The following morning Toni resumed her usual routine; played golf and arrived at the Mamounia gym about eleven-thirty for her work out.  At the desk the expressions on the faces of the two attendants told her immediately something was wrong. Speaking Arabic, she asked them what had happened. They gazed at her blankly and showed her the morning edition of L’Opinion.  There on the front page was a photograph of Lahcen with the headline: ‘Mutilated Body of Mamounia Trainer found in Agdal Gardens,’ with a second blurred photograph of two policemen standing over what looked like a corpse.

          ‘We are closed for the day, Madame, out of respect for Lahcen,’ said one of the girls.

          ‘But what happened?’ Toni cried.

           They burst into tears: ‘He is dead. A horrible death... we cannot say!’

           Toni returned home quickly and called Pero.

          ‘So you’ve heard the news,’ he said, ‘someone killed him.  No one knows who, but brutally... tied him up with wire, gagged him, and mutilated his body... too bad.’

           At the other end Toni reeled and felt faint. ‘TOO BAD... It’s horrible!  He was such a sweet person. Who could have done such an awful thing?’

          ‘Apparently he had many enemies.’ Pero replied. ‘It happens here... someone says or does something and people want revenge. I’m afraid we’ll never know.  He was only a trainer, I’m sure the police won’t bother finding out unless someone pays them.’

Lighting a cigarette, Toni collapsed on a sofa, stared out at the skyline of the city and listened to the Meuzzins calling the mid day prayers. Such a fantastically beautiful place, she thought, why was it so mad?  Why did so many awful things constantly happen here?  As furious as she was, she knew Pero was right; no one would ever bother about poor Lahcen. At least Radouan had been sent back to jail or the police might have accused him.

Ah yes, but…  Suddenly the horrific notion that he could have had something to do with Lahcen’s death terrified her.  But no, NO!  She mustn't allow herself to think such thoughts. Radouan might have threatened Lahcen but he would never have... or would he?  Really, she was probably the only person who knew how dangerous Radouan could be.  Slowly she felt herself sinking into the proverbial slough of despond... the thought of it... that he might have organized something like this from his jail cell.  Had Lahcen boasted to someone they'd been training together in her suite at the Mamounia that afternoon when she’d met with Le Chef?  And, of course, he had mentioned to someone that he was happy Radouan was in jail?  Knowing she would never know the truth, and worse, that somehow she would have to live with this uncertainty for the rest of her life, left her feeling outraged and wounded.

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©Elwyn Chamberlain 2006