Here’s the thing…
Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.
I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.
But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.
Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
Five minutes past the appointed time, I sat on the end of the clean bed and waited. The single chair didn’t look very comfortable.
It didn’t worry me she was late, she had not specifically stated how long she would be, but to be there in an hour. If she had business with dark glasses, then she might be a while. Giving me the key to her room suggested she was not bringing him back with her.
There was a light rapping on the door, hinting at a sense of urgency. Without looking,. I opened the door, and she slid through and I closed it quickly and quietly.
“I thought you might not be coming?”
I went to switch on the light, but heard her say, “No lights.”
My eyes were already adjusted to the light, or lack of light, and I could see her standing by the door to the bathroom. Everything about her manner suggested she was ill at ease, or perhaps frightened of something or someone.
Or waiting for Vince, and had to string me along until he arrived.
“No one knows I’m here.”
“Not even Vince?”
“No. Especially him.”
“He was here about twenty minutes ago, went into the office and came out with a briefcase.”
“I suggest you forget you ever saw that.”
Drugs then, or protection money, or… OK forgotten. “Duly forgotten as requested.”
“Is this pace one of the Cossatino’s places?”
“If you saw Vince, then it is. It never used to be. The Benderby’s used to bring their clients here, back in the day. Vince had some of the rooms wired, you know, blackmail, that kind of stuff.”
I could imagine. I’m sure the ‘clients’ never brought their wives here to have a good time.
“Why are you staying here?”
“Can’t stay at home. Things have changed. I’m not interested in working with the family business. It’s why I left in the first place.”
Imagination running wild, I think I began feeling sorry for her. Beautiful girl, stupid men, caught in a seedy hotel. My respect for old man Cossatino just took a dive.
“Why come back then?”
“Alex. He’s a bastard, just like his father. All those Benderby’s are the same. You say you’ve got a plan that might help get him off my back?”
She took off her coat and threw it on the bed with the other clothes. It wasn’t that dark I couldn’t see her outline and had to look away.
“A possible plan. One that might kill two birds with one stone. I have to look out for Boggs because he had got himself into a mess that he doesn’t realise the full potential of yet.”
“The treasure map?”
“I wish people would stop calling it that. It’s just a piece of paper with a drawing on it. I’m sure the whole myth was concocted by Boggs’ father as another one of his schemes.”
Everyone knew Boggs father was a touch crazy and had come up with a number of schemes, some even calling the ‘get rich quick’ schemes, and one had landed him in jail. He never quite understood the nature of the schemes he’d bought off other people in the hope of getting rich himself. The treasure map, that was a new one for him, but one of his previous customers had caught up with him, and he’d not lived long enough to play this one out.
Boggs unfortunately, was doing it for him.
“You don’t think it’s real?”
“What I think is irrelevant.”
She moved closer and sat on the side of the bed, not far from me.
“So what is this plan?”
“I get you a copy of the map, you give it to Alex, see what he says. You know you can’t trust him, or anything he says.”
She was too close, so I moved, trying to look like I was not moving. But at the same moment, I had no idea what it was about her that scared me. It was apparent she hadn’t told Vince about this meeting.
“It’s a chance I have to take, and you are right, I don’t want to cosy up to Rico. I have had previous dealings with him, and he is not nice. But, if you are willing to do this for me, what do you want in return?”
The inevitable question and I think I could guess what she thought I might want. And that thought did cross my mind.
“That is not possible. All men want something.”
“I’m not all men. I owe Alex a little payback and this will be a small cog in a big wheel. If it helps you, good, but I know the Benderby’s and nothing is easy with them.”
“The less you know the better.” I stood, and then moved to the door. “I’m only going to be able to see you in the early hours of the morning. I’m working an afternoon shift till midnight, and I don’t want to come here in the daylight.”
She stood and came over to join me.
“You are going to have to do something about Rico because Alex will ask him.”
It was something that also occurred to me just before she raised it. I knew there was going to be a problem, I just hadn’t realised it at the time. Now, it seemed like another of those insurmountable things.
“I’ll think of something.”
“Then soon.” She put a piece of paper in my hand. “My cell number. Send me a text before you come.”
Our hands touched briefly and it sent a shiver down my spine.
There was a moment, looking into her eyes where I didn’t want to leave, but fortunately, common sense kicked in, I opened the door and slipped out in the cold night air. As it shut behind me I shivered.
It had nothing to do with the cold.
© Charles Heath 2019