“So, how’s the book coming?” Nate said as soon as the bartender filled their glasses with the red pinot he had selected. Andy smiled. He knew Nate was anxious to hear about other matters.
“Funny that you ask,” he played along. “I’ve been doing some serious re-strategizing with my plans over the last weekend. Just trying to be realistic and focus my research on sources with substance. That pretty much narrows it down to the old man in Costa Rica.”
“I thought you said that guy was crazy.”
“I don’t know.” Andy slowly crossed his arms and shook his head. “Every time I think about it, I get the feeling that he was trying to tell me something.” He took a deep breath and let the air out. “Anyway, it seems like that crazy old man is the only lead I’ve got right now.”
“What about Heime?”
“Karl is unreachable. I called him several times in the last couple of weeks, left messages…he never came back to me. Just when I need him the most, he disappears.”
“Can’t you just go on without him?”
“If I don’t hear back from him soon, I may do that. Actually,” Andy lowered his voice to a whisper. “I can go directly to the source. Callo’s son seemed like a reasonable man. If I could only find a way to contact him…”
“Why are we whispering?” Nate drank some wine and looked around, pretending he was worried about being watched.
“Well,” Andy continued whispering, “It will be a breach of contract if I try to contact any of Karl’s sources independently. If he finds out, it could terminate our relationship…if not worse. So this has to stay between the two of us.”
“God,” Nate raised his voice just in spite. “I never even met this guy and I hate him so much, for obvious reasons, obviously.”
“Keep your voice down,” Andy said. “It’s true, Karl’s not the most pleasant guy to work with, but he’s very reliable and resourceful. Plus, there’s one last thing I can’t afford to let slip.”
“He still has the ace of spades in his deck. The man who will give me all the answers...at least that’s what he claims.”
“Do you know who it is?”
“So what makes you think you can trust him?”
“If there’s one thing Karl is good for, it’s his word. I know I can trust him.”
“I thought you said you knew nothing about him.”
“Yeah, well…that’s the way he likes to keep things. But sometimes he gets careless when he’s on the phone around me, and you know me, I tend to put the pieces together even when I’m not really up to it.”
“So…what does the puzzle look like?”
“Well,” Andy tasted the wine and slowly shook his head, “I think it’ll be best if I don’t answer that.”
“Hey, you’re not going to keep me in the dark after all of this.”
“Okay, okay.” Andy motioned him to lower his voice again. “If you must know I’ll tell you, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“I’m a big boy. I think I’ll be able to handle it.” Nate used his full voice just in spite.
“So from what I gather,” Andy’s voice dropped back to a whisper, “the ideology behind his radical group is based on some bogus prophecy that the Führer is going to come back from the dead and impose his thousand years Reich vision upon the Earth.”
“What?” Nate’s chuckle almost made him choke on the wine.
“Shocking, isn’t it?”
“Sounds like some kind of a Satanic cult to me. And that’s the guy you hang out with when you’re not here?”
“Believe me, the more I find out about it, the less I want to know. Anyway, I once overheard him talk about the head Meister of the group. I believe he’s the one Karl is trying to get me to interview. Apparently, he’s an original party member, a top SS rank who managed to survive in the underground for all these years.”
“Do you know who he is?”
“I told you already, I don’t. Unfortunately, Karl’s smart enough not to mention any names.” Andy waved his glass in a circular motion and took a slow sip. “I think they’re up to something now,” he said quietly and stared at the wine in his glass.
“Maybe doomsday is marked on this month’s calendar,” Nate said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised. From the way Karl’s been acting lately, it makes sense.”
“Hey, I’m not kidding!”
“Oh, come on. You’re not expecting me to take this seriously, are you?”
“If the Feds are taking it seriously, you should too. Maybe this whole prophecy nonsense is some kind of a spoof or a code. And, you know, based on what you’ve just said, it seems like he may have intended for you to hear and understand what he was saying in his conversations.”
“You think Karl is setting me up? That’s ridiculous!”
“Look, pal, from what you’ve been telling me, that Heime character is not some doped-up Voodoo freak. He’s a very shrewd, well-organized, strong-minded individual. Did you ever wonder why he made himself available to you in the first place?” Andy remained silent. He had no answer. “I think you should be very careful when you deal with him. And if you can get a lead without him watching you over your back, I think you should go for it.”
“I would. But he makes it so difficult to trace his contacts. It’s nearly impossible. Anyway,” Andy glanced at his wristwatch, “I think it’s time we should head out.”
“So,” Nate took the opportunity to change the subject and broke the uncomfortable long silence in the process as they stepped into Andy’s Corolla, “I’m glad it’s turning into something serious.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about you and Sarah. What happened? When… and how come I’m the last one to hear about it?”
“Hold your horses, Doc. It’s not like we’re dating or anything. We just took a yoga class together, after which we had some tea, and she offered the tickets for tonight’s performance. You know me, I couldn’t say no to Tchaikovsky.” Nate just stared at him and smiled.
“What?” Andy pulled his eyes from the road and looked back.
“Well, your face is all red,” he could not keep himself from laughing, “You can’t fool me, bud. I know there’s more to it than just a friendly yoga class.”
“Oh, shut up!” Andy looked in the rearview mirror to check the severity of his blushing. “Oh yeah,” he said, “and I should thank you for slipping her number in my pocket while I was practically unconscious.”
“Why, did it get you in trouble?”
“As a matter of fact, it did.”