“In that case I would have to sell the chateau to him,” I said, “it might be one way to catch him though.” “It might at that,” continued Baldwin, “He has always kept his merchandise far away from him, so it can’t be tied to him in any way, but now he’s getting involved in something else which means he needs a place close at hand for keeping his merchandise.” “Hmm, those tunnels would be perfect for him then,” I said, “and a perfect trap. But one problem, his money is bad and I would end up losing it.” Baldwin laughed, “you would at that, so sell the place to me now and let me deal with him.” “No, sorry, your little sister needs you here, not in prison,” I said. “That’s a good point,” agreed Baldwin, “but my ‘resources’ are at your disposal Steve, whatever you need, just let me know.”
“Well, come to think of it, there is something I could use,” I said, “if you can get it fast enough.” “I can get it yesterday,” he said, “what do you need?” At that point someone tosses an envelope through the window. “It’s got your name on it Steve,” as Baldwin hands it to me. I read the note inside. “Not good news, I can see that,” said Baldwin concerned. “Yes,” I said, “it appears that Antoine has the upper hand now. He has Calanthe and Lena. He’ll give them back in exchange for the chateau.” “Now I’m in this too,” growled Baldwin, “Antoine will regret this, I promise.” “Baldwin, I need you to promise to stay out of this, totally,” I said, “I need you to trust me on this one. Antoine will be phoning shortly so I will let you listen in on that so you know what’s going on, but the case is mine, Calanthe needs you, but not right now.”
Baldwin just looked at me in silence, face red with anger. Then after a very large sigh he said, “okay Steve, it’s your way for now, but if you fail, then I go in.” “That’s fair,” I said, “but I still need your help getting me this and I need it today.” I showed him what I wanted and he was on the phone to one of his associates immediately. The man on the other end agreed to have it here by 5pm, it’s now 11am. The phone rings. “Listen carefully Steve, Antoine wants the chateau, he’s still willing to pay the 2 million and let us go free, but it must be done this afternoon. Some days things are up and other days they are way down,” said Calanthe.
“Did you get that?”,asked Antoine. “Yes, I did, but I need a bit more time to get all the paperwork together with the lawyer,” I said, “how about 9 tomorrow morning, surely you can wait until then.” “Okay, that works for me,” he said, “but no tricks, no police around.” “No police,” I said, “but I will bring the lawyer to make sure it’s all legally done, where do you want to meet?” “At the chateau, at 9, don’t be late,” said Antoine and hung up. “Well, we have more time, just enough,” I said, “now I need something else from you.” “Name it and you have it,” said Baldwin, “but do you really trust him?” “Not at all, he doesn’t plan on letting us go,” I said.
“Now I need two men, armed, ready to fight our way out if that’s what we have to do,” I said, “but they must do things my way, that’s important.” “You got them,” said Baldwin, “they will do things your way, I promise that. But you don’t even know where to go.” “They’re at the chateau, Calanthe gave me the clue when she said up and down,” I said, “so we go in through the passage from the tall tower, then we come out in the pool house. That’s where I want your men to be waiting for us, and a car on that new road coming in, so we can get out of there fast. We go in at 11 tonight, so have your men ready.” “Okay,” said Baldwin staring, “I still can’t believe I’m trusting a PI with 2 cats for helpers.”
To Be Continued.
©2021 Steve McLeod.