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.
For a thug like Alex to actually have something that resembled a good idea, perhaps it was more the people he surrounded himself with that made him look clever.
Boggs had not mentioned anything about the people who owned the land before the Naval yard had been constructed. Perhaps he had maps dating back to then, or maybe he didn’t. Boggs didn’t exactly confide in me everything he knew.
Maybe he didn’t trust me.
But there was a new lead now, courtesy of Alex, and it was one that I was going to chase down and bring it to Boggs at the appropriate time.
I need to find information about the Ormiston family, and whether or not there were any descendants in the area. But first, I would have to go to the library and talk to the ‘old biddy’, Gwendoline Frobisher, Gwen to her friends. Fortunately, I knew her well from the days of studying in the library.
And on some of my free days, helped her out with cataloging and returning books to their shelf positions. She only had one helper then, and she was older the Gwen, and not a lot of help putting books back on the higher shelves.
The rest of my shift was uneventful, and I closed and locked the door at precisely 11 pm. On the way to where I left my bicycle, my cell phone rang. Boggs? He knew when I finished, and how punctual I was when leaving.
I looked at the screen. Private Number.
I was going to ignore it, but, in the end, curiosity got the better of me.
Nadia. What was she calling me for at this hour of the night?
“I told you not to call me Smidge.”
“Sorry, a force of habit. It sort of suits you though.”
“Then I’m hanging up.”
I went to press the disconnect button, but I could hear her saying, ‘don’t do that, I have some news.”
I waited a few seconds before I answered, “What news.”
“Not the sort you talk of over the phone.”
But it is the sort of hook someone would use to lure you to a place where Vince could beat you up. She had done it before.
“Not if it’s a trap. Sorry, but too many bad memories of your treachery, Nadia.”
“It’s not like that, now. You know what I think of Vince these days.”
“I know how you’d like me to think you think of Vince, but that could be all show. You are, after all, a Cossatino, and you can’t change those spots.”
“I can, and I have. Promise. Meet me at the hotel.”
“It’s not as if anyone’s going to notice, and, if they do, you can guess what they’ll be thinking.”
I sighed. It was giving me a headache. “Half an hour,” I said, and disconnected the call.
Half of me was saying not to go, the other half was intrigued, not so much for the news, but visiting Nadia in the middle of the night. Many years ago, I used have dreams about Nadia, not ones that were spoken of out loud. Now I had the chance to fulfill one; not so sure.
Near to midnight, everyone should be in bed, everyone except those staying at the hotel. Lights we on in several of the rooms, and a customer was in the office.
I parked the bike near the office and walked quickly to her room, knocked on the door lightly, and braced myself for the ‘surprise’, Vince waiting for me.
She opened the door and I looked over her shoulder. It looked empty but there was a lot of space I couldn’t see from that position.
“There’s no one here.” She grabbed me by the shoulder and dragged me in, looked up and down the corridor, then closed the door.
I quickly checked the bathroom. Clothes hanging from the shower rail, a very messy room. My impression of her was shattered.
“You see anything interesting in there?”
I assumed she was referring to the underwear. There might have been a momentary stray thought, but it was not one I’d admit to.
And in her dressing gown, it was hard to suppress the shive down my spine.
I sat on the end of the unmade bed. An odd thought, didn’t she let the housemaids in to tidy up, or, had she spent all day in bed? Scrub those thoughts.
“What is this news?”
“What were you doing at the mall?”
Was that Nadia in the yellow? I glanced around her room and then my eyes rested for a second on a yellow jacked tossed in a corner on the floor. Damn.
“What mall? I tried to sound convincingly surprised.
“You know what mall. You were with Boggs. What were you two up to?”
“I thought you had news for me?”
“I have. Stay away from that place. Otherwise, you might get buried there. That’s the Benderby’s torture chamber, and where they bury the evidence of their crimes.”
“Those are only rumors.”
“Not according to Vince. He reckons he’s seen a body there.”
“Perhaps he was mistaking it for a dressed mannequin. Even I’ve seen that.”
“You’re a fool. Don’t keep following that Boggs around like his little lap dog. He’s eventually going to get you into a mess you can’t get out of. There’s a lot of his father in him. Doesn’t know when to let it go.”
“This coming from Vince or you, because it sure sounds like Vince trying to put us of the scent.”
“What do you think happened to that archaeologist they found on Rico’s boat?”
“Well, my first thought was the Benderby’s did for him. As far as I can tell, the Benderby’s got him to verify the provenance of the gold coins they found on the ocean bed.”
“You mean the two surfers?”
“The Benderby’s bought them off them.”
“You mean the Benderby’s paid them, then two days later they turn up in a dive hotel having overdosed on heroin and not a cent to their names? That event was not widely known because Benderby bought off the reporter for the local paper.
“If you know about it, why did the Cossatino’s make some noise?”
“Because it was their heroin.”
This was terrifying, to be caught between a turf war with either side willing to stitch up the other, for points, or for their silence. Boggs and I were two small fish in a very smelly pond, with no chance at outwitting these two.
“Life’s complicated,” I said.
“It doesn’t have to be.”
© Charles Heath 2020