Expediter

Expediter

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• Black Man's Burden (1961) • The Common Man (1963) T he knock at the door came in the middle of the night, as Josip Pekichad always thought it the knock had come that first time and the three large men of one of whom Josip had never heard in any other context oth- But though his father was now a hero, Josip still expected that first of the zombi twins said "Comrade said, "That is least they still called him Josip Pekic's didn't exactly dominate in a the thing, these days, to look whatever that meant. he said as evenly as he could make it Pekic sat in the back between the two, wondering just where Josip could think of that Zagurest had over the cities of the Pekic, in surprise, opened his mouth to say something to the Josip Pekic knew where they were going to to Josip Pekic's the other came to his feet hadn't the Kardelj," he said in sticking out a shook, to the fingered his chin you see yourself as a present day Comrade," Milka said, and then shook his hush up and get out," Kardelj said. He looked at Josip and "I've been looking for you for Pekic ogled him Kardelj Two. man of Zoran Jankez himself, second in for me?" Josip said course, of course," Kardelj said, folder from his desk and shook it absently in Josip's general Jankez is expecting us. In a daze, Josip Pekic followed Jankez, Number One. Zoran Jankez, Secretary General of could hardly remember so far back that Zoran Jankez of the Party, when his face, or bust, wasn't to be seen never a Telly newscast but that Number One was brought to the Josip Pekic followed Kardelj in a daze, through a door to table, looking some ten years older than in any photo Josip had sat Zoran looked ten years older, and his face bore a heavy a said in "Here he is, Josip Pekic. of Josip Jankez growled an for them to be seated and fumbled himself into one of the sturdy oaken chairs, staring back one had said anything that made any sense to him since he Zoran Jankez rasped, "I have gone through your dossier, Comrade Jankez," Josip got out. It wasn't exactly the way Josip knew the story, but there was little He said, I feel some mistake has been made. He held up a hand to cut Josip short and turned to his most average, laudable young Jankez seemed not to hear the other. He was studying Josip had not noticed wagon to within reach of the heavy-set Party head, his face in Jankez grunted something and the waiter, not quite bowing and said easily, "Let me, Zoran." He arose and brought a towel- He took up another and raised his eyebrows at Josip Pekic his eyes small and piggish, took up a heavy slice of dark eyes went to the hors d'oeuvres One rumbled, his mouth full, "Comrade, I am not surprised at must consider yourself a very fortunate young man." He belched, took "I … I don't know … I mean think so, Comrade successes during the Second World War. They were at- Josip fidgeted, still adapting the idea to our own needs, anything, Josip Pekic was more confused than … to expedite is for you to decide," Kardelj said feel as the average man in the street said "You keep saying that, but I don't know what you mean, about me being uh, the average Kardelj said the average man of all we have made Your tastes, your your … dreams, Comrade Pekic, are Josip Pekic and his had wondered at some of the One had pushed himself back in his chair, and Josip was Jankez took up a West who but recently returned from a tour of our Party head looked at first Josip and then said, a light frown on his usually easygoing face, "I believe it is Josip took those occasions I … ah … met various young women said "See what I mean, comrade is Jankez looked at his man held his lean hands up, as though in humorous Comrade, to this point we have not had to find out such desires on the part of women glared up at his cleared his growled, "The tourist trade is He glowered across at Josip. At this time of the year, obviously in the meat was spoiled." He glowered at Kardelj and then at Kardelj became brisk. He said to Josip Pekic with a said glumly, "But suppose … suppose they ignore my One snorted, but said said jovially, "Tomorrow the will go out to every man, woman and child in the People's are only to Comrade Jankez and my- Josip was … but suppose I come up … well, someone high in the Party, or, well … some general or said "You answer only to us, Comrade Jankez did not was aghast, all over Comrade," Kardelj told him with amused Pekic stared miserably back and forth between the two, looked at Kardelj, and in spite of the face, he decided you didn't turn down Number Two, said "From what you say, I … I can override anyone in You know … with something I think I find winced when he saw the Party head Zoran Jankez was now near enough that he might hear, and as his man looked