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.
I really am leaving, really
A lot can happen in a week.
After leaving the mall carpark, we drove past a scene that could have been right out of a movie, it seemed that surreal. There were 6 police cars, lights flashing, and officers everywhere.
Cossatino was up against his car, with two officers standing over him. Both the sheriff and Charlene were not far away, and I had no doubt Charlene’s career was about to take a huge leap, bringing down members of both crime families.
His two bodyguards were on the ground, looking like they’d just gone ten rounds against the reigning heavyweight boxing champion.
Nadia didn’t slow down when passing, and unless he recognized the car, Cossatino would not have seen us, so dense was the tint she had on the car windows.
One of the other cars had both Alex and Vince in the rear, both looking very forlorn. At that moment in time, I felt like Boggs would get the justice he deserved, in a manner that didn’t require bloodshed, and had to admire the planning and forethought Nadia had put into the operation.
We didn’t go back to her hotel, she suspected the arrest of her father, brother and Alex would not go unnoticed, along with her part in it, despite Charlene assuring her she’d try to keep it under wraps. Instead, we headed out of town to a small motel that few knew about, and an owner who wouldn’t recognize her, or me.
The room was dingy, with a musty aroma that comes from lack of use, but the sheets were clean, the water in the bathroom hot, and the company perfect.
We didn’t speak, there was no need to, and in the end, everything was just perfect.
Of course, expecting the serenity to last was a forlorn hope.
It wasn’t just the thunderstorm that passed through around midnight, but more a sense of foreboding left hanging in the air.
We were woken, firstly by the rhythmic sound of light rain on the roof, which in a way was quite soothing, but then by the sound of the TV news, part of an early morning show that I had only seen a few times, and disliked because of the presenters.
This morning they sounded positively garish, one reporting, in a tone that might have been used to report an end-of-world event,
“This morning we are waking to the news that the two largest crime families in the county have been finally brought to justice.”
It was a tag team event.
“Yes, John. We are learning that the head of the Cossatino clan has been charged with conspiracy to murder and that his son Vincent, had been charged over the murder of a local boy, Anton Boggs.”
To the other presenter,
“Yes, Alice. We understand that the Boggs family has a rather infamous connection to the search for Captain X, long believed to have stashed a large cache of his plunder somewhere along the coastline. This treasure hunt was first started in earnest by another local identity, X Ormiston, who, like the victim’s father, disappeared mysteriously, some years ago.”
“We also understand that the son of businessman and long believed to be involved in a number of suspect activities, none of which gave been proved I might add, Alexander Benderby, has also been arrested as an accomplice in the murder of Anton Boggs.”
There was a momentary break, time enough to turn on the TV in our room, and just as the picture came on, “Just a moment,” as the man held a hand to his ear, no doubt listening to someone updating the situation, or that something more important was happening.
Then, “we have breaking news, and we’re crossing to the Sheriff’s office where he’s about to make an announcement.”
The picture changed, coming live from outside the sheriff’s office, with a row of microphones and more standing in front, waiting.
“This is not looking good,” Nadia said.
I think she thought the same as I did, and exactly what I’d told Charlene a few days before, that money trumps justice.
“You think the sheriff’s sold out and will recant the charges?”
“Given how much money both of them have funneled one way or another his way, I wouldn’t be surprised. I honestly thought that Charlene was different “
“She means well, but you have to remember she is subject to the will of the sheriff’s first, and her father second, though those lines may be blurred at times. Had it been anyone else, justice would prevail.”
No time for any more discussion, the sheriff came out to address the media pack.
“At 5:45 am this morning Vincent Cossatino was found deceased in his cell, along with a suicide note asking for absolution for his crimes.”
“Here it comes,” Nadia muttered.
“The note also stated that he alone was responsible for the death of Anton Boggs, the Alex Benderby had taken no part in it and therefore has been released from custody all charges dropped.”
Nadia turned off the TV. “There’s no way in hell Vincent committed suicide or wrote such a note. He was made the scapegoat. So all the others could go free. Something had to be done about Vince and this was dad’s way of cleaning up the mess he left behind. Bastard.”
Deals were done, there was no doubt about it. I wondered what Charlene thought about it?
So did Nadia, who had her phone in her hand, and no doubt calling her.
If I were Charlene, I would not answer, but she did.
Nadia put it on speaker, and put it between us. “What the fuck was that all about?”
“I was taken off the case, for obvious reasons. Is Sam there?”
“Yes,” I said.
“You were right. A deal was done last night, but I had no idea what the outcome was until the same time you just heard. This isn’t justice.”
“Nor what we agreed,” Nadia said.
“And for that, I’m sorry, but I stupidly thought that the law was the law, but apparently it isn’t. I’m about to hand in my resignation but that won’t change anything. Alex will get away with it, despite the confession. Apparently, the recording was damaged when it came to anything he said.”
“Alex might like to think he has, but justice has a way of catching up with the guilty.”
“Don’t do anything stupid, Nadia. They’ll be expecting you to do something.”
“Yes, I guess so. Maybe Sam and I will just leave. This place no longer has anything to keep me here. I’m sure my father will get off with lesser charges, and seek to make my life hell for what he perceives as disloyalty.”
“Like I said, I was deliberately sidelined. There’s not a lot I can do, and even if I tried, I’m sure they’d do something about it and then ruin my chances of getting another job. I’m sorry.”
“It is what it is,” Nadia said, then disconnected the call.
She sat still for a minute, maybe more before she looked at me. “How long will it take you to pack a bag?”
“Anywhere but here. Unless you have a compelling reason to stay?”
I thought about it for all of a minute. There was nothing. If my mother was staying with Benderby, then she would be acquiring a new husband and losing a son. There was no way I was going to be associated with the Benderby’s, and less so, a stepbrother to Alex.
“None that I can think of. I just have to go home and collect a few things.”
“You do have a passport, don’t you?”
Since I had never traveled out of the country, and never looked like I ever would, a few months ago the answer to that question would have been an emphatic no. But my mother had floated the idea of going to England, where her ancestors came from, and, having mentioned a recent death of a relative I had not heard of before, decided that we might take the first step, and get passports, essential items if one wanted to travel.
The plan had not been mentioned again, not since getting the job in the warehouse, and the treasure hint started with Boggs, but the passport had arrived a few days before we disappeared, and she left it on my bedside table.
I was not sure how I was hoping to pay for my airfare, but that was a bridge to cross later.
“I do, as a matter of fact, all shiny and new.”
“Good. I’ll pick you up at your place when you’re ready. Just send me a text.”
© Charles Heath 2020-2022