Anita, Chapter 5

Anita
Chapter 5

By Portia Bennett

 
Introduction: In a sense there is a connection to this story and several other non-magic stories I’ve written. Two characters from Mike and Ashley show up briefly. They would be Mike and Ashley. This story, Like “Mike and Ashley”, “Discovery”, and “Cynthia and the Queen of Knight” takes its storyline from the work of someone else. In this case, a production by an Italian fellow named Joseph Green. The story is 16 chapters in length plus an epilogue. I’ve done as much tweaking as I can. Any errors are mine and I will gladly accept constructive criticism; as long as you’re nice.

One thing we learn about Anita is that she never turns down a challenge. Her assignment will be complicated and preparation for it will take several months. Soon, she is ready, and they work to insert her into Haiti as a native Haitian. She is going to be a cook, and what better way to get prepared other than go to work in a restaurant.
 


This work is copyrighted by the author and any publication or distribution without the written consent of the author is strictly prohibited. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to persons living or dead is coincidental.


 
 
Chapter 5
 

“If you were still in the Army,” her father asked, “would you still go back if it came up?”

“Of course I would. I’m not saying I’m unhappy with the assignment. It’s just that the situation is similar in many ways. I guess many of those big time mobsters get off on the same thing.

“What do you have in mind? You know I don’t speak Italian.”

“That’s not a problem,” Jake said. “At least I don’t think it is. We’ve set you up with the DLI (Defense Language Institute) just down the street across from Reagan. If I remember, during your interview process you essentially aced the Arabic, French, and Spanish proficiency exams. They have someone down there who will immerse you in Italian. You don’t have to speak Italian, just understand it. We’d prefer if they just thought you spoke Haitian Creole and maybe a bit of French. A little knowledge of English wouldn’t hurt; after all, with the tourist trade being what it is, I imagine many of the vendors speak a little.

“There was one other qualification that none of our other agents could fulfill. It seems that Costa is a gourmet, or at least he thinks he is. He is very fond of the Haitian cuisine among other things, and spends a lot of time sampling the local establishments. He’s made it known that he is looking for an excellent cook. According to your father, you are that cook.

“We really want to get that SOB, and we want as little collateral damage as possible. If we can get you inside, I think we have a chance.”

Anita paused for a moment before answering. “This sounds like an interesting challenge. If I am able to get inside, who are the people I’m going to have to deal with?”

“Glad you asked,” Jake said as he clicked to the next slide. “This is Tommaso Costa. As you can see, there is nothing particularly notable about his appearance. He does like Cuban cigars and willing women. They have to be white and very willing.”

“Slime ball,” Anita muttered.

“This is Marietta Costa, Tommaso’s wife. She’s not a natural blonde in case you’re wondering. They don’t sleep together. She is rather ravenous, and swings both ways. Please excuse me.”

“No offense taken. She’s definitely past her prime, but probably has no trouble finding satisfaction from the willing.”

“That’s what our reports say.”

“Do you want me …?” Anita asked.

“Anita, we expect you to be a professional; however, we can’t tell you what to do or not to do. You are very intelligent and resourceful. We expect you to do what you feel is necessary.”

Jake went to the next image. “This is Eleonora Costa, Tommaso and Marietta’s daughter.”

Anita looked at the attractive brunette. There was an appearance of self-confidence and wisdom about her, but there was something else.

“She is being groomed to take over the operation someday. She is US educated and speaks English fluently as do most of the higher ups in the organization. Allegedly. She is supposed to marry the gentleman in the next picture and help keep the organization solidified.

“This is Pietro, Peter, Mongini, son of Adolpho Mongini who is the head of security. He is also US educated. Peter is supposedly being groomed to take over the security position when his father retires. He received a degree in fine art’s. He also has a degree in kinesiology, and several black belts in the self-defense arts. He is supposed to be very good. ”

Anita stared at the photo of a rather androgynous looking young man. Comparing him to the others around him, he might have been around five seven or five eight. He wasn’t slight of build, but there was just something about him. He wore his hair in a man bun. The way he held his cup of what she assumed to be coffee seemed to be a bit incongruous.

“This is Adolpho Mongini, father of Peter. Obviously Peter did not inherit his father’s looks. I had a picture of his mother somewhere, but she’s long gone. He definitely favored her side of the family.

“This is Paolo Medini. I guess we could call him the consigliore of the organization. He is well educated, very intelligent, and is probably the glue that holds the outfit together. He has put away millions into several different off-shore accounts. He could walk away tomorrow and never have to worry about a thing.

“Luigi Bottardi is sort of a gofer and triggerman. He has probably single handedly executed more than a hundred of the outfit’s enemies.

“Any questions?”

“May I have a copy of that material?”

“Certainly, but it can’t leave the building.”

“I understand.”

“Suppose I get inside this place, how do I communicate with you?”

“Only the upper echelon are allowed to have cell phones inside the compound. If you do get in, they will search your personal belongings very thoroughly. The Haitians are quite religious. Costa would expect you to be the same.”

Jake paused for a moment as he pulled a box from one of the upper drawers of his desk. “This cross is essentially a cell phone, but it operates only on one sending frequency and one receiving frequency. Turn the ring at the top and it becomes a camera. There will always be a ship or boat within range that will relay any message to or from you to headquarters. I’ll have “Q” show you how it works.”

Anita laughed out loud. “Tell me you’re joking. “Q”, you’d think this was a James Bond movie.”

“Well he likes that name. He feels it’s better than ‘Quartermaster’, and it gives his ego a bit of a boost. Seriously, he is an exceptional talent, and he’s never let us down. Quite frankly, the man is a genius.”

