December 24, 2004
Jay stood at the stone wall, looking down at the bay and the two small beaches that straddled the mouth of the Arroyo River. Local children were playing on one of them, while nearby a group of men were hauling in a net by a long rope that was the thickness of a man’s arm. The storm had thrashed itself out in the night, and in doing so washed away the torpid heat that had been pressing down on Mexico’s southeastern Pacific coast for the last week. The morning sun brought with it the promise of a hot but brilliantly clear day.
Up early, Jay had spent an hour drinking coffee and reading the last of Bryce Powers’s paperwork, which contained, among other things, notes of all of the bribes paid to de Leon in the seventies, and which meticulously tracked all of the drug cash that had passed through his company’s accounts over the past ten years. In addition, Powers had somehow managed to acquire copies of the contracts between Herman and Rafael and the various overseas banks, which named them, along with Lazaro Santaria, as the owners of the accounts where much of the cash ended up. If he had the contents of Bryce’s old leather suitcase, Chris Markey would not need Isabel to put Herman, Rafael, and Lazaro in jail for many years.
There was another contract in the Banque de Geneve folder, an original that Jay had pulled out and put in his knapsack. Now, hearing the cottage’s back door open, he turned and saw Isabel coming out, carrying a tray of buttered bread and another pot of coffee.
“Buenos días,” she said, as she set the tray on the wall.
“Buenos días. You look beautiful.”
“Did you sleep well?”
“Yes, the Valium worked. And you?”
“Yes, I was up early, but I slept.”
“How long have you been awake?”
“An hour or so.”
“Will Rafael go to jail?”
“Yes. And Herman and Lazaro.”
Isabel looked down at the sea, shimmering in the morning sunlight, then across at Jay. “I am sorry about last night,” she said.
“It is an awful thing to know.” She poured coffee for both of them, but they did not pick up their cups. They were sitting on the stone wall, the breakfast tray between them. Jay reached across and took her hand.
“What is the name ‘Jay’?” Isabel asked. “Is that your proper name?”
“Do you know the story of the golden fleece?”
“My mother foresaw great things for me.”
“Did she tell you that?”
“Do you miss her?”
“Yes, I miss her, and my father. They spoiled me.” But expected me to grow into a man, thought Jay. It’s a good thing they’re not around to see what I’ve made of my life.