Miami – Thursday, Feb. 20, 4:00 p.m. EST
Scowling, Torenmaas waited in his car, idling in a strip-mall parking lot along Coral Way. It was rush hour. People were picking up groceries, stopping at the ATM, grabbing take-out on the way home. Headlights, brake lights and traffic lights formed an impromptu show, as competing music escaped car windows.
Lin pulled into the spot next to his, facing the opposite direction. He parked half-in, half-out of the space, and lowered his window.
“I hate this place,” Torenmaas said. “And you’re five minutes late.”
“I love it—no security cameras. You know that,” Lin said. “Now, what’s the urgency?”
“I told you I would handle the reporters.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“My niece’s accident out on the Key last night?”
“Let me be clear: If you do anything like that again, your business in Miami is dead, and if anything happens to my niece, you will be too.”
“Hold up, Theo, you’re pissing before your pants are down. No need for such an attitude. I didn’t touch your niece, and I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“The hell you don’t.”
“I told you I’d leave the reporters to you, and I did.”
“You are the only one I told that they were coming,” Torenmaas hissed. “If you didn’t arrange the accident, who did?”
“How should I know? You keep blaming me for things I didn’t do. First that video. Now this. Maybe I should be the one threatening to kill your business in Miami—or you.” A pedestrian holding a flimsy plastic bag of groceries bumped into Lin’s car on the passenger side. Lin startled at the noise. “Pull out of the deal. I’ll find another shipper.”
“Is that what you want?”
“It’s what you want, apparently.”
Torenmaas glared at him.
“Look, Theo, we completed all the groundwork. You have the bulkers, logistics, customs agents and dock workers. The banks are on. The products are ready to move, and the buyer is demanding the shipment. But you’re dragging your feet. Why throw it away? What I want is to finalize the deal—or I waste a lot of time and money. If we’re going to move now, you have to be on board. What’s wrong with you? What are you doing, Theo? Until your niece entered the picture, we weren’t having problems.”
“No, until Channarong showed up dangling in his office, we were not having problems. She’s a symptom of the problem, not the problem.”
“We need to get this deal done.”
“OK, Jimmy, let’s say you are telling the truth. If I accept that you didn’t have anything to do with Raven’s accident, then you need to accept that something is off. Find the son-of-a-bitch who did this. Then we’ll know whether to go through with this deal.”
“Alright. I’ll ask around, and see what I can find, but if you’re still dragging your feet after the weekend, I’m going to find another cargo guy,” Lin said, zipping his window closed. “Later.”
Torenmaas watched the luxury sedan glide away. If this deal isn’t done in a few days, it’ll be for good reason.
Copyright © by Wolf Bahren. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher with “permission requests” in the subject line at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.