The Shabby Sheik - 2 - Sun on the Rocks

Summary of the amusement

Watched by a ceiling camera inside a Macau casino, teleoperator Clarity Nice joins the woman watching her, videographer Plum Bailey, in a live dealer gambling room broadcasting over the internet. Plum leads Clarity with her on board Heir Force One, the plane of Sheik Haroun Al-Najib, a man known colloquially as Hari, after offering to him a luxurious ring made by the firm Niaureieff, brought by Clarity to Macau, which points to an ancient sorority identified by a symbol known as the 'incomplete triangle'. Rejected by his family, known as the dumbest loss-making human of the Emirates, Hari calls on Clarity to sort his love life and make his first dollar on his own.

In general, Hari is a disaster. He likes to wear shabby clothes, which include a sweater with growths patched with puffs of woolfiller, ripped jeans, worn out brown leather shoes with one of the soles open, and housing several white pebbles. A golden bachelor with a solid reputation of lacking qualification and being indecisive whatever he does, Hari has not decided to marry, and is confused by all the women around him, who want to be near him in order to enjoy the affluent lifestyle of 'HDH', His Dumb Highness, as everyone else but himself thinks of him. Hari does not care about failure, and sees it as something inherent in business and in general.

After an email sent by error by Hari results in the landing of a consortium of journalists investigating the Sheik and the holdings of his company, Sheik Royal Assets-199 (SRA-199), Clarity helps Hari sort out some of the problems arising out of the unwanted notoriety. The mess created by Hari includes a scandal called Scrub Leaks, brought out in the open by wealth magazine Argyris, involving the Sheik's family assets and assets belonging to other powerful members of the elite. It also includes a money laundering charge by the British Virgin Islands (BVI) financial services commission, which leads Hari's girlfriend Nora Oakleyn, a journalist who works for gossip magazine Vanity Gloss, to leave him. As a result of the mess, Hari, and Clarity, are arrested and are led to jail in the capital of BVI, Tortola.

Stuck with Hari in jail, awaiting a trial which the authorities want as an example of compliance with laundering legislation, Clarity will have to find an ingenious way to leave jail, and to elude the charges against them, by bringing to the police commissioner those who tampered with the Sheik's account in Tortola. Lacking any local allies, the only way for Clarity out of Hari's mess, is to strike a deal exchanging favors with Plum, who is seeking a valuable list of connections owned by the Sheik, in order to reach the sorority headed by an older woman, Lady Mulham, which brings to their members an explanation of 'completion', in particular the completion of its symbol, the incomplete triangle.


Clarity saw the face of Plum Bailey appear on a small television screen below the blackjack table where Julia Flaminia was talking casually to the online players betting at three in the morning. The voice of Plum Bailey spat out from somewhere below table two.

"Who is that man walking towards the live dealer room door?" Asked Plum. "Take a look at the corridor entrance camera."

Clarity watched Julia Flaminia glancing below her table into a security camera which showed all the people playing in the slot machine area, adjacent to the private live dealer rooms. The corridor leading to the live dealer door was empty, except for a man in his late fifties wearing a suit, showing sparkling eyes, an enigmatic face, and features which included high cheekbones and a wide, flat nose. The good looking dealer with brown hair checked with the casino receptionist, before talking back to Plum.

"It's Chao Ming-Hua, the local delegate of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China, SAPPRFT. He's looking for a woman with light brown hair, to arrest her and put her in jail."

Clarity overheard the receptionist through the television speaker, and her thoughts began to turn into a mush of disarray. SAPPRFT was the Branch of the political apparatus in China dealing with party messaging, propaganda, media control and ideology. How could they possibly know that she was in Macau? Why did they want her in jail? She asked Nives about Chao Min-Hua. The live dealer knew that the owners of the Florentia Moenia casino were involved in continuous negotiations with several Chinese officials, so that adult films were allowed in some of the suites of the building. Sometimes it required bribing, although all of the Chinese bureaucrats denied it repeatedly. The face of Plum onscreen stopped their interaction.

