Jarred Into Being

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Chapter 33

Jerry phoned the house and asked to talk to Denise, but Eva had taken Denise to her doctor’s appointment. Jerry left a message for Eva with Teresa: he would deliver Eva’s message the next time “those people” visited the club, but, he emphasized, he had no way of knowing when that would be.

The next day, John Moody sat in Albert Sr.’s law office reading the note Eva had just handed him. Without comment, he passed it to Albert Sr. sitting behind the desk:

I have two million dollars of your money that I will return to you if you promise to leave me alone. I will only give it back to you if you meet me here.

Albert Sr. looked at Eva discontentedly. “And you really think this note is going to draw the Blanco’s out?” he asked.

“Yes, Albert,” she said confidently. “I know these people better than you, better than anyone here. They’ll want the money, but even more, they’ll jump at a chance to restore their honor. Killing or recapturing me will be an irresistible punto de honor for them.”

“Don’t you think you’re exaggerating, Eva?” he scoffed.

“No,” she said firmly. “They must have been shamed and furious when they realized one silly gringo girl was able to steal from them and then escape. They look foolish and weak to anyone in their network who found out. They will want revancha—revenge—more than anything else, and they will see this as their best, maybe only, chance to get it.”

“Great!” fumed Albert Sr. “And you’ll be setting yourself up like clay pigeon, the exact thing I’ve been arguing against from the beginning!”

“John and Gregg will be with me, won’t you John?”

Moody nodded.

“You’re a big help, Moody,” Albert Sr. grumbled. “You fucking traitor.”

“I actually don’t think they’ll try anything at that first meeting, Albert,” he said.

“First meeting?!” he yelled.

“Right,” said Moody, crossing his legs. “We’ve decided that Eva won’t have any money with her. She’ll just meet them to get assurances for her future safety, and she’ll tell them she’ll bring the money to a second meeting if they give her those assurances.”

“That way,” Eva jumped in, “they’ll figure they’ll have more time and an even better opportunity to plan something.”

“Yeah,” Albert snarled, “and they’ll be right.”

“No, they won’t,” Eva shot back.

“They won’t, Albert,” Moody said quickly, “because there won’t be any second meeting with Eva. We’ll hide a tiny tape recorder on her and hope they say enough to incriminate themselves during that first meeting.”

“And if they don’t?” Albert Sr. protested.

“If they don’t,” John said, “then we’ll have to go to Plan B.”

“Which is what?” demanded Albert Sr.

John shrugged, and looked at Eva for a suggestion.

“Don’t worry,” said Eva. “We won’t need a Plan B. I’ll see to that.”

“John,” Albert Sr. stared at Moody cynically. “I don’t like this. Even with you along, John, I don’t like this. You can’t honestly sit there and promise me that if Carmella or Juan spots that tape recorder on Eva they won’t slit her throat right there and then.”

John Moody shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

“Well, Eva,” said Albert Sr., gesturing toward Moody’s reticence. “What do you say to that?”

“I say we don’t worry about ifs and maybes. I say we focus instead on something we know will happen,” she said optimistically

“Like what?” asked Albert Sr.

“Did you call for that appointment with the governor yet?” she asked.

“No. I’ve been waiting to see if John found this Rafael’s sister you had him chasing down,” he said.

“I haven’t,” Moody said frankly. “Our contacts over the border are less robust than on our side, I’m sorry to say.”

“I’ve decided it doesn’t matter,” Eva said brusquely.

“What?” said Albert Sr.

“Oh?” said Moody.

“Rafael’s sister, if she were alive, would be about my age,” said Eva. “Gardner couldn’t possibly identify today a little girl he saw only briefly twelve years ago.”

Albert Sr. squinted his eyes as if sensing he was not going to like what he was about to hear.

“And, so,” Eva began, “I’ll just pretend to be her. He’ll never know the difference.”

Albert Sr. laughed out loud and John Moody smiled and shook his head.

“What’s so funny?” Eva said, annoyed.

“That’s nuts!” Albert Sr. said. “You’d never get away with that?”

“Why not?” Eva challenged him.

“You don’t look Spanish for one thing,” he said, indicating her blonde hair and cream-colored skin.

“That’s simple,” she said defiantly. “Make-up, a wig, Spanish-style clothes. Teresa can help me.”

“He’d expect you to speak Spanish,” Moody said quietly.

“I do speak a little,” she said, looking at him.

“Not enough,” said Moody. Albert Sr. nodded his agreement vigorously.

“Does Governor Gardner speak Spanish?” Eva asked, eyeing the two men closely. Albert Sr. and Moody stared blankly at each other
Moody spoke first. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “Probably, he does, a little.” Albert Sr. again nodded his agreement.

“Fine,” said Eva. “Then we bring Teresa along as a translator. She can teach me everything I’ll need to say beforehand, which won’t be much. Remember, Albert, I’m pretending to be a poorly educated immigrant who’s frightened to death and intimidated.”

“Christ!” he yelled. “Now … now you want to drag poor Teresa into this farce. She won’t go along with a circus like this!”

Eva smirked. “Albert, please. We both know she’ll do anything you ask of her.”

Albert Sr. audibly exhaled. “Eva, honey, you’re insane. I love you, but you’re completely insane. You do know that, right? This idea is nuts. John, will you talk some sense into this girl?”

Moody shrugged. “It could work, I suppose,” he said. “With sufficient planning and rehearsal, that is.”

Beaming, Eva turned toward Albert Sr.

He glared at John Moody. “You fucking traitor,” he said.

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