The Ed Waller Stories: Book One - Algeria Here I Come

Chapter Thirty-Two: Watch Out Bergen

After Allie talked to Philippe, he returned to the table, "Come on people, we need to go watch the talent show.  I know that some of the contestants came to watch Brahim and me make fools of ourselves last night, so the least we can do is go support them."

The entire table trooped to the theatre and Allie was walking with Jim and John.  I would love to have heard what they were talking about.  We were met at the entrance to the theatre by Liv and Lars.  Liv started, "We'll meet you at the disembarkation point at nine in the morning.  That way you can have a leisurely breakfast and the masses should have already gotten off the ship.  I thought we might start at Edvard Grieg's home and beat the other tours."

Allie answered before anyone could say anything, "Miss Liv, you know much more about Bergen than any of us."

Liv grinned, "We're going to meet my parents and brothers for a picnic lunch, if that's okay.  My parents have a family from Australia visiting them as part of an exchange program.  My parents visited them in Australia last year.  My brothers had a great time so I thought perhaps you young men would enjoy meeting the young people."

Allie giggled, "That sounds like fun."

We made our way to seats close to the stage.  It was disappointing to see how few people were in the audience.  Fortunately the theatre started to get more crowded just before it was time for the show to begin.  Allie leaned over to me, "Dad, why aren't there more people here?  These people are really rather good."

A voice whispered from behind, "Everyone is upset that you and your brother were kicked out of the show."

Allie and I turned around to see who was talking.  Allie started to laugh, "Mrs. Dawkins, they kicked us because they knew we couldn't even begin to compare with these talented people.  We were so bad that they fired us."

The show started and I kept wondering how Allie knew the woman's name since she had never introduced herself when she stopped at the table to talk.

I was bored as were Allie and Brahim since we had already seen the acts.  They were good but that is as much as I could say for them after watching my guys perform.  Allie leaned over and whispered, "Dad, they really aren't that good are they?"

Our conversation was interrupted by Alan making an announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants have asked that we have the young men who would be the hands down winners of the talent show if they were competing in the show tonight.  The contestants have asked that Safi Brothers close the show, so that you can all leave the show with pleasant memories."

"Allie and Brahim, your presence is requested on stage."

Both guys froze and looked at me.  We had to practically push them to the aisle so they could get to the stage.  Alan whispered something to them and the staff put a head set with a microphone on each of them.

Brahim started to speak, "Ladies and gentlemen, just so you know, we had no idea that we were going to be singing tonight, so we will understand if you start to leave.  We practiced a few songs that we didn't include in our show the other night so please be kind."

They started off with Allie singing, I Can Do Anything Better Than You.  By the time the two guys finished, the entire audience was laughing.  When the guys finished, the audience was standing and applauding.

Brahim nodded to the band and the two guys moved to opposite sides of the stage.  Brahim started to sing Bali Ha'i and Allie would echo.  When they finished the number they disappeared off stage.

Alan came out and said, "What a fitting way to end this fun evening.  Allie has declared that all of the acts were to be awarded the first prize of a week's free meals in the Lido Restaurant and this bag of memorabilia from the Paradise. Tomorrow night, the cast will be performing their second production show after we leave Bergen.  Ordinarily they would be performing on the following evening for the next formal night.  The Captain has requested that The Safi Brothers do their next show that night."

The audience applauded.  I was afraid what might be in store for me when I got to the suite.  As we left the theatre, Woody looked at me, "I would very much like for my sons to meet Allie.  I can not believe how aware he is of what is going on around him.  He is certainly not like my sons who think the world revolves around them."

"Why don't you join us in the suite, so I don't get beat up too badly?  I'm sure that both of my guys will find some reason to blame what happened on me."

We walked into the suite and Allie and Brahim were sitting there with their feet on the coffee table, Allie looked at me, "Dad, I suppose you and the rest of the adults are going to the Starlight Lounge and get drunk as usual.  That's okay, because me, Jim, and John will OD on decadent desserts while you're gone.  I'm going to be so fat that my vocal chords won't be able to move anymore.  I guess I won't be able to do any more shows."

We left Jim, John and Allie in the suite eating dessert and went to the Starlight Lounge for a drink and a couple of dances.  Alan approached us, "I understand that I made strategic mistake when I scheduled Allie and Brahim for another show without asking them.  My backside is a little sore from the chewing out that I got for not checking with them."

Brahim was very professional in how he responded, "Alan, I think it would be much better if you had asked us to do something, rather than always blindsiding us as you did tonight.  It's very difficult to perform if you haven't had a chance to psych yourself to do something.  Remember, Allie is only ten, even though he acts much older."

