July 6, 2018-
(Part 5 , the Conclusion, of the Antonio Ribeiro saga)
He was dehydrated and delusional, when the baggage handlers took the heavy duffel bag off the plane, at El Prat. The Catalonians, as Tony had suspected, were no dummies and the surveillance captain wasted no time, in opening the bag.
Sensing his quarry was an American, Joan Caro addressed him in English: “I have heard of many scams by people wanting to visit our fair city, sir, but you have managed a first. Consider yourself a guest of the Spanish government. Your prison ward bed awaits.”
Groggy, Antonio Ribeiro answered with a moan. “Don’t worry, senor”, the Captain replied, matter-of-factly, “the hospital treats prisoners of the King with great dignity”.
Arturo, back in Montreal, had anticipated just this scenario. He had contacted his inside man, in the Guardia Civil, several hours before. Giving the airport surveillance crew a fig leaf, Inigo Batista presented himself as a hospital security guard, the moment the ambulance arrived, with a hapless, dehydrated Antonio Ribeiro, handcuffed to a gurney.
“Gracias, gentes. Lo tomaré desde aquí “, the bogus guard intoned. Inigo then took it from there. He called his driver, Rigo, and within minutes, Tony found himself in the back seat of a Peugeot, sipping lightly flavoured water.
“First, we get you some nice Catalonian clothes, bud. Then, you get a good day’s rest.”, Inigo fairly chirped.
“You mean, I don’t gotta go to no hospital?”, Tony rasped.
“No, you don’t go to a hospital, man. You go to L’Hospitalet.”
“What’s a l’hospitalet?”
“Not what. Where! L’Hospitalet is a big city, safe, like a rabbit warren. We are going to my brother’s house, There, you will rest for five days, while I get further instructions from our friend, Toro.”
“Dios, mio! You baggage handlers have quite a system!”, Tony gapsed. Inigo merely chuckled, content with his real identity remaining a secret.
Miguel Batista proved a generous host, and by day 3, Antonio Ribeiro was feeling that this L’Hospitalet would make a fabulous new home. He had never tasted wines so delectable, and Catalonian cuisine would make him fat as a casa, in no time.
Day 5 arrived, though, and with it came five days’ worth of clothing, a nice big suitcase and a Spanish passport. His new name, Atilano Rubirosa, was printed in bold lettering, on the inside cover. It was good for ten years. His Catalonian driver’s license was also good for a decade. “Say the name, ten times, Senor Rubirosa! It is important to get this right”, Inigo said, emphatically. Tony concurred, and let his alias roll off his tongue, ten times. “Perfecto! Welcome home, or should I say, welcome aboard!”, Miguel effused, as the group walked up a ramp to the upper deck of the Batista brothers’ yacht.
“Where to, now?, a bemused Tony queried.
“Why, we are headed to the Balearics, el meu amic! Ibiza is nice, this time of year.”
“From what I heard, Ibiza is nice, any time of year- all them hot Scandinavian girls.”
“Relax, amic. The girls come from many countries, including Sweden. You will, as it happens, meet many of them- in your capacity as a security guard at Neptuno.”
“Today, I begin ten years in paraiso!’, Tony rejoiced.
“With an option to renew”, Inigo responded.
Just then, the policeman’s phone rang.
“Hey, where is that prisoner? I entrusted him to your watch!!”, a furious Joan Caro sputtered.
“He was uncooperative. I’m afraid we had to resort to drastic measures, Senor Capitan. Please consider the case closed“, Officer Inigo Caro hissed at his counterpart from El Prat.
Senor and Senora Atilano Rubirosa have three children now. Two of them are blonde, like their Danish-born mother.