A Brilliant Plan

Chapter 38

IF IN DOUBT, meditate. I spent another whole day working out, testing my limits, building my confidence. In the evening, I spread a blanket in front of my pool, lit some scented candles and relaxed. Concentrated on my inner self, tuned myself in to the deeper layers of my consciousness, tried to block the obvious and unblock the hidden thoughts that went around in my brain. Breathing in and out, breathing, easily, listening to random sounds, thinking random thoughts, forming random theories. About the case. About the jewels. About my role in this case. The cloud, the spirit, the matter, the space in between.

I went to bed around two o’clock that night. Woke up at nine in the morning. There was a plan. Kind of.

I spent the next days at the shop. Immersing myself under as much work as possible to get my mind off the details of the case and to let the thoughts and creativity flow. Mundy called and I gave him some homework to do regarding the case. He agreed willingly. The evening news reported on an escalation in the Mexico City political situation, more and more people were jumping on the colonialisation/exploitation bandwagon. There was even a small demonstration in front of the History Museum. It was rumored that Director Vasolar was going to be forced to resign soon, meaning that he was close to being fired.

Ron called Thursday noon. “I am under pressure.”

He didn’t sound his usual flippant self so I just gave him a careful “Yee-es?”

“To retrieve the Maximilian Jewels. And to find the killer.”

“Sounds to me like the priority flipped,” I stated dryly.

“That’s why I said there’s pressure. The pressure I am talking about comes from very high up, from the State Department all the way down to Detective Ronald William Closeky.”

“Is your name really Ronald?”

“Not any more, if we don’t crack this case very soon, my boss will make me a Rhonda.” A very reassuring ‘We.’

“Is there a reward for returning the stones?” I asked.

“Yes, actually there is, our friend Fowler Wynn saw to that. But not for officers of the law or sworn-in consultants. Jesus, you are preoccupied with money like no other woman I know,” he exclaimed.

“I am a business woman, remember? And I never was formally deputized or engaged. How much time do we have?”

“I hoped to drop by tonight and you would tell me.”

I looked at my work desk, checked the results with my eyeglass. Removed my eyeglass. “OK, Ron. I am ready whenever you are.”

“You mean it, you have a plan?” Poor puppy, he sounded so hopeful.

“Something like that. Can we meet in San Diego? My parent’s home.”

He quickly agreed, what choice did he have?

I had asked Ron for Fowler Wynn’s number and dialed it next.

“Wynn?” his mock British accent clipped into the phone.

“Moonstone,” I didn’t intend to mimic him, but it came out accidentally.

After a few moments of icy awkward silence, his manners took over and he asked, “What can I do for you?”

“I want to crack the case tomorrow. Would you consider joining me tonight in San Diego?”

He wasn’t sure whether I was pulling his leg or not. “Sounds intriguing. I bet you will tell me what’s going on when I arrive and not a minute before?”

“Yes. We will meet at my parent’s house tonight around eight. Please, one more thing. Please don’t tell anyone. With the media circus already surrounding this affair, my plan wouldn’t work out in the open.”

“See you then.” After a polite second, he added, “Thanks for inviting me.” Little victories.

Next call, House of the Moon. Mom took the call, was delighted to see me again so soon.

I chewed my lip. Several loose ends in my mind were dangling. The drive to San Diego was uneventful, far from the hell ride three weeks ago.

We had the house to ourselves, Mom and Dad had gone out, doing good things, their daughter staying home, doing bad things. Fowler arrived first. He rang. I opened the door, invited him in and gave him refreshments. We felt uncomfortable with each other so we didn’t talk at all.

Ron and Juanita arrived a few minutes late, apologized and Ron pecked me an innocent kiss on the cheek.

Greetings all around.

We sat around the big kitchen table, three pairs of eyes on me.

“OK, we are here and hooked. Shoot,” Ron said.

I opened one of the table’s drawers, took out a black velvet jewelry pouch and a large brown envelope. I put both on the table and shut the drawer slowly to emphasize the activity.

I took a deep breath. Showtime. “This may come as a surprise to you all. It was I who stole the Maximilian Jewels.”

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