WARNING: TYPOS AHEAD...
“I won’t ask again,” Big Burly said, clamping a hand around my neck, squeezing just enough that I rose onto my tiptoes.
“I’ve got the money,” my new “friend” said. All eyes went to the Russian-turned-DEA Agent.
“Where is it?”
“Upstairs.” He said it with perfect conviction. So much so that I believed him. Maybe it was the hand that suddenly released that helped nudge me into belief.
The DEA agent held up his bound hands. “I need them to get the money.”
“How much?” Big Burley asked, not moving an inch.
“Fifty grand in a safe. The rest, well, it may take —“
“You’re out of time, smart guy!”
“Right. You’re right, of course. It’ll take five minutes to put in the request. Maybe ten for the request to be confirmed and authenticated. The money’s in the Caymans.”
“Let’s go,” Big Burley said, grabbing my upper arm and dragging me towards the stairs. He did not untie the agent’s hands. “Go,” he barked.
The agent led the way, up the stairs, down a short hall and into a room with a single dainty desk that could’ve been on the set of _Bridgerton_.
“Wait,” Big Burley said, stepping into the room before our guide. He pulled me along as he searched thee near-empty closet and pulled out the single drawer of the desk which held no more than a yellow-lined legal pad and a pencil. “You’re playing games with—“
“If you’ll let me show you,” the agent said, stepping around the larger man. He went to the desk and did the most peculiar thing. He reach behind the back right corner, and must have pressed something, because something clicked and the top of the ancient wood rose half an inch.
The agent pulled the hidden compartment open slowly, probably for Big Burley’s benefit. He’d uncovered a hidden screen that was now booting up and in a second asked for a passcode.
“May I?” the agent asked.
He had Big Burley’s attention now. With a nod of his sweating head the agent went to work, and all I could think about was whether it was yet another bluff, and if it was, what the hell was I going to do next?
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