The heavy steel door clanged shut behind me, and I stood there, trembling, knowing what I faced, holding my stack of two towels, a change of clothes, a tooth brush and tube of toothpaste, and, both inexplicably and ominously, a small stack of condoms in front of me as if they'd shield me. I knew, however, that they wouldn't.
The light was dim at first, although I knew my eyes would soon adjust to it. And when they did I wouldn't be able to go out into the courtyard from my few minutes of blessed sunshine without squinting my watering eyes.
I could sense him - and smell him - the smell of Dentyne that would soon become so familiar to me even before I could see him, hulking there beside the metal bunk beds.
Then it started.
He reached out and grabbed my drab-gray shirt by the lapels and, my stack of precious possessions dashing to the floor, pulled me to him, so that, for a brief moment we were face to face and I could clearly see his cruel smile. And then he turned me and literally threw me into the bottom bunk, causing it to screech in shock and disapproval and for my head to hit the solid concrete-block wall.
Dazed by the blow to the head, I heard him mutter, 'Just what the doctor ordered,' and I whimpered in fear and frustration as he struggled with my zipper and stripped my trousers off my legs. Then I was screaming and grunting and groaning while he was beating at me with a leather scourge in one hand and stuffing his hard cock into my channel with the other. I spread and lifted my legs, digging the pads of my feet in the metal framing overhead and my fists in the springs below the top bunk as Mir Rhutani, Iranian terrorist mastermind, gave me the first taste of what life in his prison cell was going to be like for weeks to come.
'Scream as loud as you want, Pretty Boy,' he growled. 'They get paid well to look the other way. You are bought and paid for.'
And to think that I had half way volunteered for this.
* * * *
Two weeks before I had been working on personal contact files, reports on meetings with in-place agents and possible intelligence targets, in the embassy in Cairo, when the chief of station had called me into his office. He wasn't alone. Two other men were there, one in a suit and one in a military uniform, dripping with shiny metal and ribbons. All three scrutinized me closely as I walked into the room.
'Yes, yes, just what the doctor ordered,' said the military uniform.
'Well, if he's willing, of course,' said the suit, looking and sounding a little dubious.
'Come on in, Philip. This is Philip Menlow, gentleman, newly arrived from the States. Part of the special services unit, so that part is certainly covered. When you sent out your message looking for a very particular volunteer, he came immediately to mind. A very capable young man.'
All three men were looking at me intently, as if it was my turn to talk.
'You are ready for your first special services assignment, aren't you, Philip?' the chief of station broke the silence and asked.
Only a couple of days later I was on an airplane for Frankfurt, from there to be driven - at night - to a very special location near Heidelberg, where an intelligence service that was particularly close to my own was holding some very special guests of ours.
One guest, in particular, was extra, extra special, and time was of the essence in dealing with him. That's where I now came into the picture.
Mir Rhutani was a senior member of an international terrorist organization - or, at least, had been before we had nabbed him and salted him away in a German prison compound. He himself was Iranian, but the group he worked with was so contrary that it recognized no organized government at all. Its only purpose in life was to wreak terror and chaos on organized society. And Rhutani had been picked up in the latter stages of putting one of his signature big-body-count terrorist events into operation. The head had been cut off and was being held in secret - but not secret enough, as somehow influence from the outside had extended into his special prison enough for the guards to give him deference and to supply him with many of his wants. One of his wants was for fresh, young, boyish, Jewish-looking man flesh.
I wasn't Jewish, but I looked close enough to his ideal to pass muster.
Rhutani would be dead now - he was that much a thorn in many governments' sides - except that he had something everyone wanted: the particulars of the special event he had been planning and the names and locations of the operatives he had in place. There had been one flaw in their plan. Rhutani had been insistent that it not be launched, no matter what, until he gave the order.
The danger now, though, was that if he could somehow influence the actions of his guards, he presumably was close to being able to get the activation of his plan out. That he hadn't done so already must, the world's intelligence organizations had reasoned, have meant that he himself had been a key participant in the event, and he could not physically be involved as long as he was being held. It was only a matter of time, however, before the operation was likely to be launched with or without him.
The job I had been volunteered for was to find out where he was hiding the information on the operation and how we could get to it before it was launched.
* * * *
'Come here, Pretty Boy.'
'No, no, Mir. Please don't.' As I often was in this third week of being incarcerated with Rhutani, I was cowering in the corner farthest away from the bunk. The fuckings I could take, but the scourging was getting a bit tedious. For some reason, the guards had let him keep his black leather scourge, made of strips of leather with knots in the strips at random places. He didn't beat hard with this, but he beat often, and it had worn my back and legs and chest and buttocks almost raw.
'I said come here. Don't make me come get you.'
I rose and hobbled over to the bed.
'Now, lean over the mattress.'
With a sigh, I turned toward the bunk and leaned over it, digging my fist into the rough, green blanket covering the mattress. Mir swished at my thighs with his scourge, and as I widened my stance in anticipation of the inevitable, he lashed my buttocks a couple of times. And then he was crouched over me, his breathing heavy, smelling of the Dentyne gum he incessantly chewed. I jerked and cried out as his cock entered my channel. And then he was fucking me yet again and swishing at my flanks and around on my belly with the tentacles of his black leather scourge. The knots in the strips bit into my skin.
