By Cindy and Walt
After almost a month I awoke on a Monday morning to start my day at 6 AM. I got the fire rebuilt and then closed the draft. I did all that while I waited for the call from Jeremy or Alice. The one that told me they were on their way.
While I waited I also reviewed the last few weeks of my life. I had to do that every so often to keep the big picture in mind. Otherwise I got mired down in whatever project that was most pressing at the moment. The reason I chose this morning to do the mental review was because my self-imposed deadline of March 31 was only a week away. I had promised Luis a completed house by that time. Since he had lived up to his end and taught me one hell of a lot about pen and ink drawing, I wanted to complete my end of the grand bargain.
Actually his house, the retail store, and one other house were all ready to open. Ten houses had been demolished. There were twenty one houses I wanted to demolish. So we were moving along on schedule. After my breakfast race and breakfast, I would join Carlos on the site of the third house we planned to rehab.
The phone played the theme music, from some long forgotten movie. It was the signal that someone wanted to speak with me. I checked the caller ID and said, “I’ll be waiting for you.” I was already on my way to the door. I grabbed the camo hunter’s coat, climbed on my trike and road to the end of the drive. I noted that the road had fewer icy patches all the time. The ones that were there weren’t too dangerous on the Trike but they did tend to keep one’s mind in the game, so to speak.
I hit the Hardee’s just a second behind Jeremy. Alice was almost dead even with me. “I am going to be so humiliated when I come in last,” I said with a laugh.
“Not even you can win all the time,” Jeremy said. “Alice and I intend to teach you some badly needed humility.”
“Well if you do win, it will be because you have your trikes turned once a months at the bike shop in College Hill,” I said with a smile.
“We had them stripped and tuned for racing, but I assure you they aren’t any faster,” Jeremy declared. “If we have an edge it is a minor one. The big difference is in our bodies. Have you noticed Alice’s body?”
“I have no idea what is under all those clothes. I haven’t seen her naked lately,” I said thinking that it had been too long.
“Maybe you should honey,” Alice said with a coy little smile.
“Rose, how is the Village coming?” Jeremy asked.
“Not bad at all Jeremy. How is your resort?” I asked.
“We have ten cabins ready to go. I am going to have an open house next week. See if some of our friends would like to tour. We even put a notice on the web about the place. There seems to be lots of interest, but you know how that is. We won’t know for sure till we have their money,” he said.
“Well I wish us both luck,” I said lifting my orange juice for a toast.
“We should have stayed with it as a team,” he said.
“Hell Jeremy, we both have to be in charge,” I said.
“Except in bed,” he said.
“Except in bed,” I agreed.
After breakfast I stood by the fire and stripped again. I knew that if anyone hacked into my computer system, they would find a lot of naked footage of me by that stove. I got an idea for a drawing from that. I couldn’t use the video feed, but I could use the timer function on the new Panasonic camera I bought. I used the highest resolution to shoot several pictures of me sitting and standing by the wood stove.
I had been arriving at the Village job site later than I had at first. The worker called Eddie had worked out really well, so I kept him on at $75 a day. He would cover the early morning hours while I went up to the church with my camera to make a shot of the stray dog, if he was there. He would also have to do something worth drawing. I was looking for something to at least equal the shot of the half drowned dog on the tag around my neck. It was a shot by Silvia Porter. I was determined to make a better one.
When I got to the studio, I found it undisturbed. I couldn’t say the same for the second cabin on the site. There was a chair on the deck which looked like it had been disturbed. I checked the door and found them secure, so I went to the studio to place some dog food on the steps. The stray dog did not show of course. It took me no more than five minutes, but then add that to the fifteen minute drive time each way and it made me an hour late for the job site.
I found a large amount of used lumber laying about and Eddie doing his best to bring some order to the pile of pick up sticks. I joined in to help. Together we put about half of it in some kind of order by noon. While we were working on the empty lot, which had been a house three days before, Carlos and Juan were removing the damaged parts of a house near the block building. It would be the third house we had rehabilitated.
“Let’s break for lunch my shoulder is giving me a fit,” I said.
“You really should see a doctor Senorita Rose,” Eddie said.
“Eddie, I saw a doctor, that’s why it hurts like a blond hair blue eyed bitch right now,” I suggested.
I answered the ringing phone. “Hello,” I said. “I’m busy I’ll have to call you back.” The call was from the Church Camp. I knew because there had been a whole lot of static on the line. The static wasn’t because the connection was bad, it was their signature.
