Saturday, September 22, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 9



Tyler is really curious now, "girls who like girls? You mean lesbians?" "Yea Exactly, clam bumpers, lappers, smackers, camel toe jockeys,” Vicki exclaims. “ I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body," claims Bill with a smile. Vicki and Tyler just look at Bill. "Get it?" asks Bill. "I've spoken to hotel concierge and bartenders that have been asked by Diega to recruit lesbians for his parties over on South Beach. Apparently this guys likes lipstick lesbians, I mean really likes them, and he has an insatiable sexual appetite." "Ok," Tyler says in his best administrative voice. "Let's meet back here, what?...tomorrow first thing. Will that give you enough time miss? Mrs....Ms...." Vicki can see Tyler is struggling with the appropriate prefix. "Ms. Douglas," Vicki, snaps. "That's fine, everything is on my hard drive. I can be ready by then. The side streets running adjacent to Ocean Drive are home to an eccentric jumble of upper tier clothing stores and mom and pop cafes. Also within this neighborhood reside small private hotels where the old and newly immigrated dwell. The well maintained art deco era hotels add color, not only from their bright pastel paint work and neon trim, but also from their residents. Every color, creed and religion have adopted the old hotels as their home. Vicki Douglas is seated at a small table just out front of Don Veracruz, a trendy bistro just off Washington Avenue, one block West of Ocean Drive. Vicki is chatting with an attractive blonde. Donna Meyer is having a cafe con leche, a Cuban standby made with rich cafe cubano and steamed milk. Donna puts five sugar cubes into the mix for a sugar buzz. Vicki drinks her cafe con leche straight. Donna is close to Vicki's age and is a classic blue- eyed blonde beach bunny, from La Jolla, California who moved to Miami six years ago as a Junior Investigator at the Justice Department. "Donna, we've been up to our asses in alligators over at the U.S. Attorney's office. How's old Bill Tanna anyway?,” Donna asked. "That Dog," Vicki laughs, "he's Bill, of all people you should know, Donna." " I should, I worked for him long enough and then we had that thing.""That's why you left isn't it?” Vicki pried. "Mostly, I guess, I'd hoped Bill and I were going somewhere, but he turned out to be another asshole in a long line of assholes." "So, how's things over at the F.T.C.?" Vicki asks, changing the subject. "Nice and quiet, just attorneys and white collar perps." "You know the cops that were killed?" Vicki puts her hand on Donnas' arm as she asked the question. "Yea, isn't it terrible." "It's my case, and tomorrow I'm presenting an undercover op to Bill and some hot shot from the N.R.O."
"N.R.O. what the hell is that?" Donna quizzes. "National Reconnaissance Office. They control all the spy satellites and U.S. Global communication and surveillance equipment. They're very powerful and have extensive resources including access to the President." "Do they think there's been a National Security breech?" Donna asks as she moves to the edge of her seat. "Actually they do. I don't. I think its a Cuban drug dealer I've been compiling data on for years. The killers left a CD-ROM behind and among other things it demands that law enforcement stay out of the drug selling business. It seems some corrupt senators were taking money for protecting drug routes into this area, and some ambitious Coast Guard and D.E.A. officials were boarding drug boats, confiscating the coke, and reselling it. All the while the Senators were covering the tracks. Double-dipping....greedy bastards."
"Wow! Vicki, no wonder all of Washington has come down to Miami, and this is your case. Wow." Donna shakes her fingers on her right hand in a gesture she picked up from her Latin friends that means holy moley in body language. "Donna, I know I can catch this guy, but I need your help." "I haven't worked undercover for a couple of years, girl." "I know, but we can stop this duck before he kills again." "Can you clear it with my boss? "Done," Vicki snaps. "OK, I guess I'm in, what's the plan?" Donna asks. Vicki's eyes light-up, "Remember General Norolla?" "Oh no-not another one of them." "Yes - meet me in my office in the morning and we'll go over the file. I've got to get back." Vicki grabs Donna's hand in a long hand shake. "Thank you, Donna - I know this could be awkward for you."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 8


"Andreas, did you see the news from the states?" asks Antonio. "Yes, I did," Andreas responds abruptly. "And...what did you think," asked Antonio, trying to pull some conservation from Andreas. After a silent moment Andreas speaks. "Antonio, we have known each other since we were boys running in the streets of Havana. Even before we knew we were half-brothers we were working the streets. And I, my brother, have always looked up to you".....Andreas pauses...."What? Como que hermano?" asks Antonio. "Please let me say this.....You are a natural born leader, you are incredibly intelligent.....but....Antonio" Andreas makes a hail Mary cross and kisses the back of his thumb. "Those poor innocent men, they had families.....children. I know in the past we have had to do things to protect our business. Things.....unspeakable things....but we were dealing with banditos, competitors. Antonio, these are American policemen.....gringo lawmen. They will not take it laying down. You know how they are. I'm concerned for you, for me, and for the business." Antonio puts his arm around Andreas' neck in an effort to comfort him, but Andreas is resistant and pulls away. "Andreas, escuchar,.....listen, have I ever endangered us or the business. Have I ever done anything without endless consideration?" "No, Antonio, you have not, that's why I have dedicated my life to our business, that's why I've walked into rooms full of pistoleros with you, and never let a moment of fear cross my mind. Antonio, por favor, think very long and clearly before you move against the gringos again." 'Thank you Andreas; you always keep me in perspective, listen can we talk about something infinitely more interesting." " And what's that," Andreas asks. "You're going to Miami for that electronics show next week, right." "Yes, so?" "I'm getting tired of these Latina girls. Would you look out for some gringo girls while you're in Miami? You know what I like. Invite them down here to the island, or I can come up to Miami and stay in the condo on South Beach." "I will look for girls if you promise me you will think about what I said and talk to me before any more crazy business mi hermano loco."

