"Laura Entman. Her tombstone is a bench." said Lawrence, who looked a little like a Doberman Pinscher and gave off an air of menace.
"Why her?" Hector asked.
"To keep it dry, and don't ask stupid questions. I hear you're good, and this is a lucrative deal. If you're up to snuff, I'll give you the whole story when we're done."
Hector just shrugged and together the two men continued to work their way through the various grave markers. Eventually, Hector shouted, "Found it." The two men approached the bench, which was held up by legs carved like archangels at every corner.
Hector squatted down and felt under the stone for a second or two before he stood up. "Got it!" he said and showed Lawrence a USB drive, which he then tucked into his pocket. Lawrence nodded, and reached into one of his pockets and took out an bulging envelope and tape.
He taped the envelope to the underside of the bench, stood and said, "We're done here. Let's go." Hector nodded, and together the two exited the graveyard and got into a nondescript grey Toyota and drove off.
Two hours later the same car pulled into the parking lot of a small sewing machine shop. The men entered the store, which was devoid of customers. As soon as they entered, the proprietor, whose poorly done combover did nothing to hide his a bald spot, waved them to the back. The pair skulked their way behind the counter and were joined by the owner. The balding man went to the far shelf and pulled down a new sewing machine that sported a USB port. "I've added a 16 gigabyte flash drive along with the usually modifications. You have the package?"
Lawrence nodded, and handed over the USB drive they had taken from the cemetery. "Next time maybe you’ll tell your man to make the dead-drop at a restaurant or a strip club. That graveyard gave me the creeps, and it took forever to find the right marker."
"I'll be sure to let him know," the balding man said. "Now, let’s get this over with. While I load the data, maybe you and your partner should pick the pattern."
Hector shot the man a venomous look. "Watch your filthy tongue, or I'll be making a trip back to that cemetery." But the proprietor missed the threat as he inserted the USB into the sewing machine. He tapped a few keys on the built-in screen and data began to flow from the drive to the machine; once the data transfer finished, the man left.
When he was gone Hector walked up to the machine and examined the display. After a few minutes he began adjusting the on-screen options, and then he called out to Lawrence, "Pattern number, 32; stitch length, 5.3 mm; stitch width, 2.9 mm." Hector finished entering the code and a status bar popped up on the screen tracking the progression of the data encryption.
When Hector called out the numbers, Lawrence punched them into a cheap flip phone and sent the data out in a text message. Next Lawrence snapped the cell in two, and once the encryption process finished, the two men carefully boxed and sealed the sewing machine. They did such a clean job of it that it was impossible to tell that the machine had ever been out of its packaging. Lawrence and Hector then walked out with their newly packaged sewing machine, passing the shop owner without another word spoken. They belted the box into the back seat of their car and drove off.
Ninety minutes later they pulled into a guest parking spot at Global Vision Charities. "What the fuck are we doing here?" Hector said.
"You'll see. And don't ask stupid questions," Lawrence snapped. Lawrence took out another phone, and dialed a number. Hector heard it ring a few times then pick up. Lawrence said "I'm out front," and hung up. After unlocking the doors to the car, he turned in his seat and unbuckled the sewing machine. As he unhooked the latch for the belt, Lawrence said, "When my contact comes out, don't say a word."
No sooner had he finished speaking than a heavily scarred, ugly woman came out and took the box out of the car. As she moved to close the car door, she said, "Is it the full amount?" Lawrence nodded, and the woman said, "Good. I've received their confirmation. They got the text," she said and turned and walked off.
Lawrence started the car saying, "You hungry?"
"Beer and burgers work?" Lawrence asked. Hector nodded, which seemed to please Lawrence, who added, "You did well."
"Glad to know I didn't disappoint. Now, you want to tell me what the fuck we just did?"
Lawrence looked at Hector out of the corner of his eye and said, "We ensured that our employer would continue to receive their vast supply of tantalum. It's a mineral that goes into nearly every electronic device made, and most of it comes from the Congo. The mines we source from were recently overrun by some new rebel group. They said that if we paid, then we’d keep getting our tantalum. It's the real cost of business for dealing in the Congo; problem is every single piss-ant rebel group there is on a terror watch list. Makes it impossible to wire them money. Global Vision, however, imports sewing machines to a village not far from the mines. So, we send them all the bank information in the machines.
“Nobody’s cottoned on yet, and since nobody thinks of sewing machines as a way to smuggle money, Global Vision is clueless."
"Damn. That's slick as shit through a goose." Hector said. “Who thought that up?”
Lawrence smiled. “No stupid questions. Remember?”