When the guys from the local Bureau in Puerto Rico called he knew there
would be a problem. No one called him for simple tasks like this unless no
one else wanted to do it... The Mope was already in custody so they just
needed to start collecting more evidence in the case, perhaps get back some
of the cocaine he'd managed to throw over the end of the dock just before
That was why they called Frank. He'd been a navy seal during the
and was fully qualified to deal with extreme conditions... of course there
was the fact that they didn't have anyone else who wanted to do it.
They called him and filled him in on the details. His first thought had
been to say no, but he wasn't really the type that backed out just because
of a little impediment in the way. The most glaring one being the canal - it meant that
there would be some fierce nasty water and strong currents. He requested a
full face diving mask, a sealed, haz-mat suit, someone to be there to
disinfect him when the business was over and a secure line to make sure he
didn't get washed away from the piling.
412 kilos of cocaine was something that they didn't want to let out of
their sight. He agreed and was on a plane in a few hours.
He arrived at the Mope's residence and they walked him to the dock area
where he looked down uncomfortably into the swift, brown water. He put on
the suit; dive boots and began loading the weights. He secured the line, set
up his method of communication with his partners and lowered himself into it.
It was like an insistent, lukewarm bath. Underwater, his body flapped and
waved like a flag in the current. The water moved at almost 15 or 20 knots
and he was certain this entire venture would end badly if he didn't find
some way to secure himself better. He surfaced again, pulled himself out of
the water and tied on more weights- about 80 pounds of them - and dove
again. The weights helped but not as much as he would have liked, the current was a constant fight. He felt the container slide past his arm as his partners lowered it behind him
Thirty feet down, the water was mud soup. The silt and earth
churned constantly in the rushing water, a whirl pooled muck that never
cleared from the bed - there was almost no light, almost no
visibility. Frank followed the line into the dark, his feet mired in the
sludge. Each weighted step was a chore as he lifted his feet; each movement was
another new struggle against the current.
He began his search by feeling along the base of the piling until his hands grasped the first of what would be many kilos of water logged cocaine. He drew it near his face but it was too dark to make out
anything on it. It settled immediately in the
weighted netting. He filled the container then tugged on the line and waited for it to rise.
The trip there and back seemed to take hours. Here it was
a muted rush of
warm murk and the current raged against his arms and body, the weights
pushed his feet into the mud, the low roar of the water filled his head. He felt as if he were trapped in some rushing,
Then something shoved against his shoulder...
At first he thought it might be a tire or weight or something caught in the piling. Maybe it was
something they kept here to help someone locate the stash... something...
maybe a log that had gotten stuck on the piling and waved back and forth
in the current - it had enough weight to push him
back in the mud.
He was feeling
and uncomfortable with the area, he looked up to see if he could make out anything above. The container lowered again, and he quickly grabbed the line to adjust its
position. He found more cocaine and loaded it, more and more cocaine- now almost everywhere he searched. He fumbled in the darkness for more - the thing in the current moved him again.
He absently pushed it back this time, feeling some kind of pliant texture under his
gloves. He bent and loaded more cocaine then pulled the rope for them to
raise it - and him this time. If it were some kind of tied baffle he was
going to have to get it loose or find a way to avoid it... he pushed his
hand forward and felt it briefly again as the current whipped it away then
shoved it back against his shoulder. He yanked the rope again and his line
grew taught as he moved upward.
When he entered the water that last time he had a waterproof
strapped to his wrist - he wasn't about to be down there with the potential
of some loose piece of jetsam with the potential of ripping his suit or
knocking him out of range again.
With a light he moved with a bit more confidence. The flashlight made a
short column of bright murk that betrayed many more packets of cocaine.
Frank saw then in abundance in the mud, oblong aluminum foil and plastic
wrapped in duct tape, and he packed them into the netting. Once again, the
object in the current shoved him back. He shone the flashlight back toward
the piling to see if he could see the impediment in the water and it bumped
him again... he fought the current again and turned... there was movement out of the corner of his eye
and he lifted the flashlight -
- to find himself mask to snout with a shark. The flashlight blazed
across the dead black eyes and the jagged toothed mouth... it jolted forward
and bumped past him, shoving him back.
He did not argue or shove this time, just moved.
On the surface he surveyed the cocaine packets laid out on the dock...
out of 412 kilos he managed to get about 200. This would be plenty.
He glared at his partners' amused smiles and began the
disinfectant procedures. The rest of the cocaine could just stay at the bottom for all he
cared. If that shark wanted to be in his way he was perfectly willing to let
Some impediments could be left right where they were.