A crime fiction...
- news flash -
Body in River
The body of a man was found floating in the Iguazú river this morning by a tourist boat. Mary (name withheld) said it was terrible. "We were just approaching the falls when the body appeared bobbing in the foam directly in front of us. We almost ran over it. The driver swerved and circled back and the crew pulled him in. The poor man must have fallen - or perhaps he jumped?"
The body was discovered near the Brazilian side but was taken back to Argentina. Police are investigating and have not yet released details of the man's identity...
Everywhere we look there is falling water. Down the track to the right is a lookout to the other side of the gorge, in Brazil, where the cliff faces are covered by maybe a kilometre of falling curtains in white windswept water. Here and there the curtains hang in gaps or are pushed aside by clumps of trees and bushes, like stagehands peeking out into a theatre before the performance.
To the left is a massive cascade that can be approached on a concrete walkway, suspended over the flat swirling waters below, in the mist of spray thrown up.
It's a wonderful bright sunny Saturday in Iguazú and the trees and flowers and fragrant shrubs are giving off that smell of contented growth in perfect conditions. Even the local fauna is having a good time. Already this morning I've seen several lizards and a ring-tailed coati, raiding the garbage bins for discarded delicacies. And here I am shoulder to shoulder with this beautiful woman; leaning against the low handrail together on this deserted section of track; staring out into the bright mist; awed by the majesty of nature. Each of us is aware of mounting arousal in the other as we exalt in the power and volume of the numerous torrents before us.
There was no trouble finding Geraldo’s wife. She was wearing a light cotton dress in orange and lemon, fitted at the waist, flaring to a full calf length skirt, together with sensible matching orange canvas shoes with rubber soles in preparation for the boat. She was exactly where Geraldo had said she would be, about to take the boat ride under the falls. It had been simple to wait until she arrived and then to follow her onto the boat. It's un día perfecto para el amor, a day perfect for love.
Even the earlier hanging about waiting was auspicious. A tourist put his camera down on the seat when he took off his life-jacket. The wet jacket flopped to the ground just as his wife distracted him, calling for help to get out of hers. In all the fuss he didn’t even notice it was missing. It’s a very nice Olympus ultra-zoom 7.1 Megapixel’s, with full video function. I’ll sell it when I get home but at least I’ll have the joy of ownership for a couple of days. In the meantime it goes well with my new persona.
I wish all my work was this pleasant. I’ve tried being a private detective, a hired dick, but it's a hard way to make a living. So mostly I’ve been a personal trainer; and on occasion, more literally, a gigoló. But I'm a boy from the Barrio. I have to live on my wits and that means whatever I can get away with. I've never expected too much more so I'm happy.
The boat trip below the falls was great fun for us both. It goes right up into the neck of one of the falls tumbling down from Brazil, so that everyone can take photos. And then all cameras are put into waterproof bags before it goes through the rapids and quickly under one of the falls, so that we all got wet. It's not the sort of thing I'd usually do but I loved it and so did she.
It was the easiest thing to follow close onto the boat and sit beside her, at first simply holding her in place with my shoulder as the boat swerved and bucked. Within minutes she was grabbing my arm. She could obviously feel that I work-out and I’m pretty fit. And when the water wet her thin dress and it became more transparent under her life jacket I could see that she's in very good shape too, if you know what I mean.
Too soon the boat ride was over and we were back in Argentina, where, unlike that Australian fellow, I made sure that I didn’t let my new Olympus out of my sight. Soon I was snapping away telling her that I would send her a memory stick with the photos if she gave me her contact details. At the same time she was pretending to be a model, striking poses that were becoming increasingly naughty: hitching up her skirt; dropping a shoulder strap; as we got more comfortable together. I'll definitely be keeping some of those.
So here I am, just as Geraldo and I planned, standing in this romantic spot with my arm around his wife.
I'm Latin, slim and medium height. Dark and handsome, como una estrella de cine, like a film star, the Bocca girls tell me. She’s a Nordic type: fair skinned with shoulder length raven hair, that may not be its real colour. Even in flat shoes she's taller than me and a bit more athletic than I usually go for. Generally I like younger more petite girls, preferably with big tits, that I can throw about on a dance floor. But dancing's not what we're here for and I'm being paid, so the age thing is not an issue. In any case she's beautiful in a mature way and immaculately groomed, as only women of her class can be.
Ever since she grabbed my arm on the boat she's barely let go of me.
I can tell that she really likes my muscular young body. She’s turning towards me now. I'm looking into her eyes. Yes, she's fallen completely in lust with me. And I have that tingling, aroused feeling I get when sex is on the agenda. My mind is racing. Should I attempt to kiss her? If she kisses back I'll know if my secret mission is progressing as required.
Madre de dios! What a kiss! Her whole body seemed to consume me. I found myself wanting to take her now, right here, in full view. It's just as well she took control. I was right about how strong she is. Around the bend people are talking, coming along the path. We're back against the low rail pretending to look at the view. I'm recovering my composure. What a surprise that was. They smile knowingly as they pass.
A little discrete squeeze of her hand and an acknowledging glance. We need a room. I’ll take her back to the car park and drive to where? Her hotel or mine?
I know it will be hers. Geraldo has left 'unexpectedly' for home to leave her alone in that luxury room for the weekend. I’ll let her decide everything, then she’ll be entirely complicit. It should be her own decision to have this 'little fling'.
But first things first. I have to keep up the charade. She mustn't realise that I'm a 'secret agent' on a 'mission' for her husband. To her we're complete strangers who have met by accident on a boat and now find that we desperately want each other.
