The next morning Clare Drake and Jennifer Jamieson arrived at the Holiday Inn a few minutes after ten. They were mildly worried. The message hadn’t said who they were supposed to meet. “What if it’s a bust,” Jennifer said. “What if it’s a setup and not from Herbie? What if Herbie gave us away? You know, sold us out, made a deal or something?”
There was always that possibility. It had worried Clare from the moment the deal with Herbie had been struck. She thought for a moment.
“Just in case. You never know, in case it is a set up. If things are OK, I’ll come out and get you. If I don’t come back in ten minutes, you go to the ship and get rid of the stuff. Throw it overboard or something.”
So Jennifer waited outside while Clare went in. A few seconds later, Clare returned wearing a curious expression.
“It’s not Herbie. It’s a woman.”
Jennifer made a “so?” gesture, added, “Who is she?”
“Mollie something. She says she’s a friend of Herbie’s. She says Herbie sent her, that plans have changed. She wants the package.”
Jennifer shrugged. “She’s got the money?”
“Some. She’s got $3,000 and says Herbie will pay us the difference when we get to
That didn’t make sense. Jennifer said so. “No deal. We’re supposed to get $10,000. We can call Herbie, set him straight. We–”
“I told her we’d do it. Go get the stuff.”
“But why? Herbie’ll never show up! He’ll–”
Clare took Jennifer by the shoulders. “Trust me on this, OK? I know what I’m doing and I’ll explain later. The ship’s leaving in a couple of hours and I want us free and clear of all this bullshit. It’s the best thing we can do. Just take my word for it. It’ll all work out.”
Jennifer wanted to argue but was deterred by the look in her friend’s face. “I don’t like this,” she said. “We’re getting ripped off and I don’t like this at all.” But Clare was already going back into the hotel, so she returned to the ship anyway.