Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chiclayo…A Spy Capitol part 2

Authors note – My thanks to those who mourned my death in ‘Chiclayo…A Spy Capitol’, and to the folks who said they liked the story. I had fun writing it. I thought about a sequel; started typing and this is what came out. I hope you enjoy it.   Tom
Sometimes a guy gets lucky. Sometimes with a little luck a guy can survive when whoever runs this show we call life decides to sucker punch you in the gut. If you’ve been there you know what I mean. If you haven’t…well.

I caught a break big-time that day James Bond shot me in Chiclayo’s Plaza de Armas. Lying there face down in the grass I thought I'd bought the big one for sure. Call it what you will - spirit, essence, life force, soul, whatever, mine was slipping away fast. The wounds didn’t hurt much and I wasn’t scared. I felt kind of peaceful really. My consciousness was fading. I didn’t know what was real anymore and was thinking it didn’t matter when I imagined I heard way off in the distance a voice saying, “Let me through, I’m a doctor”. I thought my mind was replaying a Leslie Nielsen sound clip from the movie Airplane but it turns out I didn’t imagine it.

The voice belonged to Doctor Jonathon Huxley, THE world-famous surgeon who specializes in saving the lives of people who have been shot by spies. He just happened to be attending an international medical conference in Lima and afterward just happened to come to Chiclayo to watch his daughter play in an International League volleyball match hosted by Chiclayo and afterward just happened to be in the Plaza de Armas when James Bond aka 007 deposited three bullets in my body. See what I mean about luck?  And there’s more.

A nun who had just left the church across the street was passing through the park and loaned a six-inch switchblade knife she carries for protection to the doctor who used it to remove the bullets. The Topitop clothing store kitty-corner from the park sold him a blouse at half price to stop the bleeding and clean the wounds. The thread he used to close the wounds came from a fish-net stocking from one of the party girls who regularly patrol on Balta Avenue North. As she unraveled the stocking and handed the thread to the doctor she said, “If Tom survives tell him it’s for old time’s sake.” I swear I have no idea what she’s talking about.

I refused the doctor’s order to go to a hospital and sent the ambulance back to the barn. Bond probably thought I was dead, but if somehow he knew I survived he might try to finish the job. I thought I had a better chance of staying alive at home. In the US I’d taught Maribel to shoot and she became pretty handy with a gun. Too bad we didn’t have one. I would have to deal with security later.

The first thing I had to do was get home. My brother in law hung up when I asked him to come get me with his moto. Some people can really hold a grudge. Four taxis refused to take me. You know you must look like crap when a Chiclayo taxi passes on a fare. I finally bought a cheap hollow-core door at a hardware store to be used as a stretcher and hired six guys lounging in the park to carry me home. They put the door on their shoulders; three on each side and we started out.

People on the street thought it was a funeral procession. Police blocked traffic at the intersections for us. Before long there were 40 to 50 mourners following. Several of them placed flower petals on me. Many of the women were sobbing; one so hard she passed out. I don't know when the band joined us. The guys carrying me got into the spirit of the thing and started swaying with that side-to-side motion they do here while carrying caskets. I tried not to move and kept my eyes closed. I didn't want to intrude on the crowd's grief.

When we got to my house the guys carrying me didn't know what to do and I didn't either. I didn't want to interrupt the solemnity of the occasion  but I couldn't lie there forever so I told the guys to put me down and I sat upright. A woman screamed, "It's a miracle, praise God!" and everyone fell to their knees. I had to put a stop to this so standing erect I growled in a loud voice, "I am the devil!" That worked. In ten seconds the street was clear.

Getting up the stairs was a bitch. We live on the second floor of a three level apartment building. The old woman living on the first floor couldn’t help me, and the family on the third floor was out doing their daily thing. With Maribel’s help I finally made it into our home. The first thing on the agenda was a shower and then a trip to the bedroom for some clean clothes. I sat on the bed to put on my pants and passed out.

The next day was better. I was as stiff as a week old dishcloth but the pain from my wounds wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was able to take care of myself if I moved slowly and carefully. Later I was sitting in my favorite chair just starting to doze when Maribel handed me the evening edition of El Comercio. I was stunned at the headline.

Shoe shine man foils/shoots robber
Yesterday morning a heroic shoe shine man foiled an attempted robbery of a Chiclayo landmark bookstore by first wrestling the robber away from the store and then running after him and finally shooting him three times. The man declined an interview, saying only that he did what any fine, upstanding citizen would do.

The robber, an English speaking gringo survived with the help of a doctor who was in the park at the time. The robber refused hospitalization and would not give his name. Police refused to arrest him, saying no crime had been committed.

