Adventures of Cookie the Stray, Chapter 14 - Morocco

Updated on January 1, 2018
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Peg Cole is a self-published author who writes true and fiction stories and book reviews, along with nostalgia and how-to articles.

Morocco
Morocco | Source

Jeb decided long ago that one day he would live in Morocco. It started when he first saw the movie, Casablanca. He loved the sound of the name, Casablanca. He was Rick, wearing the white jacket, wooing the beautiful women. He’d fallen in love with the whole idea of living in another part of the world, strange, mysterious, Casablanca. To follow that dream he would need money and lots of it.

He had dumped the contents of the nylon zippered bag onto the bed. Pawing through the stash of jewelry and diamonds from his latest score he knew his dream was within reach. After this heist, he could live in a foreign country like a king. He’d checked extradition laws to be sure he would be safe there. Morocco had no treaty with the United States to extradite alleged criminals. That information cinched his decision to make it his future home.

He had traded one of the Rolex watches in exchange for a new identity - Rick Bogart. It was easy enough to buy a passport with a phony name. With his contacts in the creatively dark parts of the world he could even have it stamped with a trail of travels that would give him a rock solid alibi and avoid implication in the robbery. His plan was falling into place just as he had always imagined. The only thing remaining was to dispatch Connie.

By Xfigpower (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Xfigpower (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

His paid snoops had kept close watch on her narrowing the location of her last stop to the convenience store where she’d filled up with gas. His plan was already in motion, perhaps even as he stood gazing into the mirror. It wouldn’t be long now. Once he set the cops on her he’d have a clear path to travel.

“Nobody leaves me until I want them to,” he repeated, smiling at his reflection. His revenge would be swift and sure, but first, he must leave her holding the bag in the literal sense. He laughed at his own cleverness and at the cliché that fit nicely into the scheme of things.

There was a rarely-used airstrip about eighty miles from his hometown where flights took off and landed without the benefit of a flight plan or records of any kind. Jeb had paid the going price for certain members of airport management to look the other way when the Cessna would take off, landing upstate. From there, another plane would take him to New York. There he would board a commercial flight to Morocco using his new identity.

“Just have to grease the right palms,” he said. “Like I always say, it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.” He chuckled and dialed the number from memory. The phone line crackled before the ring tone kicked in. His contact answered on the first ring.

“State your purpose,” the burly voice growled.

“It’s Jeb.”

“And that’s supposed to mean something to me?”

“Yeah, if you want the other half of your payment.”

“Oh, that Jeb,” the voice softened at the mention of money.

“Are we on for the little trip we talked about?” Jeb asked.

“Just waiting for the weather to clear up. Can’t fly in a tornado,” he added.

