David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Eighty-One

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails a mission because of David, better known as the Prince of Wales. Socialite Wallis Spencer is also a spy. MI6 makes them a team. David becomes king. David abdicates, they marry and he becomes Bahamas governor. Leon dies. His son Sidney mourns his death but joins the ‘organization’.
On the boat trip from Nassau the next morning to Eleuthera after the dinner party at Harry Oakes’ mansion, Sidney sat in contemplation as he watched Jinglepockets steer his fishing boat with one hand in his pockets tickling coins with his fingers. After long thought, Sidney broke the silence.
“You have taught me well, Jinglepockets.”
“You have learned well.” The old man kept his eyes straight ahead. “Which, in the long run, is more important.”
Moments passed before Sidney whispered, “You know, I have to leave now.”
“Yes, I know.” Jinglepockets’ voice was serene. “Just like your father left Joe.”
“My father loved Joe. He had nothing but good things to say about him.”
Jinglepockets glanced over his shoulder. ”Then you don’t know the story.”
“What story?” Sidney leaned forward.
The Eleuthera coast began to peek over the horizon.
“After your father began taking his long mysterious trips, Joe continued to give him free boat rides back home. One time you father stepped onto the pier and tossed a gold coin to Joe and smiled.”
“That was a nice thing to do, wasn’t it?” Sidney scrunched up his face. He didn’t understand what Jinglepockets was trying to say.
“Less than a week later Joe took to his bed and died.”
“What did he die of?”
“Heartbreak? Are you saying my father giving Joe a gold coin killed him? I think my father did a good thing, to show his gratitude for all Joe had done for him.”
Jinglepockets looked straight ahead. “How do you put a price on years of friendship? One gold coin equals years of loving someone as family?”
“But my father said you must fill the bellies of your family.” Sidney began to feel defensive for Leon.
“Yes, you fill their bellies because they are family and you love them, not pay them off like they were a servant.”
The pier appeared closer and closer.
“This I must think about for a long time,” Sidney whispered.
Jinglepockets laughed. “Don’t think too hard on it. Your father was a young man. Like you. In many ways still a child. And Joe was a proud man. Perhaps too proud.” He tied up the boat when they reached the pier. Giving Sidney a hand onto land, Jinglepockets smiled.
“Me? I like to hear the sound of coins clanging against each other too much. So when you come home after you become a rich man like your father, feel free to toss a gold coin or two my way. Each member of the family is different. Just remember old Uncle Jinglepockets is just a little bit greedy.”
When Sidney arrived at his family home, he noticed the dead plant was askew in its pot by the front gate.
What? Another assignment so soon? Now I understand how my father felt.
Sidney lifted the pot to find a note.
“I’m waiting on the beach behind your house.”
When he walked around the wall Sidney saw her, the blonde who had broken into his home and who had introduced him to the world of the organization. She lay prone on a beach towel wearing a tight red swimsuit.
Sidney sauntered down the sands to the edge of the shore and plopped next to her. He was not sure whether he liked her or not. He didn’t like people who didn’t introduce themselves as etiquette dictated. She slipped an envelope toward him.
“This is for last night. Don’t look at it but just put it in your pocket.”
Sidney did as he told. He watched the Atlantic waves. “You’ve never told me your name.”
“And I’m not going to.”
“Why not? You know my name.” He felt himself becoming peevish.
“That’s because you’re below me on the ladder of the organization—several rungs below. So take my advice. Do what you’re told and you’ll get paid.”
“Did my father know your name?”
“There you go asking questions again. That’s not good for your health.” She leaned back to feel the sun on her face.
She’s older than she tries to look. She must have joined the organization when she was very young, just like me.”
“So how did the job go last night?” she asked.
“The two men were fat, old, loud and talked with their mouths full.”
She smiled and looked at him with condescension. “And I suppose you have perfect table manners, being from Eleuthera.”
“Yes, I do.” His answer came quick. “My father slapped me upside the head if I talked with food in my mouth. He knew I would have to blend into society if I were to become a mercenary.”
“That’s such an ugly word, mercenary.” She returned her gaze to the water. “You’re an independent businessman dealing in making things—unpleasant things—happened. So enough small talk. What did you think of the other guests?”
“I think I liked this count. I can’t remember his name…”
“Alfred de Merigny. Memorize it. He’s important. Why did you like him?”
“Because he had the courage to ridicule the old men.”
“And the duke and duchess, what did you think of them?”
“The duke was brave too. He asked very pointed questions about the casino and the race problem in Nassau. Both the old men fumbled their answers.”
“And the duchess?”
“She was the only one who noticed me,” Sidney replied. “She acted like she had met me before. Maybe she had encountered my father somewhere.”
‘Yes, maybe.” She looked in her beach bag. “Do you have any cigarettes?”
“I’m only sixteen.”
The blonde laughed. “That doesn’t make any difference.”
“I’m not going to smoke.” It was a solemn pronouncement.
“That’s what you say now.” Derision tinged her voice.
“I saw what smoking did to my father. By the time he died I could outrun him.”
“You can’t outrun a bullet.”
Sidney considered the remark heartless. “Then you are not a true mercenary.”
He watched her eyes narrow into little slits.
“Did they talk about the Burma Road boys?”
“And the Bay Street boys as well.”
“Your mission has slightly changed.” Her voice hardened. “We want you to infiltrate the Burma Road boys. This will be very tricky. Mostly we want to know what they are thinking. You will have to become friends with them, a confidante. But ultimately you have to deter them anyway you can from a political uprising. Riots will destabilize the region. We are in agreement with the British Empire on this one point. We want the Bahamas to remain a safe haven for our activities. Also, the Duke of Windsor may try something stupid, like being a hero on the street and catch a stray bullet. This ties into your original assignment.
“Of course.”
“You have no qualms betraying your own kind?” The blonde raised a plucked eyebrow.
Sidney had not thought of that dilemma. He would have to think about it, so he decided on evasion for now.
“The organization is my own kind.”

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