Blond had the look of a man ready to surf to Hawaii from the Southern tip of Australia. He was so angry that Delemo had to empty a bucket of seawater on him several times, to cool him down. Yet, as he told Clarity, over dinner at the girls´ guest house, he knew that he had simply lost access to his money in Cayman Islands to Buddha Talk, and that rebuilding the dive shop would take months to Delemo. That kind of work would be nothing short of spectacular for his assistant, a well oiled, working, non-thinking machine.
"So you think that Buddha Talk caused the explosion of your dive shop?"
"Yes, I owed him money for the diving equipment, and I´ve seen that method used by him on someone else before."
"Here in Acapulco, on Delemo, he was my competitor before he became my assistant, and he also invested his money in Lofty Bank, before he refused to pay Buddha Talk part of the revenues of his own dive shop. After that refusal, I convinced Buddha Talk to set Delemo´s dive shop afire, so that I could replace him."
"I see, the similarities really are striking, but who is this man, exactly, this Buddha Talk," asked Clarity.
"He is an agent for Lofty Bank, and he arranges boxing fights in Grand Cayman."
Flower, who had skipped dinner to take a nap, came running down the stairs of the guest house first floor, towards Clarity.
"My earring, I´ve lost one of my earrings, one of the earrings that my boyfriend gave me."
"I´m not sure, I was suntanning on the deck after diving this morning, and Buddha Talk brushed past me. I felt something in my ear, but didn´t give it any thought."
"That´s impossible, your earrings don´t come loose just like that."
"This one does, it has a special turn-screw mechanism developed by a Mongolian chieftain. We spoke about it with Buddha Talk, and he even tried to unscrew it, just to ensure it was properly attached."
Clarity stared at Flower for a few seconds. After several minutes of hesitation, the group decided to engage in eating the dinner entrée, a roasted duck cooked by the guest house owner, before rushing into any other decision regarding Blond and his dive shop returned to ashes.
Clarity could see that Flower was nervous, for the earrings meant a lot to her. It was part of her discoveries as ethnographer, and a gift from a cherished mongolian boyfriend, a guide who went into the Shoroon Bumbagar tomb to find the earrings and bring it to her at the risk of being arrested for tombraiding. After eating dessert, a brownie with vanilla ice cream, Clarity opted for a definite decision on matters pending.
"We need to recover Flower´s earring," said Clarity, "that´s pretty definite, given the historical and sentimental value of it to Flower, and we also need to know whether this crashworthy deposit is profitable and trustworthy for us, whether Lofty is the right bank for our savings, that is. The fact that we can also help Mr. Blond recover his money, is irrelevant, but it is also part of this complex mission. Let´s go to Cayman Islands, I´ll go with Flower in fact."
Lanai sighed, tapping the shoulder of Clarity, trying to convince her of the foolishness of her idea.
"That´s nuts. Agreed that recovering Mr. Blond´s money is irrelevant, that´s why it´s his own store of value, and not our own. But the deposit is not trustworthy, it may be profitable, but profitable for those who claim our money. Plus, it´s dangerous. For Mr. Blond, James, if I may call you James, it meant no more lobster diving with Mr. Buddha Talk. And no more dive shop or regulators, fortunately, with less regulators, less risk in the diving world. I don´t think you should go."
Clarity stayed perplex for several seconds, but refuted Lanai´s logic. She found out through Blond that Buddha Talk was leaving Acapulco by plane on 'Duty Free' charter airlines, to go back to the Cayman Islands.
Sure of her decision to go there with Flower to recover Flower´s earring and understand the real business of Lofty Bank, she reached the airport of Acapulco with Flower that same evening, walking to the counter of 'Duty Free' airlines, finding an air hostess there, reading the 'gossip of Chiquinquira', a newspaper whose features included the love life of Acapulco firemen when off duty.
"Mr. Buddha Talk decided to leave on his private plane."
"He has a private jet?"
"He has a Gippsland 200, it´s known as the fatman, a crop duster used to carry plane banners around Acapulco. He should be departing for Cayman Islands tonight, as usual."
"As usual, from a dirt road north of Punta Diamante, with or without the Lofty Bank banner."
"It depends on?"
"Whether Mr. Buddha Talk found any new customers for the bank. He was angry when he landed here last week, so it means he may leave the banner in deposit with his bank in Acapulco, the Banco del Coral de la Punta de Acapulco, a small subsidiary of Lofty Bank, itself a minor financial institution, compared to Bank of America."
Clarity thanked the lady and found Flower nervously looking for flowers. The girl with auburn hair stopped her friend, trying to calm her down. She finally clarified with her friend that Flower always looked for flowers when she was nervous, because it reminded her of how safe she was at home, where her mother received Madonna lillies by mistake from her father, which were meant for another girlfriend, which resulted in a struggle between both women to go out with her father, and which resulted in the very truth of the marriage of her parents, in her birth, and in her name, in memory of the Madonna lillies.
"There are no Madonna lillies here, Flower, there may be other flowers elsewhere, but not lillies. You don´t need flowers. Your parents love you."
"Sorry, I´m nervous because of my earring. A loss always brings a doubt as to the real reason my parents married, and Madonna lillies reassure me that I wasn´t born my mistake."
"We´ll find your earring, but stop looking for flower delivery mistakes, Flower, they´re irrelevant in the story of your life, the life of a remarkable ethnographer."
"Thanks, that makes me feel better, and remarkable, thanks, Clarity."
They waited for nightfall and reached the dirt road north of Punta Diamante in the rented Jeep, driven by Lanai, around ten in the evening. The banner plane was there, as they had left it a few days before.
"Ensure you bring back the prospectus of the crashworthy deposit," said Lanai.
Clarity saw the reflection of headlights in the rear-view mirror of the Jeep, and told Lanai to drive the Jeep behind a large rock to their left. Once the Jeep was hidden from the dirt road, she said good bye to Lanai and sprung forward reaching the Gippsland-200 airplane quickly, with Flower following her. The plane, normally seating two people, had been refurbished to add two additional seats, leaving a small space of two feet behind them.
"Let´s hide in the back, they won´t see us," said Clarity.
"This is crazy, but I can´t really abandon my earring, it´s my duty as ethnographer to recover the past of the Shoroon Bumbagar tomb."
"Quiet, I hear steps. Lift that undercarriage cover behind the fourth seat, we need to hide. Pray to the Madonna lillies Flower, and get in first, I´ll ensure that you can fit in, and I´ll go after you, just in case."
"Just in case I don´t fit in and get stuck?"
"No, just in case there is crop dusting material in there," she said.
"Ok, I can´t argue with that logic, although I think I could somehow, were this not happening.
TO BE CONTINUED, HERE,
THE CAYMAN ISLANDS AIR BANNER.