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Savannah, Georgia, Thursday, June 21, 5:30 p.m.
The Chatham Club. Gray had the window view, seated across
from Brook Stell at a table in the Chatham Club, fourteen floors
above the City of Savannah. Two cold bottles of Heineken reflected
the afternoon light in the quiet room as the coastal city below
went about its desultory business in the summer heat. Brook's
measured, moneyed tones were in perfect keeping with Gray's
vista of green canopied oaks and magnolias pushing up among
the spires of the churches and historic brick and stuccoed
"Everything we've gotten on this company has been positive.
MeijoSul is a well-diversified organization, with plenty of available
capital. KMPG has handled their accounts for eight years
with no problems. Hell, I wish half of my clients looked so good."
"What's the project?" asked Gray.
Brook sipped his beer. "Ok, first a little background. Mario
Meijo, the majority owner and corporate head, has fallen in love
with Savannah. He was over here last year for the opening of the
direct shipping service between Rio, Sao Paolo and Savannah.
He and his wife bought some historic properties to renovate,
and his son thinks the city's a great place for a Brazilian restaurant
and some kind of Amazonian health store. From what Ceil
and Larry tell me, the three of them have been Sotheby's best
clients this year." He paused while pouring the rest of his beer in
a tall glass. "They've already closed on the Lafayette Square mansion
and the old Confederate bank building on Orleans Square.
The son's got two storefronts on Broughton Street near the Lucas
Theater, and he's looking at another place on Tybee Island.
"But I ramble. The reason we need you is for a new venture
Mr. Meijo wants to float." Brook leaned in. "He wants to start a
brand new company in the U.S. He wants it in Savannah, and
he wants local partners. Ed Fell and Scott Sinter control enough dough to come in on this, but they need someone like you to go
to Rio and check out this guy's operations."
Gray thought a moment. "Isn't that something you can do,
Brook? I mean, I usually find a project and then match it with
the right people and financing. It looks as if Ed and Scott already
have something going."
"Hey, I'm just the attorney." Brook busied himself with the
sharp cheese and stone ground wheat disks on the teak tray in
front of him. "You've worked for both Ed and Scott and they
trust you." He squinted at Gray. "These guys are being asked to
put up fifteen million dollars, Gray, and they want someone to
tell them it's as good as they think it is. Or not."
Gray's last project with Ed and Scott's Terra Group had been
in Indonesia. Usually they handled their own local projects. He
had the feeling that he wasn't getting all the information.
Brook saw his hesitation. "Here's the discomforting part.
MeijoSul is a big Brazilian conglomerate. Meijo himself is a multimillionaire. He comes to Savannah, tells our economic development
authority he wants to start a new venture, and requires a
twenty-five percent buy-in by local investors. Then he presents
his prospective partners with a business plan. But there's no track
record and no similar Brazilian company on his books." Brook
signaled for two more beers. "Doesn't it seem odd to you that
he's not rolling out a prototype or something in his country first
and going for a replication here? I mean, does that not smell
----- [snip] -----
Two more Heinekens were opened, poured and placed on
the table. Brook pulled out two thick volumes from a leather
briefcase and passed them over to Gray.
"As I understand from reading these, Meijo has his hands on
some pretty exotic items from the Amazon. Most of them deal
with health and wellness, but others are in the realm of, well, I
guess I'd call it the mystical-magical. Potions and elixirs having
to do with anti-aging, life-extending, peripheral awareness stuff.
Pretty impressive, if you can believe it." He raised his eyebrows a
"He wants to establish a manufacturing and distribution
facility in Savannah which will significantly impact the health
care market in the Northern Hemisphere. Then he plans on
replicating the facility in Brazil." The eyebrows did their thing
again as Brook tapped the documents. "Meijo believes most of
his products can be marketed via the natural foods market under
the current NIH or FDA hands-off position; but he knows
the fed's position will change soon, and he wants to be in this
country with a good lab and a track record when any stricter
standards come down. By the way, Meijo Sul already owns two
pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Brazil. We can't figure
out why he's not going through them with this plan of his."
