Sound Of Silence
Author: Rose Hala

Chapter 7
Sound Of Silence by Rose Hala

CHAPTER 7

It looked just like a war zone. Utah had never seen anything like it in his life before.

“Mein Gott !” What the hell was happening? Why was it happening to them? That was the biggest question of all. Why was this happening to them???

Few words were spoken and the mood was solemn. It was as if they were attending the cremation of a member of The Choir Boys extended family. Samuel slowly shook his head.

“I don’t understand this. How could someone destroy a beautiful piece of work like that?” Rachel, who was standing beside him, looked up at him in disbelief.

“Sam! Never mind the plane! You, all of you could have been in it!” He cupped her cheek in his hand.

“I know, honey, and I’m thanking God no one was hurt.” He kissed the tip of her nose before turning back towards the wreckage, his arm across her shoulders, hers around his waist. He gave a deep sigh.

“Still, it’s a damn shame though.”

Bruce stood looking at the burning wreckage and Annie, with the garden hose, extinguishing the smaller pockets of fires burning at random. Annie was in the process of dampening the area and putting the last of them out. The homestead was just visible in the morning light and Bruce thought out loud.

“How long does it take to eat a steak dinner anyway? I want some damn answers.” Daniel put his hand on his father’s arm.

“Give the man a break, Dad. He has just driven eleven hours to see us. Besides, Mac didn’t just get a steak. He got a steak dinner from Maggie and they are worlds apart.” Maggie had insisted on feeding Mac as soon as he arrived and told him to stay put until the plate was empty.

Bruce placed his hand over Daniel’s.

“I know, Son. It’s just…….” his voice trailed off. Daniel nodded.

“Yeah, Dad I know.”

They all felt a little out of their depth, this was something you read about in the morning paper, it wasn’t supposed to actually happen, leastways, not on your doorstep.

“Lets go back inside, Annie said to everyone. “Everything’s damp enough and I think we can all use another coffee.

Maggie had shown Mac the guest room and informed everyone that he would be down when he was ready and that she would meet them in the living room with coffee and breakfast treats. With the wreckage out of their line of vision, everyone began to relax a bit.

Utah snuck a wink to Steven and turned to Carl.

“Ya’ know, someone has to tell Debbie.” Carl held up his hands.

“Oh, no. No, no, no …Not me. Not me. Ahhh, Sam?” Samuel shook his head.

“Awww com’on you’re her favorite. She likes you. She doesn’t like me now.” Daniel laughed “You know, for a Latin Lover, a married Latin Lover, you don’t know much about women.

There are a couple of unwritten rules that you need to know about”. He held up his index finger.

“Rule Number one. Never ask a women her age. If she should tell you, lie with a smile and say she only looks; now brother, whatever age she tells you she is, she has to look ten years younger. ” Daniel nodded at Utah who held up two fingers and continued.

“Rule Number Two.” Utah looked at Carl, “Now, this is where you messed up Carlito. Never make negative comments about a women’s home, car or, in this case, plane.”

Carl raised an eyebrow.

“I only said that I thought the plane could do with a wash. That was it.” Steven looked surprised.

“You told Debbie that her baby was dirty?”

“Noooo, no, no! I just said it could do with a wash, that’s all.”

Steven rolled his eyes.

“That’s the same thing to a woman. Listen don’t ever tell your lovely wife Jo Jo that the carpet needs a vac or the windows need a wipe or you might wind up wearing a frying pan hat.”

Carl just shrugged his shoulders, and shook his head. Women! Who the hell could make them out?

Daniel helped Maguilita wheel a cart laden with home made cookies, scones, and little tea cakes and a electric coffee percolator into the living room. Within minutes, the fragrant intoxicating smell of brewing coffee filled the room. When Maggie went back to the kitchen for the service trolley that held the cups, plates, and cutlery, Daniel and Bruce counted heads and added two chairs from the dinning room for Mac and Rachel. Maggie put the second trolley near the first, then took a seat.

Bruce grinned. He knew Maguilita could be as stubborn as a mule and as hard to move as a rock. But, she was family and, what’s more would fight like a tiger to protect anybody in this room. He also knew there was absolutely no possibility of keeping anything from her.

If Maggie wanted to know something, she found out ~ end of story.