Black hearses and black limousines line the narrow streets of the Coral Valley Cemet
ery in West Miami. A crowd is gathered for services, a number of news cameras are on hand for the dramatic edge a funeral adds to a nightly report. If edited properly the solemn activities can give old overused footage new zeal. A small crowd is assembled around six mahogany caskets covered with American flags. The wives, children ,and families of the six slain police officers are standing silently as Father Mathis from Santo Espiritu Catholic Church in Hallendale is saying a few words. "Beloved - these men laid down their lives that we might have a better life, a safer life. They knew the risks that were inherent in their work. Yet they looked beyond the dangers. Jesus told us in the Gospel; no greater gift a man has than to lay down his life for another. No greater gift. These men gave us the greatest gift they had to give. These men laid here to rest today surely have given the greatest gift to this community. Father, we know you have received these young men's souls and they are now at your side in paradise. God bless their souls and may God bless their loved ones who have been left behind, and may the comfort of peace be with them during their time of mourning. In Jesus' name we pray Father, Amen. " Seven police officers in dress uniforms hold rifles to the sky and present a 21 gun salute to their fallen comrades in arms. American flags that covered the six coffins are folded into the regulation triangle by four officers and presented to the widows and family members by the Chief of Police. Rusty Tyler and Bill Tanna are standing in the officials area just behind the tent covering the grave sites. Bill and Rusty are speaking in hushed tones as the service is ending. "We have some suspects. I would like for you to take a look at them when we get back to the office," suggested Bill, hoping Rusty would be impressed. "Good, I want to move on this quickly. I am concerned that these businessmen as they call themselves could be planning another attack. Another shot at us would be within standard strategic operandi." As the two men are walking out of the service with the others who are leaving Bill is surprised Rusty didn't find his speed in developing suspects impressive. Just like the old days, no matter what you do for Rusty he never appreciates it. Bill begins to remember all too clearly how indifferent Tyler was about everything. As Rusty and Bill enter their office lobby they both pass by the front desk and retrieve their messages. Bill has a couple, but Tyler is handed a large stack. This is somewhat irritating to Bill because this is his department and he has always known what is going on, but clearly here's a guy who has taken over and Bill knows nothing about him or what he's up to. Bill and Rusty walk on back to Bill’s office. A very well appointed office, nice view above average furniture, but still sparse compared with Rusty's office in Washington. Officials in the N.R.O. are treated like executives of a major corporation rather than a mere civil servant and Rusty loved that, it gave him a sense of confidence and importance. Perhaps that's what Rusty's boss had in mind. Bill Tanna was already starting to be annoyed by Rusty's big shot Washington demeanor and he was checking himself. Maybe it's a North-South thing he told himself, but what ever it was, it didn't sit well. A knock at the office door shocked Bill and Rusty back to the here and now. A beautiful woman is standing at the door with a stack of file folders in one hand. She is thirty something and has auburn hair, green eyes, porcelain white skin, with a few well placed freckles over her nose. Rusty is transfixed. He doesn't want to be impolite, but he really is curious. He notices her short skirt. She is dressed very professionally but it's pushing the envelope, her low cut blouse is tempered by her sport coat, she is businesslike but has a hard edge of sensuality. "Oh Rusty, I want you to meet my Chief of Staff, Victoria Douglas. Vicki, this is Roscoe Tyler, Special Agent in charge. He's with the National Reconnaissance Office." Roscoe offers Vicki his hand and Vicki responds with a firm handshake. "N.R.O." Vicki says, "that's right, those guys who lost all that money.....4 billion or something. I hope you are better at finding killers than keeping track of a few billion in change." Tyler looks at Tanna with a surprised look on his face. His first encounter with this woman, and she makes him feel like a bumbling idiot."Victoria, are you always this nice to everyone or am I just special?" asks Rusty. "Hey, I'm a G-5 government employee, but I'm as outta joint over government waste and corruption as the guy on the street," Vicki blurts with conviction."Vicki ,come on in and show us what you've put together, I told Roscoe earlier we had a suspect list." Vicki bends over Bill's computer keyboard and inserts a CD-rom into his rom drive. Due to her low cut blouse Vicki's breasts are close to spilling out. Only her bra is restraining her ample top side, her clothes fit well, but in her bent over position each time she reaches over the computer the hem of her skirt rises up and comes close to revealing her perfectly round bottom. Tyler and Tanna are very amused and make eye contact behind Vicki's back. Suddenly an image comes up on the screen and Vicki returns to a standing position. She makes a quick little wiggle and her skirt falls back to its proper position. "OK, there we are. I've narrowed my suspect list down to three men from a possible fifteen. The first one you see here is, Randy Teal, a former shrimp boat captain out of Coral Springs, Florida. He was arrested for importing 50 million in cocaine which he hid in raw uncut lumber. He spent two years in a federal prison in Pensacola. He was released in 1992. He openly told police and others he would get back at law enforcement and the U.S. Government, and get this, he owns and flies helicopters. I have agents from Tampa tailing him. We also got a judge to give us the go ahead on wire taps.” "And behind door number two is Urnesto Guzman, a Venezuelan diplomat who heads up that country's drug activities. Guzman would have the contacts and the capital to pull of an extravagant operation like the one that killed our policemen, However he's very chummy with a number of elected officials, senators, congressmen, and the like, and I don't see him burning these bridges no matter how much U.S. officials cut into his drug dealings.” "Number three, Antonio Luis Diega, this is my choice for top suspect. He is incredibly successful, a multi-billionaire. He is into everything but his cash cow is cocaine. He was raised in Havana and later attended the University of Miami. We believe his father, who is deceased, was a close advisor to Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, who is Secretary of Defense and Chief to the Cuban Military. He spends a lot of time at an estate on the Isle of Joven, a Cuban protectorate just south of mainland Cuba. The estate was built in the 50's by a rich American casino owner, but when Castro took over the owner abandoned it. Diega has the clout, the cash, and the balls.""Sounds like you admire this guy," says Tyler sarcastically. "Well I guess in a way I do, I've been compiling a portfolio on him and 20 other high profile drug dealers for the last five years. They're my babies. "So, you think this guy could have planned the killings?" asks Bill. "No, he's smarter than that. He would bring in Russian, Cuban, or Israeli Intelligence Officials to plan and carry out his wishes. It's very possible that this guy is our duck." "Have you brought the D.E.A. in on this theory yet, they may have more background on this guy," questions Tyler."The D.E.A. doesn't even know this guy exists. Watch, I'll show you." Vicki sits down in Bills' chair and hammers on the keyboard of Bill's computer. " I have complete access to D.E.A. files, look, checking Antonio luis Diega or Companias del Cubana, Diega’s conglomerate, nothing.” The screen blinks with no listings found. "If they had a confidential eyes-only file we would get access denied - clearance required. The D.E.A. doesn't have a clue." "What about any of the Washington intel agencies?" Tanna asks Vicki. "Nope, I've been in all their actions and enforcement files and I haven't seen squat." " Lets bring in the D.E.A. and Coast Guard and show them what we've got," suggests Rusty. "What do you think Vicki?" "Bad move, the D.E.A. guys work both sides of the fence. They go undercover and they forget who their working for half the time. As far as the Coast Guard goes, someone over there is up to his eye brows in this." "So, what's our next step," Tyler asks. "I know what he likes, and I know what to use as bait," Vicki says with confidence.
"Oh yea, and what's that," Bills asks with anticipation.
"Girls who like girls."