“I don’t even know your name?” I pretend.
“Kikka,” she lies, smoothly with no hesitation. I can tell that she’s been unfaithful before.
“It's German... And yours?”
“Diego. It's Spanish..." I lie too. It's the alias I rehearsed with Geraldo: "Diego for James - James Bond.”
"Will you come to my hotel Kikka? It’s nice.” I claim, hesitantly, unconvincingly. Actually, it's very nice, somewhat above my league, courtesy of Geraldo's 'spending money'.
"I've got a little rental car in the car park," I add.
“My hotel is very nice; and we can go in my big car.” She laughs, emphasising 'very' and 'big'.
“Ok, I can leave my car here, if you’ll bring me back later?” That’s a nice touch, it puts me at her mercy.
Now her hand takes mine. She doesn’t want to let me go until we get to her bed. She’s pulling my arm over her shoulder.
I ‘accidently’ brush her nipple with my wrist… She pulls my hand down and makes me do it again.
As I first realised on the boat and again as we embraced on the cliff-top she's wearing a very thin bra if any under that dress. And now her nipple is hard.
We're approaching her car. I recognise it from Geraldo's briefing. Third row fifth space up, white Lexus. She’s getting out the tag thingy.
“Would you like to drive?”
Of course I would. I lead her to the passenger's side, taking the opportunity to lean over her and do-up her seatbelt, carefully straightening it over her breasts. She giggles at my lustful attentions as I retreat. Then I go around and fall into the driver’s seat like a racing driver. Without another word the car is silently rolling between the rows.
“Where are we going?” I ask.
“You know the Sheraton?”
I nod, and as soon as I’m clear of the car park I show her how fast a Lexus can accelerate, deliberately starting in the dirt. I'm James Bond! She’s startled and excited…
Her hand is on my thigh.
It’s amazing to think how this all came about.
It must have been a month ago.
I hadn’t seen Geraldo since we were best friends together as kids then teenagers in the Barrio.
Geraldo has made good. He learned the Tango, when we thought that was gay, and soon became a famous teacher. I used to see his pictures up around La Boca. He' macho, handsome and well built, like me, he could be my twin, but he set up a studio and women flocked to it, to be taught ‘The Dance of Lust’. Now he's a famous celebrity judge on the hit TV show: Stars do the Tango.
As his fame grew he could afford to be selective about his pupils. One day Cassandra DeMain, a recently divorced heiress, society hostess and now a local political candidate, supposedly worth a hundred million, tangoed into his life. He literally swept her off her feet.
I bumped into Geraldo quite by chance. He'd been saying a particularly intimate farewell to a beautiful woman and turned away to bump into me. At first I thought it must be Cassandra, his famous wife, but I discovered later it was one of his mistresses. I didn’t expect him to acknowledge me at all. If the situation had been reversed I wouldn't have admitted to knowing a petty criminal from the Barrio.
But quite the opposite! He greeted me like his long lost brother; said he was in a hurry; but suggested we meet later for a drink. So I wasn't surprised when he named a real out-of-the-way dive. It's not quite the style he has become accustomed to; but not somewhere that his new friends would be likely to see him with me. Yet when he turned up looking so disreputable I was surprised. Had he walked through the streets dressed like that: a homeless bum?
Anyway, he quickly explained. He was in disguise. He was in need of un agente encubierto, an undercover agent, like James Bond, who could easily seduce a woman.
He reminded me of various conquests I'd made with girls who went to the local Convent school; how I'd even seduced away his girlfriend; and how he and I had run our fake charity and conned Sister Angelique, who had spent so much time teaching us English, to hand over all the money in the charity account for our fictitious home for the elderly. We laughed so hard at that.
After a few drinks we had a fine time bragging about our more recent conquests. Then he declared that I was just the man he was looking for to seduce his wife who went for our type and liked a little extra-marital fling occasionally.
He explained that she's running at the next election and that he has no desire to be a political handbag if she wins office. He's also discovered that she has affairs with other people. And although it's expected in a man he won't put up with that in his wife. Of course I agreed with him. Married women aught to be mothers; be true to their husbands; and care for his children. They should not go running around looking for other men; or act like lesbians.
So he needs his wife to have another fling with me so he can get some really juicy images, preferably video; evidence of her infidelity that he can use as grounds for a divorce.
That's why he and I mustn’t be recognised together and I must be incognito and unlinkable to him on this mission. I’m to be co-respondent in what should be a very lucrative divorce. But not under the covers, you understand, yes? We laughed so much at that! Over-cover, undercover! I'm smiling now.
He gave me an envelope with a thousand US dollars in it; for expenses and told me to buy some new clothes at Abercrombie & Fitch, that would make me look respectable and well off, pants cotton shirt, walking shoes and a good light weight jacket suitable for the boat. He'll pay me another four thousand for the camera card.
Yesterday at my hotel, here in Iguazú, was only the third time Geraldo and I've met, or talked, since leaving the Barrio, nearly twenty years ago. When he gave me the first thousand we agreed to meet the day before the planned seduction, for him to show me recent pictures of Cassandra on his tablet, and to give me an idea of her plans for today. He was ultra-cautious. He parked some distance away, in a flower nursery, and disguised in old gardening clothes, walked half a kilometre to the hotel, donning a soft hat and dark glasses and reversing his jacket on the way and returning by a different route.
His cloak-and-dagger antics and my new wardrobe made me feel that I really was James Bond, his secret agent on this mission.
