THIEF IN LAW

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Chapter 3

Tuesday November 3rd, 2011 was cold cold and more cold. The wind was the main problem. It bit and cut through a person without regard for anything. Michael heard a woman on the side walk waiting to get into the coffee shop tell her friend, “This wind is disrespectin’ my jacket!” He fucking agreed with that. He headed for the office on Jones street. Arriving at the offices of Anderson Consulting around 9:50 to find Ira already in and a box of bagels on the table, Mike realized he was hungry. A nice lox shmear slathered on and a yummy good bagel fixed that problem. Ricky came in at 10:00 with Gretchen hard on his heels. Graeme finally strolled in at 10:20. The group was quiet and subdued as Mike sat in his office. Seeing the final member come in, Mike gave him some time to get a cup of coffee and a bite and then he came out to address his troops.

Everyone called this the living room area because the couch was placed here. Cable TV was on and was showing the usual digital static. Michael hated it when the picture suddenly pixilated and scrambled up. The problem was the substation he knew but had no idea on how to fix. No matter the amount of shielding they put on the cable, the EMI seeped into the bones of the TV like the cold wind did to them today. The rest looked at him expectantly.

“Morning. How was everyones time off?”

It was anything but an innocuous question. Both for the fact some cops were watching him and he wanted to see if the others had noticed something, and for an incident from more than eight years ago. A long weekend was followed by a session in the office when Ira casually forgot to mention he’d been arrested for shoplifting. The court summons was the first Mike heard about it much later. A lousy pendant was all the man had stolen.

“Jesus! What the fuck Ira?” he’d asked at the time.

“It was just sittin there, Mikey- I thought Gretchen might like it.”

This was before the two were a couple. At the mention of her, Gretchen blushed and said yes she might like a pendant. Graeme had snickered while Mike fumed. Lawyers, money and time got Ira into a diversion program. Other than the occasional speeding ticket, it remained the group’s lone brush with the law.

Today, the gang members just shrugged and said nothing of consequence.

“Ricky? What did you do this weekend.”

The Oregon born and surfer blond pretty boy gave his cheekiest grin. “Spent some time with a girl I know. Nothin much really.”

Michael was satisfied and pleased with the youngest member of his band. Ricky used to work at the local Dunkin Donuts, where Mike got his coffee. He hated Starbucks coffee-too burnt tasting and it gave him bad heartburn. The two struck up a friendship based on nothing.

Rick Sanderson was a barista from the west who took a quick liking to Mike. He was in junior college trying to figure things out. His step father had moved them to Brooklyn after an Army career and Rick couldn’t seem to find his direction. Some long conversations with the kid told Mike that Rick was very smart but unfocused. In 2008, they’d needed an extra hand for the Paris job and Rick came along. He was a natural.

Now 26 and headed for what seemed like a life of crime, Mike had some minor parental twinges over that. He just nodded to the young man at his description of his weekend’s activities.

“Ira?, Gretch?”

Both people on the couch smiled. “We got to AC just before the roads shut down and spent the weekend at the Trump.” Gretchen popped up with this answer. Her accent accentuating the rolled R in “Trump”.

“How’d you do?”, Graeme the other main gambler in the group wanted to know.

“Down two” Ira admitted.

Which meant probably seven or eight thousand down, Mike knew. He also knew that having grown up poor in Rio, Gretchen would not let Ira lose a lot of money. She acted as a break on his wilder impulses and he served as a faithful presence for her.

She had abandonment issues, Mike knew. Well whatever, it seemed to work for the pair. Mike didn’t know their current marital state. He figured they would tell him if it became an issue. They weren’t going to step out on each other based on the number of times the dark skinned woman casually stroked Ira’s arm. And every time she did the man smiled back at her, so they were good.

“Since I know Graeme just got back and I was home all weekend I’m going to call that a win for us despite the set back from the weather.” Graeme, where do we stand in Antwerp?”, he asked.

