Jumping Jack: Screwed Again, part 1
I had just knocked my last smoke off topside, right into the drink, when I saw the ship closing in. Even from a distance, I could see she was a honey. A fifty-footer, twenty across the beam. Twin engines for certain—I bet a thousand horse each. She had her foils out, that sleek hull teasing the waves with the barest kiss. She must have cost a fortune. Not that Jorgi would have paid it. He probably just plugged the owner and left him for shark bait. All so he could send that sweet heartbreaker after me. I guess I should have been flattered.
The Burnt Sienna whined as I spun the wheel and gunned her engines. There was no way my aging cigarette boat could outrun a lethal beauty like that. But, what the hell. Why disappoint Jorgi by making it too easy?
Broke my heart, though. This was shafting such a sweet, sweet deal. The Sienna's hold was stuffed with assault rifles, grenades, mines, artillery. I even had those starlight scopes every fence had promised me I would never get my hands on.
All packaged and ready to go. A revolution in a box, just like Jorgi wanted. OK, yeah, I was three weeks late. But who knew the son of a bitch was so particular about deadlines?
Well—-I did, for one. But I figured he might make an exception for his old pal, Jackson Avery. So much for that.
Jorgi had planned on using that little care package to net a lifelong dream: his very own Caribbean nation. Of course, San Fredo was barely big enough to call an 'island,' let along a 'nation,' and ten years of black-market profiteering and free trade policy had done in whatever Treasury it once had. But I guess the guy with the most guns can call a place whatever he wants. San Fredo was about to have one hell of an abrupt change of government, and Jorgi was going to make damn sure his administration would be the last one left when the bullets stopped.
He was gonna have to put down three other cartels to make that happen, but the Sienna's cargo would see to that. Yeah, this morning I had been a boat ride away from sharing a hand-wrapped, Churchill-sized, Havana Boliver with El Nuevo Presidente, followed by a long, lazy year on the sun-kissed beaches of Kingston. Only a few hours later and Jorgi was already cutting government expenditures, starting with me.
The Sienna's engines were nearly full out, but the hydrofoil was still closing in. I threw another look behind me, and this time saw old One-Eye checking me out from the front deck. Jorgi had sent his very best man. How touching.
I was wondering what other 'specialists' Jorgi would have waiting for me, when I saw the cove.
That was new. Must have passed by that island a hundred times, but never saw that before. But there was enough fog choking that cove that I might just be able to give the hydrofoil the slip. Not like I had a choice. It was the cove or a reunion with One Eye. And he was probably still pissed about that time he damn near got a hysterectomy when I slipped into South Miami Hospital and switched his rhinoplasty records.
I cut the wheel as hard as I dared. For once I wanted a partner, so I could scream at him to dump the cargo and lose the extra weight. Instead, all I could do was punch the engines into the red and keep them there. I was going to lose the boat anyway. Might as well blow it apart. God damn Jorgi anyhow. I had had the Burnt Sienna for years. She was the best little ship, and I was gonna hate losing her.
I could make out a little town up on a hill, just above all that fog. Some kind of mansion right up on the summit. Below that, nothing but white stuff, which was damn odd, by the way, for a sunny Caribbean afternoon.
Whatever. I had to ditch the boat fast and find a place to hide on that island until One Eye gave up. Probably cost me the Sienna five times over in satellite calls to get my ass back to the States. But after that, I was gonna find a way to let Jorgi know how 'disappointed' I was in him.
His men almost got me. They came real close. I was getting spray on my back, blowing forward from the foil. The first shots slamming into the hull. But then I hit the fog and —- bam! —- gone.
Not just the spray. The hydrofoil. The roar from their engines. One Eye. The whole thing. Gone. Just like that. I killed my engines. Nothing but fog, and the waves lapping against the Sienna’s hull.
Somehow I already knew this was not a good thing. But I had to get through the mist and see the shore before I knew for certain that I was really, truly, spectacularly screwed. Because that was no quiet Caribbean town I was looking at. It was a small city. And it looked like something straight out of Howard. Robert E.
"Aw, no, no, no, no," I said. "This I do not need."
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