Monthly Archives: May 2014

Chapter 42.

Pedro and the gold.

 
Pedro sped off quickly with the gold bags happy and feeling rich. He wanted to lose himself in the city, but not with his wife as she was not part of the equation. He would not return to his house in Barranca and had no intention of taking her with him. He would stop at Lima and quickly turn in some of the gold to people who would give him cold hard cash. He probably had a few million with him and that was enough to start a new life in another country or maybe go in the Caribbeans or a country with a culture similar to Peru.

He was thinking about all these things when up front the cars began to slow down. He wondered what was happening. Suddenly as he was advancing at a snail’s pace he saw far ahead a police car that was parked on the side of the road with the officer intercepting drivers and checking their papers. He slowed down but not too noticeably. A few cars were ahead of him. He could decide to go straight through or risk attracting attention and turn back. He elected finally to advance slowly towards the police car in the hope that they were not searching for him. Beads of sweat started to appear on his forehead and his hands were now so moist that he had to wipe them off his shirt. He slowed down to a crawl as the police had deployed a bed of nails on the road to prevent anyone from passing them illegally. They appeared to have a description of someone in their hands, looking closely at the driver’s faces. And then it was his turn. The officer took one look at him, looked down at the picture and then looked up at him again.

“Sir, put your hands on the wheels where we can see them and do not move.”

As soon as the officer said those words Pedro knew he was lost if he obeyed. He stepped on the gas passing by the officer who promptly took out his gun and began shooting at him. In his desire to escape Pedro had forgotten about the carpet of nails that had been put there for him and he punctured a tire as he sped away while the other officers fired at his car. Bullets sped by him until one shattered the back window and connected with his head, entered the skull and exited through his left eye and making a mess of his windshield. Immediately Pedro slumped on the wheel, twitched slightly and expired. The car continued its course until it swerved and stopped in a ditch by the side of the road. The police arrived with guns drawn but it was obvious to them that the driver was dead. They began searching the car and found the gold bags on the front seat and at the sight of them the officers looked at each other and smiled, it was Christmas in June.

 

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Chapter 41.

Stevens in Lima.
Stevens knew that at some point if he wanted the job done he would have to dirty his hands but he had hoped that Jake Pierce would do it for him, but now it was clear to him that Pierce was not up to the task. He lacked character and the will to overcome such foes as Gwen and the others in that organization. He arrived at the Lima airport and quickly hailed a cab for the best hotel in the area, the Miraflores Parc Hotel. This hotel was the most expensive hotel in Lima, and with good reason as it boasted plush rooms that included marble and granite bathrooms, king-sized beds, large televisions and other amenities. He liked to travel in luxury. He was in his early 70’s but was in good shape for a man of his age. His secret was simple; no drinking, no smoking and plenty of exercise. He was big on walking, and he liked to walk whenever he could. A slim man, he looked 10 to 15 years younger than his real age. As soon as he settled in his room he began to make some calls. He first decided to take his messages and that is when he learned of the message left on his answering machine by Pierce.

“Hello, Pierce, this is Stevens. Got your message. What is happening now?”

“Good to hear from you Mr. Stevens. We are in trouble. The police are after us for a murder we didn’t commit and the map that shows where the gold is happens to be with Gwen, the woman that is the real murderer.”

“Alright, listen up. Don’t move from where you are. I’ll make a few calls to people I know and then I’m coming over to Cusco and we’ll talk. Maria there?”

“Yes she is, I’ll put her over.”

“Maria, how are you?”

“Fine thank-you. I’ll feel better when you can explain to the police that we have nothing to do with the murder of that girl.”

“Don’t you worry about that. Tell me what happened of the map and the gold. Didn’t you find it at Machu Pichu with the sticks?

“Well the sticks indicated another area and when we got there the map underneath the rock carving sent us to a place where only a few lumps of gold where found, not the big cache as expected. I think that it is obvious now that we were fooled. There was a substitution of the maps and the real map is held by Gwen.” There was silence at the other end. Stevens knew already that Gwen was the mastermind behind everything that was happening.

“Alright, as I said don’t worry about the police. Stay where you are I will be coming there right now after making a few calls, okay?”

