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 Royal pimp and diplomatic corps combin, to swing the most delightfully fantastic deal in history

"The Generous Procurer"

 by Lewis K. Levinson


Adam Bedside Reader #2


    "DAPPER" DAN HALLADAY smiled in innocent blandness at the American Consul who was at the moment spluttering with wordless rage.
    "I like being a procurer," he protested with great enthusiasm, "and I don't see that it has anything to do with the Middle East crisis."
    The Consul controlled himself with effort and ran a hand distractedly through his thinning hair.
    "My dear Mr. Halladay," he glared at Dan's sharply handsome features and merry blue eyes, "it reflects on the dignity of our countrya nothing more than...a...common pimp by the potentate of a country whose friendliness to us is, at best, very very doubtful."
    Dan planted one hand in the pocket of his perfectly tailored sport-coat, and pointed with the other.
    "For your information, Mr. Consul, I am not a pimp and I resent the insult. Sheik Ibriham Ben Illah does not rent women, he buys 'em. body, soul, and servants. They are not whores, but well-bred young women of good family, mostly virgins."
    The Consul smiled icily and nodded. "I have heard enough, Mr. Halladay. When the Victoria sails in ten days you will be aboard, either willingly, or in chains, but go you will. I have never heard of such decadent and evil things in my whole forty-six years."
    Back on the sunny main street of Salah, Dan groaned in misery. For ten long months he had schemed and connived and scraped friendships in many quarters to be come a member of the Schlecam-Houri, the age old union of dealers in women.
    Upon his discharge from the Air Force a golden opportunity had awaited him. Old Sherif-ad-Din at eighty had felt tolerant and sold him the membership to the union for a mere hundred dollars.
    As it stood now, he had a small card which proclaimed his business and was valid in almost the entire Middle East, admitting him to the most fabulous harems and markets of female beauty in all Islam, not a mean feat for an infidel and a man of his youthful years.
    The contract with Sheik Ibriham had been the final stepping stone, a small matter accomplished one night in the palace when the sheik and Dan had discovered they had almost identical tastes in women. Now he was employed by the ruler for a comfortable ten thousand per year in Zurich money, and for the first time it had been looking like he was going to be a success.
    Until the Consul had called him in. Now it looked like curtains.
    Disheartened, he let himself into his modest six room apartment and hardly responded to the ardent kiss with which Faila greeted him.
    "You are troubled," she whispered softly, and rubbed against him.
    "I am troubled," he agreed darkly, flopping onto a sofa. "Bring me three fingers of Scotch."
    Faila brought the Scotch and then coughed loudly to attract his attention.
    "There are a few business matters to take care of," she reminded him.
    "Oh God!" He clapped a hand to his head in dismay. "Old Hassan has been waiting since morning. Send him in.
    Hassan was a one-eyed man of exceptionally evil appearance and he entered the room bowing deeply and rubbing his hands together.
    "Ah, Prince of Procurers, Master of Wisdom, Lover of Beauty," he babbled smilingly. "I bring before you the treasures of the mountains, such delicate roses that even the eyes of you, my lord, will grow hot with desire for just a..."
    "Can the crap," Dan grunted, "and get down to business."
    "Okay, you infidel bastard," Hassan chuckled with glee. "I got you a bunch of babes this time. Found a whole flock of them up near the border, all wanting you to sponsor them for the Sheik's harem."
    "Bring 'em in," Dan said dryly.
    Four shapely girls legged into the studio and stood before the sofa. Methodically they undressed and turned around slowly displaying their form.
    Dan looked at the one on the end sharply. "She has a mole down there," he snapped suddenly pointing. "The Sheik does not care for moles."
    Hassan squatted before the sofa and studied the blemish with a speculative eye.
    "It adds a certain something," he said persuasively, "to her charm."
    "It makes her look like her left leg is longer than her right."
    Hassan shrugged placidly. "A small discount from the current market price."
    "Three thousand dinars for the bunch."
    "Never. A common street woman is worth more."
    "Not to me."
    "On my honor, I paid more than that, and you can afford to allow me a little profit."
    "You have no honor, and at the price you would make plenty of profit. Besides, they look hungry."
    "They eat like birds," Hassan protested.
    "Like vultures more likely. Three thousand."
    Hassan spread his hands sadly. "Be cause of you I will die in poverty."
    "A deserving death for the likes of you, Hassan." Dan counted out bills.

