Nathaniel Cannon and the Panamanian Idol No. 32

Cannon and Iseabail had barely exchanged pleasantries with Wailani before the stewards made their signal. The trio proceeded to the table and found the placards marking their places. Cannon pulled out Iseabail’s chair, and they sat.

“What a delight to have the two of you here,” Wailani said. “It is regrettable that I will be leaving your company in Honolulu.”

“Tha’s good,” Iseabail said, and then froze. A split-second glance at Wailani confirmed that he had heard her perfectly well, and a similar glance at Cannon told her that, since she had dug this particular hole and leaped in head-first, it was her responsibility to get herself back back out again. “I mean tae say, tha’ is, tha’ it’s good tae be back home.”

“Of course, we will miss our chats,” Cannon put in, patting Iseabail on the arm. “It has been a singular delight to make your acquaintance.”

Wailani looked between the two of them. “I’m sure we’ll meet again, one way or another. Ah, Mr. Kopeikin, Mr. Volkov.”

The two Russians, just sitting down, nodded brusquely. “Mr. Wailani,” Kopeikin said.

“These are friends of mine,” Wailani said, “Dr. and Mrs. Smith. I understand they were in Panama for much the same reason as you were.”

At that, Volkov looked up.

“With rather less success, I’m afraid to say,” Cannon said. “The Royal Society’s dig in Kopadula has not unearthed much to write home about.”

Volkov shrugged modestly. “Is luck of the draw. Nobody could guess Poka Huguaw hid so many artifacts.”

Cannon, of course, knew that to be false. He and the Long Nines had been to Poka Huguaw in 1927, on the advice of a Frenchman named Lachapelle. Between the little surprises the ancient Panamanians had left behind and Lachapelle’s betrayal, they barely escaped with their lives. All he said was, “Luck of the draw indeed.”

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