The next day when Prospero visited the Psychiatric Facility, the guards standing outside Radouan’s room had been disarmed but Radouan worried that his case before the Tribunal was only two or three weeks away and hoped things were moving along quickly. Then Pero played the tape of old Gamal speaking and Radouan listened intently on earphones shaking his head in disgust. ‘Where is this fake Youssef,’ he growled, ‘I would enjoy killin’ him.’

          ‘Here in Marrakech...’

          ‘He should be watched.’

          ‘Don’t worry, I have people watching him. We also found your orphan, Mokhtar... He told us when the police came out there he and the maid Fatima were questioned but not detained. After that, they quickly left Dar Chems, hid in a nearby village and finally made their way back to Marrakech. He said to tell you Fatima was in the closet with him when they saw the server, Zouheir, go into The Baroness’ bedroom with a tea tray shortly after you left.  He was in the room for a long time and came out with the same tea tray on which nothing had been touched. ‘And there are two other servants at the gate who will back up your story and say they saw you leave about eleven thirty that evening, right after supper. Your orphan wanted to come here and visit you. I left him in tears. Are you just... I mean helping him or is there more to it than that?’

          ‘What do you think?’ Radouan smiled calmly, ‘But you know I’ve always been very discreet...’

           Pero grinned. ‘I suspected it... swimming on the other shore from time to time... he’s zween, I don’t blame you.  Anyway he wants very badly to see you.’

          ‘Tell him I’ll see him soon... Inch Allah.  And thanks to his sharp eyes and ears I may be saved. But he mustn’t tell anyone he knows me, NO ONE.  That's very important...’

           Pero shrugged his shoulders ‘Well, A’hmed knows you brought him out there...’

          ‘That’s true,’ Radouan nodded, ‘but all he knows is that I was jus’ getting the kid a job, not that I knew him.  Right now if A’hmed or anyone finds out where Mokhtar is, his life could be in danger.  He must stay in the house... we must see to it that he gets food.  If Mokhtar comes here and tries to see me, tell him I’ll deny I know him and never speak to him again... you can tell him that.  Tell him I have many spies working for me so he’d better behave himself and stay in the house. Where is the maid?’

        ‘With him in the house.’

        ‘Good, keep them locked in there together. Buy her some new clothes and perfume and buy him some white paint. The house needs painting inside … let him go to work...have someone watch the place.’

          Pero smiled. ‘Lady Antonia has been on the phone all day to Rabat... she’s also been talking with her ex-husband in London...’

          ‘Rupert?’ Radouan brightened.

          ‘Yes, that’s his name. She says he’s very concerned and has organized a legal team of English and French Avocats who are flying down day after tomorrow to help us.’

          ‘Oh... I’m happy to hear this,’ Radouan chuckled, ‘I like Rupert. We are like brothers... I never wanted Toni to divorce him.  So what are your plans now...?’

          ‘She and I ... we will go to Casablanca where we will meet these Avocats and drive them up to Rabat... Inch Allah.  There we will be able to meet with officials of the Ministere d’ Interieur and present our case...’

          ‘Why Rabat why not here?  My Hearing will take place here, not at Rabat?’

          ‘Believe me, my brother, you know our evidence would not be taken seriously here ... the Marrakchis, you know how difficult they are, and now they are so jealous of you they want to revenge themselves.  Moreover, they are being offered many inducements to put a noose around your neck...’

          ‘Who is offering?’  Radouan looked offended.

          ‘People from Europe representing companies The Baroness owned that you are due to, inherit. Antonia thinks our only hope is to go straight to the top.  First we have to prove our case in Rabat, then come back here and present it...okay?’

          ‘I hope you have more than one copy of those tapes you made in Fez...’

          ‘Don’t worry, I have three copies...’

           Radouan stared hard at Pero through tired eyes. ‘You, mon ami, you’re savin’ my life... why?  How can I ever...’

          ‘Because we are good friends, of course,’ Pero smiled affectionately, ‘since childhood... you always stood up for me when I needed you so now I’m standing up for you because although sometimes you are very BAD, underneath I know you are very GOOD.’

          ‘You really think so? ‘

          ‘Yes.  Over the years, I’ve watched you take on this tough guy attitude but I know the real Radouan too. Your problem is you have always felt things too deeply. In Morocco this is not wise for it is impossible to show one’s true nature... I know you could easily kill with your bare hands and I hope you haven’t, but inside I know you are kind and tender... that’s why I’m trying to help you now.  I’ve always thought of you as a poet, a poet who doesn’t write, who lives his poetry... a poet of life.  Believe me; I know you would never have murdered that lady.’

Pero nodded and smiled.   ‘And now we have proof that Zouheir entered the Baroness’ room, and from Gamal, that this Youssef is an impostor. All we have to do now is catch them.’

           Radouan grimaced, ‘Yes, we have this Gamal’s story, but we don’t have much proof he hasn’t made it up... same with the maid and Mokhtar. In the end it will be a question of money. Will you visit Fez again?’

          ‘I want the legal team and the people from the Interior Ministry to visit Gamal and hear him speak... once they hear him they will be convinced.’

          ‘Yes and...’ Radouan glanced around and whispered, ‘These guys, have they been disarmed?’

          ‘Yes... this morning.’

          ‘Ah… then if you bring me a file I will break my chain and escape this place.’

          ‘Are you crazy? If you did that we would lose everything!

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©Elwyn Chamberlain 2006