And now Emmy had set it up for him. He would go over to her place first thing and secure his hiding place in the walk-in closet in her bedroom. Her clothes would hide him from direct view, and he didn’t think Sammy would carry out much of a search. Even if he did, it would be too bad. He would die quicker. What he couldn’t do, would be to violate Emmy in any way until he had the money. Gain her trust; reinforce the impression that he wouldn’t harm her. That would come later. He felt like a god. He could choose when the butterfly could live and when the butterfly would die. Or he might even let her live, become his plaything, maybe be a partner of sorts. He fought down his rising excitement, it would have to wait.
His thoughts moved away to the Fairview tanker site. His initial inspection there indicated that they looked to be using standard Seneca tank trucks, all the same model. Should be no problem, but he would thoroughly check the tanker out at the barn. Couldn’t risk a flat or a malfunction. And another precaution until Saturday when he would return to the stadium with the tanker, he would only use the barn and Emmy’s apartment as his base. If anyone was closing in on him, he wouldn’t be around. Time for a side-stepping subterfuge. He called Arnie from a phone booth. “Arnie, it’s Coach Mason. I got urgent family business up near the Canadian border,” he lied. “I’m outta town right now. Tell the team I’m sure going to miss them, and best of luck for Saturday, ok?”
Arnie listened in. “Hey that’s too bad, but times move on huh? Okay, I’ll pass the message on. Will you be watching the game on TV?”
“I’ll be watching for sure. Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Coach Mason replied.
Chapter 33 – Emmy plays with fire
Emmy was relieved. Coach Mason showed no sign of wanting to hurt her. In fact he took care not to move in close or to touch her. Even when she offered him coffee, he took the cup and kept his distance. He was very professional. Arranged the walk-in closet that faced the end of the bed so a casual glance would not reveal his presence. He hung a change of clothes inside, next to hers. He deliberately left one side open, so as to reinforce the illusion that no one was hiding inside. He even made up the sheets and tidied the bathroom.
Satisfied with his efforts, he sat down in the living room and finished his coffee. He seemed lost in his thoughts. She was wondering what he was thinking, but he didn’t say anything, didn’t even look at her. Didn’t even look at her outfit designed to show off her figure and attract men. As if she didn’t exist.
It had all been agreed. Whoever came back with her would be killed. That was the bottom line no matter what. Her job was to stay alive until Jake rescued her. He coughed and sat up, seemed to be refocusing on the room and her.
“Time you made your call to BG,” he said, putting her cell phone on the table. No emotion in his voice, just matter of fact. As if killing was an everyday occurrence.
She shuddered at the thought. She picked it up and called BG. She listened to it ringing. No answer. She waited until it cut off to voicemail, and she switched off without leaving a message. “He’s not answering,” she said, as if it needed explaining.
He nodded as if he expected it, and pulled out another cell phone from his jacket. He tossed it across to her. “Wait five minutes, and then use this. It’s new. He won’t recognize the number.”
It was a long five minutes. He sat there just waiting patiently, while she became nervous and unsettled. “Just relax,” he said, looking at her as if he could read her emotions. She stopped playing with her cigarette packet, and tried again.
This time BG answered. “Who’s that?” he asked.
She was getting angry now. “BG you know who it is, and if you don’t come up with the dough right now, I’m posting all your sordid details on YouTube, and then I’m going national with it.” She paused, “You listen up real good. I’m serious; I will ruin your career.”
The response came quicker than she thought it would. “Emmy, hold on there. I just finished calling the bank. I can pick up the cash anytime. Where you wanna meet?”
“Which bank, BG?”
“Wells Fargo, Smithsonian branch. You know it?”
She knew it alright. And the Guinea manager. So he was going to enlist Sammy, if her intuition was correct.
“Same place as last time,” she said. “Forty minutes.” She hung up before BG could reply.