"So in essence, this guy has enough going for him with his
existing companies that he doesn't need to go the magical potion
route with a new company, and he certainly doesn't need a mere
fifteen million from the Terra Group. And the question I am to
answer is whether he is just a good-hearted, honest soul, or is
something else going on, right?"
"Bingo!" Brook smiled as he raised his glass. "Just find out what the hell Mr. Meijo is up to, will you?"
Gray touched his glass against Brook's. "Let me read through
these papers and I'll give you a call. Cheers."
"We really want to move fast on this," said Brook. "Meijo
wants to meet you the latter part of next week and show you
what he's got, but after that he'll be traveling, I think to Bangkok."
Brook pulled out an itinerary and passed it over. "We've reserved
seats on a Delta flight for Thursday, a week from today, with a
return the following Wednesday. You need to get your passport
to me immediately so I can courier it down to Miami for the
visa. Meijo's office is handling all the in-country scheduling."
Brook smiled. "By the way, his secretary says Meijo is really interested
in meeting our representative," he said as he nodded to
Gray, "so the ambiance of your trip should be pleasant, aside
from visiting one of the great cities of the world. Hey, consider it
"Why am I not thinking vacation on this trip?" asked Gray.
Ferreting out what might be dirty secrets from a wealthy business
owner was not really his forte; he much preferred matching
sites and money with realistic planning.
Brook gave his tight little smile, ignoring the question. "Here's
the contract I drew up for you, just in case you agreed: fifteen
hundred dollars per diem, with three days' advance, and an expense
advance of twenty five hundred. Account settlement with
submission of report due seven days after your return. Meijo will
not see the report without your permission. Just sign and date
here and here. The briefcase is for you, too."
Gray went ahead and signed the contract. He put the documents,
contract copy, checks and itinerary in the briefcase. He
shook hands with Brook. "What would you have done if I'd begged
off of this? I still might, you know, after I read the proposals."
Brook squinted at him again. "You know damn well I would
have to go, and I'm not going, ergo you can't turn me down.
How simple is that? Oh, I almost forgot." He pulled one of his
cards from his wallet. "I told you Meijo's son is in town, didn't I?
Anyway, here's his number." Brook handed the card over with a
number written on the back. "His name is Guillermo. He's called
Gil. Really a nice guy."
The next day Gray called Guillermo Meijo. The two met for
lunch at Johnny Yang's Pan Asian restaurant on Broughton Street.
Gil Meijo looked like a jock but came across as a smart business
type with a lot of confidence in himself and his family. He talked
the nuts and bolts of the Savannah real estate buys and plans
with enthusiasm. If Meijo senior had this kind of moxie, Gray
could see why Ed and Scott had been impressed. Still, the question
of motive was still unanswered. Everything so well planned.
So much money. And nonexistent products.
* * *
----- [snip] -----
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Rio de Janeiro, Thursday, June 28, 8:00 a.m.
Cosme Neighborhood. The dirty gray Mercedes delivery truck
ground up the narrow alley of Cosme, a small slum, or favela, off
of the street called Rua Cosme Velho. In the distance, to the
southwest, were the beaches of Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana.
Between the slum and the beaches, the statue of Christ the
Redeemer rose white and shining on its mountain of Corcovado,
eight hundred meters above the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The two guards in the truck, both foreigners, kept their Uzis
in plain sight with their fingers on the safeties as the truck crawled
over the uneven cobbles. Cosme was not one of Rio's infamous
favelas, but like most, it was controlled more by its indigenous
gangs than by the municipal police. Money changed hands, and
the One-Eyes, the Umo Ojo gang, as well as the police were on
the take, but the foreigners took no chances.
The last house up the alley was a three-story block and tile
structure, set against the granite outcrop known as the Mountain
of Pleasures, the Morro de Prazers. Its third story had a clear
view of the Redemptor statue, fifteen hundred meters to the south.