Friday, June 22, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 7


Rita Rita

Margarita Florita Londado, the office girls called her Rita, was Juan Luis' secretary. Her second name, Florita, little flower, was very close to perfect but she preferred Rita. A very smart girl from a good Cuban family, her father sold cars before the revolution and her mother was a school teacher. She was raised more by her grandmother than anyone else. Rita wanted more than anything to be a part of the revolution so she took a job as secretary in the government services pool, a pool of secretaries that moved around in the huge office buildings of the new Cuban government. She worked in many different departments until she came to the departmento de planificacion y construccion, the Department of Planning and Construction which was just taken over by Juan Luis Diega.
Margarita was 22 years old when she started her job as assistant to the architect. She was tall, extraordinarily beautiful, and carried herself in a naturally sexy way. She learned to speak perfect Castillian Spanish and she never used slang or profanity.
Juan Luis found her completely irresistible. He loved his wife more than the air he breathed, and he never thought of leaving her or trading her away for Rita. He was just smitten by Rita and her sexually charged playfulness. Rita had no idea what effect she was having on Juan Luis or any of the other men around her. She was never told about men by her family and she just assumed all the men treated her nice because they were nice men. Everyday after work Rita stopped at a small store to buy an orange soda which she loved so much. The store had a few tables and chairs down in front of the counters. Local men would gather there for cafe cubano, or a beer, and a friendly game of dominoes.
The slapping of the dominoes down on the table could be heard outside, and the closer the game came to a conclusion the harder and louder the men became. After a few beers the men would practically scream and shout at each other. The second Rita walked in, the whole place came to a complete and abrupt stop. The men would take a few moments to watch Rita open her orange soda and put the bottle into her plush mouth and draw out the contents. Rita just liked the cold bubbly rush she got from the soda after a long day at work. She had no idea that she was part of a daily ritual that the local men looked forward to. In their minds Rita was exhibiting her expert abilities and her well honed talents. The muscles in their thighs and buttocks twitched and jumped involuntarily when Rita pulled the last of the orange soda from the bottle without leaving as much as a single drop of the orange gold. She placed the empty bottle in a rack by the door and stepped back out on the calle feeling refreshed. The domino game re-ignited again at its previously belligerent level.
Not long after Margarita began to work for Juan Luis she started to notice feelings she was developing for him. Rita had never had a real boyfriend, she was still at age 22 a virgin. Many of her friends from school were still virgins, it was until now something she rarely thought of, but Juan Luis was in her mind a lot now as the star in a new fantasy everyday. Rita was experiencing an awakening. She had never had daytime fantasies, especially of a married man. Somehow the vivid daydreams of Juan consumed Rita with a sexual fire. One day when no one was around she matter of factually went into Juan Luis' office sat on the front of his desk, propped up her left leg on his chair, reached under her dress and pulled her panties to one side giving Juan luis a view that instantly put him into a rage of passion. Juan jumped up from the desk, locked his door, pulled the blinds, and ripped Rita's hymen loose from its hinges. Juan later told Margarita, that was the single most exciting moment of his life.Rita moved away from Havana in the late 70's and immigrated to Miami. Her only son Andreas sends her money and she lives a very comfortable life with her American husband and beloved cocker spaniel Daisy."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 6



