As soon as the guys had been taken care of, Amir took us to an awaiting ambulance. Allie looked at Amir, "Sir, why are we leaving in an ambulance?"
Amir knelt down, "Allie, who is going to be looking for you three targets in an ambulance that is rushing to the scene of an accident. If I took you in the vehicle you arrived in, the opposition would probably be waiting."
We sure didn't waste any time getting to the airport. We were met by Kadeen and Salah. They handed us our passports and a custom's official was standing by to clear us to depart the country. We were escorted to a waiting small jet. We were the only the passengers and were almost on our way to the end of the runway before we even had our seat belts fastened.
As we were awaiting takeoff, the steward came to where we were seated. "Welcome aboard, Gentlemen. You're already strapped in so I'll forget that part of the briefing. If we lose cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will come down out of the overhead compartment. Put them on. If you feel as if you're going get sick and throw up, do it in the bathroom please. If we need to exit the plane for any reason, I'll go first and you can follow me."
The three of us were laughing. Allie asked, "Are you following us or what?"
The gentleman who was one of the two people who had been in the kitchen at Khalid's house nodded, "Yep, I've been told to make sure that you got out of the country before you got someone killed. I'll talk to you more as soon as we get airborne."
As the plane was leveling off, the pilot came on, "Welcome aboard gentlemen. Amin, would you bring the young one to the cockpit so we can drop him out the window?"
The steward looked at us, "Allie, I guess that means you."
Allie looked at us, "Dad and Bra, I recognize that voice. This has to be some sort of game."
Allie went to the cockpit and Amir emerged, "I've been kicked out of my copilots seat by a 10 year old brat. Amin, the captain would like a cup of coffee and the brat would like some juice if you've got any. Munir would like a cup of tea."
I looked at Amir, "Is there anything that you and Khalid don't do?"
"Ed, I'll have to think about that before I answer. Just so you know we will be landing at Heathrow in about three hours. Shell Oil has arranged for you to be staying in the same hotel that we are going to be staying at while Amin and Munir go retrieve their families who have been in England on holiday. We will be returning to Algeria tomorrow. I have no idea what the oil company has planned for you."
The speaker came on, "Amir get your bottom back here. Allie needs to go to the bathroom. Amin, I hope some food will be coming shortly, we're starving."
Amin had been in the galley and as soon as Allie was in his seat, Amin served us a meal that was typically Algerian. We had just finished eating when Khalid emerged from the cockpit.
"Greetings again. gentlemen, we will be arriving at Heathrow in an hour. I hope the flight hasn't been to unpleasant for you."
He sat down by Allie. "Young man, you have been very brave. You make me proud to be an Algerian. I have a funny feeling that you are going to fit in well when you get to the United States. I'm not too sure about your brother. I guess Mr. Waller will just have to take care of him for the rest of his life."
I looked at Brahim and he had a look on his face that was priceless.
Khalid quickly added, "Brahim, I'm just giving you a difficult time. You'll be fine."
Brahim laid his head on my shoulder and he was dosing as we started to descend. I reached over to check his seat belt and my hand rubbed across the substantial package that was concealed and I could feel it getting larger. There was nothing I could do about it because Khalid came on the intercom. Gentlemen, we have been cleared to land."
Brahim leaned over and whispered, "You owe me one, Eddie."
As we were deplaning, we were met by a limousine. The gentleman who was driving spoke to us, "Gentlemen, I have been instructed to take you to the Royal Garden Hotel. We'll leave as soon as your baggage has been loaded."
Allie looked at me, "Dad, what's happening? Why are we getting into a limousine?"
I put my arm around him, "Believe me, Allie, I have no idea what's happening anymore. I have never ridden in a limousine in my life. This is a new experience for me."
Khalid came and opened the door, "We'll meet you at the hotel and then we can go get some real food. We'll be there as soon as we get the plane taken care of. You need to go clear customs and immigration."
I have never had such an easy time clearing customs in all of the traveling I have done. When we walked into the hotel the attendant at the desk looked at us, "How may I help you gentlemen?"
Allie was so busy looking around at all of the lavish things in the hotel. "Dad, this makes the hotel in Oran look sick. Are we going to really stay here?"
The attendant looked at us, "You won't be staying unless you have a reservations. We're completely booked."
I looked at the young man, "I think we have reservations because our limousine driver brought us here. Do you have a room for Brahim and Allie Safi and Ed Waller?"
The young man stood up straight as if he was standing at attention. "Sirs, I apologize. We were expecting some older gentlemen. Do you have your passports with you so I can check them."
He looked at the passports and he snapped his fingers, "Gentlemen, you have been preregistered. Mackenzie will show you to your suite. Mr. Waller, I have an envelope for you. Your luggage will be delivered shortly."
As we were walking to the elevator, both Allie and Brahim looked at me with a questioning look. I shook my head, "Guys, I haven't a clue as to what is happening."
"When we get to the room, we can read this note and maybe it will explain what is happening."
We exited the elevator on the top floor of the hotel. Mackenzie opened the door to the Royal Suite and bowed as we entered, "Gentlemen, let me show the amenities in the room."
He showed us the two bedrooms and the bathroom with a Jacuzzi and whirlpool and I was thinking, 'There has to be a mistake. I can't afford this.'
As Mackenzie was leaving I handed him a ten dollar bill because that was all I had. He looked at me, "Sir, I can't take that. Anyone who stays in this suite has to be special."
I looked him in the eye, "Look, Mack, don't give me any lip or I'll report you to the management. Stick it in your briefs and no one will be the wiser."
Mackenzie looked at me with a funny expression, "Well if you insist, Sir."
Allie had to add his two cents, "When Dad says do something then you better do it."
I had to go to the bathroom and was taking care of business when the door chime rang. Allie went to answer, "Dad, the luggage is here. Which room do you want them to put it in?"
