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PMB
April 18th, 2012, 02:18 AM
Day OneTheEmailIwas becoming catatonic, and could barely manage to breath. The reality of theheart-stopping message, screaming back from my computer screen, was beginningto sink in.Bradley has been arrested byColumbian authorities on suspected drug trafficking charges. They took him toLa Modelo prison. Your yacht has been impounded with the evidence on board. Idon’t know what to do. I will wait for your reply. Manuel.Atfirst I wondered, was this a practical joke? But there was nothing indicatingthe message was anything but genuine. There was no LOL, no smiley-faced little icons,nothing. Nothing but a straight-up, no-frills email glaring back at me. I wasfrantic.Myquick reply found Manuel in the office at the Buenaventura boatyard, sitting infront of his computer screen, and waiting. I wanted to know more about what hadhappened to my son. I wanted details.Hecould only offer a few. He said the arrest took place just hours ago, andbelieved that Brad had been set-up. He also mentioned the disappearance of agirl named Adriana, whoever she was.The authorities had not allowed him to speak to Brad either, or assist him inany way during the arrest. He said Brad had been arrested without any formalcharges, and was taken directly to La Modelo prison.

** *Iknew little about Manuel, except he was Bradley’s friend, a part-time studentstudying veterinary medicine at the National University of Columbia, and aboutthe same age. Bradley had spoken highly of their acquaintance through hisregular emails to Brenda and me. They’d met two years earlier on theUniversity’s campus when Bradley used to hang out there, and they had sailedsome of the Pacific waters together. This was all I knew.

** *Therehad to be more to the story. He must have overlooked something. The informationseemed so incomplete. I fired back another email with my home phone number andasked Manuel to call me collect, immediately.Tenminutes later, my phone rang. I accepted the charges for his call. We fluffedover a few niceties. I got to my questions right away. ‘Has anything unusualhappened lately, or over the last few days,’ I asked.Aftera brief pause, Manuel began to recall events from the past week. . .One day, about a week ago, Adrianaappeared, strutting herself around the boatyard like a peahen in heat. Thefirst day, I remember, she sat for the longest time in La Cantina Cafe at theend of the dock, wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat and big, dark, sunglasses, drinkingthe same coffee, the whole time. She was nice looking too, Latin, with darkhair and olive skin. She seemed to feign aloofness, pretending not to notice us.But it was obvious, from the way she kept turning her head, from behind thosebig glasses, she was watching. Bradley sure noticed her though. Everybody did,come to think of it. Women that walked by, did too. But I’d say she was out tocatch only Bradley’s eye, and she got it. He was her target. He kept looking over at herfor the longest time while she sat there, when finally he got up his nerve andwent over to introduce himself. They sat together for maybe an hour, justtalking. Later, they left for a walk or something. But when they came back, Inoticed they were holding hands. I remember thinking, wow; he sure does workfast, this guy. Their passion for each other was very quick afterwards. I’d sayit was maybe too quick, because a day later, they were living together on theboat. It was full-on from there.She said she was bumming her wayaround the coast of Columbia, and asked if she could maybe sail with us whenthe boat was back in the water. She was beautiful. She was a twenty-four yearold Ecuadorian student, she said. What a doll she was, Mr. Mason. She had themost amazing tits ever to adorn yourboat sir. They were perfect and firm, with nipples like thimbles. She oftensunbathed topless on the boat deck and was a constant distraction for theworkers. Her thong displayed her other exquisite asset. She oozed sexuality andwas proud of her body. Bradley was in lust. When she wasn’t sunbathing, she wasbelow deck, cleaning and preening the cabin. She made herself right at home.‘Thanksso much for the tantalizing details, Manuel,’ I said. My son was just being myson, a chip-off-the-old-block, I thought. Ya, I wish. Go on.Yesterday, we launched Georgia Belle.It was routine. Using the electric winch, I slowly metered out the cable andgently rolled her cradle down the track. She slid quietly back into the ocean.Then we moored her alongside the government wharf where. We were to wait until thismorning for Columbian Immigration to issue our clearance papers.‘Isn’tthere anything else? Tell me about yesterday,’ I pushed for more. Manuel pausedfor a moment then continued…We were waiting for Customs andImmigration, like I said. We had a full day ahead until Immigration was to showup, so we decided to tidy the boat. We checked the sails, the rigging, and ranthe engine to test all the systems. Adriana insisted the interior of the boatwas her domain and she worked below the entire day. By mid-afternoon, the tasksand chores were completed. We decided it was time to relax.Around four o’clock, Adrianasuggested we have a little celebration. She offered to cook for the three ofus. ‘Something special,’ she said. She sent Bradley and me into town forprovisions, and a bunch of beer. She said it would be our last decent meal beforewe set sail. We were gone for maybe two and a half hours.Imused over that point. ‘Tell me what happened after dinner’. . .Dinner was fabulous. There wereshrimps and muscles galore, a crunchy garden salad which Adriana had invented,and fresh fruits for desert; and of course, numerous beers. There was plenty of frivolity and laughtertoo. Soon after, she said she was taking a quick trip into town for some lastminute things for the voyage and said she wouldn’t be long. After about anhour, she called Brad to say she’d met her girlfriend Daniela, and would staythe night with her. She said she’d be back early in the morning to meet with theImmigration guys before our departure. She never returned.‘Nowtell me all the details the day of the bust.’ Again, Manuel paused. . .Well, at seven in the morning,everything was quiet; until a bunch of men in dark suits appeared. There weresix of them. They flashed ID’s and stormed the boat. From that moment on, theday became very grim.They made a brief search and foundone thousand kilograms of cocaine hidden throughout the holds and storage areasof your boat. They knew exactly where to look.Bradley was terribly confused. Hecouldn’t imagine how, or when, the contraband had been loaded. He also wonderedwhere Adriana was. They dragged him away to a waiting van and sped off for hisimmediate incarceration at La Modelo prison in Bogota.I was completely ignored during allof this though. Never once did they question me during Bradley’s accosting. Mylast impression of Bradley, as they dragged him away, was the pleading look onhis face that simply said, HELP ME.I kept the business card in mywallet which he gave me when we first met. It had ‘Georgia Belle’, SeattleWashington, with your email address on it. That’s all, sir.That’sgood work Manuel. I may need to come down there and meet with you, but I needto make a few calls first. Can you meet with me if I do come, and can I reachyou back at this email?‘Yessir, anytime,’ he said. We hung up.

