Big Jesse’s company plane landed and taxied to the re-fueling area. It was easy to tell his plane from the others because it was painted in the University of Kentucky’s blue and white color scheme with 2012, NCAA Champions, boldly displayed on its fuselage. The captain greeted Jesse at the gate and they drove to Sanibel Island. The treasure was already transformed into cash and the money was divided and laying on the conference table. Jesse packed his share into a duffle bag and after exchanging pleasantries they departed again for the airport.
“You didn’t count the money,” remarked the Captain.
“For one thing, I’m in a hurry, I have a meeting in West Virginia with some politicians and reason two, your word is worth more than a lawyers signed contract.”
“Thanks,” said the Captain, “I feel the same way about you, but my daddy always said, ‘trust your neighbor, but cut the cards’. Have the cops been back since they searched the boat shack?” asked the Captain.
“No,” exclaimed Jesse, “but they’re still looking for you, the boat and your kid. They’ve asked everybody on the island where are they? The Gypsy sisters told them you were in Amsterdam.”
“I’ve been on the island for 27 years,” snorted the Captain, “Never drew much attention to myself, but the slightest mention of a treasure and suddenly every law enforcement agency in the Virgin Islands is buzzing around like fly’s on crap?”
“Greed run rampant,” said Jesse, “They want it. We got it. But they ain’t never going to see it.”
“This money will never see the light of the banking system either,” proclaimed the Captain. “Banks should respect their customer’s confidentiality, but after they exposed my personal finances to lawyers, the courts, the government and God, and who knows who else, I ceased being a customer—never again! I went to the bank to get some money only to learn a lawyer had frozen my bank accounts. Ever since then, I’ve done my banking outside the country–cash only, no credit and no American banks,” insisted the Captain.
“I run everything through my mining corporation,” said Jesse. “I pay legal crooks big bucks to protect me from the IRS crooks. What’s Dave doing with his share?”
“He was going to have his aunt invest it, but if he does he’ll be in the system. So, I think we will stash it in the Grand Cayman Islands until we can move it to a safer place in the North of Italy.”
“That’s all well and good, but if the cop’s stop you and find that cash they will seize it and you won’t get it back,” cautioned Jesse. These days, you know, we’re automatically guilty until we can prove we’re innocent.”
“Our constitution was written to protect us from our government and the police but its been gutted by the politicians and their never ending war on drugs and terrorism—they’re turning this country into a police state,” complained the Captain.
“It’s so,” said Jesse, “but they can’t confiscate what they can’t find. Just make sure they don’t find it before you get it moved out of the country.”
“Not to worry,” said the Captain. “This isn’t our first rodeo.”
The Captain pulled the truck into the airport and they drove to the gate where Jesse’s company plane was waiting. A few minutes later Jesse waved goodbye as his plane taxied towards take-off. The Captain smiled because he knew the treasure episode was almost over and they won.
Dave took his Dad’s advice, he put the cash in a duffle bag, thanked and kissed his aunt goodbye and they were on their way back to the New River Marina where the Flying Circus had been re-launched and was tugging at her dock lines. From there they were on their way to a cigar factory in Havana, Cuba, someplace Dave had never been—a new adventure was unfolding.
At last, Dave could call Aura. His Dad gave him one of the pre-paid cell phones Jesse gave them and he dialed Aura’s number from memory. He was disappointed when she didn’t answer but he left his new cell phone number on her answering service and asked her to please call him. They pulled into a fast food joint and after their order came his Dad took the wheel so if Aura called him; Dave wouldn’t wreck the truck.
“Pop, I can’t wait to talk to Aura,” said Dave, “But I’ve been worried because whoever appraised that necklace might try and track her down.”
“Well son,” said the Captain, “Whatever jeweler appraised it, probably cannot be trusted to keep their mouth shut. A find like that is something a jeweler definitely would talk about, especially since it had Spain’s Royal mark on it. The appraiser would consider it stolen even though pirates stole it from the Spaniards hundreds of years ago. It’s nevertheless stolen. Jewelers work with the cops, and he would be looking for a reward too. How long ago did she have it appraised?
Dave reflected a bit and then remembered that it was November when she had it appraised before she put it in a safety deposit box. “When she calls back,” advised the Captain, “Tell her even if she didn’t give them her name and address, they nonetheless have her face on a security camera and if the cops started checking security cameras at the local banks they might get a match and trace her that way.”
“It seems to me if they were looking for her they would’ve found her by now,” exclaimed Dave.
They were almost to the New River Marina before Dave’s cell phone rang–it was Aura.
“Aura, my sweet Aura,” gushed Dave. “I miss you so much and it seems like a million lifetimes since I’ve heard your voice, how are you?”
“I’m OK,” said Aura, “and I miss you too. I can’t wait to be with you again, but there’s a problem. A private investigator has been showing my picture around campus asking the students if they know the girl in the picture. The picture must not look very much like me because they haven’t found me yet, but I’m scared—what should I do?”
Dave without hesitation said, “Empty the deposit box, put it in your carry on bag and fly to Fort Lauderdale,” said Dave. “Leave everything else behind and get out of there. Call me when you get here and I’ll pick you up.”
“What about my finals?” asked Aura.
“Tell the school there’s a family emergency and see if you can make arrangements to take them on line,” insisted Dave.
“I can’t keep making up lies,” said Aura. “It flies in the face of everything I’ve been taught.”
“Everybody lies a little–sometimes,” said Dave. “Just do it!” To be continued…