Day #4: Out of Town
Out of Town
“I’m tired of this.” Uncle Anton flicked a careless gaze at the man lying still and unmoving on the floor, as if it was just another piece of furniture. Luis had been unconscious for three hours, and counting. “We should go for the bigger fish. Bigger money.”
“But we already have this,” Carmen said, nodding at the pile of Luis’s possessions on their dining table.
“This?” Uncle Anton let out a mirthless laugh. He picked up Luis’s iPhone, the latest model, and waved it up. With exaggerated care, he placed it back on the table, just beside Luis’s laptop, wallet, and Canon Mark-V camera. “This is peanuts.”
Carmen flinched at his tone. She’d forgotten that this was her least favorite uncle; for him there was always something better.
“I know what you’re at, Ton.” Uncle Tinio, sitting by the sofa, didn’t even raise his head. “It all depends on who we get, you see.”
“I got someone.”
Uncle Tinio’s head jerked up. “Ton,” he said, nostrils flaring, “I thought I told you that you shouldn’t go at it alone.”
“But I was already there!”
“Where?” She wasn’t one to butt in, but Carmen’s curiosity was piqued.
“At The Palmis Hotel, the new one near Taft.” Uncle Anton’s face broke into a smug smile. “Old Swedish guy.”
Carmen saw Uncle Tinio shake his head. “That’s nothing.”
“Nothing!” Uncle Anton jumped up from his chair. “He’s been living there for a week! He said he’s already seen all of Manila. He wants to go out of town!”
“With you?” Uncle Tinio narrowed his eyes.
“What exactly did you tell him, Uncle?” Carmen felt a lurch in her stomach.
“I told him that my brother and his wife runs a local travel agency.”
“But, Uncle Anton,” Carmen said, frowning. “He could have asked his hotel for a tour.”
“You don’t understand,” Her uncle glared at her and shook his head. “He didn’t want those cookie cutter tours. He wanted something personal, someone local.”
Uncle Tinio nodded, reluctantly. Knowingly. “Someone like us.”