Antonio has just emerged from a long and gritty sex session with Luz Marie and Lucinda. He enjoys having sex with the girls in the afternoon. He found that they become indifferent most evenings because Luz Marie and Lucinda spend a lot of time together, and by late evening they already had satisfied themselves. Antonio walks from the bedroom with his shirt open and feet bare. He moves to the den which he has developed into a very sophisticated media center. Satellite T.V. systems, computers, fax machines, large screen T.V., and numerous smaller screens, all built into the modern decor. Antonio enjoys this room, it's his only connection with the outside world when he's on the Isle of Joven, otherwise it's a dreamy Caribbean island a million miles from nowhere. Except for the help there is no one within miles of the place, and besides, his security force patrols the entire perimeter of the estate keeping everyone out.
Antonio uses a remote to turn on the big screen T.V. A satellite news service is on. Antonio goes behind the beautiful built in bar to pour himself an aguardiente, a colorless drink made from pure cane sugar and lightly flavored with anise. Aguardiente is very popular in Colombia and Venezuela and it will leave you without a hang over if consumed in large quantities. Antonio fell in love with it many years ago while visiting Cali on business. Now his associates from Cartegena bring it to him when they travel to Cuba.
The news is being reported on T.V. and a reporter is filing his story. "Unnamed sources within the Justice Department have said a group, now known as the Hombres De Negocios have claimed responsibility for the execution style killings of six Miami police officers. The source further stated that eight U.S. Senators were implicated in a bribe scheme to protect drug trade routes from South America and the Caribbean into this country. We spoke with the offices of the Senators implicated and as of 4:00 pm Eastern time there has been no official response. No one seems to have heard of this group and it is suspected that they are a new cartel of drug exporters who have declared war so to speak on some U.S. law enforcement agencies. We have seen this type of violent action in South America for years, and it looks as if now it may have reached the shores of this country. John Savino S.N.N."
Andreas enters the room just as the report is ending. Antonio turns the volume down with his remote control. Andreas, a half-brother and best friend to Antonio, is also his right hand man and business advisor. Andreas and Antonio didn't know they were brothers until they were in their early teens. Antonio is two years older than Andreas. Andrea's mother Margarita was Juan luis Diega's secretary. She worked for Andreas and Antonio's father when he was designing public facilities for Castro. They had an affair and she became pregnant with Andreas. Antonio and his mother lived on the outskirts of Havana in a very modern apartment building during this time and Antonio's mother never knew her husband had a mistress and a child.
In Cuba, and many other parts of Latin America, mistresses are common and usually the wife is well aware of her husband's forays. The culture has a built-in tolerance for infidelity of the husband, but the same behavior on the part of the wife would result in a fate worse than death. Public and family ostracizing, which would result in poverty and ultimately destitution. The fore knowledge of such pending disaster keeps the women for the most part committed to their husbands and tending chores and family at home. Money is power and the Latin men have the money, and they have the power.
Antonio's mother had no choice but to accept the fact her husband had another family across town. It did take twelve years for Antonio's father to tell his wife and son the dark secret he held for so long. Antonio and Andreas, skeptical at first of each other, had become fast friends and spent many years as children running wild through the streets of Havana as privileged sons of a high ranking Cuban official. Juan Luis lost interest in his secretary a few years after Andreas was born and rarely saw her. They communicated through Andreas who moved freely between his mother and father's home. Even Antonio's mother became fond of Andreas after a while. She finally accepted Andreas as a unique person rather than thinking of him as the fruit of Juan Luis' affair with his beautiful secretary.

Monday, April 16, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 5

End of Message

The Federal Building in downtown Miami has become media haunt of the moment. Satellite up-link trucks line the street for blocks, and news crews from every major network and big market local station crowd the main entrance to the Federal Building. Officers assigned to building security are doing a fairly good job of controlling the anxious crowd of reporters. But the news dogs need meat; up till now no one has made a statement official or otherwise. Julio Suarez has been interviewed 15 times so far and has refused to talk anymore, claiming he has been exhausted from the onslaught, citing the questions were growing increasingly frivolous in nature.

