Grabbing up the thug wasn’t hard at all. People prepare for all kinds of things that they expect might happen. Then they have that moment of indecision, when something out of the ordinary happens to them. Such is the case when you slip into your car and an only slightly attractive woman puts a pistol through the window and into your ear canal. When she tells you not to move, almost to a man, you don’t move.
It especially is disconcerting if a young man with a large bowie knife slips into the front seat beside you as well. I did a quick turn around to care for the bicycles. Simon’s bicycle got locked and hidden, but I rode mine after the car. I could probably have made it to the abandoned factory first, but I knew that would just look so wrong.
Simon and the thug of the day got to the abandoned factory provided by Olivia ahead of me. The thug was in his thirties, so not a lot older than Simon. I tried to decide who would be the best to break him, Because of their closeness in age it seemed reasonable that Simon could empathize better with him. That made me the crazy torturer. Nobody really liked doing that kind of thing, but I knew it would washed off me much easier than the people around me.
When I entered the large factory workroom, Simon had the thug tied to a chair. He had been trying to bond with him. Just to make that easier, I walked in and knocked the thug over with a quick jab to his chest which might have been enough to crack a rib, I placed it away from his heart just in case he had weak bones.
Not only did the chair fall over it slide a few feet along the floor. I had put maybe a little more in it that I intended. Simon set the man upright and whispered something to him. Simon knew his job and was trying to show empathy.
“Maxine, give him a chance to cooperate before you injure him. You might not have to cause him pain. He might be willing to talk.” Simon said to me.
“Did you give him a chance to talk?” I asked.
“Yes,” Simon answered looking away.
“Good, then what did he tell you?” I asked laughing at Simon.
“At least give him a chance,” Simon said. He seemed to be be on the thug’s side.
Simon and I had prepared the place for use earlier. In addition to the chair and the ropes used to secure the thug, we had brought in a six foot electrical extension cord.
I allowed the thug to watch me put on a pair of thick dish washer’s rubber household gloves. I had picked orange ones, even though I could have bought less garish ones. I also allowed him watch me make a couple of probes. I attached one to each leg of the circuit. The circuit was formed from the extension cord, once I had cut the female end off and stripped the insulation back.
In Spanish I said, “I am going to ask you some questions. You are going to answer me until I am satisfied, or until you are dead. Either outcome is satisfactory with me, because there are others who know what you know. Do we understand each other?”
He spit at me. A righteous thing to do, but extremely stupid given his present position. I hit him with the electricity. I was rewarded with the sight of him dancing in his chair like a teenager at a rock concert. I withdrew the current and then gave him a second to calm down before I asked again. “Do you understand.” that time he just nodded. I hit him with the current again. The second one was very short.
“When I ask you a question answer me with words, so that we don’t have any mis communications. Do you understand it is talk or die?”
“Yes, I understand,” he said.
“Where does your boss have Williams hidden?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied tentatively.
“Is there something else you need to tell me?” I asked. He just shook his head.
I hit him with the power again. I did it because he was being evasive, but also because I had no idea how dependable the power grid in the factory was. I needed to do the work with it as quickly as possible.
“I think there is,” I said after the charge ended.
“Tell her man,” Simon suggested to the thug as if he cared.
“Nobody has seen Williams. All we know is the boss said that he had Williams. I think after the man went missing, the boss had someone break into his hotel room and steal his shit. Then the boss just showed his shit to the company where he worked. He is trying to scam them. I think.”
“So if he knew Williams was gone, he knows who has him?” I asked.
“I think maybe someone saw him get taken, and told the boss about it,” the thug suggested.
“Who would that be?” I asked. “Did someone at the restaurant change his story to help out your boss?”
“Maybe, you should ask him?” he suggested.
“Simon tie this gentleman up I’m going to take him for a ride. Make sure you get any cell phones or anything like that he has on him. We want him out of touch at least a few hours.
Simon and I left him about ten miles from town. We left him inside the bathhouse of a campground with no money and no communications devices. Oh I’m sure he got back rather quickly, but it had to be at least a little inconvenient. It allowed us to get to the restaurant and interview the people who saw Williams get picked up.
Olivia met us at the restaurant. She had the folders. We reinterviewed the people who were working that day and learned that no one saw anything. I knew better. Someone tipped off the gangster, so that he had time to grab William’s shit from his room. That made it possible for him to try to scam the company for whom Williams worked.
