home | login | register | DMCA | contacts | help | donate |      

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


my bookshelf | genres | recommend | rating of books | rating of authors | reviews | new | | collections | | | add



21

NOLEN REACHED THE SIDEWALK facing the beachfront, looked around disoriented, hearing the ocean but no other sounds, missing something. That amber glow at the door to each of the units. No lights showed, not in Morans house, the office, anywhere; it gave him a spooky feeling, like the place was closed, out of business. He walked over to Morans bungalow, opened the screen and banged on the door three times, so he could say he did. Then walked around to a side window to look in the house. There was nothing to see. An empty pitcher and two glasses on the counter, in faint light from the kitchen window. It seemed a week ago, drinking sours with Moran. He felt useless, in need of a lift. In need of a guide, he thought, stumbling through the lounge chairs now to make his way around the pool. A beer would hit the spot. Christ, even a Coke. But he walked past the machine in the alcove, went out toward streetlight reflections on empty cars and wet pavement.

Jiggs stood on the sidewalk by the Coconut Palms office.

Theyre not there, Nolen said. Nobody home.

Thats funny, isnt it, Jiggs said, with his car sitting there.

Nolen wondered if Jiggs was going to bust the door in. But Jiggs turned to look in through the dark office, through the windows on the other side, to study the courtyard in moonlight and he seemed calm. Never any different, Nolen reminded himself. Never upset, never excited about anything.

How many units in there?

I think twelve, Nolen said.

How manyre occupied?

None of em. Theres nobody here.

They could be in any one of those rooms.

I think theyre gone, Nolen said.

Jiggs turned from the office window. He picked her up, he was getting her outta there, thats all. They were going on a trip theyd be up around Orlando by now, or the card be at Miami International. Theyre around here somewhere.

Maybe they went to get something to eat.

Stroll down the corner, Jiggs said. Thats what Id do I thought somebody was coming after me.

Nolen said, Yeah, but wait now, get in their head. They wouldnt know its us coming anymoren we know for sure his wife had the money when she left home. Maybe its still in de Boyas house.

Jiggs was patient. He said, De Boya thought he had it. If he didnt, who does that leave? You listening or you still smashed? Look, what I want you to do, Nolen, go in there in your room and keep your eyes open. Moran comes out, you been in a bar all day, you dont know anything what hes talking about. Stay awake till I get somebody to come over and take a look around. Ill try and get Speedy, but you got to stay awake till he comes.

Whos Speedy?

For Christ sake you spent the night with him out cruising the bay. The guy Santos, with the Donzi. I want somebody check the place out isnt gonna fall over the furniture. I want to keep things as is for now so you can hit the sack and I can go up the corner, the Howard Johnsons and get my eight hours. Then in the morning, we need a couple more guys Ill get em. But youll be awake, have your shower and shave by then, right?

Nolen began to nod, concentrating, trying to get his mind working.

No booze tomorrow, nothing, Jiggs said. He studied Nolen a moment. You dont know what Im talking about, do you?

I dont see where you need a lot of guys or you have to hurt anybody, Nolen said. Just take it, get out.

Jesus Christ, Jiggs said, you think I want to bring some guys in, now, we know it where it is? Im talking about a little surveillance, thats all. I want to know Moran and the broadre here and what room the suitcasesre in. The sun comes out, looks like a pretty nice day-I want em to think, well, maybe were okay, nothing to worry about, no reason to run or call the cops. Its not like hitting a bank, a liquor store; I dont do that. I want to come in here tomorrow have a quiet talk with em. Show em where we stand, say thank you and leave. I dont want a lot of confusion, somebody calls the cops, some old blue-haired broad up there in her condo. Its too hard to talk you know the copsre on the way. No, I want everybody to be relaxed, their heads clear, their hands away from the buzzer.

Just talk to em, Nolen said.

I think thats the way to handle it, Jiggs said, dont you?

