Rattling Snakes Cage 3 Ch. 01byshandal©
Two and a half years have passed and Patrick, Rachel, Jerry and Megan have settled in the Florida Keys believing Snake is dead. However he is alive and well and still harbours thoughts of revenge against his old friend.
Please read on and I hope you enjoy this concluding part of the romantic thriller to its climatic end.
The three part story Rattling Snakes Cage is in copyright to the Author and any reproduction or adaptation of any kind must be with her mutual agreement.
Florida Keys -- Two and a half years later
Patrick yawned and scratched his chest as he padded down to the bar across the road from the small two bedroom apartment where he and Rachel lived. He had left her lying asleep sprawled across their big bed, her sweet bottom and back showing where the sheet had tangled around her legs, and he had smiled as he had stood naked at the end of the bed that morning admiring her, before grabbing a pair of well worn jeans, slipping them on, pulling on the light blue tank, placing his feet into a pair of flip flops, then easing quietly out of the apartment and walking out into the late morning heat. Running his hands through his thick hair, now worn brushed back and then across his chin where he now sported a short well kept goatee and moustache he jogged across the road waving to his neighbour Juan who was busy loading his diving gear into the back of his truck, and taking the keys out his hip pocket unlocked the main entrance to the bar/ restaurant and stepped inside keying in the security code before it went off.
Walking into the darkened room he moved towards the back, skirting behind the bar and reaching across to turn on some lights. Bending down to a cold unit he opened the door and pulled out a carton of orange juice and poured himself out a large glass of the thick yellow juice just as the door opened and Jerry sauntered in.
"Busy night last night..." he held the glass out to Jerry who walked over and took it.
"Yeah....." Jerry sipped at the drink and leant against the bar watching as Patrick poured out another orange juice, "Megan is still sleeping, how about Rachel?"
"Out like a light still....the delivery is due soon.....we got everything packed up and ready?"
"Packed and ready...."
And the two men moved to the back of the bar and through the door to the storeroom sipping their drinks. In the storeroom there were piles of crates of empty bottles, and among them four crates full of illegally smuggled in Cuban cigars.
Opening the back entrance ready for the delivery man, Patrick sat down on a pile of crates, "How many are coming tonight for the game?"
"So far four.....I'm waiting to hear from Sam Goodwin, he's not sure if he can make it due to a visit from an auditor down from head office.....I think he's sweating on it...."
Patrick laughed, "Never trust a banker....especially with your money."
Just then they heard the sound of the delivery truck turn up and wandering outside they greeted the driver as he climbed down out the cab and came over to them. Opening the back of the large vehicle he climbed in and started to move the crates full of bottled beer and liquor onto the hydraulic platform, "Got a lot of returns guys?"
"Can you increase the amount by a couple of boxes next month.....I've got a new customer lined up....for the usuals."
Patrick started to lift the full crates onto the trolley and wheel it into the store room calling over his shoulder, "Come into the office and we'll work out a good price....over an ice cold beer."
After the delivery was complete, crates of booze stacked up, empties returned and the boxes of cigars placed on the truck, the money exchanged hands. Then the driver swung up into his cab and waved, shouting out, "Nice to do business with you." as he pulled out onto the road towards the next in the string of Keys nestling in the bright blue clear sea beloved of divers and fishermen, a perfect place for tourists, and for Patrick and Rachel to hide out in their new life, and new identities.
By the time the delivery was complete and Patrick had returned to the bar proper, Jerry had opened up the windows letting the bright Florida light blaze into the building, the old fashioned fans to start up on the ceiling, and for Ollie the young but talented chef to arrive with his own delivery of fresh fish that he had collected that morning from the local fishermen, along with fresh vegetables and provisions from the local market.
"Mornin' guys......stone crab and lobster specials today."
Jerry looked at the moving crab and lobsters climbing over each other in bright blue plastic crates in the back of the flat back pick up truck, "What I'd do for an old fashioned plate of fish and chips.....cod or haddock."
Slapping Jerry on the back Ollie told him in his soft southern drawl, "Next time you're up north get me some cod and I'll make you some."
