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Around The Sun: Master Keys And Loaded Guns

Following an alleged robbery, Steve Harrison and his security man Declan carry out a night-time search of a Cambodian hotel.

A very wealthy man died. Someone asked how much money he had left. All of it. You take no money with you when you go.

I had the list of rooms which were supposed to be unoccuped. Declan and I had decided to check every one of them. The robbers had probably holed up in one of them, intending to sneak off in the morning.

We went up the stairs behind the Temple bar. The Angkor International Hotel is like a rabbit warren. It comprised what had been three seperate hotels, two of five storeys seperated by ione with four storeys. I love Cambodian architecture. It is so fascinating.

We paused outside each supposedly unoccupied room, listening intently. I stood behind Declan and his loaded gun, reaching forwards to turn the master key in the lock. Imagine our surprise when some of the rooms turned out to be occuped. The receptionist, bless her heart, was supplementing his small salary by renting out rooms and not entering the let on the register.

Several people were rudely awoken by us that evening in the mistaken belief that they were armed and dangerous robbers. One poor man was so terrified when he saw us that he jumped out of the back window onto the balcony. Yes it was an interesting night, Declan with a loaded Glock and me with a broken pool queue, though what I intended to do with it had not entered my head.

I re-checked the sheet at every supposedly empty room. Yes, definitely empty. Declan would whisper that he could hear someone inside. That this was where we might get shot. My adrenaline was pumping so hard I thought it might burst out of my ears.

DEclan had walked into the bar and put down his bag, which must have wighed 20 kilos. He pulled out a gun with what seemed like a 2-inch barrel.

"Looks like a flare fun,'' said I.

"You know hoe criminals hide behind cars,'' Declan explained. "You can't get a clear shot at them. Well with one shot from this baby the car disintegrates.''

Declan is Irish. He's the kind of guy who talks and walks this kind of thing. “When I was he Bosnia…” he begins.

Declan is also the kind of guy I like to drink with. He's colourful, cool and certainly not to be messed with. Every time I drink with him I wake up thinking, “Gawd I hope I didn’t say anything to piss Declan off last night”. Of course you didn’t, ’cos you woke up this morning.

So Declan and I bonded that night, After three hours of checking rooms, sneaking around back stairs and surprising at least five hotel guests we were able to declare the hotel a safe zone. Like I said I’m glad Declan is my friend.


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