<< Discuss this fan fiction
THE MARTONZA CASE CHAPTER 4
It was long past midnight when Nick and Charlie walked the steps to a building in the better part of Rubacava. There was no visible light in the horizon, but the sun would announce itself in couple of hours.
Despite the late time of the night the duo knew that they would get an appointment. Maybe not a friendly one, but an appointment nevertheless. Rainer Himmel, one of Maximino's competitors, was known for that he was always ready to meet anyone.
"Are you sure about this, Nick? It's of course ridiculous to suggest that this is dangerous, but one can never be too careful. It's rarely a good idea to knock on the gates of your employer's enemy in the middle of the night, and this is Rubacava we are talking about," Charlie said. He was walking behind Nick, but didn't show a sign of cowering away.
"I'm sure you know that I have better things to do than trying Himmel's doors at this time, but there's little else I can do. We have lost one day without finding out anything," the lawyer replied. "Besides, I know that he too was interested in a deal with Martonza and murdering a secretary and stealing the papers is exactly something that I would expect of him."
"Well, if you say so."
They arrived to a ledge high above the street level. It wasn't the highest place around and nothing compared to Manny's old cafe, but unusually impressive anyway. They stopped in front of a simple wooden door and Nick knocked on it a couple of times.
It took only a little while before a voice spoke to them. "Yes?"
Nick turned to the voice, not looking impressed the least. Security was always on its best during the last hours of night and he was slightly surprised for that a gun hadn't been pointed to his ribs yet.
"I am here to meet Himmel," he said.
"And he?" the voice asked and they saw a hand point at Charlie.
"He is with me," the lawyer replied.
"You know, I can talk too, Nick," Charlie said softly. He didn't look nervous at all. In fact, he seemed to be feeling quite homey. During the whole time that Nick had known the con artist he had never seen him afraid of anything. Angry, yes, but never nervous.
"I wouldn't trust you to say the right things," Nick stated.
"I'll see what I can do," the voice said and a long silence followed. Nick turned to look at the nightly Rubacava and sought out the few buildings that still had light in their windows. The inhabitants of the city were awake most of the night, but during the last hours most of them went to sleep.
He couldn't see Blue Casket from that part of the city, but he could imagine that it was dark already. Only the upper floor ever had light, and only when Olivia had visitors.
Someone tapped his shoulder and he turned to the disturber.
"What?" he asked in annoyance.
"What are you thinking about? I asked you a question," Charlie said. To Nick his voice sounded like the con artist was mocking him, but he suppressed an angry snap. He really was feeling tight.
"I wasn't listening," he said.
"Yes, I noticed. I just wanted to know what you hope to achieve. Despite what you think, we may not find out anything," Charlie said.
"I know," Nick said, "I also know that -- "
"Mister Himmel is ready to see you. But first..."
Neither Nick nor Charlie did anything when a rather thick man emerged from the shadows and went through them to find hidden guns. Nick had never seen Maximino use such over the top security, the gambling crime lord had faith in his customers. However, the lawyer understood how careful small timers had to be in Rubacava. No one was stupid enough to threaten Maximino, but the rest couldn't trust on the same.
"Fine. Follow me," the man said nodding. He knocked on the door and it was opened almost immediately. Nick and Charlie followed the man inside.
Nick had never talked with Himmel. The little business that was between Maximino and his competitor was taken care of on the lawyer level, and Alberto was usually the one who got the job. Of course Nick still knew something about the German.
The man led them upstairs and knocked on the door there. He didn't wait for a reply but opened the door and gestured Nick and Charlie to step in. Then he closed the door after them.
The room they found themselves in was very dim. The only light came from a low lamp on a desk that was located near the only window. Behind the desk sat a long and slim man who raised himself from his papers as the duo stepped in.
"Ach, come closer," Himmel said and gestured at them. He was wearing a white shirt with the first buttons ripped off and a loosely tied red tie. On his head was a grey hat and he had a half burnt cigarette between his teeth.
After glancing at them he returned to his work. "Well, what do you want?"
"I am here to talk about business," Nick said stepping closer. Himmel took another glance at him.
"At this time of the night? And shouldn't you meet my lawyer? But be my guest and take a chair. I can very well listen to you while I write to my mother," he said.
"As I said, I want to talk about important business," Nick started.
"Maximino sent you? It really must be something if he can take his best lawyer off from other work and send him here right before dawn."
Nick shook his head. "No, I represent my friend here," he said and nodded at Charlie. The con artist was intelligent enough to stay expressionless and did nothing but turned to look at Himmel.
The German put his pen on the desk. "And why, if I may ask, are you interested in working for the second class crook everyone knows?" he wanted to ask.
"He has money," Nick replied simply.
"And Maximino doesn't pay you enough?" Himmel finished his letter and folded it nicely in two before slipping it inside an envelope.
"He does, but if man wants to gather savings for unexpected expenses he needs to work for it," Nick said. He wasn't sure how much Himmel was ready to buy and would have been happy to add something else. Talking too much would have made the German suspicious though, so he kept his jaw shut.
