The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to write a war story – Episode 21

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination in what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…

 

Chiara knew the moment she told Martina that one of the Germans was dead, she would be in trouble.  Not only from the resistance but from the British or whoever they were, up at the castle.

The man’s name was Eric Carmichael, and he was a nice man, more of a boy really, having not suffered the full effects of a front line.  He wanted to, but the Gods, as he called them, were against it.

Now he was dead.

He had come to the farm, told she was not there and had left again.  The pity of it, on any other occasion, nothing would have happened.  Nobody went out at night, so no one knew of their association.

Of course, if he did tell her anything, which he hadn’t so far, she would pass it on to Martina.  And, perhaps the only annoying thing about him was that he kept asking about the resistance as if it was still operational.  It was one of the reasons who Martina kept her at arm’s length, so she had nothing useful to tell them if they took her in for questioning.

Now it was a matter of seeing if he had told anyone about this affair, and if he did, she would not be safe at the farm.  It was why she was in hiding, waiting, and watching to see if anyone came.

Along with Carlo, and the new man, Atherton.

Not far from where the soldier’s body lay in the ditch, one that no one had yet found.

Until now.

A car was coming along the road quite fast, heading towards her farm.  Atherton recognised it as one of the staff cars from the castle, and as it slowed to turn the corner, Atherton could see it contained three men, the driver, and the two men who had followed him down the stream.

Suddenly the car skidded to a stop.  All three got out and went over to the ditch.  The driver had seen the bicycle.

 

It was an interesting conversation.

“The fool looks like he run off the side of the road and into a tree, fell off and hit his dead on the rocks.”

It was the man who had set me free.  I’d recognise him anywhere.

“Or maybe some ‘innocent bystander’ shoved a wrench in the wheel and he went over the handlebars.”

The big man turned to him.  “You have a story that implicates every member of the enemy population, don’t you?  Where’s the wrench?”

“They could have tossed it away or thrown it into the bushes.”

“The kid’s an idiot.  He was out for some fun and had his mind everywhere but on the job.  If she’s that tempting, maybe I’ll go and have a look in myself.”

The driver took a closer look, then suddenly bolted for the bushes and threw up.  I’d expected more seasoned soldiers in the group of paratroopers, but maybe they were late recruits with only half the training, and barely out of school.  He didn’t look all that old.  Neither had the lad in the ditch.

The tall guy yelled out, “when you finish puking, get over here and help us get him into the car.  Then we’ll meander down to this farm.”

 

Carlo knew a quicker way across the country to their farm.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what he was intending to do.

Three fewer Germans, three fewer problems.

I followed, trying to keep up.

“You got weapons hidden away?”

“Several rifles and a handgun.”

“It’ll do.  When we get there, you say out of sight.  Me and the new laddie here will take care of them.”

A look in my direction told me I’d just been recruited into the killing force.  Exactly what I’d been hoping to avoid.  I guess it was time to make a stand.

A few minutes later we were in the large shed out the rear of the farmhouse, retrieved the rifles, of which one was a sniper rifle, a rather interesting trophy, and not the sort of gun any soldier would leave lying around.

I was tempted to ask where she got but decided against it.  I had an awful feeling the previous owner had met a gruesome if not a sticky end.  Chiara was not just a pretty face.

“You know what to do with this thing?” Carlo said, holding it out in my direction.

“Vaguely, but I think I can manage.”

With it was a carton of shells, rather long and ugly and very deadly, even at long range.  But this time, we were not that far from the target area so wind and external conditions would not be a factor.

Also, I was hoping the sight had been calibrated.

After getting a feel for the weapon I took up a position on top of some hay bales and could see through a large enough crack when I put the barrel, and stretching out, found a comfortable position, and aimed for the back door.

It was like putting out my hand and touching it.  This was going to kick like a mule on the recoil, but I would only have time to worry about reloading for the next target.  Then I realised the driver might be a problem, especially when the shooting started, so I swivelled around to the back end of the house where a vehicle might come, and, saw the blue, altered the sight, and then saw the car approaching slowly.

I was hoping it would remain in sight, so if anything happened, I would be able to pick him off.  It would be all that much harder if he managed to try driving away.

I tracked the car to the point where it stopped, just pat the corner, with only the back half displayed in my sight.

Damn.

In the distance, we heard two car doors slam shut.

The driver was staying put.

Double damn.

A minute later we could hear pounding on the front door, then nothing.  My guess, they kicked in the front door.  There was no one at home, Chiara’s parents were away because they had no crops in the ground.  Their problem was water, and the river was running low this year.  Aside from the fact they were not going to feed the enemy soldiers who would simply take everything and give them nothing in return.

I heard rather than saw Carlo stiffen and resight the back door.  His shots would be far more difficult than mine.

The tall man came out the back door, stood on the ground not far from the door, his head filling my scope.

“Now,” Carlo said softly.

A pull of the trigger and the man’s head exploded, at just the same time as the other man came out.  A reload and another shot.  I missed the head, winged him, and Carlo finished him off.  Once shot at an impossible range.

Another reload, and swivel towards the car, now reversing, and making it very hard to see his face or body to get a clear shot.  Back, around and driving off, in a panic.  He’d heard the two shots.

“The fuel,” Carlo said, “shoot the fuel.”

I lined up where I thought the fuel tank was and squeezed the trigger.

Almost instantaneously the car exploded in a ball of fire.  Just under my line of sight, Carlo was running.  If the driver escaped…

I put the scope on Carli and then to the side.  I saw him raise his gun and fire twice.  The drive must have miraculously thrown clear of the car, only to find himself in Carlo’s sights.

Chiara had appeared behind me.  “We have to go,” she said.

I picked up the gun and took it with me.  It could come in handy later on.

Carlo was already heading back to the shortcut through the woods and we met him on the path about twenty yards along.

“That’s going to stir up a hornet’s nest,” he said.

More than that, I thought.  Now Johannsson knew he had a real problem.  There would be a price to pay for this exercise, and the villagers were the ones who would be paying it.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Episode 29

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 instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

“Where is he?” I asked, hardly disguising the annoyance in my tone.

