Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 25
Don’t own Chuck
Laszlo boarded his DC 10 and flew out of La Palma. Already he was getting phone calls from his cronies asking him what went wrong. At first he answered them telling them it was a temporary setback but soon everything would be back on schedule. However, they weren’t buying it and after some discovered through contacts they had within the agency that Laszlo’s scheme had been thwarted they switched to open threats of retaliation.
“I told you
I was working on it. Okay so I had a
small setback but things will be on track soon.
I’ll be flying into Matamoros Airport in a little while. I’ll brief you all on the new time table and
for those who want their money back I’ll be there gladly to see you get what
“See now that’s a much better attitude. It’s not that we don’t trust you Dr. Zorin. No, you shouldn’t look at it like that it’s just with everything that we’re risking we need to be careful. I think you can understand that.”
“There’s no need for threats either openly or concealed we’re all businessmen here dealing in this joint venture. I made certain promises that have fallen short but only temporarily soon I’ll be back in play but I don’t expect you gentlemen to wait for me to get my house in order. This is my fault and my fault only and as such I bear the brunt of the blame sure I could point the finger at other people but I won’t.”
“Good, I knew you were a reasonable man,” said the man on the squawk box. “I told this to our associates and I knew we could come to a mutual understanding.”
“I’ll send you the coordinates and have everyone meet me inside the warehouse. I’ll lay out the new plan but I can’t stress the need for secrecy here. The Americans are looking to lock me up again and are hot on my trail. The idiots don’t think I know it I’m leading them right in my trap... which gives me the advantage to implement my new plan. Soon they’ll be quaking in their boots at the mere mention of my name. There I sent you the location.”
“Yes I have it... I’ll make sure everyone’s there. You have my word on it,” said the man. He was about to hang up when Laszlo stopped him.
“Oh you can tell everyone there will be attendance taken and those who are not there for me are out and when I mean out I mean out. Oh and by the way if anyone tries anything I can assure you I will provide more than adequate protection for everyone’s safety.”
“But we usually bring our bodyguards wherever we go Dr. Zorin. I’m sure you can understand that so I must insist. If anything we can augment your security with more bodies.”
“One or two men are okay more than that... well then I might think that you want to do something unpleasant which will require me to do something unpleasant. I will know who’s there and who’s not before I show so you might pass that word on to your fellow business associates.”
“I most certainly will,” said the man. Laszlo heard mumbling from the background but he knew all along the man wasn’t alone.
“After all I’m only asking that you and your associates hear me out. They can look over this new plan after we’re done we can work things out to everyone’s mutual satisfaction. Those who wish to participate in the new adventure can let their capital ride those who don’t are free to take their money and walk away. It’s that simple.”
“Very well I’ve got the coordinates and I don’t know how but I will try to get everyone together to hear you out. But afterwards everyone will be free to make his or her own decision that’s as much as I can do.”
“Most certainly then it’s a deal Señor Pablo I’ll see you shortly,” said Laszlo as he hung up. “Ungrateful SOBs I’ll be at the meeting for sure.”
“Sir do you want me to tell the pilot to file a new flight plan for Matamoros airport,” said the man standing next to him.
“No Mr. Scarpine, we’re to stay on course for Mexicali. I’ll have a friend drop in and take care of my interests in Matamoros. I want transportation setup and waiting for me when I arrive. I’ll inform the driver when we land where I want to be taken to. Now get me a cherry coke Mr. Scarpine then check to make sure everything is take care of we have a lot to do in a short time.”
Sarah finally had Chuck on the phone and the weight she’d been carrying since the line dropped on them was lifted. She finally felt she could sit down. Her feet and ankles ached, all the tiredness she’d accumulated seemed to hit her at once but her Chuck was safe and on the phone with her. Now she just wanted to hear from him when he was coming home.
“Agent Carmichael can you hear me,” said the General from the monitor. “Sarah, if he can’t I need you to rely for me. Ask him if he knows where Laszlo went? Finding him is a number one priority right now.”
“I can hear you General but no I don’t know. We’re at the airport now. When I say we I mean myself and my mom. Anyway mom went to see about booking us a flight or getting a chartering. Laszlo left earlier on his DC 10 but he couldn’t have gone far. If you’re wondering how I deactivated the warhead I used cherry coke Laszlo was kind enough to provide.”