I placed a call to Anna the bookkeeper. “Pay any invoice from Carlos, Juan and Eddie. I will have Carlos write the invoice, but he isn’t too good with written English, you will have to help him. He will bring the invoice on Friday by noon. Don’t question it just pay it,” I said.
“Very well Miss Seabold,” she said and then hung up. It had been a couple of months either she wasn’t doing shit, or she was doing great because we had no contact with each other.
First I had to tell Carlos I would be away for a while. “I am going to see my new boyfriend, who is in trouble,” I said. Then I drove by the Country Store for my large black backpack. I filled it with all the cash in the house just in case someone broke into the cabin while I was gone. I also loaded the house shotgun into the truck. Once my truck was loaded I drove it to Jeremy’s house for Alice. From the house the two us headed to the resort office where Jeremy was waiting.
Alice and Jeremy shared a black canvas bag with a change of clothes and a bunch of cash from the fee for locating the blood diamonds. My bag was almost identical, except mine did not have any men’s clothes, so I had more of my own clothes.
Alice and I threw both backpacks into the trunk of Jeremy’s large comfortable Mercedes Sedan. He drove to Church Camp with hardly a word. He did say, “Their timing couldn’t have been worse. The open house is this Weekend. I have the Realtor handling it.”
“It better be over quick. I have to move Luis in ten days,” I said.
“You know Andrew can take care of that for you,” Jeremy said.
“True enough,” I replied.
“Welcome home,” Andrew said when we entered the dining room.
“It ain’t home, but it ain’t bad,” Jeremy said shaking Andrews hand.
Alice and I hugged Andrew. “So show me what you got big boy,” I said.
“Come on up to the office,” Andrew said.
I followed along behind them all. As always I was anticipating the adventure and was willing to do whatever was necessary to get it done. I had been a stripper and first mate on a fishing boat, so I was ready for anything.
Andrew led us into the office and there at his desk sat Sylvia Porter. I had met her, but neither Alice nor Jeremy had. “Hello Miss Porter,” I said.
“Hello Rose, it’s good to see you again. Jeremy and Alice it’s nice to see you for the first time. Both of you are a bit newer to this than Rose, so follow her lead and let me tell you there is no such thing as being too careful out there. Unlike the last couple of things you have done, this is not going to be in and out. It’s going to take some time to make this work. Even then you may not be able to make it happen.” She looked up at Andrew.
“Right,” he said. “It’s another kidnapping, but this time you are going to prevent one. You are also going to work with one of our overseas teams. They’ve been flown in for this. They will be inside the residence of the Ambassador from Chile. You will work outside the walls and try to head this off.”
“So how good is your intelligence,” Jeremy asked.
“We are one hundred percent confident that it is going to happen within thirty days of the Ambassador arriving in the States. He is arriving tomorrow,” Andrew said.
“Don’t they provide their own security,” Jeremy asked.
“Yes, but the Ambassador is quite wealthy and has decided to bring us into the fight,” Sylvia interjected.
“So who is the target?” I asked.
“No idea,” Andrew replied. “The Ambassador has a wife and a twelve year old daughter.”
“So what’s the plan?” Jeremy asked.
“The compound is almost impregnable, except for an internal threat. That’s why we are going to be inside. We are calling in every favor we have, but so far we have no idea who or how. There is a small but vocal exile community in Washington. We think they are helping the people planning this kidnapping.”
“So who do I screw?” I asked.
“If you could arrange to get Father Marco Quever interested in you, it would be a plus,” Sylvia suggested. “If not just stick to him like glue and bug the shit out of anything he goes near. He is the leader of the exile community. If the kidnappers need help, they will most like contact him.”
“Tell me you aren’t going to ask me to seduce a priest?” I asked.
“Okay I won’t, but that would be an ideal outcome,” Andrew said with a laugh
“Are we going to have all the equipment we need?” I asked.
“Anything we can buy, beg, borrow, or steal,” Sylvia said.
“How do we get to D.C.?” Jeremy asked.
“You are going to drive. Make your plans as you drive up there. Spend the night, then start driving in the morning. You should easily be there before dark,” Sylvia suggested.
“You insinuated the Ambassador wasn’t in the country yet, so when is he due?” I asked.
“He is coming on a Chile Airliner sometime over the weekend. We really expect it to be tomorrow,” Andrew explained. “The whole family will be coming with him. There will be lots of security during the drive from the airport, so the Swamp Team is just following along behind, just in case.”
