Hugo Manderlay should have been a chastened man but, as anyone who has studied
human history will tell you, it is rather difficult to depress for long the
Manderlays of this world, and in fact, Sir Hugo was fast recovering from one of
the severest setbacks which had occurred in his somewhat dingy career. Briefly, dear reader, what had happened was
twelve months previously (at the urgent, even pressing, request of the U.S.
Government) he had returned from America to England after the somewhat
unfortunate termination to an affair with a young girl that had ended with her
being found drowned in the Hudson River.
Nothing could be proved but, even so, Sir Hugo was unofficially declared
‘persona non grata’ and persuaded to leave.
His work in America had been in the nature of a ‘contact man’, he had
bought and sold patent rights, processing techniques and the like throughout
the war. The mud and blood of Flanders,
and the senseless, useless killing had completely passed him by and, in doing
his useful work, he’d made a very considerable fortune
for himself at the same time as earning a very bad reputation concerning his
his arrival back in England he had managed to acquire for himself a title and,
later, an ocean-going motor yacht to go with it. He named the yacht himself. He called her the ‘RESTRAINT’. She was fitted out in a suitable manner for
the pursuit of his own marked tendency towards the bizarre. In fact, one might almost epitomise the
general layout as being a carefully designed altar dedicated to the worship of
whip and spur.
all the strange and curious alterations had been made and a discreet crew
engaged under the leadership of a renegade captain called Jack Magee, the
enterprise needed but one thing to bring to vibrant reality the careful plans
of its owner. The ‘RESTRAINT’ needed a
complement of carefully chosen guests for its first cruise.
patience Hugo assembled a number of guests.
In most cases he invited men among his acquaintance who,
in turn, could usually be relied upon to supply one or more women of a like
turn of taste. One thing distinguished
this illustrious company from the average.
With few exceptions among the women, they were as depraved and as
dissolute a gathering as could be mustered in a day’s sweep of the salons of
Mayfair. The cruise was an absolute
success until, in Cannes, Sir Hugo met a notorious
girl of Arab extraction, daughter of a powerful man in the Algerian government,
a man who was wealthy even by Hugo’s standards.
The girl’s name was the Princess Shalimar al Fuad. Rich, vicious, sensual, voluptuous, she was
famous throughout Europe and Africa for her passion for the bizarre and
erotic. More by accident than design,
Hugo fell foul of her but even so, furious at his insulting and contemptuous
treatment of her, she determined to teach him a lesson. Two days out of Cannes, his yacht was
overtaken by Shalimar’s. In the brief
engagement, however, things went against the lovely Arab girl and she found
herself Hugo’s prisoner. His public
humiliation and sexual abuse of her had, in fact, proved to be one of the
highlights of the cruise.
and turn about, though, and a few days later the two yachts met again and this
time it was Hugo’s turn to lose the engagement.
Under the threat of a superior show of force, he grudgingly allowed
Shalimar to return to her yacht and, something which was just as humiliating
and grievous a loss, she took all his female guests
with her as prisoners.
was not until two weeks later that the ‘RESTRAINT’ tied up again in a quiet
mooring on the upper Thames. The
disconsolate men guests had dispersed at Gravesend leaving Hugo, Magee and the
crew to work the boat up river.
said Magee, gloomily, “I suppose the fireworks will start any time now.”
were in Hugo’s cabin.
the hell d’you mean?” snapped Hugo, taking a long pull
from a whisky and soda.
don’t seriously mean to tell me that those women can just disappear without
someone causing a heck of a stink about it, do you?”
HAVE just disappeared. What the devil
can we do about it? For that matter,
what could we have done to stop that bloody bitch doing what she did? It’s not our fault.”
might NOT be our fault that we were pirated, although that it a matter for
conjecture, but it most definitely IS our fault that we never reported it. That’s a crime in itself. I told you at the time that the matter should
have been reported immediately to the French authorities ... if only to cover
nice,” snarled Hugo. “Very nice to rush
along to the French police and complain that a gang of women we’d been using
for an orgy had been pinched from us by pirates. Hell man ... d’you really think that it’s to
our advantage that those damned bitches are ever seen again? Don’t forget, they’d have a pretty story to
tell ... and some stripes on their bottoms, and other places, to back up their
looked at the yacht owner curiously.
wouldn’t that point have arisen anyway?” he asked, fingering the long scar on
... if they hadn’t been pirated away from us, wouldn’t they still have opened
their mouths the minute we came back to England?”
smiled. “Perhaps there might have been
some, if not all, who wouldn’t have returned to England,” he replied shortly.
would have happened to them?”
they might well have been mislaid somewhere in Morocco. They’d have been quite welcome in the harem
of as Arab friend of mine. He’s very
partial to white skinned women.”
believe that could be called a spot of ‘White Slavery’,” remarked Magee.
can call it what you like,” commented Hugo.
