“Matthew,” her smile took on a sardonic twist. “Of course there is smuggling going on in this establishment. There has been since its inception. The East India Company, Czarist Russians, Imperial China, and even Union soldiers all smuggled through the Fairhaven Club. It was practically a requirement for membership.”
“Yeah, I’m sure of that, and it makes sense,” I said. “I’m sure they even expanded their smuggling when it came to Canadian hooch during Prohibition. And that’s the thing. Big smuggling operations like that, like to hide what they’re doing, and the best way to do that is underground. Now, I ran into a conspicuous dead end, down there, much too far away from the service elevator or loading docks to be useful in loading up those lockers. So I’m thinking secret passage to some new loading docks that get even more rarified shipments than what you’re thinking of.”
“Artifacts of power?” she swirled the wine in her glass.
“Could be, though plain old cash or other valuables might be the ticket, as well.”
“Monetary value is limited when it comes to power, Matthew. I’m sure given the status of the world’s billionaires it may seem to the contrary, but the smugness I tasted tonight spoke of power beyond lucre. I have wielded such power myself on occasion.”
I didn’t like to think about that sort of thing. I liked to think that her associating with me might be a positive influence. I knew her past was full of things that would make me squirm, and wouldn’t hesitate to call evil. For now, I wanted to lighten the mood. “Bet it on the wrong pony?”
“Rather I became disenchanted with the struggle for such power. Far too much effort for too little gain. Just as with these billionaires, the accumulation of endless wealth amounts to nothing, ultimately. Power plateaus. I have no need for more when what I have gets me what I want.”
“Except answers to vexing problems?”
“Not so; for those answers, I have you.” Now her smile became fond.