"It's a deal." And the three men humped the provisions into the kitchen.
Snake looked across the large cherry wood antique desk at his solicitor, his arms resting on his thighs, his mouth stretched into a wide smile, his eyes twinkling. "So the fuckers are dropping the investigation.....about bleedin' time.......over two years and they haven't managed to pin a fucking thing on me....."
"Not for want of trying Nick....it helped that the place burnt down along with all evidence of any drugs."
"I greased a lot of palms for a long time to keep the 'old Bill' out of my business.....they grew fat on my money....."
"But now you need to keep your head down and your nose clean for a while longer......they might have given up on the past, but don't for a moment think they won't be watching you trying to catch you out on anything you're currently doing."
Sitting back laughing, Snake told the smartly dressed man, "I'm not touching a thing.....I'm a rich man and I've worked hard all my life to accumulate my fortune, time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour."
"What are your plans?"
"Oh....visit and catch up with a few old friends, travel and see a little of the world...have a little fun."
Standing up and walking around the desk his solicitor held out his hand and Snake stood up and shook it, "Send me the bill for your service....."
"No problem Nick....nice to see you again."
And Snake left the man's office, walking by the secretary at her desk and winking at her as he sauntered towards the exit, a happy man.
Patrick was sweeping up the debris left from the night before in the outside eating area that faced the beach when Rachel wrapped her arms around him from behind, kissing the indent of his spine between his shoulder blades. Standing still Patrick continued looking forwards and said, "I hope that's who I think it is."
"Who do you think it is?"
"Well I don't think it's Jerry taking advantage of my very manly and sexy body....I know it wouldn't be Megan.....so it's either a certain young woman that I love, or Juan getting a little too friendly."
Laughing Rachel moved around the front of him, looking up at his face, "Manly and sexy?"
"You thought so last night!" Bending forward and kissing her nose, "you were insatiable....."
Kissing him back she then danced backwards telling him, "Behave yourself, do your chores and you might get a replay tonight...."
"Yes ma'am....three bags full ma'am." And he carried on sweeping, smiling to himself as she turned around and strolled into the bar. Walking up to and around the bar Rachel started to set it up ready for when the customers started to arrive, calling out to Jerry, "How's Megan?"
Wandering in from the store room and leaning on the bar he replied, "Finding the heat a little difficult....trying to get comfortable in bed with a seven month baby bump in this heat is trying her normally even patience. She said she'll be in by one to help serve the lunch crowd."
"She doesn't have to.....I've told her we can increase the part time waitress's hours.....she would jump at the chance....."
"You know Megan....she loves working here...."
"I know but she needs to keep her strength for the baby......"
"I know that...you know that...but try telling her that."
Just then the first of the customers, a local man, walked in and sat down, "Usual Bob?" Rachel reached down to the fridge below the bar and taking an ice cold bottle of domestic beer she took it over to where the man sat, "Yeah usual....thanks."
The day had begun, and the steady stream of customers wanting to be fed, to drink and to just relax wandered in to the easy going atmosphere of 'The Easy Escape" bar and restaurant near the golden beach that spread out into the distance. The crystal clear ocean surf gently lapped the Keys, inviting divers, swimmers, fishermen and tourists to enjoy various water sports and then to slake their thirst and hunger at the friendly bar and restaurant with the two welcoming English couples that had taken it over two years before.
In reality Patrick, Jerry and Rachel didn't own the bar and restaurant. They couldn't as they had forged passports and no history for the American bureaucracy to give a liquor licence to, but Danny who already had a Bar in Spain and had owned bars in the UK plus a clean unblemished history applied and was a partner, along with Davy who all put money into the venture.
Only last week Davy and Shirley had been staying with Patrick and Rachel for a couple of weeks on holiday, the three couples enjoying themselves, Davy taking back to Danny his cut of the legal profits. Non legal profits they kept, for Patrick and Jerry found it impossible to go straight, their natural personalities finding ways to supplement their income and satisfy their need for excitement.
