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.
Was this going to be the very definition of dining with the devil?
Or was my curiosity going to be the death of me?
It was just one of a dozen questions I asked myself on that trip back to Nadia’s room. One reason I was going there was not in the expectation of a romantic interlude. No, this was something else. I kept reminding myself that Nadia was, first and foremost, a Cossatino, and the Cossatino’s were not people you wanted to be friends with.
When we arrived, she asked for a few minutes so she could change, so I stayed out on the balcony. It was a coolish night, a clear sky, and just a hint of salt in the air. We were not far from the ocean, and it reminded me of another lifetime, one where I was young enough not to have to worry about all that grown-up stuff.
I heard the door open behind me.
“Thanks for waiting.”
I turned, not sure what I was expecting. Certainly not a statuesque woman in training gear. She looked to me ready to go for a training run.
I walked past her into the room, faintly smelling of some perfume, and sat in one of the two chairs in the room. I watched her close the door, go over to the mini bar, get two bottles of beer out, and hand one to me.
It was an odd thought, being in a hotel room with Nadia, the last thing I’d ever be doing with her, let alone any other woman. My choices had always been limited, or so I had thought.
“I had this thought,” she said, leaning against the desk on the opposite side of the room, “that we should try and beat Vince at his own game.”
An interesting thought, was Nadia thinking of joining in Boggs’s treasure hunt, take it over, or was this a ruse, and had she been working with Vince all this time, and using us to get to the prize by another route. Or was it a rivalry with Vince that she wanted to win? Wasn’t it Boggs’s call who joined the expedition?
“We as in you and me, or we as in Boggs and you, or…”
“You’re overthinking it Smidge.”
“A word of advice, Nadia, if you’re trying to appeal to my good side, you might consider dropping the nickname. Only the people I hate use it, and I’m sure you don’t want me to add you to the list.”
Not necessarily warranted, and in my younger days I’d never dare to speak to her like that, but I felt I had the upper hand, at least for a short time.
“OK. Note to self, call Smidge Sam. Old habits are hard to break.”
In more ways than one, I thought.
“Well, overthinking it or not, it’s not my call to make. I’m assuming you want to join in on Boggs’s treasure hunt?”
“That was the idea.”
“You’re assuming that Boggs actually has the real map, or, in fact, there is such a thing. You have to remember that his father created all those maps, and it wouldn’t be hard to make one look more authentic than another, just to get a better price. Everything to do with the treasure seems to me like it’s one big hoax.”
“If that was the case, why do you think Vince is so wound up about it? My point is, Vince is simply all muscle and no brains. He always has been, so you have to assume that my grandfather has decided there’s something in the rumours. Granted he may have been working in league with Boogs senior, but don’t you think that in order to create forgeries, there had to be some sort of map to work from.”
An interesting premise.
“If it led to treasure on an island in the Wast Indies, I’d be more likely to believe in it, but here, a million miles from any of the pirate trading routes, and having a deep abiding disbelieve in hidden treasure still not recovered in this day and age, what do you think?”
“Does Boggs’s know about your scepticism?”
“I’ve told him enough times, but he has this bee in his bonnet, and I’m his best friend, probably his only friend. I humour him. And I doubt seriously if he’ll ever go through with it, because he’s never finished anything in his life. He gave me a copy of the map, but I suspect that was a copy of the one he gave Vince in the end.
“So, you think it’s not a worthwhile exercise?”
“What I think doesn’t matter. But I’ve got a question for you. Why have you come back here?”
“What if I told you it’s possible that the treasure is real.”
“I’d say you’ve been indulging in the drugs your family pedals.”
“What if I said I had proof?”
OK, where is this going? Did that mean she had proof, or that the Cossatino’s had proof, and was she about to open a can of worms?
“That man that you found dead on Rico’s boat. His name was Jacob Stravinsky. He was an authority on pirates and their lost treasure, and had over the years, uncovered evidence that pirates had come here supposedly fleeing from the authorities, and that at least two of them could have hidden some of their treasure somewhere along this coastline. News of the discovery of several gold coins off the coast, not ten miles from here somehow caught Ales Benderby’s ear and he went to visit him.
“No one is sure what happened at that meeting, but I know Alex was there because that’s where I ran into him. And, the fool that he is, got drunk and told me, no bragged about how he was going to find the treasure and prove his worth to his father.”
“Then how did this Stravinsky end up dead on Rico’s boat.”
“Because Alex got what he wanted and made sure no one else found out.”
© Charles Heath 2019