"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." Anton Chekhov


Monday, March 11, 2013

18. Plans Thwarted

Jamieson Cantrell was enraged.  Someone was going to pay for this fuck up, and pay dearly.  “Keep looking!” he snarled into his cell phone before slamming it onto his desk, not caring when it shattered into small black and silver shards.  Abruptly pushing to his feet with a barely contained fury, he stalked to his liquor cabinet, grabbed the closest decanter and sloshed a heavy measure into a glass.  After a deep swallow, he turned toward the floor-to-ceiling windows in his office and gazed unseeing at the lights across San Francisco Bay. 

Not knowing  how long it would take Valentine to get his hands on the book yesterday, Cantrell had left him to it.  After all, the man had no choice but to do as instructed unless he wanted to face severe repercussions.  But, by late evening Cantrell began to wonder why Valentine had yet to appear, had even begun to consider that something might have gone wrong, that maybe Valentine wasn’t as clever or talented as expected.

When there was still no sign of the man by dawn, Cantrell sent one of his men over to investigate and watch the house.  By late afternoon, with no trace of activity from the house or any indication Valentine was even inside, Cantrell told his man to enter the house, and he would be there shortly.  Not being a man used to waiting for anything, he’d called for his driver and marched out of his office. 

There was no one in the house—not even the body he half-expected to find—though it was clear Valentine had taken off in a hurry when the door to a well-concealed safe room was found ajar, a mistake Daniel Valentine would never have made unless something, or someone, had spooked him.   Cantrell had found nothing in the house or the safe room to explain the overturned table, the slightly sour smell of vomit in the bathroom, a partially closed drawer in the bedroom, though it didn’t take much to put together even these meager clues:  Valentine was on the run.  Rage building, he’d left his man to search the house, the neighborhood, looking for anything to point them in the right direction for finding the thief. 

 Knocking back the remains of his drink, Cantrell growled in frustration as he walked back to the cabinet and filled his glass again.  Thoughts swirling with violence, he licked his lips as he imagined tearing the thief into nice bite-sized pieces.  And if this maneuver was an attempt to fuck with him, or try to make a deal of some kind, well…apparently he hadn’t been clear enough with Valentine, but when he got his hands on the man there would be no further misunderstandings.  Negotiating anything wasn’t on the table. 

 And where the hell was Dominic?  He’d left messages, emails, called the London office, and set his IT people to locate him—which they hadn’t.  Jamieson Cantrell ground his teeth.  Could Dominic even comprehend the embarrassing position he’d put his father in?  A man who ruled a financial empire, had dinner with movers and shakers around the globe, golfed with presidents and potentates.  And he couldn’t find his own goddamn son. 

He reached for the office phone.  When his call was answered on the first ring, Cantrell barked, “I have a job for you.  In my office, now.”


  1. Well, the silly man made a plan, and the maniacal humor inherent in the universe dictates the best flayed plans of mice and men can and will go astray...

    1. Plan. Now there's a four-letter word...