Of late, he'd been more chatty. I could tell by his heavy breathing that he enjoyed me, and he was showing me more favor in the last week - not in fucking or lashing me less, but in talking to me more. And getting him to talk to me was my major immediate purpose in life - the one thing that could take me away from all of this sooner rather than later.
He bent over me, and I could feel his hot breath at my ear. 'You are the nicest one yet. I could keep you. Yes, I think I'd like that.'
'Maybe I'd like it too,' I whispered back through clinched teeth. I did all I could to keep the bitterness out of my voice, to egg him on, to make him think I was beginning to enjoy this.
'Soon, I could be getting out very soon. Or so I hear. Would you like to come with me, my little one? Be mine for ever? How would you like that?'
'Maybe,' I whispered back. 'Of course, I wouldn't want to go just anywhere. Where might you take me?'
There was silence for a moment. He had let off lashing at me, which was always a sign that he'd become intent on the fuck. And he, indeed, had taken up a steady rhythm and his high-heat panting was matching that rhythm. I moaned for him and told him he was doing me fine, all to loosen his tongue.
'Zurich. Do you think you'd like Zurich? I think I might just settle in Zurich.'
* * * *
The next time we were separated and Rhutani was given his hour in the small, open courtyard outside our lone, barred window, the handlers who were monitoring us from the multiple bugs buried in the walls of the cell and who, presumably, would sweep in and save me if Rhutani went overboard in his beatings, took me off to an interrogation room, away from the regular guards.
I, in fact, was becoming a little worried that Rhutani would go too far with his beatings. Isolation seemed to make him progressively more crazy and aggressive, and I was sure he had been far down those roads before he was brought here. I thought he was wound about as tight as he could be - and I told both the suit and the military uniform that when we were alone.
'Has he said anything that would give us a lead?' the military uniform asked, brushing aside my expressed concerns, concentrating on his own. 'Some of the tapes are just too faint. You two do a lot of whispering.'
'Sorry,' I answered. 'I'll try to speak up more. I guess I've been taking his lead on that. He did mention going to Zurich from here. Does that ring any sort of bell?'
Both the suit and the military uniform perked right up. 'Yes,' the suit said. 'Our people have been busy. They've isolated several possibilities where Rhutani could be hiding his operation plans and lists of operatives in place. They've found a bank in Zurich where he has a safety deposit box.'
'Good,' I said. 'Can I get out of there pretty soon, then? This is getting really scary.'
'A number. We can't get into the box without a number,' the military uniform said. 'The numbers there are seven digits. That's hard to keep in your mind, but maybe Rhutani has retained it. More likely he has it written down somewhere. We'll step up his outdoor periods, and you should spend that time looking for the number. It will be seven digits.'
'OK,' I said, supremely disappointed this was dragging on.
'Oh, and Philip,' the suit said in conclusion, 'time is running out. We're getting pressure from international peace groups. They've found out about these detentions. I don't think we can hold Rhutani for more than a couple of more days. And they know about him being here now. So, he can't just conveniently disappear.'
I wasn't fully listening; I was thinking more about Rhutani being gone one way or another within a couple of days. That meant I could be gone and done with this too. I'd done what I could. It would be too bad, of course, if the operation got carried out, but I had done what I could. But then I remembered something Rhutani had said to me.
'I think Rhutani knows about the pressure to get him released,' I said. 'He said something about being out of here soon.'
'Shit,' the suit and military uniform said in harmony.
* * * *
Look as I might over the next two days while Rhutani was given extended courtyard breaks, I could not find any semblance of a seven-digit number in the cell. It was a small cell, and there wasn't much of anything in it, so it wasn't as if a number could be easily hidden. When I had searched thoroughly enough that I was coming up with bugs we didn't want Rhutani to know about rather than a list of numbers, I gave up on looking in the cell.
The number must be on Rhutani's body, I decided.
That night, when Rhutani had me naked and was lifting his scourge to strike, I turned doe eyes on him and said, 'Please. Tonight I'd like to make love to you. I want to show you what you mean to me. Come sit here and let me undress you and make love to you.'
Perplexed at the unusual offer, Rhutani returned the scourge to its nail, and I had him sitting on the edge of the bed before he could recover and take charge. I slowly disrobed him, being careful to examine his clothes from every angle while I was doing so in search of that seven-digit number. And then, when he was naked, I covered every inch of his body with my hands and lips and tongue - and more significantly, with my eyes - looking for a number while his breathing got choppier and his panting became heavier. And then I climbed into his lap and lowered my channel on his cock and fucked myself on him while he groaned and moaned and I sighed and let tears fill my eyes - tears of frustration at not finding the number.
As the haze cleared from my eyes, though, I found myself staring at his scourge as it hung on the bunk post next to where we were fucking. The more I looked at the scourge, the more interested I became in it.
I could hardly hold my curiosity - and hope - until we had finished fucking and a surprised, but fully satisfied Mir Rhutani turned his face toward the wall on the lower bunk and began to snore.
Quietly, ever so quietly, I lifted the scourge off its hook. I counted the strands of leather. There were seven of them. I began examining the knots on each strand. They were of varied number and position. The first strand on the right, the longest one, had three knots in it, as did the next one. But the third strand had only one.
I replaced the scourge and climbed up into the top bunk and started counting the minutes until Rhutani's next courtyard session permitted me to talk to the suit and the military uniform.
It was the varied number of knots on the seven strands of the scourge that would permit me to tell them that the number that would open the safety deposit box in the Zurich bank was 3315743.