When we met previously Geraldo explained that Cassandra thinks of him as her plaything. He was getting a bit drunk and complained that she likes to be treated as a goddess. Apparently 'Cassandra' is another name for Hera, the ancient Greek Goddess and Queen of Olympus. Her parents have a lot to answer for. They were well off but her money is her own - now. She took her wealthy first husband to the cleaners when he had an affair. So he sees nothing wrong with doing the same to her.
Her second only lasted a few months before being held as a hostage overseas then killed by terrorists. His death left her a grieving young widow but this time with her husband's entire estate; and very wealthy indeed.
He's her third with no wealth, her toy-boy. So he complained at length about the arrogant way she treats him, as if she's the goddess of Olympus and he's her mere servant. Thinking back that's funny. I've been taking pictures of her all day with my stolen Olympus.
I'm loving this mission. I would have taken this for expenses only! To think I'll net nearly five thousand US and I've even picked up an expensive Olympus camera as an additional benefit. I'm feeling like James Bond in these clothes. The only thing I'm missing is a Barretta strapped under my arm.
One thing doesn’t make sense. Early this morning Geraldo crossed into Brazil. Then he took a flight to Rio and an international flight back to Buenos Aires. He obviously didn't mean to tell me about this plan. He's not always the sharpest tool in the box and it slipped out. He looked confused and blustered when I asked him why he didn't simply fly out on a domestic flight from the Argentine side? I'm not sure I should believe that it was so the divorce lawyers could confirm that he was back in BA when Cassandra met me and started the affair. The only explanation I can think of for doing it was to ensure that his identity and the time was recorded: at passport control at the border in Iguazú, Brazil; and then again, at passport control in BA. But why could that be important?
Maybe it's just to show Cassandra where he is if she gets suspicious and checks on his movements? Maybe its just the way his mind works. Yet it seems more like building an alibi. But what for?
And this deal seems too good. As an experienced con-man myself I know that when a deal seems too sweet there's always something wrong. Is he trying to pin something on me? Maybe he wants her dead? Could I be his fall guy? But how?
One thing's for sure, I don't believe his divorce story. Being married doesn't seem to slow him down. And why kill the goose that lays his golden eggs?
Obviously I don't intend to harm his wife, except for a fairly vigorous fuck, getting more vigorous by the minute, with her hand moving up my thigh like this.
Geraldo can't be plotting my death. He hardly knows me anymore and it can't be over that girl, who is long gone to some early disease.
Wait a minute! I wonder if Cassandra has some health condition? A weak heart? Does he think I'll fuck her to death? I need to check. But how?
I adopt my best 'James Bond' voice: “Kikka, you are really turning me on doing that. I can’t wait to have you. But I don’t want to hurt you",
I'm channelling Sean Connery but I'm playing down the Scottish accent: “I’m quite nervous the first time with someone because I put my first girlfriend into hospital. She had a weak heart. It was terrible. She suddenly had a pain in her left arm and I knew immediately. I called an ambulance just in time.”
“Are you kidding? " she sounds incredulous. "That's total bullshit! Why would you make that up? Why don't you just say: I'm the greatest lover in the universe. I could fuck you to death!"
Damn! That went badly. Now she sounds angry.
"If that’s your best line, it’s not a turn on, it’s insulting. No! I don’t have a weak heart. Or any other fuck threatening ailment!”
Her hand has fallen from my thigh and she’s pouting. But at least it eliminates one possibility.
A shake of her head… She’s considering.
Oh, thank goodness, the hand is back… higher than ever. She’s squeezing me and biting my ear, rather too hard. A punishment?
"I've got a little fantasy I want you to play out for me." She's whispering in my ear as she snuggles in close. "Would you like to hear what it is?"
Of course I would. "Yes," I reply. But it's too late, we’re here…
"Swing into that car space over there..." she instructs me.
This is a really great location for a hotel. It's long and low, five or six stories, with spectacular views to the falls. A wilderness of jungle, that starts immediately below the manicured gardens, extends all the way to the mists rising off the falling waters, down there, in the middle distance.
A Premier Suite! It’s a lot better than I’m used to. Just as Geraldo described, the double room space is open plan, partially divided by a central timber console unit on which stands a huge flat-screen TV, separating the bed/bath and a huge sitting areas.
There is a square glass topped dining table on which stands an expensive looking bronze nude: a Gypsy dancer, with castanets held high. In front of a black leather three seat couch is a low coffee table with a huge vase of flowers at its centre. The suite is ideal for my present purpose, the nicest I've ever seen. But I suppose to Cassandra, with all her millions, this is the bottom of the range - slumming.
There on the central console unit is the clock. The clock that is really a camera. Geraldo certainly went to a lot of trouble to show it to me yesterday and watch me remove and replace the memory card to be sure I can get it quickly: "perhaps while she's in the loo after you finish".
The 'drop', that's spy talk, for leaving the memory card for him is a locker at the airport, on my way out. He's made an extra key for the locker so we have one each.
The clock is very clever. It starts filming as soon as there's movement in its field of view. It has face recognition software and pans and zooms to keep figures and movement in frame.
Cassandra's wasting no time.
“Unzip me darling, and we’ll see if you can put me in hospital.”
Her dress slips from her shoulders, falling to the floor. With a rippling half-shell about her feet she reminds me of the poster of Botticelli's Birth of Venus, that decorated my mother's room back in the Barrio.
