Elvis said the drive to Marina Cocibolca was only six kilometres and would take only a few minutes. It took longer as they navigated more school buses that were the local transport and donkeys wandering slowly across the road.
The lake was calm at the marina. White Herons stalked the shores for small fish while a lone Osprey hovered overhead looking for fish that would be breakfast.
Bernadette took all of this in. Lake birds were signs of how healthy a lake was. She wished she could read the signs of humans as easily.
Numerous boats lined the dock. Elvis ushered them towards a sleek looking motorboat.
“This I have found for you ladies. See, this is an inboard motor, nice leather interior, it is very fast – you will be across the lake in no time,” Elvis told them.
Bernadette scanned the lake. “Is that McAllen’s island?”
Elvis followed her gaze, “Si, that is his place. It is maybe one kilometre. You will be in there in minutes with this boat. It’s very fast.” He motioned back to the boat, waving his hand for them to get in.
“No, we need a row boat,” Bernadette said.
“A what?” Winston asked. She was about to get in the boat. She turned to look at Bernadette.
“I said we need a row boat. I told you how much firepower McAllen has. You want to be on the business end of a bunch of lead?
‘But this is loco,” Elvis said. He stared at Bernadette, then at Winston. “A row boat is so much trouble. Only the poor of Nicaragua travel in this.”
“Yep, that’s right, the poor and the defenseless—ones with no weapons. That’s why we’re going over in a row boat.” Bernadette looked at Elvis. “Now, you want to locate us one or do we have to get it ourselves?”
“No, no—as you wish. I will find you a row boat right away,” Elvis said running off down the dock.
Winston stood there shaking her head. “Well, I knew you were crazy, girl, but not this crazy. But if you think this will keep us from getting shot that’s fine with me—oh, and I assume you’re doing the rowing?”
Elvis ran back, seemingly flustered. “Please, this way. I’ve found a little row boat that will meet your needs.”
Winston sat in the back of the rowboat and put on her glasses. Bernadette sat in the centre, unshipped the oars and pushed off. She dipped the paddles deep into the water getting the feel of them.
“You know, this feels good,” Bernadette said. “I can use some exercise after that long plane ride.”
Winston said nothing. Her body language said it all. This was verification that Callahan was crazy.
Elvis walked back to his SUV, muttering to himself about how his bosses were not going to like this. Sending a text to tell them of the change of plans, he opened the back of the SUV and unlatched a small compartment.
Elvis pulled out a Heckler and Koch MP7 submachine gun and screwed on the suppressor. Looking around, he slipped it under his jacket. He had orders that the two women were not to make it back from the island.
If they wanted to row, that was their problem—he’d be waiting to meet them with a special welcome.
Bernadette was enjoying the rowing, feeling her back muscles and arms flexing and contracting. He legs were getting a work out as well. She kept the stern in line with a point on the shore to ensure she was heading for McAllen’s island, but what she saw trailing the boat was a bit unnerving. She decided not to tell Winston, yet.
“How close are we to the island?” Bernadette asked.
“About 200 metres,” Winston said.
“Good. I need you to row us the rest of the way in.”
“No, McAllen needs to see it’s me approaching the island. He doesn’t know you and might fire on us.” Bernadette put the oars to the side.
Winston sat there staring at Bernadette, not moving.
“Look, Agent Winston, you said you wanted to get home safe. Well, this is making sure you do.”
“Okay, I get it. Sounds like a good plan,” Winston said as she began to move forward to take Bernadette’s place.
“Be careful with your movements,” Bernadette said.
“Why, can’t you swim?”
“No, I can swim. But there’s been a large shark following us since we left the dock,” Bernadette said.
“They got sharks in this lake?” Winston looked over her shoulder. She watched the large fin submerge beneath their boat.
“Yeah, bull sharks. Guess they came in from the sea thousands of years ago when this lake was once part of the ocean.”
Winston moved slowly forward and sat in the middle seat and Bernadette took her place in the back. She began pulling on the oars while Bernadette made sure she kept her head high so she could be seen from the house on the island.
“I don’t think we have to worry about that shark following us,” Winston said.
“Why is that?”
“You’ve got five laser dots from gun sights dancing on your forehead and chest,” Winston said.
Bernadette looked at her chest and saw the lasers. “Well. At least we know they’re home.”
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