Chapter 28 Chinese Man
Doug and I were parked off of 80th and Highway 5. There was nothing to say. Then I got the text. “Be there in five minutes”. Doug got on 5 and then took the 85th off ramp. I thanked him and got out. He said he would wait and see the license plate number of the vehicle.
A minute later a black SUV pulled up to me. A black license plate with red and some Chinese lettering, a diplomatic plate. I got in. “Friend of yours?” “Yes”. “You will be OK.” Just a hint of accent. I am looking at a Chinese man my age. He is well dressed and looking very together. Not a man to mess around with. I started counting. I got to a thousand and still not a word. This is a disciplined man. I stopped counting.
I wasn’t sure what to do or even what to say. He knows who I am and knows what’s going on with Keith, the printers and Savanah. I wanted to pepper him with questions but I held myself in check. What did Savanah say about him? “Honesty”. Yes, there was something upright about him, this was not a crooked man in any way. When he wanted to talk I knew it would be honest. My biggest question: “Why are you teaming up with me?”
We were traveling East from Bellingham towards the Sumas border crossing. Still not a word. He glided through the border crossing without a stop being waved through. His phone rang and he bluetoothed a conversation in Chinese. I am looking for inflections and watching his body language. Yes, he is tensing up. He is giving commands but I am hearing excuses at the other end. He ends the conversation.
“I am breaking protocol by allowing you in this vehicle. You do exactly what I say. Is that understood?” “Yes Sir!” “We are heading to a resort, Harrison Hot Springs. It has been bought by a Chinese company and it is closed down because of COVID right now. Your friends Keith and Savanah are being held there. I came up from San Francisco last week and thought we had ironed everything out. Keith was the wild card I wasn’t prepared for.”
“Now there are too many voices involved. My instructions include a warning to not allow any American citizens to be harmed. The American gangsters don’t see it that way. There are also elements of Chinese intelligence that would love to see American casualties, anything to drive our nations further apart. Right now the men holding Keith and Savanah are following instructions from someone else. My contacts at the resort are doing their best to postpone action until I arrive. It will be tight”.
I tried processing what was happening. “It will be tight”, “postpone action” and “American casualties” were ringing in my ears. Is this going to be a war zone? I am armed, will it come to that? It is beginning to become clear to me. The Chinese are financing this ballot operation but using American gangsters and American Chinese programmers. It is a domestic operation in appearance. They will be covered, but a death associated with the deception might bring too much light on Chinese involvement. Xi is looking at a bigger picture that requires Keith and Savanah to not be harmed. The gangsters thought nothing of wasting Savanah’s life and would probably do the same to Keith, except now another group of Chinese operatives are involved. Their agenda seems different form Xi’s. Keith and Savanah are expendable and if there is blow back, so what, it furthers their desire for the future war between China and the U.S.
Yeah, I’m feeling it. Its going to be tight alright. There is still something unspoken between us. Why am I here? What motivated Xi to pick me up? Something else, why did he give Savanah that card? There is something more than orders going on here.