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 Moran’s house, the office, anywhere; it gave him a spooky feeling, like the place was closed, out of business. He walked over to Moran’s 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.
“They’re not there,” Nolen said. “Nobody home.”
“That’s funny, isn’t 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 many’re occupied?”
“None of ’em. There’s nobody here.”
“They could be in any one of those rooms.”
“I think they’re gone,” Nolen said.
Jiggs turned from the office window. “He picked her up, he was getting her outta there, that’s all. They were going on a trip they’d be up around Orlando by now, or the car’d be at Miami International. They’re around here somewhere.”
“Maybe they went to get something to eat.”
“Stroll down the corner,” Jiggs said. “That’s what I’d do I thought somebody was coming after me.”
Nolen said, “Yeah, but wait now, get in their head. They wouldn’t know it’s us coming anymore’n we know for sure his wife had the money when she left home. Maybe it’s still in de Boya’s house.”
Jiggs was patient. He said, “De Boya thought he had it. If he didn’t, 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 don’t know anything what he’s talking about. Stay awake till I get somebody to come over and take a look around. I’ll try and get Speedy, but you got to stay awake till he comes.”
“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 isn’t 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 Johnson’s and get my eight hours. Then in the morning, we need a couple more guys I’ll get ’em. But you’ll 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 don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?”
“I don’t 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? I’m talking about a little surveillance, that’s all. I want to know Moran and the broad’re here and what room the suitcases’re in. The sun comes out, looks like a pretty nice day-I want ’em to think, well, maybe we’re okay, nothing to worry about, no reason to run or call the cops. It’s not like hitting a bank, a liquor store; I don’t 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 don’t want a lot of confusion, somebody calls the cops, some old blue-haired broad up there in her condo. It’s too hard to talk you know the cops’re 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 that’s the way to handle it,” Jiggs said, “don’t 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 didn’t have an M-14 in his hands. It would be an M-16 today or he would settle for Nolen’s .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; you’re certain that’s who it was.”
“I saw Nolen’s car pull in,” Moran said. “I was going to the office to leave Jerry a note, tell him I’d be gone a few days. I saw Nolen get out of his car as Jiggs pulled up in that red and white Cadillac, you can’t 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? I’ve got to be here somewhere. But that doesn’t mean they think you’re here too.”
“I left the house with you. Jiggs saw us.”
“I could’ve 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 he’s found out Andres doesn’t have it.”
Moran said, “He might think Andres faked him out and the money’s still at home.”
She said, “Do you believe that?”
“You wouldn’t bet on it though,” Mary said. “You don’t want to come out and say it because if Jiggs opened Andres’s suitcases the chances are Andres is dead. Isn’t that right?”
In the dark of the room he didn’t 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 I’ll feel much grief, and I’m sure not gonna pretend to. But I’ll tell you something, Moran,” her voice gaining a quiet force, an unmistakable edge. “I don’t know Jiggs Scully, I’ve never even spoken to him. But I’ll be goddamned if I’m gonna give him my money. It absolutely infuriates me, that he thinks he can walk in and I’ll simply hand it over. I’ve 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 it’s possible, and now he’s after my boyfriend, my lover and me.’ Do you like it so far? ‘He’s after us because we’ve got over two million dollars, cash, in a couple of suitcases… ‘ And you know the first thing they’ll ask?”
“Where’d you get the money,” Moran said.
“Exactly. Then try to explain, beginning with Trujillo’s assassination, why Andres kept two million dollars under the bed.”
“First they check you out,” Moran said, “see if you’ve ever been arrested for narcotics.”
“Yeah, find out if I was using the dock that blew up to bring in cocaine and grass. ‘No, I’m 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 they’ll go after Jiggs and arrest him.”
“For what?” Moran said. “He hasn’t done anything we know of.”
“That’s right, we have to wait till he comes in and takes it.”
There was a silence. Moran said, “I’ll talk to Nolen. See what he knows.”
“Tomorrow when he’s hung over, in pain. Act like I don’t know anything and find out what’s going on. I’ll call your house, see if Andres came back… You stay here, out of sight and maybe it’ll work. Jiggs’ll sniff around and go away.”
“I don’t think I can do that,” Mary said. “I know damn well if I see him I’ll want to walk up to him and kick him right in the balls.”
“You get mad, don’t you?” Moran said. “You don’t hold back.”
“Why should I hide? I haven’t 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.
“You’ve got a point.”
“Are you gonna bring me food every day? Wait till it’s dark and sneak it in? While the police wait for Jiggs to do something, break a law? What is this, Moran? I’ve never hidden from anything in my life and it makes me pretty goddamn mad to realize that’s what I’m doing.”
“You’re right,” Moran said. Boy, she was good for him. “The hell’re we doing sitting here?”
He moved away from the window, found the two suitcases in the dark and picked them up.
“Let’s go over to my house and get a drink and something to eat. Christ, I’m starving.”
“Now you’re talking,” Mary said.