Two kilometers to the east, the Metro line carried its tens of
thousands of Rio's citizens, its Cariocas, from the Centro areas to
the luxury beach and lakefront neighborhoods. Less than one
thousand meters to the west was the entrance to the highway
tunnel Andre Reboucas, carrying vehicle traffic to the beaches.
The house had been carefully selected over a year ago by Al
Tamah, the Syrian terrorist group known as The Brotherhood.
One Tamah commando unit of four men had been contracted
by a Brazilian contact to disable the Metro, block the tunnel,
and destroy the Christ statue. Once the mission was accomplished,
Tamah would take credit for yet another statement to the world
of the power of Islam. The Brazilian contact had never offered a
rationale for contracting for the acts of terror, and Tamah didn't
The truck nosed past the house, and then backed down so
that its rear was facing the ground-floor garage. The driver pressed
the release button on his handheld as the two guards got off the
truck, did a visual sweep of the alley, and pushed the garage doors
inward. The Mercedes backed into the garage and the doors were
closed and locked. Bright fluorescent lights came on, lighting up
a bare space with a generator in one corner and a small loading
dock at the rear. Wide steps against the wall led up into the
The three men slung their weapons and began offloading the
green and white bags of M3 and M4 artillery propellant. The
bags were carried up the stairs past the living quarters and on the
second floor to the roofed and shuttered porch on the third floor.
The porch led into a high-ceilinged cave which had been carved
into the granite of the mountain. Once a storage room used by
the smugglers who had built the house, the cave had been enlarged
and electrified by Tamah to accommodate armaments and
Ramallah, the Syrian engineer, weapons expert, and cell commander,
was working by the gun, a 105mm howitzer. Jimah, his
second-in-command, placed his bags in their designated stacks.
Ramallah looked over from the gun mount.
"Four months ago you would have been staggering with that
load. Now you handle it like an ordinary backpack."
"We have already carried the heavy loads, the shells themselves," came the laconic reply.
Ramallah glanced at the shiny stacks of 33-kilo projectiles
along the wall. "Yes, but the shells were more easily handled." As
always, Ramallah appreciated his second's disdain for complaining.
Allah in His wisdom could not have provided a more
intelligent and committed assistant.
"Tell me, what of the police, and of our friends next door?"
"Sergeant Gabiso welcomed our small gift," deadpanned
Jimah. "He understands smuggling is an honest profession among
the poor in these hard times, but he warns that the 3rd Brigade
has placed strangleholds on Santa Marta and Ciudade, and it is
ready to invade the smaller favelas like Cosme."
Three weeks earlier, the army had launched armed offensives
into the larger favelas in retaliation for a gang raid on the Kelo
military depot. The army general swept aside local military and
civil police participation in his operation since he held them
partially responsible for the attack, which may have been true. O
Globo, Rio's newspaper, as well as Brazil's multi-headed media
giant, investigated the events and discovered that the famous IF,
the Interdiction Force unit, a special police emergency force of
SWAT teams with armored personnel carriers, was away from its
barracks for the evening of the raid. O Globo's TV and news investigators
found that the unit was at a special party at an unknown
location during the raid, and every member had inexplicably
turned his cell phone off.
Ramallah shrugged and patted the barrel of the howitzer. Eight
steel pins had been driven into the rock floor. The gun had been
mounted on its carriage, anchored by the pins. "Were I General
Satamine, I too would be after the blood of those who took my
weapons and ammunition. As Allah wills, he may soon have it
all back, in one way or another."
Jimah gave a small smile. "It will be an honor to make the
return, piece by piece."
The Cell commander turned to the laser sight he was mounting
on the gun. "My heart tells me that by the time the General
and his world of bloodsuckers see the last piece of this package, we
will be either with our angels in paradise or on another mission."
"Allahu Akbar, as God wills," shrugged Jimah.
"And the One-Eyes, Jimah? What of our protectors?"
Jimah gestured disgustedly at the house next door housing
the Umo Ojo gang. "The same, living like pigs, happy with a
few pistols, but keeping their mouths shut."
"That is all we can ask of such people."
