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Veterinary grade antibiotics and spooks

15 April

Hello, Tony here – more from Cambodia…

Been out of bed today. Spent some time sat outside on the veranda with The Monkey and Hambone.

Hambone has been doing a bit of maintenance on the chopper and on the scrounge for some fuel, he also borrowed the sat phone and made a call to the Green and Red bunch to find out what the fuck they are up to. He says that he sympathises with their cause and has done a few jobs for them in the past and that is how he ended up taking us to the meeting with them. He kept apologising for the resulting carnage though and said he would never have agreed to take the goons had he known what would happen. Having said all that though he came back from the sat phone call looking very confused. He was told that the goons were never supposed to have acted in the way they had, and he believes that they were double agents. Agents for who? That is where it gets even more convoluted. They informed him that the small army that had been hidden in the jungle around the temple were linked to the Society but were part of the breakaway Yakuza group posing as Vietnamese bandits. Ah, that’s all a bit crap then… Hambone notified one of his CIA contacts still operating in the region that he thought some of Kim Jong’s finest North Korean commandos were running riot and they thanked him very much and said they would have a look-see. Hambone thinks that that should keep the Yakuza out of our hair for the time being as they dodge black ops kill squads.

The Monkey has been talking me through some of the stuff from the journal – if my head hadn’t already been hurting this would have done the trick. The journal says that after the explorers had reached the temple and made their way inside, they had been greeted by a hand full of very old priests who’s task it was to preserve the temple. There was it appears a difference of opinion between the explorers and the priests over whether they should have access to the inner chamber and the priests ended up getting shot by AW – this explains the pile of human bones behind the dais. They had kept one alive and AW had ‘persuaded’ him to show them how to get into the inner chamber. Inside the inner chamber they had found the sticks in two piles beside the statues and after further questioning the priest had revealed that they formed stars that magnified the power of the monkey god. They had asked him to make the stars, but he had refused and said that only when the alignment occurred could the stars true purpose be seen. After further pressure it seems that the old priest had given up the ghost and died. Then it all got even weirder because during the night the soldier who had guided them had disappeared with the sticks, he had not been happy with the treatment of the priests, thus leaving them to find their own way out of the jungle.

Obviously, his lordship from the manor house had managed to find his way home with the monkey pendant but there was no mention as to what had happened to his compatriots. The Monkey thought that there must have been another journal that followed on from this one but we both reckon that the old woman has put that one in the fire. As for the soldier – The Monkey has been having dreams or flashbacks to his previous life and says that he remembers helping a young boy who was fleeing from his village towards the Thai border and he is sure he gave the child a small bundle tied with a red braided cord. If that is right then The Monkey and the soldier are/were one and the same and the small boy became the Buddhist monk who freed The Monkey from the breeding centre and gave him the sticks. We left the photos that came with the notebook at home for Tony’s research, but the one with the soldier, that must have been THE soldier… Bloody hell! That breaks my head!

Oh right, just to make things even more complicated, Hambone has been listening to all this and has just chipped in with the fact that he is sure that the soldier who was The Monkey was one of a covert kill squad that he dropped behind enemy lines during the last months of the war. He remembered talking to one of the soldiers the evening before the mission over a bottle of JD who had told him about having searched in the jungle for lost temples a couple of years earlier when he had been paid by an anonymous group to go AWOL for a while. Hambone had thought the cigar smoking trooper had been a bit crazy, he says that he had the eyes of a shark. The unit had been compromised soon after leaving the LZ and although he had turned back immediately to pick them up only two made it back to the LZ and both died on the return flight – one had been the cigar smoker. Hambone says he has carried around a feeling of guilt that they died even though he could do nothing to save them…

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16 April

Yo, Dave here again bringing more news from Cambodia…

I have mainly spent the day watching The Monkey and Hambone get drunk and reminisce about Nam (their Nam not the one we are currently in – their Nam sounds like a properly fucked up place!). I am not allowed to drink at the moment so I can’t join in – not that I could really add much to the conversation – but it has made me laugh out loud at some of the crazy adventures, and also made me sad as they recount stories of young men turning into killers and losing their best friends in a world where literally anything was possible if you had the balls and the mind-set. Hambone explained how, after the fateful mission he had plunged himself recklessly into everything he was assigned, even volunteering for missions which should have been suicide. Every time he made it back while those around him died and he felt guiltier and guiltier. It wasn’t until he met a local jungle wizard who told him that he was fated not to die because he had a job to complete and karma to pay back that he began to lose the guilt, then he became just plain crazy as he put himself into more and more dangerous situations until eventually he just accepted his fate.