“In the toilet.”

A minor relief, but what the hell was she doing in his room?

“You do know Vince is responsible for Boggs being attacked, and me too, by the way.  There was no mistaking that thug even if he was hiding behind a balaclava.

“You’re not telling me anything I didn’t know already.  And it might be my fault.  I told him, no, he all but beat it out of me, about the map and Boggs, and you, and Alex.”

“So, I can expect to see Alex in here sometime soon?”

“No.  The Benderby’s have their own private hospital.  No one will get to hear about it, except maybe when there is the retaliation.  This who map and treasure thing is about to get a whole lot more problematical.”

Boggs chose to return from the bathroom and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me.  “How did you manage to get past the head of Gestapo, Nurse Jamieson?”

“I had an angel show me the way.  How are you?”

“This is a hospital; how do you think I feel.”

The nurse was right, he looked worse than he was.  The bruising was going to be very colourful in the coming days, before everything settled down.

“Vince?”

“Like I could tell who it was.  Only Vince can sound like Vince even where he’s trying not to sound like Vince.”

“Did he get the map.”

“One of them, but not necessarily the right one, just a better one.”

Boggs got back onto the bed and lay back.  I got the impression he was putting on a brave face for Nadia.  But it didn’t explain why she was there.

“What are you doing here,” I asked, with just a shade less annoyance.

“I heard what Vince did and I cam to apologise.  You were next,.” She said to me, “But, seriously guys, you were the masters of your own destinies with this map thing.  You don’t even know if it’s real or just another of a host of hoaxes.  Old man Cossatino reckons that Boggs’s dad created a lot of different variations, in the hope of selling them as the real thing.  He was, after all, just a common con man, and not very good at it.”

The patriarch of the Cossatino’s the one she referred to as Old Man Cossatino, was Nadia’s grandfather, and although Nadia’s father was nominally in charge of the clan, everyone knew who the real leader was.  And Old Man Cossatino was someone you didn’t cross, and that went for the Benderby’s too.

Boggs’s dad had worked for the Cossatino’s at one time, and it would not surprise me if it was Cossatino’s idea to create all the bogus maps, just to make money.  I couldn’t see Boggs’s dad having the brains to mount a scheme such as Nadia described.

It surprised me that I had forgotten about that.  Way back, when my father was still picking a side, he had said there’d been a rumour going around that a new map for the treasure had been found, and that both the Cossatino’s and the Benderby’s were in a bidding war for it, along with some other unsavoury characters.

And the rumour died as fast as it had risen, and not long after Boggs’s dad disappeared, later to turn up dead.  One rumour, he had gone looking for the treasure, though no one proffered an answer as to how he might have come across the original map which he had, at one time, claimed, and another, Cossatino had him make it up, then killed him so he would never reveal the truth.

That original map had never seen the light of day, nor mentioned since.

It didn’t explain why Vince was on the warpath.

“What’s Vince up to?  I thought you guys had the original map?”

She looked surprised.  “First I’m hearing about it.”

I realised then she would have been as young as I was, and Boggs, which was about five or six.  Precognitive memories.  She might have been too young to remember.  I only remembered it because my father had continually bagged Boggs’s father as a fool who should have got a real job and support his family, rather than let others do it for him, a veiled reference about the times Boggs stayed over and ate with us.

But it was not lost on Boggs.

“There’s any number of maps, yes.  I found a lot of them in Dad’s stuff in the shed.  I suspect those were the ones created for the Cossatino’s to sell privately, and I also think he double-crossed them and kept one particular map, the one he called ‘the map’ for himself, which may have been the original.”

That I was guessing, was the map Boggs had now.  “And you’re telling me that’s the one you said you found, and…”

“I still have it.  Vince has one of the half dozen that all seem to be slightly different, different enough from the original to keep him happy for a while.”

“What was the point of sending him to me?”

“I needed more time to figure out which variation to give him.  I’m hoping now, if he thinks it’s the original, he’ll start looking for it.  Save us a lot of time and effort if he does the groundwork.  And I’m sorry about what happened to you.  If it’s any consolation, I knew he wouldn’t hurt you.”

It seemed to me, judging from the expression on Nadia’s face, that discussing the fact Vince didn’t have the right may prompt her to tell him.  She was a Cossatino first, after all, and had for years toed the family line.

Maybe she’d changed, but I wish Boggs was not so trusting.

“That’s nonsense Boggs,” Nadia said.  “My brother doesn’t go easy on anyone.”

“How did you get in here?”

No mistaking that voice of authority.  The head of the hospital Gestapo had arrived.  She glared at me.  “You’d better leave before I call both the hospital security staff and the police.”  Then she looked at Nadia, who was getting out of the seat.  “You should know better.”  Much kinder voice for Nadia, suggesting they were acquainted.

She probably helped old man Cossatino with his interrogations.

“Had you told me how Boggs was, I would not be here.”  I’m not sure why I decided to take a stand with her.

“Don’t be impertinent.  You can see how he is, now leave while I’m in a good mood.”

I’d hate to see her when she was in a bad mood.

“Tomorrow,” Boggs said.  “I’m sure they’ll let me have visitors by then.”

I waved and left.  Nadia stayed back for a moment, then joined me in the passage.

“What were you really doing here,” I asked her.  “It’s bot as if you had any reason to visit Boggs, other than to cause trouble.”

“I came to apologise.  My brother can be a moron sometimes.”

“Does he know you’re here?”

“No.  And I want to keep it that way.”

“It’s Vince we’re talking about, or has he gone soft.  From what I witness during our encounter, it seems he’s got worse.”

“Which is why I don’t want to see him.  You want to come back to the room and have a few drinks.  Maybe we could talk about old times, you know, trash Alex?”

“Sounds good to me.”

A nightcap with Nadia.  I would never have thought that possible, even in my wildest dreams.  Had she changed, or was she up to something?

Time would tell.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to write a war story – Episode 21

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination in what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…

 

Chiara knew the moment she told Martina that one of the Germans was dead, she would be in trouble.  Not only from the resistance but from the British or whoever they were, up at the castle.