“Chuck, what happened to Laszlo’s assistance May Day,” asked Sarah. “She was in the shaft with you. I was worried the last I heard you two were fighting. Did you... well you know have to stop her? I know how you feel about hitting women.”
“What? They usually hit me and one in particular but no. Actually she and I worked our differences out. In the end Maria helped me deactivate the bomb and we blasted our way out of the air vent...”
“Maria hum,” said Sarah as she made a face. “How exactly did you two work out your differences to the point that she defected to our side and you’re now on a first name basis?”
“Not like you’re thinking. She took a bullet meant for me outside the vent and died in my arms. I’m still covered in her blood that’s why mom is arranging for the flight. I swear when I catch up to Laszlo...”
“That’s a negative Agent Carmichael,” said the General. “The powers to be have decided that Laszlo is no longer a viable threat so they want us to take him alive...”
“You want to but the rat back in the lab. I should’ve known this would happen. Well, if that’s the case you can use your own resources to track him down I’m done. I don’t see why I should continue this mission it’s over for me.”
“Chuck, I could order you to continue but everything considered you’re right. It’s best if you drop this here and let me use my other agents to pick up the trail. You have no idea where he went?”
“No I really don’t; however, I heard from one of the grounds people here say that they didn’t top off his tanks so I’d start with Africa. He’s pissed off just about every dictator want-a-be in Central and South America. He’d be an idiot if he showed he face in our hemisphere where they could get a hold of him. Without topping off I don’t think he’d have the range to fly somewhere safe other than there.”
“Yes Stanley briefed us about Laszlo’s plan for new world order with him at the top of the pyramid. I want you to know this decision to take him alive wasn’t make lightly. Dr. Dreyfus feels...
“I know he thinks Laszlo’s a paranoid bipolar-schizophrenic. I got that impression too from my talk with him on the Tempesta before he tried to kill me then he blew up the yacht with the crew on board.”
“Chuck, I’m serious I don’t want you hunting for Laszlo. Actually it would be better if you’re nowhere around Laszlo. I think it would be better if you went back home to Burbank.”
“I concur and I intend to make it happen. Sarah, love, I think you should take Emma home to Montenegro with Sam before returning home. Emma’s been a real trooper this past month but she needs to get back home to Molly and Jack.”
“You should know your daughter won a hundred pounds in a pub bet so I’m not too keen on her spending time with Jack and it might not be good for his health if I see him too soon.”
“I just think we owe Emma this. If you want you can charter a plane through Hannah and fly there then turn around and come home. Although I’m sure Margo will want to talk with you and Razhib and Molly would like to see Sam. I wish I could be there to talk with Razhib.”
“Is that the only reason you’d want to be there,” asked Sarah. She knew what he meant but she wanted to hear him say it. “There’s no other reason.”
“Don’t be silly of course I want to be with you. You’ve been in my thoughts since I got here and the only thing I could think of was how long it would be before I could be with you again. I don’t know if you know this but I love you Mrs. Carmichael.”
“I think I might have figured something out. Chuck, Sweetie, I love you to and I want to hurry home to you as fast as I can….”
“Okay, I think this would be a good point for me to sign out,” said the General. “Chuck, remember what I told you don’t go looking for Laszlo.”
“General, you have my word I won’t go looking for Laszlo,” said Chuck. “Love, I need to run too. I have to go find Mom and see what travel she’s laid on. I love you and I can’t wait to hold you in my arms again.”
“I love you too. Call me from the plane and let me know what’s going on. By then I should know something from my end. You promised me a week in the apartment remember and I’m holding you to it. If your mother is there she can watch Sam for us but I’m not letting you out.”
“Your wish is my command. I’ve really got to run now I love you and like I said take Emma to Montenegro then come home. I’ll meet you in the airport just give me a call.”
“I love you too,” she said then they hung up. Sarah sat there looking at the phone deep in thought as Carina and Cole talked around her.
“Chuck took being taken off Laszlo’s tail quite well I thought,” said Carina as she looked at the two of them. “I don’t know if I would’ve taken it so calmly. I expected a little protest or maybe he’s just tired.”
