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 installment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
The scene was set.
Boggs and I had been browbeaten, and he had, willingly he said, given up the real map. I was beginning to think Boggs had no idea what the real map was, there were so many different variations of it.
Vince was on the warpath.
Nadia was muddying the waters.
The Benderby’s were being their usual menacing selves.
A man had been killed and finished up being on Rico’s boat, and Rico had been arrested. Had Benderby put it there, or was Rico the perpetrator? Rico wanted the map for the Benderby’s but hadn’t got it from Boggs, which given how menacing he was, should have been a no brainer.
Unless he really cared about Boggs.
Whatever his motivation, he had been taken off the playing field for now.
Boggs had told me he had given a version of the map, presumably not one that was in mass production, to Vince and therefore the Cossatino’s. And, no doubt he was going to do the same for the Benderby’s, just to keep them away from us. I was going to remind him he should do that.
He said he still had the real map. The others would be occupied elsewhere.
It stood to reason that if they both had a treasure map; they would leave us alone. I think Boggs had miscalculated. If we were about to start a search of our own, surely that would alert both our rivals that we’d tricked them.
And the consequences of that were unthinkable.
He called me when he was about to be released from the hospital, so I called a taxi and went to get him. He didn’t look very good, but then it all added to the selling of the map. He said he hadn’t given in too easily, and Vince seemed smug.
Vince would if he thought he was putting one over the Benderby’s and in particular, Alex, the old school rival.
I waited until we were out of the hospital to speak about treasure matters.
“You know you’re going to have to give Alex a copy of the map, a different map, to the one you gave Vince.”
“Because Vince is going to run it in his face. You know what Vince is like.”
He did. He’s just felt the full effect of Vince’s temper.
“And what if Alex then tried to one-up Vince?”
Good point. “We’re going to have to do it in some manner than makes him believe it’s in his best interests the keep quiet about it.”
He shook his head. “Perhaps I should have thought more about the problems this was going to cause. Jesus, how did we get to be so lucky as to have people like Alex and Vince in our lives?”
How lucky indeed. Then I considered my original plan, to get Nadia to give it to Rico who would then pass it on to Alex. Of course, in that scenario, there would be no doubt Rico would make a copy and do his own digging, but that was a small price to pay.
“We can use Nadia.”
He gave me one of his sidelong looks that told me he suspected something in my manner. “What haven’t you told me?”
“Between you and Nadia. I would never have guessed it, but I could feel in back there in the hospital. She likes you.”
“It’s a nice thought, but don’t forget who we are, Boggs, and that’s scum beneath their feet. She;s only getting close because she wants something.”
“The map. For Alex. She told me she was in a bind.”
“And you believed her?”
“No. Alex and Nadia have a thing. It’s most likely Alex’s idea to get close and grab the map for him. This thing you say she had for me might work in our favor. Have you got another original version of the map?”
“I’ve got about five.”
“Then how do you know which is the original?”
“It has the word original down the bottom. None of the others have, and there were no copies of the original.”
He said it so convincingly I nearly believed it. My worst fears had been realized. Boggs had no idea which or any of the maps were real. Having just one, and having the word original on it, did not make it the definitive map.
It was not something I was going to talk about now. He was convinced. When we didn’t find anything, then I would say, I told you so.
For now, I would let him have his moment.
As for Alex, “Find me a different copy for Alex and I’ll get Nadia to pass it on. With instructions not to tell anyone where he got it from. I’m not sure what we’re going to do about Vince, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.”
“Then, once we’ve done that, we’ll sit back and watch them lead us to the nearest point where the treasure should be. Each of those maps, in fact, all of them focus on a certain part of the coastline, albeit changed immeasurably from then to now, but I have been researching old maps over the last hundred years, and I believe I know the broad area it covers. There’s been a lot of changes, including the fact two streams or rivers have all but disappeared, and there was once a lake. There will be parts of the path we can check for ourselves without worrying them. They will have to do some research first, and that’s where we have some advantage. All of the maps have different physical locations that are the penultimate on to the prize. Only we have a complete map.”
He sounded convinced, but I was skeptical. But I had to admire Boggs’s father’s ingenuity in making what might be a scam seem like the real deal. Certainly, he had made all of the bogus maps, but it seemed a little far-fetched since hearing it was the Cossatino’s who had him create a bunch of fakes. I was surprised Vince thought there was a real map given his family’s involvement with the scam.
But, then, Vince was a fool.
Or not, but that was not the highest of priorities. Boggs had to get home and rest.
© Charles Heath 2019-2020