The man’s name was Eric Carmichael, and he was a nice man, more of a boy really, having not suffered the full effects of a front line.  He wanted to, but the Gods, as he called them, were against it.

Now he was dead.

He had come to the farm, told she was not there and had left again.  The pity of it, on any other occasion, nothing would have happened.  Nobody went out at night, so no one knew of their association.

Of course, if he did tell her anything, which he hadn’t so far, she would pass it on to Martina.  And, perhaps the only annoying thing about him was that he kept asking about the resistance as if it was still operational.  It was one of the reasons who Martina kept her at arm’s length, so she had nothing useful to tell them if they took her in for questioning.

Now it was a matter of seeing if he had told anyone about this affair, and if he did, she would not be safe at the farm.  It was why she was in hiding, waiting, and watching to see if anyone came.

Along with Carlo, and the new man, Atherton.

Not far from where the soldier’s body lay in the ditch, one that no one had yet found.

Until now.

A car was coming along the road quite fast, heading towards her farm.  Atherton recognised it as one of the staff cars from the castle, and as it slowed to turn the corner, Atherton could see it contained three men, the driver, and the two men who had followed him down the stream.

Suddenly the car skidded to a stop.  All three got out and went over to the ditch.  The driver had seen the bicycle.

 

It was an interesting conversation.

“The fool looks like he run off the side of the road and into a tree, fell off and hit his dead on the rocks.”

It was the man who had set me free.  I’d recognise him anywhere.

“Or maybe some ‘innocent bystander’ shoved a wrench in the wheel and he went over the handlebars.”

The big man turned to him.  “You have a story that implicates every member of the enemy population, don’t you?  Where’s the wrench?”

“They could have tossed it away or thrown it into the bushes.”

“The kid’s an idiot.  He was out for some fun and had his mind everywhere but on the job.  If she’s that tempting, maybe I’ll go and have a look in myself.”

The driver took a closer look, then suddenly bolted for the bushes and threw up.  I’d expected more seasoned soldiers in the group of paratroopers, but maybe they were late recruits with only half the training, and barely out of school.  He didn’t look all that old.  Neither had the lad in the ditch.

The tall guy yelled out, “when you finish puking, get over here and help us get him into the car.  Then we’ll meander down to this farm.”

 

Carlo knew a quicker way across the country to their farm.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what he was intending to do.

Three fewer Germans, three fewer problems.

I followed, trying to keep up.

“You got weapons hidden away?”

“Several rifles and a handgun.”

“It’ll do.  When we get there, you say out of sight.  Me and the new laddie here will take care of them.”

A look in my direction told me I’d just been recruited into the killing force.  Exactly what I’d been hoping to avoid.  I guess it was time to make a stand.

A few minutes later we were in the large shed out the rear of the farmhouse, retrieved the rifles, of which one was a sniper rifle, a rather interesting trophy, and not the sort of gun any soldier would leave lying around.

I was tempted to ask where she got but decided against it.  I had an awful feeling the previous owner had met a gruesome if not a sticky end.  Chiara was not just a pretty face.

“You know what to do with this thing?” Carlo said, holding it out in my direction.

“Vaguely, but I think I can manage.”

With it was a carton of shells, rather long and ugly and very deadly, even at long range.  But this time, we were not that far from the target area so wind and external conditions would not be a factor.

Also, I was hoping the sight had been calibrated.

After getting a feel for the weapon I took up a position on top of some hay bales and could see through a large enough crack when I put the barrel, and stretching out, found a comfortable position, and aimed for the back door.

It was like putting out my hand and touching it.  This was going to kick like a mule on the recoil, but I would only have time to worry about reloading for the next target.  Then I realised the driver might be a problem, especially when the shooting started, so I swivelled around to the back end of the house where a vehicle might come, and, saw the blue, altered the sight, and then saw the car approaching slowly.

I was hoping it would remain in sight, so if anything happened, I would be able to pick him off.  It would be all that much harder if he managed to try driving away.

I tracked the car to the point where it stopped, just pat the corner, with only the back half displayed in my sight.

Damn.

In the distance, we heard two car doors slam shut.

The driver was staying put.

Double damn.

A minute later we could hear pounding on the front door, then nothing.  My guess, they kicked in the front door.  There was no one at home, Chiara’s parents were away because they had no crops in the ground.  Their problem was water, and the river was running low this year.  Aside from the fact they were not going to feed the enemy soldiers who would simply take everything and give them nothing in return.

I heard rather than saw Carlo stiffen and resight the back door.  His shots would be far more difficult than mine.

The tall man came out the back door, stood on the ground not far from the door, his head filling my scope.

“Now,” Carlo said softly.

A pull of the trigger and the man’s head exploded, at just the same time as the other man came out.  A reload and another shot.  I missed the head, winged him, and Carlo finished him off.  Once shot at an impossible range.

Another reload, and swivel towards the car, now reversing, and making it very hard to see his face or body to get a clear shot.  Back, around and driving off, in a panic.  He’d heard the two shots.

“The fuel,” Carlo said, “shoot the fuel.”

I lined up where I thought the fuel tank was and squeezed the trigger.

Almost instantaneously the car exploded in a ball of fire.  Just under my line of sight, Carlo was running.  If the driver escaped…

I put the scope on Carli and then to the side.  I saw him raise his gun and fire twice.  The drive must have miraculously thrown clear of the car, only to find himself in Carlo’s sights.

Chiara had appeared behind me.  “We have to go,” she said.

I picked up the gun and took it with me.  It could come in handy later on.

Carlo was already heading back to the shortcut through the woods and we met him on the path about twenty yards along.

“That’s going to stir up a hornet’s nest,” he said.

More than that, I thought.  Now Johannsson knew he had a real problem.  There would be a price to pay for this exercise, and the villagers were the ones who would be paying it.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Episode 29

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 instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

“Where is he?” I asked, hardly disguising the annoyance in my tone.

“In the toilet.”

A minor relief, but what the hell was she doing in his room?

“You do know Vince is responsible for Boggs being attacked, and me too, by the way.  There was no mistaking that thug even if he was hiding behind a balaclava.