When Daniel stood, intending to fetch another chair, Samuel motioned him back. Gently taking Rachel’s hand Sam led her over to the sofa and sat down comfortably with her on his lap. At first, she tried to sit up straight, but Sam gently pulled her to him, and she relaxed cradled in his arms against his chest.

This was how they were when Mac entered the room. He paused when he saw his waiting audience. Then, to buy some time to collect his thoughts, and because he was in desperate need of a coffee, he made a not-to-hot milky cup that tasted like nectar, which he downed in seconds. This was followed by a strong, black wake-me-up cup which he went and sat down with.

Maguilita eyed him up and down then nodded to show she liked what she saw. She folded her arms across her chest. “You damn well better have a good explanation as to why someone wants to harm my Danny and them boys, Mister!”

Mac looked at this tiny woman, who reminded him of a fierce bantam hen looking out for her chicks and quickly decided he had better have a damn good explanation indeed.

“We think someone, and it could be more than one person, is using you guys to traffic drugs from one country to another.”

“Drugs?”

“I don’t believe it, Drugs?”

“I don’t understand. We don’t have any drugs on us”

“¡Mi Dios!”

“Oh, that’s bullshit!”

Sam realized what he had said when Rachel hit him on the shoulder. “Oh. Sorry, ladies.” Mac held up one hand.

“Look, I’ve been a cop for over 20yrs and my gut is telling me none of you are involved. But from the analysis of the wire, which isn’t even complete yet, someone connected with you guys is definitely moving some merchandise which we are pretty sure is drugs. Actually I thought the ‘stuff’ might be coming in via your plane but that’s obviously not the case. But it’s getting shifted somehow, either by person which is unlikely given the quantity we believe is involved, or stashed inside the gear you guys use which sounds more viable.”

Everyone was shocked. Jaws dropped to the floor, eyes like round plates, and some were shaking their heads slowly. Drugs? Someone was using them to shift drugs. Utah couldn’t believe it.

“ Drugs? …Are you sure, Mac? How could someone use us to bring in drugs? I mean, we’re just performers; singers. We don’t import anything except ourselves.” Mac shook his head with a cynical laugh.

“ Trust me, Guys. They can and do use every kind of body and every kind of thing to shift their merchandise. I’ve seen the Narcotics Division find cocaine in suitcase handles, shoe heels, pool cues, etc. They can be located anywhere, and not just inside things, if you get my drift.”

Rachel turned slightly green and put an arm around her stomach.

“ Oh, my God, that’s so gross.”

Daniel helped himself to another coffee and returned to his seat.

“ So, Mac. You think someone is concealing drugs, cocaine in our luggage? We mostly have only one small bag each with us on our plane. Because we do promotional work in between concerts, we are in the plane taking off to anywhere before the band has even packed up. Sometimes we arrive on the day of the concert, have a rehearsal then perform that night. It’s a pretty hectic schedule.”

Before Mac could say anything, Maguilita was on her feet wagging her finger at Daniel.

“And just when do find time to eat? No wonder you all look like flag poles! And you!” She pointed a finger at Samuel. “You look like you’re going to blow away in a gust of wind!”

“Damn.” thought Samuel. “I thought she hadn’t noticed.” When both Utah and Carl snickered, Samuel snuck a one fingered gesture in their direction.

“Mister.” Maggie turned to face Steven. It was his turn. “You had better start taking care of my boys. I know what kind of rubbish they serve on planes. It’s nothing but plastic food in plastic containers, water, and peanuts.”

Without waiting for his reply and pleased about having had her say, Maguilita sat and folded her arms back across her chest.

Mac looked at Daniel , who just rolled his eyes. They resumed their conversation.

“And what about the rest? Your clothes, the band, the instruments, the orchestra and all their gear; how does all that stuff get from A to B?”

“ Steven coordinates that along with some other people. The equipment isn’t our responsibility we only see it on stage and our show clothes are prepped by someone else and left readied for us in our dressing rooms.” Then Daniel turned to Steven. “ Most of the personnel have been with us from the start haven’t they?” Steven nodded and Daniel turned his attention to Mac.

“How long has this been going on?”

“ Well, contrary to belief, this kind of thing doesn’t just happen. The people who run these syndicates are highly organized and very smart. The Bureau had a plant.” Sam looked up at Mac with a confused look on his face.

“Sorry, Sam. We’ve had an undercover agent attending your concerts and digging around for six months now. I figure the whole operation has been going on for about a year before we were tipped off.