"Allie you decide, the rooms look the same to me. I'll be there in a minute."
When I walked into the room, Allie had a funny look, "Dad, Drew wants to know if he should unpack our bags for us."
I shook my head no, "Drew, we don't know how long we are going to be here. We can live out of the suitcases until we know what's going to happen. We may be leaving in the morning. I still haven't had time to read the note. Here, give this to Drew and you know the drill."
I handed Allie a ten dollar bill. He handed it to Drew, "Stuff in your briefs and no one will know the difference and don't give us any back talk. That makes my Dad angry."
Drew bowed and backed out the door.
Brahim put his arms around me, "You're creating a monster."
We sat on the sofa and I opened the letter that desk attendant had given me. I handed it to Allie. "Why don't you read it to us? I'm too tired."
Allie looked at me, "Oh yeah, you just want to make sure I can read English."
I had Brahim leaning against me on one side and Allie kicked off his shoes and laid so his head on my lap on the other side. He started to read
Dear Mr. Waller, Brahim Safi and Alexander Graham Safi,
Your limousine will be picking you up at 10:00 tomorrow to take you to the American embassy so the two Safi gentlemen can get visas to enter the United States. You will then be transported to the Shell Oil offices to have lunch with me and my staff. I suggest that you not bother to unpack too much, since you will leaving for the United States immediately after our luncheon.
Allie looked at me, "Dad, are we really going to the United States with you?"
I took a deep breath, "Allie, I hope so. I am just as lost as to what is happening as you are."
We were interrupted by the phone and Brahim answered, "This is the Waller suite. … Oh hi, Inspector Khalid. … Okay we'll meet you in the lobby in ten minutes."
After Allie put his shoes on we started toward the elevator. Allie was holding my hand, "Dad, why does everyone want to talk to us?"
I knelt down and hugged him, "Allie, I don't know, but Khalid and Amir have been very good friends so we need to go talk to them. This may be the last time we see them."
When we got to the lobby, Allie practically ran to Khalid and Amir, "Dad Ed, says this might be the last time we see you. Is that right?"
Khalid knelt down. "Mr. Waller is correct for the present, but we're going to come to the United States and make sure that they are representing Algeria properly. When we get there, you had better treat us like royalty."
Amir hugged Allie, "Allie, I'm going to miss you and your snoring. Now let's go get some decent food. There's a good pub just around the corner."
We walked out the door and it was great to be able to walk without being afraid that someone was following us. We walked into a pub and Khalid nodded to the person behind the bar, "Abdul, we would like four greasy cheeseburgers with the works, chips and some cole slaw. While we're waiting, how about bringing us four pints of ale and a large cola?"
I watched to see what Brahim's reaction to that suggestion would be. He leaned over and whispered, "I've never had ale before."
Allie took the bull by the horn, "Sirs. I thought Muslim people didn't drink alcoholic beverages."
Khalid nodded, "Allie, we were corrupted when we went to school in the United States. There are many things in our religion that people defy daily, especially if they have had the opportunity to spend anytime in other countries. There are some extremists that give the rest of us a bad name. You are a fortunate young man in that you will be assimilated in the United States' way of life very easily because of your fair complexion and the fact that Mr. Waller actually looks as if he could be your father. Brahim might have a more difficult time."
Our conversation was interrupted by the arrival of our drinks. Allie took my glass and took a little sip. He made the most awful face, "Dad Ed, how can you drink that stuff?"
Amir laughed, "Allie you need to acquire a taste for it and I'm almost betting that Brahim might react the same way you did. It is good for what ails you and helps you relax if you don't over do it."
I watched as Brahim tried his glass, but he obviously had made up his mind that he wasn't about to let Khalid and Amir know what he thought. Fortunately our cheeseburgers and chips arrived and that diverted everyone's attention away from Brahim and his reaction to the ale.
You would have sworn that Allie hadn't eaten in days because his plate was almost clear of food before the rest of us even began to eat. Abdul walked over to the table, "Young man, would you like something else to eat? You seem to be very hungry."
Allie looked at the gentleman, "No thank you Mr. Abdul, I don't want to get fat like the older men who are present at the table. The food was very good, but I can't say the same for the ale."
Abdul smiled at Allie, "You are a cheeky one. I'll bring you some dessert to keep you busy while the fat ones eat their food."
Abdul returned with what looked like a snack that we ate in the states. It was a chocolate cake that was filled with a white creamy substance. Allie had it eaten in no time and the rest of us were still eating our cheeseburgers.
Khalid looked at Allie, "Allie, if you eat like this when you get to the United States, poor Mr. Waller is going to go broke."
Allie smirked, "Then I'll get a job and make sure he gets enough to eat."
Khalid looked at me, "Ed, I'm thinking you are going to have your hands full with these two."
We finished our food and drinks and walked back to the hotel. Khalid and Amir hugged the three of us and wished us luck.
As Khalid hugged me, he whispered, "Be good to the guys and they'll be good to you."
I decided I needed a shower but I didn't know what I was going to do for the other two with their wounds and bandages. They came into the bathroom with me and were washing the parts of their bodies they could. Allie took a bath making sure his arm didn't get wet, but Brahim had a different problem since it was his leg that was injured.
I got out of the shower and helped the two of them get dry. I tucked Allie into his bed and Brahim fell against me when I crawled into bed, "Ed, are we really going to go to the United States with you?"
I pulled him as close as I could, "Bra, it appears so."
I hugged Brahim again, "Let's get some sleep, it has been a long day. Surely tomorrow can't be as hectic.
I am very happy that the two brothers are able to come to The United States. I am very curious as to what is going to happen next, but then, I always am curious as to what will come next. I can never seem to get enough of E Walk's stories. Please hurry.