Inside a large conference room five floors above the melee outside the building's front door, a group of men and women are milling around a 20-foot long conference table. A T.V. monitor is on at the head of the room, and everyone is in the midst of a sort of coffee induction mode as they stare at the T.V. screen. One man is looking out the window at the news media down below on the ground, schooling like a hoard of hammerheads.
The newscasters on T.V. are showing footage of the shot-up burned police cars left by terrorists on I-95 yesterday morning and the white crosses that were found on the Federal Building's lawn earlier in the day.
An agent walks into the conference room escorted by two other agents. All the agents are dressed in dark blue business suits and have their gold badges hanging from their coat pockets. The men are well groomed executive types in their mid to late 30's. The largest of the three steps to the head of the table. William Tanna, Department Chief of the Miami Region of the Justice Department, is familiar to almost everyone in the small group. "Most of you already know me. For those of you who don't, you will. I'm Bill Tanna, Department Chief, Miami Office D.O.J. I have with me the man we've been waiting for. This is Special Liaison, Agent Roscoe Tyler, he has been appointed by the President and just arrived via Arlington 20 minutes ago at M.I.A. Mr. Tyler works out of the office of Special Affairs for the National Reconnaissance Office in Washington D.C. Mr. Tyler,"
"Thanks Bill; now that we got all that out of the way, and I must say if that title gets any longer I'll need two business cards." Everyone around the table chuckles in a release of nervous tension. "As you all know, Washington is just as startled with these killings down here as you are. The ramifications are far reaching. I spoke with the President this morning and he assured me that the White House would make all of its resources available to the N.R.O. and any other appropriate agencies. I understand there was a CD-ROM found this morning that claims responsibility for the killings."
A man seated at the long table opens a file folder. "I have it here. Charles Wesson, U.S. Marshals office, sir. We haven't reviewed it as yet."
"Mr. Wesson, I'll take that, and it will be held as evidence under the National Security and Anti-Terrorist Act." Roscoe Tyler has always been quick with the legal citations and federal statutes, he has used them for years as an instrument of fear and intimidation; they have served him well. He would be the first to admit that sometimes he didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but if he could make it sound good and put enough conviction and authority into his big booming voice all but the best lawyers would believe him. Roscoe had studied law and intended to become a lawyer until he fell in love with the intelligence game. Tyler found little competition in the information gathering arena, unlike law which seemed to seethe with an ever growing population of bacterial-like law graduates. "Are we looking at this as a violation of national security?" ask one of the men seated further down the table. "Yes, for now. Witnesses claim helicopters with military- looking markings carrying men dressed in military style uniforms came from over the Atlantic and returned in that direction. We are following that lead right now, through our office in Washington as well as the National Security Agency. We're hoping some of our eyes-in-the-sky can help us in identifying those helicopters. I need to get on the phone to Washington. My assistant, Mr. Carson, the man standing here to my right, will brief you regularly on all developments - if you hear anything, no matter how insignificant, let us know. Good luck to all of you."
All the staffers and department heads are leaving the conference room except for Bill Tanna and Roscoe Tyler ,who are gathering briefs and Tyler's carry-on luggage. "Bill, do you have an office where I can set-up shop while I'm here in Miami?" asks Tyler. "I'm one step ahead of you Rusty; after you". Bill motions for Tyler to go before him through the door. Tyler and Bill Tanna walk down a long hall to a well equipped office with windows and a nice view of downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay beyond the cluster of high rise towers. "You know, Bill, no one has called me Rusty in years, not since our stint with Air Force intel." "That was a few years back," admits Bill. "Yea, I know, can you believe it. Bill, close the door and let's take a look at what we've got. I was supposed to call the Chief back at the office in Arlington 30 minutes ago." Bill closes the door and walks over behind the computer screen. Tyler has already loaded the CD-rom and started it. A man dressed in a gray designer suit is seated against a blue backdrop. A well-made sign hanging from the backdrop reads... Hombres De Negocios. The man has a black satin hood that covers his face. The eyes and mouth are cut out like a ski mask. The seams are stitched giving the whole mask a finished look. The whole setting looks like a well designed T.V. set. It's immediately evident that a great deal of thought, time, and money has gone into the production of what is about to play. The man begins to speak with his voice electronically altered. "Senors and Senoras, I represent certain business interests who trade in commodities all over the world. We have established that a number of U.S. politicians are currently engaged in the seizure and sale of our commodities, effectively cutting into our markets. Needless to say, we consider this to be robbery and theft.""Why don't these assholes ever call it coke; it is always a commodity or product," Bill asks.An icon blinks on the screen. Tyler directs the mouse over the icon and clicks. Photographs and names come up of eight U.S. Senators. Tyler clicks the mouse again over one of the photos. The face of a Senator. Black and white surveillance video runs showing a Senator accepting a briefcase from a man standing near a car in a deserted location.The program automatically returns to the hooded man. "We are offering a reward of $250,000 dollars for the uniform of every dead police officer, surrendered to us, until such time as the U.S. Government and its officials curtail the piracy of our commodities upon the high seas. We consider the actions of these officials extremely irresponsible. We have had no choice but to take actions which we hope will send a clear and exemplary message to those who would consider perpetrating such treachery against the Hombres De Negocios in the future." A graphic and logo appear on the screen along with the words .....end of message.