Things like the import and distribution of the illegal cigars from Cuba, running illegal high stakes poker games in the back room and handling the odd stolen item. And when he went North to Miami, Jerry still enjoyed the odd breaking and entering, just to keep his hand in.
Picking up the phone Snake dialled the private investigator he had hired six months ago to find the whereabouts of the people on his list. The first one had been easy, he had only moved out of the area and down to Margate in the east of Kent, and the next two had moved up North and changed their names. But they had been stupid not breaking complete ties with family and the investigator had followed the male's parents up to the small house that they lived in on the outskirts of Leeds.
It was well known to the criminal fraternity that Davy and Shirley lived in Marbella, and in fact Snake had been out there to Spain over the years, being an acquaintance of the couple, so all the investigator had to do was check on them and keep his eye on them, and then had followed them to Miami and the Florida Keys when they had gone out to visit the two other couples on his list, completing his investigations.
Danny was also known to Snake, and he didn't need any help from his man to give him where he could be found. In the past he had visited the lively bar in Fuengirola when he had travelled over to Spain to do the odd deal.
Speaking into the handset he asked, "So is it them?"
The voice at the end replied, "Definitely.....what do you want me to do?"
"Sit on them a while longer....get me their daily movements and I'll be over towards the end of the week....I'll contact you then." And he disconnected the call.
The lunchtime crowd was buzzing and Patrick moved from table to table chatting and smoozing, whilst Rachel and Megan served and worked the customers, Jerry working the bar, listening to any gossip that he and Patrick could use to their advantage.
Patrick walked over to the tourist that had been coming to the bar for the last few weeks, "Hi, everything all right?"
"Perfect......" and looking around at the crowded bar, "Nice little business you have here...." Then back at Patrick, "Hard work.....you had the place long?"
"Mmmm....how about you. You on holiday....here for the diving, fishing or just chilling out."
"Chilling out....here for another week."
"Well enjoy...." and Patrick moved on, the man watching him as he left to go and clear a table that a noisy boisterous family sat at, watching his target and waiting as he had been instructed.
Tony and Maria pushed the supermarket cart down the aisle and Maria reached out and took down a box of breakfast cereal, "How about these for a change?"
Curving his arm around her waist he looked down at the box in her hands, "Looks good." and he squeezed her gently towards him before letting her go and carrying on pushing the cart as she put the box in there to join the rest of their weekly shop.
Her lovely red hair glowed under the supermarket electric lights, and her nerves were getting stronger every day now so that she was beginning to talk about going shopping by herself, but Tony wanted to wait a while longer, making sure she was really going to be alright, and that the panic attacks she sometimes was overwhelmed by wouldn't hit her when she was alone.
Moving away and up north from where the bad memories were, he knew, would be the start of getting her better. That and looking after her and making a good life where she knew she was safe with him and wouldn't bump into any of the men that had abused her, and he had begun the long road to building her confidence back up.
Living on benefits so that he could be there for her twenty four hours a day was tough but it was for the best as he was the only one that she totally trusted, and he loved her so much. At night he would hold her to him, stroking her as she whimpered in her nightmares, telling her she was safe now and that no-one was ever going to hurt her again.
The little two up, two down, one bedroom house was their life now they had moved up north, family visiting rarely, and the two of them only recently starting to go out at night to the cinema, but on the whole they kept to themselves, Maria too scared to make friends, ashamed that they might find out about what had happened to her.
Jerry ran his hands over Megan's swollen belly, grinning when he felt his child move inside her, "Going to be a footballer, the kids got a strong kick."
"What do you think of the name Ethan?"
"Ethan where did you find that one?"
"Old John Wayne film on TV the other day...he played someone called Ethan...I quite like it."
"How about John....good solid name."
"No.....too common a name."
Just then Rachel walked past them, "If you two don't agree soon the baby will be celebrating its twenty first birthday and still be called 'Baby'"
Megan turned around to Rachel, "First baby.....we have to get the name right. Maybe the second it will be easier."
"Second!" Jerry laughed, "We haven't had this one yet and she's already planning the next."
Turning back and throwing her arms around his neck, her large belly between them she told him, "You want a large family don't you?"