“Yes. Fine. We’ll be waiting. Bye for now.”

“Good-bye.” Stevens hung up, sat down on the sofa and began thinking about what he heard. It was obvious that there must have been some sort of mutiny inside the ranks of the enemy. The head guardian had to step in to solve the mess, as he had to step in to win this game. It was a chess game and in chess towards the end of the game the best pieces and the strongest must come out to win it. Come out too early and you risk failure, but wait too long and you can also lose the game by being too patient. There was a right moment to act and Stevens hoped that his appearance in this game was at the right moment or everything was lost. He stopped thinking and opened his private address book containing important people with their phone numbers and looked up who he had. He soon found out who he was looking for and proceeded to make the call.

“Hello this is Mr. Stevens, lawyer from the United States. Yes, your chief knows me.” He waited for about ten seconds when a jolly and friendly voice came on.

“Mr. Stevens, hello. It’s been a long time since I heard from you. I trust that all is well.” The chief of police from Lima was a friend of his. Of course it helped that the son of the police officer was studying in New Bedford all expenses paid by Stevens.

“Everything is fine with me, but not with some friends of mine. Perhaps you can do something for them.”

“Well tell more, I want to help.” The chief had every incentive to help him as the wily lawyer was paying the chief three times his normal salary every month.

“I have two friends of mine who have been wrongly accused of murder and I would like you to put that to rest.” There was silence on the other end of the line.

“Murder! Are you sure? This is a serious charge Mr. Stevens as you know. My ability to intervene in a possible murder case is very limited.”

Stevens could sense a certain uneasiness on the part of the chief. “They really did not kill that woman, it was another woman who did the deed. They gave a description of that woman to the police in Machu Pichu but it seems that the police chief does not seem to want to listen to them.”

“I see. They gave their deposition and yet the police chief did nothing?”

“That is what they told me. The man was even beaten in the jail. His name is Jake Pierce and the woman with him is named Maria.”

“And you say that the police chief in Machu Pichu did nothing but threw them in jail? I will do my investigation and see to it. And if the man was beaten, it will go very wrong for the chief over there. Leave things to me Mr. Stevens.”

“Alright then, I will consider it settled. How is your wife?”

“Very well thank-you. She loves the necklace that you sent her a week ago. Many thanks for that.” Stevens knew that he might need help in Peru and he made sure to cultivate his relationships with his contacts in the country. That included payments to the men and little expensive gifts to the women. It sort of greased the wheels of governments and cleared obstacles out of the way.

“Can I assume that you will take care of the matter right away?”

“Yes Mr. Stevens, do not worry. If it is as you say, and if the suspect is really another woman your friends will not be troubled anymore. Can I contact you somewhere just in case?”

“While in Peru I will stay at the Miraflores Park hotel, but I will move around. Simply leave a message on my answering machine and I will take the messages and get back to you, okay?”

“No problem and thanks for the call, good-bye for now.”

“Good-bye.” Stevens hung up and was satisfied of his first call. It went as expected. He was just hoping that the chief’s influence would be sufficient to get Jake and Maria off the hook. He decided that now was the time to visit Cusco and meet again with Jake Pierce.

 

 

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Chapter 40.

Eliza.

 

Eliza’s base of operation was Lima but she travelled everywhere keeping an eye on business. The head guardian was the head not only of the secret organization but was also at the head of legitimate businesses. Most of them were in tourism; they had hotels, small inns and car leasing businesses. Eliza had an office in Lima from where she could contact her people everywhere.

Lima is the capital of Peru, a sprawling metropolis that is chaotic and unloved. Blistering poverty is more apparent here than anywhere else as shantytowns ring the outer circle of the city. A grey cloud called the “garua” seems to cover permanently the city, obscuring the coastline and dulling the city’s appearance. It never rains in Lima and the sun comes out only between December and April. Eight million people live there and it is the seat of the national government and the headquarters of most industry. Eliza worked in the city center but lived outside the city where living was safer and better.