“If they need one of your operatives they are a sorry excuse for a security force,” Jeremy said.
“It doesn’t have to be a large mouse, to make a big hole in the wall,” Sylvia said.
“That makes no sense,” Alice commented.
“I know,” Sylvia said with a smile.
We went to one of the guest houses to unpack. Someone had laid a fire for us. It was nice to enter the warm cabin. It might not be down to freezing during that time of year, but a cold cabin was still uncomfortable. Even thought I was tired and needed to eat dinner, I first made sure my pack was safe and stored in the large storage closet of the dining room. It was safer there than any bank vault.
Dinner was very good, since it came in hot trays from the Swamps kitchen. The food there was prepared by a first class chef, I was convinced. After dinner we sat around drinking coffee for a couple of hours with the people who would be supplying the muscle for the operation. They had come up from the Swamp with Sylvia Porter.
From looking at Sylvia I could tell she was miserable. She really wanted to be going with us, I could tell. The members of the Swamp’s Ops crew were funny, but not in a good way. None of them spoke very good English. One was Eastern European, one was Middle Eastern, and one was South American.
I asked, “So do we have the little UN contingent because you have no idea where the threat is coming from?”
“Not at all,” Porter said. “You have them because we have no idea who the insurrectionist have hired. The rumor is they are holding hands with drug traffickers.”
“If there is enough money to hire pros, why not just bribe the government. It works in Mexico or so I’m told.
“Chile is a country with a strong socialist leader. The one thing an idealistic socialist government hates more than corporations, are drug dealers. The President is trying to eradicate them. They have tried to buy him. His answer was to execute the messenger,” Porter added.
“Now that is a war on drugs,” I said.
“So now they kidnap and kill politicians who are hard line socialists,” Porter said.
“You sound like you are a believer?” I asked.
“Different strokes for different folks,” she said tersely.
The two teams getting to know each other was a complete bust. We could barely communicate. Even worse is that I could tell by the way they looked at us, we weren’t going to be taken seriously.
Official it really didn’t matter who did what, as long as we accomplished the mission. In other words nobody got kidnapped. But if nobody made an attempt, would we ever be sure whether we did any good. Someone would have to try to kidnap one of them so we could stop them. Then and only then we could be sure there was a threat and we nullified it. If nothing happened there could always be the false alarm theory floated around. Hell it was all too complicated for me. I decided to go to bed, so did Jeremy and Alice.
“Those guys are dicks,” Jeremy said while we were outside.
“Even the chick?” I asked.
“Yeah even the Syrian dike,” he said. I had to admit she did look pretty butch.
Once inside the warm cabin I began to go through the pile of clothes. I found lying under a sign with my name there were panties, a bra, sweatshirt and cheap cargo pants. There was also a well worn nylon parka, with boots to match. Everything appeared to be in my size and none of it was new except the panties.
I looked at the pile then said, “So it’s like this again. I am going to stop bringing a change of clothes, since we never get to wear them. If we do wear them out of Camp, we have to throw them away.”
“I didn’t wear or bring anything I really liked. I had a suspicion it would be like this again,” Alice said. “I told Jeremy not to pack anything in the bag he wanted to keep. He does get attached to his clothes.”
“Fuck it, I’m going to take a shower,” I said.
“Me too,” Alice said.
I took my clean panties and the other ‘new’ clothes with me, since it was still cold, though not often below freezing at night. I stood naked under one of the six showerheads. Alice stood under another. I had to admit she had a nice firm butt of course her breast sagged, but a good bra could hide that.
About half way through my long shower the two male members of the Swamp team came in. They stripped naked outside the shower then came into the area with the showerheads. Even if they had wanted, they could not have avoided noticing Alice and I. They also did not have had any control over their body’s reaction to the sight.
It was mean but Alice and I looked at each of them, then at each other and giggled. They were still red faced and washing when Alice and I dressed and left.
Back in the cabin Alice filled Jeremy in on her shower adventure. Jeremy got a good laugh from the tale. So he decided to take a shower himself. We assumed he had allowed enough time to pass for the men to either finish or at least to have calmed down.
Twenty minutes later he returned with his own tale. It seemed that the Syrian woman had showered with Jeremy and one of the staff from Church Camp.
“So Jeremy, does she wear a head cover at all,” I asked.
“Not that I could see,” he replied with a smile. “I did invite her over to sleep with you, since you will be the odd woman out again.”
