I reported in after the Tennessee job and got word the boss wanted to see me, in Nepal. I dreaded the 49-hour flight on commercial air to Nepalgunj. Instead, I flew AA to Seattle Washington. There I met up with a buddy of mine who pilots for a fat cat with shady dealings in China. Jaxon got me on his boss’s plane, headed for Tribhuvan International Airport, perfect. I promised Jaxon I’d pick up some Tongba in return.
Things certainly have changed in Nepal since I started in the late 90’s. On the way into town I became swept up in Kathmandu’s first Gay Pride parade. I really wasn’t dressed for the occasion, wearing only my normal street attire, but that didn’t seem to matter. I went with the flow for a short while until I was struck by a rotten piece of fruit. I didn’t purge the protester, despite my reputation; I’m really not a violent person.
My boss thought some of my “creative” solutions needed to be toned down a bit. Jae was afraid I’d attract unwanted attention. Jae also didn’t like me taking on side jobs; afraid my performance might suffer. I reassured Jae I would be less creative in the future. When I requested a raise to make up for the lost side job income, Jae decided it would be cheaper to keep the statu quo. I picked up the Tongba for Jaxon and several Pit Vipers for myself.
On the way back to the airport I decided to stop by Winsel’s shop. Winsel hand crafts some of the world’s finest ammunition. I usually shop by mail order, but since I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I’d stop in. Winsel was happy to see me, happy to see my wallet; he knows I cannot resist the new gadgets he comes up with. We discuss prices on some of the new toys I’ll be bringing home, over Sittal Chiya and Nimki.
Winsel was very excited about some advancement he had made on high-powered stealth shot. Previously he’d been trying to use projectiles of cryogenically frozen gasses, with the usual problems such as shattering when fired, or melting before reaching target. Using molecular self-assembly, Winsel is using recent advances in nanotechnology to atomically sculpt the ultimate in untraceable ammunition.
As I’m leaving Winsel’s shop, an unusual odour catches my attention. Inside an incubator perched atop his cryogenic freezer are rows of what can only be described as short, fat, green worms. Winsel stops me just as I’m about to reach in to touch one. One of his pet projects, the creatures are cultured to be fired from short range, latch onto target then release a toxin. He puts two in a vial and sends me on my way.
I despise common thieves, especially pickpockets. I got robbed walking to the taxi stand. It was a bump and grab. The cretin took my wallet and items I purchased from Winsel. I chased him for about 20 minutes, but he got away. As I turned in failure, to head back to the office, I smelled an unusual odour and saw blood oozing from under a nearby door. Next to what remained of the perpetrator was my stuff, including the opened vial of short, fat, green worms. Retrieving my belongings and capping the worm vial, I made a mental note to not touch the worms.
I caught up with Jaxon at Hotel Yak and Yeti, a 5 star hotel of course, still waiting for his boss. On the fourth afternoon, Jaxon and I were playing the back nine at Nepal Golf Club, right next to the airport, when we spotted his boss limping toward the plane. Apparently business went poorly. We patched up the gunshot wound to his leg the best we could, using the plane’s first aid kit. Immediately we took off for the US and private, no questions, medical care.
The first aid we administered to Jaxon’s boss looked like it might save his life. During turbulence my snake box opened and one of the Pit Vipers got out. We didn’t notice until I saw it latched onto Jaxon’s boss’ leg. The man went into shock and death appeared imminent, so we thought. Turns out he was shot exactly where he kept his backwoods emergency kit, which explained why we picked bits of glass and cork from the wound. The kit contained, among other things, vials of anti venom and powdered rhino horn. Jaxon’s boss lived after all, but I now suffer a lifetime ban from his planes.