“You’re not telling me anything I didn’t know already.  And it might be my fault.  I told him, no, he all but beat it out of me, about the map and Boggs, and you, and Alex.”

“So, I can expect to see Alex in here sometime soon?”

“No.  The Benderby’s have their own private hospital.  No one will get to hear about it, except maybe when there is the retaliation.  This who map and treasure thing is about to get a whole lot more problematical.”

Boggs chose to return from the bathroom and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me.  “How did you manage to get past the head of Gestapo, Nurse Jamieson?”

“I had an angel show me the way.  How are you?”

“This is a hospital; how do you think I feel.”

The nurse was right, he looked worse than he was.  The bruising was going to be very colourful in the coming days, before everything settled down.

“Vince?”

“Like I could tell who it was.  Only Vince can sound like Vince even where he’s trying not to sound like Vince.”

“Did he get the map.”

“One of them, but not necessarily the right one, just a better one.”

Boggs got back onto the bed and lay back.  I got the impression he was putting on a brave face for Nadia.  But it didn’t explain why she was there.

“What are you doing here,” I asked, with just a shade less annoyance.

“I heard what Vince did and I cam to apologise.  You were next,.” She said to me, “But, seriously guys, you were the masters of your own destinies with this map thing.  You don’t even know if it’s real or just another of a host of hoaxes.  Old man Cossatino reckons that Boggs’s dad created a lot of different variations, in the hope of selling them as the real thing.  He was, after all, just a common con man, and not very good at it.”

The patriarch of the Cossatino’s the one she referred to as Old Man Cossatino, was Nadia’s grandfather, and although Nadia’s father was nominally in charge of the clan, everyone knew who the real leader was.  And Old Man Cossatino was someone you didn’t cross, and that went for the Benderby’s too.

Boggs’s dad had worked for the Cossatino’s at one time, and it would not surprise me if it was Cossatino’s idea to create all the bogus maps, just to make money.  I couldn’t see Boggs’s dad having the brains to mount a scheme such as Nadia described.

It surprised me that I had forgotten about that.  Way back, when my father was still picking a side, he had said there’d been a rumour going around that a new map for the treasure had been found, and that both the Cossatino’s and the Benderby’s were in a bidding war for it, along with some other unsavoury characters.

And the rumour died as fast as it had risen, and not long after Boggs’s dad disappeared, later to turn up dead.  One rumour, he had gone looking for the treasure, though no one proffered an answer as to how he might have come across the original map which he had, at one time, claimed, and another, Cossatino had him make it up, then killed him so he would never reveal the truth.

That original map had never seen the light of day, nor mentioned since.

It didn’t explain why Vince was on the warpath.

“What’s Vince up to?  I thought you guys had the original map?”

She looked surprised.  “First I’m hearing about it.”

I realised then she would have been as young as I was, and Boggs, which was about five or six.  Precognitive memories.  She might have been too young to remember.  I only remembered it because my father had continually bagged Boggs’s father as a fool who should have got a real job and support his family, rather than let others do it for him, a veiled reference about the times Boggs stayed over and ate with us.

But it was not lost on Boggs.

“There’s any number of maps, yes.  I found a lot of them in Dad’s stuff in the shed.  I suspect those were the ones created for the Cossatino’s to sell privately, and I also think he double-crossed them and kept one particular map, the one he called ‘the map’ for himself, which may have been the original.”

That I was guessing, was the map Boggs had now.  “And you’re telling me that’s the one you said you found, and…”

“I still have it.  Vince has one of the half dozen that all seem to be slightly different, different enough from the original to keep him happy for a while.”

“What was the point of sending him to me?”

“I needed more time to figure out which variation to give him.  I’m hoping now, if he thinks it’s the original, he’ll start looking for it.  Save us a lot of time and effort if he does the groundwork.  And I’m sorry about what happened to you.  If it’s any consolation, I knew he wouldn’t hurt you.”

It seemed to me, judging from the expression on Nadia’s face, that discussing the fact Vince didn’t have the right may prompt her to tell him.  She was a Cossatino first, after all, and had for years toed the family line.

Maybe she’d changed, but I wish Boggs was not so trusting.

“That’s nonsense Boggs,” Nadia said.  “My brother doesn’t go easy on anyone.”

“How did you get in here?”

No mistaking that voice of authority.  The head of the hospital Gestapo had arrived.  She glared at me.  “You’d better leave before I call both the hospital security staff and the police.”  Then she looked at Nadia, who was getting out of the seat.  “You should know better.”  Much kinder voice for Nadia, suggesting they were acquainted.

She probably helped old man Cossatino with his interrogations.

“Had you told me how Boggs was, I would not be here.”  I’m not sure why I decided to take a stand with her.

“Don’t be impertinent.  You can see how he is, now leave while I’m in a good mood.”

I’d hate to see her when she was in a bad mood.

“Tomorrow,” Boggs said.  “I’m sure they’ll let me have visitors by then.”

I waved and left.  Nadia stayed back for a moment, then joined me in the passage.

“What were you really doing here,” I asked her.  “It’s bot as if you had any reason to visit Boggs, other than to cause trouble.”

“I came to apologise.  My brother can be a moron sometimes.”

“Does he know you’re here?”

“No.  And I want to keep it that way.”

“It’s Vince we’re talking about, or has he gone soft.  From what I witness during our encounter, it seems he’s got worse.”

“Which is why I don’t want to see him.  You want to come back to the room and have a few drinks.  Maybe we could talk about old times, you know, trash Alex?”

“Sounds good to me.”

A nightcap with Nadia.  I would never have thought that possible, even in my wildest dreams.  Had she changed, or was she up to something?

Time would tell.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to write a war story – Episode 20

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination in what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…

 

Wallace was furious, and despite his attempts to stay clear of his commanding officer, Thompson discovered he couldn’t hide forever.

“Where is Atherton?”  Wallace asked the moment Johannsson walked into the room.