** *Developingin my mind was only one outcome to my son’s plight. In the meantime, I decidedto do a little research to find any information I could, about La Modello. I openedup my laptop.

** *My search revealed La Model as alarge prison complex located in the heart of Bogota, a little to the south westof the downtown core of the city. The complex is immense. It had been built over many years, and youcould visually tell from the images.I learned in reality, it iscontrolled mainly by the prisoners inside, not by the guards. There are five-thousandprisoners for twenty-four-hundred beds, with not more than one-hundred-fiftysecurity guards assigned to the prison. It’s awash in violence, and drugs. Lastyear, one-hundred-sixty-two prisoners were killed there. The prison iscontrolled by three criminal groups, all members of guerrilla movements,paramilitary forces, or cocaine traffickers, who have divided the prison intothree different territories, with each group having their own security force,defending their territories.

** *Ihad difficulty absorbing what I’d learned from Manuel. Brad would never havepulled a stunt like this. He was a happy person, people liked him, he didn’tcarry a chip on his shoulder, and I had enough money. All he needed to do wasask, if needed some. There was no need for him to take such a risk, andbesides, where would he have gotten the money to purchase the drugs in thefirst place. None of it made sense. I thought maybe the Columbian governmentwas in on it, or maybe it was one of those political extremist groups who wentaround kidnaping high-profile people from multi-national corporations, askingfor huge ransoms. But, we were neither high-profile nor multi-national, and wecertainly weren’t rich. I had no idea who might be behind the set-up or why? Iwas frantic.Myfirst thought was to call my ex-wife Janine, and let her know about thedevastating situation. There was dead silence. I could hear the gears in herhead questioning the validity of what I was telling her.‘Haveyou talked to him? Have you contacted the Embassy there? What’s going on?’ Shewanted to know.Ihad no answers. I was as desperate for information as she was. ‘You’re thefirst person I’ve called Janine. I don’t know what’s going on either. We needto figure this out.‘Ithink you should go to the US Embassy in Bogota and see what information youcan get from them. See if they can maybe help. Maybe they can do something,’she inquired.Iknew she was right. I wasn’t going to achieve anything from this end on thephone. ‘I’ll call Brenda to book me a flight. I’ll let you know.’ I hung up.Brendawasn’t working at the airport today. She was at our flat with Bear, reading andrelaxing.. She was just as stunned by my call, as Janine was. While I told herthe bad news, there was complete silence at her end. I asked her if she couldhelp me book a flight to Bogota for tomorrow. An hour later she called backwith a reservation on a morning flight. I was booked through to Bogota, via NewYork.