She's undoing the buckle on my belt and loosening my pants. Her hand is slipping down to check me out. Damn she’s a good kisser. She smells hot. And her body is so sexy. I've become very hard down there. She's pulled it free from my pants.
But I’m really uneasy now. Something doesn’t add up.
I realise. It's my prints! Geraldo wanted my fingerprints on the clock inside and out!
I am being set-up as the fall guy for something.
But I’m committed now. If I pull out now Geraldo will want his first money back; and there's another four thousand at stake.
"Just wait a minute," I say and rush to the bathroom to have a pee - and a think.
What can I do? I've already spent most of the first thousand and to get the next instalment I have to leave him a memory card, complete with a video of me fucking his wife in a locker at the airport. But I need to get my prints off that clock. I could go back in there and pretend to admire the camera-clock and give it a nice little polish with this hand towel. But it will be very obvious and my prints are still inside it. I'll just have to hope that I get a chance to wipe it inside and out later.
Oh hell! Now I’ve peed I've lost interest in putting on this show. And it shows. I'll just have to get back into the mood.
Cassandras' standing almost naked by the bed, now she must be in full view of the camera. She's beckoning me over to her. She wants me to unclip her bra.
"You know I said I have a fantasy," she's saying as I fiddle with the hook things. "Would you like to hear it now?"
"Yes," reply. I'm James Bond again, Mr cool.
"I'm in an expensive restaurant with my husband - we have a private room. Unbeknown to Geraldo I have a secret lover who's hiding under out table. Do you know why?"
"No," I say - I've no idea what she's talking about.
"He's a handsome stud, just like you. And as I eat, so does he. Now do you understand? My husband doesn't know and mustn't find out. The stud's job is to make this as difficult for me as possible. Do you think you could do something like that?"
"You're sort of preparing to do it already. It's a metaphor for this little fling."
As her meaning became clear I went cold with horror. ¡Ay dios mio, that's revolting. I've heard of it of course but always mocked it. No real man would never do that. Taking a man in her mouth is a woman's thing. A man does it to dominate her, when he demands it, whether she likes it or not.
I'm certainly not going to do that for her! If it wasn't for the money I'd be out of here right now.
She's been smiling seductively, undoing my shirt as she spoke. No she's unzipped my pants I feel them drop to my ankles. She has her arms around my neck kissing me. Now she's pushing down on my shoulders as if she wants me to get down. But I'm panicking in front of that camera. I've lost my erection completely and I can't get it up! I must look like a maricón; limp while being kissed by this beautiful naked woman. And it's all being recorded by that damn camera. There's no way I'm going down there. This is a disaster. I'm thinking of the money I might lose.
Suddenly I'm on my back.
How long have I been asleep? It's getting dark out.
It's been the most bizarre and exhausting afternoon of sex I’ve ever had.
My mission was to fuck Cassandra for the camera. But I'll be compromised by that video too. My macho reputation will be ruined after how I behaved.
With my pants around my ankles she caught me off balance and twisting her hip somehow threw me onto my back on the bed. Then she calmly climbed on top; pinned my shoulders with her knees and forced herself down over my face. I struggled to get free, flailing my legs, but she slapped me down with her fists to my kidneys and I gave up. It was as if I was being raped by her for the camera. Anyway, I'd gone soft and couldn't have performed normal sex so I had no option but to give in and do as she demanded.
Later as we fucked properly I thought of Geraldo watching that rape scene or showing it to his mistress or to our old friends. My unmanly capitulation and then my growing arousal as she enjoyed herself will be obvious to anyone watching the video. If it gets out that a woman had her way with me like that my reputation around BA will be ruined.
Geraldo probably knew his wife would do this to me and he wanted to have his revenge for that girl I stole from him back when we had our first girlfriends. Or maybe he collects porn videos of women dominating men? Well he's going to be disappointed. Not only am I going to remove my prints, I'm going to edit out the first part of the video before I send it on to him. There's more than enough regular sex on there to satisfy my part of the bargain.
The good thing is that I've learnt what it is these upper class bitches most want from a gigoló like me. No more one night stands that lead nowhere for me. I'm going to make some real conquests, with generous women who keep coming back to me.
Cassandra's finished her shower and has put on a black silk robe. As she is obviously aware, it makes her pale naked body seem even more lustrous. She smells fresh again and seems even more seductive than she did earlier. She seems to have bewitched me; or I'm falling in love. I suggest dinner and then ask hopefully if, maybe, I could stay the night?
"We can't go down for dinner together if that's what you're thinking, so I'll call Room Service, you will have to go into the bathroom when they get here." she declares picking up the phone.
I can't believe my ears! She's ordering a double serving of rare steak and some vegetable thing from the menu without even asking me! She didn't even ask me how I like my steak. Just went ahead as if I'm her child or servant.
"So is that a yes to staying the night? And what if I don't like steak? You're being very high handed Kikka."
"You're not my guest. You're my pickup and now you've begged to be my toy-boy for the night. I'm paying - and this is Argentina the home of the best steaks in the world. You'll eat it or you'll go hungry. Anyway, rare steak will compliment your newly acquired taste preferences."
Now she's mocking me for doing that disgusting thing for her!
The food is the best I've ever had. But over dinner I've had time to think some more.
I'm not stupid. Something about all this is definitely wrong. The sex video went far too far for my liking and I decided that Geraldo likes seeing his wife dominate other men. Yet that doesn't explain his need for an alibi or my fingerprints all over that clock-camera.
I get up and wonder over to it holding my napkin and absent-mindedly give it a polish.