Monday, March 26, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 4

Castro's Cuba

Gibardi's life came crashing down around him when Fidel Castro marched into Havana and took control of the government establishing his revolutionary army and political machinery. Sam Gibardi escaped Cuba with his family and his life, nothing else.
His entire fortune was nationalized by the Castro regime. The estate and Casa's Del Joven was used by Castro's government leaders as a retreat for a few years until it fell into regrettable disrepair. Juan luis Diega, the architect who built and designed the estate, was drafted by the revolutionary army to design schools and hospitals for Castro's redevelopment plans. It was widely known that Diega and Castro became good friends until 1991 when Diega disappeared.
Today the estate has been restored to all of its former glory and then some by its current resident, Antonio Diega, the son of Juan Luis. Antonio, an international businessman, acquired the home after guaranteeing and backing new development plans for the island and its 6000 plus residents.
Antonio has gathered with his guests in the pool room just as his predecessor Sam Gibardi always did. The view of the pool and the surrounding Caribbean is unsurpassed and makes for a surreal backdrop. Antonio is with two very well dressed men and in the back of the room are two Latina girls looking to be in their mid to late 20's. The girls are both wearing stylish but revealing swimwear. They have sprawled themselves across a large couch, sitting very un-lady like and looking very bored, totally uninterested in Antonio's two guests.
Commander Rasheed stands and takes a Cuban coffee from Antonio. The thick black coffee is a staple in Cuban life, a treat many Cubans look forward to throughout the day. Rasheed looks to his partner, Commander Alexsad. "Mr. Diega's father built this estate for a prominent casino owner in the 50's, and later he became a trusted advisor to Fidel and his brother. The mysterious disappearance of his father in 1991 has lead Mr. Diega to believe his father was disappeared by the "Say-Ah".
"Say-Ah?"" asks Alexsad quizzically. U.S. Central Intelligence, C.I.A. they call it Say-Ah here in Cuba." "That is correct," comments Antonio, "I must say you have certainly done your homework, Commander." Antonio holds his hand up, "One minute please." Antonio looks at the two girls. They both get up and leave, but not without a silent protest. They are making faces of impatience like children who are ready to go out and play.
Antonio returns his attention to his guests. "Gentlemen, I am very pleased to hear that our mission went so well and totally according to plan. I must say, rarely do I see such precision. It's impressive."
The two men seem appreciative. "As you know we are former Israeli strategic planners for the Israeli military air command," Rasheed says with obvious pride. "So our clients benefit greatly from our experience, Mr. Diega.""Please call me Antonio, Commander Rasheed ""Very well. I think we have taken the Americans' drug war and put it right up their ass."
Antonio, Rasheed and Alexsad hold their coffee cups up and clink the small demi-tasse cups together in a salute. Antonio has a broad smile upon his face, it's clear he is proud of this moment.
Commander Alexsad places a folder on the table before him. "Antonio, we have reviewed your request for the next mission it is very original, extremely original, but it will be enormously expensive. I'm concerned with the costs.""Cuanto? Commander, I mean how much?" asks Antonio slipping from Spanish to English, a slip he makes when excited or angered. " Twenty-five maybe Thirty,” answers Alexsad. "You see that large tablet on that pedestal over there" barks Antonio. The commanders acknowledge his question. "That's a hand written religious manuscript, written by a 14th century monk which probably took his entire lifetime to complete. It was taken from a bombed out monastery in Northern Spain during the Second World War. I paid 51 million for it. Senors, I did 1.3 billion in sales last year, and I expect to do 30% more business this year. The point I want to make is 25 or 30 million is meaningless to me. However, I'm not in the habit of throwing perfectly good money away. Therefore, I will instruct my accountants to review your cost projections. A 100% markup will be acceptable. I think you will find I can be quite generous, gentlemen.""Mr. Diega, we are very much aware of your resources and capabilities," replies Rasheed. "Please keep in mind that it's in our best interest to know as much as we can about a potential client. One of the things we are most curious about is a client's ability to see a project through. Not only to protect our global reputation, but as a precautionary measure for the client as well."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap. I'm so inundated with incompetent help that I jump off on people as standard course. Cubans today are thought of, in general, as poor poverty stricken peasants living in hovels, or refugees fighting sharks and currents out at sea in a rubber inner tube. I'm always dealing with those images which are sent out to the entire world everyday. Look around you and you can see that I am not that kind of Cuban."
Antonio places an attractive leather briefcase on the coffee table in front of Commanders Rasheed and Alexsad. Commander Rasheed pops the latches on the front of the briefcase and opens the lid. The case is filled with small credit Suisse platinum bars, 1120 ounces to be exact. "See guys, I told you I could be generous. My way of saying a job well done. Now, I'm very late for my next appointment. I'll have Andreas show you to your car. " Antonio steps from the pool room and walks down a hall and up a short staircase to a room where the door is cracked open. The two Latina girls, Luz Marie and Lucinda are laughing inside and Antonio can hear them through the crack in the door. Antonio slowly opens the door, and he can see the two young women have removed their cover-ups revealing their young taunt bodies, sporting bikinis. Antonio can see that Luz Marie and Lucinda are engaged in obvious lesbian love making. Antonio knocks at the now already open door. "Ah Mi, lesbianas," he sighs.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 3

