Beyond Beyond; Episode 55
Rich sank into an expectant mood. For the next two days he stayed close the marina. He ventured into some small shops where he had no intentions of buying anything and thus looked upon as a shoplifter.
“Zeke must really have it bad,” Rich thought. “He has to watch this. It’s boring enough to live it.”
Early the next day. Rich walked away from the marina. In front of him parked on the street the cab and his driver from three days earlier.
“How are you doing today?” the driver said.
Rich walked toward him smiling. “It’s a good day and you?”
“Can I take you to Christ the Redeemer?” the driver said.
“I don’t mean to offend, but it’s creepy to me,” Rich said. “I don’t know why, but it seems more like a monster than a savior.”
“Come,” the driver said. “You haven’t been to Rio unless you see the world’s most famous statue.”
“Again,” Rich said, “not to offend, but the Statue of Liberty, I’ve seen.”
“Come on,” the driver urged.
“Okay,” Rich said, “Let’s go, but I’m not staying long.”
Rich climbed in the cab and they drove away. Rich glanced out the back window. Zeke remained a car or two behind the entire drive.
It was not a long drive, however, it was winding, ascending the mount. The driver parked the cab.
“Do you mind if I go with you,” he said. “It has been a long time. It makes me feel closer to god.”
“Don’t mind,” Rich said. “It will be good to have the company.”
Rich purchased tickets and they boarded a small shuttle bus. The road wound tightly upward. Rich and the cab driver chatted on the way. Rich looked for his guard. He was not on the bus.
The bus arrived at a drop off point. Rich and the driver stepped from the bus and walked up the steps to the base of the statue.
Rich refused to look up at the statue that rose to over 10 stories from its base. Instead he looked out over Rio and the bay.
“Incredible view,” Rich said.
The driver stood next to Rich looking up at the statue. “Yes it is.”
The driver turned and faced Rich’s view. He leaned close to Rich. He kissed him on the cheek and moved away. Rich touched where the driver kissed.
“Judas,” Rich said quietly.
The driver made the Catholic sign of the cross and backed slowly away.
Two men, the bounty hunters from Grenada, moved slowly toward Rich.
“Nowhere to go now,” one said.
Rich relaxed and bolted between the two. One grabbed his shirt and ripped it away. Rich leaped down the steps and ran down the winding path away from the statue. As he he ran around the turns in the pathway he caught sight of them chasing. He darted onto the shaded lane and dodged a shuttle bus. The men remained behind him.
Rich twisted his ankle. He hobbled. The men were closing the distance. His only hope was to hurdle over the guard rail and work his way down the side of the mountain. Rich thought he might lose them in the heavy brush. There was also a shear cliff. “I hate heights,” Rich grimaced.
Like an angle of light, there he rested against the railing; Zeke, dark blue Panama hat with a white band and his motorcycle leaning against the railing also.
“Zeke!” Rich said. “Start your bike.”
Zeke jumped on the bike and gave it a kick start. Rich straddled the back seat and they whirled away as the two bounty hunters slowed to a huffing and puffing walk.
Zeke did not stop until they arrived at the Marina. They walked to The Odyssey and climbed below into the cabin.
“Do you know who they were?” Zeke said.
“Two bounty hunters from the states.” Rich said. “But I have no bounty. Clyde Acres saved me from them in Grenada.”
“What happened,” the cab driver gave me the Judas kiss,” Rich said. “He practically begged me to go up the Christo.”
Zeke pulled a .45 from inside his jacket and handed it to Rich. “I’m going to have to leave you. Have you ever fired one of these?”
Rich handed it back to him. “I already have one on board plus and an AK 47.”
“And a grenade launcher,” Rich smiled.
“My god,” Zeke said, “I’m saving those guys from you.”
Zeke moved to the companionway. “Keep the weapons handy. I don’t think they’ll come here, but you never know. I have to go. Take care Rich. I probably won’t see you again. Stay here until somebody from the agency or state department contacts you. Trust me, Rich.”
“Thanks, Zeke,” Rich said. “It’s been nice knowing you.”
Zeke left The Odyssey as if nothing occurred.