“Let me guess, I’m not her type,” I suggested.
“Something like that, so what do you think her type is?” he asked.
“I expect her type is Alice or maybe you,” I suggested. “Hell maybe even both.”
It was later that night when Alice and Jeremy were whispering in the bottom bunk bed that I fell asleep. I was very tired and slept right through the antics of the night. When I awoke at 3 AM to use the bathroom, There was someone in the top bunk. I smiled as I wondered who it was.
I tossed another log on the fire when I returned from the bathroom, then just went to my bed. I felt asleep again. I must have really been tired from all that construction work because I didn’t hear the three of them shuffling people around.
Five minutes till 5 AM the bugle call came. I quickly dressed then brushed my teeth at the tiny sink. Then I went outside to run. I had been stretching getting ready for the run a few minutes when Jeremy and the Syrian girl came out. I had no idea where Alice was until men came from the other ‘guest’ cabin came out. Right behind them was sweet little Alice. It looked like a good time was had by all. Well all except me.
I whispered to Alice, “Did you explain that if they could only save one of us it should be you?”
“Why else would I screw those horrid men,” she said with a laugh.
“Good girl, I would have done exactly the same thing,” I said just in case she felt guilty about her selfishness. I expect that she didn’t get much of a chance to be selfish with Jeremy sharing everything. I almost asked her how she felt about sharing Jeremy being with the Syrian girl, but then I remembered they were all about sharing, so I didn’t bother.
X came out and without a word started to run. The six of us and five of the permanent personnel ran that morning. I hated that we had the Swamp people with us. X showed us no mercy. Yes we began dropping out. First it was Alice, then Jeremy. Within sight of Jeremy gasping for breath, I stopped and threw up several times. I definitely was out classed by them all. I walked after the Swamp Dog personnel and the permanent personnel. First I found the people from the Camp, then finally I was back in the compound. Three of the permanent personnel made the run but two of them gave up.
“What would you do if your life depended on your ability to run one more mile?” the Syrian girl asked.
“I wouldn’t be in a position that running even the first mile was a matter of life and death. I do this running and shit to keep my figure, not to fight my way out of trouble,” I explained. She just sneered at me. I smiled because I knew how it worked. If they took her prisoner she would resist and they would never drop their guard. I on the other hand would do whatever it took to stay alive till they made that one mistake. The one that at least allowed me a chance to kill them.
It would be hard to determine who would live longer, the Syrian Dike or me. I planned for it to be me. It she outlived me I would kill myself, I thought with an audible laugh.
“What is so funny,” she asked.
“When we find out who is right, there probably won’t be an opportunity to gloat and that’s a shame,” I informed her.
I sat at a table alone to eat my breakfast. Jeremy and Alice were still in the cabin. They had decided they needed rest more than food. I had to have food to settle my stomach.
“My code name is Mattia,” she said sitting down without being asked.
“I’m Lillian,” I said without a smile. “So what changed your mind. I mean I thought you were disgusted with me.”
“It was the instructor you call X who suggested I listen to you. He said you had weapons neither he nor the killer could teach,” she said.
“I’m surprised that he didn’t tell you to stay away from me I’m a sociopath,” I admitted.
“He did tell me that you were a sociopath and for me not to drop my guard, or to threaten you. People who threaten you tend to wind up dead. That is how he put it,” she said.
“That makes me sound like a cold blooded killer,” I said. “Okay, I guess he has a point.”
“He said you were a genius at using things you find laying around,” she said.
“I go places where the bad guys see everything. Things like I couldn’t hide a pistol or a knife in a stripper’s panties,” I explained.
“So what did you do?” she asked.
“I sucked his cock and allowed him to beat me up. I told him I loved it, when he hit me. Two weeks later I showed up with a shotgun.
He said, ‘you won’t shoot me,’ and moved toward me. I shot him in the chest with a load of buckshot. I wanted to put it up his ass, but he was facing me and I didn’t get the chance. That was my one regret. I was most proud that I got the job done and nobody else died.”
“Also Porter told me I should trust you. She said you kill without remorse. I am sick whenever I have to kill someone,” she said munching her toast.
“Bullshit, if you are sick, it might last an hour tops, then you are ready to kill again,” I said. “Porter doesn’t recruit people who won’t kill without question. That is the one thing I know about her. So don’t try to feed me that crap.”
She smiled then said, “It was worth a try.”