Other than the plane crash, everything was fine.
January 12, 2014
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
Angus and Skeeter decided to eat a couple of thick steaks for supper. They were getting tired of Vienna sausages and wanted to try a different eatery. They went to a place Phomello recommended, the restaurant at the Nomad Hotel.
While they were waiting for their sizzling plates to arrive, Angus announced, “My cell phone is vibrating. Who would even be calling us?” He retrieved his phone. “This is Angus.”
“Carlyle?” Angus recognized Captain Tyrone Sullivan’s voice. “When are you coming back to Austin?” Sullivan could not disguise the concern in his voice, although he made a valiant attempt.
“Oh, hello, Captain. Gee, I don’t know. We are having so much fun crashing planes, being attacked by lionesses and swatting mosquitoes and tse tse flies that we may not even come back.”
“Sorry.” Angus continued. “We are moving smoothly in our operation. It is not completely underway yet, but we are making some definite progress. It is too early for any big results, but if we can get things under control, when we are comfortable leaving it in the hands of our contacts, we may try to come back a couple of days early. I think we could do most of it by phone, since we will have to rely on intermediaries who understand the Masai language, anyway, you know, interpreters.”
“How are your injuries, Angus?” Captain Sullivan asked.
“I think they are good. Sore, but that is par for the course.”
“Listen, Angus. In case you haven’t been able to stay caught up on it, they are still discovering brainless bodies. He has branched out to other countries now—some in Scotland, Ireland, elsewhere. Is there anything we can help you with at this end?”
“Thanks, Captain. Not yet. We may need someone in your office there to get on the computer data base for research and get back to us, but we don’t have any information for you to run, yet. I am thinking it may be about three or four days. We’ll call as soon as we have something and that’s a promise. Skeeter wants to say ‘hi’ to you.”
Angus handed the phone to Skeeter. “Hi, Captain. I have been eavesdropping. Have you heard anything about Brad Cooper, yet?”
“Dave and Justy knew you two felt bad because you couldn’t go check on him before you left Austin. They ran up to Dallas a couple of days back to see him. He has been doing extremely well. He has been pushing himself to the max in re-hab and his mental outlook is improving. Dave and Justy gave him the lowdown on your activities and he is getting very interested in someone nabbing the guy that did this to him, naturally.” Sullivan replied.
“That sounds good—much better than I expected. We hope we will have something interesting to report to you from this end in a few days. Our juices are flowing—facts, rumors, something.”
“Okay, give us a call, and try to keep that Angus under control,” Sullivan signed off.
Skeeter handed the phone back to Angus. In the middle of the hand-off the cell phone started vibrating again.
“This is Angus.”
“Mr. Angus, this is Phomello. I have been trying to call you with my first report.”
“Phomello.” Angus formed the name with his mouth for Skeeter’s benefit. “Great, Phomello. Is anything happening, yet?”
“I went to the nearest Masai camp, outside of Garissa. They do have a few honey pots, but they are old and in use. They are not making them for anyone else or selling them. This tribe has about seventy people, all related, families. They have not heard any rumors of people wanting honey pots and no one has tried to steal any. They have also not heard anything from other, more distant, Masai tribes. My opinion, Mr. Angus is that it doesn’t really mean anything. They don’t communicate with other Masai tribes on a regular basis. It is kind of rare—the event of a marriage or something between members of two different tribes would be the only reason. So, just because they heard no rumor of it happening elsewhere does not mean it is not happening.”
“This is great, Phomello. You are off to a good start. You are able to question them without arousing suspicion?”
“Oh, yes, I am very careful. I just talk to my most trusted confidants and tell them secrecy is required because of a very scary crime connected with it. Tomorrow I am going to go to the other, more distant, Masai camps. I will try to go to all of them. Oh! I am making a test. Here is a picture.”
Phomello sent a photo of his own truck, showing the license plate. There was a colorful rooster sitting on top of the hood.
After a chuckle, Angus commented, “Very good, Phomello. The day after tomorrow, we may wish to go with you to these places.”
When Angus hung up, he said to Skeeter, “The tribes don’t communicate with each other often. So there are no rumors about the killer’s activity. But this is what I am thinking. Let’s say one of the tribes did find a way to make some extra money by selling honey pots. They would not broadcast that to other tribes. It would cut into their own sales.”
“Makes sense. That is just going to make our own job of detection more difficult. What’s for tomorrow, Angus?”
“We will decide who we want for our second contact here and meet with him. Then the next day we will all go out together—you, me, Phomello and the new guy. We will see if we can pick up any details with our own eyes,” he said. “The day after that, I have a surprise, just for you.”
“I am scared to find out what that is.”
“You will like it,” Angus reassured her.
“Did you notice entry number twelve on the menu awhile ago, Angus?”
“What was it?”
“Something called, ‘Camel Delicacy.’”
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.