“Tell them to stop now!”
Don Ramon banged the receiver on the old telephone console. His ire was brought up by murmurs in the field that he was behind the killings. His reputation as a respected businessman was being ridiculed in public after the video footage of the burglary at his building was shown in the media.
The switchboard operator complained to him that numerous calls kept coming to ask for interviews. They recognized a frenzy was in the offing once the investigations were completed.
Don Ramon paced the carpeted floor, his anxiety evident as he chain smoked, turning the air conditioned room into a heavily polluted enclosure.
His cellular phone rang, the caller identification showed it was his lawyer.
“I specifically told you to keep me out of it,” he opened his barrage. “Your partner’s dirty tactics invited questions about my businesses.”
“I could not control what the police give to the media,” the lawyer defended. He suspected their hired gun leaked the video in exchange for more money.
“They put two and two together, that’s what. The faces of the thieves and the victims of the killings were matched. So what do you expect?”
“Bullshit!” Don Ramon’s foul mouth was at it again. “People don’t buy that garbage anymore. Even the illiterates could not be fooled easily like before. They’re learning the ins and outs of the system because the media open their minds daily.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Call him off! Spare the last kid! If he’s alive, then we sell the public your coincidence bullshit.”
“Are you sure?”
“I want this whole thing buried now. You hear!”
Attorney Abad could not blame Don Ramon. Lefty has gone overboard.
He went out the office and told her secretary to hold all incoming calls: he wanted to concentrate on the case at hand.
Outside the building, near an isolated guard post, he pressed the numbers on his cellular phone. The message to abort had to be conveyed fast to avert disaster.
“The deal is off,” he announced when a cold voice answered.
“Maybe you’re talking to the wrong person,” Lefty replied, testing the caller’s authenticity.
“It’s me!” Attorney Abad pronounced the words strongly.
“What are you talking about?” Lefty decided to listen first: the reason should appeal to him.
“You’re supposed to dispose them off quietly. You intentionally sensationalized everything.”
The pause on the other line was longer. The lawyer waited for an apology.
“The deal is five dead teenagers. I already got four. I’ll finish the last the soonest.”
“Did you not hear what I said, the deal is off. Spare the last.”
“Suddenly found your conscience, eh?”
The lawyer let the comment pass as if he did not hear it.
“The result of your methods hurt my sponsor’s business interests. Stop and the heat will cool down.”
“What about my money?”
“You’re paid!” Attorney Abad feared the introduction of extortion.
“That’s for the killing,” Lefty clarified. “To stop is another contract. And, you owe me a bonus.”
“You’re out of your mind!” the lawyer shouted, his outburst sounded more insulting. “This ends our transaction.”
“In that case, I’ll do the last one for free,” Lefty retorted sarcastically. “I do not want unfinished business.”
“Stop or …”
“Or what, call the police and arrest me?”
Attorney Abad did not know what to say. He was accustomed to threatening witnesses on the stand, scaring victims to retract damaging statements or demand large sums from clients needing acquittals. But he could not think of something to instill fear on the man he barely knew.
“What’s the matter, Attorney? Your hands getting sweaty and cold?”
“The deal is off.” the lawyer had lost his glibness.
Lefty could not control his anger anymore that he violently wiped off the things atop his desk.
The crashing sound was audible on the line and the lawyer was not prepared to hear Lefty’s next words.
“Pray that no one contracts me to get your head,” he warned. “I’ll cut your tongue first.”
(to be continued)