"Get out of the dealer room, with that girl, and with Julia, turn off all cameras inside room five, except mine. Tell the girls who are staying in the live dealer room, to tell Chao Ming-Hua that there is no girl with light brown hair in the live dealer area, because it's a private area reserved for croupiers and floor dealers. Wait for me, I'll show the ring to the Sheik myself."

Nives led Clarity to another room, an even more private area reserved to very important persons and dignitary important persons, VIPs and DIPs.

"Where are you taking me?" Asked Clarity.

"We want you to play along with us. We're going to introduce you to a very important person, a wealthy Sheik who is staying here for a few days. Don't do anything to displease him, and whatever he says, simply say yes, we'll take care of the rest. Someone from the film control bureau is looking for you. And he doesn't look friendly."

"Who is looking for me?"

"Chao Ming-Hua, he works for the Chinese media and propaganda group, and he wants you in jail here. He says that you have been part of an adult film, Golden Lamp of Casa Mollino, with some prominent people, which is being distributed in some parts of China. They don't like maverick sex films, anything lewd, which has not been approved by them. This guy doesn't kid around, when he says prison, it means five or ten years."

The initial exhilaration and sense of being able to lead her life, by being the courier of an elegant ring, gave way to a sensation of instability, insecurity, and danger about her freedom. There was no way she could face China's media authorities on her own. Something told her to stay with the woman who was leading her to room five of the live dealer room in the casino, an area reserved for exclusive VIP guests.

Clarity stepped inside the most elegant gaming room of the Florentia Moenia casino, the Carlyle Room, clothed in a sweater and panties, and wearing sandals. The other two croupiers, Nives Celsius and Julia Flaminia, who had also taken off their pants, were walking a few steps behind her. Two large ice cannons sitting above the room were filling the area with dry ice, and they also filled a bucket holding dry ice and a few perishable pieces of fruit. The elevated DJ booth was filled by the Sheik's pilot and co-pilot, two women playing high tempo tracks, who were getting their inspiration from global brands like Cream, Cocoon, Calvin Harris, and Eddie Halliwell. A roulette table, a row of eight slot machines, and a blackjack table, filled the central area of the room.

Sheik Haroun Al-Najib was a man in his late thirties who spoke English with a pronounced accent, although no one was able to identify exactly from where the accent came or what he meant when he spoke, at times. Sitting on a jumbo size furry white bean bag cushion ordered from Comfort Logan Rugs, Haroun, or Hari, or even Harry, as his former polo mates liked to call him, looked intrigued by the problem presented by his butler Melchior, a Dutch man in his late fifties, recruited from one of the top butler schools in the world, The Chestnut Butler Academy. The problem was to guess the price of several bottles of Italian alcohol, offered by Gozio Amaretto, and Gran Gala Orange, and the Sheik had no clue of how to reach a reasonable value for the elixir.

Hari was wearing a grey sweater patched with puffs of woolfiller, colored grey and brown. The sweater looked to Clarity like it had a few growths, but the Sheik was into wearing shabby chic clothes. And that sweater was shabby. The blue jeans he wore were ripped at the knee caps and holes were filled with several rectangular patches coming from other jeans. Moving her glance to his legs, and the area below them, Clarity noticed the Sheik was wearing a pair of worn out brown leather shoes, with one of the soles open, housing several white pebbles. The socks he was wearing showed the photo of Ersan Balbay, the most famous player of the basketball team he owned, which was renowned for most years in a row losing money, large amounts of money, money counted in millions of dollars. Hari ran his hand along one of his socks, thinking good luck might come out of that.

Every business involving the Sheik lost money, and the journalists involved in the coverage of his assets, had turned the topic of their articles to how much the Sheik was going to lose next, giving the loss some type of probability bell curve, with all of the curve spanning losses, and with the discussion centering on where the average loss was going to settle, whether it was going to be one hundred thousand dollars, one million dollars, or several million dollars. Clarity saw the slim figure of Plum Bailey close the door of the VIP area. She was also wearing only panties and elegant sandals, along with a purple wool sweater which reaffirmed her shapely figure.

