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Well, I couldn’t run through half of Nuuk, of course, even though I wanted. For the last decade, it had grown too much and I wasn’t in such extraordinary shape either. Instead, I just ran through a couple of blocks and then hopped into the first cab I saw—gasping for air and almost nesting myself in the driver’s lap. Then he drove me back to my place. While I was in the cab, I felt relatively safe because we were moving. When we reached my neighborhood, however, I started to realize I was going to be in constant danger from that moment on. And I didn’t even know the full extent of it yet!

It was a weird situation. Nobody in my neighborhood knew where I had been and nobody in the place I was coming from knew where I lived. Despite that, when I paid the driver and his car vanished down the street, and I turned around and walked toward the front door of my apartment building, I sensed someone quietly sneak up behind me. I was still dizzy and nervous from what had happened and it took me some moments to react. When I turned around at last, I did it just in time to accept a hard blow to the side of my head. I felt a terrible pain and then a huge black cloud quickly descended over me.

In a moment, I was on the ground. For a moment again, it seemed I had lost consciousness, but it was only for a moment. When I came back to my senses a few seconds later, there was no trace of my cameras. Everything else was in my pockets untouched: my wallet, credit cards, my gun…Only the cameras were missing!

I didn’t know what to think about it or how to explain it. It made no sense, which is why I had no idea what to tell Bobby when she appeared. For the past ten minutes, I’d been sitting at a cafe and nervously waiting for her to come and get her missing camera, and I wondered whether she would be mad with me or just disappointed.

Earlier in the afternoon, when I had been considering the situation, I had come to a curious conclusion. Only two people knew both where I lived and where my assignment was, and those people were Bobby Bjornson and Sharon Vorderbruggen. Without much thought, I put all the blame on Sharon, mostly for two reasons: firstly, she didn’t accept my phone call when I tried to reach her after the accident, and secondly, I remembered a very weird detail from the scene at the restaurant.

The car of the jerk that had set me up was some model of Hondsu. I didn’t see it well because the situation was too dynamic but it was a Hondsu for sure. Sharon’s car, which I “fixed” the previous night, was also a Hondsu—a Hondsu Amphibia. The most disturbing fact was not the coincidence itself, but that both vehicles had the same little dent on the left side of the front bumper. Back at the restaurant, I had noticed the damage before the idiot shot at the Red Dragan’s windows but I was too frustrated to assimilate it right away, and later on, I was too busy worrying about my life. After I had slept on it, however, the fact revived in my mind, seeming weirder than ever and it started eating me up.

At first, I didn’t grasp its entire seriousness, but when thought on it a little bit, I shuddered, hardly believing what I had done. If the car was the same one, I was simply doomed because it was literally plastered with my fingerprints and DNA fragments. When I thought a little bit more, I remembered how Sharon hadn’t bothered to take her gloves off during our act in the Hondsu and she had also put her dress on the back seat before lying on it—she was being careful to prevent the contamination of my DNA with hers. It meant that she and her helper had clearly set me up and I had been stupid enough to fall for it in return for a lousy blowjob. Oh, I was such an idiot! I was such a perfect fool!

I kept swearing at myself the whole time I was waiting in the cafe and I wondered what Bobby Bjornson’s real game was. Was she trying to use me as unscrupulously as Sharon had? Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing that yet. I had to wait for her to screw me over first and then I would know—that’s how it works for Murphy! I swore to myself again and took a sip of my drink. Suddenly, it had a sour taste.

After a couple of minutes, Bobby finally showed up and her arrival calmed me down a bit. I noticed her passing by in her car but because there was no vacant space around the cafe, she had to park in the nearby intersection. Thank God the car was not a Hondsu! She was driving some Sangi—maybe a Feng Shui or Quiver. After another couple of minutes, she was in the cafe with me.

“Hey!” she started cheerfully. “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, thank you.” I stood up but without going for a kiss. “And you?”

“I’m okay!”

We looked at each other and remained silent for a while. It was an awkward situation, as it usually is in such cases. I didn’t kiss her because I didn’t know if I was supposed to do so. We’d had sex, it was true, but it was just sex—not a date or a relationship with any form of commitment. We hadn’t even talked about that yet.

