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.
Three a.m. is meant to be so quiet; you could hear your heart beating.
Ten to, all hell had broken loose when one of the conveyor belts broke, and a replacement was needed, and the engineers were on the clock.
Ten past, the hullabaloo had died down, and back at the desk, I was contemplating a long scotch to calm the nerves. Drinking on the job was not condoned, but not unheard of. I opened the drawer and looked at the bottle, then thought the better of it.
And, when I looked up, Nadia was standing in front of the desk.
She was as quiet as a ninja, and just as dangerous.
“Never a dull moment,” she said, dragging a chair over and sitting down. “I got here a half hour ago and all hell was breaking loose.”
“Conveyor broke. No one wants to see production stop or slide. Too many questions.”
“Of course.” I made a note to order a replacement. Better to have two in store, just in case.
“How did you get in?”
Security was tight, not like it used to be, especially after what happened to me.
“I know the guards, they know I’m not a threat.”
I could beg to differ, but I was glad to see her. “Did you know Alex was a caver?”
“One of those people who go scrambling through caves.”
“I doubt it.”
“He used the word spelunking.”
“He’s no explorer, I bet he’s looking for the treasure.”
“And so has a million others before him. I seriously doubt the treasure will be in a cave in the hills, which is where all the known caves are. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily include the so-called underground river under the mall, but apparently isn’t.”
“That the flooding was not necessarily the result of a flood of water from the mountains, yes. A problem with the foundations, it has been suggested.”
“A fact Benderby is working overtime to cover up.”
Nadia seemed well informed. I was guessing the Cossatino’s could see an opportunity to blackmail Benderby, if they had proof. I wouldn’t put anything past them.
“You know something I don’t?”
“We always know something others don’t.”
“Have I got a dark secret?”
She smiled, and it worried me.
“Your mother and Joshua Benderby used to be very good friends when they were at school.”
Old news, well, not so old news, but if I hadn’t seen the flowers…
“What are you insinuating?”
“They had a fling before your mother realized what sort of a man he really was and picked your father instead. But, from what I’m told, they were close, and there wasn’t a lot of time between the breakup and you coming along.”
Odd, but that was just the thought that entered my mind at the exact instant she said it.
“But, I look nothing like the Benderby’s.”
“Benderby didn’t look anything like his parents either, it’s a generational thing, so you might want to find a photo of his father and mother, you know, just to settle the nerves. Or a DNA test.”
It was the last thing on my mind. Imagine being a stepbrother to Alex. Wouldn’t that get his nose out of joint, going from the only son and heir to sharing the mantle? I was older than him, too, which gave me more of a claim on the fortune.
No. Not a chance in the world. There wouldn’t be enough money to assuage the horrors of that family. It would be bad enough if they got together now, which wasn’t as unlikely as it sounded. His wife had died, and he hadn’t remarried, or, for that matter, found someone else. Yet.
“Have you come with any other news?”
“No. Just a picnic basket. I thought you might want a late, late supper.”
© Charles Heath 2020-2022