“It’ll blow over,” Jeb said. “It always does. Besides, I’ve got a tight schedule to maintain.”

~~~~

The gas pump clicked off. Connie returned the nozzle to its slot and tightened the gas cap. The spaces in front of the food mart were taken. She moved the car around to the side of the building. She rolled the driver’s window down a few inches and turned to Queenie.

“They should make the employees park somewhere else,” she fussed. She shut off the car and grabbed her purse.

“I’ll be right back,” she told the dog whose expression showed concern. Connie locked the car and went inside to pay for the gas and pick up supplies. Queenie moved into the vacant driver’s seat and whimpered.

She moved quickly along the aisles of groceries, picking up canned meat, crackers, and favorite snacks. The basket on her arm was filled when she approached the register where she found the store clerk turned away talking on the phone. Above his head, a small TV hung from a metal arm over the rack of cigarettes. She tapped his shoulder and motioned to the screen with the universal signal to turn up the volume as she strained to hear the announcer. The announcer led with details of the breaking news story.

“A robbery at a jewelry store late yesterday left the store owner on the floor of his jewelry store overnight. Discovered unconscious this morning by a neighboring merchant the owner, whose name has not been released, sustained a gunshot wound and was hospitalized in critical condition. Police are looking for a man and woman with a dog in connection with the robbery. More details on this Aubrey, Texas shopping center in our mid-day report. Now back to the weather.”

Convenience Store
Convenience Store | Source

The name of the town brought Connie to full attention. Aubrey was where she’d lived with Jeb. Focused on the news, she didn’t notice the customer that entered the store and quickly disappeared behind the bread aisle.

The clerk finally hung up the phone and without a word, started ringing up her purchases. She found a rack of newspapers next to the register and put one on her pile. The clerk frowned, then, punching in more numbers, added it to her total.

“Anything else, Ma’am?” he asked, with emphasis on the last word.

“May I have the restroom key?” The clerk took a wood plank from a hook and set it on the counter in front of her. It was half of a wood ruler that had a hole in one end with a tattered string connecting the key to the stick. He turned abruptly toward the television to watch a commercial. Connie grabbed the bags and headed to her car to drop them off. She reached behind the driver’s seat for the plastic water jug.

“I’ll be right back with some water for you guys.” Queenie watched her leave and disappear into the restroom. Moments later, she went back in the store and dropped off the key. The clerk was busy ignoring the next customer in line. His eyes were trained on the TV where a daytime soap opera blared. The man in the hat slipped out through the doors unnoticed.

The three dogs greeted her with excitement as she hooked the leash to Queenie’s collar. The puppies danced in their box eager to spend time in the grass. Queenie led the group with the pups following close as they headed behind the building, sniffing, exploring and taking care of business.

Once Connie was out of sight, the man in the hat approached the driver’s door of the car and reached in through the narrow opening of the window. With practiced ease, he unlocked the door. Crouching next to the car door alongside the building, he popped the latch for the trunk. With his thumb, he pressed the door lock and quietly pushed it shut. At the open trunk, it took him less than twenty seconds to slip something into the hollow crevice next to the spare tire. Nestled beside the rubber, the bag with the name “Bedazzled Jewelers” glowed in silver embroidered letters as the trunk lid quietly closed.

~~~~

Rusty walked along the railroad tracks for a few miles heading toward the interstate and the convenience store nearest the campsite. From a good way down the track he could hear the clanging of the warning bells. As he drew closer, he could see the crossing arms were malfunctioning, the arms stuck down across the road. Cars approached the crossing, most sitting idly for a few moments before venturing into the opposite lane and crossing the tracks on the wrong side of the road. He stepped along the ties walking on ancient timbers headed toward the campsite where he hoped the dogs would still be waiting.

He glanced at the driver at the front of the line of waiting cars. In the passenger’s seat sat a large, blond dog whose eyes followed his motion as he scurried in front of the sedan. The driver was looking down at something in her lap. Her long, wavy hair struck a familiar bell in his memories. She looked up long enough for him to notice the bright green color of her eyes before she broke eye contact and looked back down.

“There you go,” she said, freeing the chew toy from the cardboard and plastic casing. Queenie took the offered toy and held it motionless while she watched the man move out of sight down the track. Connie opened the box of puppy bones, grabbed two, and tossed the box behind her seat.

“That’s all you get until we get to the motel.” She glanced down the railroad track for as far as she could see. To the right, the hobo that crossed in front of her car was nearly out of sight down the tracks. He was ragged, but clean. There was a certain familiarity to his gait as he walked along the track.

“No way,” she said aloud. “It couldn’t be him.” Queenie looked out of the passenger window as Connie spoke sensing something out of the ordinary in her mistress’s voice.

Connie glanced at the map and put the car into gear. “It’s another fourteen miles before we get to the motel,” she told her canine passengers as the wind rocked the car. “We need to get somewhere safe before this storm hits.”

© 2017 Peg Cole

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    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks Lawrence.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 days ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Loved this

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hey Verlie, Glad your evening is going well. We've had a power outage that left us in the dark for a couple of hours, but the juice is back on now.

      Always nice to see you here and hope your holiday plans are going well. Jim is on vacation for a few days which makes things happy and bright.

      Mike has designed an awesome cover for the story and a new title. Love the changes and it has inspired me to move along. About to release chapter 15. See you soon.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 5 weeks ago from Canada

      Hey guys, just eavesdropping here...sounds exciting! Hope you Peg, Mike, are having a great evening. I am :)

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Dear Mike,

      Now that I've seen your proposed book cover for this novel I'm eager to get this wrapped up and ready for publication. Wow. I love the design you created and the new title you came up with. I can't wait to see it happen!