"Your Highness, we'd like to offer you something of interest, a ring we found that your girlfriend might like."

Plum slipped the Niaureieff ring out of Clarity's finger and showed it to Hari, whose torso was buried inside the bean bag sofa. The Sheik made a futile effort to reach out of the cushion and sank his hands on it to push himself out. Eventually, his right hand found a handle along the side of the neighboring cushion where his butler Melchior was sitting, and he pulled on it, pushing the seasoned butler onto the floor, leaving the pantryman barely enough time to throw the Amaretto and Gran Gala bottles on a third bean bag cushion to prevent them from being damaged by his own fall on the carpet.

"Is it worthy or expensive, can you say that there is not a ring similar to this?" Asked Hari.

"It is expensive and it holds a secret that will make your love life feel like a solid pillar of your ostentatious life."

The Sheik did not mind other people labeling him ostentatious. That meant that he had money, and as long as he had money, things were going all right. Considering his love life was a mess, Hari was open to anything that could potentially improve it.

"A secret?"

"Secret knowledge, our company will illustrate you and your partners on this knowledge."

"What kind of company, a jewel making or ring making company?"

"Ourselves, not a real company, real company, us."

Hari liked company, he was a sociable guy who was comfortable talking to other people. He didn't have many skills, some people argued that he had none, but sociability was one of his traits, and being around people brought him a sense of comfort and enjoyment and general stability, that not many things could bring.

"What about the privilege club? We came here to know more about it."

"This is much better than the privilege club." Plum held the stare of the Sheik.

"What do you need?" Asked Hari.

"To follow you, in your daily life and in your very private plane, that marvel of aeroplane engineering that some people refer to as Heir Force One." Hari had heard of Heir Force One, because it was his plane.

"I see." Plum moved closer to the Sheik, knowing he was going to smell the pleasant perfume blending with the smell of her body.

"You'd have to buy the ring of course, other people are interested in it."

"People making money?"

"Yes." Hari looked at Plum and at her friends and Clarity behind her, sensing that there was a way to cohabit with the four good looking women before him, all of whom were in their twenties or early thirties.

"Fine, I'll buy it, all four of you ladies will come and live with me for a while. How much is this ring?"

"Seventy thousand dollars," said Plum, "we'll provide you with our paypal account, so you can send the money there." Melchior sprang up from the floor and whispered in the ear of Hari.

"Your Highness, we don't have paypal, you are considering the option, but you did not choose it, because it is not a royal payment option."

"Arrange for payment, Melchior, this ring is good, I can tell."

Hari's pilot, a woman in her thirties named Jathbiyya Hanania, approached the Sheik's cushion. Her glance turned briefly to the DJ area, where the copilot she was mentoring was having trouble with the dry ice system after being in charge for less than twenty seconds. The gaming tables were being swallowed by white fumes and the whole room was turning into a large dry ice space.

"Your Highness, I have just received a message from Macau airport on my memo pager from the eighties, we may have to pay for an additional slot of several months at the airport, if we stay here longer, what are we doing?"

"Melchior?" Hari turned to his butler, when he was not sure of what to do. When his butler was not around, he turned to his personal trainer or to Hakeem. His retainer Hakeem rarely gave him advice, though, for he usually preferred to give orders, or suggestions, as he called them. Melchior pointed to two of the bean bags, telling him to consider the options and choose one of them, the one which made sense.

"All right, all right, yeah, failure doesn't matter. All right, can we get this bean bag into the plane?" Asked Hari. Melchior nodded.

"Yes, your Highness, certainly feasible."

"Good, very good, let's go to the Caribbean then, get the plane ready, bring the ice cannons into the plane, and the Amaretto and the Gran Gala Orange, just in case we throw a party there."


All characters over 21



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Or Whether sugar can turn to salt when someone overlooks the honey.


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in order to meddle with the lives of others.

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