“What if I have problems and can’t get in touch with you?” Anita asked.

“We have some people in the area that you can contact. “Q” will show you how to contact them if there is an emergency. Here’re their pictures. The big guy is Mike Donatella. He operates a small sports fishing fleet and also leases out a couple of yachts. His wife is Ashley Finlayson Donatella. She operates a major orphanage run by the Catholic Church. She’s a nurse, and a very good one.”

“Dad, she looks a lot like Leslie.

“Donatella? That name’s familiar to me. Wasn’t there a mobster by the name of Donatella?”

“Yeah, that’s his dad. He’s retired now. Went straight some years ago. Ashley’s father is Sean Finlayson. He ran the Irish mob in Boston. He’s gone straight too. The two families shut down all their questionable activities some time ago. We didn’t see any point in pursuing them. They never had anyone killed. Really, as crooks go, they weren’t much of a problem. Donatella’s enforcer was a bit of a problem, but when his son was killed he retired to Florida. He lives in the Villages, and has been a model citizen. The place is like a minimum security prison in many ways. They have their own watchers down there. If he steps out of line, Florida can have him.

“Any other questions?”

“Nope. Let’s get started. I’ve been sitting on my butt too long as it is.”

***

Like fine wine some things take time. Anita enjoyed her language training; although it could be frustrating at times. The concentration for her training had been on developing her comprehension of the Italian language; not too much on her speaking skills. That, however, was not a problem. After 90 days, the instructor, admitted she was probably the best student she’d ever had. Her fluency in Spanish and French had obviously been a great benefit.

Now it was time for the next step. She would be in Port au Prince in a week. The whole reason she was picked for the assignment was her familiarity with the local language and with the Island. She had been to Haiti a half dozen times with her parents. The last time had been just months before her mother had died. This time the trip would be a bit different, this was business.

They brought her into the harbor in a non-descript trawler late at night, and transferred her to a yacht owned by the Donatellas. The trawler immediately returned to sea. The Donatellas were there to meet her as she came on board. Ashley was carrying a baby in a sling. The baby was obviously mixed race. Ashley obviously saw Anita’s reaction.

“Unfortunately, I am not able to have children, but there are so many abandoned and orphaned children here that we have brought several into our home, and fortunately found homes for many others. We thought it best not to bring our older children tonight. Hopefully, there will be a time when you get to meet all of them. My aunt is babysitting tonight.”

“Anita,” Mike interjected, “we have been thoroughly briefed on what it going on. It is a bit ironic that our parents used to be involved in some less than above board operations; however, they never dealt in what Costa has been involved in. Dad and Aunt Trina know what’s going on, and Dad has no mixed feelings about taking Costa down. Costa tried to frame Ashley’s dad so he could take over the Boston operation. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

“Okay, the Captain’s Cabin has been prepared for you. There’s plenty of food in the larder. The satellite TV works just fine. If you need us, contact us on the ship’s phone. Your phone should have no record of our numbers. I’m sure Costa will have yours examined in great detail if you manage to get inside. Giuseppe and Ruggeri will come on board tomorrow to do some maintenance. They will leave you alone. They know what’s going on to a certain degree, and they are eminently trustworthy.”

The biggest problem now was to get Anita and Costa introduced. There had to be a slight change of plans as the restaurant where she was supposed to be employed as chef had burned to the ground the week before. Now they would have to find another restaurant that Costa frequented where the ownership would allow Anita to come in as a chef. Costa had patronized several restaurants over the years, but the one that had burned to the ground had been his favorite. Now they would have to get her into the kitchen of a restaurant where Costa would shift his patronage.

The second most favorite restaurant was Quartier Latin. It was a bit more than four miles out of the city in Pétionville to the southeast of the main city; however, it was on the route from Costa’s compound. After a substantial bribe, the head chef and restaurant manager at least acquiesced to the point of allowing Anita a chance to show her stuff in his kitchen. By this time, Anita had been moved to an efficiency apartment on the outskirts of Port au Prince. It was much nicer in the inside than it appeared on the outside. The agency had equipped it with everything she needed. Her last name as far as anyone in the area knew was Dangervil.

“So, what languages do you speak,” Rene Portier, the restaurant manager asked. “Hopefully you speak something besides English.”

“My mother was born here,” she answered in French. “I can get by in English, Spanish and Creole.”

“C’est bon. Now show me what you can do. We open in an hour.”

Taking stock of what was available, Anita decided to fix one of her father’s favorite dishes - Poulet Aux Noix (chicken and cashew nuts). She found fresh chicken, tomatoes, the appropriate spices and onions. She quickly put together a sauce, she would have loved to have had more time, and mixed in the chucks of chicken she’d been preparing at the same time. Fortunately, there were plenty of unsalted cashews to add to the mixture. She topped the dish with sliced fresh onion.

“You’re too slow.”

“Granted, but I didn’t know where anything was.

“Why don’t you taste it and see if it meets your approval?”

Rene took a bite, savoring the chunk of freshly cooked chicken. It might have been a bit too hot, but he went back for a second bite. He let it cool before depositing it in his mouth. “Excellent, can you do Griyo?”

“Certainly, my mother taught me well.”

“You’re hired. Here’s our menu. Learn it. You’ll be working with our head chef so you can learn the little nuances of our menu. That was very good,” he said while taking another bite.

***
***

Now, all they need to do is to get Anita to meet Costa and his group. She does, and makes a great impression with several in his group. Peter Mongini’s reaction to seeing her is a bit interesting, or is it just her imagination?



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