In between part one and two.
Mr Langley sat on a bench by the riverbank on a drizzly day with a fishing rod in his hand. His fishing paraphernalia was on the ground beside him. He wore a waterproof slouch hat, a new barbour jacket, a pristine white and brown checked shirt. Langley wore spanking new dark blue jeans. He had them Americanly high up off the ankle. Mr Langley had on black rubber shoes with a high shine. His thick brown rimmed glasses gleamed. He was a slim, clean-shaven white aged about 35. A lichened mooring stone stood on the bank.
Along came Rufus and sat down on the same bench. ”Afternoon there?” Rufus wore green hunter welly boots. He had black cords on, a blue barbour and a green tweed shirt. One his head there was a flat cap. The man gave Rufus a long look.
”Good afternoon” said a refined Yankee accent. Despite the words Philipps felt oddly unwelcome and foolish.
”Do you have the time on you?” asked Rufus Philipps.
The American pulled back the sleeve on his barbour and showed an omega timepiece. ”Yes but watch is 10 minutes slow so it is 3 o clock sharp now.”
Rufus knew he had his man. ”Ten minutes slow. I am bang on time” he smiled. His voice was empty and expressionless.
”You are”, said Mr Langley with gravity. They shook hands.
Rufus looked at Langley’s face straight on. Mr Langley was a well built man of 6’2”. Had he not known better he would have thought that this man was an army officer in one of the smarter units. Even with his hat on it was plain that Langley’s thick brown hair was perfectly brushed. His blue eyes radiated intelligence and worldliness.
”What am I to call you Mr Langley?”
”Let’s stick with Mr Langley” he said in a way that did not quite come across as abrupt.
”Sure. I gather you have been meeting a friend of mine regularly” said Rufus getting out his fishing gear.
”Yes, he used to go to my pal at the embassy a lot. Sani has a student visa. He can go to the USA any time. The visits to the embassy were all about the scholarship he was applying for. We shall make sure that the right people hear he is going to the USA at the opportune moment.”
”He is not really going to the United States?” Rufus assembled his fishing rod.
”No, of course not. That is just what we are telling Kona’s goons in London.”
”How are you going to do that? ” Rufus quizzed him.
”One of Kona’s men here actually works for us. He has told us things that he would not have done unless he was genuine. He has also fed back stories we wanted to tell to Kona. We know which Bornoese here can be relied on to pass tidbits back to Kona. So when we make sure Sani has a ticket etc… they will think he is in the USA. He has to disappear for a few days before his ‘vacation’ to West Africa. We found some army officers there who are disillusioned with Kona and they are telling us they want him gone.”
”Are you sure your source among Kona’s thugs is not playing you false?”
”I strongly doubt it. He has damaged Kona too much to be a plant. Besides if we find he has ratted us out we can easily make him disappear.”
”I see. Now I have here a little itinerary that I drew up. Maybe you could take a look at it and tell me if it is realistic.” Rufus got a brown paper A 4 envelope out of his bag.
”Sure. I can take a look at this. I am a travel agent you know.”
”A travel agent?”
”Oh yes. I have been able to work some fascinating places as a travel agent. I did Japanese for a couple semesters at Cornell so I was in Japan first, then Korea, now here. Not that I have much use for Japanese in England” he said urbanely.
”Ah I see. You are not an official. You are one of the other ones.”
”That’s it. ”
”How much confidence do you have in this working.”
”90% – till I see the plan.”
”You are not saying 100% because only a fool would believe that.”
”True. After I read the plan could go down from 90%. Could go up to 95%. No one can ever say 100%.”
”Why you so confident?”
”Kona’s regime is thoroughly unpopular. Most of his officers want him gone but are scared to make the move themselves. We pick up chatter.”
”Can you help us at all?”
”We can give you a lot of information sure.”
”I mean with men.”
”I was coming to that. Yes, we know a few guys who are out of work. They are looking for work of a military nature. I will ask them to get in touch.”
”They must have no idea what it is about.”
”They will and they won’t. They will know it is military and that it is not Vietnam.”
”Mr Langley, are we right in thinking that er…. Cornelius… must be taken out – right at the start.”
”I mean to do so in a verifiable way? I was considering kidnapping him shooting him and then interring him secretly..”
”No, no – people have got to know he is gone. Then they knew there is no going back. Just like the Bolsheviks did to the Romanovs.” said Mr Langley with an assurance that Rufus envied.
”Won’t too much feeling be aroused if we pop him? Among the Organisation of African Unity”
”The OAU – the tyrants’ guild? No there is not going to be a fuck you reaction. This stuff about African solidarity is humbug. It would not be the first time an African tyrant has been dropped by his own people. I could recount a dozen coups I have had a hand in. A coup is not an aberration in Africa. They happen all the time. But make that clear – it has got to be seen that the people of the country did it for themselves. Uncle Sam does not have a hand in this – understood?”
”Understood. Why do you think this is even worth doing in a place like Borno?”
”It is an easy place to do it. We could start some place else but in this country were are sure you guys will succeed. Then it will be a rallying cry for the region.”
Subterfuge has never been Rufus’ forte. He was worried there may be something the American was concealing about the plot. He had still wanted to be picked out by MI6 talent spotters but it had never happened. The strain was wearing on him. He realised that Langley Farm was going to be invaluable.