* * *
In the dilapidated tile and concrete building on the Cosme
alley next to the house of Tamah, the Umo Ojo gang had its rat
hole. Inside the front room was a clutter of stolen boxes, broken
furniture, and dirty tables. Filthy mattresses covered two rooms
in the back of the house, up against the mountain, next to a
bathroom with a fetid toilet. Nine of the Ojos were assigned this
station to watch over the foreign smugglers next door and to
keep them safe, not from the police, who had been bought off,
but from rival gangs in the neighboring favelas. Under normal
circumstances, the Ojos would have muscled in on whatever action
the foreigners operated. In this very special instance, the reward
for keeping their noses out of the business and keeping the foreigners
safe was too great: guns and ammunition, vests and night
vision goggles, handheld two-ways and MP3 players. If they could
just keep this operation safe for another week, the gang would
not be fucked over anymore, by anyone.
Rob Commando, as he now was calling himself, was a veteran
of the gang wars, police raids, intimidation visits, and
protection rackets of the favela. Skinny and grizzled like the chickens
pecking about in the side yards, the twenty-three-year-old
leader knew he would be dead in a year or two if he didn't expand
his power base and move up and out of this shit-hole type of rat's
nest. The strangers next door, and the boys he'd recruited and
ruled, if handled right, would soon have him as the big shit, the
Momo. And then there was his connection with a certain assistant
police commissioner who had set the deal up. Hell, he had
everything going like hot grease if he could hold it together for
Right now it was Christmas in the front room. The Ojos were
going through the first delivery of their pistols and ammo. Kids
who had used only zip guns and slingshots were strapping on
Walthers, showing and drawing S&Ks from shoulder holsters,
smoking weed and bragging on what their future would be.
"Fuckers, you act like you're going to be in a parade on
Copacabana Beach. Hey, what you people think, it's Carnival?"
he roared. Jaime and Chico, his lieutenants, started slapping and
kicking some order into the bunch. A couple of potheads started
mouthing off at Jaime's hits. Rob Commando pulled his own
Walther and fired twice into the far wall. "You pissers want to
fuck with me, eh? Eh? You want some of this?" He tracked the
gun across their faces through the cordite and weed smoke while
their ears still rang from the gunshots. Everyone quieted.
"Two things I'm going to tell you little fucks." He kept tracking the pistol from face to face, watching their rat's eyes follow it as
they would a cobra's head. "Two things: first, these rods don't
leave the nest 'till I say so, right?" Z-man over on the couch started
to protest until the barrel's sight stopped right between his eyes.
Little Gouti started to raise his hand.
"What you think, you still in school, fat boy? Put that hand
down and shut the fuck up! Like I say, no guns out of here unless
I say so. When we do a jump, I don't want nobody to know
what's coming. You understand?
"Second, and don't fuck with me on this, 'cause these little
guns you got in your hands are just the first load. You guys stick
with me, do what I say, and we got automatic machine guns
coming in. I'm talkin' Uzis, Kals, 16s like the fuckers next door
have. I'm talkin' kelvar shit, night goggles, radios . . . you hear
me?" He had them wired in now, like he was already the Momo.
"So put the stuff you got away. Hell, put some under your crash
pads if you want to keep your hard-ons." He put his gun back on
the table. "Just don't take them outside. Now get your asses out
of here. Do your circuits, let me know what's going on, keep it
tight next door. Hey, Umo Ojo, right?"
----- [snip] -----
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Savannah, Georgia, Thursday, June 28, 5:30 p.m.
Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. Precisely at 5:30
p.m. under a hot Georgia summer sky, the Gulfstream IV executive
jet touched down on the North-South runway of the
Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. It turned onto the
taxiway and rolled back, past the FedEx and the Signature Aviation
terminals, and past the Air National Guard taxiway where a
flight of four F-15 Eagles from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia
were forming up for takeoff. The sleek white jet with silver
trim passed the off ramp to the main terminal and rolled directly
to Bay Three of the Gulfstream Air Service Center.