She lived in Barranco, a village several kilometers away from the center and probably the coolest city in Peru to live in. It is very relaxed and laid-back and Eliza liked that, especially after coming from working in the center of Lima with its pollution and lack of fresh air. Barranco is a seaside residential area but at night, it becomes a hot spot for tourists who like to dance but during the day it is languid and tropical. The name of the town means ravine and it is descriptive of its topography, with homes and restaurants around it near a cliff overlooking a sand strip. There is a walkway to the sea that runs through the town and crossing over this walkway is a bridge called the Bridge of Sighs. The town has a unique microclimate, shielded by the cliffs of Chorrillos from more colder and humid winds coming from the south. As a result, it enjoys a warmer and drier climate than the other districts of Lima, especially between May and October.

Eliza knew of Stevens arrival immediately as her numerous spies at the airport alerted her. They knew that for Stevens to come to Peru something must be afoot. Either he knew about the secret or he had found the gold cache. They knew that he had dispatched Jake Pierce and they had followed him, knowing that Pierce and Stevens were after the same thing. But to see Stevens arrive meant that something big was going to happen. But what? Eliza knew. She was the informer of Stevens and played a double game and she had done this for a very long time. It was a dangerous game for her and she knew that she risked her life by doing that. Should Gwen learn of it she knew that she would be in danger. But it is hard to say no to more money and Stevens had plenty of that to go around. She had been firm with Stevens; no physical contacts, only by phone or by mail and only be using codes. She knew that his arrival meant that the game would soon end and that some of the people involved would die.

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Chapter 39.

The escape.
Maria had taken the keys to her car from the police officer and had fled with Pierce. They knew that before the officer was found they would be far away, but maybe not far enough.

“What are we going to do now?” asked Pierce. “The gold is lost, and we don’t know where it is without the map. On top of that we will have the local police on our tails quickly. I think that the best thing to do now would be to call up my lawyer, Stevens. He is the one behind all this and if he has any ideas, it would be him..”

“I guess you’re right,” Maria said. “We’ll follow his tips and see what happens. Finding that woman Gwen could be a good starting point but where could she be?”

“Let’s go to a hotel, hide there for a while and call my lawyer.”

“Alright, if you think that it is the best thing to do.” Maria took the road straight to Cusco as she wanted to get as far away from Machu Pichu as possible.

The short trip back to Cusco was sombre. No one was speaking as both of them were weighing their options. They had no guns to defend themselves and maybe that was a blessing in disguise after all. Instead of going to a hotel to book a room immediately they decided to place that phone call. They went straight to the Telefonica del Peru to make that long distance call. Located on the Avenida Del Sol, it is one of the main roads radiating from the busy square called Plaza de Armas. They found the place to be deserted. Pierce went in and tried calling Stevens but to no avail, only getting his answering machine. He had no choice but to leave a message, telling him that they would be staying at the cheap inn called Los Portales. For now, it was best to stay put and wait for the call. They needed guns, badly. They were out powered by Gwen precisely because she was armed with a knife. Guns would equal things out.

“Maria, we have to buy guns. Where we can we buy them here?” asked Pierce.

“Look, I don’t want a gun, I don’t think that I could handle this, but I know where to buy them. There’s a local here that sells them undercover. I’ll go to him and buy one for you, a small gun, okay?

“That’s fine by me but, why don’t you want to be armed as a precaution at least?

“No, I won’t. I’ve seen too many people killed by guns in the area, especially after drinking binges and that scares me. I hate guns in fact.” Maria was looking at Pierce and was emotional. She wiped a tear from her eyes.

“What is it?” asked Pierce, concerned at her sudden outburst. He walked towards her and put a friendly hand on her shoulders. She looked straight at him.

“My dad killed my mom in a drunken stupor. He said it was an accident, thinking she was a robber but he was drunk. I never forgave him and since that day I have never handled guns, ever.” She was still wiping her tears when Pierce took her in his arms and held her tightly, kissing her gently on the cheeks.

“I understand. Get the gun for me then and it will be alright, okay?” Pierce was still holding her. She simply nodded to say yes, unable to speak as she was reliving the death of her mother.

She knew where to find these gun dealers. They were never far from certain areas were people were, the shady people that is. She located one in an alley near a bar. They settled on a price and the gun was bought promptly. She hadn’t noticed but she had been seen by one of the spies of the guardians, who immediately notified Gwen.

 

 

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