When part three opens, Miles and his pals are making their way from Seattle to Mexico City in search of the treasure represented by the tiny PreColumbian figure in their possession. Their progress is hindered by unreliable transport, lack of funds and the border patrol. Along the way, Miles relies on the kindness of park rangers, enterprising young Mexican nationals and migrant workers at the same time that Rudy discovers his inner exhibitionist. Join in the fun and come along with the guys as they continue their quest in part three of Miles Diamond and the Demon of Death.
“We got trouble, guys.” Jackson returned to the table and slammed a newspaper down on top of my French toast.
“Hey!” I yelped. “I wasn’t finished eating.”
“You will be.” Jackson pointed at the headlines. “Check it out.”
“That’s a great photo, Miles.” Rudy yanked the paper out of my hands and appropriated it for himself. “Looks just like you.”
“Piss off.” I studied what appeared to be the same snapshot that graced my current driver’s license. It made me look like I’d been mugged at the tail end of a threeday drunk. “Just what the hell is my picture doing on the front page of a Los Angeles newspaper, anyway?” Curiosity overcame my irritation over the unflattering likeness.
“Oh, boy,” Rudy muttered. “This isn’t good at all.” He covered the photo with his hand when the waitress zipped by to refill our coffee cups. “Unemployed drifter sought by police in connection with yesterday’s theft of priceless artifact from Seattle Art Museum.”
“Unemployed drifter?” I was not amused.
“That’s just the headline, Miles. It gets better.” Rudy took a sip of coffee and grinned at me sunnily. “Shall I continue?”
“Why not?” I dumped two packets of sugar in my coffee and stirred it sullenly.
“‘Diamond, the associate of known criminal elements…’”
“That’s gotta be Chin,” Jackson interjected.
“‘…is being sought by authorities in connection with a spectacular earlymorning breakin at the Seattle Art Museum.’”
“No mean feat,” I interposed, “especially considering the fact that I was in California at the time.”
“Please quit interrupting, Miles. You can comment later. Now, where was I?” He made an annoying show of searching for his place. “Oh, yes. ‘After brutally overpowering a guard, Diamond ransacked several exhibits, including the prestigious Nicholas Grizzard collection of Aztec and Mayan sculpture. While the museum’s curator, Michael Corliss, indicated that the break in appeared to be more an act of mindless vandalism than a knowledgeable art theft, one important piece of sculpture was definitely stolen.’”
“Shhhh! Miles, be quiet. ‘The missing artifact – a small statue of a PreColombian god known as the Demon of Death – is valued at over five million dollars, and is the single most important piece of the collection. Diamond was identified by the injured guard from his bed at Harborview Hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of severe scalp lacerations and a fractured jaw. Police have issued a warrant for Diamond’s arrest and authorities up and down the West Coast are on the lookout for the fugitive. There is great concern in the art world that the artifact will be spirited out of the country and as a result borders into Canada and Mexico are being closely monitored. Diamond is presumed armed and should be approached with caution. Nicholas Grizzard has personally offered a reward of fifty thousand dollars for information leading to the apprehension of the fugitive and recovery of the artifact.’”
“Is that all?”
“Isn’t that…” Rudy’s reply was cut short when the plateglass window next to us suddenly shattered, spraying slivers of glass across the table. Other restaurant patrons screamed and dived for cover.
As I scrambled for cover myself, I glanced out the window. A large black Mercedes with tinted windows pulled away from the curb across the street and sped away. People on the sidewalk opposite us scattered, sensing that something was wrong. In their midst, I got a brief glimpse of a familiar figure in a gray suit. He looked intently at the front of the cafe, then ducked into a storefront and disappeared.
“What the hell?” Rudy wedged his bulk in beside me under the table.
“Bad news, gentlemen.” Jackson joined us. “I can only assume that we were the targets, since no one else is at a window table. I figure the cops will be here any minute. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we should wait around to meet them.”
“Jackson’s right.” Rudy looked at me pointedly. “After all, Miles is a fugitive.”
“Thanks for reminding me. Just what the hell are we going to do?”
“Don’t worry, Miles. I’ve got a plan.” Jackson looked as smug as a man can while jammed under a restaurant table, kneeling in a plate of halfeaten French toast. “But first, we need a car. I saw a rental agency across from the motel. Let’s get a move on. Miles, try to be inconspicuous.”
“That’ll be the day,” Rudy mumbled under his breath.
“What was that…volcano man?” Rudy’s expression left no doubt that he wanted to deck me. Fortunately, the distant wail of sirens intervened and we beat a hasty retreat.