Clarity coiled her legs while she grabbed the metal ladder with her hands. The employees had accelerated the mixing and the fluid was rising quickly. Fortunately, the two employees left the area within minutes and Clarity could reach the inside of the cylinder and step down the outside ladder to the plant floor.
She exited the mixing area and walked through an empty corridor leading to a white revolving door with small glass windows. She pushed the doors open and came face to face with the man in charge of fixing the water fountain, who had just finished his job.
“Hola,” she said with a voice as low as possible.
“Hola,” answered the man. She walked in front of him, her hand lowering her cap, and continued towards the water fountain. Feeling thirsty, she pressed on the fountain and drank a mix which tasted like sweet orange juice mixed with passion fruit. Across from the fountain was a door labelled Ms. June Avenworth, super taster.
Turning her head left and right to ensure no one was looking, she turned the door knob. It was open. In one swift movement, she slid inside the super taster´s office, which included a large lab table on her left, a desk with a flat computer screen, and a few chairs near a glass door leading to a terrace and the garden outside. Clarity scanned the room and let her eyes rest on the narrow rectangular table to her left. Neatly arranged with colored caps in over fifteen rows made up of miniature wooden shelves, two or three hundred flasks awaited testing by Ms. Avenworth.
She moved closer and read a few labels like the Texas Dallas Iguana Flow, the more elegant High Style Marimba Drops and the exotic Pamalica Island Reef Foam. One flask was out of its shelf, laid out on the grey tile surface of the table. It was labelled Corporate formula number five and Clarity thought it could refer to the one Miss Tik had stolen. She slid the flask in one of the pockets of her overalls and moved towards the large desk, made of solid mahogany wood.
The scattered papers on the desk referred to fruit trees, exotic plants and fruit diagrams, complete with their reproductive capabilities. Clarity moved towards the computer and flipped on its processing unit. Predictably, the computer demanded a system password and Clarity remembered the fruit that Ms. Avenworth had included at the market. She typed the word Carambola and the computer flashed the prompt Fruit Destination…
This was not an ordinary computer, thought Clarity, it expected names of fruit instead of passwords. She typed the name Granadilla system and a new screen opened before her with hundreds of fruit and cocktail icons. Hearing some voices in the corridor, she searched for formula number five using a local search engine and found an icon leading to a file. She opened it and found an incomplete list of ingredients: half a banana, two slices of sweet pineapple, coconut milk, three strawberries, one plum, vanilla and cinnamon, two carambola…
The list stopped there but there was one last indication which read: Value added ingredient. At the bottom, the file read Will test at the City of Wellington and Acapulco. Final ingredient source: Cayo Verde Tree Nursery, Calzada de la Cuesta. She memorized the ingredients and the name and address of the nursery, before turning off the computers. A voice which seemed to be just outside Ms. Avenworth´s office rang loudly inside.
“Policía, paren las máquinas, inspección!” There was a police investigation, thought Clarity, it was time to leave.
She stepped silently to the door and opened it slightly. At the end of the corridor, she saw the familiar silhouette of Juarez walking decisively towards Ms. Avenworth´s office. Either Juarez was looking for the super taster or Edenmack had leaked information to the police.
“Esta chica Clarity Nice las va a pagar todas juntas, the computer expert said she was headed for the lab, she must be in Avenworth´s office,” said Juarez to one of his assistants.
Now, it was clear, thought, Clarity, Edenmack had talked and they were after them again. She locked the door and opened the glass window leading to the terrace, which was a few feet above the ground floor. The only way out to the garden was going down a climbing plant. A loud bang on the door interrupted her thoughts of escape. “Abran la puerta por la gracia de Sierra Madre!”
Clarity breathed deeply, stretched her legs a couple of times, and jumped on the climbing plant.
TO BE CONTINUED, HERE - THE ACAPULCO COCKTAIL.
Previously Released: THE MALIBU CASE.
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