Ernesto smiled a little and somewhat sarcastically suggested, “My, what an exciting life you lead. Did you have a similar experience at the zoo, too? Was there anything else about this accidental tourist and her lost camera I should know about?”
Jamie, now irked at the tone of the comment, bluntly replied, “Actually, yes, I think so. She was found dead the day after the lost camera episode. It was all over the news about how badly beaten her body was before she died. I got to thinking that she might be a part of a Muslim terrorist cell looking for atomic bomb information that didn’t want to go through the Internet, thereby calling attention to certain keywords being monitored by Homeland Security.
“These pictures are fairly incriminating, but the interesting thing to me, is that this was being collected, not by a computer search engine, but using an analog method that can’t possibly be traced back. Fairly clever actually. Might have worked if I hadn’t gummed up her works.”
Ernesto sat musing for a moment and then asked, “You still have the camera and its contents? Maybe you can ship them to me, along with the make and model of the camera so I can do some detective work on it. Oh, and when was her untimely demise? Or better still, send me the newspaper, so I can at least see what she could have looked like?”
Jamie offered, “I have something even better. When I got the camera away from her, I took a quick shot of her face, which is still on the camera. I’ll send them all to you. Now, wasn’t this call interesting enough to listen to all of it?”
Ernesto smiled and responded, “Jamie, I will admit that you seem to have a knack for being a lightning rod for rough circumstances. I hope you are wrong, but I can’t help feeling that you have stumbled into yet another mess. You take care of yourself and call me if you get any more leads. I’d hate to think we got you this far only to see you get whacked by some Muslim extremists. If they whacked her for losing the camera you now have, it is highly likely they will want it back.”
Jamie mocked indignation as he replied, “Me, get whacked? Oh, do come along, young man! This is Jamie the gambler, with the luck of the Irish, we’re talking about!”
Ernesto clucked his tongue and responded, “Precisely.”
-Jamie phoned back to convey the package tracking information to Luxemburg for Ernesto. It was an insured and signed for shipment which even with priority would take a few days. Once the business side of the discussion was completed, they transitioned to the more personal side.
Ernesto asked, “Once I have reviewed the contents of the package, are you up for some part-time work, Jamie? Though I understand if you need to be close to the family. Perhaps some of the effort can be a remote support function.”
Ernesto kept probing the conversation with Jamie to get at the real story of what had happened before Jamie went on the road, so he asked, “How about some pictures of the three of you so I can see those happy faces, huh? I need to live the family life vicariously through yours.”
Jamie hesitatingly replied, “I don’t have any photos with me, so…so some other time perhaps.”
Ernesto playfully insisted, “Oh come on, you’re a proud papa with an exquisite redheaded lady! You must have some photos on that cell phone of yours. Don’t tell me I need to perform a virtual training session on how to access your images folder. Just a few crumbs for me here!”
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