Shortly after the girls left I got a call from the front desk of the hotel. “There is a gentleman here that wishes to see you,” he said, “but he would not give his name.” “Is he alone?”, I asked. “Yes sir, he is,” said he said. “Then send him up,” I said. I told Galyna to hide in the bathroom and Sigurbjorn in the closet. I sat on the bed with my gun handy. There was a knock on the door and I called to him to enter. I had left the door slightly open so he could come in on his own.
In came the “blind” man from the restaurant. “Good afternoon sir,” he said, “I am sorry to visit in this way, but it was necessary to talk with you, um, unhindered shall we say.” I gave a short whistle and the girls came out with guns ready. “Oh my,” he said, “is this really necessary to be so rude and bring out guns. I assure you I am not armed.” “Then you will not mind if I check?”, I asked politely.
“Sigh, if it must be done, then fine,” he said and stood against the door with his hands so I could search him. I did take his wallet to check his identity. “Oh my,” he said, “you are very cautious, but all you needed to do was ask my name.” “I prefer doing it this way,” I said, “it eliminates a lot of wasted time.” I then called Annelie. “I have a name and photo for you girl,” I said, “I want to know his life story, you have 5 minutes, code red 3.”
“Okay, on it,” she said and she was gone. She understood that some of our team was missing, likely caused by this man. His name is Mandar Brinkman, apparently a UK citizen. “Oh, forgive my bad manners,” I said, “please sit down.” And I pointed to a nice comfortable chair. He is about 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighs about 225 pounds, quite a round gentleman, very well dressed and carried a cane though it did not look like he really needed it, which made me wonder a bit.
He was dressed in a white suit with a boler type hat. I told Galyna to take his hat and cane and put them on the desk. “No, that is fine,” he said, “I will keep them.” “Oh, but I insist,” I said. And Galyna took them from Mandar. He did not protest again. “Now, let us get down to business,” he said, “you have something which I desire and I believe that I have something that you also would like to have returned.” I knew then that he had the girls and Muffin.
“What would you like?”, I asked, “I have never heard of you or met you, so I cannot understand what I might have that you want.” “That is understandable,” he said, “I want the first 2 messages of that treasure hunt that you have, and any other information that you might have learned about it. I am sure you must realize by now that it is not a simple inheritance. That couple found the first message and realized quickly what it was and began looking for it, unsuccessfully, which is why they hired you and your wonderful team.
However, I also am interested in this treasure which could be rather substantial.” “Well, you certainly did not need to kidnap the young ladies and my cat to make a deal on that treasure,” I said, “why not just hire us to find it for you. All you would need to do is make a better offer and we would gladly help you out.” He smiled. “Yes, I am sure you would,” he said, “and possibly walk away with my treasure once you had found it. Then things would get rather, shall we say, messy?”
“I suppose anything is possible,” I said, “but there is a problem, we do not have the coded messages anymore, at least not the first one, we do have the second. I did not think there would be any reason to keep the first one, we would just decode them one at a time, then destroy the one before.” He actually looked quite angry at this news.
“Do you take me for a fool?”, he said trying to stay calm. “I will not remark on that just now,” I said, “now, I want the 2 girls and my cat back now, before we do anymore talking. I do not like having a gun at my head. And if those 3 are hurt in any way, you will not leave here alive. I hope you understand that.” He looked genuinely puzzled.
“I am very sorry, but I only know of the 2 young ladies,” he said, “may I phone my man?” “Of course,” I said, “but put it on speaker so we can all hear this please.” “Oh very well,” he said kindly, “Cramer, did you also pick up a cat with the young ladies?” “Yeah, that animal scratched and bit me so I killed it and tossed it in a big oak tree,” he grumbled, “then we took the gals to the basement as instructed.”
To Be Continued.
©2022 Steve McLeod.