After a couple of seconds, the kissing moment passed completely. It was too late for it now but it was still early to start talking business—at least, not before we had sat down, which none of us did. Bobby couldn’t stand the awkwardness and caved first.

“Well, it’s weird, isn’t it?”

“It is,” I agreed.

“So you wanna come to my car?” she hesitantly proposed while looking at me fixedly. I looked back at her and the hair on my neck bristled. Knowing how stupid I was in such situations, her words felt like a death sentence to me.

“Why? Engine doesn’t want to start?” I asked grimly.

She didn’t answer but just turned around and slowly headed for the door. Like a ghost, I followed her. We slowly crossed the street in total silence, turned into the intersection where she had parked the car and approached it. All the while, I expected her dress to fall down, leaving her naked, but the thing was knee length, and it was totally impossible for me to step on its hem.

When we reached the vehicle, she opened the back door and explained nervously, “It’s a stupid situation, you know. The awkwardness will affect our business so I say let’s remove the tension first!”

To my surprise, I found myself shrugging! Speaking of how stupid men are, when it comes to sex, I ended up thinking that leaving my fingerprints in two cars wasn’t much different than leaving them in just one. Besides, Bobby didn’t have any gloves on and she wasn’t too careful with her hands during the act. When she lay on the seat and we started, she grabbed the back with her left hand and almost stripped it of its leather covering with her nails. Nevertheless, I was very careful not to touch anything else but her butt. Luckily, it felt nice both for me, and for her.

Incidentally, the entire “removing of tension” didn’t go without weird moments again. Remembering the previous time when we’d done this, I was expecting something strange to happen soon, and in the end, it did: at the very climax of the act, just when Bobby started puffing heavily in my face, she sharply stretched her leg to kick the door behind my back open. I hadn’t even noticed we had left it ajar. Afterwards, she quietly squeaked a couple of times and then we were through. Removing the tension was a fact.

“So someone stole it in front of your apartment building?” she asked, surprised, later on when we were back in the cafe.

“I was about to go inside and up to my place!” I said, still wondering what her reaction would have been if she knew, they had actually stolen two cameras from me, not just one. I was also glad we’d had sex before telling her about the accident, because I doubted she would have been up for it afterwards.

“It’s weird.” Bobby pursed her lips, almost indifferent about the loss, which left me quite surprised. “Who knew both where you lived and where you had been?”

I looked at her, irked. “It’s funny that you ask that,” I said, “because you did!”

She didn’t bother to defend herself. “I’m the last person to be interested in stealing my own camera, don’t you think? Besides, I’ve paid you already, haven’t I?”

“Yes, you have!” I agreed, groping with fingers for the bump on my temple. There was a good swell there; it had been produced by a gun handle. I doubted she would have enough strength to deliver such a blow. “Do you know someone who’s interested?”

Bobby slowly shook her head. “Many people could be interested but that’s not the point. The point is that they couldn’t have known what you were doing that afternoon.”

“Could be some rival organization.” I decided to play a little. “A sister of yours for example. Have you heard about Global Guards?”

She looked at me startled. “No. What about them?”

“I hear they’re after Chavez—just like you. I also hear they have taken on the task to save rhinos too. It seems weird that they have the same goal as you and you don’t know anything about them.”

“You hear too many things,” Bobby muttered and she suddenly pulled a wry face. “But how could you know this? Did they march in front of your office with banners and placards?”

“No. They came to my office with an offer too similar to yours!”

She looked at me, really alarmed now. I remained cool, and after a moment of waiting, I started improvising, all the while watching for her reaction.

“When I told them about Green Guards,” I went on, “they said they knew you. They said you were a face for a well-known crime syndicate, which wanted to push Greenspace out of the dope market in order to start dealing with the Chinese directly.”

Bobby Bjornson kept on looking at me grimly but she didn’t lose her temper. “It’s all bullshit! What’s the name of their organization again?” she asked after a while.

“Global Guards.”

“I’ve never heard of them.”

“Well, maybe it makes sense. You hadn’t heard of me as well before you came to my office. Your boss obviously doesn’t tell you many things!”