    AFTER HASSAN had left, Dan looked over the wares again and nodded. It had been a reasonably good deal.
    "Well, sweet creatures," he said in English, "if I had only your problems, I'd be happy."
    The girl on the end, the one with the mole, giggled suddenly and he stared at her in surprise.
    "You speak English, don't you."
    She nodded and smiled. "Of course. But I saw no need in letting Hassan know it. He made enough profit on me without charging you for the education."
    Dan chuckled. "He's shrewd."
    The girl shrugged and then frowned at him. "I never heard of an Infidel procurer before."
    "Ex-procurer," Dan said wistfully, "in ten days my career comes to a screeching stop. My friends at the legation think I belong in a more conservative business."
    The girl's pretty face wrinkled into a sympathetic frown and she came toward the sofa.
    "I'm sorry," she said warmly. "My name is Fanzilwa, and I would be happy to talk with you about this. Perhaps I could even help."
    Dan looked up thoughtfully and then looked down.
    "Put your clothes on first," he said, "that mole is rather disturbing."

    A HALF HOUR later Fanzilwa nodded and sighed. "It does seem frightfully unfair," she said with indignation. "After all, matchmaking is not considered wrong, nor is selling horses, so why should it be any different in this?"
    "Well, basically because the women are bought for a slightly different purpose--although I've heard that the Berbers..."
    "Just a rumor," she laughed, "and not at all true." Her eyes sparked. "As a matter of fact this Mr. Addings, the Consul, is far more of a Berber than anyone I know. He used to play around the brothels in a small town called Cafri."
    "He what?" Dan bellowed in surprise.
    "Yes. He fancies himself quite a lover."
    Dan rubbed his chin softly and then pulled Fanzilwa closer. She snuggled very nicely and he smiled down at her with almost fanatic glee.
    "My brown-eyed darling," he whispered gleefully, "tell me more of this wonderful story."
    Faila snorted angrily and deserted the keyhole as Fanzilwa ran a finger over his lips and began.
    "Well, you see, he has this horrid old woman for a wife, something like a dirigible in corsets with a temper like a damascus sword..."

    JAMES ADDINGS, senior Consul, closed and locked the office very carefully at six-ten. Having fortified himself with liberal amounts of Bourbon he felt ready to face his wife across the supper table.
    In front of the Consulate, a one-eyed cab driver with an exceptionally evil face bowed so low his tarboosh almost swept the sidewalk before the feet of the chief Consul.
    "Revered one," the driver whined, "honor me by riding in my cab. So illustrious a passenger I have never had."
    Mr. Addings stepped into the cab and settled himself for the ride home. The first few blocks there was silence and then the driver began to speak almost to himself in a flowing dreamy manner.
    "Ah, only once before has this poor car been honored so greatly. I carried Abdul Krissa to a rendezvous with one of the fairest daughters of Mohammed. You know Abdul Krissa, do you not, Revered one?"
    "Hmmmmmmm, seems I remember the name. Quite a blade isn't he ?"
    "It is said that the great Krissa has discovered and made love to the most beautiful women in the world. And this humble miserable person was honored by being entrusted with the secret place where the loveliest of the lovelies are found." He sighed. "Since then I have felt that Allah smiles upon me."
    Mr. Addings stared at the driver's back with very intent eyes.
    "I suppose you were sworn to secrecy," Addings said cautiously.
    "Red hot knives would not make me reveal the place of houris," he de clared, "or the rack itself would find me like the grave."
    Mr. Addings smiled sleekly. "You should be very careful," he advised with studied casualness, "for it is written that money will open a sealed tongue more quickly than a poker."
    "Revered one," the driver protested reproachfully, "would you insinuate that a man's honor could be bought by a few Dinars?"
    There seemed to be no answer and they rode on in silence for a while. Then the driver spoke again.
    "It is hard to live in these sad days. When one has, as I have, Revered one, an ailing wife, six children, one of whom suffers from a mysterious ailment which the local physicians cannot cure, and a hovel for a home, one wishes at times that a benefactor would appear to help a poor wretch like my self toward the mercy of Allah's bounty."
    The home of the Consul was almost in sight and he leaned forward to nudge the driver urgently. "Your story has touched my heart," he said, eyes gleaming with selfless zeal. "Pull over."
    The driver looked back in astonishment and then did as he was instructed.
    "I am moved to compassion," Mr. Addings said grandly, "by your ailing wife, and your hungry and afflicted children. I would like to help you."
    The driver turned in his seat and waited with bated breath, his one good eye fixed on Mr. Addings with a worshipful gleam.
    "Ten thousand Dinars would help you, would it not?"
    "I would be counted among the blessed of Allah"
    Mr. Addings nodded. "But I would bestow such a gift only upon a deserving man."
    "Who could be more deserving?" the driver said piously.
    "We shall put you to the test," Mr. Addings said severely. "A man worthy of such a gift would place his family above the pride of knowing a secret, would he not ?"
    The driver squirmed slightly. "I know what the Revered one means. Surely you would not put my honor in the balance."
    Mr. Addings held up ten one-thousand Dinar notes and the driver wilted slightly.
    "The vision of my sick child torments me," he moaned sickly.
    Mr. Addings added another note and the driver nodded. "I shall never hold up my head again," he said bitterly, "but surely my weakness will be forgiven by Allah."
    "Surely," Mr. Addings smiled kindly. "Now pull up to my house while I tell my wife I have to be gone for a while."

