Here’s the thing…

Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.

I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.

But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.

Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

I was not sure what to make of Nadia.  It would have been better whether she hadn’t said she liked me.  Perhaps she was just toying with my emotions.

Whatever she said, she was right about one object, that it put a spoke in the works with my plan to receive her the map and ease her problems with Alex.  Of course, I knew that wouldn’t be the end of her issues with Alex, he was not the sort to let a fish off the hook.

And despite her protestations to the opposite, she looked very much at ease in his company.  Had she told Alex what my plan was, and got Rico out of the way so he could set his sights on me?

Had Alex something to do with Rico’s current predicament?  Based on the information that Nadia had given me, the proximity of his boat, and the divers, what were they for?  I suspect it was not to remove fishing line from the propeller shaft.

No, this had the smell of the Benderby’s all over it.

I finished my drink and left.  Once outside, I could see there was still activity on Rico’s boat, and two men from the coroner’s office were just removing the body from the cabin.  I could see a group of white jump suit clad people waiting to board, the crime scene investigators.

I thought approximately going back to the boat, but there was a policeman standing on the start of the pier making certain only those with a valid reason were let through.

Enough excitement for one day.  It was time to go to work.  I had just enough time to receive home, change, and get to the warehouse.

When I stepped into the office, Alex was waiting by my desk and that could only mean one thing, I was in some sort of trouble.  Usually, he just ignored me, unless there was something no one else wanted to do like taking inventory.

“A few minutes in my office Smidge.”

Trouble it was.  He only called me Smidge when he was annoyed with me.

I followed him in and closed the door.  His office was the same as his father’s, in the leading building, only smaller.

He didn’t invite me to sit down.  He sat on the edge of his desk, facing me.  It brought back poor memories of being in the principal’s office at school.

“What were you doing talking to Nadia”

How could he know?  Knowing Alex, he, or more to the point, his father, had spies everywhere.

“She came and sat next to me, Alex, not the other way around.  She was reminding me of how insignificant I was, and then she was asking questions about Rico.  I was there when they found a body on his boat, Alex.  You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”

I watched his expression change for just a occasion.  He didn’t have the same set in granite features as his father, a man who could lie to your face and stab you in the back at the same time.

“Why would I?  I was out testing Dad’s boat, and all I could see what police everywhere.  I wouldn’t put anything past Rico.”

Then I had an idea that might rattle Alex’s cage a little.

“There’s a rumour going around that Rico had a copy of a more detailed treasure map.  I mean, Boggs seems to think his father had a more detailed treasure map than the one doing the rounds, and maybe Rico had got his hands on it, and perhaps that man on the boat was a treasure hunter who was trying to buy it, or steal it, and got on the wrong side of an argument with someone, and not necessarily Rico.  To be honest, Alex, I don’t think Rico is that silly he would murder someone on his boat.”

There was a definite interest in his eyes, one that sparked whenever I mentioned the treasure map, and it was more than a passing phase.

“You and I both know that Boggs is little more than a brainless fool who’s always trying to make out his father wasn’t the world’s worst treasure hunter.  Those rumours are just that, Smidge, rumours.  There is no treasure and there is no map.  And it’s debatable if Rico had anything other than a quick temper.  Whether I were you, I’d go looking for a better course of friend, and forget approximately this so-called treasure.”

Put as casually as he could, the problem was Alex could not keep the veiled threat out of his tone.  He was definitely telling me to back off.  But, then I had another thought, just to stir the pot a little more.

“Funny thing Alex, that was what Nadia told me too.  What whether the Cossatino’s think the exact opposite, that the rumours are true.  She could have been sizing me up as a potential source for the map, seeing how Boggs and I are such good friends.”

Mentioning the Cossatino’s made Alex uncomfortable.  I could see it, and feel it.  The tension in the room was rising.

“You should keep well absent from the Cossatino’s, and especially Nadia.  They are very, very dangerous people.  If she’s talking to you, then I’d been running absent as fast as I could.”

“Because you’re interested in her?”

“Are you, I mean seriously Smidge, what would she see in you?”

That, of course, was a good question, and from his perspective, quite a legitimate point.  I had nothing that he knew of to offer.

“Everyone has something someone else wants, Alex.  I’ll admit, at the occasion, I don’t have anything to offer a woman like that, and she is way above my pay grade, but whether you like, I’ll try to find out what it is she does want.  I work here, so possibly she thinks I might be able to get some dirt on you unless you are good friends and she’s just trying to make my life more miserable than it already is.”

Yes, I could see the wheels turning, the Alex that didn’t trust anyone, no matter who they were.

“If she tries, you tell me.”

“Of course.  Now I’d better get back to work.  Your dad is supposed to be coming over for an inspection.”

He waved his hand, indicating I was dismissed.

Consider the cat thrown among the pigeons.

© Charles Heath 2019-2021

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