The grizzled old Yemeni dhow master felt his hand shaking. He was not used to feeling scared. Thirty years working the Arabian coasts had made him hard. His tough little ship looked after his cargoes. His old Kalashnikov looked after his ship. But this was different. Dealing with Yusuf Sugulle was never easy.
“Asalamalakum,” he said politely, keeping his eyes on the short balding man in front of him. “I bring greetings and a personal message from Ah Hing.”
He hesitated. It was not easy to threaten a Somali pirate leader. Especially when you are standing right in front of him on his own beach.
“Ah Hing sends you this cargo and wishes you good hunting,” continued the master. “Good, profitable hunting.” He swung his arm, taking in the new wooden skiffs, drums of fuel and brand new Yamaha 60 hp outboard motors being unloaded from the dhow onto the beach behind them.
“Ah Hing asked me to tell you personally that you have all that you need now,” he went on. “He said I should make sure you understand that he is eagerly awaiting a return on his investment.”
The dhow master waited for a reply. He could see the rage in the man’s eyes, but he did not turn away.
“Tell Ah Hing the monsoon will change now, and he will be paid. He will be paid handsomely,” said Yusuf. The master could see one gold tooth glinting as Yusuf spoke. He had to lean forwards slightly to hear the last part of the reply. “And take care, old man, who you carry such messages to.”