“Quarter million bucks in hundred bills weigh just over two kilos,” Mason said, as if he handled millions every day. “No problem with a suitcase cart.” He had been listening to her side of the call. “Do what you did last time, but get the cab to wait for you outside; they won’t pick you up there. Make sure the driver accompanies you to the condo and waits until you’re inside. They’ll most likely follow you in and crowd the elevator. It’s up to you to get Sammy interested. If I read him right, he’ll take the easy route and accompany you here.” He looked hard at her. “Then it’ll be a bit messy.”
She clenched her fists. “I do all this, what happens to me?”
“Let’s just say it’s up to you. We’re partners in crime, maybe we can move on from there.”
She forced a smile and turned sideways, so he could see what was on offer. “That sounds good, Coach,” she replied.
He didn’t react. “You’d better get going, then,” he said. “Don’t forget your laptop and flash drive.”
She had called Jake on her way over to Wal-Mart and told him it was game on. The cab driver that brought her there was waiting outside, meter ticking. Now she was sitting down at the far end of the half full restaurant sipping her coffee, bag on the seat beside her. BG was late, which added to her nervousness. Ten minutes she would give him, no more. That should be plenty. The bank was only a few hundred metres from the store.
Where the hell was he? She finished her coffee and peered around searching for the restroom sign. She needed to go badly. He came into vision, rolling a briefcase on wheels. She waved to let him know where she was, and he came straight over and sat down opposite her. He also appeared nervous, his knees jigging up and down under the table.
“I haven’t got time to waste,” he said, glancing over his shoulder and pushing the cart, with colorful holiday stickers all over the case, towards her. “Here’s the dough, all hundreds.” He didn’t even eye her up.
She half unzipped the top and peered inside. Bundles of hundreds. “Okay,” she said, zipping it back up and passing her bag to him. “Here’s the laptop and flash drive.”
He took it and got up to go. “Emmy, if it isn’t all here, swear I’ll hunt you down myself, you hear me?”
She gave him a disdainful look. “I said we’re even on the two-timing. That’s the complete package, ok?”
He grunted and left. She watched him jog along to the far end of the store and out the fire exit. Ah, she thought. Maybe Sammy is looking for a more regular payoff. The laptop and flash-drive would keep the corn coming in for a long time. No wonder BG was nervous about being double crossed. She heaved a big sigh. Time to make a move. But first the bathroom.
Emmy had her route back all planned. Straight out of the store into the cab, follow Mason’s advice. And then the risky parts. She wheeled the briefcase out of the restrooms and down the aisle to the front entrance where the cab driver was waiting. As soon as the cab driver saw her walking through the entrance he opened the nearside door and she hurried inside, and he pulled out into the traffic flow.
Other people were watching for the briefcase cart with the holiday stickers. A black limousine moved out after them. Sammy wasn’t completely happy. He angrily switched off his cell phone. Bernie was useless, the big ape. Okay, he had a quarter million advance from BG when they met at the bank, but Bernie had missed picking him up again at the store. Complained that he couldn’t cover all the exits on his own, and BG had given him the slip. He would have to talk to Uncle Mario about that. A simple surveillance job, surely not that difficult.
He had told Mike to follow BG in to the store and finger the girl, not difficult. He recognized the cart as soon as she wheeled it out the entrance, and Mike nodded. That was the one. Hopefully the girl still had some evidence around, sort of back-up insurance against any future threats. But maybe he was wrong on that. He would ask her and, judging from the preview of her getting into the cab, she was eye-candy just as BG had described; he gave BG that.
Mike was driving and he sat with him in the front passenger seat. He checked the briefcase contents again. Yes bundles of hundreds sitting pretty in their purple wrappers. He zipped it back up and slid it under his seat out of sight. As soon as Emmy’s cab drew up at the condo, Mike slid in two cars behind them. They moved out of the limo when they saw the cab driver escort Emmy to the front entrance. Mike locked the car doors with his electronic key fob, and they walked swiftly up to the entrance and pushed their way inside.