“Tired my butt,” said Sarah. “If you believed what he said then I’ve got a bridge for sale. Chuck’s going after Laszlo and he’s going as we speak.”
“But he promised you General… he gave his word that he wasn’t going to go after Laszlo. Chuck is the type of guy who seems to keep his word so….”
“And I’m sure he meant it because he knows he doesn’t have to go after Laszlo, Laszlo will be coming after him. That vague story about someone said something was to throw a smoke screen in front of the General so she would do what he wanted her to which was to tell him to go home.”
“You think Chuck maneuvered everyone to go after Laszlo? And you, what about you? He’s trying to get you out of the way too.”
“That’s why he insisted I take Emma to Montenegro so he’d have a clear playing field. Now I’m torn I want to go back to him but I don’t want to dump Sam off with Emma. Sam’s been bounced around too much.”
“We have some time off coming we could take Emma home and you could go home with Sam. Mary’s going to be there so it’s not like someone won’t be there to watch Sam you can trust. Plus it helps that she’s armed. You do trust Mary?”
“With Sam absolutely it’s just between Jack and Mary each trying to train Sam what kind of child am I raising a ninja card shark?” Both Cole and Carina laughed. “I’m glad someone can laugh about it. Come on let’s go I need a bed and some sleep.
Outside of Brownsville on the Mexican side of the border a who’s who list of bad guys showed up early for this showdown. They immediately went inside with their bodyguards to have a pre-meeting powwow about how to deal with their mentally unstable and now unreliable partner. The meeting soon got heated at tempers as well as the temperature rose.
“We can’t trust this Gringo anymore. He promised us we’d be in power by the end of yesterday and what do we have? I can tell you nothing. Actually worse than nothing because if our respective governments find out we plotted with this idiot we’ll all be on the wrong side of a firing squad.”
“Juan’s right. The only person who can put us in that meeting in Mexico City is Laszlo so Dr. Zorin or whatever his name is has to die.”
“Come on my compradres we’ve all invested sizable sums of money in this. We should at least let the Doctor have his say then get our money back after that we can kill him.” There was a round of laughter around the table as well as head nodding.
“I don’t know Pablo there comes a time when you cut your losses and walk away,” said Juan. “We all know you’ve got a lot of your drug money tied up in this…”
“It’s not just my money I’m thinking of. This was my chance to come legit but all that seems gone now. Yes I want my money back but I also want to give our friend a present to remember us by… a nice Colombian necktie.” There was another round of laughter but as they were laughing Pablo’s phone rang he had a text message.
“Come outside I need to see you urgently before I come in, Laszlo,” read Pablo. He smiled then laughed. “Looks like Laszlo is here he wants me to meet him outside then walk him in. I’ll be right back.”
“Be careful it could be a trap,” said Juan. “You sure you don’t want one of us to come with you and watch your back?”
“No he’s a nervous type. Don’t worry I’ve got this. If he tries anything… well he won’t be the first and Juanita will do my talking for me,” said Pablo as he patted his pistol.
He walked out to his car but there was no sign of Laszlo. He looked around but he was nowhere in sight. About to give up Pablo turned to head back in when the whole warehouse exploded in flames. The blast took him off his feet knocking him to the ground and as he got up coughing his phone began to ring. Looking at the display it read caller ID anonymous.
“Who is this and what did you just do,” yelled Pablo. He still had trouble hearing from the ringing in his ears so he put the call on speaker and raised the volume to the max.
“Pablo, Pablo it’s not what I did it’s what you did. This is your old friend Laszlo and overhead you can see a predator drone I borrowed from the ATF antiterrorist force.”
“We’re going to hunt you down now and shoot you in the street like a dog. I’m going to personally cut your throat,” hissed Pablo along with other insults in Spanish.”
“There will be no ‘we’ in that. I credited you bank accounts with the money you lent me along with a nice thank you in the remarks section for your kind assistance. After all it was you who helped me get everyone together under one roof and as much as they’ll eventually get around to hunting me their first target will be you.”
“Cabron! My people will know better than that. No one will ever believe that I betrayed them for you. You’re crazy in the head not to say worse.”
