'However, do not think that your job is now over. No, my friend, your job is only just stared.'
'But your Eminence,' Allie asked. 'What more can you have for me to do here? You have permitted him not only to take up residence in our house but now you are giving him the deed and keys to the palace as well.'
'I am only continuing the plan that Fazzi started,' The Emir continued.
'And what great plan was that, your Eminence?' Allie asked.
'Why our plan to bring the word of the true prophet to the United States. We saw that this might be possible when we saw the Black Muslim made great strides. But we also knew these were not really the true Muslims as they were really only black separatists and not interested in Islam or converting all Americans. If we were to bring the true Islam to America, we knew that we must find a 'true red, white and blue American' and ensnare him and, through him, we would spread the word of the true prophet. We would do this by the use of Fazzi's daughter. However, we soon learned that when dealing with the Americans, these plans should be flexible and subject to change. Yussef not only charmed her, but he awakened Fazzi's old libido. There were times when I thought my friend had lost his head.'
'We all thought that at one time or another.' Allie said trying to keep from laughing.
Ignoring Allie's comment, the Emir continued, 'So you see---what I have done is nothing more than a continuation of the original plan. I have taken the rather unusual move of inviting him to become a member of my family, and since before this happens I will not be here to watch him, I will want you to watch him very closely. You are to report to me any problems that might come up.'
'But Your Eminence, by your actions you have created a big problem here,' Allie said.
'And what is that?'
'In order to do what you want, I must have unlimited access to him. And the best way to have that is to sexually enslave him. Now, because of your little talk with him, you have destroyed the only real means of my getting close to him again. Without my having unlimited access to his bed, there will be little at my disposal that I will have to control him. I was just beginning to gain his unwavering loyalty and confidences when you pulled the rug out from under me. I have nothing else to entice him now that you have offered him everything he ever wanted and more. Mark my words; conversion and your granddaughter will not be enough for him. He wants it all! If he truly is a homosexual, as I think he is, he will still crave and need male companionship. By your forbidding him to have sex with Moslems other than his wife --- he will now find it with Worthington's son. He does not need me any longer, if he ever did. Myself, I will have additional difficulty as I have developed certain feelings for him that prevent me from dropping him like one would drop a hot potato.' Allie related.
'Hot potato? What does a hot potato have to do with this? I don't understand.'
'Sorry, that is an American expression and it means that it will be hard for me to hold on to him. He was just beginning to open up to me and since he and I will no longer be sharing the same bed, it will make my influence almost nil.'
'Well if that is the case, perhaps you are right and you are no longer of any use to me. I may have to find other work for a man of your talents. I can reassign you to France and I will put Hassan in your place,' the Emir teased him.
'Now you are making fun of me. You know that will never work. They hate each other. They will never work together.'
'My dear Allie, must I remind you to whom you are speaking! I am the Emir and you, as one of my agents, will work where and how I direct you to work. My agents will do what I ask and do it without any question. As long as my agents remember that I am the one whose orders are to be obeyed we will be OK. You are showing jealousy and that is a bad thing for any agent. Yussef has proven to me that unlike you, he does not think with his penis, but uses his head. He will put aside his personal feelings and fulfill his promises to me. Fazzi and I both knew all about Yussef and his so-called homosexual liaisons with Worthington's son. At first I, too, objected. But Fazzi knew that the senior Worthington knew his son was a faggot and was in love with Yussef. We encouraged Yussef to develop a relationship with that son so as to gain entry into the market and hopefully gain control of Worthington's firm. Yussef is doing what I want done and in the way I want it done. I don't really believe that he is a homosexual. I think he uses that as a means of getting what he wants. It is just one more tool in his arsenal of weapons. The more I learn about him - the more I like him. He will not allow anything or anyone to get in the way of getting what he wants. And power is what he wants. He wants the old man's money as well as his business and the son is the only way for him to get it. If Yussef were a female, it would be easy. He could take over the firm by either seducing the old man or his son. He is ruthless, conniving and can be vicious. In short he is like us - he has become a true son of the dessert, an Arab, and together he and I will restore the Arab people to their rightful place in the world. There was another like him in the past, but our xenophobic fathers turned him away and we have been paying for it ever since. Yes, I believe Yussef is perhaps the reincarnation of Laurence and this time I will not turn him away from us. If he keeps this up - someday he will be Emir of the western part of the empire. After that with the right guidance, and I intend to give him that guidance, who can tell what he will become? While I am still in good health, I am getting older. New blood will be needed to take over after I retire. He is going to supply that new blood. It is through him and my granddaughter that this new leadership will come. So you see- if I am correct in my assumptions about him, either he or his son will take my place when the time comes. However, you are not to worry. I am still a very active man and I intend to be around for many years. So tell me-do you still think I should send you away?'
