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Awakenings Chapter 2: Realizations, Page 3

Joe returned to the winery to work on inventorying supplies before the coming harvest and to clean equipment.

Eric answered the knock on his office door, “Come in”.  Seeing the tall dark haired and pony-tailed guy in a tailored Italian suit who opened the door, he masked his nervousness with a tight smile as he also stood up to offer a greeting handshake.  “Good afternoon Juan.  What brings you here?”

“Eric, just remember I was never here.  I have a message that I cannot deliver by phone or by e-mail.” 

Eric looked nervously at Juan and placed a finger on his lips.  He gently grabbed Juan’s coat sleeve and guided him out the door and down the hall past other office doors.  It was a good thing that he was the only one in this group of offices on this late Tuesday afternoon.  Glancing at Juan, he saw the security badge hanging around his neck that had let him into the building.  Soon they came to the men’s bathroom.  Opening the door and entering, he turned on the very noisy ventilation fan.  Eric then whispered, “We cannot be sure that my office isn’t bugged”.

Juan gave Eric a stern look.  “That is why I was sent here today.  My boss thinks that we are being watched. “

“Who does he think it is?”

“Have the Yakuza been trying to smuggle any drugs in?”

“Not that I am aware of.  However, we have no unusual investigations going on, only the usual screening for drugs and bombs.  Yakuza?”

“Don’t ask too many questions.  Don’t you remember what happened to the Richmond Chief Customs Inspector?”

With a sudden stab of intense fear, Eric recalled how the body of the Port of Richmond Chief Customs Inspector had been found washed up on Alcatraz.  The authorities had spent the last 6 months investigating it.  The body had been badly decomposed, leaving only scant evidence, but the rumors were that they suspected the Mexican Mafia.

“Juan, you know that my lips are always sealed.  Your people pay me very well.  I am not stupid.”

“Just don’t get stupid.”  Juan gave Eric a hard stare directly into his eyes. “We know where your children live.  If you see or hear anything unusual, call the normal contact phone number and say a sentence that includes the word ‘Tiburon’.  We will then arrange a meeting so that you can tell us what you know.”  Without another word, Juan turned suddenly and walked out of the bathroom door, not looking back.  Eric had a sudden urge to urinate.

Joe did housekeeping work in the tasting room as 5:00 PM rolled around.  Sure enough, a BMW Z-4 pulled up, and out stepped a tall blonde guy.  Joe opened the door, “Good afternoon Roger, thank you for coming”.

Roger smiled. “This is too good a chance to taste some good wine on my way home.  I am not in a hurry; my wife is taking the kids to a cub scout meeting this evening.”

Stepping behind the wine tasting bar, Joe told Roger, “Taste any wine you want.”

Roger studied the wine tasting list.  “I have always loved your Petite Sirah, how about some of the 2002 Reserve?”

Joe poured Roger and himself full glasses.  “Like I said on the phone, I need a favor.”

Continued ...     Back to Page 2