Glass Curtain by Thaddeus Hutyra

chapter 87


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Author:Thaddeus Hutyra



Days and weeks passed and John Ruchter never left Tadek Vangard alone.It looked some sort of a friendship was developing between them,at least from the Tadek Vangard’s point of view.Carlos alias John Ruchter knew it better: the guy’s days were numbered! Whatever place Tadek Vangard wanted to go his "friend" desired the same.So they went together to the downtown as well as to the mountains.John Ruchter even moved to the same hotel and rented an apartament just next door.The evenings,therefore,they shared in one or the other one’s place,on conversations over all possible topics,watching TV or video films,or even competing in some computer games,thanks to the hospitability of the hotel’s management who rented laptops to them.
Tadek Vangard enjoyed the companionship of the handsome diamond businessman who seemed to know practically everything.There was no topic he would not be able to handle with a swift answer,chilly when the theme concerned something of a violent nature,like for example the deadly tactics of terror groups.Strangely,John Ruchter supported the outlaws,to displeasure of Tadek Vangard.Conversations,however,were conversations and nothing more.Once they were over with their discussion and had some drink,a cup of coffee or a glass of a local beer,the topics were forgotten and they concentrated themselves on something else,a movie,a game,making plans for the next day,etc…There were endless things to be concerned with.But only their trips which they made together to the mountains,remained in their minds as the topics they would think about and talk about again and again.
There was no a day they would not do some tramping or even climbing in the mountains,usually the ones closest to Kathmandu and beyond limits to tourists.They had also behind them a three days trip to Tibet and especially to its magnificient capital,Lhasa,the town of the eternal light.
Upon their departure back to Kathmandu they promised to themselves to return to Tibet for a longer period of stay.
The evening was peaceful,stars were shining brilliantly on the firmament of the sky,to such a degree that even the majestic Himalayas were visible,due to stars' rays which gave a fashion show to the world,so magnanimous that no earthly designer could be equal: the thread of the stars' rays which covered the naked bodies of the Himalaya mountains  was simply the finest!
They just drank their beer and watched CNN news.To their bewilderment,they saw an advertisement which presented Nepal to the worldwide audience.The Himalayas,naturally,were also shown and they recognised one of the mountains,the so called Kanjiroba,6883 m above the sea level,which they planned to climb the next day.They knew the mountain because they have already done some research over it,learnt some details over its routes,rocky caves,sudden precipices and its top crowned as a delightful iceberg,still possible to be won over by expierenced or good prepared climbers.What was ubelivable but real was that there was a hostel on the fourth thousand meters level of the mountain and the hostel had a mysterious and significant name:”Yetti Hostel”.Just thanks to that quite many tourists tried to climb up the Kanjiroba and most of them were satisfied enough the moment they could try a yeti menu at the hostel’s restaurant: on the fourth thousandth meter above the sea level! Forever unforgetable indeed!
John Ruchter and Tadek Vangard sat together on a wide leather couch,drank their beer and continued to listen to the CNN news.There was lots of drama happening around the globe:in the ex-Jugoslavia,Rwanda,Chechnya,Palestine…Something strange was happening in Afghanistan and the CNN newsman said about decision of the USA president to stop funding the fundamentalist fighters there.
Tadek Vangard felt irritated when he listened to a discussion forum,which took place next and in which participated some politicians,experts and journalists from the European Union,Russia and the so-called Wishehrad Group of Hungary,Poland,Slovakia and the Czech Republic which aspired to join the EU.The most irritating were the opinions of the Russian speakers who said that the Central Europe’s countries should not enter the European Union because if it happened it were against the vital interests of Russia.
Tadek Vangard thought he has never heard anything more stupid than that.But also the experts representing the EU were far from intellectual brightness at some points during the discussion.They expressed their frustrations over the relative poverty of the EU aspirants and said once the borders will be open Europe will witness an invasion of illegal labour.It was absolutely a nonsence to even think so! The Central Europe’s countries were not so much populous,with the exception of Poland,a country of nearly forty million inhabitants.The truth was perhaps Poland was poorer than the EU member countries but had an enormous level of cultural life,a terrific social life,rich in all sorts of events,to such a degree that staying in Poland was more attractive to vast majority of Poles than emigrating out.The same could be said about the other applicant countries from the East-Central Europe.Opening EU borders to the Russians would cause much bigger problems,due to more than sure potential massive influx of the Russians to the European Union.There was some angry exchange of words between the Russian and Polish experts,who had diametrically opposing views.One of the Polish experts did not support also the ideas of a Danish one,who was a proponent of a slow approach of the accession to the European Union.
