Bonus Scene from Houseboat on the Nile

Friday March 02, 2018

A week after I’d returned from Paris, having been there to confront Pierre de Becque, a top level operative for the Division, my friend DB strode into my office and tossed down a newspaper. I blew out a surreptitious sign, sat back, and gazed up at him.



“What am I supposed to be looking for this time?”



He jabbed a finger at an item on the second page. Billionaire dies in fiery wreck.



The article was mostly about the life of the man who had been… not a friend of my uncle Jefferson’s.



When I’d run into Jefferson a short time later, I’d mentioned I’d been able to fly home on the man’s private jet after I’d missed my scheduled flight, he’d given me a look.



“Hardly a friend, Quinn. I’d be more inclined to call him an acquaintance, if that.”



“He sees you as a friend.”



“No. The fact of the matter is he can’t see anyone as not wanting to be his friend.” He’d tilted his head. “I hope you took him for every penny he had on him.”


Jefferson would know the man had a weakness for five-card stud. He just didn’t have a talent for it.



“We played for peppermints.”





I continued to scan the article, pausing when I reached the paragraph that went into detail about the crash itself. It seemed his car spun out of control on the FDR Drive in Manhattan. It concluded with details about the upcoming funeral service.


“Why are you showing me this?” I asked DB.



“Where has Vincent been?”



“Excuse me?”



“Vincent. Senior special agent of the WBIS? You know, the guy who’s been driving us nuts for the past year?”



“Why would you think I’d be aware of his whereabouts?”



“Somebody needs to know what he’s up to.”



“And you’ve decided that somebody should be me?”



He had the grace to blush.



I tapped the page before me. “It seems the cause of this crash is nothing more than what it appears… accidental.”



“Huh. That’s what it seems,” he said darkly.



“Why would you think M-Mark Vincent would have anything to do with it?”



“Remember Buonfiglio?”



The CIA officer who’d actually been the one who’d shot me. “He had a heart attack.”


DB gave me a pitying look. “You believe that?”



“You’re being too inscrutable for me, DB. Why wouldn’t I believe that?”



“Vincent was involved in the whole fiasco at the Wyman Brothers Warehouse.”


 “So was Drum. Are you going to tell me he was involved in Buonfiglio’s death as well?”




He ground his teeth together.




“All right, assuming Vincent had something to do with the crash that killed this billionaire, what would be the reason behind him wanting the man dead?”




“How the hell should I know? He’s Vincent. For that matter, does anyone know why he does anything?”




“I certainly don’t.” I glanced down at the page again, then folded the paper closed and returned it to my friend. “Thanks for letting me know about this, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a dead issue.”




DB glared at me, not appreciating my humor. “He’s—he was a wealthy man.”




“Even wealthy men die.”




“Jesus, you’re beginning to sound like Vincent now.”




I started to choke. “Excuse me?”  Had he discovered how Mark and I were fucking with each other’s minds?




He shook his head, hit his thigh with the folded newspaper, and turned to stalk out of my office. He paused at the door. “Dinner tonight?”




“Of course. At the Rib Shack?”








“I’ll see you at seven.”




He left my office, and I waited a few minutes to make sure he wouldn’t think of something to add and return. When he didn’t, I went to the door, twisted the lock, and took out my cell phone.








“What the hell have you done?”