Finder’s Keeper – Part Eighteen
by D. G. Speirs
Copyright (c) 2018
I took a swig of coffee. As I put the cup down, a ghost of a smile was on my face. “Look again, Lonnie.”
“Check the address on the map.”
She swiped at the phone, then attacked the terminus point of my path on the route. “So?”
“Any landmarks nearby? Like maybe a pub?”
She tossed the phone onto the table with a clatter. “You went to drown your sorrows.”
“Tried to, anyway. You know, for a town with its reputation, Dublin is still pretty tight in some ways.”
Al-Mansour’s puzzled frown was worth the price of admission to this little tete-a-tete. “Then why care about that corner?”
I pointed at the red umbrella sitting next to the booth. “Because some old geez and his pup caught me when I tripped right there and lent me this, just at the moment before it began raining buckets.”
Manny’s eyes narrowed. “Truly?”
“Yep. I figured the universe was looking out for me, sort of so I might need to get it back to him, somehow.”
Lonnie scoffed at me. “Right. Old man and his dog as a guardian angel.”
Saoirse, the waitress, popped out of the kitchen with the bacon and tea. “Becoming a right party.” She slid both items in front of Al-Mansour and looked at Lonnie. “Okay, new girl. Anything you’d like?”
“No, we’re just leaving.”
I winked at Saoirse. “And my friend Manny has agreed to cover my check.”
She nodded back. “Of course. I’ll be back with that, then.” My dishes were whisked off the table, and she was off to the kitchen.
Lonnie watched the girl. “She’s going to be a problem.”
“No, she’s just a waitress.”
“Who knows we were here.”
“Just having a conversation. Jeez, Lonnie, have you really gone that far over to the dark side? I know the whole ‘they have more fun’ meme appealed to you but come on.”
“You’re one to talk. How often do you bend the rules when convenient for your boss?”
She reached over and nibbled on a piece of bacon. “What did he do?”
“Lied to me.”
Lonnie chuckled. “He does that on a frequent basis.”
“About having a family.” The words were out of my mouth before I realized it.
The bacon hovered halfway to her mouth. She put it down and glanced at Al-Mansour. “Del Mundo has a family?”
“I did not know this.”
“it must be why he’s in Dublin. That must be where’s hiding your family. And why he’s okay with jettisoning Louis here. With a family like that. Louis becomes an afterthought. Ballast. Dead weight.” Lonnie looked at me, smiling. “So much for Finder’s Keeper. More like loser and weeper.”
I didn’t say anything, just kept my eyes fixed on the tabletop. And why not? I’d just betrayed the trust of my friend and endangered not only his family but what had probably been our final client, all because I’d fallen into a moment of easy comradery with an old colleague. I felt sick to my stomach.
Lonnie poured me another shot of the Jameson Black Bottle and put in front of me. “You look a little pale, Bricke. This might cheer you up.” The two slid out of the booth and stood up. Lonnie reached for her phone and started to type in orders to her team. “I’ll coordinate a search on del Mundo’s past know associates and look for a pattern in the area north of here along the Strand.”
“Why there?” asked Al-Mansour.
“Mr. Bricke here may have gotten an umbrella there, but he had to come from somewhere else before that. Come on.”
“Give me a moment.” Lonnie exited the restaurant. Al-Mansour stood a moment and looked at me as if debating something. Then he reached into his jacket. I tensed for the worst, but Manny pulled out a money clip and placed it on the table next to the bottle of Jameson. “Despite our differences, Mr. Bricke, I believe you tried to act honorably. You did accomplish the task you were hired to do and thus should receive some reward. Farewell.” Then he turned and left.
I stared at the clip. The silver was engraved with a set of numbers that had no significance to me. For all it mattered, it could have been an image of thirty pieces of silver.
“They left you now, alone with that bottle, did they?” Saoirse returned from behind me. I didn’t move. “Things can’t be that bad. Well, they did leave you with the tab—”
Without looking at it, I picked up the money clip, peeled off the first note and held it up for her. The waitress’ breath caught for a moment. “Love, uh, I don’t suppose you have anything a bit smaller?”
I looked up. Saoirse was studying the purple 500 Euro note in my hand. I pulled it back and returned it to the money clip, then handed her a credit card from my wallet. “Sorry about that.”
“No worries.” There was a tint of awe in her voice.
While I waited, I returned the note to the money clip and checked. It had nineteen brothers and sisters. Al-Mansour had just handed me 10,000 Euros worth of blood money. I set it back on the table and stared at it, my mind reeling. Now what?
I had resources, but no plan. I picked up the napkin off the corner of the table to wipe my face.
Something fell out and rattled across the floor.
My earpiece. A small blue light blinked on it, indicating an active connection. Vee! Vee had been online the entire time, either recording or actively monitoring. I could talk to her, warn Tomas that Lonnie was coming, maybe still find a way to help.
I started to stand up to get it.
Saoirse stepped out of the kitchen. “Right. All set. Anything else I can get for you?”
I tried to warn her to stop, just as her left foot came down on the earpiece.