“Not for me Pablo you didn’t do this for me no you did it for the money. Didn’t you tell everyone inside that you wanted to wait until I gave you guys back your money before you killed me. I believe a necktie was involved.”
“You bugged the warehouse,” said Pablo as he realized what had happened. “You set me up to draw the heat away from you.”
“You’d better make sure no one survived the blast or you won’t get out of town. Have a nice day and if I were you I’d live it like it was your last,” said Laszlo then he hung up before he got a lesson in Spanish curse words.
“Very good Dr. Zorin,” said the man standing next to him as he handed him a glass of cherry coke. Laszlo took a sip then leaned back in his chair.
“I’m glad you approve Mr. Scarpine. Find out from the pilot how much longer before we reach Mexicali. Maybe you could have our people get us a couple burritos and have them waiting for us with the Mercedes.”
Mary and Chuck flew out of La Palma as a team of experts under a unified command arrived to unearth and permanently dismantle the special ordinance. The Royal Navy sent in a special ship to remove the device and take it to open water where it could be properly worked on safely. Chuck sat across from Mary after he changed. He finally felt he could relax for a moment at least until the plane landed.
“Diane might’ve fallen for the cockamamie story you told her about Africa but you don’t really think Sarah bought it. If you wanted her to you should’ve protested a little at being pulled you gave in too easily.”
“No I don’t believe she did either but I just hope she takes Sam to Montenegro. But I meant what I said I won’t go looking for Laszlo.”
“Well I’ll head her off at the airport if she shows up. I just hope you know what you’re doing this moving pieces around on the chessboard… Charles I don’t like.”
“You don’t like it because you’re not the one doing the moving. Look,” said Chuck as he showed her his tablet. “There’s a report about an anti-terrorist drone strike inside Mexico. Their government’s up in arms about us violating their air space but the people that were taken out reads like the FBI’s most wanted. Funny though…”
“’Funny though’… what? Charles a sentence is usually composed of a subject verb object at least in English it is.”
“Okay, I was thinking out loud. Those people who were taken out were all people we saw on the CCTV feeds from the air terminal in Mexico City when Laszlo had his meeting with his backers. I think Laszlo is trying to shore up his position by eliminating those people who will be trying to terminate him.”
“You mean get them before they can get him. From his perspective it makes sense it gives him a temporary reprieve. You know where he’s going don’t you.”
“I’ve got an idea but I promised I wasn’t going after him and I’m not. I’m tired now I think I’m going to sleep for a little while,” said Chuck as he yawn then put his chair back. It wasn’t long before he was out sound asleep.
“Good night my little Charles,” said Mary as she went and got him a blanket then tucked him in. “Sleep tight.” For her he looked like the same little boy she left behind years before and she wasn't going to let Laszlo hurt him.
Chuck was more tired than he thought because when he woke up hungry they were flying over southern California. He’d almost slept twelve hours straight which was a record for him but he didn’t know how he was going to explain the five calls he missed from Sarah.
“Don’t worry I handled it,” said Mary as she handed him a cup of coffee. He yawned and stretch then he took it.
“I hate to ask you how you handled it? You should’ve woken me up before now Sarah’s got to be worried and mad or both.”
“She called me after you didn’t answer so I told her you were asleep but she wanted proof of life so I had to send her a photo. After that she agreed with me that we should let you sleep. But you’re right she didn’t believe you. I hate to tell you but she didn’t take Emma to Montenegro either. According to contacts I have in MI6 and at Heathrow, Carina and Cole took Emma to Montenegro. Sarah and Sam boarded a flight for LAX and are on their way home. I thought about having her held up in the terminal but I couldn’t do that to my granddaughter.”
“Well it’s good to know that you do have some limits. So I have about twelve hours if she’s flying nonstop to work with before she arrives. That might be cutting it close.”
“I can give you another hour or so by picking them up in the airport but I need to know what you’ve got planned because I’m not going to leave you in the hands of that lunatic again.”
“Mom don’t worry everything is under control.”
“Charles, I would think by now you should know or do I need to point out that every time someone tells you not to worry that’s the time to worry.”
“I think you just did.”