Graeme stretched a bit, still working through the jet lag. “I wiped down and sterilized the flat, and returned the car to the storage unit. I paid off Andersjack,” he announced. That was their contact in the Antwerp customs shipping area. “Not his fault the weather turned.”

The contact was a very valuable commodity for the gang. No one begrudged the man his money.

’What ID did you travel home under?” Gretchen wanted to know.

“Same as I went out on- Peter Mc Nichol. UK resident with a work visa. The passport and visa still have nine months on them, I’d like to keep this one- ya?”

The Brazilian smiled and said “Certainly.” She ran their papers. And she was the best Michael had ever seen. Far be it for him to get in the way here, they were pro’s.

“The van- Rick?”

“I dropped it with Carmine. He took care of it. Uniforms and everything else went into bags and the dumpster.” A toothy grin accompanied the statement.

“The guns?” Michael probed just a bit. He would never do this to Ira or Graeme but with Rick…

The grin slipped. “Just like you told me- Filed down and wiped down and tossed into the river.”

They’d bought illegal guns from a source of Demetry’s. Mike did not trust the men. Both the boss and the supplier.

’Good, thank you.” Rick seemed mollified.

“The three of us, he made a gesture to encompass the couple on the couch, “took care of the office so we are pretty far along on the wind down from the failed job.”

“I know we missed a golden opportunity last week. We can’t just grasp at the first thing to come along to try and make up - but -we need to be on the look out for another score.” A quick glance at Graeme who just stared at the TV, bored. Good, he wasn’t going to bring up Dubai. “To that end- I have to do lists.” Papers made their way to each person.

Gretchen took one quick look and groaned. “Not again!”

“Your turn,” Michael told the woman. She’d drawn box duty.

“This is going to take two, maybe three weeks!”

“It takes what it takes.”

The storage units were another of Mike’s operational ideas. The gang maintained storage units curtesy of the holding company in most major US and European cities. The units contained a car, ID’s, clothes, a little money, and guns where they could get away with it (the US and South America mostly). The gang used the storage units whenever they had business in a city. One memorable situation had Mike and Ricky spinning away from Interpol in Paris by simply switching cars at the facility. Gretchen would get the Boston, London, Zurich and Rio units ready for use. Guns had to be cleaned plus the bills for the units were on auto pay, but they got suspicious if no one ever showed up. She would ensure the leased cars were licensed correctly, clean, ran and then gas them up. Also see to it the maintenance if anything was required. Burner cell phones had to be updated and Mike handed her a list and a full packet of paper work from many different countries detailing her duties and requirements. Gretchen would also take some replacement fake passports and her disguise kits for each unit so they could do simple things like dye hair and put on a fake beard if they needed to change a look in a hurry. It was necessary but boring work.

“Anderson Consulting will pick up the tickets just input the route as you go and don’t forget the key’s!” Mike told her.

“Yes, boss.” Gretchen looked good even when pouting.

Ira bent over to speak to her and she soon left to get started.

Mike turned his attention to Ricky. He usually got the shit jobs but this time Mike had something of substance. “I want you to do the New York box.”

He handed over a detailed list for the man to work from. Sanderson went over the list and said, “I got this. If I have any questions I will come to you.”

The work would take the kid three or four long days. The plates needed renewing and the gang kept more tools and some operational cash on the storage unit as well as a grab box for when they went over seas. The grab box was something they could take on the plane or even mail over if they had to. They stored guard uniforms in here, workman vests and even hardhats. The place was kind of a mess which was why Mike wanted it organized again. The facility was off the Van Wyck, near the airport.

Entrusting Rick with job was a step up and a test for the man. Davidson wanted to see how he responded.

Graeme and Michael watched Sanderson step out of the office with a purpose to his walk. The irishman soon brought up something much more urgent. “Cops outside my door this morning. I lost them coming in.”

“Fuck!” “Get on this please. We need to know who is running them.”

The man went into the corner desk area to make some phone calls.

The only people left in the living room area were Ira and Mike. “Cops?” Ira quirked an eyebrow with the question.

“Uh, hum. Saw two by my place, too. Be on the lookout, okay?”

