The Mystery of Seagrass Island (Chapter 18)

The sound of snoring next door left no doubt in Margie’s mind where Brandy was all night long. It was a fitful night in the hotel room due to the heat and noise, but Margie finally fell asleep. She was awakened to Brandy’s shrill voice singing in the shower.  “Oh my,” Margie said, “this is going to be a long day.”  She quickly jumped into the shower herself and the only satisfaction she had was the squeal that Brandy made when her water temperature plunged from the failings of the shared plumbing.

After getting dressed and putting the annoying wig and glasses back on, Margie carefully followed Brandy down the hallway at a safe distance.  Brandy was obviously not worried about being seen as she had on a bright red dress with a matching hat. That will make keeping up with you easier, thought Margie.

Brandy stopped at the breakfast area in the bottom floor of the hotel and made herself a cup of coffee and ate a croissant.  Margie sat just out of view and thumbed through a paper while she waited.  When Brandy walked out, Margie grabbed one of the croissants and followed her.

They walked for about half a mile before Margie spotted the massive Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep, which surrounded St. Peter’s Square.  Here millions had witnessed the Pope giving his blessing.

At the center of the square stood an obelisk originally erected in Egypt by an unknown pharaoh over 4000 years ago. It was placed here in St. Peter’s Square in the 1500’s when it was moved from the nearby circus or open area that was used for events such as the upside down crucifixion of Peter. Margie shivered at the thought of what early Christians endured. The idea of how long ago all of that happened compared to the tiny amount of years that she has seen on this earth was staggering.

Margie had to refocus on the mission at hand as she watched Brandy turn a corner heading directly towards the Vatican Bank.  Obviously, Brandy was getting a bit nervous.  She kept looking behind her and Margie had to continually duck out of sight to keep from being spotted.  As she was entering, Brandy bumped into two priests who were leaving the bank.  “Mi scusi,” she said.  They looked at her oddly but went on about their business.

Margie stepped inside the Vatican Bank not far behind Brandy, walked over to an empty table and put her phone to her ear as if she were having a conversation.  Brandy continued to a window where a representative of the bank waited.  “I need to withdraw some money from this account,” Brandy said as she handed a piece of paper with the account numbers on it.

The man behind the counter pulled something up on his computer, then put a finger up and said, “Just a moment please.”  When he returned, he brought another man with him who asked Brandy to step over to a table.  This actually worked in Margie’s favor as the table was closer to her.  She could hear them clearly now.  The man opened a file and said, “You are Signora Butyrumpiscis, no?”

Margie glanced over her shoulder and had to keep from gasping just as Brandy did when the photo of Seth Logan fell out.  “Your husband. He is a large depositor.  We have been trying to reach him.  Due to security issues we have been trying to ‘reconcile’ all of the accounts of the non-Vatican employees.”

“Well, actually, no, I am Bettina Harris’s sister. She passed away recently and I am here to close her accounts.”

“We are so sorry to hear of your loss, Signora Harris. Do you have the documentation?”

“Yes, of course,” she said as she handed the death certificate and paperwork from the attorney.

“Mr. Lo…I mean Signore Butyrumpiscis…he was on the account also?”

“Oh yes, and he was the primary depositor.  His company is magnifico.  He has many accounts. This is a tiny one.”

“His art company?” Brandy asked fishing for information.

“Oh no, Signora, he does love his art doesn’t he, but no, this account was for the pharmaceutical company.  I am sure he does great things to help people.”

“Yes, I’m sure he did…or does,” she amended quickly.

He handed Brandy the money as a check and she slipped it into her purse.  “You will have no problem depositing this in your account?”

“No, I can take care of it.  Thank you.”

Brandy quietly walked out of the bank, somewhat subdued. Margie followed her out and down the street, lost in her own thoughts until she realized that Brandy was walking into a wine bar.  She saw the name over the entrance, Sorpasso, and had to take a look inside.  It had the ambiance of a farmhouse kitchen and it was packed with what appeared to be locals. The smell from the appetizers was delectable.  Margie sat down in a corner table away from the noise but still within sight of Brandy, and ordered a plate of meat and cheeses.  As she dipped the complimentary bread in the spice-infused oil, she kept a close eye on Brandy.  As Brandy finished the bottle of wine she had ordered less than an hour ago, she got up to stumble out the door.  Margie followed her back to the hotel and watched her climb the stairs from outside.  Not much else to see here folks, thought Margie with amusement as she set out to do a little sightseeing and shopping.

To be continued…

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