As he made his way to the kitchen he almost stumbled over a hunched shape at the computer in the study next to where he had been sleeping. It was Richard and he seemed to be talking to himself.
"But, Angry Jesus, Bill said not to buy that supermarket rubbish" said Richard.
"C'mon, what can it hurt. Just a few bottles to keep you going. You know you like it" said Richard again.
"The the Humbert guy the the won't the the like it though" said Richard yet again in another voice.
Humbert was worried. Very worried.
Sixty six hours to go and Richard might not make it.
Putting a cheery face on he said "Morning big guy. We better get on to business. Any chance of a cup of tea? Irish breakfast with soy milk for me"
Richard seemed to shake himself out of reverie and excused himself to go the the bathroom.
A half an hour later he joined Shelley and Humbert at the breakfast table. He noticed a three quater full bottle of Chardonnay by the back door and grabbed it and took a big swig wondering why Humbert tried to stop him. "Ah. Good. Hair of the dog" he said, smacking his lips " I wonder why we didn't finish that last night".
"We did" said Humbert.
After the breakfast dishes had been cleared and Richard had been cajoled into cleaning his teeth the three of them reviewed the situation.
The wine had been made by RBW and sold as cleanskins to GIW who had relabelled as a different wine. This must have been done at a small processing place, address unknown.
"We need to track down the courier driver. Where's that delivery docket Rich?" Said Humbert.
Richard handed over the docket and Humbert found a contact number which he rang.
"Hello. Humbert here. I need the address from a pick-up and delivery you made two days ago. It was delivered to Falling Pine Tree Grove, Nuova Lazio. I need to know the originating address. The docket number is ...."
"Listen Mac.." Said the courier driver.
"Humbert" said Humbert.
"Listen Humbert" said the driver "I don't give out that sort of information so scram".
Humbert thought for a moment after the connection was closed. Belligerent. Humbert liked belligerent. This was going to be good. "Shelley" he said "call that driver again on your phone. Say that you have a very important pick up and that you'll pay handsomely for it. Tell him it's urgent."
After Shelley had made the call they waited. Humbert prepared by finding some packing tape, an old zip up bag with some kind of large musical instrument in it which he tossed in a corner and put these by the back door by the now half-full bottle. They were ready. When the courier driver came to the door Shelley invited him in. He did so warily, eying Richard who was still in his baggy pyjamas but didn't notice Humbert who came behind him, quickly bound his arms with packing tape and sat him at the table.
"Hi buddy. Remember me? You might know me as Mac" said Humbert. He poured a glass from the bottle that had been by the door which by this time they all had declared it 'Robert's Brew'. Forcing it down the driver's throat he asked again for the address of GIW. The driver, at first shaking his head quickly came up with the information when Humbert poured another glass. Bella Vista Crescent, Porirua. That was a camel and a packed lunch away. Humbert would need a vehicle. A vehicle that wouldn't arouse suspicion. The courier van.
After taping the driver's mouth and securely zipping him into the big bag, Humbert prepared to leave.
"I'll be of now" he said "don't ' worry, it'll soon be sorted. I'll call you when it's done. Give me six hours and then feed these to the driver" he said, handing over some tablets "these will erase his memory and make him feel good at the same time. Drop him off at the Nuova Lazio mall. Oh, give him a can of spray paint to give him something to do. It'll also keep those mall cops on their toes".
With that Humbert was off in the courier van.
Fifty seven hours to go.