Mike wanted to downplay the thing until he knew what was going on. He didn’t want to hide anything just minimize it. His friend was willing to go along.

“How was Sunday?”, Ira wanted to know. He felt that was a much more serious problem than some police who may or may not be watching them.

Sighing, Davidson just shrugged. “Okay.” No sense hiding his frustrations. The situation with Graeme affected them all.

“Take South America, he directed. “I’ll take Europe and which half of the US do you want?”

“East, Ira said promptly, Brooklyn roots showing.

“Okay. We’ll circle back to Asia and the middle east as we can.”

Crime was a global entity now that money flowed so inter connectedly. They were forced and lucky to be able to go around the world for targets. But that meant they had to go around the world for targets. The gang leader shuffled into his office to get a little distance and allow his people to work. The gang went about its business in a professional manner, and he was a hands off boss for the most part.

One time he’d put Gretchen on Box duty and she was gone six weeks.

“Trouble?” Mike asked when she came back in.

“Handled,” was the only answer he ever got. If it was really bad they had a “flee” text signal they all knew.

On his way to the office, Mike discreetly put an envelope on Graeme’s desk while the man was on the phone. The two men locked eyes and Graeme nodded and mouthed “Thanks. Today.”

Good. He would pay off the loan sharks. He could easily do that while trying to track down their watchers. It took time for the contact to get back to you sometimes. Everyone took some vacation time and had other things to do. It might take four or five days for Donniger to hear anything and report back.

In his office, Davidson got down to the drudgery of crime. Pulling off daring heists while beautiful woman hung on you was a cool fantasy but the reality was very different. This is where it started. A series of discreet phone calls and IMs in chat rooms to a hard won series of contacts began. Almost every job ever pulled off had a large percentage of inside information involved. Thieves simply could not pull off jobs without that proprietary knowledge. And sometimes even if they had it, it was not possible. He’d told Graeme they could not rob Fort Knox. No one could, short of a full scale military take over. Same with casino’s, or the vaults at DeBeers. Dubai fit into that same category.

Large fixed positions of diamonds and gold were very heavily guarded and as such, unassailable. The gang preferred much softer targets like art museums. And it was even better if the art was newly installed or traveling. Much better. So the vital piece of information could be a very minor bit. What day the exhibit moved, which flight it would be on, or the name of the company doing the moving. That kind of thing had proven valuable in the past and it was exactly the sort of info he needed now. So he crafted a very specific message to the shipping agents and customs clerks and security people that he knew in Europe. The IM was very innocuous, “Hey- we are vacationing in your area soon, any must see attractions?”

The people on the other end of that IM would respond with something like: “It’s very crowded here in the early spring- try back in the fall.” About half of the inquires he sent got this negative response. The other half sent this kind of reply: “The weather is perfect in early spring, you must see the D’Orsay!”

That did not mean the gang was going to rob the D’Orsay museum, just that a job in or near Paris was a possibility.

Those types of replies required a follow up e-mail or even a personal visit. Based on what was out there Michael would sit down and evaluated the targets and see to feasibility. A round of contacts usually got 3 or 4 decent possibilities but it took months sometimes to flesh them out. One of the reasons they’d had a long dry spell was the cruise ship… fiasco? Mess? Cluster Fuck? Mike had trouble pinpointing the exact wording.

Two and a half years ago Michael Davidson saw a news story on the booming cruise ship industry. New, ever bigger cruise ships were coming on line, with some of them holding 6,000 passengers. And all of the ships held multiple bars and casino’s to cater to those thousands. Quick math went like this: 2500 rooms times fifteen dollars per day for the housekeepers tips times a ten day cruise meant 375,000 dollars in cash usually. The crew members would turn that money over to the cruise line for deposit into their accounts. The bars would generate another 125,000 in cash as tips. A few Miami cruises showed Mike that most people added the tips electronically so that might not be a revenue stream. However, the casino was the bigger score. About 2,000 dedicated gamblers all losing an average of 500 dollars for the cruise and boom: a cool million.