Holding her close to him he whispered in her ear, "I want what ever you want." then he kissed her and let her go and watched as she walked across the room to take the order of a couple that had sat down and were perusing the large blackboard menu up on the wall showing what was available as specials today.
Dressing in black jeans and black shirt Snake grabbed the gloves from the table and strode across the room, out of the door of his flat and down to the underground car park to climb into his black Porsche. Leaving the garage through the security gate he drove across town towards the East End of London and finding a side street parked the car, got out, and took out the boot of his car the leather sports bag containing the two false licence plates, couple of broken bricks, the glass bottle filled with inflammable liquid and the length of rag.
Strolling down the roads in the area he checked out cars until he found the one he wanted, looked around checking for any witnesses and taking the flat long piece of metal specially made for breaking into cars slid it down between the window and the door and pulled it up when he felt it connect with the doors opening mechanism.
Climbing in and fiddling under the steering column he thanked the Gods above that there were still people who had really old beaten up motors that could be easily started by hotwiring. Hearing the engine catch he pulled out into the road and drove towards where he could stop and put the false plates on the car in privacy and then continued his journey on towards the M2 and Margate.
Rachel sat in the cluttered office in the late afternoon going over the accounts on the laptop, Patrick sitting on an old battered chair, leaning it back on its legs, his own feet up on the equally battered desk that she sat at. "How we doing.....legally and not so legally this week?"
"Legally good, non legally very good.....it seems crime pays."
"Should be better next month, Jim wants to up the goods by a couple of crates more. Seems he's got a lot more customers interested. I need to see if Juan can get his contact to smuggle more over for us."
Rachel looked up from the laptop and smiled, "What price did you agree on for the extra?"
Standing up Patrick bent over the desk tweaking her nose with his fingers, "Stop worrying....I've been at this a lot longer than you....I got him set at a better price for the extra, and I'll make sure we don't get burnt by Juan." and he left the room leaving Rachel smiling as she watched his sexy bottom in the worn jeans disappear out the door, only to hear him say, "Remember, replay tonight, me underneath again....you on top."
Calling out answering him she said, "So like a man, expecting the woman to do all the bloody work."
She heard his answering laugh as he walked down the small hallway towards the bar, the sound of the music mixed with voices echoing down towards her as the doorway opened, and then the silence as it closed.
She loved the life they had made for themselves. Just the right amount of fun, hard work and loving.
Snake sat at the end of the road watching the house, waiting for any sign of the occupants. He settled into the non descript stolen car, opening the glove box to rummage amongst the empty sweet wrappers and crisp packets looking for a CD to play having got fed up listening to the radio. Pulling out the three CD's he groaned, ABBA, Barry Manilow and a compilation CD of middle of the road music. Putting them back he twiddled with the dial until he found a hard rock station and drumming his gloved hands on the wheel sang along in his deep baritone as he sat watching and waiting.
The evening crowd was lively and Patrick and Rachel made sure they went back into the back room where the high stakes poker game was in progress every so often, each player paid Patrick four hundred to enter and join in. The two made sure that the players had plenty of drink and replacing the finger food they left the room and let the men play in peace.
Lifting up the curtain of hair at the back of Rachel's head Patrick bent and gave her nape a quick gentle bite, "Don't forget later tonight...."
"So like a man, his mind on one thing."
Giving her bottom a little pat, "And aren't you glad about that!"
At twelve thirty Rachel walked over to Patrick and as was their usual custom took the money out the till, put it in the bag and into the safe in the back office. Then Rachel waved as she left with Megan to walk across the road to the flats, whilst the men finished closing up, turning off lights, checking to make sure that everything was alright, closing up the shutters, and Patrick left, leaving Jerry to look after the men in the back room playing poker until the early hours of the morning.
Patrick stretched his arms over his head easing up his muscles as he walked over the road, the sounds of the jazz club up the road drifting down to him on the night air, people walking along laughing in the calm balmy night. He loved the life they had made down here, Rachel was happy...Megan was flourishing....they had got a really good thing going here....the bar and restaurant was doing well. It was his dreams come true.