I let it drift.
Forty-eight hours would be a long wait, but it would also give us time to properly set up our stakeout close to the restaurant, probably at Sea View Circle where we could watch traffic pass along Highway 11. This time we’d do a whole lot better than our aborted attempt to trap Stern at Kona International Airport. That raised another problem. Even if we hijacked Le Chef, how would we entrap Van Grossman?
Whatever it takes to bring Le Chef and Van Grossman to justice!
Janet knew people, so did Ginny. It would be my bet that somehow Van Grossman would be lured to join Le Chef at La Bastille.
So why didn’t they tell me?
I confronted Ginny in her guest room with my suspicions. Or rather, I tried to.
‘It’s delicate,’ she said.
‘So I was right on the button?’
She shook her head. ‘Nothing is clear-cut … but if anything develops…’
She gave me a despairing glance. ‘Shayne … Janet made it quite clear. Your target is Le Chef. He’s the dangerous one. If … and it’s a big if … he has company, don’t get distracted.’
Again I felt a shudder, as if Ginny was shielding something, but I had to admit Janet had my number. I was a greenhorn, a surfer dude. Le Chef was an unleashed animal, almost impossible to restrain even with Smokin’ Joe’s assist; but this time we were going to nail him once and for all.
I became more optimistic. If the jabs hit the right spots, possibly we could go after Van Grossman as well.
That was if, Van Grossman arrived.
A big, big if.
Despite my bruises and cuts, I spent the best part of the morning in Smokin’ Joe’s gym lifting weights and working out on the treadmill and rowing machine until I built up a good sense of well-being. This gym didn’t have a boxing ring, like the one in town, but it was well equipped with the latest machines and it suited me just fine. I finished off in the steam room, followed by a jet-spray shower and, after toweling down, I felt like a born-again warrior.
Fit for battle against Le Chef.
Dressed in black tee-shirts and jeans, that evening saw Smokin’ Joe and me cruising down Highway 11 in a rented Chevy Equinox costing fifty bucks a day for the sports utility vehicle. Ours were “hot”: Smokin’ Joe’s Caddy was way too noticeable - stood out like a red stop sign - and mine was marked by both the police and Le Chef.
‘Sea View coming up,’ said Smokin’ Joe, as he flicked the indicator to exit the highway...
We had left Amos giving my Dodge a home-spun valet service to remove any forensic evidence of Clarissa, while Ginny – with an eager look in her eyes - had returned to Kona beach shack.
‘Retail therapy’, she’d said. ‘I’m going to choose a couple of outfits for Janet. That’ll be the best medicine for her.’
I still had a nagging feeling that Ginny was hiding something – maybe Clarissa’s death hadn’t affected her as much as I thought.
But now I had other priorities.
…‘When we park, I’m going to jog past the restaurant.’ I glanced out the windshield.
Black clouds hid the moon and stars; perfect. It would be safe enough; La Bastille closed up for two days – Sunday and Monday, a French vacation.
I’ll join you, brah,’ said Smokin’ Joe, as he picked up a Magilite from the driver’s shelf.
‘Can’t be too careful.’
Smokin” Joe parked close to the highway exit off road and killed the lights. We strolled back towards the restaurant by the flashlight’s beam, but hadn’t gone more than a few dozen paces when it started to rain. Not a light shower, but heavy and persistent. We looked at each other; shrugged in frustration, and sprinted back up to the Chevy.
A passing cop car illuminated us in its headlights, before it was gone. The rain seemed to be set, so after cruising past the restaurant a couple of times with the wiper blades going full blast, we called it a day.
Next evening, we were back, and the weather was holding up; a bright moon, but La Bastille wasn’t open and we had plenty of ground cover.
But not enough.
We were jogging along the stretch back to the Chevy when headlights beamed; a cop car had parked up close. I could make out three figures inside. One cop got out.
He was waving a gun at us.
‘On your knees … hands on your head.’
I started to say something, but Smokin’ Joe nudged me to keep quiet.
‘He’s kinda nervous, brah.’
We had no option.
Smokin’ Joe was handcuffed. As the cop moved behind me, I smelled a whiff of cologne.
My head exploded…