The 1.5 million potential for the single cruise liner was not what interested the gang. The cruise terminal at Port Everglades, did however. Saturday and Sunday could see six cruise liners pull in and out of the huge facility. People and money flowed in and out on a huge scale.

Ira and Gretchen took three cruises as a happy couple while researching the job. Graeme, Ricky and Mike all watched the terminal building, watching money flow in and out all the time and noting procedures. A full month in Coco Beach, Florida had fully tanned everyone and caused some serious weight gain in Ira but they could not seem to justify the job. The main money was in the casino but it held problems as well. The ships held almost two million dollars in case people got lucky and for the ATM’s stashed on board. But most of that money stayed on board. All five of them spent a full week in the Bahamas trying to figure out how to steal that money off the ship. Yeah, you could steal it but what then? Pitch it overboard? Too risky. A chance comment in a dive bar on the docks perked up Mike’s ears: Two of the huge ships were going for repositioning and would be undergoing a full week of refit before they moved. The money would have to come off the boat! Based on a burst of activity in the schedule, Mike figured there might be ten million moving out on Sunday the fifth of May at the cruise facility. Both the repo ships would be off loading all of the cash on board as well as the regular moves. Ten million was a tempting target. They planned it like the KLM job: duplicate armored car guard uniforms and paperwork. Walk in early and snatch the cash and go. And a week before the magic date the company changed up its practices. The money started going off by helicopter, landed right on the upper deck of the building, instead of armored car.

Mike knew the shock on his face mirrored Ira’s as the two men watched the money fly off. A few discrete inquires showed them the cruise lines changed up every few months. That ended that idea.

“I got a good tan and Ricky learned how to snorkel,” Ira summed up. Good thieves…check that, live thieves, knew when to pass on a job.

Hours later, stretching behind his desk, Michael noticed a few replies in the chat rooms. One of them was from Trevor. He was another one of their DeBeers contacts.

The diamond monopoly held site’s every month so he was always a favorable reply to these requests. Michael Davidson loved stealing from DeBeers. He’d done it twice. Once on the retail end and once on the uncut side. His most fevered fantasy called for the gang to attack the London vaults where the untold diamond riches were held. His mind always conjured a Scrooge McDuck vault with piles of diamonds while he swam through them with a naked Angelina Jolie somewhere in the back ground. But he just couldn’t do it, could not figure out that puzzle box. So again, they hit where the consortium was vulnerable. The sites were not normally one of those times.

DeBeers site holdings were legendary. Another fantasy job involved the meetings. Site holdings were how the company disbursed the diamonds to its customers. Every month, a select group of retailers and wholesalers of diamonds got invites to the meeting. They showed up in London and the company gave then two items: An envelope with a bill, sometimes as much as fifty million pounds, payable in full before they got the second item: A box with diamonds in it. The customers never got to see what was in the box before hand. They had no say in the quality or quantity of the stones. What was more important they never got to complain. Bitch and the monopoly cut you out completely. How are you going to sell wedding rings with no stones? The fantasy for Davidson involved somehow swapping out those boxes with empty ones. Since no one would complain, and DeBeers had stiffed people before, it seemed like the perfect crime. No one would say boo. But there was that tiny, tiny problem of how to get in there and swap out the boxes.

At least the holders never used to complain, Mike knew. At one time the monopoly held 90 percent of the diamond market. New sources from Australia and Russia were putting a serious crimp in the business. DeBeers had been forced to change up their ways. Those new sources was why the gang could hit them in the uncut area. And now Trevor had a clear message: London on the first of April is gorgeous. And the museums are free!

Fuck me thought Michael. He made a mental note to call Trevor directly.

A cup of coffee helped start the internet search for targets. Google was proving to be a very valuable tool for the search. He just input- 2013 traveling art show- 1 Jan to 1 July and the results came up in a half second. News article after news article detailed the worlds art as it travelled the circuit. Not that he was interested in stealing Tuts mask or the Mona Lisa, however, lesser known works were sometimes very very valuable. A personal favorite was Fredrick Russell sculptures. Cowboys on bucking broncs brought in two million each. And in transit they were obtainable. Vulnerable.

