Who was the red-skinned man in a pith helmet?
February 1, 2014
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
“I will get some information, but I can see now, I have got to be more careful to keep from arousing suspicion. It will take at least two more days. I am telling you so that you will not be waiting anxiously for a call.” Phomello promised, after he placed a call to the homicide detectives.
“Thanks Phomello. We have something important we can do for a day. Just give us a report tonight, okay?” Angus made this request after he heard Phomello’s news.
“Okay, Angus. I can see your wheels turning. What are you cooking up?” Skeeter asked after Angus hung up the phone.
“I think we should take the marketplace thing up a notch.” Angus then called Dube.
“Dube? Can you make us a couple of honey pots? You have seen pictures of them. They are basically a reed tube with animal skin ends. Do you think you could make something that would pass?”
“I have seen many honey pots in my lifetime. I think I can make some reasonable copies. I will get right on that and try to have them there by noon.”
“Great. You are on the ball, Dube. And can you make them look used? Kind of put some dirt on them or something and rough-up the leather. Bring them to the Garissa Marketplace. One of us will meet you on the west side.”
“No problem,” was his reply.
Angus and Skeeter got themselves ready and walked a few blocks to the marketplace. There they bought a stick table, first. Then, they went through and bought some other inexpensive items. “When I got to thinking about the fake ceremonial masks they were selling here, I got a brainstorm—I realized that we could try to sell some fake honey pots. Let’s scour the place for the best location and set up our booth.”
“Booth? Angus our stick table is not exactly a booth!” Skeeter could not keep from laughing.
“Well it is almost as good of a booth as anyone else has. There are some Cadillac booths out here, but not many,” Angus responded with a grin and a shake of the head.
When they had selected a good spot to secretly photograph from, Angus said, “I will spread these few things out and you go by the west entrance and see if you can catch Dube with the honey pots.” Angus instructed, before checking his wallet for the different monies he had gotten to facilitate any need for making change. “I don’t have as much as I really need, but I will just sell some of the things for whatever they should offer, including trades. I will have to put on my drama-face.”
When Skeeter got back with three honey pots that Dube had constructed, Angus gestured toward a stick chair and said. “I bought that from the booth on the right down there for you to sit in and try to secretly take photographs of buyers. It will be hard but you might come up with something. I will be the seller, for now. Dube has been quite industrious this morning.”
As they baked more in the hot sun, Angus was able to sell a few of the items, pretending to dicker with the buyers. Skeeter held her cell phone behind her purse and secretly snapped photos. It was a smooth operation and no one was aware.
“I truly cannot take much more of this heat, Angus,” Skeeter admitted while fanning her face with a piece of paper.”
“Yeah, we will go in just a few more minutes. I will turn the stick-table upside down and we can use it for a large basket to carry the goods back to our rooms.” Angus was feeling the heat himself.
“Do you think…” Skeeter’s sentence was interrupted by something totally unexpected. A man who had been walking down the aisles of the marketplace pointed to some items on Angus and Skeeter’s stick table.
“Those are fake!” He was heard saying this to his walking companion as he seemed to be pointing to the honey pots.
He was a tall, beefy older man with sun-reddened skin. He had on a pith helmet, khakis, and steel-rimmed eyeglasses.
When Skeeter gained her composure she was able to get a quick photo of the back of him. She and Angus locked eyes.
“Did you hear his accent? I will gather our stuff up, while you try to get a better picture of that guy, Skeeter. Be extremely careful, now. Don’t blow our cover!”
As Skeeter tried to get herself into position for the shot, she looked down and noticed her cell phone was dead. She quickly withdrew a spare from her purse, and when she looked up again, the red-skinned man was gone.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.