Rich and Tim walked back to the marina where Tim’s car was parked nearby. They got in the car and drove for 30 minutes.
It was dark by the time they reached a home just outside Auckland. It was a dimly lit narrow street, houses packed tightly. Tim found a place to park. Tiki’s house stood nearly half a block away.
Tim knocked on the door. A short woman with bright red lipstick wearing a tight red dress answered.
“Hello, Tiki,” Tim said.
“What are you doing here?” Tiki said.
“Can we come in?” Tim said.
“Who is with you?” Tiki said.
“His name is Rich Larsen,” Tim said, “a friend of Jean.”
“Go away,” Tiki said.
“I have something from Jean,” Rich said.
“That last time Jean gave me something it was more misery than pleasure,” Tiki said.
“I have nothing to do with that,” Rich said. “Jean’s wife gave me something for Ramona and for you.”
“Whatever it is, give it to me and go,” Tika said.
“I promised to deliver it to Ramona,” Rich said.
Tiki looked at Rich up, down, and up again. “Come in.”
Tim and Rich walked in.
“Follow me,” Tika said and walked through a small living room and into the kitchen.
Sitting at the table facing Rich and Tim was a young beautiful girl with innocent dark eyes and thick black cascading hair. Sitting to her left, a middle-aged blond man dressed in a leather suit.
“Ramona,” Rich said, “I’m Rich Larsen, a friend of your father.”
“Ramona,” Tim said affectionately.
“Uncle Tim,” Ramona replied.
“Are you sure this is what you want to do?” Tim said.
“I will look out for her,” Tiki said stubbornly.
“Who are these two?” the man said.
“That is none of your concern,” Rich said. “You know all you need to know.”
“Leave your gift and go,” Tiki said.
“You have something from my father,” Ramona said smiling longingly.
“This is starting to get out of hand,” the man said. “Tiki, Ramona, and I are about to close a deal.”
“A deal! You call it a deal!” Tim said.
“You are starting to make a mess of things,” Tiki said. “I want you to leave.”
“Ramona,” Rich said, “are you in favor with this arrangement?”
Ramona’s eyes dropped and she remorsefully stared at top of the table.
“Would you like to see your father?” Rich said. “I can arrange it.”
“You can,” Ramona said looking up eagerly.
The man stood and pulled a pistol from inside his jacket. Rich slowly walked over to Ramona and lifted her hand. “Come with me.”
“Don’t you know what this is?” the man said.
“Yeah,” Rich said. “I’ve held them on men before and I have to be honest with you, I’ve never had any intention of using it. You are a smart man. You know what is at stake. I don’t think you are prepared to spend not one night in jail for a woman when there are so many others.”
Rich helped Ramona to her feet.
“This is kidnapping!” Tiki said, “she is still my daughter.”
“Not to sell,” Tim said.
“Put the gun away, my friend,” Rich said. “Let’s not have that go off by accident.”
The man stashed the pistol back inside his jacket. “I want my money back, Tiki.”
“She is yours,” Tiki said. “The deal is over. She is yours to keep or lose, the money is mine.”
Rich reached in his pant’s pocket and pulled out the bag of pearls. “I have no idea what your financial arrangement amounted to, but here, there is no reason for you to pursue Ramona or me. Tiki has her money, you have a bag full of pearls, and Ramona comes with us.”
“I will still have the police come after you,” Tiki said. “You can’t come in here and do this to me.”
“You don’t whore your kid out, either,” Rich said.
“She will be taken care of, right?” Tiki said and looked at the man.
The man reached into the bag and pulled out a pearl. “Nice,” he dropped it back into the bag. “E noho ra,” he forced a smile. “And by the way, I wasn’t even here.” He sidestepped from the kitchen and exited the house.