Eddington Coffee, Prison, Life?

"Who is going to challenge him? If he's respected, aren't his peers that don't know what he is going to hesitate? The ones that know will be too afraid too." Michael was skeptical too. He said everything I was thinking.

"There's no hope from the ones who know. The ones who don't, they're used to challenging theories. They don't view it as an attack of a colleague, but they're not what we need yet. We need to present the challenge, in the right light. That will grab both groups, and set both sets off like sharks."

"Years ago a chess set, of minor interest, was stolen. What if it wasn't so minor. What if we borrow from a great American writer, and surmise the set was actually covered in a thin layer, to hide the gold underneath?"

Otecko looked at it. "They'll want to examine it. How do you deceive what they see"

"We don't. A very fine agent, and even better craftsman, is going to make it a reality. In a week, we'll have a gold and silver chessboard."

"What about the pieces? They'll notice the weight difference. Somebody has to remember how it felt."

Sam laughed. "Were not going to make it solid gold, just layered like a decorative trinket would have been. It's not the money, it's the story we're weaving."

"Also, the embarrassing fact that the Professor will go on record as it being a fake story. Imagine the embarrassment when the colleague he disputed turns out to be right. If the supposed authority was wrong about something like this, can his opinions be that good?"

I stepped in. "What about his thugs and the Black Market? It's one thing to embarrass him, but people bounce back. How do we eliminate the possibility?"

"That's where the coffee pot comes in. We do exactly opposite with them. We get the Professor to back a few pieces by convincing him of its monetary value, then prove him wrong. If the market things he's sold a bunch of worthless items for millions, he'll come to us to save his life."

"We'll give him a choice. He admits his crimes to stand trial, or refuses and runs for his life the rest of it. Either life with no parole, or imprisoned by fear."

Sam stopped, and pointed to the coffee Coffee Pot. "Prison coffee is horrible, but at least he'll live."

Eddington A Cracked Coffee Pot And A Black Pawn

"All of it only looks guilty if you are looking through suspicious eyes. We have to have indisputable proof to bring him to justice." Otecko said frustrated.

"Actually Patrik, we don't. We have to have proof to bring him to trial. There's another way to bring him to justice." Sam said smiling at himself.

"Since I know you're no vigilante Sam, what are you talking about." Otecko knew his cousin well enough to know what he didn't mean, he just wasn't sure what he did.

"We don't have to bring him to justice or to a court of law. Nowadays they convict and destroy in the court of public opinion. Even good men get accused of things they never did."

I interrupted. "We tried that when we thought Rastilav was our guy. They didn't care that his group beat me up."

"You had the right idea, but not only did we have the wrong guy, we had the wrong jurisdiction. By themselves, the media can't destroy someone smart enough to fight back. The art and antiquities market is different."

"Journalism, both good and bad, is purposely designed to point things out to others. They don't control the world they attempt to shape. Art and antiquities world is controlled internally by very passionate experts."

"If the right expert suddenly exposes questionable dealings of the Professor. His future will crumble faster than Aunt Sophia's Mushroom Soufflé."

"How do we do it?" The question wasn't in unison, but almost. Sam picked up the old coffee pot I had purchased, sat it on top of the chess set, and smiled. "A little coffee pot and a black pawn, and the Professor will wish he had stuck to tea or punch."

Eddington Coffee Waffles And Fishing For A Shark

After our last plane ride, we took alternate transportation back to the Czech Republic. When we got there, Otecko told me about what he and Sam had been up to. The Professor had decided not to pursue charges against Otecko.

He had been in no legal danger thanks to Sam anyway, but it made them curious. They decided that the careful Professor had weighed the risk, and he reasoned the cost was to high. So they kept digging.

Every other week, the Professor spent a few days at a private club. They wouldn’t tell me the details, but Sam placed a man on the inside. Everything was pretty much routine, except for the Professor’s stroll in the garden on Thursday afternoons.  

He would have extended conversations with the gardener. On the surface they seemed very casual, but over three different trips, the Professor would repeat several lines of the previous conversations. Sam laid out the next details.

“We checked out the gardener. He’s got a record, which explains why the Professor uses this method of contact. The gardener only works every other Thursday. The owner of the club hired him personally.”

“No other employee only works one day. We looked into the club owner. He was clean, but his child got a scholarship at the university. Guess who pushed it through.”

Otecko interrupted. “You two are tired. Get some rest. We’ll meet after a good night’s sleep, for coffee, waffles, and fishing for a shark.”

