It All Started With a Suitcase Full of Cash (#iaswasfoc) Chapter 18 - The Cliffhanger

2019-01-01T03:46:47.000Z Honest Cash

Utterly dejected and feeling rejected, her men (except for Godfrey who is no longer part of the group and most likely already back at the house having a cocktail) all decide to return to the house and plan for an early departure. We were all originally planning to stay until late afternoon, however…now that the circumstances have drastically changed…what would be the point?—We were only there at Dominique’s request in the first place.

After her remaining men make the trek back to the house in silence, not knowing what else to do, and since Ceci’s left the island…I suppose, by default, that I’m back on duty…So I go to her safe room to check the video and upload progress and find that the recording devices and local back-ups have been removed. There’s no record of this weekend’s activities left on the island—besides what’s left in our memories.

Feeling mentally disoriented…I sit down in front of the monitors and see that she’s left me a note.

Dear John,

You don’t realize it, or at least you might not Milton—but you are everything I could ever want in a P.A. A good man is like a good assistant, they anticipate your wants, needs, and desires, they fix your problems before you even know you have one, and their priority is you. They take good care of you and if they don’t, they deserve to be fired. I’ll never fire you. I might let you retire (might)…but I’ll never fire you…

Someday you’ll understand my reasoning behind this heist…I promise to tell you the whole story when I return.

XOXO Dominique

P.S. Connie will be in touch. In the meantime, please evacuate the island.

Handwritten below this (for Dominique) sweet note, in typical Dominique fashion (because she just can’t help herself.) She writes:

Apparently, I’m a really naughty girl—how fun for me!

—D

I must have been in a daze because I’m startled when I hear a voice requesting permission to land…After a couple of seconds, I recognize the voice and (speak of the devil) realize it’s Connie Acosta, Archer’s regular pilot already on her way over to pick him up…He certainly didn’t waste any time on planning to get off this island.

Wednesday’s a work day—so is Sunday for me…apparently. I give the landing approval and head back up to the surface to try to reorient myself to the new circumstances. In the hallway on the main floor, I run into Sebastian who tells me that he’s planning on hitching a ride back to the mainland with Archer…(Apparently) they’ve worked out their disagreement from the night before…I offer to go grab a golf cart for Sebastian’s luggage (although I’m not sure if it will all fit) especially if Connie flies the R-44 as usual…it’s a fairly small four-seater configured for human transport, not cartage.

But Sebastian stops me and says, “Don’t worry about it Milton. I only have these two suitcases.”

I (of course) have to ask, “What about the rest of the luggage—we know where your crazy heavy suitcase went…off with her, presumably as ballast—but what about the other two suitcases?”

“She took them too.” Sebastian replies.

“Really!? Were they also filled with cash, or does she have a strange fetish for Italian menswear that I’m not aware of?”

“I’m not sure what was in the other suitcases…Ceci had orders for me to bring them to the island—the man who’d been her last passenger had left them for Dominique…I was just told to put them in the front closet in Archer’s suite.”

I had so many unanswered questions floating around in my head that I didn’t know where to start but the first thing I needed to know was, “Who was Ceci’s last passenger?”

“I don’t know but if I were to guess, I’d say he’s probably a fellow countryman of yours.”

“Switzerland or Israel?” I query.

“Not that Switzerland doesn’t have a military, but I’d guess (knowing Dominique) Mossad.”

“The Israeli’s do have the best intel…” I comment, even more confused now about what could’ve possibly been in those suitcases. But before I can spend too much time speculating, Archer arrives and I bid him and Sebastian farewell before heading back to the bunker…I figure it’s easier to coordinate a departure from there…I still have no idea how I’m getting off the island…I noticed earlier that the boat J.R. and I took over is no longer at Pier 297…but fortunately, the submarine is—I suppose, (worst case scenario) even though I haven’t been briefed yet, I’ll have to figure out how to maneuver the thing…between J.R. and I we should be able to figure it out. (Godfrey doesn’t even drive, so he’ll be a little less than helpful.) Speaking of Godfrey, just as I’m finishing my thought, the captain of The Chicago Way radios that he’s five minutes out…Apparently Godfrey had planned on leaving early…(not too surprising given his meltdown last night.) I give the captain the go ahead signal to dock at the guest pier and before I even have a chance to think about what to do next, I receive a call on Dominique’s private line…I hesitate before picking it up (I’m technically not authorized to)…but, I’m pretty sure the rule book’s already been thrown out of the window…so I answer—It’s Connie.