Four men with carry-ons and briefcases disembarked and were
escorted into the customer service office where a customs official
casually checked passports and luggage. The jet's manifest
showed ownership by KelCorp, registered in Monaco. Three days
had been reserved for its 500-hour maintenance service while its
crew attended the refresher class at the Flight Training Center.
After customs, the three-man flight crew went to the debriefing
room with the center's service technicians. The fourth man, a
tall, courtly, and silver-haired European, was driven in the
Gulfstream Mercedes to The Mansion, Savannah's exclusive five-star hotel. Alain Farouche was listed on the roster as KelCorp's
Corporate Financial Officer. KelCorp itself was a multinational
consortium of procurement, transportation, and distribution
companies, effectively controlled by the European and Russian
drug cartels, which in turn controlled most of the illegal drug
trade from Afghanistan and points west.
Back in the Air Service Center, another G-IV jet, this one
cream and gold, was docked and undergoing navigation and communications
system upgrades in Bay Six. TritonX Enterprises,
out of Bangkok, was the owner. Its crew was also attending classes
at the training complex, and like the KelCorp crew, was staying
close by at the Quail Run Lodge. The TritonX Vice-President
for Development, a small, elderly Thai named Takhli Chum, had
been chauffeured that morning to his suite at The Mansion.
Chum's mysterious group was the money behind many resort
and casino complexes in Asia, including two huge world-class
destinations on the Thai side of the infamous Golden Triangle.
It also controlled the drug trade for Kuhn Sa in Burma, the Philippine
harvests, and the burgeoning Chinese market.
In the nearby Signature Aviation terminal, attendants monitored
the final approach from a third private jet, this one almost
twice the size of the G-IVs. Brilliant emerald, with white and
silver markings, the Embraer Legacy 1000 soon touched down,
braked, and taxied to the Signature hangar. Ostensibly on a check
flight from its Ft. Lauderdale service center, the sleek Brazilian
craft carried a single passenger. Jason Campos was a confident
young man whose family controlled and protected its share of
drugs, contraband, and arms sales in Mexico. The firm had banded
with a number of forward-thinking South American cartels to
form SEFU Ltd., ostensibly a legitimate corporation, but one
which was well on its way to control production, manufacture,
and distribution for the enormous drug appetite of the Americas.
Campos got into his waiting rental car and drove into the
city, where he was also booked at The Mansion. He was staying
in Savannah for a few days to take care of some business in addition
to chairing this evening's meeting. The meeting itself was a
scheduled session to report on the strategic plan to control the
world's supply of illegal drugs. The other business involved a
small operation that was to facilitate SEFU's incursion into Brazil's
isolationist and highly feudal drug kingdom.
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Savannah, Georgia, Thursday, June 28, 5:30 p.m.
----- [snip] -----
Gray caught the Delta shuttle to Atlanta. He had time for a
few Sam Adams drafts at the lounge in the International Terminal
before the boarding call came for the seven-thirty flight to
Rio. Brook had booked a business class seat for the nine-hour
flight so Gray expected to do some reading and sleeping.
When he came down the aisle to his seat, wonder of wonders,
Catherine Colley was in the row just behind him. Cathy
was an Atlanta engineer and married to one of Grayís former
teammates at Notre Dame. They hugged and made the appropriate
remarks, Gray blushing like a geek through his beer flush.
Catherineís seatmate was amenable to taking Grayís seat, so just
after the plane was in the air and the seat belt sign darkened,
Gray moved back and sat in the window seat.
"How are you, Cathy? You look great as usual. Howís Tommy?"
Cathy held up her left hand and wiggled her fingers. "Where
have you been, Gray? We divorced last year."
Gray was too surprised to speak. His mouth hung open until
Cathy arched her eyebrows and reached over to put his chin up.