Eddington Deep Fried Coffee Beans

“How do we stop him?” It’s the only question I had, and the only one that mattered. Michael looked at me. “The same way you stop a fox, introduce him to a wolf.”

“Who would this guy be afraid of?” I asked, thinking the answer was no one. Michael grinned. “What everyone is a little afraid of, themselves. Come on, that’s the second reason we’re here.”

It turns out everyone is young once, even would be conquerors, and their younger versions are not normally as careful. Our mission was to dig up dirt, not on the “honorable” professor, but a dishonorable young man by the same name.

What had our villain been up to in his twenties that would undo him today? The coffee industry there’s an interest in deep fried coffee beans, the younger ones. It creates a totally different flavor, plus the oil adds extra calories.

We were hoping to add a few tons of bad press to the professor, by showing how he got started in the black market. Every criminal has a trail, we just had to uncover it. It was going to be a bumpy ride!

Eddington Coffee Break

The man on the ground was saying things I couldn’t believe, names of men in twenty countries that the professor had bribed into his organization. He was setting up an economic machine to fund the takeover of countries, that much was clear. What he said next scared me.

The Professor wasn’t just out for valuable historic treasures. There have been plunderers since Old Testament times. He wanted to take things that had never been stolen before. Items that were so dear to a country’s culture that it would build his reputation and incite fear.  

Today, museums are at least somewhat open to trading exhibits, and sharing with the world, a country’s antiquities. He wanted to isolate the different markets. It would also make it easier, not harder, for him to take what he wanted when he wanted it.

Next, he could start a propaganda campaign against the way the museums were ran. Being an expert on antiquities, he would make recommendations, all the time, increasing his influence. Eventually, in the big markets, he would be able to place men that were under his control, in control.

The museums where he basically appointed curators, would quickly stop having any thefts. Oh he would keep taking, but first they’d replace them with almost perfect copies. Ones his group had been making painstakingly accurate over the last ten years.

His buyers for the stolen antiquities, would feel even safer. They would know that to the world, nothing had ever been stolen. His curators would prevent experts studying too closely his fakes.  

While all of this was going on, he’d approach world domination through a course I would have never thought of. He was taking steps to slowly control the primary food supplies of several countries through a seemingly unrelated groups of amalgamations.

Corporations being purchased, farms being snatched up with the funds, and a horde of factories being bought. On top of that, he was buying every type of transportation company you could imagine.

What he could not purchase outright, he bought stock in. This wasn’t just related to food, it was everything from airlines to pay as you go travel. His intention was to squeeze every dime he could, and control every sector through the money and power it gave him. 

Only then, would he start his flamboyant take over the world part if it. An because, by then, he would already be mostly in control, it would seem swift. People would be shocked at how quickly he stepped in, and that would breed more fear. He’d control the world while no one was looking. Taking power while those without a clue of his scheme, might has well have been on a coffee break.

Eddington Caffeine Is My Excitement

I’m not a government agent. I’m not a detective. I’m a guy who markets coffee. Caffeine is my excitement, not being hunted down by a crazed college professor’s hired guns!

An yet that’s where we found ourselves. Our taxi driver was dead, the car crashed. We were bleeding, Michael was shooting at the guy who was shooting at us. I was trying to get out through a mangled door without getting hit.

In other words, this trip was not my idea of a fun adventure. Unlike movies you see, there wasn’t a convenient building for us to duck into. There also wasn’t any unexpected helper guy showing up to make our get away.  

I was thinking at this point that I might not see my family again. Michael wasn’t ready to give up. What he did next, will always make me look at him like the hero he is. 

He drew their fire, dodging in and out behind the taxi. When they got closer to finish the job, he somersaulted over the taxi, onto the back of their car, and shattered the front glass with bullets.  

He didn’t fire at the driver, we needed answers. Instead he fired down the middle of the window, sending glass everywhere. He wrestled his way inside and took control of the car. Then stopped, tossed the guy out, and started asking questions.  

I told you it got crazy, but I wasn’t talking about all of that. It was the answers he gave. They weren’t encouraging, especially when he told us what the Professor’s next move was.

Eddington Coffee Is A Distraction 

“All right, we’re here, why?” I asked Michael as we got in the taxi. He winked at me, gave the address to the driver, and pointed to the airport. “It’s bigger than we thought, otherwise the pilots wouldn’t have been targeted. They did it because of us. This is bigger than what you realize cousin.”

“How can it be, he’s a teacher, not a dictator. This is crazy. What does he want, why are we here?” Michael could tell I was exhausted, angry, and ready for something to make some sense.”

