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Sidorov exhaled while he thought about it and said, “I have spent three years building my relationships down there. I have significant sums of money invested in my various endeavors. Why would I want to risk all of that on a situation that is so obviously combustible?”

Rapp had anticipated this response. “Because I think you can turn it to your advantage.”


Rapp smiled. “This is all unofficial, but there’s a man who lives not far from here. Big white house. You get the picture. For reasons that I’m sure you can understand he is not happy with the events of last week.” Rapp prepared to exaggerate a bit. “He has directed me to punish anyone who was involved in aiding the terrorists.”

“And how does General Ramirez fit into that?”

Rapp told him how the drugs had been stolen and flown to Cuba. How Ramirez had allowed the terrorists to use Cuba as a staging area for their attack and in exchange was given a large cut of the stolen drugs.

Sidorov’s face grew pained as the details unfolded. When Rapp was done he said, “I hate the drug trade. I avoid it like the plague. It’s all very bad for business, especially my business, but I do not condemn those who choose to make their living that way.”

“And I’m not asking you to take a position against Ramirez.”

“You just want me to help you kill him.”

Rapp didn’t answer right away. “I would like to give the general a chance to make amends.”

“By doing what?”

“By providing me certain information ab

out the person he was dealing with.”

“One of the terrorists?”


“And if he does not want to cooperate with you?”

“Trust me, he’ll cooperate.”

Sidorov thought about it for a long moment and then said, “This terrorism is bad for business. I do not understand them, but it really isn’t my fight. I fail to see a good reason for me to put my neck on the line.”

Rapp smiled. Sidorov, like any good businessman, wanted to know what was in it for him. “When Castro finally goes, it will be a free-for-all down there. It doesn’t matter what you say you’ve purchased or leased, it will be challenged by the folks down in Miami—the Cuban expatriates who had their land seized by Castro. They are going to want it back, or at least to be compensated for it. It will be a very nasty and costly fight and you will need every ally you can find. But then again, you already know all of this, and that’s why you hired Max Johnson to start digging up dirt on the important senators and congressmen.”

It was Sidorov’s turn to smile. “Surely you have more to offer than that.”

“My services.”

“Your services?”

“As is evidenced by your fleet of bodyguards, you have managed to make some enemies during your relatively short career.”

“That is true.”

“As you know I have a certain reputation . . . certain skills that at times can make people nervous.”

“I’m listening.”

“I would be willing to offer you a bit of cover. Possibly deal with some of your more unsavory enemies in a way that will tell others to leave you alone.”

Sidorov folded his copy of the Financial Times and tapped himself on the leg several times before saying, “I think we might be able to work something out.”



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