Murder on the Reunification Express
by G .
Editor’s Note: In The Docket’s serial fiction story, Logan Maze, a Denver lawyer, was working for Denver real estate developer Mickey Thornton when his work took him to Vietnam. To read past installments visit www.denbar.org/docket.
"MiWan," Logan murmured, sick, exhausted, in dire need of a drink, "if Mickey doesn’t want the police involved, then it only makes me want to bring them in more."
"There are too may complications. Too many people involved. Too many bad people."
"I can handle the complications."
"Perhaps, Logan Maze, you are a complication."
"You’ve always had a very dark mind, MiWan."
"I learned from the best."
"I have an idea."
"I am listening."
"Can we talk alone? Tran and his buddy aren’t doing positive things for my morale, or my ability to think clearly."
"Tran," MiWan snapped. "Take a walk."
Mickey Thornton’s son nodded and grasped his friend by the crook of the elbow. They holstered their firearms and shuffled from the hut.
"You are crazy, Logan Maze."
"I have friends in the U.S. Attorney’s Office from the old days. And the FBI. One guy went to Interpol. He’s based in Sydney, but I’m pretty sure I can get hold of him. He can pull strings in high places. My bet is, with the proper info going his way, he can get us all out of this mess. Plus, he owes me a pretty big favor."
"What about Mickey?"
"What about him? He’s lied to me for years. I thought he was my friend. He’s in deep back in the United States. Right now anyway. Drugs. Maybe other things."
"Mickey is Mickey. But he does owe me $100,000."
"You may have to overlook that."
"That is a lot to overlook."
"If you let me try to pull this off, I’ll make it up to you."
MiWan sipped at a fresh steaming cup of tea and snapped her fingers gently. Phuon entered the small room and sat cross-legged beside her mother. "Daughter, escort our friend back to the Erewan."
"I do need one more favor."
"It cannot hurt to ask."
"Can you get me a satellite phone? A good one."
Logan Maze hadn’t seen Brock Vond in years, nor Brock’s wife Frenesi. They didn’t even look like they’d aged. She was still beautiful in her own enigmatic way, he still the handsome blond American warrior. They sat regally in his suite at the Erewan, Bankok’s legendary hubbub seemingly thwarted by the elegance.
"Mickey Thornton’s a big fish. I don’t believe you didn’t figure his angles out years ago. The sign of the phoenix casts a long shadow. From secret airbases in the Ozarks to the Golden Triangle." Brock paced the room. "We’ve known about this for years, of course."
"We knew about you."
"Don’t fret, my friend. I’m sure this can work out well for everyone."
"That goes without saying."
"MiWan and her family protected. Mickey behind bars. Me back in Denver drinking scotch at the Brown Palace."
"Except one thing."
Logan Maze froze at the look in Brock Vond’s eyes.
"Mickey arrives in Vietnam tomorrow, right? He boards the train in the morning, retracing the man-who-was-not-Tran’s route."
"Mickey Thornton never leaves Vietnam."
Frenesi lit an obscure Asian cigarette and opened a small case, one built especially for her video equipment, but one that hadn’t held a camera in years. "We’ll be on the train, too, Logan," she said. "You see, we owe someone else a favor."
Brock shrugged and sat down by his wife and long-time accomplice in international intrigue.
"It’s your game now," Logan said wearily. "I have one more thing to do, then I’m heading back home."
"Vaya con dios," Brock said, glancing in his wife’s bag, nodding yes, and leading her from the suite.
Frenesi blew Logan a kiss as she slipped from the room like a mist from a glade.
Mickey Thornton sat stiffly in the uncomfortable chair and watched the Vietnamese countryside roll past him. It was still beautiful, still deadly. He wondered if Logan was worth the $100,000 American the kidnappers were demanding. It’s not like he didn’t have enough trouble at home. The grand juries in Arkansas and Arizona. The bust in Louisiana. But Logan had covered for him so many times in so many ways. And Logan had the secret account numbers for a at least a few million in Zurich. Mickey was hungry and when Mickey was hungry he got food and he got it now. With a peremptory flick of the wrist, he pulled the chain that brought a small man with a menu to his chair.
"The Chinese noodles and chicken is most tasty," the man ventured in fractured English.
Mickey nodded his assent and ordered. Within moments a steaming bowl of chicken and noodles stood on the tray before him. As Mickey allowed the aromas to pass over him, inhaling deeply the scents of Asia, he failed to notice the slender American woman in Viet peasant garb place a small handgun to his head, or the signet ring emblazoned with a phoenix that shone from the trigger finger. And after that, Mickey Thornton never failed to notice anything again. Then again, it didn’t matter, because he was dead.
Logan slowly spelled out an account sequence to MiWan, who just as carefully wrote it on a tender wisp of rice paper and placed it in a special compartment in her purse. It was cool in Denver that day, and the brandy was excellent. It was cool, too, in Switzerland, as MiWan and her family checked into an understated hotel near the lake. "This is a long way from Vietnam," both thought simultaneously, and both were never so right.