“Here’s what we did, what we think, and what we know. Otecko stole something to distract from the fact he planted something. They were so caught up with trying to figure out why he stole it, they didn’t notice what he left. A microphone to listen to the professor.”

“He hasn’t tipped his hand, except for telling one of his group to secure Budapest. We think his supply line runs through here. I needed you to come along on some excuse about coffee beans so I could maneuver.”

“Here’s what it looks like. This isn’t directly about taking over the Czech Republic. It’s about a new black market of antiquities that runs from Europe to the Middle East. The Professor has been running it on a small scale for years, but he’s gotten greedy.”

“He’s systematically working to take out the power players on the existing black market so he can control it. If he’s the biggest and baddest, he gets the most money, which translates to power.”

“He apparently wants to control governments behind the scene, at least for a while. We don’t know his long term goal, but his thesis was on Charlemagne. You can guess what that means!”

I rolled my eyes, and tried to ignore the pain behind them. “So we’re the bait, the coffee is a distraction, and at some point we’re probably going to get shot at, again!”  

I didn’t mean to predict the future, but I did. A few seconds later, two bullets shattered the front window, killing our driver. The taxi went out of control, then it got crazy!

Eddington Thermos Of Sumatra And A Bulletproof Vest

We got back to the hotel about two in the morning. I don’t know what strings they pulled, but Otecko and Sam left without charges. They started talking as soon as the door closed.

“Tomás, don’t get comfortable, you and Michael are flying to Budapest in two hours.” “Do I want to know why?” Otecko smiled. “To set a panther trap.”  

I went to pack. Sam called from behind me. “Don’t you want to know more?” I looked back. “No, I prefer my bouts with death to be a surprise. Pack me a thermos of Sumatra and a bulletproof vest, and put me on the plane.”

Once on the plane, I was about to rethink asking Michael what we were about to do. That was until the stewardess spilled my breakfast tray all over me. I got up to go to the bathroom to clean up.

When I came back, Michael wasn’t in his seat. I thought he’d be back in a little while. He didn’t until after we landed. “Where were you?” He whispered his reply. “Flying the plane, someone killed the pilot and co pilot.”  

The trip started out horribly, and would only get worse. Next week I’ll tell you how to tangle with a two legged panther and survive, but just barely!

Eddington Dinner With A Killer And Eighteenth Century Coffee 

My Otecko has never stolen a thing in his life, so when he said he was going to steal something, I had questions. He smiled and gave me a brief answer. “I don’t know yet, it doesn’t matter what it is actually.”

Sam wasn’t any help either. “Tom, all I’ll say is trust us. This is part of your grandfather’s plan. It’s a good one, but you can’t be part of this section of it. We can’t tell you why yet, but you’ll see soon.”

He handed me a gift. “A friend of mine picked this up. It’s a coffee carafe that was made in the 1700’s. It will be a good souvenir of your trip. Now take one of my guys, go to dinner. I’ll take care of Patrik.”

I went, but can’t tell you if the food was good. It was gone before I realized it. Most of the night, I alternated between thinking about Otecko having dinner with a killer, and eighteenth century coffee.

I expected to go back to the hotel and go to bed. That didn’t happen either. I was paying the bill when Sam walked in. “Hurry Tom, it’s time for phase two.” I finished paying, and followed him out.

He didn’t wait for me to ask. “We’re going to the police station. Your Grandfather’s been arrested, things are going great.”

Eddington Coffee One Of The Family 

If you’ve started a business, you know, it becomes a part of you. For us, coffee is one of the family. So the hurt and anger I felt at the news of Stefaniak’s being burnt, hurt deeply.

An I couldn’t even be there, we were an ocean away. So, I did what I could do, look for anyway to respond to the Professor I could. The problem was, I had no idea how, again. We seem to be back at the beginning, at least that’s what I thought.

Otecko disagreed. He dialed a number. “Hello, it’s time to melt them down, tonight!” He shook his head no at my face, and walked to the lobby.

We met Sam, and he explained. “Sam cannot be involved, but he will leave the surveillance equipment on for us tonight. I could not explain over the phone, so I used a code.”

“What are we doing, and when did you two work out a code?” Otecko smiled. “On the plane ride. Also, tonight there is no we, I am going alone.”
“Plus, you have an overactive imagination. I’m not going to break in, who am I, an eighty year old Daniel Craig? He’s going to invite me to dinner, and then I will steal something. It will be fine.”