Tadek Vangard felt so much discomforted that John Ruchter placed his arms over him and tapped him on his shoulders.
-“They talk such a nonsence that I’m ready to shit in my trousers!Look,Poland is a civilised country in the middle of Europe,in the Europe’s heart I would even say.My country liberated Europe many times in the history,from the Tatars and Turks in the distant past and from fascism and communism quite not that long time ago,from the historic perception!…”- He expressed himself angrily.
-“Don’t worry,Tadek.I’m sure your country will become a member of the European Union.Within ten years I guess.”- John Ruchter comforted him. 
-“I’m not so sure,John.”- Tadek Vangard answered drilly.-“The people in the West think they are a better sort and what surprises me the most,there are spreading all sorts of rascist and even neofascist groups all over Western Europe.Some their politicians are openly disturbing in their comments,such as Jorg Haider for example or the ones who are centered within the so-called Vlaams Blok in Belgium.I think the Americans were too generous with their Marschall Plan towards the Germanic races of Western Europe who always suffered a schizophrenic attitude towards the Slavic Europeans.I’m afraid the West Europeans have never been really friends of the other Europe.Look at what was happening and still is happening in ex-Jugoslavia.For many years Europe did not react to the drama of people there and if there were any approaches they were flegmatic and fruitless,symbolic at their best.And then came the agony of Bosnia,the mass murders and concentration camps,compared with what was happening earlier in Cambodia,during the rule of Pol Pot.Only then did the European Union and the United States reacted more forcefully,because they realised there could be no more complacency to the genocide,just on the Europe’s doorstep.The world watched.The world judged.So something had to be done.How many lives could have been saved if they acted early enough!”
-“That’s a drama indeed,Tadek,what happened and is still happening there in the Balkans.I hope something good is going to be done! Lets’s change the channel.I propose we have a look at a film.Do you agree?”
-“Well,I’m also fed up with politics! Is there any good movie on TV?”- Tadek Vangard agreed.
-“Let’s see!”
There were a number of films and they chose a local one,about a group of tourists lost high there in the mountains and fighing for their survival.
John Ruchter still kept one of his hands over Tadek Vangard’s shoulders.
-“I could kill him right now!”- He thought.It would be exceptionally easy to do so.Just one twist of the guy’s neck or one all powerful squize of his neck and it would be over.The guy would be gone.Forgotten.Loosing his life this way would certainly be too easy.He wanted the guy to look at the face of death,horrific and more nightmare alike than a thousand nightmares taken together.He imagined killing the guy out there,high in the mountains by droping him down to the precipice just after letting him know that the man he dealt with was not John Ruchter but …Carlos.He smiled to himself when he imagined the grotesque mimics of the guy the moment he will learn of his real identity.
Somehow he forgot himself and pressed hard against Tadek Vangard’s neck who caught his hand and tried to pull it away from his neck.
-“John,you’re hurting me! I nearly lost my breath!”- He shouted when he managed to get rid of his friend’s hand.
Carlos looked blank.
-“Oh,I beg your pardon,Tadek.It’s the film.I’ve got too nervous!”- He exclaimed.
Tadek Vangard smiled to him.
-“I understand,John.But…you better keep your hand away from my shoulders.I’m not intending to loose my life.”
-“Your life is too precious,Tadek.”- John Ruchter answered with an unabashed,challenging expression on his face.When he looked like that Tadek Vangard felt he was loosing his mind.The guy was terribly handsome and it felt real good to have him next to himself,and to feel especially his body gently touching his own.He never before thought he could feel so good in a presence of a man.Life was indeed mysterious and full of puzzles as much as the human nature.Nothing was black and white.There were all shades of colour and he realised a man could also make happy yet another man.This was what he felt right now: he felt himself happy,real happy.He could talk to the man,watch him express himself,feel the warmth of his breadth as well as his body,he had simply a living creature sitting just next to him,a creature which happened to be a man.What wrong was with it? A man or not a man,he made him happy! It was so good to sit next to each other and spend the time together.A very human feeling.
Only three people,on the TV screen,managed to escape death high there in the mountains,out of an original group of ten mountaineers.What lost their colleaugues was especially the sudden change of weather conditions,much colder,snowy and the winds which raved for hours on and threw some of them into this or that abyss.
