The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound – Chapter 36 to 38 – Readers and Writers Book Club

The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound – Chapter 36 to 38

The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 36

Harrah took the call on his personal line. “This had better be good, Hopkins. You’re running out of time.”

There was the roar of static on the cell phone and finally Hopkins’s voice could be heard plainly. “A bit of a problem. It seems the hostages have disappeared.”

“What?” Harrah rose from his desk chair in surprise.

“The contact, the man who got into the truck told me the hostages had disappeared. The couple who was guarding them missed a rendezvous. Then they called and said they wanted another million or they’d kill the hostages. Right now no one knows where they are.”

“You’re kidding.” Harrah smiled. “Is this your idea of a shakedown, Douglas? Squeeze an extra million out of English Petroleum. You certainly are greedy.”

“This is a very dangerous situation, Mr. Harrah.” Hopkins’ voice had the plaintive plea of a desperate man. “This is completely out of my hands. The two say unless they get an extra million they’re going to blow the hostages up with a car bomb. These people are crazy! I swear it!”

“How do I know this isn’t a bluff, Douglas?”

“Why would I bluff you? I’m not the one getting the $1 million. I’m not even the one they trust to deliver it. Besides, what does English Petroleum care? You’re covered for $10 million. But if those hostages go up in smoke, you’re going to have more scrutiny than you can stand, if you know what I mean.”

Harrah pulled the phone back from his ear. He pressed it against his chest and looked pensively out the window at the pitch black night beyond. He held his stare for a good thirty seconds. Then he pulled the phone away from his chest.

“. . .there? Are you there? Hello? Hello?”

“Yes, I’m here.” Harrah slowly spun his chair sideways as he reached for his sandalwood humidor on the shelf behind his desk. “Now, Douglas, I’m going to give you some instructions on where to find an extra million dollars. But, Douglas, don’t forget – and I am serious – I want the original $10 million by midnight.”

“Yeah, I remember.” Hopkins’ voice sounded strained. “But right now I’m worried about staying out of the gas chamber.”

The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 37

“We’ve got a tight schedule to keep.” He looked sideways at what the heck are you doing now?” John’s voice was irritated. “We haven’t got time to screw around on personal business.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Hopkins over the cell phone. “But right now we’re going to a warehouse and get my one million dollars.”

“What?”

“Are you having a hard time hearing? We’re going to play this my way. We’re going to get my million first. We’re going to make an initial withdrawal, so to speak, and then we’re going to drop off my million in a safe location. Then we’ll finish the deal.”

“You can’t be serious! Our schedule is too tight for any cowboy stuff!” The driver looked at John with panic in his eyes. John shook his head reassuringly and mouthed, “Keep cool.”

Hopkins’ voice was steady. “There is no honor among thieves, John. You said so yourself. I no longer trust you. We’ll just take a side trip. If you don’t like it, pull alongside and shoot me now. Then you’ll never get a dime.”

There was silence in the van for a long moment, the driver looking at John with questioning eyes. After bouncing over some cobblestones, the van hit a stretch of smooth pavement and it was quiet enough to hear a conspiracy breaking.

“Douglas, we can work this out, can’t we?”

“Sit back and enjoy the ride, John. The faster we get my one million, the faster you get your seven.”

The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 38

“I feel this is not one of my better days,” Cheri Molk said as she settled into the same plastic chair she had been in all morning. “I feel like I’m being dragged from pillar to post and beyond. How am I going to explain this to my boyfriend?”

“You’re still alive, aren’t you?” Greenleaf nodded toward the rest of the hostages. “We all are. Count your lucky stars. It could be worse.”

Steven C. Levi is a sixty-something freelance historian and commercial writer who lives in Anchorage, Alaska, his home for past 40 years. He has a BA in European History and MA in American history from the University of California Davis and San Jose State. He has more than 80 books in print or on Kindle. 

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