunged to his computer and clicked his way to the CNN web site in search of the news posting.

During the raid of a Thai fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean, US Coast Guard officials may have found the largest shipment of cocaine ever intercepted at sea. Investigators now believe they have tapped into a complex money-laundering ring operating in Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua and most recently, Thailand. The drug cartel under investigation is suspected of moving millions of illegal drug dollars through an elaborate network of brokers into unregulated US insurance investments that are being used as sanctuaries for dirty money.

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