Two Weeks EarlierTheCIA and the DEATheyseated themselves in a corner booth at the back of the fifties-style diner,deciding the Nickelodeon was a safe location for their discussions. The triohad dressed in casual attire to blend with the noonday luncheon crowd, not to benoticed. Dimplemeyer was a fifty-five year old CIA veteran, the other two,Lindstrom and Orlowski, were DEA operatives in their early thirties. Lindstromand Orlowski had been to the Nickelodeon a few times before, but it was thefirst for Dimplemeyer. He scanned the bright décor.Atthe center of the restaurant was an old fashioned soda fountain with severalHamilton Beach milkshake makers, buzzing away making milk shakes which were servedin the metal containers they were made in, just like when he was a kid. Kidstoday, probably think shakes come from a spigot, he thought. There wererotating stools at the fountain counter, topped with yellow vinyl. The booths weredone in yellow and red. The Arborite on the counters and table tops had aRoxy-tone pattern done with yellow and green flecking. On the walls were memorabiliafrom the 50’s and 60’s, old-fashioned pictures, and copies of circa advertisingpanels. Surrounding the soda fountain, were various animated neon signs. Therewas also a full-size, chromed replica, of a ’57 Chevy along one wall, done inrelief. The whole place was set off with black and white checkered floor tiles.The waitresses were adorned in green-and-white frocks with white ankle socksand saddle shoes.Eachbooth had its own jukebox, two plays for a quarter. Orlowski inserted a coinand selected ‘Rock Around The Clock’ by Bill Haley and the Comets, and‘Lucille’ by Little Richard. When the music started, all three, were eitherstrumming their fingers on the table, or bobbing their heads to the music. Allwere tapping their toes.Orlowskiand Lindstrom had expounded to Dimplemeyer about Margie’s attributes, thewaitress with the auburn hair and the cat-green, eyes. She was definitely theprettiest of them all. They hoped shewould wait their table so Dimplemeyer could get a close-up, eyeful. Instead,they got Nancy.ThoughNancy was pleasant and always smiling, she sure wasn’t eye candy like Margie.She was short with stubby fingers, and wore coke-bottle glasses which made hereyes appear too big for her pudgy round face. She could have passed forBubbles’ sister, the guy from the Trailer Park Boys, he thought. Her platinumdyed hair didn’t help either.‘CanI get chy’all somethin’ to eat, she asked, strumming her pencil on her orderpad, as Little Richard squealed, Lu-cillein the background?Orlowskiordered the Montreal Smoked Meat and a Cherry Coke, Lindstrom, the Coney IslandFrank, with Buffalo Chips and a lime soda. Dimplemeyer ordered a grilled cheeseand a chocolate-malted-shake.Nancysaid she’d be right back with their drinks and waddled off.

** *Sowhat do you have for us? The DEA boys were curious why Dimplemeyer had arrangedthe meeting.‘Hollingergave me these’ He placed a stack of papers on the table ‘The decoders at NSAhave deciphered some encrypted emails, and it appears there’s some startling newstuff going on between our Cali boys and the Mexicans. This info just came in.Hollinger was trying to get you guys all morning, so he asked me to show thisto you. Apparently, right now, they’re stockpiling an extra-large shipment, andthey’ve been doing so for a while. If they manage to get this stuff to market,and this stockpile is as large as these emails and satellite recons indicate, thenthe value of your investment will go down faster than a ten dollar hooker. TheDEA is at risk of losing its stranglehold on street pricing. Need I say more?The President is pissed. He’s surprised you guys didn’t see this coming, beforeHollinger figured it out. The President thinks you two are a gaggle of boobs.’Dimplemeyer was laughing when he said it. ‘Naw, he really didn’t say that, Ithrew that in for some comic relief.’ Neither of the DEA boys caught the humor.‘The President wants it cleared up right away. He won’t put his hands on iteither. He spoke to Hollinger, and we have the green light to do what’snecessary. It’s whatever we decide.’ ‘It must be dealt with. This stuff needs to beeliminated. We can’t afford to have the public asking questions, or heavenforbid, finding out about our drug involvement either. That leaves out apublicly exposed military strike, which is out of the question. What about aDelta Force Tactical? Those guys kick ass and they operate blind. If theMexicans are waiting on this stuff now, we need it eliminated before theColumbians can move it. It must be a blind operation. So what do we do,’ askedLindstrom?‘Notsure yet.’ exclaims Dimplemeyer. ‘I first wanted you guys to be aware of what’shappening. I’ll need to go upstairs and speak with Hollinger directly. It’s allup to us, but NSA controls the information and for some reason they don’t wantDelta Special Ops involved either. We may need to stick something up our sleeveon this one guys. I’ll let you know what I find out.’

PMB
April 18th, 2012, 03:49 AM
I apologize for the jumbled text. Unfortunately, I could not find clear instructions on how to properly post a file. I'm new to WF and dissapointed in the appearance of what I posted. If anyone chose not to struggle through it, I can understand. Any help or advice for future postings would be appreciated.

Tee Bee
April 19th, 2012, 12:09 PM
I had a read of the first part...

In the opening paragraph, you have 'He said' many times at the start of sentences. I would try and start some of these differently.
Rather than saying 'I was frantic' try describing the actions so the reader feels the tension. - My hand gripped the mouse and trembling fingers hit the 'reply' button. I typed as fast as possible; not caring about spelling or punctuation.

I think the section when Manuel recalls the events of the previous week is too long. If my son was arrested, I would want short sharp descriptions.

An interesting piece though and as you say, it needs formatting better...

jthomson1992
May 14th, 2012, 10:41 AM
The first paragraph leaves you in suspense. I felt as if I wanted to know more. "They’d met two years earlier on the University’s campus when Bradley used to hang out there, and they had sailed some of the Pacific waters together. This was all I knew."
I would suggest, and this is only in my humble opinion, that the phrase "hang-out" doesn't compliment the sense of mystery in the story. With such a powerful beginning, it doesn't seem to quite fit. You have already mentioned the University, so instead of "University's Campus" you could just simply say "on campus". A very good working progress which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

:)

I survived
May 15th, 2012, 03:45 PM
A really good start. As you said lots of typo errors (two words run together) Also she is overused when talking about Adriana. Can you find some other ways to address her?