"You and Tommy? Damn, Iím sorry, Cath. Iíve been out of
touch." His mind was doing a fast review of what he knew of
Tommyís recent past. No, not recent past. Despite his gifts, or in
spite of them, Tommy was always going for the excitement and
giddy oblivion of a twenty-first birthday party binge. Even at
school the alcohol had been a problem, and Tommy was one of
those who took his college exuberance into the workplace. Two
years ago Gray had run into Tommy at a Monogram Club bash
when the Irish played USC. Heíd hardly recognized the once-handsome
baseball All American in the face of the sloppy drunk
with haunted eyes. Actually Tommy was at the party looking for
a job, though his condition at eleven in the morning was not
exactly a confidence builder. Still, Gray had offered to share some
work he was doing on St. Simons Island. He hadnít heard from
Added to Grayís confusion were the big hots he carried for
Cathy, a dark-haired, high-cheeked lady who could have made it
pole dancing in the Cheetah Lounge as easily as she did the civil
engineering program at Georgia Tech. At five-ten, Cathy was a
little shorter than Gray, but she had an aura about her that made
her seem taller. She always kidded a lot with him in a flirty way,
but when Gray got flirty back at her, sheíd been quick to put a
little distance between them. He would get mad, and then a few
weeks later he would find himself being reeled in again. He could
convince himself that she looked at him only as a friend, but it
didnít help a bit when he saw, or thought he saw, the invitation
in those dark eyes. She had been obviously and exclusively in
love with Tommy Colley, so the whole thing was juvenile anyway.
It didnít matter what Gray felt or thought, or wanted. He
was one of the disadvantaged who could never tell a woman how
he really felt, and that made it matter even less.
Behind Grayís Joe College bravado was the stricken teenager
with the swollen libido. Gray knew that she knew he would never
move up to her A list. He was actually glad because of his loyalty
to Tommy. The separation that had occurred among friends over
the years was actually a good thing. (Yeah, but does this change
things? Hah, am I still the same old Gray?)
"Well, have you finished processing and analyzing? Or do
you plan to stare at me through dinner?" She was so enjoying
this, Gray saw, and he felt better for it.
"All done," he laughed, "and Iíve decided to hold off on
thinking about Tommy and concentrate on this trip." Gray
looked at her blankly. Then he said, "Apparently you are, so
tell me what it is."
"Really, Gray, you developers havenít heard of the Environmental
Services Seminar? Itís held each year, and weíre always
trying to figure ways to keep humans from fouling up nice places
like Tybee Island, which is practically in Savannahís back yard."
He smiled. "And for this youíre going to Rio de Janeiro?"
Cathy reached over and patted his arm. "Gray, honey, donít
get parochial on me. You travel a lot in that business you run,
and you know what weíre talking about. How many countries
have stamped your passport in the last six monthssix, seven?
Your Christmas card was from Jakarta, for Godís sake."
Gray hid his pleasure at her remembering his card. "Sure,
but thatís my market, not yours. Last I heard you were doing
wastewater treatment plants for Columbia County." (Was it an
illusion or was she looking at him with more than friendly
She pulled a business card from the holder in her executive
planner and passed it over. ĎEFT, PC, Environmental Facilities
Technology, Catherine Colley, PE, MSci, President,í with an
Atlanta address, email address and fax, land line and cell numbers.
"My company, sir," she laughed. "You didnít think I was going
to work for someone else my entire career, did you? When you
were out there traveling to East Bohinko and having a great time
on your own?" Her eyes sparkled as she sipped her wine. "Seriously,
Gray, Iíve got contracts for potable water systems in Kuwait
and the Marshall Islands, wastewater systems in Puerto Rico and
Haiti, and a storm water reclamation project in South Carolina,
all in one year! Iím working my fanny off and loving it!" She sat
back and laughed again.
And a nice fanny, too, thought Gray, as the flight steward
brought drinks around. Once Cathy had her wine and he had
his beer, he said what was on his mind. "Congratulations. I really
mean that, and I know youíre going to do well." He was quiet for
a moment. "I guess I really want to know about Tommy."
She sighed. "I expect that you do." She looked away. "Why
am I so successful, with such a future, with so many things going
for me and with this huge crater in my heart where Tommy was?"