It was a question he couldn’t answer and had been equally as furious as Wallace when he learned of what had happened.  It was not supposed to go the way it did.  Atherton was to lead them to the remnants of the Resistance, and then Burke and Richardson had orders to kill them all.

The first part of the plan had worked as Burke had said it would.  It was his idea to ‘break’ Atherton out and then he would lead them to the resistance.  London would know where they were, and Atherton would also know, nay not exactly where they were, but how to contact them.  There were only about six left, according to Leonardo.

But he had been wrong before.  He’d labelled the remnants of the resistance as useless but to his chagrin discovered they were anything but.  He had three dead men to prove it.  And given the restraints on his current mission, he couldn’t go into the village and execute a like number of villagers for those men.

That would give away the fact they were not British, but Germans in disguise.  Best, he had been told, to let the matter be until their current mission was completed.  Then, Wallace told him, he could do what he liked with the villagers.

But like all plans, this one had gone awry.  Burke had lost Atherton approaching the village, and a thorough search of every building hadn’t found him.  Atherton, according to Burke, had completely disappeared.

Now Wallace was on the warpath because he didn’t like loose ends and not one as dangerous as Atherton.

“My men lost him by the time they reached the village.  They did a thorough search but he wasn’t there.”

“And you believe that?”

“I trust my men.  Atherton is a fully trained soldier with a few extra tricks up his sleeve, otherwise, London would not have sent him out.  There is a positive in this if he’s out of the way he can’t stir up any trouble.”

“But those so

Called remnants of the resistance can, and I assure you, will.  And more so now they know that we’re not exactly the British liberators they were hoping for.”

“You can’t believe that he found them.  We’ve seen none of them since Leonardo defected.  He told us he killed them all.”

“Well, he’s a liar.  Here’s an idea, get him and tell him to take his men down the hill and find them.  Promise him anything, as long he brings back Atherton and the rest of them dead or alive, preferably dead.  Unless you think you can do a better job.”

“Sir…”

A soldier came running in, then stood to attention until Wallace addressed him.  “What is it?”

“Carmichael hasn’t returned.”

“What do you mean, hasn’t returned.  I thought everyone was confined to the castle?’  He turned around to look at Johannsson.  “What the devil is going on?”

“Some men don’t exactly respond well to curfews.  Carmichael was one of them.”

“Carmichael?  Isn’t he the one who knows the Reich Marshall by sight?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And now he’s missing.  You still don’t think there is resistance out there, and making us look like monkeys?  This has Atherton written all over it.  How much did he find out?  I thought you had that situation covered.”

“I couldn’t exactly put him under house arrest, could I, not unless you wanted to hand out a sign that said German outpost.”

“Don’t get snippy with me Johannsson. Just get a team of five or six and find the bastard.  And while you’re at it, find this Carmichael.  Take those two fools that lost him, and if you accidentally shoot them, we’ll call them casualties of war.”

“Yes, sir.”  And how long before I share their fate, he thought.  Blame was transferable, so he’d kick it down the line.  “Jackerby,” he yelled out.  I’ve got a job for you.”

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Episode 28

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 instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

I didn’t get to go wandering into the next ward to see Boggs, if he was there, because the head of ER had decided I was well enough to be discharged.  It seems they had kept me there just in case there might be problems with concussion after being whacked on the head.

I still had a dull ache in my head, but they gave me a few days supply of pain killers and sent me on my way.  After I signed some papers to that said anything happened to me outside the hospital was my fault, and that I’d been duly warned about the possible consequences of concussion.

That list of consequences always ended in death, but that could happen by being run over by an ambulance arriving outside the ER just as I was leaving.

I don’t know why, but I’d expected someone to be there, though I was not sure who.

It was a short walk to the main entrance to the hospital, and then a bit of a puzzle to be solved in trying to find the appropriate person who could tell me where Boggs was.

Twenty minutes later I came to an abrupt woman in a hospital uniform with a clipboard in her hand, and a solemn look on her face.  If the brick wall could be personified, this was it.

Nurse Jamieson.  No first name.  No sense of humour.

She looked up at me with utter disgust that someone would dare interrupt what she was doing, something I had not worked out yet unless staring at a screen saver on her computer could be said doing something.

“Can you tell me where Wiliam Boggs is, please,”  I said it nicely, and politely.

“Are you a relative?”

“No, I’m his best friend.”

“That’s not what I asked.  You can hear properly can you?”

“Yes.”

Then, what did I ask you, just before?”

“Was I a relative?”

“And the answer?” followed by what I thought she said, “not that we don’t already know the answer to that one.”

“No.”

“The go away.  Close relatives only.”

“Then if I can’t see him, can you tell me how he is?”

Too late.  Nurse Jamieson had gone back to the mesmerising screen saver.  Perhaps it was being used by some intergalactic alien to brainwash her.

I shook my head and headed back towards the main entrance.

“Excuse me?”

I heard a voice from behind, approaching quickly but quietly.  Another nurse, a different coloured uniform.  Bad nurse, good nurse, was this the latter?

I turned as she reached me.  “Yes?”

“I heard you were looking for Boggs.”

Last name, only used by friends, not that he had many, and none who were female unless he’d been holding out on me.  No, he didn’t know any girls.

“Yes.  He’s my best friend.  Do you know him?”

“A friend of his cousin, Annabelle.  I can take you to him, but you won’t be able to stay very long.”

Annabelle?  I don’t remember him telling me anything about a cousin called Annabelle, but he did say there were family members he still hadn’t met, but that was because of longstanding feuds.

“Is he alright?”

“Nothing a little rest won’t cure.  He looks worse than he is.”

I followed her back along a passage off the main foyer to an elevator, and then up to the sixth floor.  

A sign on one of the ways pointed to what was called ‘Recovery’.  We walked halfway down that passage then stopped at a room.

“He’s in there.”

The door was open, but there was a screen pulled across the entrance blotting out those who walked past from looking it.  I pushed the screen back a short distance and saw the end of the bed.

When I stepped in and reclosed the screen, I realized the bed was empty, though someone had been in it.  I stepped further into the room, and around the corner, sitting in a chair, was Nadia.

