The Tarot Card Mystery episode Two

sam-barton
Sam drove to the harbor. There were a few ships docked there and plenty of dark warehouses with alleys between them. He left his car in an unlit area and walked toward the docks. He wore his Kevlar vest under his shirt and had changed into rubber soled shoes which wouldn’t make any noise on the pavement. Stopping by a large pile of pallets he used his 30 power binoculars to survey the ships. Several were under foreign registry and looked regularly used. Then he noticed one old ship sitting away from the others. Lots of rust and no flags told him this old boat hadn’t gone anywhere in a long time. As he worked his way closer while staying in the shadows he noticed streaks of old red paint on its sides. Bingo, he thought, but now what? The ship was dark. No lights on the deck or from any of the portholes in its side. Walking along the side of a warehouse that paralleled the ship he found a gangway from the dock to the ship at its far end. Stepping onto the gangway he bounced his weight a couple of times to test its durability. Finding it sturdy enough he stepped quickly across and tried the door. The lever handle scrapped loudly as it moved and the hinges squealed as he pushed the door open. Waiting to see if the noise would attract any unwanted attention he then stepped inside.

Not wanting to make any more noise, Sam left the door standing open. It was dark enough outside that he didn’t think any light would shine in. Standing still and listening he thought he heard distant voices. Someone was shouting, but from where? Pulling out his small flashlight he risked turning it on. He was in a long hallway with doors and other hallways leading off of it. Shutting off the light Sam started to make his way along with his hand on the wall to keep his bearing in the dark. As he moved he began to make out some features in the hallway and soon came to an open doorway where dim light spilled out. There was definitely shouting coming from the room. He passed the open door quickly, seeing no one inside and stood behind the door. The steel walls, floor and ceiling echoed the shouting voice and made it hard to make out what was being said. He thought he heard the shouter saying something about wanting information. Something like, ‘that old lady is going to get herself killed’. Footsteps began to come toward the door and the shouter yelled, “But you’re going to die first if you don’t open up!” A man in an old seaman’s coat and cap emerged through the door and stomped down the hallway in the opposite direction Sam had come, muttering under his breath. Sam waited until the man was out of site and slipped around the door and into the room.

To the left of the doorway was a young woman tied to a chair. Her head hung down, chin resting on her chest. She was wearing black capri’s and a dirty maroon button up shirt, with a few buttons missing. Sam made his way to her and as he approached her head snapped up and she opened her mouth to speak. Sam quickly clapped his hand over her mouth and said, “Listen to me. I’ve come to get you out of here. Your Aunt sent me looking for you. She’s worried you might be in trouble. Looks like she was right. I’ll cut you loose but you need to follow me out.” The girl nodded her head and Sam took his hand away from her mouth. Using his knife he cuts the ropes. As the ropes fell to the floor she stood, rubbing her wrists.

“Alright mon, lead da way,” she said in a very Jamaican accent. The two of them left the room and as quietly as they could, made their way up the hallway. Sam heard noise behind them. The shouter was back and had found her gone. He yelled for someone named Jerry and running footsteps began to get closer. They ran. A light came from behind Sam and the girl and then a gunshot. The bullet whined as it pinged off the metal walls of the ship. Two more shots came as Sam and the girl reached the door he had left open. Out the door, across the gangway and into the open space between the ship and the warehouse. As they approached the warehouse Sam grabbed the young girl and pulled her into the shadows beside the building. They lay on the ground between some stacked pallets and the side of the building, Sam’s arms around her. He put his finger to his lips indicating silence. She looked into Sam’s eyes, smiled and wiggled closer to him. “Dis is nice,” she whispered.

As the shouter ran past them another man, who must have been Jerry, came by as well. “Did you see which way they went?” he asked.

“If I’d seen which way they went I’d know where to look, wouldn’t I?”

“You don’t have to be crappy with me Monty, yer the one let her escape!”

“She was tied up good when I left her!” Monty shouted. “Someone come in here and cut her loose. Don’t you blame me fer that!”

“Big man’s gonna be pissed, Monty,” Jerry said.

“Don’t you think I know that? That old witch gets the upper hand on us, all hell’s gonna break loose! I just ‘bout had her talkin’.”

“We had her in there for three days and she ain’t said shit!” yelled Jerry. “Whata you mean you almost had her talkin’?”

“Shut yer head, Jerry, for you get it taken off.”

Jerry and Monty searched the area but Sam and the girl were hidden well enough that they didn’t find them. The two men finally made their way back to the ship, arguing all the way. Sam and the girl came out from their hiding place and went the long way around the warehouse to Sam’s car. Climbing inside Sam started the engine and pulled away from the docks.

“Where we goin’ mon?” the girl asked.

“You’re Christiana, aren’t you?”

“Oh ya, I’m Christiana alright but I liked to be called Christi if ya don’t mind.”

“I’m taking you back to your Aunt. She hired me to find you. As I said before she’s pretty wor….”

“Aww no you’re not takin’ me back to dat old bat,” Christi interrupted. “She’s da reason I’m in trouble in da first place. Her an’ her drug dealin’! Why you think dem guys had me on dat ship? She sells drugs mon. She interferen’ wit dere own drug dealin’. She makin’ more money den dem guys,” she said, motioning backward with her head. “Day don like dat. So dey snatch me to get to her. Den you come along and save me!” She laughed at this and as she laughed she slid across the car seat right next to Sam’s side. “So I’m thinkin’ I could jus’ stay wit you, ya know? We go back to your place, get warm an’ cozy for da night. Den tomorrow you can help me get back to Jamaica! My Da an’ me we lived there. He sent me to live wit’ de old witch when he was dyin’. Said I’d have a better life. But he din know about da drugs mon. So I got to get back. I got other family dere who I can go to. But dat can wait ‘till tomorrow. Tonight it’s jus’ me an’ you.” Christi slid her hand under Sam’s coat to caress his chest and felt something in his pocket. “What’s dis?” she said, snatching out the Death tarot card Sam had put there. Laughing hard she hooted, “Aww dis is rich! Did she give you dis?”

Sam at this point unsure if any of this was real, nodded his head. Christi waved the card in the air. “Oooo,” she called. “Death gonna get you!” Laughing again she flung the card into the back seat. “You not takin’ me back to dat crazy old bat. Take me to your place or let me out right here! Besides,” she said, cozying up to him again, “You look like you could use some fun in your life, mon!” Not knowing what else to do, Sam drove the car to his office. Once inside Christi spotted the bottle of Jameson whisky on the shelf behind Sam’s desk. “Let me pour ya a drink mon,” She said. Glasses in hand she grabbed the bottle and came back to Sam’s side. Setting the bottle on the desk she reached to turn on the radio. Sam kept his old tube radio tuned to his favorite Jazz station. Moving sensuously to the music she said, “Dis is more like it mon.”

“I don’t think we should be doing this,” Sam said. “You’re the niece of a client and besides, you’re awfully young.”

“Aww don’ you worry about dat. I’m old enough for you.” Christi slid her hands under Sam’s coat and pushed it off his shoulders. Beginning to unbutton his shirt she discovered the Kevlar vest. “Oh, dis has got to go,” she said. Pouring two whiskeys and handing one to Sam she knocked hers back quickly. Rubbing her lips with the back of her hand and locking eyes with Sam she poured another. Before he knew it his shirt and Kevlar vest were off and Christi was unbuttoning her own. Knowing this was a bad idea he and the girl sunk onto his cot, and into the depths of passion.

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