"Brahim, why don't you and Allie plan to sit down and we can talk about this tomorrow after your tour.  I apologize.  I guess that I assumed that you wouldn't be bothered, by the way you have handled everything so far."

Alan left and Bra looked at me.  I knew that he wanted to go to the suite.  I asked that we be excused and everyone else decided to leave as well.

When we got to the suite, everything was quiet and the lights were down low.  Brahim and I went into our bedroom to find Allie sitting there.  "Dad and Brahim, I guess I acted like a little kid today, didn't I?  First Mr. Yates tells me that something might happen tomorrow, next Brahim and I are told we were going to do another show the night after tomorrow and then Alan had us perform tonight.  Dad, I'm ten years old and want to have time to be a boy."

Brahim said, "Ditto."

Allie reacted to that comment, "You're too old to be a boy."

Brahim chuckled, "I don't want to be a boy again, but I would like to have the right to decide what I do and do not do."

Allie hugged us and climbed off the bed, "Dad, you have your marching orders, so take care of it.  I'll see you in the morning.  I need to go check on the others."

After Allie left, Brahim put his head on my shoulder, "Daddy Ed, I've been a bad boy and I think you need to punish me.  I think you need to make sure the sperm whales get a fresh supply of protein, but watch out for the sharks when you take the full condom out to drop it over the side of the ship.  We wouldn't want anything to happen to the beautiful hose."

I kissed Brahim and started to prepare us for the big event.  After I made sure he had been adequately punished and he had left a deposit on our stomach, we walked to the veranda to throw the evidence overboard.

We were standing watching the waves that were lit by the lights from the ship.  Brahim had his arm around me and we were not saying a word but basking in the afterglow of what we had just done.  Brahim started to chuckle, "I just figured out how the bad guys were tracking us down?"

I looked at him, "Bra, what in the world are you talking about?"

"Simple, my dear Ed, the bad guys are following the trail of the used condoms that we have been leaving behind."

I started to laugh, "Brahim, I think you have had too much to drink.  On that note, I think we should get cleaned up and get some sleep before the young one wakes us in the morning."

Brahim and I were in the shower when Allie just walked into the bathroom, "Dad and Bra, we'll meet you in the dining room.  Jim and John are going to go get some money, so they can help pay for things.  Their parents are upset with them for taking money from you all the time."

When Brahim and I arrived in the dining room, Jim Thomas was talking to the others.  When he saw me, he pulled out a hundred bill.  "Ed, take this.  Jim and John have been having a free ride at everyone else's expense.  We need to pay for some of their expenses."

Allie looked at me and I could tell that I wasn't to say anything.  I watched to see what Allie would eat for breakfast.  He ordered two pieces of French toast and two pieces of bacon.  I waited to hear Brahim say something but he didn't even give any indication that he had heard what Allie had ordered.

When Jacob took Brahim's order, he surprised even me, "I'd like two scrambled eggs with hash browns two sausage patties and some rye toast, please."

Khalid laughed, "Well, it didn't take long to corrupt you two, did it?  I guess you'll be having pork chops for lunch and pork roast for dinner."

Allie looked up from his fruit, "We've been taking lessons from you.  General Amir will probably have us eating fish every Friday."

Jim scowled, "I thought it was only Catholics who ate fish on Fridays."

Fortunately our food arrived and any further dialogue about fish on Fridays was stopped.

Our entire group including Mr. Yates and the Hobbs were waiting for us when we went to the disembarkation point, as well as Liv and Lars.   The three boys collected their slingshots and we made our way to the awaiting minibus. 

As we were making our way to Edvard Grieg's home at Troldhaugen, Liv was explaining the sites and Allie was asking all sorts of questions.

When we arrived at the Grieg home, we paid the admission fee and a young man took us through the home.  Allie kept talking to the young man and asking all sorts of questions.  After we toured the house, the young man led us to a viewing room.  He explained, "We have a short film that displays Mr. Grieg's music.  I'll meet you in the gift shop when it is over."

Both Brahim and Allie were completely involved in watching and listening to the music.  When the film ended, Allie asked, "Dad, do you have any of Mr. Grieg's music at home?"

"Not that I know of.  Why do you ask?"

Allie shrugged, "Just wondering."

Allie turned to Liv, "Why was Mr. Grieg's home called Trolhaugen?  That seems like a funny name."

Liv grinned, "Mr. Grieg was fascinated by trolls so he called his home Trolhaugen which means Troll House.  That's one of the reasons he wrote Hall of the Mountain King that we heard in the film."