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Mary, thank you for joining in on this journey. Cheers.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Dora and thanks so much for the kind remarks. I'm so glad you are enjoying this. Your words help to keep me going.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello dear Maria,

      Thanks for the enthusiastic reactions to Rick and his ungentlemanly behavior. I'm hoping to give him a just and true reward for his meanness. Hope you will like it. Coming soon...

      Here's hoping you have your Christmas shopping all finished and that you're enjoying an eggnog and a movie.

      Love to you with warm hugs, Peg

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hey there Gypsy Rose. Love having you here as well. I'm glad you liked the music, too.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello William, I'm grateful to have you jump in and read this chapter. I'm hoping to turn it into a full length novel with illustrations. Thanks for coming by.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg - For a moment there, I felt as if I, was one of those senior citizens at a Cinemax that walked into the wrong theater. But, I caught up with the story.

      I am thinking, "Abandoned, something, something" -

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      You got me hooked. I'll look forward to the story unfolding.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 6 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      All the adventure, mystery and fake identity are turning this dog story into the best there is. Very interesting!

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Bill, Thanks for the visit and for checking out this chapter. I always appreciate seeing your name on the comments. I'll be trying to catch up on my reading when I return to town in a few days. For now, thank you.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Nikki, Thank you and I hope I can meet your expectations for a happy ending. Nice to see you here today.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Linda, Thanks for the intriguing comment. I like that description.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

      "As time goes by ...", I love your writing more and more, dear Peg - "on that you can rely"!

      As for 'Rick Bogart', I'm hoping he gets a mouthful (or fistful) of Hotdog (man) in return for his ungentlemanly behavior towards Connie. Also hoping he has vivid dreams of Morocco as he wakes up every morning in a jail cell... !!!

      Looking forward to seeing what's around the corner.

      Each chapter builds on the next - richly detailed and suspenseful story!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

      Just love these doggy tales. Great music too. Looking forward to more.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another great installment, Peg. I'm drawn in, and I haven't even had a chance to read the first 12 chapters.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 6 weeks ago from Ohio

      Oh, now I have to wait again! I love how the story is going. I can't wait to read what happens next!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, this is fun! Great twist in the story, a true mystery/adventure in the animal world. Well done!

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Flourish, That's the beauty of fiction. It is possible to make the bad guys ultimately pay for their deeds. I loved the movie, Knight's Tale, where the character Chaucer said, "I will eviscerate them in fiction."

      Thanks for sticking with this.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Shyron, That's a great cliche. I like your version of it. Hope you'll hang in there to find out about the shop keeper and how Connie gets out of this pickle.

      As always, thanks so much for your kind comments and for the visit. Many blessings.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 6 weeks ago from London

      An amazing turning point of story Peg,,let’s see where it takes to.Hopefully there would be good for everyone at the end.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is such an intriguing story, Peg. It's going to be so interesting seeing how everything comes together.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks ago from USA

      What trouble! And she only has a hint. I enjoyed the twists and turns this is taking. I hope everyone gets what they deserve.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 6 weeks ago from Texas

      Peg, this is very good, but I hope that Connie and he canine family discover the plot to frame her and I hope the jewelry store owner survives and can identify the robbers.

      I often heard the cliché "it is not who you know that counts" "it is what you know about who you know."

      How are you going to get Connie out of this pickle.

      Blessings dear friend.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Jackie, I just came over from your place and your latest was truly deep and meaningful. I always appreciate when you visit this story and it picks me up when I read your comments. Thanks so much.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Robin. Nice to meet you here.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      Thrilled to find this to read Peg. You are really good and I never want it to end!

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Verlie, what a nice play on words, "Let nature take its course." I think you already know where this is heading. Thanks again for your continued encouragement. Hope you are well.

    • RobinReenters profile image

      Robin Carretti 6 weeks ago from Hightstown

      Looks really nice the different elements you added awesomely

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Frank, Nice to see you here so quickly and thanks so much for reading this. The rest of the chapters are on my profile if you have the time to get the back story. I sure do appreciate your fine comments this morning.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 weeks ago from Canada

      Peg, What Frank said. Connie is a smooth operator. I'm hoping nature will take its course regarding Jeb and his delusional plan. Another cliff hanger!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 6 weeks ago from Shelton

      wow this was smooth reading peg-cole.. I have to find the other chapters because ur style has me forgetting that I'm reading as I continue scrolling down.. yeah really smooth reading...