They are both quite drunk now and the poker game they started is looking more like fifty-two card pickup. I am getting sleepy – still on some heavy pain killers and they keep making me nod off. The Monkey keeps calling me ‘granddad’ and tucking me in – cheeky little bastard. Looks like there is some stuff going on back home, but I will let the nerds fill you in…

Yes, it’s got a bit strange here. Tony called us into the loft room this morning and we watched two black helicopters landing at the local airbase in the distance. Then later one of the choppers began flying up and down the valley doing slow passes across the houses and the fields around us for a couple of miles. Kev went out to pick up some supplies and when he came back he was very excited. He was shouting about ‘the men in black’ having turned up and when we got him to calm down he explained that a black Range Rover had stopped in the village and a couple of men in black suits and shades had got out. He thinks one had been trying to get a phone signal but there is absolutely no coverage down in the valley. Anyway, they had a bit of a look around and then got back in the car and drove off. We have unlocked the gun cabinet and told the Monster Highs (they told Tony to come into the bedroom, but he just shouted through the door and then ran away – they frighten him quite badly!) …

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17 April

Hi, Dave again. The other two have gone out looking for ‘men in black’ so I get to do the update again as I can’t show my face outside in case I get recognised, not easy being the only black dude in the village!…

Off the pain killers today so a bit sore but okay. The bullet apparently passed right through my left side missing anything of value by about an inch. Made a largish exit wound though so that is full of packing and they are shovelling me full of veterinary grade antibiotics – hooray for science!

Hambone had a visit from a couple of aid workers, sort of International Mission Abroad type thing who are working with local groups and trying to convert them at the same time, he says they were asking a few questions about where we had come from and what had happened to result in me getting shot. Hambone thinks they are CIA payroll and he made up some bullshit about a hunting accident in the hills to the north. He doesn’t think they were convinced, and he reckons that we ought to be making tracks back across the border tonight now that I am able to get around. He says that he knows a vet for my medication and can also get me some rabies shots while we are there. Open season on taking the piss then…

The Monkey is concerned about the news from home. He doesn’t like the idea of the nerds going all Quentin Tarantino with his weapons stash, and neither do I. They have been warned and they know the consequences of pissing off The Monkey. We just have to hope they are sensible/scared enough to keep out of the way.

We are going to pack up our shit ready to get the fuck out of Dodge. I will of course be taking a mainly supervisory role…

Dave again. Yes, we are being careful. We are all pretty worried about shooting each other by accident so we will keep guns as a last resort. The Monster Highs have been doing some sort of cloaking thing as well, not like a Romulan Bird of Prey or Harry Potters cloak but some sort of thing that makes it difficult to focus on the house – sort of like fog but not?! Difficult to explain but Tony couldn’t find the house after going for a look around this morning. Kev had to go and guide him in! The Monster Highs say it’s how they avoid unwanted attention. To be honest they could do that by not dressing like they are just off to a fetish club – not that I am complaining you understand…

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18 April

We are back at Hambone’s place and I am being looked after by his lovely local staff. 

On the flight back we came under small arms fire just after crossing the border into Cambodia. The Monkey returned the favour with the door gun and it all went remarkably quiet after that. Hambone reckons it was probably local bandits as he does get shot at every now and then when he is flying jobs over remote areas – we think it’s just because he is so popular!

Hambone got a call from a friendly at the Vietnamese village we vacated to say that a couple of black choppers circled the village at dawn. Coincidence? I think not. Linked to the black choppers back home? Hambone says it’s unlikely as most of the covert groups that he has dealings with, including the Agency, all seem to favour black nowadays. He thinks that our missionary/spook friends were responsible and is happy that we were gone before they came-a-looking. I told Hambone he should paint his Huey black as it is very slimming – he called me a cunt.

A local doc has had a look at my wounds and thinks I should be okay to travel in a couple of days so we are going to start thinking about heading home. Me and The Monkey are getting twitchy about events unravelling in Cornwall and it would be good to be on the scene, although I don’t particularly want to get shot at again for a while. The Monster Highs seem to have done a good job of masking the house and it seems that they extended it to the nerds house last night to give them a chance to go and recover their important stuff without being seen. The general consensus is that it wouldn’t be a good idea to hide their house all the time as the men in black have already been poking about around there and if the house suddenly disappeared it would arouse suspicion. Our house on the other hand was never the focus of their attention so the fact that it is now just part of the scenery should be okay. I hope we can find it when we get back! I did ask how the postman managed and was given a very convoluted explanation about opening paths through the cloak at various times – nerds!

