Chapter 5, Big Sky Allure

DSC02765I have not forgotten about my blog. For the last few months, I had put my energy in an attempt to procure an agent and traditionally publish Big Sky Allure. At the same time, I had begun writing the outline, and recently the beginning of book 3, Big Sky Beauty.
With nothing happening the agent route (I haven’t had rejections, I’ve just not heard anything back), I decided it was time to continue placing it in the blog, and I will rethink my future plans for the book. Maybe I’ll just put it all out there on the blog, who knows.
In the mean time, here is Chapter 5.

Chapter 5

Lito and his men had retreated to their apartment hideout, a simple inconspicuous abode in one of Barcelona’s old neighborhoods. The grey cobblestones, polished smooth and shiny by the passage of time, covered the narrow street, not much wider than an alley. The tinny clanking of scooter motors bounced off the walls of 3 or 4 story apartment buildings lined up against each other, like limestone mountains towering high above a canyon. The brushing of street sweepers and loud conversation of passersby added to the cacophony of Old Barcelona. Gaudi’s Barcelona, replete with Catalan history and culture, filled with the architectural charm of days past.

Three bedrooms, modestly decorated with colorless lithographs by an unknown author, were complemented by one bathroom, which included a single sink, shower, toilet, and obligatory bidet. The men had played cards into the small hours of the night, drinking their share of good Rioja and munching on pan con chorizo. The rendezvous with Mikel and his crew had changed their plans. With all their deals, guns, drugs, and, other trafficking, they always left town and laid low in a Lisbon, Portugal apartment he owned. They had now moved the cache of guns to Barcelona and couldn’t risk another risky maneuver.

“Hey Boss, you think we can get the puta away from the Spaniard?” Chicho asked in his adenoidal tone.

“Who the fuck is she, and how did she happen to walk into our gun deal?” The dirty glasses sitting on the table wobbled, two falling over when his fist hit the table. “Right now I need one of you assholes to find her, get her away from Mikel, and kill her. She knows too much and has seen all our faces.”

“They aren’t going to let us near her.” Alex, his right hand man, intertwined his fingers as he leaned his bulky chest forward, across his large hairy arms. “I say we just bag the whole thing and see if the Americans are willing to take the cache off our hands. The weapons should be easy to unload and we can push for more cash with the Americans. It also gives us time to lay low and move them when it is safe.” Bushy eyebrows hung over Alex’s eyes like window awnings. One of Lito’s girlfriends said Alex looked like an ape who never evolved. It didn’t matter to Lito. He’d known Alex since they were children, long before Lito’s derelict father took the family from Russia to Portugal and changed his name from Victor to Lito. Alex had never betrayed Lito, not the way his father had.

“What’s your opinion of the woman?” Lito held Alex’s gaze when he asked the question.

“She was too scared to be a threat. I think she found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe she told the truth. On the other hand, if you kill her then you don’t have to worry, do you?” Alex shrugged.

Lito grinned. “We will have to follow that young kid working for Mikel and see if he leads us to them. The stupid idiot doesn’t even know we are tracking him. Maybe he’ll lead us to where they are, and we can just get rid of them all.”

Alex, who always looked stern and angry, managed to look even more menacing. “We don’t know what connection freed Mikel and Juli from the U.S. jail. If it is someone higher up it could bring the government down on us.”

Lito rubbed his facial stubble pondering Alex’s statement. Lito had established a contact inside Madrid’s state government complex who had security clearance. He had paid the woman insider to look into the recent release of Mikel and Juli from an American prison. At first, he and Alex believed they were working for the Spanish Intelligence, but the information she gave them painted a different picture. Three men, with the same first names as Mikel, Juli, and Tristan, were members of Spain’s Naval Special Warfare, an elite unit of seamen, had been arrested for selling arms from the military’s armory. The info they gathered told the story of men who Lito would have liked working for him.

A fourth man had been involved, but he died under mysterious circumstances during their arrest. They had access to a warehouse and by altering the manifest, were able to sneak guns out to sell on the black market.

The same snitch supported Lito’s suspicion about Mikel having a high-level government contact. It would be the only reason the arrests were kept secret, and the men served no jail time. It also made sense why they had promptly left the United States with no apparent consequences after that arrest. Lito did not want to lose them as customers. Connections in the government had bigger payoffs.

“Alex is right. I don’t want you to kill them. You can kill the others, but Mikel, needs to be kept alive. We don’t know the female’s link, but we’ll find out.” Lito smiled, expanding his chest, proud with conviction that his plans would work. “Alex, we’ll get them to the warehouse in Lisbon, and then you can do whatever it takes to find out how they are connected. Maybe they will be of use to us yet.”

Chicho’s eyes darted back and forth between the two men. Lito knew he was slow to understand change, but his dog-like loyalty made him invaluable to Lito, for now. “So what do we do Boss?” Chicho asked as if he had missed the entire conversation that had just taken place. Lito had walked to the table and flipped around the cheap metal chair, one of four that matched the old Formica topped table. He sat on the split fake leather that covered the seat.

Lito swallowed down the harsh comment he wanted to make to the dimwitted man. Chicho would do anything he asked and he needed that unwavering loyalty to succeed, for now. “The four of us will split up. Alex and I will follow the kid and track where he is going. We’ll keep in touch and meet with you after. Be prepared to meet us.”

“What about the meeting?” Teo asked from the couch.

“You two will go.”

“So we just hang out and wait?”

“Yes. Feed them some bullshit. I don’t care what, but tell them we have the weapons but need a little time to move all of them. Reschedule for tomorrow, same time same place. Teo, I remind you, you do the talking, don’t let Chicho say a word.”

Chicho’s pint-sized head looked too small for his slacked jaw. Just like a damned stupid dog, Lito thought. Too stupid to even understand an insult. “Chicho, I need you to be ready if something goes wrong. You be the lookout while Teo talks.” Chicho’s head bobbled.

Lito wondered if he’d have to kill Chicho after this was all over. The man was too stupid to live.

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