The King of Sicily
The King of Sicily-1947
"Their is intermitent fighting in the region of Palestine, ranging from firefights in the cities and roads to reciprocal terrorism between the two factions. It is widely believed that upon the withdraw of British forces, disorder will intensify possibly to the level of a full scale war between the Jewish faction and the Arab states. This is BBC signing off."
Asher turned off the radio. He said ,"I should be there."
David replied,"But your not. Ben-gurion wanted you in Istanbul to talk to 'our new friend' Antonio.
Asher replied,"I never thought I'd be doing this when I came out here. Just like the movies-I wonder if he has bodyguards with tommy guns."
David said, "He's not a pleasant person, but we desire his services as a merchant of death-not as a Rabbi."
Asher quipped, "He's probably a Catholic anyway. But I pity his Priest." Then he said, "I wonder what the other Princes of Sicily think of him calling himself 'The King of Sicily'"
David said ironically,"Probably about what other states will think when we call ourselves "The State of Israel". And come to think of it the other 'princes of sicily' probably respect his claim for reasons comparable to those by which other states will probably respect ours."
They entered into Antonio's office, after being properly searched. Antonio said, "Welcome, always glad to help a small country fighting for freedom."
Asher replied, "No doubt because that small country does not have the reputation of having small money."
Antonio said, "Well there is that..."
Then Antonio said, "I have one thousand Mauser's, which my folk manged to aquire-amazing how much fascinating stuff one can get from Germany after it is conquered. And ironic who the next customers are".
Asher said, "I presume you will let us inspect them."
Antonio replied,"You presume incorrectly. I always expect cash up front. I am careful of my reputation so you need not worry, but you may be less so-after all if the fortune of war goes amiss for you, you won't have to be concerned about your future reputation."
Then followed, an intense bargaining session. Finally Asher said, "I'll take your offer but we will have to pay part of it later."
Antonio said,"And how do I know I will get 'part of it'".
Asher said, "Don't worry, I know just where to go."
Antonio said, "Very well, but your friend stays here."
A few days later Asher was back. He gave the money to Antonio. Antonio said,"Very well, you have your shipment. Always glad to help people in a rough spot."
Asher replied, "Uh, yeah."
Afterwards David said,"Where in the world did you get that money."
Asher said, "I got a contact of mine to drum up money among the merchants and artisans in the Jewish quarter of Istanbul. That legend is true at least. We do look after our own."
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