An evil man will stop at nothing.

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A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental

Chapter 67

“Angus could not talk to me, Dube,” Phomello explained.  “In fact, he was whispering.  He must have been working undercover in a dangerous situation!”

“Skeeter is probably with him.  I hope they are both safe.  He did get the message, you think?  About the bad man getting away from us?”  Dube asked.

“Yes.  I am sure of it.  He heard me, he just couldn’t comment or give further instructions.  It would blow his cover,” Phomello answered.  “What if that evil man was actually right there, nearby?  He will stop at nothing.  He will kill them both!  I feel terrible about losing the guy, here—but there is nothing we can do about it, now.  I wish there were something more we could do at this end to help out.  Lets think….”

“Maybe we could get into his motel room while he is gone and try to get more evidence,” Dube offered.

“I think that is too dangerous.  What if he has an accomplice here in Africa?   Hmmmmm.”  After a few moments, Phomello continued, “That is an idea.  I think I have thought of something that won’t be dangerous at all.  You have a darkroom, don’t you?”

Dube replied, “Yes, I have a tiny one.  It is crude, but efficient.  Mostly I just use my computer and its printer, however.”

“If it is convenient with you, I think we should go over all the photographs we have collected on the phones.  We should make our own evidence file for Angus and Skeeter—a stack of printed photos.  If we have to do them all in black and white, it will be okay.”

“Yes.  Black and white would be less expensive.  We won’t even need the darkroom, just my computer and printer set-up.  If we have to tweak something in the darkroom, later, we can.”  Dube was excited with the possibilities.

“We don’t have to do all of them—just the ones we think are important: photos of the man himself, the exterior of his motel room, his vehicle, his license tag, and most important, the photos of the fellow he received the honey pots from.  We should figure out a way to blow these up.  Can we do that?”  Phomello asked.

“Yes.  And you are right, Phomello.  We should not just give up and sit on our hands.  We should figure out a way to continue working.  These temporary jobs will probably end soon.  I want to keep helping Angus and Skeeter, and we must keep earning our money and do a good job.  It could lead to future opportunities.” Dubie was grateful for the extra money his work as an operative had been bringing in.

“Agreed!  I think it would make Angus and Skeeter happy if we could find out the identity of the person that was giving or selling the honey pots to the Englishman.  We must figure that out.  We don’t have any good pictures of him—it was too far away—but he was not a Masai, and they are all Masai honey pots.  I thought he looked like a pygmy, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” Dube replied.  “It looked like a pygmy and there are no pygmy tribes around here.  Those are mostly island peoples.  I think finding out his true identity would be the most important and helpful thing.”

“Let’s get to work!  If it is convenient to go to your computer or darkroom, now.  Let’s go do that.  I will buy a package of print paper and some ink cartridges, if need be.  They will reimburse us.”

“Okay, but why don’t we make a few tests, first, then we will figure out what supplies we need and can go get them.  We may decide color is necessary for some of them—to show the contrast and details.”  Dube was mapping things out in his head.

*     *     *

     “This is fun, Dube!” Phomello exclaimed.  He glanced about in the small closet where Dube worked his photographic magic and was impressed by the photos Dube had pinned to the walls.

“When we started working for Angus and Skeeter, I had to buy a new USB cable for the phone they gave me—to hook it up to my computer.  The cameras I usually use are digital cameras and I had never used a phone as a camera before,” Dube explained to Phomello.

“Was the cable expensive?”  Phomello asked.

“I think about nine American dollars, new.  Everything else I have is used or re-built equipment,” Dube answered.

Phomello watched as Dube pulled up a phone photo on his computer.  He then cropped a tiny area out of it.  The tiny area was now enlarged.  It was of the British plate on the Englishman’s automobile—the one he used in Africa and parked outside his motel room.  Dube then messed around with the contrast button, then, he hit “print.”

“Wow!  This will be great to go in the file!” Phomello exclaimed as the photo exited the printer.

Dube beamed.  “Should we try one color one of this?  My color ink cartridge is getting low, but it will give you an idea.”

“Wow!”  Phomello raved again.  “Let’s try to do a blow-up of the middle man, the pygmy, or whatever.  Then, we will run out and get more supplies.  After we make our evidence photo file, we can get busy tracking the pygmy down.  We can nose around and see if we can learn his identity.  Is he part of the evil schemes, or is he a bystander, unaware?”

Dube sorted through the phone photos that he had transported to his computer until he found a full frontal shot of the pygmy.  It was a very fuzzy image to begin with.  He cropped out everything but the human figure.  The new image was even fuzzier.  He hit “print.”

Phomello waited with excitement for the print to come out of the machine.  As the image emerged, Phomello sagged.   “Oh no!”

“What?” Dube wanted to know.

“No!  I believe I know this fellow.  There is no way he can be involved.  As you can clearly see by this image, he is not a pygmy at all, but a child.”

The face of Masamba smiled up at him –  off the printed page.

Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.

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