Under the Boardwalk - Cover

Under the Boardwalk

Copyright© 2023 by Lapi

Chapter 8: A Wise Man!

Mr. Chang (Chiang I found out later) took Gina aside. He was in his 80’s but I still had a twinge of jealousy.

“You are wise to have Thomas to remain by your side. I am certain you know many feel a woman has no place in an ‘organization’ like this. Many just wait for you to fail, then will try ‘eat you alive’ before they take over.”

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean was often said by The Master: ‘A wise man questions himself, a fool, others.’ It is perhaps for the best you use a man like Thomas to hide behind. You know he will try to protect you by doing those things you are incapable of performing.”

That sort of set Gina back. Up until he said that she thought her plan perfect. No one would dare stand up to her once this mess with Vito was taken care of. No, not with good old Tommy tagging after her, cleaning up her mistakes and running interference with the other ‘families’. Yes, her plan was perfect. She had made him forget the ‘errors’ of his time with Mona. As his wife, anything she asked he would do for her.

Mr. Chiang continued. “You know of course they wait for you to show your weakness. The very fact you must rely on another than yourself will set things they wish into motion. You do realize, when the proper time comes, if no ‘accident’ befalls Thomas, he will leave you when he sees you scheme more than your sister ever could.”

This was not going the way she envisioned. She had to think now. Cleveland and Detroit were anxiously awaiting the word to go. Included in the mix an heir-apparent or two were all too-eager to state what they thought she should do. They were like jackals awaiting the weakening of their prey. There was little time left for Gina to think, lest decisions would be made by someone else. The price of a plane would be a mere token in exchange for control of even a part of her father’s empire. Talk about pressure!

She stiffened her resolve, walked back to Tommy and not knowing what else to do, said to him: “You must go. You are a ‘distraction’ to me now please go. There is too much going on, I must clean up this mess about my father. Please leave, I cannot marry you. It would not look very good.” She then was led away in the ‘protecting arms’ of her new, would be suitors.

One would think it was a dream, a bad dream; but in Tommy’s life something like this was expected to happen. There were no recriminations, threats, tears or further questions. Those had all long since been a part of the break-up with Mona so Gina doing it was more of the same thing. ‘Better to find out now’ he thought. By now, Thomas had steeled himself to accept only with a ‘grain of salt’ what the D’ Amati family told him. ‘I knew it was never the truth nor the whole story they said’ he thought to himself.

There were but a few ‘personal’ items back home. Home. I would find a new home now as well as speak with E; there were certain things Gina would not do and to alienate him into actions against her was one of them. I called Aimee, she and now Ashley were instructed to gather the desired items from the hotel and send them to Sandy wherever she ended up at. Aimee was still preparing a place for Eileen and I asked her to let E know that was still happening, so not much had changed about some help recovering. I made another call, this time to the new girl Sandy. There must have been some bond the two of us had established since she immediately agreed to do whatever I asked, including going to London, Paris and Milan to gather my few things. I told her to do some shopping for herself there too.

She must have been very intelligent I thought when I later heard she had taken the 650-XR as her means of conveyance. There would be Hell to pay when and if Gina ever found out but it seemed a fitting gesture. Even a $86 Million jet had some value as a bargaining chip. The fact Gina was doing this control thing of hers probably meant Vito was not around. If he was she would be playing a dangerous role with trying to be ‘The Capo’.

Tommy was driven to the Airport. Tommy’s luck, good luck really, even though he did not know it then, continued. One seat on the American flight 2746 and it left near midnight to Miami, then another American flight 931 would go on to Argentina. The $8,316 fare seemed a bit high but flying only sixteen or seventeen hours was important now and ‘the seats in First cabin lay flat so I could sleep some’ he gleefully murmured to himself. ‘Arriving in morning gave me an extra day,’ made the fare seem a fair exchange, almost though he knew it wasn’t.

The boys in Houston had previously arranged passports and Visa sheets for Mr. and Mrs. Angelo for several planned visits with his bride and I would also have time in Miami for some other things. It was not for the honeymoon planned, but we all know how good a plan was, right?

Sandy would be collecting some extra cash and funds along with various banking documents for me but unless she met me somewhere, use of those funds would be delayed a bit. The more I think about Sandy, the more people like her meant to me. ‘Ask and you will receive’ from them unlike some I could think of. I would do something nice for her to show my appreciation. Her time with Gina now would be limited in any event at least her future would be somewhat more secure with me.

I had much to plan for and consider now. I had kept only one cellphone, a private one with no GPS chip. My flight was a few hours away yet so I had enough time in Vegas before this flight to have three of the active tracker implants removed by the Vegas Medico. The other two devices in me were passive and would require more time and a specialist to remove.

While in Miami I got some extra cash, a few clothes, off the rack at the airport mind you, and confirmed Hong Kong with Lufthansa as my next stop after Argentina. Perhaps Sandy could meet me there. I had a decent amount of cash but Sandy would have a new identity for me and several clean credit cards. I really did not know what I was going to do or where but whatever it would be I wanted a good and fresh start, and she would have a job no matter what.

