I had the good fortune of meeting Tony at the same coffee shop again last Saturday afternoon (yesterday). He was finishing his first bottle of beer I was told. We exchanged greetings and I could see he was eager to tell me something. No it wasn't the continuation of the Alice story. He didn't want to talk about that one but he was ever ready to tell me of his other assignment or story. I listened intently to him as he downed his last glass of beer. "I will get you another beer" I said to Tony and he nodded in approval. I went to the counter and bought a bottle of chilled Heineken and a frosted glass. It cost S$6.50 and it was the most expensive beer in the coffee shop. But then it was rather cheap,the beer I mean, to get a good story from Tony and blog about it here (Tony didn't know I blog about his stories). I brought the cold beer to Tony and he poured it into the empty fresh glass. As for me I had the usual black coffee or kopi O as we locals call it.
The story Tony told me yesterday was about his client by the name of Bob. Bob was told Tony his wife had been calling a man's name in her sleep. The name Pete was repeatedly mentioned in her dream with much affection. Bob became suspicious and jealous. He wanted Tony to find out who Pete was and the story went like this:
After interviewing people close to Bob's wife ( name was Jean),Tony found the answer. Pete was a long lost son of Jean who was given up for adoption after Pete's father died in an accident. Jean and Pete's dad were teenage lovers. Jean was only 16 when she was pregnant with Pete. After a failed abortion and the death of Pete's dad, Pete was born. Jean knew she could not care for Pete and so gave him up for an illegal adoption.
The story was related to Bob by Tony. Now Bob understood why his wife Jean was calling out Pete's name in her sleep. Bob decided to confront Jean and asked her for the truth. She confessed and Bob forgave her. Bob was sympathetic and decided to help Jean find her son.
Tony set out and looked for the people who adopted Pete but was unable to find them. Probably they have moved house.
Through some detective work, Tony was informed Pete was abducted by a gang and smuggled into a third world country which I can't name over here. Pete, Tony was told, was made to beg for money from tourists for a beggar's syndicate. The heart breaking piece of information was that Pete had his legs chopped off so he would be sympathized by the tourists.
Tony passed the info to Bob and Jean. They were shattered by the news especially Jean. She couldn't help being hysterical and cried inconsolably. They begged Tony to fly to the country where Pete was and investigate further. Tony did as he was told and paid and flew to that third world country.
On checking into the hotel of that country (we call it country A), Tony contacted his associates and met two of them ( Ali and Muthu). After giving them all the relevant details and info, Ali and Muthu brought Tony out for a spicy curry dinner.
After dinner,they proceeded to a pub cum karaoke lounge. They met the guy ( Kumar) who was the leader of the gang that control the begging operation. Ali was the serving police inspector in A and he and Kumar knew each other quite well.
Since Kumar was having drinks with his friends, Ali told Muthu to bring Tony to Kumar's office and secretly check out whether Pete was one of his begging boys while he kept watch on Kumar.
Within the next 30 minutes, Muthu and Tony reached Kumar's office. It was dark,around 9pm but Muthu insisted on opening the office door with his master key and checked Kumar's computers/emails for any info regarding Pete. They were looking for a Chinese boy with a red birth mark on his left cheek. They frantically checked the computer files etc but could only get some info on a Chinese boy whose legs were chopped but did not have any birth mark on his face. Disappointed Tony and Muthu left the office and went back to the karaoke pub and joined Ali.
The message was relayed to Bob and Jean. Obviously they were disappointed but relieved to hear the legless boy wasn't Pete.
Over the next few days, Tony and his associates worked extremely hard to locate Pete. All Tony had of Pete was an old picture of him when he was barely 2 weeks old. One big lead was that Pete had a red birth mark on his left cheek and he was Chinese. Pete was about 7 years old by this time.
Luck was on also on Tony's side because he was informed by Ali's colleagues that there was a boy of Pete's description loitering around a tourist attraction of country A.
Tony, Ali and Muthu hurriedly left for the tourist site and found the boy who fitted Pete's description.
They bundled the boy into their car and sped off to Muthu's house.
The boy they found was a pickpocket trained by some syndicate to steal from rich tourists. On him they found credit cards, cash and ids of tourists.
One particular id picture caught the attention of Tony. Tony had seen that picture before and he recalled reading in the newspaper about a pedophile who was wanted by interpol. Now Tony and company had a lucky break because they knew the pedophile was somewhere in that city. They alerted interpol and subsequently had him arrested. The 3 of them was given a reward after the pedophile was prosecuted a few months later.
Through dna testing, the pickpocket was proven to be the son of Jean.
There was a tearful reunion between mother and son back home.