Bobby frowned. She looked at me with annoyance and then turned her eyes to the window. “As long as they’re after Chavez, it doesn’t matter what they say about us,” she went on, still looking out at the street. Nevertheless, she wasn’t too frustrated and something was telling me that she definitely had an idea who I was talking about. “Perhaps we should approach them instead of fighting. What did they want exactly?”

I gave a short but deliberate pause and then I said, “Just the same thing that you wanted from me—to spy on Chavez. They even used the same arguments to convince me!”

“And what did you answer?” She asked, ignoring my attempt to provoke her.

“Well, I was not convinced I could handle two cases simultaneously,” I lied. “I was afraid to lose my focus and I said I was going to call them back later.”

“Then they’re most probably the guys who stole my camera!” Bobby presumed almost without any interest now.

“Maybe,” I said vaguely.

She didn’t say anything else and just remained thoughtful. After a few seconds, her hand sharply reached into her purse and took an envelope out of it, putting it on the table between us. It was almost the same as the one she had given to me when we’d met in my office. Only it was a little bit thinner this time.

I looked at her inquiringly.

“It’s the rest of your payment,” the environmentalist explained. “It’s your ten grand.”

“And why is that?” I asked confused. “The job’s not done yet, is it? You still have no pictures!”

“So what?” Bobby said evenly. “You did what you had to. You couldn’t have known they were going to give you a bump on the head! Besides, I believe you still work for us. Right? We’ll be in touch soon to give you instructions on how you should proceed.”

She quickly closed her purse and stood up. I remained seated.

“By the way, about these Global Guards guys—” Bobby looked at me intensely before leaving. “I’m quite sure they’re trying to use you in some way or another. I would be very careful if I were you!”

Then she turned around and headed for the door.

“You know what? They warned me just the same thing—they said I should be careful with you!” I called after her when she was almost at the door. “Isn’t it funny?”

She turned her head to look at me for a brief moment but she didn’t stop. She only pulled a face to indicate that I was stupid and naive and that was all. She went out. I followed her with my eyes until she got into her car and slowly drove away. Then I thoughtfully looked back at the envelope on the table.

It was weird. I had done absolutely nothing to deserve the rest of my payment. I could think of only one reason why she was doing this: she was paying me to stay away from Sharon. Unless, of course, she’d had other secret plans for me, which in my ignorance I had failed to fulfill for her and now she wanted to keep the game going. Anyway, I would know the real reason quite soon, I guessed.

I slowly took the envelope, without even checking its contents, and stuffed it into my pocket. I threw five bucks for my drink on the counter and then went outside, feeling utterly dejected. Out on the street, I found a cab and told the guy to drive me to Chinatown, making him stop a few blocks away from the Red Dragon. Then I strolled down the street, still thinking. The dent on the front bumper of the Hondsu was not giving me a break. I needed to take another look at it despite the risk.

Unfortunately, my little investigation proved rather fruitless. A few minutes later, when I got close enough to the restaurant, I stopped and looked around anxiously. There were too many people in front of the Red Dragon. They were all Chinese. Some of them were installing a new glass door, and others were yelling at the first for not being able to bring food supplies into the kitchen. The situation was unlikely to change soon.

I stayed away for a while and didn’t dare to go to the car. Nevertheless, even from where I was standing, I could clearly see that the vehicle was a Hondsu Amphibia and it had the mentioned damage on the left side of the front bumper, just as I had been afraid of. The fact disturbed me a lot and made me wonder what fucking business the jerk who stole my Beijing could have had with Sharon. I was going to give her back her stupid camera anyway! The only possible explanation was that they were trying to set me up for the shooting.

With such dismal thoughts in my head, I walked away and looked for another cab to take me back home. Despite how badly I wanted to forget about all this, I was pretty sure I couldn’t leave it the way it was. My fingerprints were all over that car and it would be a terrible decision to leave them there. There was probably only one move worse than that—if I tried to steal the stupid car, and that was, actually, what slowly started to eat me from the inside all the way back home no matter how hard I tried to expel it from my mind.

©2016 S.T. Fargo

Eurasian Gambit—Chapter 9 | a science-fiction crime novel by S.T. Fargo

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