He could not help turning over Dubai in his mind one more time. In transit, thats where Graeme wanted to hit the gold. The Sultan was trying to diversify the small emirates economy by setting up the largest gold exchange in the world. Dubai was already famous for having gold vending machines, but now they wanted to catch up on the trade and jewelry aspect. A cool billion in gold was coming into the country, mostly from Switzerland. The exchange would be open in July of 2013, so the timing was right. But. The logistics! And the military style troops guarding that shipment was horrendous to deal with. He put it out of his head. Too big.

Art on the other hand was small and portable just like diamonds. A quick correlation to movement of pieces and the cities and he matched up some of his friends in those places and the firms likely to be called upon to work security. More messages flew.

When a noise caused him to look up, Mike realized it was was 4:00 pm. Alone in the office, a quick check of the big calendar in the main area showed red pins for Graeme and Ira on Thursday. Ricky hadn’t been back today so he might be done by the time everyone rolled in later in the week. A pin followed the trend for the boss. No sense in killing himself, working.

The drive home was uneventful. No Crown Victoria waited for him outside his apartment nor any other car. Lights on in 184 as he got near the house. The new owner looking around. He hoped like hell it wasn’t a Wall Street hedge fund asshole who’d bought the place.

He nestled the car into the garage. A check of the video showed Mary sitting on the couch watching TV and snoozing. Good. He didn’t feel like socializing tonight. Upstairs he culled the junk mail, changed clothes and started a quick dinner. Just a soup and salad. He ate it man style- in sweats and an old “t” shirt with fuzzy moccasins on his feet. Straight out of the pot for the soup and straight from the box for the salad. A tad sloppy but all he could muster tonight.

“Drink it in ladies” he said to his reflection in the refrigerator shine. A sigh. Single and likely to stay that way.

“So what do you do?”

That fucking question always got him. He could lie, but it just seemed like, what was the point? Starting a relationship with a lie was kind of an oxymoron. It seemed self defeating.

He’d done it years ago, right after he’d moved in. Victoria. Pretty, smart, and a lawyer. She worked on some stuff for Excelsior and sent some signals. He picked up on those signals and they dated for a good six months. Until that fucking question. Davidson admitted to cheating on her just to avoid the real question of “what was he hiding?”

That sucked. But what also sucked was the stream of prostitutes he saw for a while. Then he discovered Tinder. Holy shit! Michael met a ton of bored, divorced professional women around 35 years old on the “dating app”. However, the basic problem with them was still the same as the professionals. What was the old complaint about hookers? “I just didn’t feel the love!”

A soft snort escaped. Graeme did not have this problem. He could say anything to any girl. Mike had seen him do it. Ricky? He hated that kid- his youthful good looks and nature- right then. Ira and Gretchen had each other. Well, that was nice for them, he had to deal with his own reality. He went through the bedroom and into the closet to access his personal office. Something had to be found to keep Roybokov off their backs.

Logging onto the same chat rooms and websites as before, he waited to see if Europe had changed status now that it had woken up. A small news item caught his eye. KLM was selling off the 747 involved with the 2005 Diamond heist.

A small smile played on his lips. The KLM job was his second favorite burglary. It was the gang at its best: just the four of them (Ricky not yet a part) and sheer balls. Balls! A tip led them to know that a large package of diamonds was running into Antwerp. His crew was perfect! Perfect! Schwinpol Airport in Antwerp provided the stage. Antwerp was, still is, will always be, the diamond cutting and polishing capitol of the world.

Roughly 80 percent of the market in uncut stones ended up in the Belgian capitol for cutting. The legitimate trade was worth 20 billion a year. The blood trade worth another five. The critical tip came from another anonymous customs clerk. The monopoly was engaged in a huge price war with the Russians and the Australians. D flawless stones went from 30,000 per carat down to six thousand per as the company flooded the market hoping to crush the new competitors. However- in doing that they had to give up some of their famous control. DeBeers cut and polished in London when they sighted out cut stones. Most of the carat weight from the sites would be in rough stones, but some would be cut if the stones were particularly fine. Those retailers and wholesalers would then move the uncut stones to Antwerp for work before getting them back for setting and sales. In 2005 what the customs person told them was DeBeers had to move a huge stash of stones out to Antwerp for cutting due to a higher volume level beyond the capacity in London.