Oh, Hell! I can't stand this deception. I'm falling in love. I want this relationship to go on and I know I'm being set-up somehow. I’m going to pull-the-plug on this right now or it will be much harder later on.
“Cassandra.” That startled her. “I have to tell you something that you're not going to like.”
“Cassandra? My name is Kikka!” she immediately insists.
“No it’s not. Your husband Geraldo hired me to seduce you for divorce evidence. But I'm convinced he’s up to something else, much worse.”
"What! You little bastard!" She advances on me and strikes me so hard across the side of my head that things go black for a moment.
As I stagger from the blow she points to the door: "I want you out of here right now!"
Leaving is the last thing I want to do and I can't leave without the stolen Olympus and the card from the camera-clock. The Olympus is across the room under my jacket with my keys and I can't grab the clock and run for it. I wouldn't make it to the lift before she called security. I'd be caught with a number of stolen items.
“Please listen.” I plead. My head is pounding. “I’m telling you this because I like you and there's something wrong. I didn’t have to say anything. I could have just walked out of here after we made love, as instructed.”
I try to change my tone: “I think Geraldo might be trying to kill you and pin it on me. I thought that I was his childhood friend, but now I think he's just using me."
"He told me he wanted a divorce and he's paying me five thousand US dollars to be his agente encubierto to seduce you and get video evidence of your infidelity."
She's just staring at me angrily. She doesn't believe me. I'll have to show her the camera in the clock.
“Look at this clock, it’s a video camera. It's not the hotel's. Geraldo left it here before he went. Yesterday he made sure that I handled it. It has my prints all over it, inside and out."
I'm speaking passionately, trying to communicate my unease. I'm trying to talk it through, as much for myself as for her.
“He's organised a watertight alibi for this weekend. It's an alibi for some event here, probably when you are killed. Or maybe it's me, or both of us, who will die?
I want her to help me solve this puzzle: "It makes no sense. I'm not going to kill you so why hire me to seduce you?”
"He certainly wouldn't he go to all this trouble just to kill me."
She looks incredulous: "Kill me! That's nonsense. What are you supposed to do for him?"
“If I follow his instructions, I'll fly out tomorrow morning after leaving the memory card from this camera-clock in a locker at the airport. I have a key he gave me. I'll show you." I get her the key from my jacket with the locker number on it.
She's holding up a threatening hand to stop me saying any more.
“You must think I’m a total fool." she says. "An airport locker? How will he get this key after you use it? And that camera-clock was already here after we arrived yesterday. How did you get it in here? You've been stalking me. You’re a blackmailer! That's what the five grand is all about isn't it?"
"Geraldo brought it in; and he made a duplicate key."
“Don't be ridiculous! He's not that smart. You know this place. You drove straight here. You planned this somehow!"
"What made you change your mind and tell me? Was I that good in bed?" she sneers.
Shouting now: “No! You’ve just changed your dirty little blackmail plan, thinking you can go for the main prize. No measly five grand for you.”
What? What's she saying?
“You think you're so fantastic - 'mister I'll put you in hospital' - that after just one afternoon with you I’ll throw Geraldo over just like that:" She snaps her fingers.
"All you have to do is convince me that my husband is evil for me to throw him out and take up with you? You’re mad!"
I have to admit, looking at it that way, it's the most plausible explanation. I am falling for her and it did cross my mind that I wished I'd found her first. Rich, beautiful and incredible in bed.
She's angry now. “You haven’t told me a single true thing since we met. That lovely boat trip. And waxing lyrical about the falls. And that romantic lookout. Then our carefree, ‘secret’, afternoon together."
"Now my nasty husband, who is secretly in league with you, is planning to divorce me. Or, even murder me! All lies!”
"OK I was lying about my motive and my identity. But I'm telling the truth now. Geraldo has already paid me a thousand US dollars to get incriminating pictures for a divorce. And he will pay me a further four thousand for the camera card."
“Your story is ridiculous," she sneers. "There's no way that he'll get a dime if he divorces me. Do you think I would marry a tango instructor without a watertight pre-nuptial agreement?"
"Then why did he tell me to get evidence for a divorce?"
"Because he didn't. You're lying! He flew to BA because he's judging the finals of a dance competition on TV. And probably, to spent a couple of nights with one or more of his 'dance' partners. It's not at all unexpected. I let him have his little flings, while he's away it gives me the freedom to do this. So there's no way he wants a divorce, even though I'll make him pay dearly for his infidelity later. He'll be back here on Monday full of remorse and cringing at my every movement, like a naughty puppy dog waiting to be punished for getting into yet another pantry."
"I'm not lying! He must have some other way of getting to your money. He must be planning to murder you somehow and pin it on me. He'll secretly return. Maybe a compliant dance partner will be his alibi."
"Geraldo is not my main beneficiary, and he would be a fool to kill me. I'm his golden goose. He knows he wouldn't be able to maintain his spendthrift lifestyle if I die. My trust controls everything, including his allowance. And I'm not about to change my will or take out insurance for that cheating gigoló. I don’t believe in providing incentives for wife-killing.”
She’s right! I’ve been barking up the wrong tree! My idea is obviously nonsense. But, if he's not getting a divorce he's definitely setting me up for something else. So what's his angle?
She said it! Blackmail. That’s it! He is going to use the video of her debauchery with me to blackmail his own wife. He’s going to step into the shoes of our dreamt-up, fictional Diego, a blackmailing gigoló she met on holidays - Diego who secretly filmed her doing those scandalous things with him on the bed. He's obviously very familiar with her kinky preferences and knew what to expect 'above the covers'.
