Time to secretly photograph the suspicious people.
January 11, 2014
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
“Ow! Ow! Ow!” Angus hollered. Skeeter was pouring hydrogen peroxide directly into the deep gouges in his back. He was prone on a couple of towels he had laid out on the bed in his room.
“Gotta do it, Angus,” Skeeter said in a slightly patronizing manner. “I can’t make you go to a doctor, but the minute we get back to Austin, I think you ought to go to one.”
“They’ll never believe it.”
“If you wait until then, they may not have the right medicine to deal with it. Maybe you should go while we are here. Just like they probably have more antivenin for poisonous bites here, they may have more medicine for lion-related injuries here,” Skeeter advised.
“I’ll pass!” Angus was emphatic.
“What if you called up Dr. LeBraun for some advice about this?”
“I’ll wait a couple of days.” Angus recalled his tortuous days in the hospital when he was recovering from the gunshot wounds that fractured his leg. He remembered how pent-up and confined he felt, how impotent. Then he thought of Silas and anger boiled up inside of him. I hope he rots in hell.
“It looks good, actually, Angus. It is still red and swollen around the scratches, but it is a little less so each day, but what if these wounds close up with some kind of weird bacteria in there and it festers. They will have to open it back up.”
“Well, you’re just a cock-eyed optimist!” But, you are right. Let’s wait a couple of days and I’ll try to get a hold of Dr. LeBraun. Let’s try to get our spies well-organized. If we are confident about their abilities, we may be able to go back a couple of days early.”
* * *
Phomello was meeting Angus and Skeeter in the coffee shop of the Almond Resort for breakfast. He had agreed to help them and they would give him more detailed instructions than they had the previous day.
“So, Phomello, tell us what you are going to do for us.” Angus wanted to make sure he had everything correct and to the letter.
Phomello began. “You are looking for someone who is committing horrible crimes, murders. You need to catch this person because the longer it takes, the more people may die. To catch this person you need to find out how he is getting honey pots from the Masai. Is he stealing them? Is he buying them? Most importantly, who is he? Or is it a she, or is it a group of people?”
“Go on,” Angus prodded.
“My job is to go talk to the Masai, watch suspicious activity and make daily reports to you, on what I have learned—wherever you are. You advise that I also keep a small logbook, if I can do so without calling attention to myself.”
“Good!” Angus exclaimed.
Although Phomello was Somali, he could communicate well with the Masai.
“How many Masai tribes are there around here, Phomello?” Skeeter asked.
“Oh, about five, fairly close, but there are many scattered all over Kenya. There are many in Somalia and Tanzania, as well. Why did you decide to begin the search in Kenya?” Phomello asked. It was a very intelligent question and this impressed the homicide detectives.
“It was mainly a hunch,” Angus answered with a smile. He remembered Laroux Dimitri’s psychic tip. He also remembered studying a map of Africa for about a week, trying to get inside the killer’s head. He drew charts, made lines, until he pinpointed the most likely spot for such activity. “Many things went into it. We could be wrong, but we do not believe it is terrorists. We feel it is a sophisticated operation and that the person would not want to operate in high risk areas. Because of all the turmoil in Africa, Kenya has been the safest, for a period of time. We feel he has extensive knowledge of African art and artifacts. He may even be a collector himself,” Angus explained.
Skeeter added, “We don’t even think he is African, himself—probably European—but he comes here often and may even have an apartment here, or stay in a hotel for extended periods. Money to operate with seems to be no problem for him.”
“Here is a cell phone that we have gotten for you. We have entered our various phone numbers on speed dial. You will have to make sure it stays charged up. Will that be a problem for you?” Angus asked.
“No, no problem.”
“What are you going to do with the cell phone?” Skeeter asked.
“I am going to keep it charged up,” Phomello answered with a laugh. “I am going to make a telephone report to you daily at six p.m.”
“What else?” Skeeter asked.
“I am going to use this camera feature on the phone to secretly photograph suspicious people, transactions and vehicle license numbers.”
“Good!” Angus and Skeeter both chimed at once.”
“Okay. Have you got your brother lined up to cover the store for you?”
“Yes, it is okay, “ Phomello answered.
“If you need to ask us a question, don’t hesitate to speed dial us at any time. It could be very important. Even if you are having trouble with a cell phone feature, we will advise you. We are going to practice for a few days while we are still here in Kenya to test our system, then, when we are back at Austin Homicide headquarters, you can continue to make your daily reports. What time of day are you going to make the reports?” Angus asked.
“When you are back in Austin, I am going to still make the reports at six p. m. It will be six p.m. Austin time, however.”
“Excellent!” Angus exclaimed. “We are sorry for the inconvenience, but it is important for us to get the reports when we are not groggy or half-asleep so that we can think straight.”
“We are going to contact one more person while we are here, as a back- up,” Skeeter added. He won’t be working as much as you, but if you get sick, or your truck breaks down or something we will have another person we can depend on in your absence. We will introduce you to him in a day or two.”
“As soon as both of you have practiced for a few days, Skeeter and I will go with you both on some of your excursions into the Masai territory—we will see if we can pick up any pertinent information, ourselves. It will also help us have a mental picture of the lay of the land when we are back in Austin,” Angus explained.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.