by Marilyn Staus
Katerina was anxious as to why she and her husband found themselves sitting in the Civil Guard’s official sedan being driven to an unknown destination. Through squinted eyes she watched James, clutching his stomach, which he did when distraught. He was in his late 60s, a rather handsome man with short, dark streaked hair , a silver fox type, who could be quite uptight and difficult. Prior to retiring, he had been a professor at the University of Kansas. James had a chronic bad knee and used a sturdy wooden cane to walk when it throbbed.
Katrina identified herself as Scandinavian–American; she knew that she was pretty with attractive pale
blond hair. Though slightly chubby, she dressed to emphasize her voluptuousness. She realized she was a worry wart and when they were first picked up had been softly crying. She knew that James loved her, but he expressed chronic annoyance with her constant worrying. She had grown calmer as they whispered softly to each other “what could be the reason we’ve been stopped; it was surely a huge mistake”, although she entertained a deep subconscious feeling about an actual reason.
She knew that James couldn’t fathom why they had been stopped. They often got lost, and were lost again after their visit to the ancient, Castle in Xativa which dated back to 210 b.c. It had been an intriguing place to self-tour, particularly in the area where prisoners had been held in a tiny room for decades. She thought “how terrible would that be to be detained there for an unknown amount of time?”
Looking back three years ago she dreamily thought about their move to Europe. She recalled why
they chose Spain, an exotic place to retire with warm climate, and a fascinating history. It was a continuation of their travel adventures and a chance to see more of the continent. The process of getting their initial visas to move to Spain had involved a nightmare of paperwork, but once approved, they had strictly obeyed all the rules in Spain
Now in an interview room in the official office of the Civil guard Katrina began to obsess. Why on earth had they been stopped, detained and now were being held in adjacent separate a rooms? Her thoughts flitted back to the tiny prison cell at the Castle.
Life in Spain had seemed quite idyllic, as even with the pandemic, they were in better shape than many, with their villa paid for and monthly income from their U.S. social security. However, the U.S. seemed very unstable these last few months with a very deep political division between the two major political parties. There had even been rumors about a potential attempted takeover coup of the current government. What could happen to their social security payments if the U.S. Government was overthrown?
Katrina had become a political junkie following the news every minute, a complete contrast to her career as a medical transcriber. She had What’sApp on her cellphone and was addicted to information. She sometimes wondered to herself or aloud to James “was the situation really as being portrayed in the news or was it just hype to get higher ratings?
Her serious worry was a possible lack of available funds if they couldn’t get to their savings accounts because of the potential collapse of the U.S. government. She remembered studying in school about the Jewish refugees fleeing Germany with diamonds sewn into their clothing, which could be converted to cash. Katrina maintained constant contact with several friends in the states who loved hearing of their travels. Some friends
even shopped for her. She would send them checks on her American bank account for all expenses, including courier delivery. This method worked
Her closest friend, Mariana, in Kansas had recently purchased for James, a replacement for his wooden cane which could be collapsed and put into his briefcase when he didn’t need to use it. This special collapsible cane was three hollow tubes that fit together or could be taken apart. It had three sturdy rubber tips and so it was preferable to the annoying tapping sound that the wooden cane made. It was particularly annoying when she had just fallen asleep and then was awoken when she heard the click, click, click sound on the tile floor of their bedroom. She had just been sent an email that the delivery would be within three days.
Mariana, a jewelry designer, had told Katrina about the diamond market in Kansas which wasn’t monitored at all. Mariana had told her about clandestine meetings behind fast food restaurants past midnight. Mariana said “this is how the transactions occur” referencing buying jewels for the spectacular jewelry she designed.
“I’ve the solution,” Katrina had said to herself confidently back in March; she could send a few large checks to Mariana, who could then send diamonds to her, which would be a back-up to their savings. Katrina didn’t think anything could go wrong and neither James, who could be so judgmental, nor anyone else needed to know.
It had been a few hours now on a hard chair in this sparse room while desperately needing to use the bathroom when she heard a wrenching cry from the adjacent room: her husband screeching, “I don’t know anything about this, my wife just ordered a collapsible cane for me to use for my bad knee.”
Katrina felt a warm trickle down her leg as she realized that the awaited delivery had been intercepted by customs for an examination. The officials on discovering the diamonds hidden in the new cane had alerted the Civil Guard, to find them. She could only guess about what could happen next.
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