Have you ever experienced a threat to your life, say, a wicked looking deadly, sharp knife placed hard and icy cold against the warmth of your skin just above your jugular, hard and sharp enough it breaks the skin from just a slight sawing motion and draws blood – you feel the agonising sear, that excruciating, burning, painful sensation indicating the violation and ripping of the delicate skin above your vital large vein located by the side of your neck.
Someone whispers harshly, threateningly, menacingly close to your ears and tells you to do what he tells you to do, or he’ll slice that blade right through those vital, vulnerable, throbbing veins. Do what he tells you to do, or die. Simple. Direct. Deadly. He has drawn blood to illustrate his intentions. He has drawn first blood. You are actually bleeding. What do you think you’ll do? Will you say, no, kill me now? Or will you plead for your life and say, yes, I will do whatever it is you tell me you want me to do.
For added effect, let’s say it’s not your neck, but that of your child. You see the man hold your child close to him, his arm wrapped in a vice about your child’s vulnerable body, you see the cold merciless weapon he holds, the blade at the throat of your child, you see it break skin, you see it draw blood, dripping red against the pale skin of your child, you hear the whimpering cries of your child in pain, and you’re asked that very question – “will you do what I tell you to do, or do you want your child to die?”
When a threat to your life or a loved one is made with that kind of vivid illustration, you know, unless you’re on a suicide mission, you will answer, “I will do what you want me to do. I don’t want to die. Don’t kill my child. I will follow everything you tell me to do. I won’t tell. I won’t make a sound …”
So a threat to your life if made violently as with a sharp knife and a menace to your life, if accompanied with pain or torture… is a horrendous traumatic experience. You will realise with the experience, how utterly helpless you can be, and when a choice is forced on you – life or death – you will always choose Life over Death. You will be ashamed of yourself and aware of your vulnerability when overpowered by the one wielding the knife – and you will let your sadistic Torturer take control of you, and you will follow him.
Death comes in many forms. You can be physically dead. Brain dead. Emotionally dead … and Spiritually dead. The threat of Death can also come in many forms.
One day, many years ago, a whisper was uttered and it reached the Successor. He called for the Dastardly Spectre and asked him directly, “I’ve been told you own the franchise to the food outlet near Tandang Sora. Is this true?” “No, Sir,” the Dastardly Spectre lied, “I don’t own any franchise. I don’t own any business.” The Successor looked at him straight in the eye, he knew he was being lied to, and he said, “If proof ever comes out that you own any business, you will be stripped off your function, and I will cast you out of my administration.” “Sir, who said I own a business, can they furnish the proof?” the Dastardly Spectre answered coyly, knowing full well, no one could furnish the proof. He was just too clever to leave a trail.
Any one who runs a business successfully knows you need to keep your eyes out always for the money. And, if one has a background in financing, or has been in charge of the accounting of any financial resources, that person will have an in-depth understanding, given valuable experience and preferably age with experience, of how money can be made and how money can be lost. Or filtered away – and made to “vanish” … into someone else’s pocket. But it takes a very clever person with enough experience to make that happen.
And the Dastardly Spectre was clever, very experienced and he survived long enough — as he was an Old Guard, with all the makeup of a political character, and I mean the rather obnoxious one where you see nothing of the corruption hidden deep within, as they’re all buried shrewdly behind a façade that shows you little … or maybe. The Dastardly Diabolical Spectre knew how to be obsequious to whoever was in power, then deftly turn around, once endowed with authority, to weld power over the others. Very clever indeed, our Dastardly, Diabolical, Despicable Spectre.
It would take the death of the Successor for proof, and several of them to surface, but as early on as a few months after the Successor passed away, the Dastardly Spectre’s own babbling staff revealed that every time their “Don” (as he would like to be known by those outside of his “function” with the Successor), would visit a locale, the coffers would go up by 1 million pesos. So I’ll dub the Dastardly Spectre “Don Spectre” now, but he’s still as dastardly, diabolical and despicable as ever.
Those very same chatty staff of Don Spectre proudly explained (the pride in Don Spectre by his staff and extended fan club – yes, he has fans or if elevated, lackeys in every locale – was quite discernible because he really was that clever and for someone to survive so long embedded deep within the Administration without getting caught was worth fan-adoration) that the Don was so very clever, he made sure several front men were positioned in layers so he could stay concealed from all transactions. But make no mistake, he called the shots.
Every opportunity to convert something of a charitable nature was angled to produce a profit he could pocket, take for example, uniforms for the staff belonging to various departments, construction materials for different projects, property purchases and the commissioning reserved, food supplies for staff on overtime (and this was where the franchise ownership of the Don was leaked) and, the list goes on and on and on.
What happens when you make a peso here, a peso there? Depending on volume and cost, and where you make your money, that peso here and there, can easily balloon to millions. Give it time, give it discretion – and the Don had a lot of time and was very shrewd, and secretive, plus he ruled with an iron fist. Who wouldn’t when you stand to make millions?
So let me make this very clear before I proceed to Part 2 where the story continues to unfold … we are putting on the stage now, to get a clear history, the characters and the troupe, or in this case, the hit-squad behind the main characters.
On the one side of the ring, we have young Lord Rascal and his Special Task Force, and on the other side of the ring, we have Old Guard Don Spectre and his fan-club.
Well, that’s before he took the knife out.
…/ Part 2: The Hidden Festering Rot from Within