Thursday, January 12, 2017

Death's Honesty (22)

   What broke through the fugue of questions and implications grappling in Blow’s head was a distinct rise in tone and volume of Moriarty’s voice in concert with the name “Blackbeard.” The interruption arrived with enough force to shoo asunder the tentative connections he’d been making and to brace him for allowing his mind to drift while she was talking. He hoped she hadn’t been talking long without his attention or he’d be in the shit, unless he could recover with enough grace to deflect any suspicion she might be nurturing that she was talking to herself. The only word he had to key on was “Blackbeard,” and he was busted before anything came to mind.
You haven’t been listening, have you.” Her voice a monotone, allowed for no escape.
“I was until I heard ‘Blackbeard’ and then I lost the connection.”
“The connection? I was talking. You stopped listening. If you thought ‘Blackbeard’ broke some connection you could’ve said something. But you just stopped listening?”
“It wasn’t a conscious thing, Jamie. It happened. I have a lot on my mind here.”
“And I don’t? We’re in this together, you know. I don’t just gabble on about nothing.”
“Okay, sorry. You’re right. I guess the name ‘Blackbeard’ just switched what you were saying onto a side rail for me. After what you said about the client’s government connection and all it seemed that was the main line we should be following. Not this treasure business.”
“You’re absolutely right. The government connection is what we need to focus on. Problem is, the Blackbeard thing is what Jay Mundaign is focusing on. He’s obsessed. And if we are going to be able to get to the bottom of what’s happening here we’ve got
to deal with the Blackbeard thing. Capiche?”
“I don’t know much about Blackbeard. I know he was fearsome, burned gun fuses in his beard, and had his head strung up on a pole at some pier in Hampton, where I believe there’s a restaurant now, and there’s a rumor he buried some treasure here in Leicester, but other than that--” He finished with a shrug.
Moriarty laughed. “So you were just pretending not to listen. That’s exactly what I was telling you. And that’s about all I know of the pirate dude, too.”
“So what’s our plan? Will he answer our questions at all? Do we have to sneak them in with questions about Blackbeard?”
“You’re the lawyer, Boo Boo. Might have to use your cross-examination skills on him.”
“Just how well do you know this guy?”
“He was my first client. Had to get him out of DC and set up somewhere with a new I.D. I was with the U.S. Marshals then. AG wouldn’t touch him. Had to do myself first. Faked a plane crash in the Gulf. Rented a small Cessna, flight-planned it for Haiti, put it on auto-pilot and jumped with a rubber raft over the Gulf Stream. The rest is classified, by me.”
“You’re a pilot?”
“I said it’s classified.”
“Well, yeah, but I’d like to know if anyone actually died in that presumed crash.”
“Just me, Boo Boo. Relax.”
“If I’m you’re lawyer--”
“Some things you don’t need to know. But if perchance we reach that bridge, we can 
talk about it then, Okay?”
“Can you tell me what your name was before you died, allegedly?”
“Let’s drop this line of questions right now. You wanted to know how well I know Jay. Let’s just say I know him as well as I knew my own father. That work for you?”
“Guess it’ll have to. But something I do need to know, something you haven’t made clear yet, is how Gladstone’s people managed to find this ‘Jay’ after you gave him a new I.D.?”
“Somebody recognized him. He has a very distinctive face. He went back to DC to check something at the Library of Congress, some Blackbeard thing, naturally, and an old FDA colleague made him.”
“Wow. So Blackbeard got him busted. So you got him out again?”
“Nope, not that time. They’d done all they could to him. That’s when they followed him here and set up their Plan B, or Plan C, or however many plans they had before this one.”
“This would seem to be Plan Ultimate, Jamie.”
“I can’t disagree with you on that. This is definitely crunch time.”
Blow turned onto the motel grounds and, as Moriarty directed, continued around the L-shaped two-story building until they reached the rear parking area.
“There’s his car,” she said, indicating a white, dinged up, older model SUV. The vanity tag read BLKBRD.
“Not very subtle,” Blow muttered as he pulled into a nearby empty slot. “Can you answer me this: if he doesn’t care who knows who he is, why the precaution of meeting us here?”
She laughed. “For us, my dear Watson. And for the bugs.”
“You figure they’ve bugged his house?”
“I know they have.”
“And you’re leaving them in place.”
“I’ve taken a few out, but they keep putting new ones in. We finally decided to hell with it. We’ll just go someplace to talk where it’s not bugged. Oh, every now and then we blast one of them with a marine air horn. Bust an eardrum or two. Just for laughs.”
“I should’ve thought of that when you bugged our house.”
“Oh you gave me plenty of laughs. You can be very entertaining when you try, Blow. And even when you don’t.”
“Couldn’t they have followed him here?”
“Sure, but I doubt they bothered. He takes a hooker here sometimes. Or at least someone who looks like one.”
“Plump, gracefully plump, Orphan Annie hair?”
“Ha. Good recovery. Sometimes, yup. Unless I feel like red. I like red hair, you know.”
“So what would they make of me? We going for a threesome?”
“Now that’s an idea! We’d hafta make a lot of noise--you up for that, Big Guy? Otherwise you’d hafta be my pimp, my redhead lawyer pimp, and then leave before me and drive ‘back’ to Rose’s. Oops, you didn’t know I knew about her, did you?”
“Nothing you know about me or anyone else could surprise me, Jamie. Not one damned thing.”
“Well, let’s go in then. Make some noise, have some fun.”


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