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Awakenings Chapter 4: Listenings, Page 6

“I mentioned that I knew someone at the University who might be able to help translate the notes from Elise’s cousins in Milan.  I would like to invite him up to the shop so that he can look at some of the notes and help us in translating them.”

Joe found himself at a tense decision point.  He badly wanted to know what was in the notes, but he really wanted to keep the secrets in these notes.  He made a split second decision. “Sure, that would be helpful, when did you have in mind?”

“Well certainly before you get caught up in the harvest.  Let me see if he is available for Thursday afternoon.”

“That would work best for me.  I am also getting ready for the Jack London Square Wine Show & Competition.  Our 2004 Old Vines Zinfandel took a gold medal and Best of Class.”

“That is awesome!  I have always said that you are one of the best winemakers of the region!   Would 3:00 PM on Thursday work?”

“I think that will work.  I will bring some more of the photographs of notes that they sent us. And remember, I really need to keep this very quiet.”

“Alright Joe, I will see on Thursday.”


Eric felt more relaxed when he got home to his apartment.  He felt like he had gotten the better side of the deal with the FBI.  Instead of being arrested, going to trial, and probably prison, he had agreed to turn states evidence and his children were being protected.  He even got to keep and spend this bribe money, and any more bribe money that Juan and Robert sent his way.  It would be part of his cover.   He only had to tell the FBI everything that they told him and he had this weird tracking device planted in his body that, according to the woman FBI agent who had interrogated him, was undetectable by even the most advanced bug sweeping devices.

Going into his bedroom, he saw that his message light was flashing on his answering machine.  Eric pushed the play button.  Twelve messages!  He was only gone overnight.  Eric walked into the kitchen to get a glass of scotch while listening to the first telemarketer message.  He pressed delete nine times until he got to one from a kid wanting to sell magazines to support his soccer team.  Eric found himself suddenly sweating as he restarted the message.  “Good evening, my name is Joey from Saint Elias Soccer; we are offering some fantastic discounts on magazine subscriptions.  You can call us at 728-9830, or come down to 3330 Clifford Street and fill out an order form.  Thank you and have a good day.”

Eric recognized the code word of “Saint Elias”.  This, and the rest of the message, was a direction to come down to the address referred to in the message.  Right away.  He had only been gone overnight.  Eric downed his scotch and changed his clothes.

Eric arrived at 3330 Clifford Street in Oakland in late afternoon to find a non-descript white Victorian that looked like a thousand other Victorians in this city.  He found an open space along the curb and parallel parked his Honda.  Getting out, he walked up to the door and rang the doorbell.  After a minute, he heard some footsteps and the door opened.  The boy who had passed him the note at the parking garage opened the door. “Hello, oh!” and the boy quickly stepped back and called for someone.  Juan stepped up to the door with a tense look.  “Come in, quickly.  Were you followed?”

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