"Why in God's name would I know where that stupid diamond is?" Erica snapped. "Throughout this entire fucking ordeal, shit has been happening to me and I have no idea why. It's a friggin' miracle I've managed to work out as much as I have. As far as I can see, when Flikka died, the secret of the Eye of the Tigress died with him. And a damn good thing too, considering the amount of trouble it's caused everybody."
Something in Erica's tone convinced Van Slooten that she wasn't lying. Having a gun pointed at his head also meant he was in no mood to argue.
"So now what do you intend to do, Erica?" asked Trudee, whose survival instincts were also kicking in.
"Well, initially I was going to shop the whole damn lot of you into the police, but when I thought about it, I realised they'd never believe me. It's an incredibly stupid story, plus they'd never defy Ray Martin." Erica spat to indicate her contempt. "So I've decided to cut a deal with you guys."
"What kind of deal?" said Van Slooten.
"You stay the hell away from me, and I stay the hell away from you. I'll return to my career as a budding cosmetics journalist, and you guys get back to stationery and drug smuggling and all that third-rate Mafioso crap."
"But Erica, you lost your job!" Trudee chimed in.
"Yeah, well, I figure the least you can do is get me a position as fashion assistant on Take 5, bitch," Erica replied.
"Yes, that seems reasonable," said Van Slooten, suddenly decisive. "As we say in Finland: do not set fire to another man's reindeer if he owns a flamethrower."
"Hi Erica, it's Renny. How did it go?"
"Fine. Hopefully I can get my life back to normal now."
"Cool. Say, I'm going to be in Sydney next week. You want to get together for coffee and Danishes?"
"That'd be great."
"OK, I'll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time."
Things were definitely looking up.
THE END . . . FOR NOW