Thursday, February 16, 2012
El Salamante Hotel
Angus sat at a table with the honor guard. Glasses held high they spoke words too often uttered – a toast to a fallen brother in arms.
The SEAL sat with me by the fire. He was a short man with a weathered face and bright eyes. He didn’t speak. Good thing. He just raised his glass at the right time and drank.
Me -- I’m just staring at my drink.
I don’t know how Angus kept the authorities off our back. I swirled my drink with my finger. I suspect a large amount of cash helped.
The SEAL offered to top my glass. No thanks. I shook my head.
We are free and have the hard drive. So...what now?
All I could think of was Mike. Tell her, Jake! His blue eyes still stared at me.
“I’ll tell her, Mike,” I said out loud.
The SEAL raised an eyebrow. He watched me intently for a moment. Then he quietly filled his glass, nodded in my direction and stood up.
He spoke in a steady voice. “To us, and those like us!”
They all responded, “To those like us!” and downed their drinks.
Then the SEAL looked at me. I could tell what he wanted. So I slowly stood and looked at their hard faces. The fire behind me popped, the smell of wood smoke filled the room.
In a quiet but strong voice I toasted him. “Gentlemen. To Colonel Mike Hickey! Semper Fidelis!”
“Semper Fidelis!” They stood, answered and drank.
I turned and threw my glass into the fireplace. They followed and hurled their glass at the same spot. I walked from the dining room and out of the hotel. It was still raining.
For a while I stood, getting wet and stared into the night. I heard them walk up behind me. They each came, shook my hand, then walked into the dark. Angus stood beside me with his hand on my shoulder. The zip-lock bag with the hard drive pressed against my side inside my coat.
“We have a lot do, Angus.”
“Aye, Laddie, that we do.”
Posted by Jake at 11:18 AM