Istanbul — Let’s Go Home

Two hours later, Dreyfus had abandoned his car at the furthest point away from where the S.S. Delfini was still tied up to the dock — directly across from it, on the European side of the Bosporus.  As he walked away, he could see the emergency lights flashing across the water.  He had to duck into a doorway as several sirens wailed past him.  Driving over the speed limit under a lot of traffic cameras had helped the authorities — and the Albanians, and probably the Russians — find him.  He waited until the sounds of the sirens weren’t moving anymore, and then walked away.  The empty car would keep them busy for a while, and every minute meant Sylvia Harrow and the girls were closer to the border.  Sylvia Harrow was quite a woman, especially from a time when women were supposed to be seen and not heard.  As he walked, he could feel the adrenaline dissolving away, and he wondered if Emily would still be awake when he got back to the hotel.

At about the same time, Emily got out of a taxi at their hotel.  She’d taken the first taxi to the St Regis Brasserie, gone to the bar and ordered a large whisky.  And even though she wasn’t dressed for it (there were traces of blood and vomit on her jeans and jacket) the downside of the Pretty Girl Rule is pretty girls don’t sit alone for very long.  The first taste hadn’t even begun to warm her when there was a lurking movement that brought her mind out of the middle distance.  She focused and looked.  He was too boyish to be handsome and a couple of years too old to still be boyish.  (But he obviously didn’t know that.  He thought it was charming.)

“Hi, there! You look a little sad.  Would you like some company to cheer you up?”  The accent was foreign-born English Public school.

“Actually, I’m waiting for someone.”  Emily could see him weighing the possibilities.

“Well, he’s not here.  I could buy you a drink and we could wait together?”

Emily’s face didn’t give away her long-suffering sigh or the chain of thought from annoyed to benevolent, or her unconscious change of accent.

“How about if you just give me the money and we’ll call it even?”

The look was confused, and Emily laughed. “Wrong woman, wrong time, sport.” Emily said and fluttered her fingers.  The dismissal was kindly but final.  The man gallantly tipped his head and left, and Emily was left alone to linger over the rest of her drink.  When she finished and the bill came, she picked it up, stepped over to the boyish Casanova who was sitting with his friends at the bar.  She put it on the counter and pushed it in front of him.

“Thanks for the drink,” she said, smiled, and walked away.  This was a new experience for Agosto Marino, Assistant Italian Consul, but his friends would never tire of reminding him of it.

Outside, she asked the doorman to find her a taxi, and when it came, she got in and slumped into the seat.  She was tired but still excited and hoped Dreyfus was already at the hotel.  She wanted to hear what happened.  She wanted an end to the story.  And she wanted Dreyfus back where she could see him.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t there when she got to reception to pick up the key card.  She turned around, disappointed, seriously worried that Dreyfus was on his way to the Bulgarian border, and she didn’t see the man get up off the lobby sofa and approach her.

“You are alone tonight?”

Emily’s head dipped and her shoulders slumped in resignation.  She inhaled, raised her head, exhaled and looked at the man. “I am in no mood for this bullshit.”

But another man stepped forward.  He moved his jacket back to show Emily the black grip handle of his gun.

“Where is your husband?” The first man asked.

Emily’s mind clicked off the possibilities – but there really weren’t any.  All she could do was keep these men off-balance, stay in a public place and hope to hell Dreyfus could get to Bulgaria and back before the bar closed.

“I’m going to the bar to wait for him.  Perhaps you’d like to join me?”  Emily turned and took a step towards reception.

“Excuse me: when my husband comes in, can you tell him I’m waiting for him in The 47 with his friends?  Thank you so much.”  Emily turned back without looking at either man, and walked directly to a table in the middle of the bar by the water.

Dreyfus’ taxi was twenty minutes behind Emily’s, and he stopped at reception to get a key card in case she was already asleep.

“Your wife got a card earlier, sir, and told me to tell you she would be in The 47, having a drink with your friends.”

“My friends?”

“Yes, sir.  They were waiting here when she came in this evening.”

Dreyfus looked across into the bar.  Emily was at a table by the water.  She was on his left.  There was one man sitting across from her and one facing Dreyfus, with his back to the glass barrier that separated the bar from the Bosporus.  They weren’t local toughs: more likely middle management.  Dreyfus picked his target.  He took a breath and step-marched through the bar, hitting the wooden floor hard with his boot heels and scraping chairs out of his way.  Conversations stopped, and people turned to look.  By the time Dreyfus got to the table, both men had recognized the threat and were already half out of their chairs.  Dreyfus went behind Emily, and his last three steps were a running crouch.  He grabbed the man by the belt with his right hand, pulled up and at the same time drove his left shoulder into his chest, pushing him backwards.  Caught off guard and off balance, the man fell sideways against the top of the barrier, and his momentum and upper body weight flipped his feet into the air.  Dreyfus let go of his belt, pushed hard, and suddenly the man was head first over the plexiglass and headed for the water.  There was a splash.

Dreyfus half turned, put his right hand inside his jacket and faced the man who was now standing across from Emily.

“Alright, you better start explaining — or swimming lessons are going to be the least of your worries!”

There was a scream or two and some shouting, then general confusion as the people in the bar reacted and a couple of them ran over to help.  Dreyfus didn’t take his eyes off the man in front of him, who was angry, but wary.  This wasn’t what he expected.

“We had some property stolen tonight.  My boss wants to talk to you.”

Dreyfus shook his head.  “Nothing to do with me.  Call the police.”

“My boss says …”

“I know who your boss is, and if he has anything to say to me, he should say it himself.  But he better hurry — we’re going home tomorrow.”

“Oh, no you don’t, Sinclair.”  Emily interrupted. “We’re not going anywhere.  You promised me Ephesus.  You promised me a proper holiday.  ‘I’ll take you to the ruins and roger you rigid.’  That’s what you said.”

“I never said that,” Dreyfus took a quick look down.

“Words to that effect.” Emily lifted her index finger, “Don’t try and weasel out of this.  I’ve spent four days watching Turkish television and getting fat on room service.  You owe me.  Now, quit playing silly buggers with your friends, and let’s go have a proper holiday.”

Dreyfus exhaled.  He could see a couple of people had pulled the wet man out of the water.

“Alright, you tell your boss whatever problems he has, I had nothing to do with it.   But …” Dreyfus pointed, “As a courtesy, I’ll call him in the morning.  Now, this is over.  Collect your boyfriend and clear off.”

The man looked as if he was going to say something, thought better about it and turned around to help the other man.  It took several minutes for them to leave and the bar to settle back to normal — although a lot of people simply paid their bill and left. 

 “Were you really going to shoot that fellow?”

“No, I gave my gun to Sylvia Harrow.”

“Let’s have a drink, and you can tell me all about it.”

“You know, we drink too much?”

The next day, Emily and Dreyfus took a flight to Izmir and rented a car (Emily drove.) They went to Sirince and for three (or was it four?) days, they sat in the sun, ate, sang, laughed and drank wine with the locals — and, more importantly, spent more than one night in the ruins, under the stars.

You can start reading Dreyfus and Emily’s adventure here

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