    AN HOUR LATER Mr. Addings stepped from the cab and rapped upon a door.
    He gaped in wonder as the door opened and a lovely woman of nut brown complexion smiled at him warmly. Although Mr. Addings was a little near-sighted, her charms were immediately visible for the simple reason that she wore nothing to conceal them.
    "Welcome to the House of Pleasure," she sighed in a throaty voice, backing away from the door.
    Mr. Addings followed as if they were attached by a string.
    In the roomy living quarters he sighed in rapture at the bevy of nude beauties scattered around at decorative intervals on soft rugs.
    A tall Arab with his face veiled walked into the room and made a slight obeisance. "Welcome," he in toned deeply. "I am Yadallah, the owner of this house."
    "I am," Mr. Addings paused significantly, "er--Joe Smith."
    "You are James Addings," the deep voice from behind the veil said reproachfully. "Yadallah knows all in this city."
    Mr. Addings gulped. "I...wouldn't want this to...to be known..." he flushed.
    "Have no fear," the voice boomed reassuringly. "We are people of dignity. Now we must decide which of these lovely creatures will be yours," the voice boomed happily.
    Mr. Addings looked around. "They're all so delicious," he rubbed his hands.
    "Any of them will do."
    "That is not the question," Yadallah said somberly. "They decide for themselves. Whichever one wants you will love you."
    Mr. Addings blinked uncertainly. "That sounds like an unusual way to do business."
    "This is the House of Pleasure, Mr. Addings, and only a man's attractiveness wins him a place, with one of the houris. Now you must ask them if they will have you."
    Mr. Addings considered his rather bulging stomach and what was left of his greying hair with sadness. "I might have known," he snorted, looking at the soft-eyed beauties, "that there would be a catch."
    Yadallah took his arm and led him over to the first girl and spoke quickly in an obscure dialect that Mr. Addings did not understand.
    Suggestive eyes roved over Mr. Addings for a long moment and then she spoke a few words.
    "She says she will love and obey you forever," Yadallah translated, and pulled Mr. Addings away to the next.
    The same ritual was performed for all four of the girls and all four accepted Mr. Addings, belly and all.
    Finally Yadallah grunted and produced a large paper. "Sign here," he said.
    Mr. Addings had his eyes fixed almost in a hypnotic trance on one of his prizes who had risen to stretch languorously. One tiny vestige of caution still burned in him as he tore his eyes away long enough to glance at Yadallah.
    "How much?"
    "There is no charge at the House of Pleasure."
    Mr. Addings shook his head in won der. "Have I died and gone to heaven ?" he asked dreamily.
    Yadallah shrugged. "When you die, you will receive what you deserve, Infidel, but until then, enjoy yourself."
    Mr. Addings signed the long paper with a trembling hand and turned toward the girl who was stretching.
    She smiled and poured red wine from a glass decanter and handed him a goblet.
    "Drink deeply of the wine of love, first." She shifted suggestively on the carpet.
    Mr. Addings tossed off the goblet with a flourish and smiled down at her. "Shall we ?" he asked brightly.
    "Are you able ?" she countered with a laugh.
    "I am..." He blinked twice and the girl shifted as his unconscious body dropped in a heap.
    She looked at the sleeping one and shook her head. "Not now you aren't, fatso"