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to write a war story – Episode 20

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination in what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…

 

Wallace was furious, and despite his attempts to stay clear of his commanding officer, Thompson discovered he couldn’t hide forever.

“Where is Atherton?”  Wallace asked the moment Johannsson walked into the room.

It was a question he couldn’t answer and had been equally as furious as Wallace when he learned of what had happened.  It was not supposed to go the way it did.  Atherton was to lead them to the remnants of the Resistance, and then Burke and Richardson had orders to kill them all.

The first part of the plan had worked as Burke had said it would.  It was his idea to ‘break’ Atherton out and then he would lead them to the resistance.  London would know where they were, and Atherton would also know, nay not exactly where they were, but how to contact them.  There were only about six left, according to Leonardo.

But he had been wrong before.  He’d labelled the remnants of the resistance as useless but to his chagrin discovered they were anything but.  He had three dead men to prove it.  And given the restraints on his current mission, he couldn’t go into the village and execute a like number of villagers for those men.

That would give away the fact they were not British, but Germans in disguise.  Best, he had been told, to let the matter be until their current mission was completed.  Then, Wallace told him, he could do what he liked with the villagers.

But like all plans, this one had gone awry.  Burke had lost Atherton approaching the village, and a thorough search of every building hadn’t found him.  Atherton, according to Burke, had completely disappeared.

Now Wallace was on the warpath because he didn’t like loose ends and not one as dangerous as Atherton.

“My men lost him by the time they reached the village.  They did a thorough search but he wasn’t there.”

“And you believe that?”

“I trust my men.  Atherton is a fully trained soldier with a few extra tricks up his sleeve, otherwise, London would not have sent him out.  There is a positive in this if he’s out of the way he can’t stir up any trouble.”

“But those so

Called remnants of the resistance can, and I assure you, will.  And more so now they know that we’re not exactly the British liberators they were hoping for.”

“You can’t believe that he found them.  We’ve seen none of them since Leonardo defected.  He told us he killed them all.”

“Well, he’s a liar.  Here’s an idea, get him and tell him to take his men down the hill and find them.  Promise him anything, as long he brings back Atherton and the rest of them dead or alive, preferably dead.  Unless you think you can do a better job.”

“Sir…”

A soldier came running in, then stood to attention until Wallace addressed him.  “What is it?”

“Carmichael hasn’t returned.”

“What do you mean, hasn’t returned.  I thought everyone was confined to the castle?’  He turned around to look at Johannsson.  “What the devil is going on?”

“Some men don’t exactly respond well to curfews.  Carmichael was one of them.”

“Carmichael?  Isn’t he the one who knows the Reich Marshall by sight?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And now he’s missing.  You still don’t think there is resistance out there, and making us look like monkeys?  This has Atherton written all over it.  How much did he find out?  I thought you had that situation covered.”

“I couldn’t exactly put him under house arrest, could I, not unless you wanted to hand out a sign that said German outpost.”

“Don’t get snippy with me Johannsson. Just get a team of five or six and find the bastard.  And while you’re at it, find this Carmichael.  Take those two fools that lost him, and if you accidentally shoot them, we’ll call them casualties of war.”

“Yes, sir.”  And how long before I share their fate, he thought.  Blame was transferable, so he’d kick it down the line.  “Jackerby,” he yelled out.  I’ve got a job for you.”

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Episode 28

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 instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

I didn’t get to go wandering into the next ward to see Boggs, if he was there, because the head of ER had decided I was well enough to be discharged.  It seems they had kept me there just in case there might be problems with concussion after being whacked on the head.

I still had a dull ache in my head, but they gave me a few days supply of pain killers and sent me on my way.  After I signed some papers to that said anything happened to me outside the hospital was my fault, and that I’d been duly warned about the possible consequences of concussion.

That list of consequences always ended in death, but that could happen by being run over by an ambulance arriving outside the ER just as I was leaving.

I don’t know why, but I’d expected someone to be there, though I was not sure who.

It was a short walk to the main entrance to the hospital, and then a bit of a puzzle to be solved in trying to find the appropriate person who could tell me where Boggs was.

Twenty minutes later I came to an abrupt woman in a hospital uniform with a clipboard in her hand, and a solemn look on her face.  If the brick wall could be personified, this was it.

Nurse Jamieson.  No first name.  No sense of humour.

She looked up at me with utter disgust that someone would dare interrupt what she was doing, something I had not worked out yet unless staring at a screen saver on her computer could be said doing something.

“Can you tell me where Wiliam Boggs is, please,”  I said it nicely, and politely.

“Are you a relative?”

“No, I’m his best friend.”

“That’s not what I asked.  You can hear properly can you?”

“Yes.”

Then, what did I ask you, just before?”

“Was I a relative?”

“And the answer?” followed by what I thought she said, “not that we don’t already know the answer to that one.”

“No.”

“The go away.  Close relatives only.”

“Then if I can’t see him, can you tell me how he is?”

Too late.  Nurse Jamieson had gone back to the mesmerising screen saver.  Perhaps it was being used by some intergalactic alien to brainwash her.

I shook my head and headed back towards the main entrance.

“Excuse me?”

I heard a voice from behind, approaching quickly but quietly.  Another nurse, a different coloured uniform.  Bad nurse, good nurse, was this the latter?

I turned as she reached me.  “Yes?”

“I heard you were looking for Boggs.”

Last name, only used by friends, not that he had many, and none who were female unless he’d been holding out on me.  No, he didn’t know any girls.

“Yes.  He’s my best friend.  Do you know him?”

“A friend of his cousin, Annabelle.  I can take you to him, but you won’t be able to stay very long.”

Annabelle?  I don’t remember him telling me anything about a cousin called Annabelle, but he did say there were family members he still hadn’t met, but that was because of longstanding feuds.

“Is he alright?”

“Nothing a little rest won’t cure.  He looks worse than he is.”

I followed her back along a passage off the main foyer to an elevator, and then up to the sixth floor.  

A sign on one of the ways pointed to what was called ‘Recovery’.  We walked halfway down that passage then stopped at a room.

“He’s in there.”