Men of Business

Miami is one of those half tourist, half business towns that wakes up late. The bars on South Beach stay open until 4 a.m. or later, so things are fairly quiet until 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning, even then it's the sanitation department or city workers who are milling around. South Beach, the southern most tip of Miami Beach has become a mecca for the young and beautiful. Wonderfully restored old art deco hotels line a mile stretch directly in front of the beach. An endless collection of trendy restaurants, cafes, and shops draws customers from an unending river of humanity that files by on the sidewalk that runs from one end of Ocean Drive to the other. Coconut Grove and Coral Gables have their respect as night spots, but the king or queen of the night, depending on your persuasion, is South Beach. Every language can be heard in the cafes that spill out onto the sidewalks and side streets, a veritable United Nations of party seekers, fashion models, movie stars, and perverts.
The respectful socially acceptable Miami is the downtown business district with its obligatory high-rise office buildings and banks. Just South of downtown is Brickell Avenue, some of the priciest real estate in the world. Here Miami's international jetset reside and work.
Many federal, state, and local government buildings are clustered together nearby. Julio Suarez, first generation Cuban/American and domino champion, begins his shift every morning as head landscapist for the federal administration and courts building near the Miami River. The federal building, built in 1927, has immaculately maintained lawns and landscaping. Julio has maintained the facility for 12 years. He has been offered other jobs in the past but he enjoys working downtown and, as a government employee, his benefits and insurance are excellent. Each morning the first thing Julio likes to do is trim the shrubs. It gets much too hot in the afternoons to work hard so he likes to get the more strenuous chores out of the way in the morning.
This morning as Julio trims the hedges next to the big buildings' front entrance he notices some damage to the hedge row. Julio can see that someone or something has trampled his hedge without much regard. As he surveys the damage he discovers that a complete section of hedge row has been destroyed and sitting in the midst is a startling find. Six white crosses, three feet high, are standing in a triangular arrangement like bowling pins. Each white cross is wearing a blue Metro-Dade police shirt. The uniforms look as if six disembodied spirits have taken to wearing clothes to give them at least some semblance of form. Julio is terrified and speechless. He notices a manila envelope pinned to the cross at the very front of the triangle. Printed in neat letters are the words, PLAY ME. Senior Suarez pulls the envelope free from the cross and looks inside. A shiny CD-ROM emerges from the envelope, totally non-descript.
* * * * *
Just south of Cuba lies Isle De Joven, Island of the Young. The island is a Cuban protectorate and is set 80 miles southwest of Guantanamo Naval Base and 200 miles north of the Cayman Islands. The island is sparsely populated and, for the most part, undeveloped. Along the southwest coast beautiful white sand beaches are draped in coconut palms that reach for the sky. The beaches, warm and deserted all year long, run for miles completely undisturbed by man.
The island has remained undeveloped primarily due to politics. Cuba hasn't had the resources to develop the infrastructure of mainland Cuba, much less invest in a small island. Plans were underway in the late 50's to build a luxury resort community near the beach. A development company, constructionnes De Joven, actually cut roads and cul de sacs into the jungle near Point Mar on the southwest corner, complete with driveways into future home sites. A large entrance way with stone walls and security check points still stand with the now rusty metallic letters which read Los Casas De Joven, Houses of the Young.
The project was headed up by a casino owner from Havana, an American who came to Cuba in the early 50's and capitalized on Cuba and Batista's liberal gambling laws. The fact that airplanes and ferry ships could move between Miami, Key West, and Havana made the prospect for gaming irresistible to Sam Gibardi. Mr. Gibardi built a respectful business for himself constructing motels and hotels in the booming Daytona Beach and Miami Beach areas in the late 40's and early 50's. It was assumed by many that he was a front man for New York mob interests. Many mob accountants were funneling profits from numbers, prostitution, protection schemes, and various criminal enterprises into legitimate business investments. These legit businesses gave the Mafiosos a way of retiring into a comfortable upfront lifestyle later in life.
Gibardi sold his construction business in Miami and moved to Havana with his family in 1955, subsequently building the Cordova Hotel and Casino along the waterfront. The Casino became immensely successful and Gibardi could be seen regularly driving his 1956 Eldorado Cadillac convertible while engaging a Cohiba cigar in a fitful fight to the very finish. Sam Gibardi and a number of his counter parts grew rich and obnoxious. Gibardi convinced a few of his friends that a luxury resort on the Isle of Joven with individual mansions, a golf course, and private landing strip would be the perfect retirement center for the fabulously wealthy and illegitimately gorged. Sam bought the land and built a great deal of the proposed accoutrements.
A choice home site on a small hill overlooking the beach and the Caribbean was his personal
choice for his own home that would also double as a model for others to follow. A well known Cuban architect, Juan Luis Diega, was hired to design what became a sprawling Spanish Mediterranean style villa with courtyards, circular driveways, separate guest and servants quarters. A large pool behind the home seemed to melt with the Caribbean below as a continuous body of water, an optical illusion designed by Diega known as an infinity pool. A large open room sandwiched between the main house and the pool served as a gathering place for Gibardi, his family, and occasional guests. The spectacular estate was very busy on weekends and holidays, but vacant during the week when the family returned by private plane to Havana
and the Cordova Hotel