“But the fact remains that, although there were a couple who might have
been persuaded to keep quiet with a bit of cash, I most certainly wouldn’t have
chanced bringing any back here who might have been impudently resentful of the
uses to which we’d put them.”
smiled. “I’d often wondered how you were
going to see to it they kept their mouths shut.”
Manderlay gave the man a hard stare.
“Don’t for Christ’s sake tell me that you would have had any scruples as
to what happened to them. If I recall
correctly, you yourself were mixed up in a spot of the old White Slavery a just
few years ago. In fact, I think you even
saw the inside of a prison because of it.
Isn’t that right?”
smile faded from Magee’s face.
haven’t said I’d have worried about what might have happened to them.”
just as well,” remarked Hugo, sipping the last of his scotch. “I’d hate to think of you having any compunctions ..... any compunctions
paid to do as I’m told,” said Magee, “and I’m paid well enough to do things
that aren’t in the ordinary run of instructions from Master to Skipper. There’s one other thing, though. Something that, perhaps, you’ve forgotten.”
doubt it, but go on,” said Manderlay.
about the men you invited on the trip?
Can you rely on their discretion?”
imagine their discretion to be directly proportionate to the value they put on
their skins,” replied Hugo. “If there’s
any trouble, they’re in it as deeply as we are.”
as deeply?” asked Magee.
But I agree that it could be a problem.
I have, however, taken a few precautions to ensure their silence.”
as?” asked Magee.
Manderlay regarded the nails on his long, slender hand.
lot of our ... well, shall we call them frolics? ... were
observed and recorded on my behalf by a movie camera set in the wall of the
put his hand in his pocket and took out a bunch of keys, selecting one and
handing the bunch to Magee.
the safe and bring me the three film tins you’ll find there!”
took the keys and went to the round wall safe in Restraint’s port cabin
wall. He opened the safe and took out
three round tins of 16 mm film. He
walked over to Sir Hugo and handed him the tins in silence.
weighed them in his hand and a smile curled his thin lips.
he said. “Our
insurance against imprudent and thoughtless reminiscences. I’ve brought these back here to have them
developed and printed because I know a man ...”
always know a man,” smiled Magee.
can usually think of one,” agreed Hugo.
“Anyway, this man is discreet and technically capable and, when he’s
done this little job for me, I don’t think it would be advisable for any of our
guests to talk out of turn. When the
films are ready I shall invite them all along to see them. I can’t think of anyone offhand who didn’t
have a part in our festivities, can you?”
admitted Magee, “can’t say I can.”
I believe that covers all the possibilities.
But now to more practical things. I believe I made it quite clear to everyone
that this matter does NOT rest here.”
mean you intend trying to get your own back on Shalimar?” asked Magee.
intend to GET my own back, as you call it,” said Hugo, “I don’t just intend to
nodded. “Mind if I have a drink? I think this is going to be interesting.”
yourself!” said Hugo.
“Yes ... I believe you’re right.
It WILL be interesting.”
poured himself a whisky and siphoned some soda into it. He walked over to a chair and settled himself
just how to you intend to accomplish this revenge?” he asked. “The forces ranged against you are rather
formidable, you know. Shalimar is
anything up to a thousand miles from here.
She’s near her own country. She’s
got the money to command one of the worst crews of cut-throats I’ve ever seen
and, above all, you’ve still got to find her.”
answer your last difficulty first.
Shalimar isn’t the kind of girl who can quietly disappear. I’ll guarantee to trace her without leaving
this cabin. That she may be TWO thousand
miles away, doesn’t worry me a damn. I’ve still got this tub and, after I’ve had a
few alterations made, there’s nowhere she can go that I can’t follow in the
having alterations made to the yacht?”
most certainly am.”
kind of alterations?”
only ones to concern you are to do with the engines. I want the ‘RESTRAINT’ to be capable of
outsteaming Shalimar’s yacht.”
showing it a clean pair of heels,” remarked Magee.
won’t be necessary. Which
brings me to your other point.
Shalimar’s crew are certainly a tough bunch, but if you can’t recruit a
tougher crew right here in England, then my faith in your abilities will begin
course I can do that,” said Magee. “But
don’t forget! We have to have toughness
... and discretion as well. Those two
virtues together can cost plenty.”
is no object,” said Hugo, briefly.
that apply to the improvement to the engines?
They’ll cost a pretty penny.”
catch up with that bitch if it costs me ten thousand pounds,” ground out Hugo,
his dark eyes flashing. “I’ll have her
in my power again if it’s the last thing I ever do. When I think of what I’ll do to her when I
get my hands on her ... my God!” He got
up to pace the cabin like a caged tiger.
Magee watched him with an amused expression on his face.
have her stripped and tied to the forward mast and lay a whip across her rear
end until the skin peels off ... I’ll whip her until she cringes like a
whelping bitch. And when I’ve finished
with her, I’ll have her fucked by every one of the crew and any other ruffians
who fancy her. Crew.... yes, that’s the
next move. How long will it take you to
reinforce this crew? The lads we’ve
already got are alright, but we want more ... and the roughest you can get hold
of. How long?”