Himmel snorted. "Hector LeMans has made you his offer? I take you must like trains a lot if you are ready to represent him," he said with a nod to Charlie's direction.
"I don't think that is any of your business," the lawyer stated coldly. Himmel said nothing, but glanced at him looking like he thought he knew the situation better than well.
What an arrogant bastard, Nick thought to himself. He had never got the impression that Himmel was a man to his liking, and it wasn't only because the two of them had much in common.
"Maybe not," the German agreed. He put his hands on the desk. "But what do I have to do with this? I hardly have anything that your... client could want, and I certainly don't need his services."
"We are aware of that. My friend has faced a great wrong and it is very possible that you could help him a bit," Nick said. He had an idea what he was about to say and to which direction he would take the conversation. He hoped he wouldn't have to improvise much; he was not too good at it.
"Interesting. What is going on?" Himmel glanced at Charlie again, but his face told nothing of his feelings.
"As you must know, one of Maximino's secretaries met an unfortunate end a while ago." Nick didn't have to say more and Himmel asked no questions. It was obvious. The German merely nodded.
"Go on, I am listening."
"My client happened to have some important business with the woman. You understand tickets to S.S. Lamancha and such. He finds it sad to lose a customer who was ready to pay well for his hard work," the lawyer said.
"I have to ask again: what does this have to do with me?" Himmel asked. He leaned back in his chair and probed his pocket a while until he found a new cigarette. He put it between his teeth but didn't light it.
"We are sure that some of your men have something to do with the matter."
"Where did you hear that?" The German made this question to Charlie who smiled at him as an apology.
"Well, I am sure you know, the word lives on the street and all. Normally I wouldn't bother you with a matter like this, but she was a good customer," the con artist said smoothly and fingered his own unlit cigarette.
Himmel shook his head. "Impossible. None of my men would do it without my approval. And shooting a mere secretary has never been one of my interests."
"It is always possible that one of your men has someone else's money in his pockets. It happens more often than people believe," Nick threw in. Himmel looked at him looking slightly amused.
"Like at the very moment, right?" The lawyer paid no attention to the comment.
"My customer would be thankful to know where your men were on Monday night. Just to be able to sleep his nights well, you understand. He pays of course," he said.
Himmel looked at him in suspicion. "This is hardly a job to meet your education? No one needs a lawyer for a matter like this."
"No," Nick said and shrugged. "But he pays me."
"Your suggestion hurts me greatly," Himmel said with a snort. "I am sure that you know that I don't accept just anybody among my men and all of them are most loyal to me. They might have their way with small crimes, but wouldn't sprout anyone without my approval."
"What if we had proof?" Charlie asked suddenly and Nick did his best to not turn to look at the small man. The lawyer hoped that the con artist was intelligent enough to put his words well.
Himmel froze and took the cigarette from his mouth. His whole attention was in the small man now. "Proof?" he repeated sounding serious for the first time during the whole conversation.
Charlie nodded. "I and Margarita were going to have a meeting on that night. The shooting didn't take place far away from the spot where I was and I heard the shot as clearly as if it had been fired right behind me. Of course I didn't go and see what had happened, but the murderers ran past without noticing me. They were carrying papers that they had naturally taken from the poor woman's body, and I heard how they whispered to each other. Your name was one of those they mentioned," he said.
"Could be a coincidence," Himmel said darkly. He tapped the desk in thought and said nothing in a while.
"But you must understand that my client wants to be sure. I think you are aware of that he's one of Maximino's friends," Nick said. The German glared at him when he heard the threat.
"I don't like your tone," he said. "I am still not ready to believe that any of my men would work for someone else, but I will ask them some questions," he promised.
Nick nodded. "We are grateful," he promised.
"I sure hope my wallet will be too," Himmel stated putting the cigarette back in his mouth. He took his pen and started to write a new letter. Nick and Charlie stood up and they were led back outside.
"Well, what do you think?" Charlie asked as they left the part of the city.
"It went well," Nick replied.
"But we didn't find out if he did it or not," Charlie stated.
"Because of your little act we will know that sooner or later."
Charlie took a look at Nick. "May I take that as a compliment? Amazing, one never hears anything good from you," he said. "You are right of course. If he didn't do it he will do everything to prove his men's innocence. He has strange views on honour," he added.
"And if he really did it, he thinks we are looking for your files, not the Martonza papers," Nick stated.
"Do you think he is guilty?"
Nick pondered the question before replying. "He is a potential option, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was someone else. We need to talk to others as well. Margarita's would be husband comes first to mind."
"Do you want to talk to him right now?" Charlie asked.
"No. It's morning already and he wouldn't be happy if we woke him up now. Besides, I want to sleep a bit too. Some of us have to work today," Nick said nodding at the thin line of light on the sky above the sea.
"Whatever you say, Nick."
To be continued...
<< Discuss this fan fiction