Monday, July 27, 2015

Walt Murphy – PI – 39

The address Caiazzo had written on the business card belonged to a small building in the warehouse district of the city. That didn't mean it was rundown. Far from it. It housed an Italian restaurant on the ground floor—one I'd heard of. It was supposed to have very good food. From what I could tell at first glance, I figured the two upper stories probably held small businesses.  

When I entered the restaurant the host immediately greeted me, saying my table was ready. Caiazzo must have described me to him, or at least my clothes. I was decided underdressed for this place. I followed him to a room in the back of the restaurant that held one, lone table. Two men sat at it. They stood when I entered and I heard the host leave, closing the door as he did.

"If you don't mind," one man said politely. I knew what he wanted and spread my arms so he could search me. He even ran a scanner over me, checking for bugs. When he finished he pointed to a chair at the table. I sat—waiting.

Caiazzo came in two minutes later, joining me at the table while the men took positions on either side of the door.

"I take it the rumors about you are correct," I said by way of opening the conversation.

"Let's just say I have a knack for acquiring goods in which other people are interested."

"That works." I rested my elbows on the table, my chin on my folded hands. I didn't feel as casual as that might indicate but it was part of the game that needed to be played out. "If I wanted the book I told you about, you might be able to get it for me?"

"Possibly. For a price."

Now came the cost and I wondered if Philips would be willing, or even able, to pay it. "How much?"

"No money. Just the necklace."

I'll admit that surprised me. He was offering a quid pro quo, the necklace for the book, even though the book was worth twice as much. In this case however, unlike with Eber, there was no threat attached. "May I make a call?"

He nodded, handing me his phone. Not that I didn't have one of my own, but it was turned off as a precaution and I got that he knew his was safe. Mine might not be. I called Philips. He answered hesitantly. Unsurprising since I'm sure Caiazzo's information was blocked.

"It's me. Walt."

"Oh. And?"

"I have a friend who says he can get the item you're interested in but he requires the other item in exchange for his services."

Thankfully Philips was smart enough to get what I was hinting at without saying anything to give it away. "You know I can't get the item he wants until tomorrow morning."

"Understood. Hang on a minute." I covered the phone to tell Caiazzo, "The necklace is in his safety deposit box. He can't get to it until the bank opens tomorrow."

"Tell him I'll have someone meet him there. If he has the necklace, and I'm certain you wouldn't be lying to me about it, we'll do a straight across trade and then, if he's smart, he'll leave the book there, where it's safe."

I relayed what Caiazzo had said. Philips was more than happy to give his permission to proceed.

"It's a go," I told Caiazzo, handing back his phone.

"Excellent." He beckoned to one of the men and when he came over, Caiazzo gave him—whispering—what I presumed were probably instructions on who should take care of obtaining the book from Eber. After the man left the room, my thought was confirmed.

"Two of my people will deal with the acquisition once I've spoken with them in person."

That was obviously my cue to leave, since I was certain he didn't want me to know who they were. I stood, thanked him, and asked when I could expect to hear from him. He suggested, chuckling, that I might want to give him my number so that he could call, which I did.

Then I left, praying his people actually could get their hands on the book. Otherwise I was back to square one.

No comments:

Post a Comment