Miami – Monday, Feb. 24, 1:00 p.m. EST
Lin sauntered up the gangway of the Angelfish followed by two willowy women, both taller than he was. One was wearing tight jeans and a black tube top with stilettos, the other strappy sandals and a short white dress. Hendrik greeted them and showed them to the upper deck, where Torenmaas was waiting.
“Theo! After all we’ve been through lately, I brought you a special present,” Lin said, shaking Torenmaas’ hand and glancing back at the women, one on each side. "Christal and Belle,” he said. “You pick.”
“Ladies,” Torenmaas said, smiling at each. “Welcome to the Angelfish, my home away from home. See those lounge chairs on the lower level?”
“Hendrik will show you the way. Get some sun, have a drink. There’s a changing room with bathing suits and towels, a bar and a fridge. Jimmy and I need to discuss some business alone.”
The women sought guidance from Lin, who nodded.
Torenmaas tipped his chin at Hendrik, who escorted the women downstairs.
“You’re no fun anymore,” Lin said.
“I appreciate the gesture,” Torenmaas said.
A twenty-something woman in a bikini top and thong arrived from a staircase on the opposite side of the yacht.
“This is Lana,” Torenmaas told him. “My girlfriend.”
Lin cackled. “OK, Theo. I see.”
“Perhaps you misunderstand. She is actually my girlfriend, Jimmy, and she’s a law student,” he said. “We met at an art opening.”
Lin raised an eyebrow.
Lana walked over and kissed Torenmaas passionately. “Nice to meet you, Jimmy,” she said, shaking Lin’s hand. “I wanted to check on my darling,” she added, turning back to Torenmaas.
“Do you need anything?”
“Not at the moment,” Torenmaas said. “You study. It’s fine.”
Lana gave him another kiss and stroked his cheek. “You are so understanding.” Facing Lin, she smiled. “Contracts exam.” She sauntered back to the staircase and disappeared.
Hendrik came back with two scotches, which he left on a table.
“Let’s catch up,” Torenmaas said.
“What the hell,” Lin said, waving toward the women. “If I’m not having that, I might as well have this.”
They held up their glasses to one another and drank. Behind them, the high rises of Miami
Beach glistening against the clear blue sky.
“What are you really here for, Jimmy?”
“What do you mean?”
“What else do you want?”
“You do have a point,” Lin said. “I want to discuss the shipping date.”
“No. I told you, Jimmy,” Torenmaas said. “I am out.”
“You can’t be serious. With a few modifications, this deal can still happen. But we have to pounce the moment the rebel leadership regenerates—which in my estimation will take place within the week.”
“Even if someone takes Keng’s place, the rebels don’t have enough money. The source has dried up. They’re not going to be sticking their fingers in World Bank coffers again.”
“Come on, Theo. You know how that works. They’ll be back in the market by the end of the month, and when they dig around for shippers, we need to be there.”
“I’m out. I’ve made up my mind.”
“Not even to recoup your losses?”
“Make no mistake. I’ve thought about that long and hard, but I’m too old for this cyber shit,” Torenmaas scoffed. “You know, after you tipped me off about that asshole Bolokov, I had my cyberteam dissect his every move. Now, I know for sure that he was the son of the bitch responsible for that video of me with Channarong. He actually hired a team to take real videos of me—you know, to show guilt by association. It’s old school, and it’s bad enough. But, Jimmy, we’re in a world of deep fakes now. And all these bank hacks and analytics and AI—that’s all something else. I don’t need it. My cargo business goes on sale next month. I’m retiring. Raven wants to help me with the philanthropy. And, otherwise, there’s Lana. So, you see, I’m done. You’ve heard of quitting while you’re ahead?”
“You’re not joking,” Lin stated flatly, taking another swig.
“You never know how much time you have left, right? I’d rather spend it lounging on the Angelfish here with Lana and watching the partiers at the Iguana Pool on Venetian Island than scratching my ass with inmates in a prison yard. Understand? I can give you a few names, if you want.”
“That won’t be necessary. I wanted to finish this deal together, that’s all. But I have my own contacts. I can move on.”
“You do that, Jimmy.”
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