DRONE by Nick Hahn, due 2017, Chapter One

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  Chapter One

     SLIM

I was born and raised on the South/West side of Chicago; my father was a Rastafarian pothead who walked out on us when I was two. My mother, Juanita, worked nights cleaning office buildings, to make ends meet for my three younger sisters and me. She did a little hooking on the side; the latter was more profitable than office cleaning.

She worked Rush Street on weekends; her pimp promoted her as the best trick in the loop, most clients agreed, at least the sober ones.

Juanita could do ten to fifteen tricks a night without complaining; the average time with a client was fifteen to thirty minutes depending on services rendered. Pimp (he never mentioned his name) took care of Juanita, often paying her a performance bonus. There was competition on the street; pimps would entice the better performers to join their stable for a bigger cut or access to the better corners. Top girls were often tattooed with the pimp’s initials; branding was catching on.

Juanita refused to let Pimp put his stylized  P in red, white and blue anywhere on her body; some things were sacred after all and besides she might opt for free agency one day.

I knew that when Juanita got home late, it meant business was good, and there’d be extra on the table. She didn’t take food stamps or welfare she was a naturalized citizen and felt it was unpatriotic. Juanita was a business woman an entrepreneur who paid her taxes; it was the American way.

I was a street kid, living by my wits, not by my brawn which was anemic. My friends looked to me for solutions, not muscle. I was clever and dependable, and the neighborhood knew it.

By the time I was fifteenI had saved $1200 in small bills running errands for the South Side cartels. I appreciated the value of a dollar and didn’t spend foolishly. I stashed my money in two tin cans, one fit into the other providing double thickness. I hid it beneath the welfare housing project in Pilsen, the Latino barrio on Chicago’s lower west side where we lived. The rats were my only concern; they were big as cats eating anything not nailed down, one reason I used double cans.

The streets in Pilsen were dangerous for most but not for me; danger was a sign of competition between the cartels, I thrived on it.  They needed the services of a neutral  currier, one who kept his mouth shut and was dependable. They preferred me to a phone call, no record of the transaction if the Feds were tapping them, curriers were expendable.

I never argued, I always believed negotiation was better than confrontation. Leave something on the table was my motto, my clients left feeling good about the deal and good about Magic Slim. For me a smaller cut of a larger pie made sense, why risk market share by being greedy.

When I turned eighteen and decided to leave home Juanita pushed a crisp $100 bill into my shirt pocket, gave me a big hug and a kiss and wished me well as I boarded that Greyhound for Cleveland, for her it was one less mouth to feed. I never told her about the money under the building, I learned early to trust no one but yourself, your own Mother could be compromised.  Going to Cleveland was a gamble but I figured it was better to be a big fish in a smaller pond . Cleveland was a growing market largely ignored by the cartels. It was in Cleveland that I would become the most successful pornographic film producer in America.

My studio was a key link in a human traffic supply chain stretching from the former Soviet Republics in Eastern Europe to the United States. Trafficking accounts for an estimated $32 billion in annual trade with sex slavery and pornographic film production accounting for the greatest percentage.

Market research drove my business, I eliminated all but the most profitable segments of the market, sexual exploitation of minors and pornographic film production.

Business was booming.

There were two main sources feeding my chain, Eastern Europe and Latin America. There were  others , of course, including Asia and the Middle East but I didn’t have the infrastructure or logistics to support more. If clients wanted to do Asian I referred them to a house that specialized. My friend Mr Chin ran a quality house and appreciated the referrals. He reciprocated in kind, he didn’t manage Latinos or Whites he referred those clients to me, Chin and I understood each other and often compared notes.

The girls from Eastern Europe were smuggled across the Canadian border, they were  caucasian, under age and naive. Some were snatched from streets and school yards in Chechnya and Dagistan while others were sold by  destitute parents who couldn’t afford them. The “mules” or travel agents as I called them were typically Russian or Kazakh and would handle all export arrangements. The girls would board tramp steamers as human cargo. They were locked in a dormitory like state room built into the forward hold of the ship, it had a toilet and bunk beds but no room to walk or stretch. The noise from the ship’s engine room was deafening and the constant smell of diesel fuel, deification and vomit kept the ship’s crew on deck and away from the girls. When they reached Nova Scotia, they were herded out of the bulkhead at night. They were taken to a vacant dormitory for a quick shower so their smell wouldn’t alert the border guards as they crossed into the US illegally.