Watching at the window reminded him of times in Santo Domingo during his war: a motel yard or a narrow empty street at night were much the same, waiting for the unexpected, trying to sense or anticipate a sign of movement. Not wanting to see that muzzle flash. The vital difference was he didnt have an M-14 in his hands. It would be an M-16 today or he would settle for Nolens .45 with its stopping power at close range and feel much better about the shadows along the edge of the beachfront wall and over back of his house and along the motel units fronting on the street. Nolen had appeared and left. A figure-it became Nolen without his raincoat-appeared again in moonlight reflecting on the office windows and disappeared into shadow. It was nearly two hours later he saw the door to Number Five open and a light go on, Nolen again, a glimpse of him before the door closed. Nolen had finally ceased his wandering and was home. After that was only the sound of the ocean.

Mary said, You saw Jiggs; youre certain thats who it was.

I saw Nolens car pull in, Moran said. I was going to the office to leave Jerry a note, tell him Id be gone a few days. I saw Nolen get out of his car as Jiggs pulled up in that red and white Cadillac, you cant miss it. They had to have seen my car. Then after that Nolen wanders around, probably checked the bar up on the corner-where am I? Ive got to be here somewhere. But that doesnt mean they think youre here too.

I left the house with you. Jiggs saw us.

I couldve dropped you off, taken you to the airport.

He knows better than that, Mary said. And if he thinks we have the money, well, the only way would be if hes found out Andres doesnt have it.

Moran said, He might think Andres faked him out and the moneys still at home.

She said, Do you believe that?

Its possible.

You wouldnt bet on it though, Mary said. You dont want to come out and say it because if Jiggs opened Andress suitcases the chances are Andres is dead. Isnt that right?

In the dark of the room he didnt have to answer immediately. He assumed Andres was dead and realized, now, Mary accepted the possibility.

She said, If I find out he is, I doubt if Ill feel much grief, and Im sure not gonna pretend to. But Ill tell you something, Moran, her voice gaining a quiet force, an unmistakable edge. I dont know Jiggs Scully, Ive never even spoken to him. But Ill be goddamned if Im gonna give him my money. It absolutely infuriates me, that he thinks he can walk in and Ill simply hand it over. Ive been sitting here wondering, is Andres dead? I have a feeling he is. Then do I call the police? What do I tell them? I think somebody killed my husband, at least its possible, and now hes after my boyfriend, my lover and me. Do you like it so far? Hes after us because weve got over two million dollars, cash, in a couple of suitcases And you know the first thing theyll ask?

Whered you get the money, Moran said.

Exactly. Then try to explain, beginning with Trujillos assassination, why Andres kept two million dollars under the bed.

First they check you out, Moran said, see if youve ever been arrested for narcotics.

Yeah, find out if I was using the dock that blew up to bring in cocaine and grass. No, Im just a housewife-I mean a homemaker, officer. I play tennis and meet my lover at motels. And after we get through with all that, maybe, just maybe theyll go after Jiggs and arrest him.

For what? Moran said. He hasnt done anything we know of.

Thats right, we have to wait till he comes in and takes it.

There was a silence. Moran said, Ill talk to Nolen. See what he knows.

Now?

Tomorrow when hes hung over, in pain. Act like I dont know anything and find out whats going on. Ill call your house, see if Andres came back You stay here, out of sight and maybe itll work. Jiggsll sniff around and go away.

I dont think I can do that, Mary said. I know damn well if I see him Ill want to walk up to him and kick him right in the balls.

You get mad, dont you? Moran said. You dont hold back.

Why should I hide? I havent done anything. How long do I stay in here? A couple of days? A week?

Her tone was great; little jabs of anger that poked at Moran and stirred him, made him feel restless.

Youve got a point.

Are you gonna bring me food every day? Wait till its dark and sneak it in? While the police wait for Jiggs to do something, break a law? What is this, Moran? Ive never hidden from anything in my life and it makes me pretty goddamn mad to realize thats what Im doing.

Youre right, Moran said. Boy, she was good for him. The hellre we doing sitting here?

He moved away from the window, found the two suitcases in the dark and picked them up.

Lets go over to my house and get a drink and something to eat. Christ, Im starving.

Now youre talking, Mary said.


| Cat Chaser | c