His chat with Bitsy makes Jason extremely unpopular. She demands credentials. Jason asks for Remington’s assurance that what he is going to say won’t come against him. Once he’s told he won’t be prosecuted, he reveals something that guarantees Bitsy will believe him.
Jason nodded. “The Harper Star Diamond.” Jason said politely, eyeing the others. “Moscow, 21st April, 2008. Five minutes before midnight, you received an anonymous tip….”
Bitsy blanched. “You weren’t even in Moscow then. You had witnesses, travel records—everything! It couldn’t have been you. We wanted you for that so bad! Do you know I lost my damn job because of The Harper Star Diamond?”
Jason nodded slowly. “Sorry about that. A man has to protect himself. As you say, witnesses, the whole shebang. An alibi isn’t much if it can be picked apart. Shall I tell you something that wasn’t in the papers? Perhaps give you a clue as to how I got in? That building was like Swiss cheese. There were so many access points….”
“Don’t I know that? I thought we had them covered.”
“You did, so I had to get creative. Your security passes were ridiculously easy to forge. Took me all of two hours to have a perfect copy. I was even able to hack into your computer and input myself as an employee. I used a pseudonym, of course. Norman Bates.” He grinned at his flagrant use of the infamous name from”Psycho”.
“I walked in right under your noses, snagged the diamond and got out and none the wiser.”
“You bastard! I should shoot you right now!” But she was laughing at his audacity. “How did you get out? I had that place locked down tighter than a nun’s nickers.”
“Yes, but that was well after I’d left. I nicked it near the start of the shift. It wasn’t noticed until nearly the middle. I’d been in and out before anyone figured it out. By the time you locked down, I was half way across town and headed out of the country. When we’re less pressed for time, I’ll tell you all about it.”
“All right,” she sighed. “I believe you. I don’t want to, but I do.”
“And you’ll take what I’ve said into consideration?”
“Consider it done. Anything else?”
“What food and beverages are being served?”
“You a picky eater?”
“I don’t want to end up at the receiving end of one of Orchid’s drugs.”
“I’ll find out and contact you later.”
“I suggest not letting anyone near the kitchen but the catering staff. Circulate with trays instead of leaving the food on a buffet.”
“I don’t control that,” she began.
“You do today,” Remington concluded. “Everything goes through you.”
“Okay, I’m to become Bitsy Hitler for the next few days.”
“Exactly. The function itself is enough to whet Orchid’s appetite. Do you know how many obscenely wealthy people will be there? Not to mention the fact that the Harper Diamond Company,” he pursed his lips, raising an eyebrow,” will have some of their best pieces on display.”
“How did you possibly fence a diamond that size?” Bitsy asked him.
“I didn’t. It was a commissioned job. The new owner was quite pleased with my work.”
“I don’t rat out my employers, Ms. Mitchell. If I did, I’d be out of a job. Suffice to say, both parties were eminently satisfied. It’s a tempting target. I’ll simply add a little icing on her cake. If she can take me out, she’ll feel she’s really accomplished something.”
“Doesn’t that scare you?”
He picked up his cup of coffee and his hands trembled slightly. Meeting Bitsy’s eyes over the rim of the cup, he blinked once, slowly. “I’m absolutely terrified.”
After the meeting, Taylor went to meet with Celeste to go shopping. Two other female agents went with her to provide security. As far as Celeste knew, these were Taylor’s girlfriends out to enjoy the day together.
The men went to the tailor shop. Walking in the old fashioned clothier, the three agents felt dangerously out of their element. Jason breezed in like he was born to it. A short, wiry man with gray hair and a bushy mustache met them at the door. He wore a tape measure around his neck and had a wristband full of pins. He carried a piece of tailor’s chalk.
He took Jason’s hand, clasping it warmly, greeting him in rapid Italian. Jason nodded, listening intently. Shaking his head, he indicated his three companions. Gesturing wildly, the older man raised his voice, apparently refuting something Jason said.
“I told you, Luigi,” Jason said just as loudly, switching to English. “You knew what I wanted when we spoke yesterday.”
“It could not be done, my friend. There was a flaw in the cloth. A huge one. There is no time to replace it and not enough material for three suits if I cut around it. Two I made from it, the third had to be different. I am most sorry, sir. It was unavoidable. The tall one, he is different.”
“Very well. I guess it’s not that important that he matches. He’ll be with me.” He pointed to Greg. “Very well, but I want a strongly worded letter to the manufacturer.”
“Already done, Signore. We wrote a note already. Here is a copy for your approval.” He handed Jason a sheet of heavy white paper.
The young thief read rapidly through it, signing with a flourish. “Excellent, Luigi. Perfect.” He turned to the FBI men. “Oi, you lot. They’re waiting.” He snapped his fingers at them.
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm