Indiana Jones and the Sword of St. George by Susanna Chapter 1

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Chapter 8

Indy looked cautiously around him before knocking on the door. He was a bit concerned - could he really trust Vinny, his "fisherman" friend? Maybe not, but he had no other option. Besides, he had helped Vinny, who was actually an unscrupulous black market dealer, several years back, and he had seemed pretty appreciative. Of course, it wasn't Vinny that he'd been trying to help, but…Enough, Indy told himself, and he knocked hard on the door. Inside, Vinny, a short man with oily olive colored skin and black hair, was eating peanuts and tossing the shells onto the floor, bored. He was short of money, and with the new military base so close by, it had been tough to smuggle goods as he used to. When he heard the knock on the door, he jumped up immediately, concerned that it was the police, who, he had imagined, where watching him very closely after he came in with his last shipment. But when he peered through the window, he felt as though he'd been blessed with incredible luck. Indiana Jones! Indiana Jones had headed straight to him. All his problems would be solved. Could it really be true, or was he dreaming? He opened the door and ushered Indy, who he noted looked older and wearier than the last time he had seen him, and his very pretty girlfriend into the room.
"Indy!" Vinny exclaimed, patting him on the shoulder. "I can't b-b-believe it's really you. W-w-what are you doing here?" he asked, pretending he didn't already know. "And who is the girl?" Indy's eyebrows went up at the warm welcome. Maybe he had helped Vinny more than he had thought he had. Still, the excessively warm greeting mystified him. They hadn't parted on the very best of terms. Vinny's English had improved too, he noted, perhaps as a result of his frequent smuggling trips to England.
"If you want to know my name," Lauren told Vinny icily, "just ask." What a jerk, she thought to herself. Generally she was afraid to answer snappily like she had, but if one thing irked her it was men who acted like women where second-class citizens or pieces of property to be stared at and not spoken to. Geez.
"A-a-all right, little lady," Vinny said apologetically, giving her a crooked smile he considered charming but which actually had the effect of revealing his yellow teeth and bad breath. "What is your name?"
"Hey," Indy interrupted, noting Lauren's annoyance. "Leave her alone."
"Oh…s-s-so touchy, Indy. She's yours, I see. Y-y-you never were too good at sharing."
"I'm not HIS," Lauren snapped, "In fact I'm nobody's property, and no, I wouldn't like to become yours anytime soon." Indy laughed.
"She sure is s-s-spunky, your little lady," Vinny continued, staring at Indy and ignoring Lauren's rebuff.
"You heard me," Indy growled in response, moving threateningly towards Vinny, who backed down immediately. He had seen Indy fight one time too many to want to get into one with him himself. Anyhow, he had to keep on good terms with the archeologist. No girl was worth the reward money he was going to get when he turned Indy in to the Italian secret police, he told himself. What a shock he'd get. Vinny felt a strange emotion, which he recognized as compassion, welling up in him when he imagined the treatment they would give Indy and the girl. But he stopped abruptly. He never liked Dr. Jones anyway. He was cocky, smart-alecky, and worse, he got all the girls, which mystified Vinny as he believed himself to be the epitome of attractiveness and charm. Jones was just some archeologist - what did they want with him?
"So," Indy began, playing with his whip, "we just thought you might want to lend us a boat. Your biggest one, which doesn't say much, but it's the only option we've got. It's important." Vinny looked at the whip and quivered. He didn't like the way Jones was twirling it around. It could hit somebody. He thought as quickly as he could, and he came up with a plan he was sure would work.
"Yes, yes, of course," he stammered. "W-w-whatever you like, Indy. Only I need to go get some fuel for the b-b-boat in the village. If you'll only wait t-t-twenty minutes it will be all ready. Make yourselves at home, yes, yes. Want a peanut?" Indy grabbed a handful, but Lauren shook her head, looking at the grimy surroundings and dirty dishes distastefully. As he ate the peanuts, Indy also observed the small hut. He was puzzled. Why was Vinny being so excessively hospitable, at least by his pathetic standards? He didn't like the look in his eyes. He wasn't too bright, but Indy was nervous anyhow. Something was just not right, but he couldn't figure out what it was.
