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.
Life for me returned to something like normal when I was back in the warehouse, surrounded by endless shelves filled with all manner of items.
It was the central repository for all the spare parts that were needed for the factory’s machinery in one section, a large variety of stationery, and office, items in another, and groceries for the cafeteria in another.
My in-tray was filled with requisition form received from the previous day, that hadn’t been processed by Roger, the morning shift clerk who inhabited my desk when I wasn’t there.
As usual, he had managed to idle away most of his shift by doing absolutely nothing, which I guess was acceptable because Roger was one of Alex’s cronies, as were many others scattered about the factory.
One of the managers from another department knocked on the open door, perhaps to wake me before he walked in, something he had told me once before he was used to doing, and after a few seconds came in.
“The afternoon shift doesn’t sleep on the job,” I said. He was one of the good managers, so he knew I was not admonishing him.
He saw the pile of requisitions, a good indication of why his order for stores had not been processed.
“It will be.” I shuffled through the pile and pulled out his requisition. Only one item.
“Is it possible I could get it today?”
“Better still. Take a seat, I’ll get it myself.”
“That’s what I was hoping you’d say”
He sat in one of the plastic chairs designed to keep people moving and picked up an old National Geographic. I was fascinated to find there were issues going back as far as the 1920s. I wondered if Benderby knew they were collectors’ items and worth a lot of money.
I headed towards the door. “Make yourself comfortable, I won’t be long.”
The only other time I had seen a building as big as the warehouse was indoor basketball courts. It was a hundred yards across, and half a mile long, and sometimes it was easier to hitch a ride with the forklift driver to get the other end quickly.
The fork life driver had gone missing, so it was a walk. The shelf I was looking for was somewhere near the middle.
Something else about the building, it had remarkably interesting acoustics, and sometimes I could hear conversations between the supervisor and the forklift driver when they were some distance away, and out of sight.
About 100 yards from the shelf, I heard voices. They were indistinguishable, but as I got closer, broken sentences became more understandable. I used one of the cross paths so see if I could locate the source of the voices and found them in the third aisle.
Alex and the man I’d seen earlier at the mall.
They had pulled two seats and a carton of the shelves and were sitting, feet on the carton, smoking cigarettes, right underneath a ‘No Smoking’ sign.
Typical. Not much further along was the ‘Inflammable Goods’ sign, but something like that for Alex would be an invitation to press his luck.
“You sure it was them?”
“Course. I’d recognize that kid you call Smidge anywhere. And his crazy offside, Bloggs or something. What do you think they’re doing out there?”
“Must be something to do with the treasure. That kid’s holding back on us. We’ve been searching the coastline for those two rivers. Nothing but drains now. I got Dad to lean on one of the councilors to get us some old maps of the coastline, and one had five rivers. Talk about trying to find a needle in a haystack.”
“Perhaps we’re trying too hard. One of those old maps showed the Navy Yard, and the cove they’d dredged. One of the maps she showed me has evidence there was a once a river running into that cove, and according to the old biddy in the library, that area was once owned by a chap called Orminson. She also thought his descendants didn’t move too far away from here after they sold the property to the Navy. I’ve got a copy of the map, so we can check if it lines up with some of the other maps we have, and, of course, the treasure map.”
“We should find these descendants. Perhaps they have more information.”
“Already on it.”
“What we also need, but probably won’t be able to get, is the architectural plans of the Naval site, before, during, and after the works.”
“I’ll get Brains onto it. He’ll have some way of getting the documents.”
“Good. Sooner rather later OK.”
“I reckon that Boggs must have some knowledge of this. You want me and the boys to go and rough Boggs up a bit more, see what he knows about this?”
“No. Not a good idea, as much as I would like it to happen, just to wipe the smug look off his face, but the last time the old man came down on me for being, as he calls it, un-subtle, whatever that means. It’s not as if he hasn’t beaten the crap of people for information before. The same goes for Smidge. Just watch and report. That’s all. For the moment.”
“You got anything else you want me to do?”
“Yes. Get some of the boys to follow them. And try not to get seen. Boggs might be a fool, but Smidge isn’t. He’s a lot smarter than I gave him credit for.”
“He’s just a kid, Alex.”
“Well, you keep thinking that, and when he outsmarts you, you know what will happen.”
Alex stood. “And clean up this mess before you go.”
© Charles Heath 2020