'There is no need to send me to France. I will follow your orders as I always do. I just wanted you to know that it will be harder. I will find ways and means to do as you command. Please do not send me away as your word is the word of the prophet on earth and has been, and will always be, my will.'
'Just so long as you remember that I am who I am and can remove as well as reward my servants.'
'Yes, your Eminence,' Allie admitted.
'From now on you are to appear to take your orders from Yussef. He will be in charge. However, if you really have a problem with an order, you can call me for conformation. But do not let him know that you are checking with me. He must think that he is in charge.'
'Why are you doing this? Isn't it a little too soon to be trusting him with the entire operation?'
'Yes it is, but I want him to get involved. I want him to have a taste of the responsibility and to become welded to us. In a short time he will be discharged from the Army and I want to see how he reacts when he has to bear the burden of his decisions. It is a bit risky, but I think it is worth the risk. Above all else I want him to serve us, and only us, and prove it to me. If we are to become a world movement, we must be willing to take chances. I cannot be everywhere and must delegate some of my power. I cannot delegate it to you or any non-American. Do you understand now?', the Emir said. After Allie agreed and pledged himself to follow instructions, they both hung up.
Several weeks passed and the language school at base graduated its latest group of students. A few days before the graduation, Joseph was offered the position of permanent Arabic language instructor if he would reenlist.
'Thank you for your offer but I'm afraid I have to turn it down. I have another job offer that I've been looking forward to perusing for a long time.' Joseph told his Commanding Officer. 'Also I want to get married soon and the Army is not in either of our futures.'
'I'm sure you know what you are doing, but I thought I would try anyway. Good luck, Sergeant.'
A week later Joseph was a 'free man' and, after a small celebration, he entered (with the help of Richard Worthington Sr. and his G.I. Bill of Rights funds) his new career as a stockbroker-in- training. Until college started he was to work as one of Mr. Worthington's apprentices. Being a Worthington associate he was assured a place in the finest financial school. At first he spent the weekdays working at the Wall Street office and living out of Rich's apartment. Weekends, he and Rich would stay in Paterson. He had toyed with the idea of giving up the Paterson home, but both the F.B.I. and Rich's father did not want him to sever his ties to the community there. Besides, the 'Fund' was paying his salary and he had become attached to the people there. The community itself had begun to accept Joseph as Fazzi's replacement and to regard him as one of their own. The Imam was always calling and asking advise as well as sending members of the community who had fallen on hard times to him for assistance. Joseph was spending more and more time within the area and people would show they accepted him by always smiling and they would stop him in the street to wish him a good day and ask about his welfare or how the fund was doing. They loved the way this American not only spoke their language but also had blended into the community. They even began to accept Rich as Yussef's Broadway buddy. At this point they were a little wary of Rich but they were warming up to him. While Joseph made a point of attending Mosque, Rich did not feel at home there. Every Thursday Joseph would drive back to Paterson so that on Friday he could attend mosque and participate in services and many of the religious classes and lectures. In short, he was 'at home' there and no longer felt like 'an outsider'. In fact the Imam had suggested that he thought it would be wonderful if Joseph would teach a class on Islam, in English, to some Americans who had become interested in the religion or were thinking of marrying into the religion.
One evening, while Rich and Joseph were talking about the future, Rich said that they would have to decide what to do soon about their living arrangements.
'This moving back and forth is driving me nuts. No one knows where to get in touch with me,' The actor complained. 'Last week my agent called me 3 times before he was able to get me at home.'
'Look I don't like the two of us moving back and forth either, but I think I may have a solution.' Joseph said. 'Why not give up the New York apartment and you move in with me in Paterson?'
'That's ridiculous.' Rich scoffed at the idea. 'I'm a New Yorker through and through. I was born here and grew up here. I would never leave it.'
'No? Not even if you were offered a Hollywood contract?' Joseph laughed. 'Think about it from the money side. You know Summaya, my housekeeper, never did take up my offer to move into the apartment over the garage and it is going to waste. If you were to move in there, not only will we be able to save on the apartment rent but also we won't have that additional garage rental fee. Besides Paterson is not at the other end of the world. The commute time will be the same or maybe just a little bit more.'
'It sounds too good to be true. Let's think about it.' Rich said. 'To head off some of the gossips, I would just move a few of my things into the apartment - enough to put on a good show and make it look like I was really living there.... Oh! I wish we could drop all this pretense shit...'
