Chapter 14: Testimonials
Mike sprang up and went to the camera. He very carefully did not move it as he looked through the viewer. He walked back into view of the camera slowly, picking up a chair and placing it right in front of the hole in the wall. Tony, getting up from the two chairs he’d dined in, went up to him and handed him a pair of silver bread tongs and his own cloth napkin. Mike half-turned to the camera. “This box, as it may contain stolen property, I am moving with permission of the owner of the building only for the purposes of discovering its contents. As you can see from this non-digital footage, we worked out the placement of this hiding place and broke into it with no knowledge of the small box I am removing.” He turned back and bent forward. He stepped onto the chair. He put one foot against the rickety crates, gingerly testing his weight, and stuck the handle of the bread tongs under the smaller box. He lifted. His surprised expression was visible in profile to Jennifer as the tongs bent under the weight of the box. He turned to Tony. “Help me with this.”
Tony took the tongs, tossed them on the floor, grabbed Mike’s waistband, and nodded. Mike, looking a little surprised, carefully lifted the surprisingly heavy box and slowly bent to pull himself past the broken mortar shards still sticking out of the wall. He handed the box to Tony, who obviously strained to hold it at shoulder height till Mike jumped down from the chair and took it back. Mike lowered it down to the chair and moved Tony’s two chairs to behind Tony. Tony sagged into them and pulled out a screwdriver. He pried up the lid. He stared openly down into the box. “I would never have guessed in all my life that this was here.” He looked up suddenly at the camera. “I, Antonio Roberto Olmec Machiavelli, have the full intention of obeying all laws of America and all its jurisdictions. For that reason I am going to examine each and every one of these coins to make sure that none of them is dated 1933.”
“Why does the date matter?” said Mike, stepping forward.
“How much time is left on the tape?” said Tony.
“About an hour.”
“Run go get Henri. Bring him right in here. Right now.”
Mike hesitated, but Jennifer could only just tell. He dashed off, hurtling the camera cord, knocking over the closest screen.
[to be continued]