Vulnerable.

Davidson and Donniger found out who was transporting the stones and what flight they would be coming in on. A duplicate van, uniforms and paperwork plus endless hours of drilling readied the crew. The job went off like clock work. The four of them (Even Gretchen disguised as a man) pulled the armored transport van up to the gate. ID’s and badges were perfect and the paper work was all in order. Mike spoke to the cargo master and customs agents on the tarmac. Stamps and signatures and receipts were exchanged. Lot 245779 was dutifully signed for and transferred. The other two men hauled the 79 pound crate into the van without issue, while the little one drove.

Fourteen minuets after passing the gate the van exited the tarmac secured area and flowed into traffic off the grounds.

The cargo master knew he was screwed the instant he saw the second van turn onto the tarmac from the gate area. That van was held up on Konnigsburg road by an accident, sorry they were late.

The smile on his lips broadened as he remembered the real fun of the job: The aftermath.

The police reported 160 million in diamonds stolen. The real total was more like 271. And no diamonds were ever officially recovered. Mike knew 10 of the best stones were taken out and cut and turned into a stunning necklace that he’d seen both on Mrs. Roybokov and on Demetry’s mistress. The rest of the stones? That was a good story.

Davidson sat at a beach side table near a regulation thatched hut tourist bar on Grand Cayman island. The sun beat down on him and he sweated in his suit with his underclothes also heating him up. Maybe it was the 82 degree tropical heat or the number of sniper rifles trained on him. The earpiece squawked telling him about the helicopter. And the snipers. He was confident but cautious about this part. Compartmentalized.

Two months after the job it was time to get paid. You can’t eat diamonds and they had to get money. The bar was almost deserted at this time of day but the beach was strangely busy and strangely allocated with people. A large swath of open beach was directly behind Mike with two groups of sunbathers on either side. There also seemed to be twenty jet ski’s at the waters edge. Clicks in his ears indicated his people were in position. He looked up to see a man in a dark suit coming towards him. Mike carefully reached into his jacket pocket and started laying out pictures on the table top.

The man neared the table. Geoff Pedersen- DeBeers head of security and an Afrikaner. Mike picked up two pictures.

“Good morning, Geoff. One- Tell those guns not to get itchy and two- that helicopter has to go. “ Michael spoke with a German accent with a faint speech impediment. It was his favorite voice impression. Just a hint of Colonel Klink from Hogen’s Heroes.

Pedersen noticed the picture Mike was holding. He spoke while watching that picture, “”I’ll kill you myself if you threaten my kids- Ya?” The South African accent thick.

Davidson shook his head. “Geoff you need to listen to me. I don’t want to kill your children. And I won’t as long as things go like they are supposed to. Any problems and they will pay the price.” “And what’s worse- you don’t get the diamonds”. His acting abilities were never better.

Pedersen scowled and said nothing. Mike could see the wheels in the man’s head measuring and figuring.

“I know one of those guys could get me right now,” he said, voice low, meaning the gunmen. “You think, I could do it and move the kids to my sisters in Lions Head.” Mike named the area of Cape Town where the sister lived. He showed Geoff a picture of the villa and the woman.

“Or maybe even Aunt Tarla’s place in Rissington.” Again the photo accompanied. “Hell, worse comes to worse, the mistress in London” Another picture of the stunningly pretty woman. Pedersen locked eyes with Michael who gave him back the best death stare ever.

“Problem for you is- we know about them.” And we know about the kids of every security person who works for you.” Mike gestured at the table, at the smiling happy little faces. “We work for exactly the same kind of people, you and I.” My boss would think nothing of killing every one of these people.”

