Read The First Chapter of Web Of Betrayal
November 10, 1993: Cali, Colombia
The day Arnold Tollie burned alive was ordinary in every other respect.
It was business as usual as Toby Eastman unobtrusively parked his Piper Super Cub at the far end of the jungle landing strip just outside Cali. Toby instinctively chose secrecy over exposure whenever possible. He adapted like a chameleon, blending naturally into any background or situation. This trait had served him well in the past and it would do so again today.
Arno—as Toby called Tollie—was late. Arno was often late. Toby habitually threatened to take off without him; it was an empty threat and they both knew it. Toby and Arno protected each other in this jungle just as they had when they served together in Vietnam. It was Arno who had arranged for Toby’s introduction to Colombian drug lord Enrique Valdez when Toby needed cash and connections and didn’t care where he got them.
Toby walked to the edge of the landing field, peering down the path.
Nothing. The chatter of monkeys and screams of macaws above heightened his awareness of the silence on the trail. Come on, Arno, Toby thought, as impatience slid into nervous irritation. It was more than the flight delay that made Toby nervous this time. Arno was taking chances again, the way he had when they’d run drugs in ‘Nam. Nothing too big or too obvious, just a little bit off the top here and there. It was stupid and risky but Arno seemed to think he was invincible. Invincibility, Toby knew well, was not a factor of the human condition.
First Toby heard the footfalls, then the grunts and groans. Valdez’s men were walking down the trail. They were half-pushing, half-carrying Arno, bound and gagged, between them. Arno was barely walking. His face was pulverized.
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