From BG times. (Before Gina) I had cached some exotic cars a former drug lord had imported for South America. A dozen or two were still in a warehouse in Montevideo, Uruguay. Our, I should say my former business interests here also were sold to a Mr. Carlos Esperanza. I called him when the plane landed, he came for me himself, which was unexpected. On the way to his home, also a surprise, I explained what my current situation was and asked him for a favour.

“You and your people have made me a very wealthy man. Please ask away and if it is possible I would be glad to oblige you, my friend.”

I would like to cash a personal check with you. I believe I have enough on me but things may change. Your country has a thing about non-peso withdraws and it would be seen as business income for you.”

“It should be no problem, how much money and which country funds do you need, I have several types at my home.”

“$50,000 -100,000 would be fine and most European currency would help until one of my friends brings me more cash and new financial documents next week or so. A ride later today back to the airport would also help. My flight out is at 4:55 pm with Lufthansa.”

“We shall have you there in plenty of time; now come, relax in my home it is nearby.”

Home, there was that word again, hearing it almost brought tears to my eyes. Kidding, I stopped crying at three when my grandmother passed away and I got sent away to caregivers.

“I thought your home was nearby, when do we reach it?”

“We have been on my land some time now, the air cover above us helps patrol the road to my home, the rest of the land is for one of my passions, raising some of the finest horses this side of Spain. My daughter will follow in my footsteps, perhaps?” He added, “I hope anyway!”

As we approached the main house I saw, in the distance, the things he obviously was so proud of; his daughter, Matia and one of those horses. Even from this far away one could see why he was so proud of both.

As I got near, Carlos left me to get some cash. I heard, “You are new groom for me, no?”

“Not really Princess but no sane man would ever disagree with you and not want to be around you. If you were a little older you could not chase me away with a stick.”

I watched her ride around the rink. At times it is easier for an outsider to be much more objective than someone closer to the situation. Today was one of those times. It only took one pass before the problem became apparent, even to me. I called my little horse girl to come back over, at least I thought that was what I said. My Spanish, ‘she is not so good’. Either that was what I said or I would get a slap from her when she got here, maybe not though, she did not seem shy about receiving compliments, she knew she was beautiful.

“Si, what does my groom have to say now?” she said a might smugly.

She looked all of twelve years old, very, very tall but thin as a rail. She reminded me of Gina. “Well Princess, I thought ‘your new groom’ should earn some of the vast sums you will need pay me. Your Papa is so proud of you and your horse, I would have thought you might learn to ride a bit better than what you showed me just now.”

It was like throwing cold water on her, little Matia looked madder than a wet hen.

“What! What are you saying? How can you say such bad things about my riding, it is not me, it is this beast, he refuses to jump.”

‘OK, fine’ I thought, and shook my head as I started to walk away.

Not quick enough. I heard in English. “So, what I do wrong?”

“Not much, you ride him well, you can not jump worth a lick though, your body actions confuse him. He is a jumper, you my dear girls are not, or at least right now you are not.”

“What, what I do?” again in English as bad as my Spanish was.

“At each jump you sit back in the saddle and pull the reins with you. You are telling him to stop when he is readying to jump. It confuses him, he wants to please you but does not know what you want him to do, so he stops or steps away. He is a fine horse, you are a fine flat ground rider but a terrible one to jump the rails Princess.”

Some sniffles could be heard.

“However, if you do a few little things and just let your mount do what he wants to, he will jump like a dream.”

Tommy waited a bit then continued to walk away to be met by Carlos and a beautiful women walking alongside. “Carlos, you did not tell me you had two daughters! Does she ride too?”

“See Maria, I warned you to be careful around this Gringo. He is very dangerous, he may even be Spanish. Let me introduce you to my real love, Maria my wife. Maria, this is Tommy.”

“Hello Tommy, you must be a friend of Carlos since he brings no ‘business associates’ here to our home. I see you have met our little one, Matia. Her mount is ‘Diablo’ another one we are proud of, he was born and raised here but his Dam was sired in Provence, France, bred from an old line of jumpers.”

“I can see you have much to be proud of as well as where your daughter gets her beauty from.”

That got me a mock punch on the arm. The next thing I heard was a surprise,

“Hey, you, What I need do to make this beast jump?”

“Him, not a thing if I can believe your mother; you Princess are the one who must learn how to jump.”

As we walked back to ‘Diablo’, an old man stood by him.

“This is Pablo, he tells me same thing but not what can be done about this.”

I took Pablo for a short walk He told me a bit about Diablo, especially how he had been trained. It gave me an idea. Man, I asked myself why I was doing this, my answer immediately followed that question. I did it because I wanted to!

“Matia do you trust me?”

“Gee, let me see, I have known you so long now; what nearly 30 minutes. But, how you say in English, ‘one rolls the dice sometimes to win’. If you help me then ... then ... I will give you a ... hug. Si?”

“Fair enough trade Princess.”

I approached Diablo, removed his bit and bridle then handed them to Pablo. He nodded and reminded me again about Diablo’s training. “Princess when you want to jump, lean far forward, grab his neck, whisper sweet nothings into his ear and let him take over. In-between hurdles use those long legs of yours to squeeze, like a lover he will go the direction you guide him. That’s it; you have a million dollar animal under you so sit back and relax let him do the work.”

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