Sunday, February 25, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 2

It's the morning shift at Metro Dade's downtown station and the midnight to seven shift is headed for home. Some of the guys stop off for breakfast at a Denny's across the street from the station, but most of the younger officers want to get home to their wives or girlfriends.
In the parking garage under the station the morning shift is milling around half heartily putting their police cruisers in order and preparing psychologically for an eight hour stint behind the wheel of an urban peace-making machine. The community's first line of defense, the thin blue line. And in Miami, one of the countries toughest cities and defacto capital of South America, that thin blue line is almost transparent. Officer James "Jimmy" O'Neil and Officer Gabriel "Gabby" Castra climb into their cruiser, fire up the high performance engine, and pull out of the garage and up onto an on ramp that merges them onto the world's largest parking lot: Interstate I-95 running North and South along the very edge of Southern Florida. This morning the traffic is moving pretty good. In 20 minutes it will grind to a stop-start pace as commuters pour onto the highway from a thousand suburban communities up and down the interstate as it passes through Broward and Dade county, Florida's densest and most populated area."Gabby, did you see the way Eric hit that ball last night?" "Yea, I saw it, and my little Melissa can hit harder than that. ""What is that supposed to mean? "
"It means my friend you need to work more with Eric." Gabby is moving the police cruiser in and out of traffic. "How's things going with you and Linly at home?" asks Jimmy, with a look of anticipation in his face as if a bowl was about to drop from a shelf. "It's good. I guess, she wants another child and I don't think we can afford it right now. I got that second job working security over on South Beach and we still just meet our expenses. I'm never home and Melissa asked me if I still want to be her daddy."
The three helicopters have passed over the Southern end of Miami Beach and split apart, one veering south, one north, and one out over downtown. That chopper passes near the hi- rise buildings and takes up a course overhead of the traffic on I-95, virtually indistinguishable from a traffic eye-in-the-sky copter. The pilot skillfully maneuvers the helicopter in low over the morning traffic and now has matched his airspeed with the flow of traffic. The pilot spots the Metro Dade police cruiser below and holds up his fist. The other three masked soldiers cock their automatic 10mm uzis, and check the magazines.
Gabby and Jimmy see the chopper flying just above them. "Gabby, it looks like he needs or wants to land on the highway. I'll get on the radio; you hit the lights. Dispatch, this is 118 - responding to a helicopter, appears to be in distress, may be executing an emergency landing on northbound lanes of I-95, approximately two miles north of downtown, near the Opalocka exit. Did you copy that dispatch?"" Yes 118, dispatching emergency teams now."Roger dispatch."
The pilot moves the chopper out ahead of the police cruiser and begins a slow decent to the roadway below. Traffic has come to a complete stop and the police cruiser is pulling up to within 50 yards of the grounded helicopter.
Jimmy is concerned with the fact that the choppers blades are still churning and there doesn't seem to be any smoke or other problem. "I wonder what's up with this guy, landing in the middle of rush hour traffic."
The doors on the helicopter swing open and three elite and daunting mercenaries emerge with weapons blazing. The police cruiser is engulfed in a rain of hot, ripping, tearing metal. Spent bullet casings are covering the ground as the scene turns to horrifying twisted steel, shattered glass, and torn flesh. The hail of gunfire could have stopped two minutes ago and been completely effective. But these assassins are creating terror. Two or three well placed bullets are more than enough to end a life but these destroyers are reaching for a deeper completely brutal exclamation. Suddenly, a cacophony of sounds breaks into an eerie silence. The only sound is from the tinkling of bullet casings rolling around on the pavement. Motorists have gathered their courage and are abandoning their vehicles. A full scale evacuation is underway.
The pilot has been waiting patiently aboard his jet helicopter, poised for a rapid ascent into the heavens. The three dark assassins return to the flying machine and begin to crawl aboard. The pilot yells at them above the screaming of the engine - "you IDIOTAS, you forgot to take their shirts." Two of the gunmen return to the police cruiser and drag the extremely mutilated bodies from the front seat of the now terminated conveyance. It's not a pretty site. It's, in fact, a difficult site even for these hardened, battle experienced mercenaries. Killing from a safe distance and leaving the quarry, having never to see your handiwork up close, is manageable, but having to confront the result of your efforts up close and personal is a degree different.
After dragging the officers' bodies out onto the hot roadway the gunmen have begun to remove their uniform shirts, complete with badge and name plate. Both men are disgusted by the request ,equating it with the act of scalping., the American Indian warriors tradition of cutting the scalp of a fallen enemy as an act of terror and as a trophy to be displayed later for the benefit of the tribe.
As the men leave the scene with the bullet riddled and blood soaked uniforms, one turns and tosses a remote controlled bomb into the back seat of the police car. The pilot has become very agitated and begins to lift the chopper skyward just as the men climb back aboard. As the helicopter lifts off rapidly and out away from the carnage below, a gunman takes a small remote control from his bag and punches the sole button on its face. The car below explodes into a 50- foot high fireball directly below them. The pilot follows the exact same vectors back out over the Atlantic.
* * * * *
Sitting in the crystalline blue waters just off the coast of Bimini, a small island in the dozens of tiny islands that make up the country of the Bahamas, sits an unusual looking yacht. The vessel is covered from stem to stern with what appears to be a canopy. At first glance one might think it's a giant bimini top named after the small canvas convertible tops small boaters use to keep the hot tropical sun off their heads during the hottest part of the day. But why would an obviously expensive luxury yacht need a bimini top. The boat was probably air conditioned in every room, including the engine room. It was only a mystery until seen from above, from the perspective of an airplane. The canopy was an ingenious form of camouflage. It provided a photo-realistic scene of the ocean as seen from above. An aircraft would look down and see nothing. The mural painted on the canopy virtually blended seamlessly with the surrounding water, rendering the yacht practically invisible from the air.
A young Latin man is searching the horizon with a pair of large binoculars that seem large enough to see the other side of the world or find craters on the moon. The young man is chattering in Spanish over a small hand-held radio.
Something has come into his field of view. He focuses the giant eyes and confirms his discovery. "Tres helicopteros," he shouts over his small radio.
Three black jet helicopters have rejoined and are flying in a loose formation, low over the blue water. The pilots are conversing over their radios frantically. All three birds slow and the four-man crews are exiting the airships and dropping into the ocean frogman style. The helicopters have been placed in autopilot mode and they continue to fly off into the distance. A twelve-man army is now in the sea floating courtesy of a life vest placed around their neck. One of the pilots pulls a hand-held control from his utility belt, holds it into the air,, and turns a dial. An audible tone is generated and suddenly the three helicopters in the distance flash in a brilliant ball of light. A million tiny fragments fall into the sea, making small splashes that churn and foam the salt water. All the men watch the pilot who now tosses the radio detonator into the ocean. All the soldiers have a look of disbelief on their now exposed faces, but the disbelief turns to a cheer, complete with, sounding like the wailings of a mariachi band. A deadly band of mariachis.
The celebration is short. The luxury yacht Estralla has come along side the 12-man party and the vessel's first mate has lowered a ladder normally reserved for swimmers and snorkelers. All 12 men scurry aboard.
A sultan's feast awaits the mercenaries as they arrive in the main salon of the yacht after showers and dry fresh clothes. The elaborate buffet table has been prepared by the on-board chef complete with grilled seafood, lobster tails, and an endless array of salads and sophisticated side dishes. A bartender is providing libation and refreshment. The mood has become quite celebratory, but the mood is broken instantly when a dark and well built man enters the Salon from a sliding glass door at the stern of the boat. The room is silent, a respectful gesture from these men. All eyes are transfixed on the dark gentleman as he walks to a table in the back of the room and examines a stack of blue Miami police uniforms. He picks one of the shirts up, looks at it, and places a finger thru a bullet hole. He pauses looks at the men, and begins to wiggle his finger profusely. The whole room ignites in spontaneous laughter. The men return to their eating, drinking and frivolity, it has been a long and dangerous day for these dealers of death.