The Ghost of MacGregor

Part of the ‘Cazique of Poyais’ story – read more here

Forging yet another deed at short notice would have been impossible, Daniel Perez knew that much.  As soon as he had finished his conversation with Tito he had hurried back to his lodgings to rummage through his trunk and find the deeds to that other Parsons Green property.  It had definitely been done and it was worth finding.  The two male Mercorda’s had fallen hook, line and sinker.  The twin sister would surely follow on their insistence.  He just had to find those deeds.

After a solid day of rummaging, Daniel Perez sat distraught on the floor of his lodgings with papers strewn all about.  In order to maintain his aura of wealth he was spending a handsome penny on where he stayed and so it was a spacious room, with a wood burner for col nights and ornate windows.  For Daniel Perez, it now felt like a prison, particularly in the dark.  The deeds were nowhere to be found and now he could barely read them without risking burning down the entire building.  In a moment of calm, he decided to go for a walk.

Strolling along the waterside, Daniel was mostly absorbed in his own thoughts.  He reflected, though, that there was a significant amount of people compared to a couple of days ago.  There didn’t seem to be any particular market or other event and he was certain it was not a high holiday.  His mind turned away from his difficulty in finding the deeds over to solving this miniature conundrum.  When information was needed, the local tavern usually had answers or at least clues, so there he headed.

When he arrived it was clearly more packed than it had been when he last was there, with a captive audience.  There were many Scots accents touching his ears which felt terribly foreboding to him.  He could have sworn he heard the man himself.  The man he knew as the General.  Again he thought he heard him and immediately after he was certain he heard his name.

It wasn’t possible for the General to be here.  There was a spike in Daniel Perez heart rate followed by a drop when he collected himself and had a drink of rum.  Under no circumstances would the General recognise or care to even remember Daniel.  That wasn’t the kind of man he was.

Daniel Perez scanned the dingy room of the tavern looking out for a familiar face.  To his relief, he could not make out the General.  To his surprise, he could not make out a single familiar face.  Listening in, he learned the answers to the questions swirling around in his head.

To his right, a pair of men were planning how a certain MacGregor would be hanged if they could ever get there hands on them.  “What happened in his fictional Poyais is unforgivable, it is,” they said.

Daniel Perez continued to listen and overhear various snippets of what happened to these newcomers to Belize Town.  Finally, after an hour or two of sitting and listening, it clicked.  MacGregor had planned and executed his grand idea.  Incredible and deadly, it turned out to be.  A normal person would maybe question how someone, one individual, could be solely responsible for this, but Daniel Perez had met the man.

Evening was in full force and marks were everywhere for Daniel Perez.  He showed wisdom though and thought better of it.  These people wouldn’t be pushed into a new scam so quickly, especially when all it did was send them back the other way.  At best, this new development showed the dangers of the colonies and reinforced why they left – the lack of real property.  If he didn’t find those deeds this evening, he worried that all might be lost.  So, he hurried back to his lodgings.

In all likelihood, Tito would be seriously upset that Daniel Perez hadn’t kept his word of returning the next day.  So, there were two steps once he returned to his lodgings.  First, find the damn deeds.  Second, come up with a decent excuse.  His mind was fast working on the second even though it should have focussed on the first.

As he walked in the door to his room his mind was dancing around thoughts of sudden illness, of difficulty in procuring the promised deeds, of falling madly in love at first sight and of being unreasonably detained.  None of these fit the bill for Uncle Tito.  They weren’t plausible enough.  His excuse would have to be something with the arrival of the Mexican Eagle and his inability to not help in some charitable way or another.

Sitting down on the sofa, he surveyed the battlefield of paper he had so irrationally created in his anger and frustration earlier.  He resolved to put everything back together again in a neat order.  This began with pouring himself a small glass of rum and drinking it back.  Starting with the papers strewn furtherest away from his chest, he began organising.  As he collected, he actively put the Parsons Green deeds out of his mind, thinking that would help him actually find them.  It still sat and nagged the back of his mind as he picked up papers for Chelsea and Whitechapel and Deptford, but nothing for Parsons Green.

Then, as of by a stroke of magic, he found it!  So he thought for about 30 seconds as he danced around his almost organised chest, knocking it and the papers out of order in the process.  In fact, they were the same deeds he had already shown to the Mercordas.  His heart sank at the realisation as well as the thought of those papers all re-strewn.  With another stroke, his work began again.

A combination of minimal sleep and rum had left Daniel in a daze as he manically circled the room with papers freshly strewn across the floor.  The deeds had to be in this mess somewhere, he was adamant of that.  Having madly taken all of the papers in and out of the chest and then put them back again in an orderly and methodical fashion at least half a dozen times, he was beginning to doubt the veracity of his conviction.  He decided, as he sat amongst the deeds that could yet assist in his future, but not immediate, fortune, that it was time for a break.

In the corner of the room, near large windows, there was a round table which he had been using interchangeably as his dining table and desk.  He edged towards it now to see if there were any pieces of food leftover to nibble on and perhaps a bit more rum.  When he stumbled up to the table though, it was not last used as a dining table, like he thought, but instead as a desk.  So it was that it too was strewn with papers.  His heart leapt at the thought that the elusive deeds might be contained within the pile and he attacked it methodically to ensure he didn’t miss a thing.

Flipping through the papers and placing them methodically into the chest, his heart sank at not finding the deeds immediately.  He persevered through his drunkenness and tiredness in any event, because he had to be sure.  As he continued his organising he saw all sorts of “properties” from East of London and the City, but nothing West.  It didn’t bode well as it meant these papers must have been for that area specifically.  Carrying on he thought this must be the case certainly.  He reached the end of the strewn pile and to his great disappointment there was nothing from Parsons Green.

In anger he chucked the remaining papers of the table and bashed his head with the palms of his hands rapidly.  He mumbled to himself through gritted teeth of how stupid he had been.  Standing up, he continued hitting himself, arched his back and then collapsed in a heap on the bed.  Throughout, the same mantra passed through every part of his brain, “How could I have failed when I was so close.  How could I have been so stupid.”

With the cocktail of disappointment and drunkenness, he quickly fell in to a deep but fitful slumber filled with horrid dreams.  He couldn’t believe this was the end of his scheme, before it truly started.

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