“You- and your boss -needs to wrap your heads around this: You’ve lost.” “You really want to go to the mattresses with us?”

Pedersen was white under his dark tan. Shock visible, he could say nothing.

“Say it Geoff- “lost. I’ve lost.” Nerves and fear walled off, his voice was hard and emotionless.

“I lost.”

“Good. Now get those gunman off me and move that fucking chopper!”

The security head spoke into his cuff link. Corresponding clicks reached Michael’s ear a few tense seconds later. Davidson breathed easier but kept sweating. He did not want to kill children and was sure he could not really do it, but he could damn well act like it.

“The transfer,” his voice, high and soft, was somehow scarier to Pedersen.

The agent reached into his jacket and pulled out a phablet. He sat the device on the table and in the chair opposite. Michael gave him a bunch of numbers to accounts. He watched as 100 million went into numbered Cayman island accounts.

“You got the bearer bonds?”

Another hard stare from the Afrikaner.

“You guys get these things for pennies! Just think of this as the cost of doing business,”

An envelope was produced and sat on the table. It was thick.

Mike took the envelope and ran a small device over it that he’d pulled from his pants pocket. A small beep.

Davidson stiffened. He opened the envelope and found the tracker- a wafer thin device glued onto one corner of the bonds.

“You fuck! You were told to come alone. You were told no guns, no helo’s and no tricks!” Davidson pinned the man opposite him with a stare. “Pick which child dies.”

His voice was utter calm and held disdain.

“Wait!”

“Pick you lousy fuck!” Rage made him stand. This was the hard part: the man had to believe.

Pedersen grabbed at his sleeve, standing as well. “No!”

Michael shoved him off and calmed down. A voice in his ear fed him some info.

’Back that tracker van off 200 yards.”

Pedersen gave the order and sat back down and Mike was mollified. The corner was nipped off the offending bond and the packet went into a foil pack which was in turn wrapped in a waterproof bag.

“That stunt is going to cost you, Geoff.” Michael watched him for a second. “Give me your watch!”

The DeBeers agent balked. He wanted to get out his gun and shoot him, Davidson knew. But: Davidson held the upper hand and he wanted those diamonds.

’You want to unleash this carnage? We have the 50 million. My boss will not think that is enough- he wants the full 100. You want the deaths of every offspring in your division on your head?” “The mob is vindictive like that.”

The man unlatched the Rolex from his wrist and handed it over. Michael slipped it into the bag.

“Now stand.” A little more work and he was clear.

He did so as Mike walked back a few steps. Steady on his feet, Davidson was proud and continued his hard line stance.

“Hands at your sides, arms out,” Mike directed. The man complied.

“Where are the stones?”

“Move four paces to your left and two forward.”

Mike moved further back towards the surf as he began stripping off clothes, holding his bag. Clicks sounding in his ears as he tore out the ear piece which told him what he needed to know.

“Where!” Pedersen was frantic, almost reaching for the gun in his leg holster.

“Another pace forward.”

Twenty yards now separated the men and growing as he moved back. Beach goers started to move, converging, swirling around Mike. Ira and Gretchen mixing the two groups of sunbathers as men and women flooded the area.

“Perfect,” Mike called. “Buried about two feet down right under your feet!”

Pedersen dove for the ground to start digging frantically, calling into his cuff. Greed for the gems overriding his vengeance for threatening his children.

Sprinting the last ten yards into the surf, Davidson yanked off his trousers and shoes. The bathing suit was revealed as the jet skiers all converged. Graeme among them as they swarmed the water side. A minute later the pair were running parallel to the beach out of range while the helo swooped in to criss cross the area. Davidson whooped in joy. Both that he’d gotten away with it and that no one had gotten hurt.

The great thing about Cayman banks and bearer bonds is that you can conduct business shirtless in a bathing suit and with no id other than account codes. 50 million went into his accounts.

In his home office on Washington avenue, Mike opened the drawer to find his favorite watch: A gold Rolex. He loved stealing from DeBeers!

He went back to his search, warmed by the memory. It was getting colder and he needed to find a score.

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