The door was open, but there was a screen pulled across the entrance blotting out those who walked past from looking it.  I pushed the screen back a short distance and saw the end of the bed.

When I stepped in and reclosed the screen, I realized the bed was empty, though someone had been in it.  I stepped further into the room, and around the corner, sitting in a chair, was Nadia.

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to write a war story – Episode 19

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination in what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…

 

Marina drove the truck slowly and carefully, without the benefit of headlights on a night that have become very dark when cloud cover moved in.  A good night to be out on foot, but not in a few tons of metal.

It seemed to take longer to go back to the old factory, if that was what it was, or it may have just been my imagination.  Certainly, it was rather tense in the cabin.

I wondered if what Chiara had said about not trusting me had made Marina have second thoughts of taking me back.  From where we were, I would have no idea where it was, and if she dropped me off, I could not find it again.

And that fear came true a few minutes later when she pulled off to the side of the road, near some trees, and stopped, turning off the engine.

The silence crept over us like a fog.

Such was the atmosphere I found myself whispering, “What’s wrong.”

“Lights.  Appearing briefly and disappearing.  Like someone is following us.”

She sat still for about five minutes, looking intently at the rear vision mirrors, and at times turning around to stare of the small window at the back of the cabin.

I did too, but I couldn’t see anything, nor had I, but I hadn’t thought to look in the rear vision mirrors because I thought we were safe.  How wrong I was, to assume that.  If there was one lesson I should learn from what I was doing, was that I should know what’s going on around me and that at no time could I ever believe I’m safe.  The moment I did and let my guard down, I would be dead.  I’d been told that in London, and in a relaxed moment, I’d forgotten it.  How many others had done the same and died?

A shake of her head, she got out of the truck, and quietly closed the door.  I did likewise and joined her at the rear.

“What’s happening?”

“I’m going to check back over the road, see if there’s anyone following us.  There have been too many instances of lights for it to be coincidental.”

“Since we left the church?”  In thinking that, it meant that either Chiara or Enrico may have inadvertently, or deliberately, told someone about the meeting.

I hope it’s just my imagination, but it was shortly after we left I saw the first light.”

“Could be a local farmer stumbling around at night.”

“It could, but no one is that silly to be caught out after dark.  There was a curfew, and most of us like to believe there still is.”

She looked back down the road, but all I could see was inky blackness.  The moon was still hidden by dark clouds above, and it looked like there was going to be rain.

“I’ll come with you.”

“You’d be better off staying here.  The last thing I need is a soldier stomping around in the dark.”

Thanks for the compliment, I thought.  “Then I’ll have to be quiet, and try not to stomp.”

Even in the darkness I could feel rather than see the scowl on her face.

“As you wish, but don’t get in my way, and don’t make me shoot you.”


Short and wiry, she was built for stealth and speed, unlike the bulky soldier I was.  Not that I was overfed and fat, but I was still a larger target than she was.  I could just see her outline in front of me, and she was moving very quietly.

I was trying very hard to emulate her.

Then I saw it.  A light going on briefly, then off, definitely in the direction we had just come from.

She had stopped and I nearly ran into her.

“You were right,” I said quietly.

“I was hoping I wouldn’t be.”

So had I.  The last thing we needed was trouble, trouble that would have to be eliminated.  She couldn’t have anyone else knowing about their hiding places, and meeting points.

A few minutes further along, we both heard a strange sound at the same time.

A wheel scraping against a fender?  There was no engine noise.  It became louder, then we saw what it was.  Someone riding a bicycle.  Close to the edge of the road so as to remain hidden from view because of the turns in the road, which would account for seeing the light at odd times.  At the front, there was a light that was taped to show only a thin slit of light.

I saw her look around, then take hold of a long branch that had recently fallen off one of the trees, pared it down, and then waited.  I could see what she was going to do.

When the bike came alongside, moving slowly because it was up a hill, and the rider was labouring hard, she poked the stick through the spokes of the front wheel, the rider just seeing her at the last moment, and not being able to avoid her.

The result was predictable, the rider went flying over the handlebars and crashed into the hard ground with a thud and a loud grunt.  

My role was to jump on the rider so he, or she, couldn’t escape.  Marina was right behind me and jammed a dirty rag in the persons mouth as I held them very tightly under me.

“Now what?”

This was not going to work for very long as the person under me was beginning to kick and thrash about.  In a few seconds, the gag would be spat out and the silence would be shattered.

I heard the gun before I saw it, a whooshing sound near my ear just before it hit the head of the captive, and suddenly there was no more movement or sound.

“A moment’s silence.”

We rolled the figure over, and looked at the face, just visible in the near darkness.  We had just been blessed with a shard of moonlight for a few seconds.

A man.

“You know him?” she asked.

Another look, just as the clouds shut off the light, and I thought so.

“One of the soldiers from the castle.  How would he know we were meeting at the church?”

“He might not.  Nor might he be following us, but just unlucky.”

“How so?”

“Chiara sometimes entertains men from the castle.  Part of our eyes and ears.  She was not part of the resistance when Fernando was in charge so they would just use her like any other enemy soldier would.”

“So this was a mistake.  If he doesn’t return, then they’ll get the wrong idea.”

“Unfortunately.  He has to be dealt with.”

“Killed?”

“No time to get squeamish on me.  He’s an enemy soldier.”

An enemy I preferred to be some distance away from before shooting to kill.  Up close and personal makes it so much harder.

“Come on.  Grab his shoulders.  There’s a gully over there, so we can make it look like he ran into a tree, tipped off the bike and hit his head on a rock.”

“Or a gun.”

“A few hits with a rock will fix that.  I’m sure there’s no one up there that can do autopsies on bodies.”

No, there wasn’t.  I just hoped I was not going to be the one that had to hit him.


Ten minutes later it was done.

We carried him to the gully, and at a suitable place laid the body as if it had landed off the bike and onto the rocks, where Marina picked up a large one and hit him several times with a lot of force the last making a sickening sound, and the blow that killed him.

I went back and collected the bicycle and staged it to meet the crash criteria, and then left.

