Indiana Jones and the Creature From the Black Lagoon

Chapter 12

They weren't technically prisoners in the galley, but Kelly stood by the door cradling a Thompson submachine gun with the stock removed. Indy had seen plenty used around the world, and he knew what they could do at this range. The captain wasn't technically a prisoner, either, but he was under the watchful eye of Friedman and his old trench-broom pump shotgun.

"I don't…I don't understand," Blake whined, his hands shaking, rattling the tin mug of coffee which was doing nothing to calm his nerves. "Who are these men? This isn't…Dale said, some technical specialist…"

"This isn't a movie shoot, Blake, can't you see that?" Indy said impatiently. "These men? They're professional soldiers-of-fortune. Those weapons they're carrying are military surplus. The gangsters in Chicago don't even have them. What do you think he's doing? Invading Brazil?"

"No, no, no," Blake shook his head and tried to sound certain. "Dale needed to hire some security…for the jungle…Well, you saw what happened back there!"

"Except they didn't protect the people on shore, and no one on this boat needs an armed escort."

"Well…"

"Oh Blake, stop," Chloe spat. "You're not any good at keeping a story straight, and Doctor Jones is clearly cleverer than you are."

"Chloe…." Blake protested weakly, the wind taken out of him. Indy felt a pang of sympathy. Chloe Collinsworth had transformed in the course of a sentence from the bright, if stentorian, young woman into something pinched, and sour and ugly. Her face was puckered and lined, her eyes burned with contempt.

"Oh stop. You haven't been a good for a damn thing since the crash, and you're certainly not going to change that now."

"I assume you're talking about the stock market," Indy surmised. "How much did you lose?"

"A…a considerable…"

"Everything!" Chloe snapped. "Virtually all of our inheritance, our family's fortunes, properties in three different countries. It all disappeared in the blink of an eye, Doctor Jones. All tied up in the stupid, useless stocks that brother dear chose."

Blake seemed to collapse into himself, his face like a sunken ship. "It wasn't just us," he managed, but Chloe ignored him.

"We had to take jobs, Doctor Jones. Do you know how humiliating that is for people of our position? Ha! Of course you don't. How could you? So while Blake tried vainly to maintain the good graces of the society swells we'd once considered our peers, I toiled away at a two-bit film company. That's where I met Dale. Dale had plans. Dale had drive and smarts and knew how to chase a fortune. Something Blake couldn't pretend to understand."

"Maybe I should take it from here, sport," Murphy had quietly slid past Kelly and took a seat at the table.

"I think I see where this is going," Indy said. "Your little film company is how you met Baker, right?"

"In a roundabout way, yeah," Murphy said. "And he was obsessed with the Tapajos. He was in California for a little while, and we got to talking. It didn't take much to convince him that we should put together an expedition to find them. He had the information. We put up the cash."

"And by we?"

"Blake sold what was left of our estates," Chloe snipped. "Dale set it all up."

"That still doesn't explain this big treasure chest you hope to find," Indy said. "You don't have enough people to set up a rubber plantation, so I've only got one guess left."

Murphy flashed his million-dollar smile. "What every explorer is looking for. Gold, silver, precious stones. According to Baker they have them all. Enough to line our pockets but good. And that's just the beginning, sport. If this take is big enough there'll be enough left over to slide under the table to the right Brazilian authorities to let us plant our flag. It'll be our little patch of land to sell the mining and logging rights."

"The Collinsworths will be on top again." Chloe said. "All those swells that turned their backs on us will have get in line to beg for the right to dig on our land. And they'll pay a pretty penny for it."

Indy shook his head. "You're crazy. All of you, but mostly you two," he gestured at Chloe and Dale with his mug.

"I don't expect you understand, Jones," Chloe sneered. "High society is probably as foreign to you as one of your dead civilizations. Just something you can read about and try and fit in your little brain. You've never had money. You don't know how it works. Look at you. Just a shabby little vagabond who digs in the dirt when you're not scraping by on a teacher's salary. Money is foreign language to you."

"You might be right about that, sister," Indy said, pushing his hat back on his head. "I'm just a humble professor of archeology. But I'll tell you what I do know. I know history. It's a prerequisite for being an archeologist. And the history of this place over the past five hundred years is people like you—people with more greed than common sense—stumbling into this jungle to find their fortune. They're all still here, buried in that brush and overgrowth. You think you're safe because you got a couple roughnecks with machine guns? Fransisco Orellana came here with ships full of conquistadors. They never went home. How do you think this is going to end for you?"

The group was silent for a moment, and Indy allowed himself a brief, fleeting hope that they were rethinking their course of action. But Murphy dashed that hope by chuckling theatrically.

"Another good lecture, Professor, I give you that. But if you think you can scare us off by telling us stories about knights in shining armor—or whatever the Spaniards wore—you're sadly mistaken, sport. We're not marching in there blind with spears and swords. Give us some credit. These people want to resist, they're going to learn some hard lessons about bullets and gunpowder and the modern machine gun. If they want a fight, by golly we'll give them a fight. It'll be a short one, though. Short and loud."

"Uh-huh. And what about that thing. That…creature that killed your men at the camp."

Murphy shrugged. "I'd say it's in for an unpleasant surprise. Isn't that right, Kelly?"

"Bloody well right, Mr. Murphy," the gunman spoke for the first time and shifted his submachine gun. "I ain't afraid of any spook stories."

"I bet you're not, kid," Indy said. "I hope for your sake you're good with that iron."

"Thirty bullets in the magazine. I don't even have to be good."

Indy sighed. "I was afraid you were going to say that."


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