“Oh thank God Milton…I’m heading back to Tall Pines…clear me for landing, inform security that it’s time to execute the evac plan and meet me with a golf cart back at the heliport.”

I did as I was told. Connie hung-up as soon as she was finished giving the orders so I gathered that there wasn’t any room (or time) for discussion. Archer and Sebastian carefully exit the helicopter and climb into the golf cart (this time sans luggage) while Connie continues the shutdown routine. She waves me off and I ask the boys where I’m heading…I’m assuming it’s not the house, because they both would’ve just walked.

Sebastian directs me to the north shore. “Just get as close to the cliffs as you can.” He instructs…I pull-up to the steepest cliff area and we all get out of the golf cart. Archer and Sebastian walk over to the ledge, and look down…I follow their lead and see Godfrey’s body, his limbs bent in positions that shouldn’t ever happen.

“Geez…”The sound comes out of my mouth as I slump to the ground. I guess Godfrey’s cocktailing days are over. Apparently I sat there for quite a while, because Connie pulls up in a second golf cart and announces, “The staff is finished evacuating. The last boat is leaving the harbor now….That just leaves The Chicago Way, one of you will have to ensure it gets back to the mainland, now that Godfrey can’t.”

I reply, “J.R. and I will do that…Rather than scheduling an alternate way off of the island….Speaking of J.R.—has anyone seen him?”

Connie pulls out her handheld, spends a few minutes scrolling and finally comments, “He’s passed out behind the pool bar.”

We all laugh and I comment, “I should’ve thought to look there.”

Connie looks at each of us in turn before asking, “OK, so what are we going to do now? We have to call the police…but first let’s take a minute to regroup…Can we meet in the library in 15? I’ll make coffee and wake-up sleeping beauty.” We nod in agreement and Connie takes off toward the house. The three of us spend a few more minutes cliffside, before heading back to the house.

After a shot of espresso with a chaser of Tito’s, I head down to the library where the other remnants of our party are already assembled. “It’s a good thing the girls ensured the evac plan was in place…There’s no good reason why anyone needs to know what really happened on the island this week.” I comment.

Connie merely looks at me and states, “Now that the staff is safely not available for questioning—The official party line is going to be—there wasn’t anyone present, other than her personal employees (you and I, Milton) and her guests (you three and Godfrey)…and of course Dominique who is currently out of the country on an extended business trip. Oh and one more thing, we know where Godfrey’s body is—but not the attache case he brought with him. It’s not in his suite, (or his favorite one off of the kitchen) I checked. He planned on delivering a batch of bearer bonds directly to Dominique…you all know how old school Godfrey was, even though she’d requested that he convert the bonds into Bitcoin or cash he sent word early Thursday before arriving that the transfer would have to be in bonds…so unless the attache case is found during the investigation…no one knows about it…Capisce?”

“Capisce!” Well all reply, in turn.

OK, who’s going to make the call?” She asks.

“I’ll do it.” Archer offers, “I was closest to Godfrey—it just seems right.”

Connie dials and hands Archer the phone…The police are told everything relevant—but nothing more. It’s not anyone’s business—private lives are meant to stay private. That’s what extraordinary attorneys are for…I guess Lucy Wu and I will be earning our keep until the investigation is over.

As soon as the cops, the coroner, and the corpse leave, Connie flies Archer and Sebastian back to the mainland…and J.R. and I do hitch that ride on The Chicago Way…Godfrey won’t be needing it, and the yacht can’t stay at the docks at Tall Pines…I thought about staying behind and taking the submarine but since there’s no video to review, and Dominique left without any further instructions for me, there’s no reason to stay on her newly deserted island by myself.

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