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Herr D

<span style=”font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue’, Arial, Helvetica, ‘Nimbus Sans L’, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.3999996185303px;”>[chapter 14 continues]</span>

It was exactly five minutes later that Henri brought the dessert tray, followed by two other waiters. Tony had the wooden crate closed and wrapped in torn plastic packaging by that time, so the coins weren’t visible. Mike had wheeled over a homemade tape dubber and dubbed the tape. “Henri? These two will guard you on the way to the safe, but stand outside while you put it in. One more thing–” He pulled Henri by the lapel all the way down to whisper in his ear. Henri, face studiously wooden, nodded. The other two waiters stared, dumbfounded, at the broken wall.

Mike added the dubbed tape to the already heavy package in Henri’s arms.

As the waiters left, Tony turned to Mike and Jennifer. “Now, the issue of payment. We agreed I’d pay you a small amount plus food for helping me with research and filming.” He turned to Jennifer. “You I’ve already agreed to have the exclusive on this story. But both of you helped me find peace, and a treasure that will pull my restaurant back from the brink of bankruptcy.” He reached into his back pocket, pulled out a wallet, and reached inside. He counted out ten slips of expensive-looking paper. “Use them fast,” he said, “I could die any day now, and who knows whether the new owner will honor them. I’m going to insist you take some takeout home too. I’ll send Henri for your order.” He stood up, seized the dessert tray, pulled three absolutely beautiful dessert plates off and placed them in front of Mike and Jennifer, and carried his three out of the room. The whipped cream was just beginning to melt against the steam escaping the mincemeat pie.

“I’ve never seen him like this,” said Mike. He picked up the ten slips. “Coupons for a romantic dinner for two, here at Machiavelli’s!”

[end of chapter 14; chapter 15 will begin in about two weeks.]