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Mike Smith Is Dead—Pt. 16

by Dub Wright 3 years ago in fact or fiction
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Christian lite - Fiction

By nine that evening they were sitting in the Rum Point restaurant on Grand Cayman. Entering the island republic was not much of a chore, especially when Kip announced it was for banking business. A taxi took Rosa to the Funky Monkey clothing store where she purchased four days of clothes for Kip and herself plus a suitcase and toiletries. Kip spent the early evening at The Royal Bank of Canada where he deposited all but ten thousand dollars of US currency in the bank, and secured a bank note of his deposit. The remaining ten thousand dollars in Calones he handed to Sonny with a request for a drop at St. Croix.

Sonny agreed but complained about the long return flight, he would have to refuel again in Grand Cayman.

Peter entertained everyone with stories of working in clandestine operations and flying shoe boxes into the jungles of Brazil. By midnight an exhausted Kip and Rosa fell into their bed at the Marriott. Kip had seen cots strapped to the fuselage of the airplane and guessed that their pilots, Sonny and Peter, slept aboard the aircraft. The second hint was when Kip and Rosa arrived to board the next morning Peter was sweeping the airplane out, and the smell was definitely of a cleaning agent.

Sonny was unusually chipper on the flight to St. Croix. Kip noticed and said, “Happy day today?”

Sonny looked back over his shoulder and lifted his headset. “Yeah, Peter made some calls and we’re hauling Rum back to Costa Rica. Distributor in San Jose and Peter came to terms.”

“Lucky you.” Kip figured the airline was probably charging the distributor full cargo rates for delivery.

They landed in St. Croix and once again went through American Immigration and Customs, and once again Kip used his French passport. Both he and Rosa paused at Customs and declared to be visiting two weeks.

“Kip,” Rosa pulled on his arm as they traveled to a St. Croix resort. “What name is on the French Passport?”

“Jacques LeFey,” he whispered in her ear. “Same name on the eighth box at Publica. In fact the box is assigned to J.LeFey Pedicures. And, we need to get to it. Only Jorge and I have a key. LeFey Pedicures is a legit Costa Rica Corporation, owned by me and Jorge.”

---

At Publica Bank in San Jose an official government audit was taking place. A team of United States State Department officials were huddled in the middle of the bank foyer.

“Is that all of it?” One of the gray suited officials asked. “I thought there’d be more.”

A round faced heavy set man who was sweating profusely said, “the emeralds in one box may be where most of the monies went. Rough estimate is maybe ten to twenty million American. Although, it looks like he found a way to put the money back in the US I know there was at one time over a billion US dollars there. The investment account now holds 475 million, and there was seventy million in interest savings account. That’s more than 500 million, probably that’s all, except for some scattered monies.”

"He leased a house, as best we can tell, and has an old Toyota car." One of the men looked at a folder full of papers. “We know he married a local real estate broker and has basically been living off of her. I think we’re good to go. Although he is somewhat involved in the corporation that holds the realty company facilities. I met the property guy and he didn’t have much to say about Kip Waller, just that he works for the company. Probably the owners puppet.”

“So where is he?” One of the men asked.

“I don’t know, and don’t really care, but before we leave put out a fugitive warrant in the US, make him a terrorist or something.” He laughed, “Wanted dead or alive, preferably dead.” That way, he can’t pass though the US even under his fake IDs, which, by the way most of which we set up and we issued. Fake passports should send him to Leavenworth, or a firing squad. Put it on Interpol and there’s no place in the world he can escape. Somebody mentioned boxes; I heard there were a half dozen. What was in the others?”

“Tico money. A whole lot of it, but most of it almost worthless or little more. He probably was hedging a run on the economy or something. Maybe he was using it to pay local bills?”

The fat man thought a minute. “Yeah, get it all. But no other documents? Put it in a couple of sacks or something, and set it aside. I’ll handle it.”

Another man stepped forward. “He has an account funded by the US Federal Retirement system, but it’s in another bank.”

The fat man squinted then wiped his forehead with a handkerchief. “Don’t let me forget to cancel that. That man is dead and that’s a Canadian Bank its being paid into, and we’re not going to raid a Canadian bank today I don’t want to jump those hoops. What’s in that account now simply stays there, account service fees will eat it up in a few years or if his wife is a signee it’ll be gone. How much do you think is there?”

“We didn’t get a warrant for that bank.”

The fat man grinned. “Well, I know how much he got paid, and if he was converting it to Tico money for savings, he hasn’t got much, maybe that’s what was in the boxes. Well, the retirement stops tomorrow, I’ll make a call before I leave.”

“Ms. Ortiz has been very helpful,” said the suited man. “Given us everything we asked for.”

The fat man smiled. “Yes. I know.” He opened his satchel, have Ms. Ortiz move everything to this bank and number. It will be easy to repatriate the money that way, repayment for loans and so forth. I’ll send a note to our people in Panama so they don’t repeat our steps.”

When the gray suited man returned six of the Americans walked out of the bank, shook hands with the assisting police and got into a long black SUV. The fat man stayed behind to clean up operations and meet with Ms. Ortiz. “I’ll take a domestic flight and meet you back in Washington. But, be sure and take all of the audit books with you. Report to my office the minute you are in Washington.” He walked back into the bank.

Ms. Ortiz looked up and smiled when the fat man approached. “Terrible tragedy. You look well for a dead man.”

He grinned. “Can’t say that 'til after three o’clock. Ready for lunch?”