I can imagine it now. He'll be wonderfully forgiving and supportive. After all, she's apparently forgiven him many times, at least by her account. But he'll be terribly concerned for her political career and reputation: "Now that you're standing for office you must protect your reputation at all costs."
So her bid for public office has provided his opportunity to get his hands on her money. He'll recommend paying the blackmailer. "Our detective's tried everything to find Diego. It seems impossible. He must be in Switzerland or somewhere, under an assumed identity. But he’s not asking more that your career is worth, so pay him. This video is a lot more scandalous than photos of Fergie having her toes sucked. You certainly don’t want this sort of X rated thing all over the Internet! These days it's so easy - the click of a button and your political career is ruined.”
So everything points to me as her future blackmailer. Cassandra must be about to call the cops.
I’m in serious trouble. No one will believe me. I’m in a bugged room with my prints all over the place. Even inside the camera. She'll correctly say that I used it to video us making love, without her knowledge or consent. My story about a stopping a murder or collecting evidence for a divorce is nonsense. And there is absolutely nothing to link me with Geraldo, except that I knew him as a boy.
I might still have been OK if I didn't have a hot Olympus that's probably already been reported missing. It has a traceable serial number and on its xD memory card are the original owner’s pictures, ahead of the ones I took this morning of Cassandra being provocative on the paths around the falls, providing more potential blackmail material.
Ok, I need to re-think this. My suspicions about Geraldo's strange flight schedule led me to confess to Cassandra, instead of just leaving after sex with the card from the camera-clock as he instructed. So I've inadvertently wrecked his blackmail plan.
Where does that get me? Now Cassandra will obviously want to wipe the camera's memory card. That doesn't help. The cops will understand that she did it to protect her modesty and my fingerprints alone tell the story. Geraldo will, naturally, proclaim his innocence. He might even acknowledge that he once knew me, saying I've always been a lying little cheat who once even conned a Nun, poor, trusting Sister Angelique. He'll say that my jealousy of his success is my motive for targeting his wife and him. Anyway, it's the word of a wealthy TV celebrity against mine, a petty criminal. I can't win that one.
My only hope now is to raise enough doubts about Geraldo's role in this for Cassandra to let me go. If I agree to clean up the evidence then walk away as if nothing happened she might just let me go. I doubt she wants to have any of this leak out, so she will not want me arrested and sent to trial.
But if she calls the cops and shows them a video recording clock, with my fingerprints inside it. I’m gone! And if on top of that they find the stolen Olympus with more compromising photos I'll be gaoled for sure.
I need to stay calm and think.
Geraldo has obviously been planning this for months. He's obviously smarter than I thought and has had time to anticipate the obvious pit-falls:
Damn! It probably doesn't even record! That way he avoids me using the pictures myself and simultaneously removes the risk of the card falling into other hands should I lose it somehow. All he needs is a second hidden camera that I know nothing about. So there must be another video camera in this room. And I’m truly stuffed.
A cold realisation sweeps over me. It's me he's going to kill! That’s why his alibi has to be strong. It's to avoid suspicion in a later Police murder investigation. I'm the only other person who knows the real identity of Diego, his wife's mystery lover and future blackmailer. Ghostly Diego won't start blackmailing Cassandra with those scandalous and, for a political candidate, very compromising images, until I'm dead.
He can't leave me around to be found by an investigator and wreck his plans. And if the blackmail starts before the investigation of my death it gives him a motive. That's why he made absolutely sure that there was nothing to connect me with him. Should they look for some reason, investigators will confirm that he left before Cassandra met me and returned after I flew out.
He obviously arranged all this to coincide with him judging the tango talent show on TV in BA and is very likely taking dance partners to nightclubs tonight, and somewhere tomorrow to be seen in public. His bed partners will further secure his alibi.
There's no evidence he's seen me for nearly twenty years. He's gone to a great deal of trouble to demonstrate that he could not have known, or even care, about his wife's one night stand with some unknown gigoló. He's eliminated any obvious connection or any motive for killing me, forestalling any suspicion falling on him when I'm found dead.
What can I do? I need to get away. But if I run now Cassandra will immediately call Security. Assuming I can get away from her. And I'll have to run, literally. This hotel is in the back-of-beyond and I don't have my rental car here, it's back at the falls.
Geraldo's plan is crystal clear to me now and I try to tell Cassandra.
"Can't you see it's not me who's the future blackmailer, it's Geraldo. I wouldn't have said anything if it was my plan."
Cassandra seems uncertain.
"You're a self confessed liar. Why should I believe you any more than I trust Geraldo?"
Good! There's slight note of doubt in her voice. She's starting to think Geraldo might be behind this. She's examining the clock like an expert. She's the most competent and alluring woman I've ever known.
"Sit on that couch!” she orders. “I'm going to take the memory out of this clock and see what’s been recorded. Then I’ll decide what to do with you."
She’s got a card reader in her luggage! She immediately understood the fake clock. She must be quite tech-savvy. She’s hooking the reader up to the USB port on the TV...
This could be my way out. Geraldo must've considered the risk that I would keep the recording for my own purposes, to sell to the highest bidder. In that case the memory card is bound to be blank or unusable. It's the Achilles heel in his plan. If there's no evidence that it actually recorded anything it might persuade Cassandra that I'm right about Geraldo and she might just let me walk away.