Once in Northern New England they would be separated according to prearranged destinations. The girls destined for Cleveland would board my large RV with one way glass, the girls could look out but no one could look in. The RV was paid for, and it was first class, I wanted my girls to know they were in professional hands.

My drivers and their helpers were selected with extreme care, they were carrying valuable cargo and under no circumstances were they to fraternize with the girls, to do so would provoke my wrath which often meant the last thing they would ever do.

Best in-class were advertised in international style magazines with code words. These codes were known only to select clients and certain intermediaries approved by Slim. This elaborate distribution system was part of Slim’s business model, his clients paid an annual subscription fee for the on-line dictionary, code words and descriptions were revised monthly.

An interested client would pay an access fee for further information that included a set of professional  photographs, a video and voice recordings of the model addressing the client by name.  Should the client accept, a detailed travel itinerary was submitted calling for first class travel and accommodation.  Slim required a letter of understanding spelling out terms and conditions and a 50% deposit. He didn’t like contracts, his word was his bond, everyone along the chain knew that.

This was a classic value chain with each link making a contribution.  My trainers were the best, most had been or still were film stars featured in porn videos. I employed both male and female trainers, most were bilingual in English and Russian, the women made the girls feel safe. All training classes had male and female instructors and a variety of training aids. They used video’s and live demonstrations on technique in the use of condoms, dildos and other toys. These classes were behind a two way wall length mirror so students could see themselves and make necessary corrections. We taped these training sessions, there was a market for rehearsals especially in the volume end of the market.  Each class of girls was judged strictly on the merits. The fast learners went on to advanced training. They learned proper etiquette, social skills and party games. They learned how to dress, apply makeup and discuss world events. These girls were a bit older, sixteen to twenty thinking they were twenty five to thirty.

The premium girls were in demand, there never seemed to be enough of them. They were treated like first dates, not hookers enjoying perks like corporate jets, hotel suites and luxury yachts. They were expected to talk and act like socialites in public but behave like porn stars in the bedroom. They learned to love this life-style, most never wanted out, it meant back to the barrios if they were lucky but more likely meant back to the bottom of the chain for violent abuse at the hands of depraved clients who got off torturing the girls.

The others, the girls not as pretty or smart or accepting, the girls who thought to much about going home and resisted training these were Slim’s problem children. At an average age of 14 they would stay in the US where client expectations were less demanding. Pole dancing, lap dancing and prostitution were legal in Los Vegas appealing to the convention trade and Japanese tourists. Slim was a full service supplier, his girls were trained for specific customer demographics. Like Chevrolet’ vrs Cadillac it’s all about price, performance and style. Slim was the General Motors of worldwide trafficking, he offered products for every taste and price point.

He thought of it as cutting and polishing rough diamonds, some would be destined for grinding wheels while others would be featured at Tiffany’s.  Slim was particular about his vendors, he only did business with those who shared his understanding of quality control. There was an old saying on the street, ‘garbage in garbage out’ Slim would not accept garbage from his vendors his reputation depended on upon it. His supply chain integrity was impeccable.  He was selling quality, that meant each link in the chain was important, a classic supply chain, value addition through processing, training, and logistics.

Slim’s reputation was international, if you wanted to maximize return on investment you sent your assets to Slim. He wasn’t the cheapest but he was the best. Girls trained in his building were traditionally high earners and the pimps and video producers were more than willing to pay a premium on the market, they received a good return on their investment.

***

                                                                                               

The Ambassador’s Daughgter by Nick Hahn, due 2017

The Ambassador’s daughter, Alex Wintour,  endures her first interrogation by Omar, the attractive young terrorist educated in the US. He’s fluent in English, with an understanding of American culture and politics. 

 

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OMAR

I glared back at her, speaking in slow, measured tones: “you’re a prisoner of war, a casualty brought on by your government and their campaign against Allah and the tenets of the Holy Koran. You have no rights here, no diplomatic standing you are legal tender to be used in trade for Muslim leaders being held against their will in western prisons. You will be treated better than our captives are treated by Americans at Guantanamo, you will not be tortured or sexually humiliated as they are but we will not tolerate insolence. Your safe return to the US Embassy depends entirely on your father, his willingness to negotiate your release will determine your fate”.

