Mike Smith Is Dead—Pt. 24
Christian lite - Fiction
Rosa tried to call Paulo from Lima, and then again from Santiago port. She also tried to call Linda from each place. “Absolutely nobody is answering their phones. I suppose the cell towers are still down, cause I can’t get any service.”
“Try Marcos; maybe your phone is going haywire.”
Rosa dialed Marcos and got the usual recording. “Trente Trente, ( Thirty Thirty)” she said then slumped down on her bunk.
“Captain said as soon as the dock master clears the ship we can depart, but we are supposed to check into customs unless we are just hitting the dock shops.” Kip tucked his t-shirt.
“I wonder if there is a way off the dock without detection.” Kip looked out the porthole as tugs moved the ship into port.
Rosa’s phone chimed. It was Marcos and she put it on speaker phone.
“Where are you?” His voice echoed on the speaker.
“Valparaiso, Chile,” said Kip.
“Just a minute.” Marcos said something to someone else and shuffled some papers.
“Can you get to the Valparaiso airport, it’s not much bigger than the airstrip I dropped you off in Costa Rica.”
Rosa said, “We’re on a ship, but we have to get off in a few minutes.”
Marcos chuckled. “Okay, ask the captain, but if your ship is like ships I have been on, the garbage is taken off on the side of the ship facing the water and put on a barge. See if you can get a lift on that, then find a ride to the airport. I’ve got an old Arava sitting out here, it’ll fly but it’s a junker. It only needs 275 meters and that airstrip is at least 500 meters long. If for some reason you can’t make it call me. If I leave in the next two hours I can be there by six tonight. Of course if I don’t make it by six you might want to send a search party.”
“We’ll be there.”
“I’ll bring Sam, there’s news we have to discuss.”
“Sounds bad.” Kip answered.
“Well, it’s not good, but nothing that can be done, just news and not worth telephone time for all the details.”
“Okay I won’t press it, we’ll see you tonight hopefully.”
Kip and Rosa found the captain and requested to get off with the garbage. The gray haired older man smiled and winked. “Not a problem, but tell your cousin he owes me. There’s some coveralls in the galley. Prepare to do some work and I’ll let the barge tender know he has a package, I assume you’ll want off before the barge is cleared.”
“Thank you,” Kip shouted above the engine roar. He and Rosa headed for the galley and with a few adjustments to the coveralls they were ready to go out with the garbage.
By mid afternoon they were tired of flinging garbage bags onto the barge, but they were grateful for the trip when the barge pulled away from the tanker. More than an hour later the barge slowed near an old wooded dock with an attached platform and Kip and Rosa jumped off the barge and on to the swimming platform attached to the dock.
“My guess is that you can’t hail a cab around here.” Kip joked.
“Unless it is horse drawn.” Rosa pointed to a cart and horse at the top the steps from the dock. When they arrived to the cart they noted it was a fruit vendor stationed along the road.”
Rosa spoke to the vendor. “We need to get to the airport.”
The toothless old man garbled something to Rosa and pointed to a road.
Rosa looked at Kip. “About a mile in your measurement. He says to walk.”
Kip shouldered the satchel and Rosa pulled her new suitcase and they started toward what was described as the airport. After an hour of walking along the road the airstrip came into view. Kip checked his watch; it was 5:45 PM.
Rosa waved as they walked toward the old aircraft sitting on the tarmac. Sam seemed to see them and came running towards them.
When she got to Rosa she stopped and picked her up and hugged her and kissed her saying “lo siento, (sorry)” over and over again.
Tears running down her cheeks. Marcos met them as they were walking and began translating for Kip. Rosa had sunken to knees and was being lifted by Sam. Both women were crying profusely. Finally, Rosa turned to Kip and wrapped her arms around him and continued crying so profusely that Kip had to kneel as his arms were not yet strong enough to support her for any length of time. Paulo and Maria were dead, killed by intruders in plain daylight, was the most Kip could understand.
They rushed to the old airplane and Kip sat in the co-pilot seat while Sam and Rosa huddled in the back. Soon they were back in the air headed to Buenos Aires.
“How’d you hear about Paulo?” Kip asked over the intercom connecting the two pilots.
“Friend at the hanger I use sent me a text, cause he knew Rosa from meeting her at the airport and had met Paulo when he dropped you and Rosa off. Anyway, he texted me and sent a picture of the news article from yesterday’s newspaper.”
“So, this happened day before yesterday?”
“As best we can guess,” said Marcos making a course correction. “And if that’s not bad enough. Last week Sam’s friend from Panama was murdered in a mugging in Washington DC.”
“Giles?” Kip felt his mouth drop open. Though he had only once before heard her first name, the last name was distinctive.
“I say murdered but my sources in Panama tell me she’s not dead yet but by all rights should be. It’s complicated medical mumbo jumbo but anyway the woman is barely alive at least as of this morning when Sam called the hospital.”