A crime may not have been committed, but it was certainly attempted so this reporter followed the would-be robber, who tried to pretend he was dead to his home at 200 Airzola, and then warned the neighbors that a thief was in their midst. Some sort of action will surely follow to see that justice is done. 
Great….just great. Can you believe it? Thanks to a fledgling reporter trying to be a Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward (look um’ up if you want to know) Bond is a hero who knows I survived and exactly where I live, and I’m the bad guy who, if the crowd protesting outside my door has its way will soon be deported.

I was pretty sure that Bond and Nikita would try to finish the job now that they knew where I lived. I thought it would be better if instead of waiting for them I left the house but I wasn’t in shape to do that. I needed to do something to buy myself some time to heal, but what? I looked at the entire building to see how a person could gain access. All of the windows on all three levels are protected with ornamental ironwork. There is no way to climb to the roof from outside. I suppose they could fire rockets through the windows but if they had rockets I was screwed no matter what precautions I took. Besides, spies prefer sneaky, subtle ways of doing things. The only way I could see to get inside is through the door. It’s a metal door with three separate bolts but it wouldn’t stop me so I knew it wouldn’t stop my enemies.

I couldn’t sit on the stairway 24 hours all day every day waiting for them. I had to devise some booby traps (I called them Bondy traps ha ha). The problem is the family on the third floor. The parents and kids come and go at all hours so of course they would trigger any traps I set. Then luck stepped in again. The wife told Maribel they were going to Cajamarca for two weeks to visit family. Two weeks would buy me the time I needed. If you’re wondering about the woman on the first floor, she’s 94; walks with a cane and spends all day looking out her window with her cat named Muffin. I cringe every time I hear of a pet with a cutesy name like Muffin. You just know the owner is the kind of person who says stuff like, “Muffin…oooo is so sweeeet – yes oooo issss.” On a list of the most irritating forms of human behavior the ’Muffin’ owners of the world rank in the top five. Anyway, the old lady hasn’t been near the stairway in 10 years. Perfect.

There are eight wooden stairs on the first flight and seven on the second. To keep Nikita and Bond away from my door I needed to stop them on the first flight. This is what I did.

On the second step from the bottom (in case they climbed two steps at a time) I removed the wooden step and placed a lever attached to a thin rope, and then replaced the step. The rope led to an eye-hook on the wall an inch above the step and from there to another eye-hook placed one inch from the ceiling directly above the stair. Next to the upper eye-hook the rope went through a hole I drilled in the exterior wall. The rope was attached to 55 gallon barrel filled with sand positioned on a collapsible shelf. There was a second length of rope also attached to the barrel. The other end formed a loop on the second step. Stepping on the stair would cause the lever under the step to release a pin holding the shelf the barrel was on. When the barrel fell the loop would ‘lasso’ the leg(s) of the offender causing them to be suspended upside down inches from the ceiling.

In case the lasso trap was somehow avoided I placed a second trap on the forth step. I removed the step and placed two springs under each end and replaced the step. I then drove a nail in the center of the step. When stepped on the nail would contact a detonator causing two explosives placed under the step at each end to explode, forcing the step and whoever was on it rapidly upward. Their head slamming into the ceiling would result in a coma for at least a week. I tinkered with the springs until even a soft breeze would set the trap off.

The lasso trap was unintentionally tested when Maribel forgot to tell me she was leaving to shop for groceries. Her momentary discomfort from hanging upside down, and broken eggs all over the stairway is a small price to pay for proving the trap worked. She doesn’t agree. I completed the setup by installing a silent alarm flashing strobe light in our bedroom.

Nothing happened the first three nights. On the forth night at exactly 2:32 AM the strobe light turned on. When Maribel became frightened I told her to relax, everything was under control. I didn’t need the strobe light to wake me. Before it turned on I heard both traps activate; first the explosives and then the lasso trap when the barrel hit the floor. I had caught both Nikita and James Bond! I smiled and savored the moment as I walked to the stairway and turned on the light switch.

Muffin wasn’t so “sweeeet” anymore. What remained of the cat was splattered all over the stairway ceiling. A little further down the stairway the old lady was dangling in mid-air. She was suspended upside down in a weird sitting position. How was I supposed to know that she would forget to close her door that night, and that the cat would climb the stairs and trigger the explosive trap which catapulted it at warp speed into the ceiling? How was I supposed to know that the old lady, hearing the noise and seeing what happened would try to get to the cat? She couldn’t climb the stairs so she tried to go up backward on her behind, using her legs to push herself to the next step. When she sat on the lasso trap step the looped rope lassoed her butt and pulled her into the air. This was a discouraging development.

Afterwards she phoned the reporter and blabbed the whole story to him. He promptly printed it, which increased my neighbor’s calls for my deportation and spoiled any chance I had for catching the spies. It was a bad situation but at least it got me the time I needed to heal my body. No more running away, hiding and being on the defensive. It was time for me to be the aggressor; to take the battle to Bond and Nikita.

To be continued??

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