Mukasa Bis and the Snowbird Affair

Click here for the first, secondthird and fourth installments of this series.


Standing precariously on the outer ledge of the window, I advised Snowbird not to look at the magnificent view of the hotel’s lounge four stories below. The sight was making him cringe dangerously with vertigo. Meanwhile the two armed Chinese ‘reporters’ were searched the first room of the suit and were about to enter the inner room. Its windows were open.

‘Couldn’t even say a proper goodbye to Eva!’ Snowbird whispered. ‘Can’t believe all this has been for nothing!’

‘It has not been for nothing, just hold on. And please don’t jump.’ I whispered back, genuinely concerned.

The latch on the door of the second room turned with a mild click. Any moment now.

One of them picked up the bookmarked copy of Crime and Punishment from the bed, while the other came walking straight to the window. All this must have been taking place very fast. But when the moment of action arrived, things seemed to stretch into a slow motion before my eyes. I watched the tip of the gun’s silencer come out of the window.

The gun fired a silenced blank shot as the aerobic swing of a body suddenly came from outside the window, landing a double legged kick on the chest of the person holding the gun. He hit his head hard on the table behind him and was knocked unconscious.

Two more missed shots from the other gun. Dodging the bullets had to be accomplished at the cost of letting the first person’s gun fly out of the window. The second man firing his gun was a bit out of reach too. The level of difficulty was rising as each crucial moment, packed with calculations and movements, passed.


To top it all, the door behind the second assassin thrust open, knocking the gun out of his hand. How many more parties?

Agent Rob Halpen appeared. Within seconds, the second Chinese agent was unconscious and his gun shifted hands. Now it was Agent Halpen who stood pointing the gun at me. It became clear that he wouldn’t fire unless he was attacked. The situation had improved infinitely.

‘Don’t try any cleverness. Where is Snowbird?’ He said, looking at the open window. ‘Christ! Ask him to come inside.’

Just don’t jump!

‘Hey Mr. Walden, It’s Rob…Rob Halpen.’ He shouted, his gun firmly pointed at me. ‘It’s perfectly safe to come in now. Please do come in.’

Snowbird appeared on the window, shaking. A moment’s distraction, and the gun went flying out of agent Halpen’s hand. But he had his readiness and knew his moves.

Towards the toilet was the only direction that was far from both Snowbird who had come inside and the gun that was lying before the half open door. Agent Halpen’s body, on its own momentum, went flying in that direction.

I had to adjust my shirt collars a bit. But wait…was that a wire under the collars?

Agent Halpen was certainly very, very well trained. This time, my momentary distraction allowed him to jump towards the door and pick up the gun.

‘Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot, please!’ Snowbird shouted.

‘I won’t’ Agent Halpen said through gritted teeth – ‘Just don’t make me do it.’

My hands were up in the air where he could see it. He had something to tell us, my instincts said. I could find out more about the hidden wire under my shirt collar later.

‘Mr. Walden, ‘

-Utsab Ray


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