-“I feel terrible and momentarily have doubts whether to continue climbing in the Himalayas.”- Tadek Vangard said sadly to John Ruchter after the film ended.
His friend grinned sweetly to him.
-“Oh,Tadek,this is only a movie! The mountains we are going to climb are the ones which are allowed by the Nepalese tourist authority.That means they have made all the precausions,necessary to ensure a safety of the tourists who engage in climbing.We’re safe there.”
-“I accept your explanation,John.”- Tadek Vangard replied,with a face showing all smile.
John Ruchter chose again CNN while Tadek Vangard went to the kitchen to prepare some evening meal for him and his friend.
There was an announcement of the so-called breaking news which indeed were so unexpected Tadek Vangard nearly droped a glass to which he just poured orange juice.
-“Carlos,the assassin is finally arrested in Sudan by the French Special Units.His real name is Illich Ramirez Sanches and he was born in Wenezuela.He is responsible for a number of terrorist acts worldwide,including killing Israeli athletes at the Monachium Olimpics,taking hostage OPEC ministers in Vienna,terror bombings in the French express trains Paris-Tulouse and Marsylie-Paris,terror act in the French Cultural Centrum in West Berlin,Champ-Elysees bombing…”- There was a litany of terror acts caused by Carlos and other terrorists who cooperated with him.
Tadek Vangard had an impression he was engulfed by fire from within his body,he felt so much enthusiastic that he stormed the living room of the appartament,hearing in the meantime a wild and histerish laugh of his companion.
-“John,they caught Carlos! They caught Carlos!”- He shouted triumphantly. The image of Carlos shown on TV was indeed the one as Tadek Vangard remembered him.
It was Carlos!
John Ruchter was now nearly crying from an amusement.He laughed and laughed.
-“They think,stupid,they caught Carlos! Ha,ha,ha…He’s not Carlos! Ha,ha,ha...”- He nearly bursted his sides with laughter.
-“Carlos is well and alive! Nobody can ever catch him! Ha,ha,ha…”- He continued while grinning like a Cheshire cat.
-“But I see,John! It’s Carlos! I met him a number of times! He nearly succeded in killing me!”- Tadek Vangard protested.
-“Ha,ha,ha…”- John Ruchter laughed even more vividly,in his sleeve.
-“You didn’t answer me,John!”
-“Ha,ha,ha…”- John Ruchter still was unable to stop with laughing,he laughed till the tears came.
-“I see nothing amusing in that,John.The guy was a brutal killer.He murdered an unnacounted number of innocent people.”
-“Ha,ha,ha…Tadek,sorry,I’m dying from laugh,because they,stupid,think they got Carlos! Ha,ha,ha…They can never get him!
-“Why do you think so?”
-“The guy they caught is not a real Carlos.He is a double.A double-ganger,man! The real Carlos,the one as he wants to be known,has a number of other double gangers,the ones who look exactly as he does! They will never catch the real Carlos! He’s invincible!”
Tadek Vangard felt stunned by the John Ruchter’s outburst.Something sparkled within his mind,as if his six sense was getting awoken.Was it a sort of warning? And if so,then from whom?
-“John,but why do you think it’s not Carlos?! Have you ever seen him?” It was then when his companion stoped to laugh abruptly and there was a strange,metallic blik in his eyes.
-“Oh,Tadek,don’t be so nouissant! Those people,I mean terrorists,and especially Carlos himself are much more clever than they are just portrayed in this CNN breaking news! They would never let themselves to be caught in such a stupid way!”
-“But I saw him! It’s Carlos!”
-“You better have a closer look! He’s a double-ganger!”- John Ruchter riposted.
Tadek Vangard hesitated,he wanted to do what his friend just advised him but the images of Carlos were replaced now by some other news.He thought he will have to buy the morning newspapers and then he will look closely at the images of the man caught by the French Special Units.He left the assessment for the morning.
-“Perhaps you’re right,I don’t know.”- His voice sounded unconvinced.
-“Excuse me,Tadek.I have to go to my apartament.I have some urgent telephone calls to make.”- John Ruchter sprang dynamically up from the couch and neared the door.
-“John,Are we climbing Kanjiroba  tomorrow?”- Tadek Vangard felt disappointed because of an abrupt departure of his friend.
-“Early in the morning! You better go to the bed right now in order to have enough strength tomorrow. It’s going to be your judgment day!”- John Ruchter said somehow coolly and went outside,to his next door apartament.
To be continued…...
Author: Thaddeus Hutyra.
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Address: Frederik de Merodestraat 1.
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