Allie wasn't finished, "What is a troll anyway.  From the music it sounds as if it is something sinister."

Liv scowled, "There are good trolls and there are mischievous trolls.  There are even mean trolls. Let's go to the gift shop.  I'm sure they have some troll souvenirs that were made here in Norway.  They are a favorite of the children here in Norway."

When we entered the gift shop, our guide was waiting for us, "Do you people have any questions for me?"

Allie approached him, "Do you have CDs or DVDs of Mr. Grieg's music and do you have any trolls that are for sale?"

The young man took Allie to the music selection and he saw a compact disc that he wanted.  The young man handed the disc to him and took the guys to look at the trolls.  "This one is called Trolhaugen for Mr. Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King."

Allie looked at me as if asking if he could get it, but before I could answer, Dr. Roberts spoke up, "Go for it Allie, me and Tommy will pay for them since your Dad is so tight."

Jim and John each bought a troll too with the money their Dad had given me.

When we arrived at our minibus, two big tour buses pulled up. Liv announced, "We got out of there just in time.  We're going back to the city now, to meet my family in a park for our picnic lunch with their Australian visitors.  When we get there, make sure that you bring all of your personal items since we will be walking back to the ship from the park."

When our bus pulled up at a well maintained park, we were met by four boys about Allie, Jim and John's age.  They led us to a shelter area where the table was set with a variety of food.  After the introductions the seven young guys were the first through the line to get something to eat.  They went to sit in the grass while the rest of us ate under the cover.

After the boys had eaten, they went to an open area and the two young guys from Australia demonstrated what they could do with a boomerang.  Allie wasn't about to be outdone and he challenged them to a match to see who could hit the most targets.  He was going to use his slingshot.  The result was that Allie won and the guys started to teach each other how to use their pieces of equipment.

The fun was interrupted by Liv and Lars. Liv announced, "We need to get back to the ship so we can get ready for tonight's show since Allie and Brahim have preempted our time tomorrow night."

Liv's family and the couple from Australia, who were all absolutely delightful decided to accompany us."

It was so funny watching the seven boys talking as if they had been friends forever as we were walking back to the ship.

We had just arrived at the checkpoint to enter the dock when there was a shot.  Khalid ordered, "Everyone get down, and I mean now."

Allie looked up and saw three people standing on the warehouse roof with weapons.  He yelled, "Ready, aim, fire."

Three boomerangs and I don't know how many pebbles went flying through the air.  Someone hit the mark because one of would be assailants fell off the roof.  The second assailant dropped his gun and the third assailant started to turn and run.  Khalid went to see what happened to the man who fell off the roof.  Fortunately, he had fallen onto some bags of flour so he was alive but not moving too well.

Amir came back with the second person who was still writhing in pain.  Mr. Yates came back with a screaming woman threatening to scratch his eyes out. 

Fortunately, the local security people arrived and took over, but they had Khalid, Amir and Mr. Yates accompany them to the station to explain what had happened.

After we said goodbye to our new friends, the rest of us boarded the ship.  We hadn't even made it to the elevator before Allie lost it and started to cry uncontrollably.  "This is all my fault."

Doctor Sorenson was there and he gave Allie a shot to sedate him.  "He'll probably sleep several hours.  Let him wake up on his own."

As I was carrying Allie to our cabin, there was an announcement, "Our departure will be delayed for administrative reasons.  We will still be arriving at Reykjavik at the appointed time.  Remember tonight will be the second production show by the production crew and tomorrow night's show will feature the Safi brothers."

I thought to myself, 'Why does everyone act as if things are normal.  We've just been shot at and three of our friends have disappeared.  We have no idea when they will be rejoining us.'

Brahim and I put Allie in our bed and went to sit on the veranda, but we left the veranda door open and the door to our bedroom so we could hear if Allie called to us.  I was just holding Brahim in my arms and I could tell that he was as upset as I was, but neither of us said anything.

Dr. Roberts and Uncle Tom came through the openings of the veranda door and Dr. Roberts asked, "Is Allie okay?"

Brahim answered, "Grandpa Darryl, he'll be fine.  Think about everything that has been happening to us.  When he wakes up he'll be raring to go like a tiger."

Uncle Tom quipped, "So you're saying we should call him Tony the Tiger?"

Editor's Notes:

Well, that was exciting, wasn't it? I certainly hope this will be the last time someone takes a pot shot at our guys. Poor Allie seems to be blaming himself for all this.  It really wasn't his fault at all.  I hope he can somehow understand that he was not the bad guy in this thing.  As Always, I am ready for more. I hope the next chapter comes along soon.

Darryl AKA The Radio Ranche