Alex is plotting with his fellow pirates in a luxurious suite of the hotel. They are all crammed together in the bathroom, in the humid space between the running shower and the open toilet. The shower is running on Skiff’s insistence, to foil the bugs of spies.
“We have to get the king away from his guardsmen,” says Top Hat.
“King?” says Alex. “I thought we were after the president and his wife.”
“You’re both crazy,” says Paulette, who wears a brace of pistols as a sign of her marksmanship. “It’s the generalissima.”
“It doesn’t matter,” says Skiff. “It’s all the same person.”
They argue for hours, until the fog grows thick as cotton wool and they can’t see each other, but they hammer out a cunning plan in that space.
That night Alex slips into the ducts that run throughout the hotel, the smallest jewels they have stuffed in his pockets. He worms his way to the elevator shaft and waits until the wazir goes past with his bullyboys. Then — bam! boom! — it is very easy to kick the grate into the shaft, and as easy — although deadly dangerous — to lean into space enough to pitch jewel after jewel down into the car. One particularly fine emerald hits the wazir in the head. “What the –?” he says, and looks up into the shaft while his bullyboys scramble on their knees after the gems…