“Tipped off? I don’t understand. Tipped off by who?” Carl looked at Steven. “Why weren’t we told about this?”

“Hey! Don’t look at me. This is the first I’ve heard about it. Mac, why the hell wasn’t I told about this? I should have…” Steven stopped short as realization hit him. “Oh my God, Mac. You thought we were involved. The whole lot of us?” This time it was Steven who swore aloud with no offer of an apology. “Well you’re talking to us about it. What was it that made the Feds’ change their minds about us?”

Mac took a deep breath.

“They haven’t. As far as they are know, everyone is a suspect until they are ruled out.”

Annie Mason stood up, clearly upset.

“ Have you come here arrest my son and his friends….?”

Maguilita moved, before Mac got a word out, with a speed that belied her senior years. As if her hands on her hips would protect Daniel she turned to face Mac.

“You ain’t taking my Danny and those boy’s nowhere, Mister!” Mac had to laugh.

“ Calm down, Chicken Little. I’m not here to arrest anybody. As I explained, I’ve been a cop for over twenty years and I follow my gut which is telling me you guys are clean.”

At the look on Sam’s face he continued,

“In the clear. Daniel, for God’s sake will you teach Samuel some American?” Mac turned to face Maguilita.

“ Now, young lady. We could do with someone with your spunk in the Bureau. How about it?”

Maguilita smiled at Mac for the first time.

“ You young charmer, you. I bet you give your wife a lot of trouble.”

“Me? Oh no, not me. My Liz is like you. Sassy.”

“Good for her.” That her boys were safe for now that was good enough for Maggie.

“Now, does anyone want breakfast seeing as no one has eaten much supper? While you’re all thinking about it, I’ll get some more coffee ready.”

Samuel was curious about something.

“You said you were tipped off. But who tipped you? And how did they know? And, if this has been going on for a year, how the hell could we not have known about it?”

“ We don’t know who it was. We received an anonymous phone call which we traced back to a remote phone booth but it didn’t yield any clues as to the identity of the caller. The only thing we do know is that the caller was a woman. She may have gotten cold feet and pulled out early before the shipments actually started because she only said enough for us to think about putting the plant in place. There was nothing substantial or specific in the phone call itself, just hints that were too big to ignore. We are still trying to put all the pieces together and, as for your not knowing, don’t beat yourselves up over it. People can live in the same house as a drug dealer and never know it.”

The wonderful smell of bacon and eggs wafted in from the dinning room. It had been an early morning for everyone and it was time for a substantial breakfast. Cakes and caffeine weren’t going to cut it anymore!

 

They had just gotten seated when there was a knock at the door. Annie looked at her watch. “It’s 8AM. Who would visit us this hour of the morning?”

Bruce stood to answer the door and Mac raised his hand up to stop him.

“ Hang on, Bruce…” Mac disappeared for a few seconds and came back carrying his gun, “Ok, ask who it is and open the door, slowly.”

“Oh, God,” Rachel gasped when she saw the gun. She felt Samuel clasp her hand and give it a gentle, reassuring squeeze.

A young teenager walked through the door followed by another. Annie hurried to embrace her baby girl.

“Jiayi. Oh darling, it’s wonderful to see you home again. My goodness, is it the holidays already?” Annie let go of Jiayi and hugged the young girl who was standing slightly behind her daughter. “ What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Diana, I’ve just started at Jiayi’s school and we are in the same classes. Mum’s got the decorators in and Dad’s in Hong Kong on business. Jiayi said it would be ok to stay at her place for the holidays. Is it alright with you, Mrs. Mason?”

“Oh sweetie, you are more than welcome. Join us for breakfast and you can meet everybody.”

They were just in the middle of eating when a slightly built woman marched through the door. She had red hair, the kind of red that didn’t come from any bottle.

“Ok, what the hell have you done with my plane?" Steven rolled his eyes. The plane had exploded and now the pilot was about to as well.

There hadn’t been time for Debbie to pack when Steven told her to collect them from Las Vegas. So she borrowed a car when they arrived, spend the night in Denver, and came back to an empty runway. Where was her beautiful plane? She had taxied it to the gate of the driveway when they arrived yesterday so Sam could access the waiting car. And she was going to check it by the light of the next morning so she left it out of the hanger for the night. But, where the hell had it gone? Where was her baby?"

 

 

 

 

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