 

Why was she not backing down, I sensed strength not known to Muslim women. I saw this in the co-eds at Kansas State,  wanton insolence, drinking alcohol and smoking in public. It shocked me then but here, under these impossible circumstances, this girl was challenging me, did she not know I could have her flogged or worse.

 

“You underestimate my Father; he is resolute with significant resources at his disposal, you and your thugs will live to regret capturing me.”

 

She stared at me, her blue/green eyes had darkened, her tone was guttural almost feral as she rebuked me. The next slap was harder, she almost fell off the chair, her fair skin exploded in crimson, and the swelling was simultaneous, the glare deepened, the slap strengthened her resolve.

 

“So this is what you and your thugs mean by not being tortured or humiliated, how dare you. I’m the daughter of the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Pakistan; my Father is an American diplomat with credentials accepted by your President and Prime Minister. You will live to regret this Omar or whatever your name is, punishing me will make it go worse for you when I and the American aid worker, Max Stein, are rescued, and we will be rescued, you can be sure of it.”

 

“Perhaps my young friend, perhaps but the question for you to ponder is whether you’ll be rescued alive—or dead.”

 

Why am I feeling this way, the girl means nothing to me, she’s the daughter of Satan, a woman sent to tempt me not help me? That last slap did not bring her to submission like Muslim women are taught, it made her defiant and angry. Allah help me why am I aroused, not enraged, the ache in my groin was disturbing, suggesting alternative motives, motives forbidden to me.

 

She wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth against her sleeve, bent her head down and spit out the red saliva; she glared at me and uttered the words with defiance; “fuck you, asshole”.

 

DRONE by Nick Hahn (due 2017)

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“A drone is often preferred for missions that are too “dull, dirty, or dangerous” for manned aircraft.”

There are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in human history, an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.

PROLOGUE

Her name was Cosita. She was eighteen, looked fourteen and thought like twenty-two. One of nine children from El Chorillo, a poverty-stricken barrio on the outskirts of Panama City. Her brother, Javier, had been snatched from the streets six months earlier. He was nine years old and beautiful.

Cosita completed high school at the top of her class, spoke fluent English and Spanish with an advanced degree  from the streets of El Chorillo. There she was known as jefe Mujer, (boss woman).

In the developed world she would be a CEO, respected by her peers and feared by her competitors.

Interpol, the world’s largest international police organization, was recruiting undercover agents to infiltrate the dark world of human trafficking.

Panama was well known as an international hub for slave traders. They operated  with impunity while local officials  lined their pockets with the boodle from entrepreneurial traders. She was smart, street savvy, motivated and pretty; the perfect candidate for Interpol and their undercover investigation of human trafficking.

They were looking for beautiful young women with her skills, she was looking for Javier, a perfect match.

Cosita would be a Drone.

                                            ****

The graffiti was Spanish, neon colors highlighting varicose cracks covering the wall, like an alcoholic’s nose. The building smelled of urine and pot; there was a metal door with four bolt locks and a dirty sign:

KEEP OUT-PRIVATE PROPERTY-TRESPASSERS ARE PROSECUTED.

Was a nine-year-old boy, the victim of sex traffickers  a trespasser?

The windows had frosted glass embedded with chicken wire; they swung out and up like fake eyelashes supported by notched adjustment bars.

This factory building was on the near-west side of Cleveland, an industrial area on the Cuyahoga River, known as The Flats. This building had a pedigree, a sweatshop garment factory, a warehouse for imported cheese, and a crack den for teenage potheads.

It was now headquarters for Magic Slim, the only pimp in Cleveland with a film studio, a training facility and a dormitory fit for the Ivy League.

Slim’s girls came from nothing, life in his building was an improvement.  Slim understood this, he knew about poverty, cold and hunger. The West side of Chicago was his training ground.

He was now a successful entrepreneur, business was good and he intended to make it better.

He weighed 140 pounds soaking wet, no one knew what held his pants up, he would only say “it’s magic”, the name stuck.

 

CHAPTER ONE