The Monkey seems in much better mood now we are back in Cambodia. I think there was a lot of previous history weighing on him in Vietnam and that whole business about his past life and the twisted connections with the explorers and the temple, and also with Hambone were playing on him a bit. I have just seen him heading off upstairs with three of the young local ladies and a bottle of Jack…

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19 April

We have been doing some sightseeing today – more to get me up and moving than to be tourists. Hambone took us to some local temples and a couple of markets and then to a Thai boxing match. The Monkey enjoyed watching knees making violent contact with heads while handfuls of notes changed hands. At one point he gave me a wistful look and said that it was a shame I wasn’t healed yet. He is determined to see me get my head kicked in.

When we got back Hambone was told that there had been a visitor who had gone away and said he would be back later this evening or maybe in the morning. The visitor had been American, and the girls thought he looked like a spook. Hambone says he is not surprised. There will probably be questions as to what he knows about the ‘North Koreans’, and he thinks that is enough of a potential international incident to detract from me and The Monkey but he wants us to stay out of the way when the visitor returns.

The nerds are keeping a low profile. The men in black have gone to ground and they have only seen the black chopper on one occasion and then it was heading out towards the Atlantic. They have been keeping busy working on why the black hole has stabilised and is still showing the desert image. Their latest explanation is something called quantum entanglement – all about stuff being linked together somehow. They believe that it is like a series of doors and the monkey temple with the stars was like the key in the lock. Good for them…

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20 April

Hambone’s ‘visitor’ turned up this morning, so we made ourselves scarce. A couple of his girls took us to do some more sightseeing and for a change we had quite a civilised day out.

When we got back Hambone was not happy. The man who visited was someone he has had occasional contact with in the past, a very dangerous someone, and he wanted to know how Hambone had known about the ‘North Koreans’. Hambone had worked out an alibi that consisted of him being tipped off by some Vietnamese war lords that he was doing some transporting of ‘goods’ for. But he wasn’t sure that the Agency type bought it. There were a couple of probing questions as to who he had been ferrying around that had got shot and his ‘monkey’ companion, and then some casually dropped in comments about reports of a major fire fight on the border. Anyway, the man more or less invited himself to lunch and hung around most of the day making more casual conversation until Hambone said he had to go and pick some stuff up. He drove around for a while and when he was sure that he hadn’t been tailed he called up another of his more official contacts and asked about his visitor. There was a lot of deflection but eventually he managed to establish that said visitor has gone freelance and has slipped outside the radar of the Agency, in fact they were very keen that Hambone let them know if he turned up again.

In conclusion – we need to leave. Hambone is going to drive us back south to Phnom Penh tomorrow. It will be a much quicker journey than the slow cruise upriver and he reckons it’s more about getting us safely out of the country now than being too discreet. We will set off at dawn and should be there around midday, then a quick visit to Mr Guns R Us to offload the hardware that Hambone doesn’t want to keep and then we will look at flying out the following day.

So tonight, we are saying goodbye properly. I may not be supposed to be drinking yet but fuck that – this needs to be an epic farewell. The Monkey is wearing an afro wig and some large, round sunglasses he has found in one of the girls’ rooms. I think this is going to hurt…

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21 April

Hurt, it did…

Getting up at dawn and then being driven through the stunning Cambodian dawn while trying not to be sick and constantly groaning is a different way to start the day. Fortunately there was very little on the roads and Hambone had sobered up a bit by the time we got halfway up the main highway. We passed around a large thermos of incredibly strong coffee and attempted to force ourselves into normality.

Reaching Phnom Penh Hambone drove us to the hotel we had booked, and we dropped off our basic kit. Then he took us to the Central Market and the office of our arms dealer friend. He said that he was very glad to see us again and he had a sort of awed look on his face as if we had pulled off the impossible. We sold him back the guns and any other kit we didn’t need (we had given the night vision goggles to Hambone as a present) all at a loss of course and then we headed back to the hotel. We tried to get Hambone to stay for another drink but he looked at us like we were fucking retarded and said that he wasn’t one for long goodbyes and that if he left he could be back by early evening. Man and monkey hugs all around and then we waved Hambone goodbye. He didn’t look back and neither did The Monkey.

I think secretly we are both glad he didn’t agree to another drink as it might just have finished me off and The Monkey still has a stinking headache. We are sitting on the veranda overlooking the lights of Phnom Penh and eating some sort of rice dish whilst washing it down with something called Klang Beer – well, it’s not a proper drink is it? We have a flight at 17.10 tomorrow and then it will be back to whatever chaos awaits back home. We will miss Hambone…

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