On the other hand, that will confirm that there is another, better, camera in this room. In that case Geraldo will expect to have some quality blackmail evidence involving me. So he'll attempt lure me to somewhere discreet with a promise of my second payment then kill me. So that's what the second payment is for. It's the bait in his trap. He couldn't care less about the memory card.
Geraldo's been much cleverer than I thought him capable of. I always thought he was a 'pretty boy' but dumb as a post. Yet he's ensured that I'm totally incognito here as his 'secret agent' and, as instructed, I've been careful to cover my tracks. No one knows where I am; or will miss me for weeks. If Cassandra goes to the police when the blackmail starts and shows them enough video for them to recognise me I will already be dead and probably disposed of in the river. Even if my corpse is recognised and some smart detective links me to the blackmail, Geraldo would still in the clear.
He carried a stiletto in the Barrio. He was the knife man. I was the brains. So I can expect his stiletto in my guts very soon! Madre de dios! I can imagine walking in a dark, deserted place. An arm is suddenly around my neck from behind. And his stiletto is driving upwards, through my guts into my heart.
Except I've now told Cassandra. Fingers crossed, that might be enough to stop him if she confronts him. I just need her to have insufficient evidence of blackmail for her to call the police. She may well then decide not to initiate unwanted interest in her private affairs.
She's stopped fiddling about with the technology.
“Before we settle down to enjoy the, hole by hole, replay of this afternoon's game," she says. "We’ll start with your camera and run thought the photos you took of me this morning to see if any of those poses is too raunchy. I might need to keep those for my collection. The rest will have to go I'm afraid.”
"Oh shit!" I thought she's forgotten it. She’s gone straight to the stolen Olympus. It was under my coat on the chair. If she looks at the content of memory card in that Olympus she'll discover I stole it. That's reason enough for her to call Security and turn me in without risk to herself. Those people don't like petty thieves.
I can already hear the sirens in my imagination. At least jail might save me from Geraldo's stiletto. But I'm not sure which is worse. Big men in prison are said to like handsome boys like me. At least the stiletto will be quick.
She’s taking the xD card out of the Olympus...
Now I’m deep mierda. The hotel phone is by her hand. Will she call Security?
On the 60 inch TV larger than life-sized images of total strangers appear on the screen. Two men and a woman. But amazingly they are near the pool at my hotel.
A second woman must be taking the photos. There’s a camera case on the table, and a woman's bag.
“Who are these strange people?" Cassandra demands. "Friends of yours? Who’s this, and this? And who's holding the camera?”
Ok, I'll have to make up an excuse: “It’s not actually my camera.” I’m stammering. “I picked it up at the boat place. Someone had lost it. I was going to hand it in today.”
"So you thought you would give them some bonus photographs of me posing for you?" she smirks. "I don't think so! I think you're a liar, a thief and an attempted blackmailer."
She’s still scrolling forward, through the Olympus owner’s photos, looking for the ones I took of her.
“Wait a minute!" She scrolls back and enlarges the image: "There’s you and Geraldo talking in the background. And here you are again. And he’s got an arm around you, like an old friend."
“My god! You're telling the truth about that prick!” she declares.
Now Cassandra is looking back through the photos with minute interest. “These people must be staying at the same hotel”
She is looking at me differently. She comes over and sits beside me. “You’re right. Everything you said about him is true. Geraldo is going to blackmail me, pretending to be you, to get at my money. The gold-digging, murdering, cheating, bastard!"
She's become concerned. "He's going to kill you. That's why he's made sure that there's nothing to connect him to your corpse. I'm the only one with an obvious motive for your death. He might even be intending to implicate me and then hold it over me to make me change my will. There's no way I could plausibly establish a connection between him and you. But I've been sleeping with you and may know all about you. If you seem to be blackmailing me I have a strong motive."
With relief in her voice she concludes: "No way of connecting you two, except for the chance discovery of someone else's holiday snaps in this camera you stole."
She's sees it all immediately.
Now she suggests a way for me to avoid Geraldo's stiletto: "I can post these images of you two together on a public site, like an album in Google or Flickr, then SMS Geraldo with the URL to forestall him. His alibi and motive will both be blown and he won't be able to kill you without suspicion falling on him."
Cassandra is much smarter than me! In a single instant she has solved the whole puzzle.
Not only that, she's also realised that there must be a back-up camera. “We need to search this room top to bottom, starting with those suspicious smoke detectors; and that dancer; and that vase." she says, looking around.
"Let’s hope we don’t find any cameras connected to the internet, otherwise I may soon be the celebrity sex-scandal sensation of the year.” She says laughing and seems to be quite excited by the thought! "But that's unlikely, he wouldn't risk a lo-res web connection that might be hacked, when he'll be back on Monday to collect his full HD video cards."
How does she know all this technical stuff? She's right about the smoke alarms, the sculpture and even the flower vase. We've gathered four more 64Gb Hi-Res camera memory cards.
"That seems to be all..." she says and beckons me. "Come over here and sit beside me. You've been a very foolish boy you know? You've been set-up to be a posthumous blackmailer!"
Her hand is behind my head and her lips are pressed to mine.
It has been the most terrifying hour of my life. I've been to purgatory and now I'm saved! No stiletto. No jailhouse buggery. Just Cassandra's forgiving kiss.
"So. If I understood you correctly, your plan was to stay the night? Maybe we should put the cards back and complete your mission?" she suggests huskily.
On this occasion Olympus truly was auspicious!
Perhaps that Australian was an Angel from God? Maybe this is Devine intervention... ¡Gracias a dios.
