Get In Its Way (Part 6)
Watchman woke him up at six in the morning, “There’s an urgent call. You’re expected at the reception in thirty minutes.”
Nadal asked half asleep, “Who?”
He jumped up from bed. He quickly washed his face and rushed to the office. The phone was ringing. He grabbed it, “Good Morning! Nadal speaking…”
“It’s me,” Sergeant Mody was on the line, “Is it okay to talk? Is no one around listening?”
“Nobody’s here. What’s it?”
“You know it’s with Manager Tutu.”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you know.”
“What are you saying?”
“The object is with Tutu and you know it.”
“How do you know?”
“I talked to Ron Eduru,” said the sergeant, “He spoke to you about it yesterday. All you’ve got to do is steal it.”
“I can’t do that,” cried Nadal, “I’ll be trapped.”
“I will protect you. I have evidence to prove it. Tutu is involved in the snatch.”
“We know the taxi driver. That cab belongs to him. But we have to get hold of the object before we try to bring these guys and test.”
“Are you sure about this?” asked Nadal.
“Of course,” he uttered, “Go find it. Take it and bury somewhere. Then call us and leave a message with Valid. Not me. I’ll come to collect it.”
“I’ll see to that.”
Sergeant Mody listened to the recorded tapes. As soon as gold was mentioned he was alerted. Mody found a cab registered to Tutu. At that point he knew not the taxi driver who was involved. He didn’t know if this cab was the one used. He did not talk to Ron Eduru because it could disclose their secrets of eavesdropping. Mody wanted to get hold of the girdle and hide it in a safe place if it was in Halaveli.
The telephone exchange was wired through the formerly known national security headquarters and it was no difficult task to listen to a telephone even without consent of the service provider.
Sergeant Mody instructed Nadal to undertake an attempt to steal it without consulting the major that could unthread a stripe from his sleeves.
It was a beautiful day and cloud blanketing the sky. Manager Tutu left on the speedboat to Madoogali giving Nadal an excellent opportunity to raid.
He collected a talcum tin from the shop, picked a diving weight from the dive school and key to a vacant bungalow, number 54.
Nadal opened Tutu’s locker, grabbed the heavy paper tin and ran to the beach. He emptied the powder to the white sand, removed the golden girdle and went inside the bungalow.
He placed the weight in it and topped with talc. His hands were shaking. He managed to do a neat job and returned the tin to Tutu’s locker.
Next he stepped to the other side of the island, to the dolphin point, where he found a place to bury the girdle behind bungalow 10. He glanced at the shining belt only briefly. Deep in the sea lettuces he dug a hole and covered it.
He was sweating immensely. He heard someone calling out his name. “Nadal! Did anyone see Nadal?” It was the office boy running up the pathway behind the bungalows. Nadal hid in the blanket of sea lettuces.
He decided to take a dip in water before going back. He never sweated this much. And there he saw the coastguard vessel 151, between two bungalows, moving at snail’s pace 200 metres from the shore, right outside the house reef.
He darted to the front office cutting behind the bungalows. Receptionist looked for a key attached to a string and it was around his neck all this time.
Nadal turned on the coastguard frequency and listened. Something fishy was going on. He called the police and left a message to Cpl Valid, “Job done, come quick!”
“Lima Hotel, what’s your location?” Que-Eight called on the VHF frequency.
“Outside A4,” boomed Lima Hotel in his ear.
“Here’s a new development. Get in touch with Nadal, the front office guy. He will show an object and new code word ‘it’, repeat ‘it’, has to be collected.”
“Clear and out!”
Nadal sighed in relief and then there was utter silence for a long moment.
It cracked again, “Lima Hotel!”
“Carry on Que-Eight.”
“Go! Operation Arrivederci! Go!”
“Operation Arrivederci go!”
And dead silence.
Brusquely he saw a coastguard speedboat bank on the jetty. He rushed to receive them but they already climbed the island. Some headed further in. Gruesomely they were heavily armed and wearing the marine kit.
Major Luthfi on the jetty asked, “Nadal?”
“Yes, Nadal” he replied.
“Show it to them. Quick!”
Nadal ran down the jetty with the two marines when he faced Capo, “Nadal? What’s going on?”
“It’s alright. I’m handling it.” Nadal told him.
“Nobody climbs my island without permission.”
Major Luthfi reached him, “Capo del Villaggio? Singore! I’m Major Luthfi of the police…” Nadal didn’t hear the rest.
He reached bungalow 10 to find four marines in front of bungalow 11. The FITs ushered a guy out of the bungalow who was covered in a blanket and tied. They were holding guns.
“What the hell?” he cried.
“Show it, quick,” a marine ordered.
Nadal dived into the canopy. When he came out there was complete chaos on the island; the tourists and the staffs driven in shock. The coastguard vessel, Lima Hotel, was not on this side.
And very quickly those marines dispersed with the guy and the gold. Two FITs left with them.
Nadal asked, “What happened?”
“Angelo,” replied Capo.
Friday 9th afternoon, it was the fourth day since the two FITs arrived. They were actually FBI agents sent from the US to deal with Angelo. In course of their stay they studied the subject, obtained fingerprints, spotted birthmarks of the left-handed individual. It was the guy they were after. Since Sergeant Mody sent those faxes FBI discovered it was a fugitive by the name of Rodrigo Mancuso; an American born mafia operative, related to Sicily, four murders in his hands and at large for nine years.
These FBI agents planned an armed operation on a tourist resort with full cooperation from Maldives Police.
In the morning these two agents lured Angelo to their bungalow and called him by his real name for the first time. Angelo sat speechless. One of them held a gun at him. Angelo was handcuffed.
One agent showed his FBI identity and asked to cooperate, “Do it quietly.”
Angelo nodded helplessly.
They called the coastguard in a nearby location on VHF handset. That very moment Nadal was digging right behind bungalow 10 and risked an episode.
Manager Tutu received news on the phone and left Madoogali. They were gone when he arrived.
Three weeks later the resort was closing. Tutu did not ask about the missing gold or he did not have a hunch. Police hadn’t approached him.
Abe told Nadal, “Capo was planning to take you to Italy to teach you Italian and Front Office. Police got in your way and now he takes junior only to teach him cooking.”