“What´s the problem, Miss…” said the captain.
“Avenworth, June Avenworth, all my belongings, somebody has broken into my cabin and stole my money and my most precious belonging!”
A small circle of people gathered around the woman, including Clarity.
“Jewelry, your night gold watch?” asked the captain politely.
“Much worse, I want to see a police officer right now. This is unacceptable. A luxury ocean liner like this, this shouldn´t happen here.” She raised her index finger at the captain menacingly.
“Ok, please calm down, we´ll try to find this thief,” said the captain.
“Let´s go see your cabin, Miss. Clarity, please take note of Ms. Avenworth´s list of lost belongings.”
A group of ten people followed the captain to Ms. Avenworth´s cabin, whose door knob was unscrewed. Somebody had clearly broken into the room. Clarity saw the captain push the cabin door open, showing the interior of the cabin in full view. The bed had moved near the closet, clothes were scattered everywhere, and a small bed lamp had shattered on the floor. The job had been quick, and the thief had focused on the second shelf of the closet.
“Come here,” said Ms. Avenworth, “I want to show you something on this second shelf.” She pointed to a small box made of solid metal wide open.
“Your safety deposit boxes are not worth much. They opened it easily it seems.”
“The box opens with a key,” said the captain, “did you lose it by any chance?”
“Not at all, here it is,” said the woman, showing a small key with several indentures, “does anybody have a copy of these keys?”
“We always carry a copy of each key in case the customer loses it, but that´s held safely in our maintenance area, and our employees are absolutely…”
“One of your employees has stolen my passport, my money and a piece of paper that I need for my work. I want to do a declaration to the police right away,” said Ms. Avenworth.
Clarity saw the captain call police officer Juarez, who came into the room a few minutes later, caressing his dark moustache, followed by two assistants who looked like his very own cousins, all wearing a similar moustache. Clarity tried to calm down Ms. Avenworth while Juarez sealed off the cabin and closed off the ship´s ramp leading to the docks.
“Now, we do our work,” he said, “we interrogate every passenger on board. How many people captain?”
“One thousand five hundred and seventy three,” said the captain.
Clarity saw Juarez look at his watch, and speak briefly in Spanish the word poker to his assistants.
“Mmmh… ok, we will interrogate a statistic sample of people at random and search every cabin of your crew, I have an important meeting this evening. Each member of the crew is suspect for now. Por la gracia de Sierra Madre, we´re going to find this thief. What exactly was stolen?”
Clarity saw the captain dismiss the curious passengers who were still listening to the conversation, as she started picking up Ms. Avenworth´s clothes from the floor. She saw Ms. Avenworth step forward and clearing her desk, writing a few sentences on a piece of paper. Clarity glanced at her face and gathered that she was too angry to answer coherently to the police officer.
Without saying a word, she practically shoved the paper to Juarez, who read the words out loud.“I June Avenworth declare that two thousand three hundred and seventy two dollars, a silver dollar, and a formula of considerable value describing the ingredients of a cocktail which constitutes a trade secret, were stolen from cabin three four six in the ocean liner City of Wellington on…”
The woman pointed her finger at Juarez.
“Powerful people will not be happy when they know about this, people who live here in Acapulco.”
“Ms. Avenworth,” said Juarez, “let me reassure you that the Mexican authorities represented by me, will do our best to recover your money and this formula you mention. We´re going to start by asking you a few questions and controlling passports of the crew. Captain, we´re going to need the bridge during several hours.”
TO BE CONTINUED, HERE - THE ACAPULCO COCKTAIL.
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