Friday, March 9, 2012

Chapter Seventy-four

Hamilton, Bermuda

The van lurched forward.  Dolores turned to face us from her front passenger seat.  On the left – damned weird.
“Here’s the key, Angus.” She flipped a small, jangling bunch to him.
“Thank you, my dear.”
“What the …” I started.
“You do have the briefcase, don’t you?” Dolores inquired, still ogling, but all business.
“Do you two …?” I tried again.
“Yes, right here.  Our agreement stands?”  He asked, sorting through the keys with his cuffed hands.
“With one wrinkle I’m afraid.” 
“Bit touchy, isn’t he?” Dolores observed.
“I’m afraid he took a rather nasty blow to the head back there.” Angus laughed.
That's when I noticed it was Roberts driving.  He was wearing a blue nylon jacket same as the rest of them but there was no mistaking him; he was the same limo driver Angus had introduced me to this morning.  I looked from Roberts to Dolores to Angus.  They all smiled, waiting for me to get it.
“You mean you …” I looked at them with a raised eyebrow.
“When did you two …” I paused.  Then it came to me.  “The iPhone.” 
“I told you he’s not too dumb.”  Dolores confirmed to Angus.  “Yes, boyfriend, it was the iPhone.  My number was in its memory. Angus used it.” She was gloating. Positively gloating.
“What’s the wrinkle?” asked Angus as he finished undoing his cuffs and started in on mine.
“We want the hard drive.” Dolores had that adamant tone I knew all too well.
“That still doesn’t answer my questions, damnit!”  I  rubbed my wrists.  “Thank you,” I proffered to Angus.
“You're welcome.” He nodded as my cuffs fell to the floor. 
“And no, thank you,” He informed Dolores in reference to the hard drive.
“I don’t want to come across as pushy," she replied silkily, "but we insist.” 
“Dolores, as much as I’d like to oblige you, and I really would,” he winked at her, “I must insist that I have the information on that disk.”
“Is anyone even paying attention to me?” I demanded.
“There's always the matter of Walters,” She responded with her Cheshire grin to Angus.
“Consider that a favor.” he replied smugly.
“Others might not see it that way.” 
“Others, dear lady, would see me responding in self defense.  He fired at us first.”  The man looked like the proverbial cat digesting a canary.
“Now I'm confused.”  Dolores said.
Angus sighed with a smile.  “After you and I established this meeting…”
“How the hell did you two do that?”
“Text messages.” They answered together with some irritation.
Angus glared at me then continued his thought.  “While winging our way here I began to think through the rather messy issue that Walters could pose to your government if he were to be brought to trial.  I’ve also grown rather fond of this young man.” He nodded at me. “And I thought that much good would come from Mr. Walters’ early demise from both Jake's and the United States' government's point of view.”
“But you gave him the pistol!” I blurted.
“You gave him a pistol?” Dolores yelled.
“Yes, but more importantly I gave him but one bullet for it.”
“How in God’s name did you know he’d try to shoot me instead of offing himself?” I think my voice was more shrill than Dolores'.
“I didn’t.”
You didn’t?” Dolores and I both yelled at the same time.
“No. It didn't matter.”  He waited for us to respond, but neither of us could. We both sat with slack jaws, trying to understand.
Angus seemed a tad disappointed but continued. “The bullet was a special sintered construction.  If used point blank, let’s say by a suicidal man to his temple, then it would blow a nice hole in his head.  But fired at anything further than 10 feet away and the bullet would be non-lethal.  And, most importantly, no ballistics lab in the world can trace it.”
Dolores and I sat, stunned -- each taking it all in. Then I spoke.  “So if Walters took you up on your offer of an honorable out, he’d be dead by his own hand.  But if he decided to shoot me in the back you'd be able to respond by shooting him – thus justifiable force in self defense.” 
“Something like that,” Angus conceded.
“Don’t you think you could have given me a head’s up?”
“Oh no. I thought you were much more convincing this way.”  He laughed and Dolores tried to hide her matching smirk.
“Well, at least you've had a lot of experience with these kinds of rounds in your career, right?”  I said.
“Afraid not.  This was my first experience using such.” Subject concluded, he turned to talk with Dolores. 
“I have an idea on how both parties can be satisfied going forward on this hard drive issue.”
First experience. That son of a … 
I’d have gotten angrier but exhaustion caught me first. Their words became a drone to me and though I should have told them to shove this stuff up their collective asses – truth be known, I quickly fell fast asleep.

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