Chapters 11 to 18 in which we discover a plot behind the plot, are (R) rated. Adults may read these chapters or not. Log in as a member on the home page then go to: Chapter 11 (You must be a member to read this content.)
- news update -
The body of the man was found floating in the Iguazú river by a tourist boat yesterday has been identified as the TV star Geraldo from the hit TV show Stars do the Tango.
His desolate wife, political candidate Cassandra DeMain, said that she had been expecting him to return today from Buenos Aries where he was judging the semi-finals. But he didn't arrive when she went to the airport. She expected that he had been held up and missed his flight.
Thousands of distraught women have already gathered outside Ms DeMain's home and at the hotel she is staying at in Iguazú in support of her tragedy. Flowers have begun to mount along their the wall of their home and more form a virtual carpet in the Iguazú river where her husband Geraldo was found...
Police announce foul play in Geraldo case
It has been revealed that TV star Geraldo found floating in the Iguazú river on Monday was murdered.
Before leaving he was seen to withdraw a large sum of foreign currency from an airport cash machine and then to catch an earlier flight, saying that he was going to surprise his wife.
His devastated widow, Ms DeMain, said that they had planned to visit the United States on their second honeymoon this week. "Geraldo was a romantic and must have wanted some spending money," she told the waiting media.
A police spokesperson said that robbery was an obvious motive. She added that detectives are well advanced in their investigation and are expected to make an announcement very soon.
The Herald has learned that they have had an early breakthrough. A second body, that of an unidentified male, was pulled from the river below the falls, close by, and soon after that of Geraldo. It is speculated that the two deaths happened within minutes of each other, possibly as a result of a cliff-top struggle...
DeMain Wins by a Landslide
Monday (a month later)
Cassandra DeMain, the widow of the TV celebrity Geraldo, has won the election this weekend by a landslide. Recently described by her Socialist opponent as "a conniving society 'Rich Bitch', interested only in promoting the interests of her cronies at the 'Big end of Town'", pundits gave her little hope of winning, until the wave of support over the tragic murder of her husband swung public opinion in her favour.
It appears that her husband, Geraldo was returning to her early, to sweep her off to a second honeymoon in the United States, when he was waylaid by a, still unidentified, mugger. Detectives found evidence of a struggle and blood stained money scattered on a cliff-top where they say all the evidence points to Geraldo gallantly attempting to fight off his knife wielding assailant before the struggling men plunged together, both already mortally wounded, into the falls.
In the days that followed the DeMain campaign likened brave Geraldo to Lancelot, a knight in shining armour, and Cassandra to Guinevere in Camelot. His thousands of fans have have already over-subscribed on-line to a memorial lookout to be built near his struggle above the falls. A tango version of the song 'Camelot' has gone viral worldwide.
Ms DeMain alluded to this wave of community support in her victory address. Dressed in a couture, form fitting black dress she told supporters: "Geraldo was a man of the people. He rose from humble beginnings in the Barrio and will always be a beacon to those who, through hard work and perseverance, rather than hanging on the apron-strings of the State, can follow in his footsteps".
She was visibly distressed as she told her party faithful that: "Yet his memory will always here to remind me that I represent not just the many who chose to vote for me but also those, mostly from humble beginnings like my noble husband, who did not". Overcome that her husband had robbed of his life before having a chance to cast his vote, she was unable to continue and was helped from the podium amidst thunderous applause...
Cassandra DeMain Remarries
Monday (a year later)
Vice President Cassandra DeMain has surprised everybody by marring aging billionaire playboy Phillip DeGreco in an exclusive ceremony on his private island in the Bahamas. The wedding was witnessed by a handful of close friends, including the President and his wife.
Fans of her deceased husband, the TV celebrity Geraldo, were shocked. Some have defaced political posters, claiming that DeMain has sullied Geraldo's memory by jumping into this new marriage so soon.
One shocked fan told this reporter that: "...people don't get married unless they have known someone for some time. Cascara's obviously been on with this pig, who's old enough to be her father, for months, if not years... So much for grieving for her Lancelot... and all that Camelot mierda!"
Others were less judgmental. Her friend told me that: "Cassie had to put up with a lot of mierda herself in that marriage. Lance-a-lot was a good name for him!"
She was alluding to the recent tell-all interview with Mirabel, his fellow judge on Stars do the Tango, in which she revealed that Geraldo spent the night before his death in her bed. Mirabel claimed that Geraldo told her that it was 'OK' because Kicky (his pet name for his wife) 'turned a blind eye' to what he was up to. It was her impression that he was actually doing his wife's bidding.
In a follow-up story: 'Dancing the horizontal tango', it was revealed that several other women have come forward claiming to be his mistress and that Geraldo had had many extra-marital affairs before his night with Mirabel.
Ms DeMain refused to comment on these accusations saying: "My marriage to Geraldo was perfectly happy but now I must move on with my life and my career."
The aging Mr DeGreco was more forthcoming and effusive: "Of all the women I've ever known Cassandra is the most captivating and exciting to be with," he said, as he limped up the steps of the Palacio del Congreso to wait for her. He's said to be recovering from minor bruising as a result of a fall off his horse but smiled broadly for the cameras.
The happy couple met at a polo match. Ms DeMain was accompanying her friend, the president's wife, to watch the President play. His schoolboy friend, DeGreco, was on the opposing team. "They hit it off immediately," said a friend....
"A dangerous game polo... No competition for old men," Cassandra remarks, smiling as she closes her scrap-book.