Olivia managed to get the waiters and bus people together and I talked to them. “In ten minutes I am going to look into all your lives. One of you has come into some money from Esposito and I’m sure you spent some of it or banked it. We are going to find that money and then we are going to prosecute you to the fullest, because you are risking that man’s life. Trust me by the end of the day, one of you is going to prison. Now is your only chance to avoid that.”
I noticed the cashier get a look of panic. She was our leak, of that I had no doubt. I just needed to get her away from everyone else, so that it was believable, when I told her I would keep her secret.
While she was waiting her turn with Olivia, I asked, “Who was it. Tell me now and I will tell Olivia you were cooperative and to stop. If not we will have your ass in prison. How do you think you are going to like eating pussy?”
“I know I shouldn’t have done it, but I needed money. My father ran off and my mother is sick and can’t work. My brothers and sisters are in school, I can’t let them quit school,” She said.
“You get a buy on this, if you tell me who has Williams,” I informed her.
“I don’t know who has him. I just saw two men in military uniforms lead him out. They had a hold on him so that he couldn’t run, but he wasn’t making a fuss. I knew from the look he gave me as he passed, that he was in trouble.”
“Did you get a look at the car?” I asked.
“Yes, it was parked right out front. It was a blue Ford,” she said.
“Did you write down the License number?” I asked. Rather than answer she produced a folded card from behind the counter on which the cash register sat. It had a number hand written.
I went into the room where she was busy interrogating a waiter and there I slipped the card to Olivia. “This is your kidnapper’s license plate. It’s on a blue Ford.”
It was ten minutes later when Olivia came into the dining room where Simon and I were drinking coffee and eating some kind of cinnamon cake. “Well the modder fuckers are National Guard.” she said angrily.
“You mean your fucking government grabbed up an American Citizen?” I asked in disbelief.
“Not in the name of the government. They grabbed him because he is selling weapons to the Shining Path. That’s how their name came up in the investigation.”
“Then the basement under the residence has weapons stored there. It is about the only thing I can think of that would account for the 3AM visit down there.
“What that does not do,” Simon said. “Is to tell us where Williams is at the moment.”
“My guess is dead,” I said to Olivia. “Your guys got frustrated because they couldn’t stop the gun running, so they just took matters into their own hands.”
“Yes, I tend to agree. Of course there will be a few years of investigations as to how far up it went. But we will arrest and convict those involved.” Olivia said.
“I agree the two men who picked Williams up are as good as dead or in prison, but how about all those who knew about it or participated in some other way?” I said.
“I don’t know what will happen to them,” she said honestly.
“Well, somebody in authority gave the order. Let me interview them.” I suggested.
“You know I can’t do that,” she said.
“No, I don’t know that at all. You let me get a name from one of them, then I can arrange an accident, so that we close this matter for both our governments.” I suggested.
“You know there are sovereignty issues,” she said flatly. “I know you got us this far. To be perfectly honest we probably would rather you hadn’t.”
“If someone high up in your government arranged this, the men who pulled it off are most likely going to be dead by the end of the day. Let me go on the raid that arrests them and attempts to free Williams.” I suggested.
“I will bring it up to my boss.” she said.
“So will I,” I said before I went to a quiet corner of the restaurant to send my message. I laid out everything I knew about the actions of everyone involved.
My final argument to the farm was, Williams might not have been a model citizen, but he was an American and should not have been executed without a trial, if that was what happened. I sat with Simon drinking coffee and waiting for word to come back from the farm.
The word was to find out if Williams was dead, before I did anything else. If I found out he was dead, then find out who was ultimately responsible. Once we know who did it, and hopefully their agenda. Then we can decide what to do.
Of course Simon knew none of the above. All the back and forth with the farm was totally unknown to him. He did know what the right thing to do was though. “We need to talk to the guys who killed the American, if he truly is dead. If you are a soldier in the field. selling guns to the rebels is a very bad thing to do. However to the gun runner it probably is just another job.”
“That my young friend is exactly what it is. Hell we might even find out who the people are, who are selling the guns.” That’s when it hit me. The fucking guys on the farm were the gun runners. They had been trying to destabilize the government.
Simon and I had better be very careful. If Williams had talked, then something else hit me. Williams might very well still be alive. He would be of some use to the Bolivian government. But only if they could turn him.
His propaganda value might be well worth keeping him alive. If they had decided that he would be useful before they picked him up, then odds are he had been eating the fish, rather than sleeping with them. Sure they would be trying to scare him into cooperating, and they might have gotten around to beating the shit out of him, but maybe not beating him to death.