For all intents and purposes, he had died falling off his bike after wandering off the road in the dark.

Both of us hoped it would not cause Chiara any trouble.

And, it was the first person I’d seen killed up close, and I doubted, in the coming days it would be the last.  It was not a sight I was going to forget in a hurry.

© Charles Heath 2019

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Episode 27

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 instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

I was taken to the hospital, despite the fact the paramedics deemed that I might not be as badly concussed as they first thought.  At the very least, I got a ride in the ambulance and painkilling pills that were very effective.

They kept me in the emergency department in between being taken for X-Rays, and I think something they called a CT Scan.  Whatever it was, it didn’t help my claustrophobia.  When that was completed, my mother was waiting in the cubicle.  Benderby, looking concerned, stood behind her.

After the attendant left, he said, “I’ll be going now.  Take all the time you need to recover Sam; I’ll make sure you don’t lose any wages over this.  And you can be assured that it will not happen again, and we will get the people who did this.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“I’m just glad nothing worse happened to you.”

He said something to my mother in hushed tones and then left.  My mother had got over her initial reaction, and a more curious look had replaced the one of fear.

“Tell me you didn’t try to apprehend those thieves yourself, Sam.”

“No, I didn’t.  I didn’t know there was anyone in the building until I was hit from behind.  I’m not sure what they thought they were going to find there that was of any value, it’s just parts for some of the products built there.”

“People will steal anything for money these days.  You should know that.  Times are not as good for some.  Perhaps it’s not a good idea for you to work there is this is going to happen again.”

“You heard Mr Benderby.  He’ll make sure security is improved, and I suspect I was in the wrong place at the wrong time because I don’t normally go into the warehouse itself, that someone else’s purview.  So, stop worrying, and go home.  I’m fine.”

I wished she would go.  I wanted to check if Boggs had been brought in and see what had happened to him.  I also wanted to know if the perpetrator was Vince.  If it was, Nadia was first on my list for a visit when I got out of the hospital.

It seemed to mollify her concern.

“Mr Benderby said to tell you if you need a ride home, to call this number,” she gave me a piece of paper with a phone number on it, “and a driver will come.  He’s been very nice about everything.  You will thank him.”

“I will.  Yes.  Now go home.  Get some rest.  And stop worrying about me.”


Ten minutes later, I got off the bed and stood.  Well, I tried to stand, but my head wasn’t quite ready to accept that it was in command of everything else.  It took only seconds for the room to start spinning, and I had to lie down again.

My reconnaissance was going to have to wait for an hour or so.

A nurse came and checked my blood pressure and pulse, both high but not off the chart, and she went off looking concerned.

A few minutes after that an orderly went by with another bed, empty but recently used, and I recognised him as another of the boys Boggs and I went to school with.  He was destined for bigger things, but it seems he, too, never got out of the neighbourhood.

He saw me looking at him, stopped, and his expression told me he’d recognised me.

“Sam?”

“Angelo?”

“The same.  I’ll be back after I’ve dropped off this bed.  Won’t be long.  I won’t ask how you are, you must be sick if you’re in that bed.”

True.  And it was natural to ask, ‘How are you?’ when you see someone after having not seen them a while, even if you are in a hospital.  A weird custom indeed, which occupied my thoughts till he returned.


Angelo had been the smartest kid in our class, and we had all assumed that he would become a doctor, or a lawyer, one of those jobs that made piles of money.  He was also the boy whom all the girls swooned over.

Being his friend had benefits.

Unfortunately, Boggs and I, not being the two brightest kids, didn’t register on his friend’s scale.  In his favour, he was not a bully like Monty was, but I guess that went with being one of the school’s star athletes, but he did simply ignore us.

Now, it seems the mighty had fallen.  It was a destiny that seemed to befall anyone who came from our neighbourhood.

The same could be said for Monty, who got a sports scholarship to further his sporting career, but he too stumbled at the second hurdle, being done for performance-enhancing drugs, and banished to the boondocks from whence he came.

Now, as far as I knew, he was working for the Colosimo’s.

Angelo seemed bright enough.  That impression was confirmed when he returned with two bottles of soda and handed one to me.

“Hopefully it won’t kill you,” he said, sitting down.

“Shouldn’t.  I’m here because someone hit me over the head.”

“Bar fight?”

Once, in the old days, that might be the case.  “If only I could take the bragging rights, but no.  I work over at Benderby’s warehouse, and someone broke it.  Seems I got in the way.”

“Benderby’s eh?  Thought you said you’d die before ever working for them.”

True, we all said the same, in school, as naïve children who hadn’t yet learned how tough the world was going to be.

“Needs must.  My mother isn’t getting any younger, and it’s a struggle.  But I guess you already know that.  You were going to be a doctor, not a trolley pusher.”

His shook his head.  “As you say, reality trumps dreams.  Education costs, my parents couldn’t raise the money, and, well, I think you know the rest.”

A minute’s silence for the death of whatever dreams we may have had passed.

“Have you seen Boggs.  He’s here somewhere.”

“I saw him in ER, didn’t look too good, but I think it was mostly superficial wounds.  Apparently, some unknown assailants beat him up.  You two still hang out together?”

“Off and on.”

You weren’t with him when this happened.”  He nodded towards the bandage on my head.

“No.”  but, I thought, it was most likely the same person who inflicted both injuries.  Had Boggs set us both up for some reason?  It had to do with the treasure, and now Vince was in on the act.

“Does Boggs still go on about that Pirate treasure he reckons is buried here somewhere?  I mean, his dad used to bang on about it, and there’s no doubt it got him killed.  You reckon someone went after Boggs over it?”

Angelo hadn’t forgotten that even in school, Boggs had said he was going to be a treasure hunter when he grew up, and he had a map that would be the basis of his first quest.  That same map he told me was his father’s.

That same map that had got both of us beaten up.

“Is he here, somewhere?” I asked.

“Next ward.  Last I saw he was out; they gave him a sedative so he could rest.”

Squawking sounds came out of Angelo’s communicator, and only he seemed to know what it meant. 

He stood.  “Got to go now.  Perhaps we can catch up later.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019