She sighed again and shrugged. "I didnít leave him because of his
drinking, or because he did more and more coke. He got possessed,
Gray. Thatís the only way I can put it." She turned to
him. "For twelve years, ever since we were eighteen, Tommy and
I fought goblins and shadows. Tommy and Jack Daniels bourbon
would fight them, and then he and I would fight Jack Daniels.
The same thing happened with the coke, but so long as he was
fighting he was a hard worker, a good husband, and my best
friend." She bit her lip. "Then one morning about two years
ago, when he was cold sober, I couldnít get him to talk to me. It
was like I wasnít there any more, and it hit me that he had stopped
fighting. Those goblins and shadows looked out at me from his
eyes, Gray." She closed her eyes. "Thatís when I attacked him, I
really did. I threw everything I could get my hands on at him.
Then I started hitting and kicking at him." Her mouth pursed.
"It was not pretty and not effective. All he did was grab me by
the wrists and look at me as if I was a piece of crap. Then he
walked out the door, and I havenít seen him since." By this time
tears were running from her closed eyes. "His mother tells me
that heís in Birmingham, married and working for a newspaper.
But I donít know, Gray. I donít know." She wiped at her eyes and
dabbed her face with the cocktail napkin, then reached over and
"Cathy, I am so sorry for you." Gray knew he sounded like a
wimpy shit, but he didnít know what else to say. "Iím even sorrier
for Tommy. He had so much going for him." Images of an
athlete stretched out to catch a deep fly, of a student working at
a word processor in the middle of the night, of a friend with a
beer and a beautiful woman on a football Saturday, of a young
broadcasting VP in Atlanta, marrying the lovely Catherine
Markham at St. Phillipís Cathedral. Gone now, taken by his shadows.
They were both silent for a while.
"Tell me, what about you, Gray? What should I know that I
donít already?" She was sitting back with her eyes closed, and
Gray figured she wanted some recovery time.
"All quiet on the Savannah front, I guess. Iím doing some
project planning for sites in Costa Rica, Panama, and the
Dominican Republic. Maybe youíd be interested in some of the
infrastructure work. Iíll send you some of my due diligence findings
when I get on my laptop."
"Why are you going to Rio?"
"Oh, just checking out some investment opportunities for
some clients. No real development work."
"Well, I would like to see what EFT could offer in Central
America and the Dominican Republic. Your guys will be happy
to know there are some economical alternatives to DITPS." She
pronounced it "dit piss."
"What is that?"
"Dilution is the Pollution Solution. You know, just dumping
wastes into a bigger water body or landfill. It was always cheap,
and considered harmless until people realized they were mucking
up the places they had run away to enjoy. And I know what
youíre thinking, that Iíve become another environmentalist with
no clue of a bottom line, but thatís not true. Technologies now
exist which keep things pretty clean and offer a good return on
investment. You just show me the project; itís my job to develop
a strategy which will convince your clients." She leaned toward
him. "But what about you personally? Whoís the current
He seized up like a hot engine without oil. Everything coming
out of his mouth now would make no sense. "Ha, you know
me. Nobody I know in particular. I guess itís the usual good friends
stuff." Oh, if I could look you in the eye and tell you.
"Gray," Cathy said as she looked him in the eye, "what in the world are you scared of? We women are not going to rip your
heart out and eat it. Ok, you had a bad experience, but thatís
been, what, ten years ago? Today is today."
Gray tried a joke. "Rip away, why donít you?"
Cathy groaned. "Youíve got that thing better protected than
the Mona Lisa." She paused. "I shouldnít talk. Sorry."
The evening meal was served, then coffee. Afterwards both
Gray and Cathy pulled out their work, Gray going deeply into
the profile and business plan of MeijoSul while Cathy went
through emails, assignments, and design edits on some projects.
Toward midnight both laptops went down and sleep spread
through the cabin. Sometime during the night, Gray and Cathyís
heads came together, and then her head was on a pillow in his
lap. Jeez, he thought, Iím thirty-five years old and acting like
a fifteen year old with a hard-on. Doing a pretty good job of
Our heroes and villains soon find themselves on a collision course from which they may not survive.
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