"All right," Indy responded at last, "but be quick about it." Vinny scampered out of his hut and raced down the dusty streets. Jones had suspected something, he thought. He'd better hurry and inform before his very valuable property escaped. How much had the reward been? He remembered how he'd been shocked at its magnitude when the secret police man had told him in the street. But it didn't matter. Besides the money, by informing, maybe the secret police would look more kindly on him. Panting, Vinny ran into the police office in the center of the village. An important looking man he knew was from the secret police was heatedly instructing the village's local officer about something, but Vinny tapped on his arm anyhow. He figured his news was important enough to merit interrupting the conversation. The tall, important man turned on him haughtily and dealt him a condescending glare. He would wipe that glare right off his face, Vinny predicted, when he informed him of his little secret.
"What is it?" the man snapped, wrinkling his nose at the scraggly short man, who smelled as if he hadn't bathed in weeks.
"Don't mind him," the local police officer explained nervously, "he's…umm…" The other officer signaled him to stop talking. He had recognized the man, after a few seconds. He was a pesky black market dealer they were planning to arrest, before that damned Dr. Jones escaped and messed all their schedules up. He had known the idea wasn't any good from the start. Jones was too pigheaded and stupid to cooperate. What a mess. Still, how convenient that the little pest should come to turn himself in, the police chief thought.
"I-I know, I m-m-mean I want to inform t-t-that is," Vinny began nervously, stuttering more than usual.
"Out with it. What is it?" the chief commanded impatiently, having no desire to listen to the man's mumblings.
"I know where Dr. Jones is!" Vinny gasped out finally. The police chief's countenance suddenly changed from annoyance to surprise and then to cunning. If he could hand in Dr. Jones and the little black market dealer at once…boy…he would certainly get a commendation. Maybe he could even unseat General Vartoldi, who he despised, as he always gave him stupid jobs to take care of. Perhaps he could even become an assistant to el Duce himself! But wait…maybe the little pest was lying to him. He grabbed him by his shirt.
"Repeat that. What was that? You know where Dr. Jones is? The American archeologist? Where?" he asked eagerly, grabbing Vinny tightly. Vinny coughed and nodded, and the police chief released him. Vinny didn't like the way his surprise was being taken. He'd expected somewhat more respect for his discovery.
"Y-y-yes," Vinny continued. "B-b-but let me e-e-explain. And I w-w-want my money!"
"Sit down," the chief commanded. "You'll get your money, oh, you will," he continued. "Now, TELL ME. Where is Dr. Jones?" Vinny thought carefully. He had to tell the story the right way. He didn't want it to seem like he had any connection to the renegade archeologist.
"W-w-well he's at my hut. He came a-a-and asked to b-b-borrow my boat. I t-t-told him I was going to get some f-f-fuel for it."
"All right. Stay RIGHT there." Vinny stayed frozen in his seat, quivering with fear. Maybe he hadn't done the right thing. What if they found out about him, too? But, they wouldn't, he told himself. And the reward…oh…the reward! He watched as the chief picked pressed a button and spoke to another official.
"I've got a location on Jones, General," the chief stated proudly.
"You've got him? Don't let him go, whatever you do. He's going to pay dearly for what he did."
"Not yet, sir," he responded uncertainly, "we're about to go get him. This brave man informed us that Jones wanted to borrow his boat. He pretended to go get some fuel, but he came here," he continued sarcastically. Vinny sat straight up.
"My reward? M-m-my reward?" he inquired, but stopped when he saw the look the chief shot him.
"Then, here's what I want you to do. Get on the boat with Jones - claim to be an assistant or something - and keep in touch with me. I'm sailing on a destroyer out to Ethiopia. We'll meet up and I'll take the rascal and give him what he deserves," the General explained. "And remember…if you fail…"
"Right away, sir. I won't fail," the chief let go of the button and brushed the sweat off his face. The pig. It would be a wholly different matter when el Duce was informed of who actually captured the man. But first he had to capture Jones and deal with the moron who had turned himself in.
"Well now, sir," he said mockingly to Vinny. "You are going to get the reward you justly deserve." He gestured to the local policeman. "Take this man away to jail for smuggling stolen goods and black market dealings. And make sure he gets some nice treatment in his cell," he continued sardonically. Vinny gaped in shock, but before he could even protest the policeman grabbed his wrist and brutally jerked him away. "By the way," the chief called after him, "thanks for saving us the trouble of going to get you. I wish all our criminals were so helpful."


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