    MR. ADDINGS glared across the desk of the Police Commissioner in apoplectic rage. "For God's sake, man," he yelped, "my wife will murder me."
    The Police Commissioner looked from the large paper to Mr. Addings and then to the four girls who stood behind him. He shrugged and shook his head.
    "If you didn't want them, you shouldn't have bought them," he pointed to the paper. "It's all quite legal and binding. You are the owner of these four fine girls and it is your responsibility to feed them and quarter them and provide for them. Until you find a buyer for them, this is required. And the law is very explicit."
    "I'm an American," Mr. Addings screamed. "You can't do this to me."
    The commissioner's voice grew very stern.
    "One moment, sir. Let me remind you that no one compelled you to buy them. They and you signed the contract and as such it is binding while you reside here."
    "I'll reside in my grave if Mrs. Add ings learns about this," the Consul yapped shrilly.
    "That," the commissioner leaned back and sighed gratefully, for he knew Mrs. Addings, "does not concern me."
    "Can't I give them back?"
    "Not unless somebody will take them off your hands. This is a bad season for girls. Glutted market, you know."
    Mr. Addings fumbled despairingly and then smiled winningly at the commissioner. "Abdul, just between old friends, what would happen if I sort of...well, sort of just forgot about them?"
    Commissioner Abdul frowned. "Why, I might get you off pretty light," he said tolerantly. "The law of this government prescribes a penalty of ten years in prison and both feet chopped off for such an offense, but seeing it's you, I think I could talk the Caliph into a merciful 'five and one', just about half the usual penalty."
    "Thanks," Mr. Addings groaned, "even that might be preferable to facing my wife. I take it they do a neat job with the axe.
    "Seriously," Commissioner Abdul said soberly, "there may be one small possibility of getting you out of this."
    "Anything." Mr. Addings leaned forward eagerly.
    "Well, there's a certain young man, a countryman of yours. He handles women for the Royal house. If anyone could find a market for these, he could. His name is Dan Halladay."
    Mr. Addings winced. "I know him. I told him just yesterday I was going to throw him out of the country."
    The commissioner closed his eyes and mumbled a few words. "You know," he said gently, "there's one thing cheerful about all that."
    "What's that ?"
    "I think you'll be the first Consul we ever had who limped out of the country on one foot." He smiled pensively, and returned to his paperwork.

    DAN HALLADAY perched gaily on the corner of the Consul's desk and snared one of the Consul's imported Havan nah Grande cigars. He lighted it with the Consul's gold lighter and blew smoke in the Consul's face. "My friend," he said gaily, "rumor has it that you have troubles."
    Addings nodded miserably and pointed to the three beauties on the chairs in the corner and the other one who was idly eating a bunch of grapes by the window.
    "Rumor doesn't know the half of it," he said sadly. "I was rooked into buying these four girls and I can't get rid of them."
    Dan walked around the room and patted one of the girls on the rump. She smiled up at him archly.
    "Why get rid of them?" he asked blandly. "Do they have B. 0. or some thing ?"
    "You idiot," Mr. Addings snarled, "when my wife finds out, she'll disembowel me."
    "Sounds frightfully unpleasant," Dan said pityingly, "but what do you want me to do? I'm going out of business, remember, and I couldn't possibly add these to my inventory. I'm selling, not buying."
    "I might arrange a thirty-day extension," Addings said carefully. He nodded brokenly. "Please, Dan."
    "I don't know," Dan shook his head uncertainly. "It might take me years and years to find a good home for them."
    Mr. Addings shuddered. "I was afraid it might," he scowled. "I don't suppose I could prevail on what's left of y our conscience."
    "Not after calling me a pimp," Dan said stiffly. "Besides, you've treated Fanzilwa quite shabbily. She's a hot-blooded girl and you haven't touched her."
    Mr. Addings stood up and smiled tiredly. "You win, Dan...I'll forward a recommendation that you be allowed to remain. No hard feelings?"
    "None at all," Dan said cheerfully.
    Mr. Addings produced the contract and placed it on the desk. "If you'll just sign..." he extended a pen.
    "There's a small matter of a million Dinars," Dan said apologetically.
    "That's blackmail," Mr. Addings screamed.
    "Not at all. I need a new house, and a million Dinars will just about cover it."
    After fifteen minutes of resistance Mr. Addings broke. He passed over a check philosophically because a million Dinars was about a half year of his life in terms of salary, and Mrs. Addings was there for many times that.
    Dan Halladay pocketed the check and accepted the pen. He scrawled his signature below that of the original procurer and waved jauntily as he led his charges out.
    "By the way," he called back merrily, "you might find my signature very interesting."

    IN THE CAR Hassan screamed tires as they shot toward the bank and Dan relaxed in the back seat, teasing Fanzilwa until she bit him playfully.
    "He will be angry, Master of Deception," Hassan grinned back, his one eye glittering devilishly.
    Dan smiled. "That is true, Master of Treachery. Let us go back and listen for his cry of anguish. It should be worth hearing even if he does try to cancel the check."

    IN HIS OFFICE James Addings sighed in relief and looked down at the contract. He was free and now no one would ever know. And, after all, that young man had done him a favor. It had been his own passion that had be trayed him. His eyes looked at the signature again and then widened as the terrible truth dawned. The signature glared back at him and the one above it with impudent and scornful letters.



    OUTSIDE IN THE CAR, Dan lifted his lips from Fanzilwa's and sighed in rapture as the outraged screech of un diluted rage rang on the air through the open window of the Consulate.

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