DaRose entered the bridge with the larger Taj in tow. The captain looked up from a naughty magazine and greeted them. “Mr. DaRose,” he said in a pleasant voice and then added, “and Mr. Taj,” with less enthusiasm and more hesitation.
“Capt Scal, good evening,” DaRose began cordially. “If you could spare us a bit of your time-”
“Aw, nuts,” Taj interrupted. He barged past DaRose, reached out and grabbed a handful of the captain’s shirt with one hand and used the other to point in Capt Scal’s grill. “The Mike Jimmy case. The Joakim case. We want files and whatever you may have!”
Capt Scal was in full panic mode. “Um -uh… files?” he stammered.
Taj quickly slapped him twice with his free hand. Lu, who had hitherto been motionless, rose to his feet, with protest in his demeanor. “Back down, Lu,” Taj said, never breaking his gaze with the captain. “I have no beef with you.” Lu looked at the captain – one he was hardly fond of – and sat back at his post.
Taj addressed his hostage once again. “Don’t play dumb with me, you mooncalf! I want files!”
Capt Scal looked terrified. I almost felt sorry for him for a second. Almost. “Lu, do we have files on those cases?”
The price of those words was a another round of slaps. “Am I talking to Lu?!”
This went back and forth. Taj demanding answers and the captain unable to deliver satisfying responses. Before long, the captain was a beaten man – physically and mentally – on the floor of the bridge. When Capt Scal would not get up due to a mix of fatigue and cowardice, Taj lit up a cigarette and politely asked Lu, “Good man, are there any records on the Mike Jimmy or Joakim case?”
Lu thought carefully when choosing his verbiage. “The captain does not care much for records and such,” he offered slowly. Then he picked up his pace when he continued, “There have been witnesses describing a tall, goofy-looking Swede being present when both were last seen. Also, there have been Mike Jimmy sightings over the last few days, but all are unconfirmed.” Lu took a beat before finishing, not wanting to question Taj’s approach. “Chief Inspector Ronnie would be the source for any files or reports on the cases.”
Taj took a long drag from his cigarette, exhaled, and thanked Lu for his time and knowledge. Then he turned to DaRose – who had been silent since being cut short by the big man – and motioned to the door.
After stepping out into the sea air, DaRose spoke up in his usual even-keel tone. “What was that all about? You know damn well that captain is not going to have any records or files. He is a complete nitwit.” All of this was very true.
Taj grinned. “Yeah, I really just wanted to talk turkey with Lu… but it sure is fun to beat up that schlub.”