'Soon baby, soon. I did promise you it would happen soon and I meant it.' Joseph reiterated, 'but you know as well as I that for a while at least we have to be discreet, at least until I can sort out my forthcoming marriage to the Emir's granddaughter. Putting that aside for the moment there are other reasons for us to move in together. Not only do we cut our financial expenses, but you would not have to worry about house cleaning, preparing meals or even doing laundry.' Joseph quipped. 'Summaya has always liked you and she would be happy to take care of the 'big Broadway star'. She often complains that I don't give her enough to do.'
'Hey I would be willing to pay part of her wages. Even if I were to pay it all, I think it would still be cheaper living there and besides the rent and garage fees, there is also the fact that the insurance is a hell of a lot cheaper in Jersey too.'
'It will be better all around and this way we can both keep an eye on each other and when I'm not here you can watch our house and also since the estate is gated and secure, I can make sure none of your fans follow you home and try to crawl into your bed.' Joseph admonished him.
'You know that you are the only one I 'bed down'. I think it might work, but what about Allie and the Emir?' Rich asked. 'Won't they object to my living here with you?'
'Since you are Christian the rules do not apply to you. Besides they both are under the impression that I have to 'keep you happy' or God forbid you would go crying to daddy and your father will somehow screw-up the fund's investments.' Joseph laughed. 'Right now with the Oil Market the way it is they won't make waves. They see that not only is the fund strong but also has in fact risen in value so your dad is their financial messiah. As long as we are not too flamboyant about it they would rather eat pork than hurt the old man and they will not object. As far as the rest of the Paterson community goes, in time, they will brag about Paterson being the home of the big New York Stage star.'
'Hey, just New York Stage star?' Rich asked, 'What about Hollywood? You did mention it a while back.'
'That's reserved for Lou Costello,' Joseph laughed. 'Even after all these years, Paterson refuses to forget one of its favorite sons.'
'OK I'll do it. Such loyalty deserves to be enhanced and encouraged,' Rich said, joining in the laugher. 'I'll move in.'
'Good. And now I have a little gift for you. I hoped that someday you would move here so I had a new key made for you. Now that you are going to be living there, you can remove our old key from that neck chain and replace it with this new key,' Joseph said. 'I have to tell the truth. There is another reason I'm glad you are going to be staying here. This past week the board of the fund, together with Allie and the Emir, voted that they wanted me to take a tour of some of the facilities that are funded by the charity. Now that I'm out of the army and before I begin college they want me to see how our money is being used. I already checked with your father and the F.B.I. and they think it would be a good thing to do, providing that someone goes with me. I should be gone for about two weeks.'
Rich, looking sort of angry, asked, 'And who will be going with you, Allie?'
'I told you that that was over with and now that you are going to be living here you will see it for yourself.' Joseph said. 'I know you can't come with me because of the play, so I was thinking of asking your father to come along, but before I asked him I wanted to check it out with you first. I think it would be fun to travel along with my future father-in-law. Hell I even might ask your mother to come. I think they would both like it. Your mom might even be able to show off her belly dancing skills again.'
'Those two might just love to go --- and they can keep an eye on you at the same time.' Richard said, unable to keep from laughing so hard that he was almost unable to keep from rolling on the floor. When he regained his composure he asked seriously, 'will the three of you be safe? Have you asked them yet?'
'No! I have not asked them yet. Like I said, I wanted to ask your opinion first. I thought it would be safe, but to be sure I asked Agent Barns and he thought it would be a good idea to make a big deal about the trip. The more people and publicity the trip generated the safer it would be. He agreed that I should first check it out with you before I asked them. If you agree, and once Dad and Mom agree, I will then tell the Emir so that he will be able to set up some kind of itinerary.' Joseph told him.
'Won't the Emir want to take this opportunity to conclude his contract with you and his granddaughter at this time?'
'He may, but I don't think so --- at least not at this time. It would place him in a difficult position. He knows about you and me and I think I can convince him that your parents would feel very hurt, if not damn angry, if he were to press the wedding at this time.' Joseph said. 'And the one thing he will not do is to embarrass your family and run that risk of your dad somehow screwing the fund's investments or having the Americans confiscate the money. No, I think that your parents and I will be treated like Royals and while the Emir will insist that I might meet my future wife, I will not be forced to marry her at this time.'
'Not at this time! What about the future? And it you do meet her at this time, can you resist his insistence that you take her to bed?' Rich asked.
'RICHARD! She is sixteen! I am not taking a child into my bed. Somehow something will prevent it - you just remember that you and I are one body and soul. Nothing and no one can come between us. One body, one soul, one heart.'
To be continued