Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Iranian Orders 100,000 Kaytushas

The Iranian who called himself Hassa was wearing a grey business suit with a white shirt. He had a black belt and black leather shoes and carried a brown leather zippered portfolio. Hassa was leaning on the door jamb that was the main entrance to the manufacturing floor of the weapons plant on the outskirts of Grozny in Chechnya, a Russian Republic. Greigor was wearing dark brown canvas overalls with a tool belt attached to his waist. Greigor was the floor manager, but the floor at this moment was quiet given the 6:00 AM time that Hassa had requested for the meeting.

“The difficulty is the ball bearings,” said Griegor.

“The ball bearings are essential. Without them, I am not interested in your Kaytushas,” said Hassa.

“My Kaytushas? My Kaytushas? These are the only Kaytushas. This is where we made them for the war against the Germans,” said Greigor, taking offense to the Iranian who spoke perfect Russian.

“Yes,” said Hassa.

“Kaytusha comes from an old Russian wartime song with the same name. It is about a girl named Kaytusha who longs for her lover who is away at war,” said Greigor.

“It has romantic origins,” said Hassa.

“We are the only real supplier of Kaytushas. We have a history with them,” said Griegor.

“They are simple rockets. I can get them from the North Koreans. I can even make them ourselves. But quite frankly, it would be easiest for all concerned to have you do it,” said Hassa.

“Well, the ball bearings are a problem. The Kaytusha with ball bearings is not how it was intended. I don’t like it,” said Greigor.

“We are not about to discuss the ethics of warfare now are we? You are in the business of making Kaytushas and other things for war and I hardly think we should discuss the ethics of ball bearings,” said Hassa with a smile.

“Yes, well, can you get the ball bearings?” asked Greigor.

“Oddly, there is a ball bearing manufacturing plant in Israel. I have a German company that has purchased several containers of bearings which has already been shipped. Then we would have to get it from Germany to here,” said Hassa.

“Why don’t we make the Kaytushas and deliver them to you with a removable nose so that you can simply stock them with the ball bearings?” asked Greigor.

“Because I do not wish to have my fingerprints on the operation. I want them shipped from here to Syria where they will then be exported to various places. So start making them and expect the ball bearings to arrive within a few weeks,” said Hassa.

“I was told you want one hundred thousand rockets. That is a big order,” said Greigor.

“They have already been paid for,” said Hassa.

“That will take time,” said Greigor.

“That is OK. Move quickly, but do not compromise the integrity of the Kaytushas. I want a child to be able to fire them without trouble. I need the Kaytushas to be, how do Americans say it, ‘idiot-proof.’ They should be able to be mishandled and dropped and rolled without requiring repair or without setting them off,” said Hassa.

“Yes. OK,” said Greigor.

“And when delivered to Syria, I shall make certain you personally are well compensated. I will take care of you with money to make certain you keep your eyes on this order,” said Hassa.

“Thank you. I will,” said Greigor.

Hassa smiled, turned and walked out the door. Greigor did not like the Iranian. He was smart, confident and clearly had his hands on several powerful buttons. Greigor tried not to think of his brother-in-law, Ben, who lived in Tel Aviv. His brother-in-law had married Greigor’s sister, Mona, who was killed in one of several bombing raids in Grozny. Ben was half Jewish, and after the death of Mona, he moved to Israel. Greigor had not seen or spoken to Ben in six years.

Greigor looked at his watch. It was 6:32 AM. He yawned and decided to go to his office and lie down for a nap until the floor workers arrived at 9:00 AM. It was going to be a big day to gear up for the manufacture of one hundred thousand Kaytusha rockets.

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