The next morning newspapers in the United States and in Costa Rica carried the story of the loss of six State Department employees and two pilots resulting from an airplane crash five hundred miles off the coast of Nicaragua. The Pilot had reported dual engine failures at 3:59 PM. Eastern Time. A special team was dispatched to attempt recovery however due to the depth of the water and inclement weather the search was abandon.

Weeks later airplane parts began floating in the Gulf. However, there was no sign of survivors.

---

In Panama City Giles watched the television and read the morning paper. She called her clerk.

“Was there a State Department activity scheduled in Nicaragua or Costa Rica this week?”

“No, Ma’am.”

Giles picked up the phone and contacted her supervisor in Washington DC. After several levels of screening she finally was connected.

“Mitch, what about that plane crash yesterday, who and why were they in this area. Am I not supposed to be informed when we have an activity scheduled in Latin America? Was the Embassy in on some activity I don’t know about? And, how come I wasn’t notified or involved?”

“Plane crash? A team was sent to Costa Rica for an audit. I thought that had been coordinated through your office. We show normal protocol was followed”

“Audit team in Costa Rica?”

“Giles, I’m looking at the travel request. Let’s see, the voucher is authorized by Sessions. State Department airplane; besides him there’s three or four pencil pushers from the accounting department, and two investigators all for Costa Rica.”

Giles fumed. “I wasn’t informed.”

“Maybe they couldn’t get up with you or something. This was a surprise audit of US funds located in a foreign bank. Costa Rican government regulatory officials are cooperating with the surprise audit. I don’t think the Embassy in San Jose was involved.”

Giles anger grew. “I have an authorization to recoup funds being held in Publica Bank in San Jose. You have a copy of that order and it's signed by the Vice President of the United States. We didn’t need a raid, just walk in and recover the monies, everything is set up and in motion.”

Giles could hear Mitch fiddling. “I think this is one in the same.”

“Mitch, where’s Sessions now?”

“The travel request shows an in and out. They oughta be on the way back, why?”

“Read the news this morning?” Giles tried to cool her temper.

“Listened to radio news coming in. What’s going on?”

“Like I said when I started this call. Hear anything about a plane crash?”

“Don’t think so.”

Giles rocked back in her chair and pushed hair out of her eyes, she thought a few seconds before speaking. “Well, a State Department jet full of agents plus pilots went down in the deepest part of the Gulf late yesterday afternoon. Apparently, they had been doing something in Latin America and the details of such were screened from me. What time is the team due in?”

While she talked she tried to text Rosa, but it showed the phone not in service.

“Late yesterday,” mumbled Mitch.

“You probably ought to get a list of the personnel and start notification of families.”

“Yeah, probably,” Mitch seemed distracted. “Let’s discuss this another time, I have phones lighting up.”

“I’ll call later.” Giles disconnected. “Sadie,” she yelled.

The clerk suddenly appeared at Giles’ office door. “Rosa Smith, she was here several months ago, and I went to Costa Rica, she had been kidnapped, remember her? And, do we have a way to contact her? You work on that; I want to try someone else. She picked up her cell phone and called Sam in Buenos Aires.

---

At Divi Carina Bay Resort on St. Croix Kip and Rosa sat in their cottage and watched the news report.

“I need to talk to Giles.” Kip started to pick up his phone. “Well, only if I want a dozen feds moving in with us. I guess this is what she warned me about. I suppose they got everything.”

“I could call her if I had service.” Rosa held up her phone.

“The caller ID would give us away,” Kip argued.

Rosa hugged him. “I’ll call Marcos.”

“Yeah, we’ll get a driver to take us to the airport and I’ll call, if it’s traced the belief will be that we are moving through. I have service on my own phone, but maybe I’ll pick up a burn phone at the airport.”

“I used to think this spy stuff was fun and sexy. I guess it loses its luster when you’ve been kidnapped.” She kissed Kip on the neck; then giggled. “Though the reception home was well worth it.”

They caught a shuttle to the airport and Kip bought a burn phone and then found a corner and sat to dial. “Trente Trente ami, (Thirty thirty, friend)” he said, then disconnected.

Rosa bought a couple of sodas and they sat watching passenger traffic coming and going in the airport.

Ten minutes later Kip’s phone rang and he handed it to Rosa.

“Hey, we need to chat,” she said. “Ka ka hitting the fan.” She waited. “I’m on St. Croix.” She waited again. “Okay, I’ll wait.” Rosa turned to Kip.

“He said he’ll work something out, but we may need to get out of US Territory to meet him.”

“That’s interesting.”

An hour later he called back again. Rosa answered and mostly shook her head. “Okay. Thank you.”

“Tomorrow morning. Marcos is flying to Tortola to pick up a Saab 340 passenger plane, which is being traded in on a Citation. Anyway, he’s delivering the Citation and taking the Saab back, but it’s an island hopper. We’ll have to stop in Sint Maarten, and Curaçao, we can get off there or in Bogota. He said if he didn’t have to make a direct flight he’d let you buy gas and put you down on an airstrip in Quepos or any hidden Brazilian hideaway you know of.”

Kip grinned. “I think that airstrip is a little short. We can fly domestic from Curacao, don’t you think? But, you didn’t ask about the audit.”

Rosa’s cheeks got red. “I’m sorry, I got so tied up in the flights. But, really, all we want to do is talk to Marcos, right. Maybe we don’t have to leave here immediately. Besides, he might not know about the audit.”

Kip laughed. “We did pay for a week. We’ll plan on coming back but pack an overnight bag just in case.”

To be continued

fact or fiction

About the author

Dub Wright

Curmudgeon; overeducated; hack writer; too much time in places not fit for habitation.

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