Kip sat back in the seat. “It’s a purge.”
“Somebody has decided to purge all knowledge of the events in Latin America—the same things I have in my notes—they very well might be being eliminated because of my notes, but why that has anything to do with anyone else but me I don’t know.”
“I was holding that to protect me while I gave back the money.” Kip dipped his head. “Oh, my.”
“Somebody would have killed you anyway because they know that you know something. Don’t let it get to you. Somebody is blowing up some bridges, it seems to me. You can’t be the only one with this information.”
Kip suppressed a grin. “I would hope not, but all those who have it or had it are dead.”
At midnight the old airplane touched down on a private airstrip near Buenos Aires. Kip and Rosa rushed to Marcos car and rode in silence to a house and hanger near the end of the airstrip. A small Cessna sat inside the hanger, tied down with straps.
Marcos pulled up to the back door and clicked on the lights remotely; most of the house lit up except the kitchen light that suddenly clicked off. Marcos pulled up to the rear of the house. “Stay in the car,” he ordered Kip and Rosa. He handed Sam a Glock C-21 45cal. out of the glove box. Marcos reached under his seat and produced a semi automatic Ruger LC9. “Okay Sam, let’s get out carefully.” They slid out of the car and approached the house.
Marcos snuck beside the slightly opened back door and pushed it wide open and stood aside. Two shots rang out and echoed into the night followed by running steps toward the front door. Sam circled the house and tackled a big man as he leapt out the front door. He was dressed in heavy clothing and seemed unkempt with stringy long hair draped down his shoulders. Marcos ran through the house following and figured he was a fat guy who outweighed Sam by several Kilos but she had the advantage and turned and dropped a knee on his elbow.
He howled and let out huff, then tried to knock Sam off but her second blow came to the back of his neck and head and he lay motionless.
A car roared and spun its wheels leaving the back of the hanger. It’s lights were off, but it made a beeline for the gate, clipping a post but driving on.
“Who was that?” Marcos yelled.
Kip slowly got out of the car. “You think they were looking for us?”
“Marcos come quickly.” Sam was walking and pointing a flashlight toward the hanger; loose wires were hanging from the engine of the Cessna.
“Were they disabling the airplane?” Marcos voice traced his running steps.
“No,” Sam called. “We need to get the police demolition team out here. “The guy who drove off was planting something.”
Kip and Rosa stayed at the car, but could hear the concern and voices from the hanger, which was more like a detached garage from the main house.
“Kip,” he called back. “Get a flashlight from between the seats. There’s a maintenance shed less than a kilometer down the taxi path, it sits several meters away from the asphalt. There’s an old couch and some chairs in there. You and Rosa go on down there, we’re going to be busy here tonight and you need to be somewhere else. Oh, there’s a bathroom, nasty, but it’s there. Just don’t turn on a light.”
Kip laughed. “No surprises in the shed?”
Marcos pointed his flashlight at Rosa and Kip. “Like I said, don’t turn on any lights.”
The next morning in San Jose, a locksmith, a banking commission official, two policemen, and an employee of the MAR Corporation (Kip and Rosa’s Real Estate Company) presented papers to the bank manager at Scocio Bank. A United States State Department official waited in the lobby. The account was exposed and the bank box opened. The MAR employee was handed the contents in a cardboard box and walked out to the US State Department official who formally asked for the property of the United States which was a disc, a jump drive, and a computer chip. The MAR employee was thanked and allowed to deposit the monetary contents into the company account in the bank. Hands were shook all around and the banking commission official agreed to meet later with the MAR employee for the disposition of the corporation.
The US State Department official stepped outside of the bank onto the plaza and phoned a special number in Washington DC. “The data equipment is secure. It will be destroyed in a few seconds.”
“Good, how soon are you back?”
“My office tomorrow morning, ten AM”
“I’ll be there.” Mitch VanHorn walked to his waiting car and drove to a smelting plant in San Jose. By giving the manager American $200 he was able to walk in and drop the disc, jump drive, and floppy into the furnace.
He got in the back seat of a large black Mercedes and driven toward the airport. “One more set, and he’s got it on him, I bet.”
“Where is he?” A deep voice from the front bounced off the windshield.
“Don’t know, but I bet his wife will be back soon. Her brother’s funeral is on Monday; her sister n’ law too.” He grinned. And, her lawyer friend’s funeral is on Wednesday. Besides they’ll have to show up to save their realty company otherwise the government will take it over and sell it off piece by piece.”
The driver laughed. “I could use some beach property.”
“Well, the government will want to dispose of it fast. If nobody claims it the properties will be a ‘fire sale.’”
“Figured there’d be a couple more funerals coming up,” said the driver.
“Not yet, not yet.”
To be continued...