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Awakenings Chapter 2: Realizations, Page 9

Eric left his office at the Port of Oakland and started walking down the street towards the parking garage.  Suddenly, a young teenage boy stepped up and quickly asked, “Would you like to buy a magazine subscription to help support St. Elias Soccer?”  The boy held out an order form.

Eric’s first impulse was to ignore the boy and walk even faster.  Instead, he stopped and reached out for the order form.   “Thank you, I think I would, but I would like to take the order form home to think about what I would like to order.”

The boy was extremely polite. “Thank you sir, please take it home.  You can help support our soccer team either by ordering with the toll free number or by going to our web site.  The address is on the form. We take all major credit cards”

When Eric got to his car, before turning the ignition, he opened up the order form.  Inside was a slip of tissue paper with the words, “15620 Maritime Street, immediately.”  Eric realized how sweaty his palms were as he gripped the steering wheel to drive out of the garage and to the Maritime Street address, which was fairly close to his work address at the Port of Oakland.

Arriving at the Maritime Street address, Eric pulled up to the curb.  A few hundred feet up the street was parked a black sport utility vehicle with darkly tinted windows.  An arm appeared our of the drivers window and motioned for Eric to come forward.  Eric stepped out of his car and walked up the sidewalk to the front passenger door to the SUV.  The window rolled down and he heard the terse words “get in.”

Opening the passenger door to SUV and sliding in, the window closed back up.  Eric could now see that Juan was sitting in the drivers seat and that they were the only ones in the SUV.  Without starting up the vehicle, Juan turned on the radio to a rock and roll station.  “To mask our conversation from any bugs you might have planted on you.  So tell me what you have heard or seen.”

“Two FBI agents paid me a visit today.  They asked if any of our customs inspectors have been acting in any kind of suspicious manner.  They seem to suspect that a customs official may be on the take.”  Eric suddenly felt dirty.  “They also asked if we are finding anything out of the ordinary, in paperwork or otherwise, with the current batch of refrigerated cargo containers that contain grape juice concentrate from China.”

“What did you tell them?”

“That nothing suspicious has come up, but that they should probably check with the department of agriculture inspectors.  Why would the FBI be investigating cargo shipments of grape juice?  That should be the jurisdiction of the USDA.”

“We will figure out why.  Is there anything else?”

“No, they were very official and very brief.  I don’t think that they suspect me.”

“What made you decide to use a restaurant reservation to make a contact?”

“If my phone is bugged, I wanted it to sound innocent.  The person on the other end played the ruse to the hilt.”

“Just so you know, we have detected a bug on your cell phone.  Your move was smart.  Thank you for notifying us.  Contact us using the code word ‘Hornet” is you have anything more to share with us.  Stop using that cell phone to contact us.”

Eric sensed that the meeting was over.

Juan looked and Eric and said, “Goodbye, we will be in contact with you again soon.”

Continued ...     Back to Page 8