This article is part of the Eastwood series.
The address attached to one of the two cases leads us down a cul-de-sac lined with McMansions. It's a planned community for the seven-figure crowd. Our address is the floor plan with the faux-adobe design. Like a Lego version of a Mexican villa.
I slam the brass doorknocker hard against the door and I'm surprised when an elderly man opens up. I was expecting one of Howser's punk friends, maybe some sadistic trust fund puke he met on a GAEN channel, not an old Jewish guy in a sweater and a yarmulke.
"Ah," he squints at us over reading glasses, "can I, ah, help you?"
"Yeah," Morrison says, "special delivery."
He looks at the case Morrison is holding up as if he is confused. After a moment he makes some sort of mental connection and his eyes bulge.
"Ah, come in, come in," he says, hurrying us into his house like we're being watched.
It's weird because I sort of get that hairs-on-the-back-of-my-neck feeling too. I don't see anybody watching us, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.
Inside the house it's what you'd expect, but mostly empty, like he just moved in. There are golf clubs and pictures of him with some too-tan goyim half his age. He's a plastic surgeon or an entertainment attorney, like I said. He hands us glasses of iced tea before taking the case.
"We really can't stay," I glance at my broken watch.
The old man is in no hurry to see us leave. He putters over to the island in his kitchen and sets out the case. With quivering fingers he pops open the lid. I see him pull aside a piece of black velvet and move to get a better view. I nearly choke on my iced tea.
Inside the velvet-lined case, on a bed of soft cloth, is a spray of glittering white. Diamonds, hundreds of cut diamonds. There must be millions worth in the case.
"Yes," the man says, "yes, this is enough. Tell your boss I will do this thing he asks. Tell him they will never know."
Morrison looks at me and I shrug.
"Alright," I drain the last of the iced tea and set the glass on the kitchen island. "We'll be on our way."
He's already forgotten us, a jeweler's lens over his eye, his shoulders hunched as he paws through the diamonds. It would be so easy to take the diamonds from him and disappear to some island paradise. I can see the same thought reflected in Morrison's questioning expression. I shake my head. No, that's not who we are.
"We're opening that other case," Morrison says as we're walking back to the car.
"Forget it," I tell him.
He gives me a dirty look. I toss him he keys to the car.
"You drive," I say.
That puts him in a better mood.
You say collaboration like it's a bad word.
The ocean is full of the stuff of nightmares and, no thanks to all that water, you can't even kill it with fire.
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