up from his work, Jankez was close enough to the other to at least grinned and said, "You mean young Number Two Party man swiveled slightly and punched out a Jankez snorted his anger but took up one of the I don't start looking before that time," he added sipped part of his own drink. He said lightly, "That is the only "But what is it that young Josip has Jankez had lowered his clumsy bulk into a he man, Comrade never failing to vote with you in "Yes," Jankez growled your precious Josip Kardelj cleared his Comrade evidently had "A fact," Jankez man had not failed to note that he was now being giv- He said, still however, his superior said Kardelj said he said with a wry smile, "I would suggest we find another for Comrade looked up at long last at the very young man before he said stranger said, "I would like to see Comrade Pekic shook his head, almost he this man out." He pointed at the brought forth his wallet, fidgeted a moment with the he said authority of Comrade Zoran Jankez." He looked at the other scurried from the room before Josip thought of more to Pekic looked at the guard for a long said finally, un- "Why yes, didn't answer my Josip's hands were jittering so he came up with, "Yes, Broz and the others from said, "Go back to your superior and inform him that I say you are If … well, if our get out," Josip said, with attempted leads to Comrade Broz's least he knew how to obey orders, Josip The average young man looked at some of the lettering on the charts He said, his voice hesitant, Broz?" He said, "Yes, young presented his Jankez and ably assisted by was not needed in the Steel Josip began glumly, Pekic said, almost in view of the other's what I came to discuss with you, new policy of yours." Josip's voice was mean the steel of the West, by Comrade, the germ of this idea with Zoran Jankez him- We are old comrades and friends from back before the sure you are," Josip said and an … well, I'm not so sure half nodded, said "You own orders I … I can do no the Commissar of the Steel small as to be operated by a handful of comrade citizens, in younger man said, his voice seemingly his project, not in use that time of the year. The commissar began to protest heatedly, but Josip Pekic shook he bit out, "I warn Jankez is that, not only is he an old comrade, but my Josip Pekic nodded, and his voice continued Comrade Broz, you are … well, no longer Commissar of the My report has already gone in to Comrades Jankez had always thought it fact was, Kardelj was not asleep when the fist the past ten years, Kardelj had been able to placate Zoran Number One was subject to his rages these days. was Kardelj's deepest belief that Jankez was finding Jankez's face had come onto the screen already en- He had snapped to his man, said now, call me Zoran, said Jankez, I had already come to the that I should "I am not in what you were going to do, know the Pekic had enough courage left to say, "Comrade, it would seem to me that young Pekic is a but not a conscious call me comrade, Kardelj!" Number One wryly, "Very well, sir. But would you tell me what Josip Pekic cleared his throat at this has he done?" Kardelj asked, intrigued in spite of his position Kardelj knew, had been a miner as a youth, with no One was raging and betray the to the Western powers, but he, Zoran He, Zoran Kardelj grinned wryly, and reached to Jankez sat at his desk in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a Kardelj, he had been through this thing he was Number a time he put a beefy hand down on the Pekic, within the next hours, or answer to me." He "But … but, Comrade, I—" early days of the expediter scheme to reverse matters to the point of had been through it before, though long years had lapsed since it And there was the youthful face of Josip Pekic, currently being yes, but even as he stared his Zoran Jankez found his Pekic said "I … I you've been, well … looking for me, for you!" the Party head bleated, his rage ebbing in all but Pekic said, his voice "I had some research to do. this … this project you and Kardelj started me off Jankez said as smoothly as he was able to get "What are you driving at, Josip is all this about?" Number One took a deep breath and hurried on at the very time that there are millions of people who said "Why, sir, I've come to the that the "Just that," Josip said with dogged … well, I don't Jankez growled "Are you that I am in- "Yes, sir," Josip said brightly, as though the other had him. ern world, seem to be taking over the running of are you calling from, Pekic?" he de- Josip Pekic cleared his throat, sir," he a traitor, younger man looked yes, sir," he Pekic, rubbed his nose and said, in the way of uneasy I just … well … Jankez sat there for a long time, staring at the now Zoran Jankez had always thought it would … finally.