by Capt. W. E. Johns



4.     THE BAIT IS TAKEN  (Pages 50 – 62)


Just before ten in the morning, Worrals and Frecks have a visitor.  A hooked nose man called Julius Markoff.  He refers to the drugs and says “No merchandise of this sort enters Egypt without passing through the hands of the important financial group which I have the honour to represent”.  Markoff wants to buy the whole consignment rather than let Worrals “spoil a profitable enterprise by ill-considered and amateurish distribution”.  He also wants an undertaking they don’t bring more drugs in.  There is an underlying threat in what he has to say.  Worrals says she would prefer not to proceed with a subordinate.  “It wastes time and often ends in misunderstanding”.  Markoff leaves the room and returns quickly and says his employers are willing to meet them.  Outside the hotel, Worrals and Frecks get into “an imposing saloon car, with a coloured chauffeur, a full-blooded negro, at the wheel”.  The car is blacked out, so they don’t know where they are going.  They are taken to the courtyard of a big house and then to a private room where five men are seated at a mahogany table.  Worrals offers to sell the charas for five thousand pounds – with certain provisos.  She wants to know how her other interests would be affected.  She says they have for disposal a quantity of modern rifles with ammunition from Abyssinia, where they were consigned by the Italians.  The man at the head of the table confers with his colleagues but says “we have never handled anything of that sort nor do we intend to do so now”.  He only wants the charas and he gives Worrals a cheque for five thousand pounds that he says will be cleared immediately, if paid in today.  Worrals asks for a vehicle to be outside her hotel at eight o’clock and she will hand over the charas.  Worrals and Frecks both leave by the same car.