Chapter 21 (Alexander Grealish)
October 18th (Venice)
Saint Mark’s Basilica is separated into five domes, each with its own set of archives, dating back as early as 423 A.D. Peoria has spent the past five days going from dome to dome researching the name Francisco del Herrero. When she got back to the sub tonight, Gram was sitting at his desk with his Elvis mug reading the paper.
“Hey darlin,” he said when she walked in.
“Hazte cojer!” she said as she stormed by him.
The Captain looked at me with puzzled eyes.
“What’s got into her?”
“I think she’s mad that you didn’t help her in the archives. She’s spent the past five days all by herself wandering the Basilica, and she hasn’t found anything.”
“Oh,” said Gram. “Alright, go find Tom and tell him we leave for Barcelona.”
“When?” I asked.
October 19th (Barcelona)
“Arthur! How are you?”
The Captain and I were sitting at a table in the middle of La Rambla drinking sangria when a tall, slim, bearded man in an expensive looking suit approached us. He sounded like he was from North London. His hair was slicked back and curled at the bottom. He looked like an asshole.
“Alex. Good to see you,” said Gram unenthusiastically. “Murikai told me he sent you. How did you find me?”
“I tracked your mobile,” said the man.
He placed a smooth black plastic rectangle the size of a cigar box on the table next to Gram’s clunky green military mobile that had been dropped a hundred times. He pulled up a chair and sat down.
He reached across the table and plucked a shrimp off a plate of paella that was sitting in front of the Captain.
“Arthur, I don’t see much of you lately. Where have you been?”
“Around. We don’t go to the same places.”
“Not anymore we don’t, no.”
“We never did Alex. What do you want?”
“You aren’t going to thank me for recommending you to Murikai?”
The man adjusted himself. He crossed his legs and leaned his elbow on the table.
“Arthur, I want you to know that I’m here if you need me. Understand that I gave you this little job and I can take it back just as easily.”
He turned around and pointed with his thumb across the street. Scotty and the rest of the Yul Brynners were walking towards us, picking food off people’s plates and smashing wine glasses as they made their way to our table. One of them kicked over a bin, spilling rubbish all over the street. I jumped out of my chair but the Captain grabbed my shoulder and pushed me back down. They pulled over chairs and sat down around us.
“I brought some associates from London. I believe you’ve met Scotty and the boys, correct?”
Scotty smiled and waved to the Captain.
“Yeah, I know him,” said Gram. “He’s a crap pool player.”
“I’ll be taking my whiskey back,” said Scotty.
“It’s bourbon,” said the Captain. “And you ain’t getting shit back.”
Peoria walked up with Iseri. She froze when she saw the Yuls. One of them stood up and pointed at her.
“You killed me best mate girlie, split his skull in half…. I’m gonna slice you open and fuck your insides.”
Iseri cracked his knuckles and grunted.
“I’d like to see you try you bald twat,” said Peoria.
Alex smiled. He turned to the Captain and stared at him with fierce eyes.
“Once you’ve found this Koi fish for Murikai, you be sure to come talk to me first. If you don’t, we are going to have a problem. Do I make myself clear?”
He stood up and his tone became pleasant.
“And I shall be sure to give Naomi your regards tonight at dinner.”
He pushed his chair back into the table and turned to leave. The Yuls followed him, each one snarling at Peoria. They crossed the street and were gone.
“Who was that Captain?” I asked him.
Gram leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath.
“Well…If I’m Motown, then he’s Stax Records.”