It was meant to be my getaway weekend in New Zealand, a mixture of business and pleasure but more pleasure than business.
I arrived at Auckland International Airport at 2 pm, after a long flight from Chicago. I went through the checkpoint and got my bag. I took a taxi and had the driver take me to my hotel.
I was supposed to meet my New Zealand business partners later in the evening by 5 pm. We would have a brief meeting before we moved out to sail in a yacht I have reserved in the bay.
At 2:45 pm I got to my hotel. I had about an hour to relax before I move down to the restaurant to meet with my partners, so I freshened up and took a quick nap.
I woke up from my nap and checked the time, and it was 4:15. If I was feeling tired before, I felt refreshed now.
I put on a fresh pair of black jean trousers and a nice shirt, the kind you would consider a casual shirt but which looked elegant. I rang the restaurant and asked for a tea to be brought to the room.
I went to the restaurant after the tea and met my partners, two of them, already sitting at a corner in the restaurant. I joined them, and we talked for about 45 minutes. Then we ordered for dinner.
It was past six before we left the hotel for a casino club.
I was not a big gambler, so I just played a little for the fun of it. Lost some money and I got up to go.
“I think I have had it for the night gentlemen and ladies. Why don’t we retire to the yacht,” I said to my two companions as I stood to leave. They had brought three ladies with them to trip to the casino, and together we went to the yacht.
I called the yacht’s skipper to get my yacht ready.
He must have followed me from the casino club. I was in the cabin on the yacht relaxing before I started my sightseeing when I heard a knock on my door.
“Who is it?” I would have preferred they do not disturb me unless I called on them. So I felt a bit irritated that someone was knocking on my door.
The plan was to watch from the upper deck of the yacht, the nightlife of Auckland through the East coast, en route to the Kerikeri inlet. I had checked the map to see all the lovely Bay of Islands, then watch the sunrise from the Whangaroa Harbour.
“It’s the steward sir.”
At that moment my nose could almost smell trouble.
“What do you want James?”
“I think you might need help with bath sir.”
“How is ……” I was saying as I was opening the door when it was forcefully pushed in.
The door knocked me senseless with the force by which it was pushed.
When I could get my eyes focused back, I saw this man thrusting a gun at my face, wearing a mask on his face.
“Get up!” he barked at me.
I got up, and he marched the steward and me to the captain’s deck where he held the others tied down.
“What’s going on here?” I asked no one in particular. But got an answer by way of a gun butt on the back of my head. I fell face down on the floor.
“What do you want mister?” I asked when I finally found my voice.
He said he would take the things he wanted by himself and we do not need sweat about it.
He tied me up like the others and went from room to room, probably checking through our bags and wardrobe. The money I changed at the airport was in my wallet. Or at least what was left of it after the casino trip.
He had hurriedly tied up my hand, and I felt I could pull my hand loose with some effort put into it while he was busy searching everywhere. As he came out of each cabin, his bag kept becoming larger.
I finally managed to undo the roped tying my hand and moved to untie one of my partners. The moment I got him loose, he stood up to go unto the rope on another person when the robber showed up and shot him. I rolled over the floor before he could direct the gun at me, picked up a tray and threw it at him. The tray caught him directly on the face and broke his nose.
I dived at him before he could bring up his hand again. I knocked the gun out of his hand as we both fell on the floor. The gun must have slid under the furniture because it was nowhere to be found.
He threw me off him. His nose began to bleed profusely. I started for him once more, only to be knocked down with a blow on the face, and a kick to my stomach. Then a straight kick to my chest made me fall on my back. He jumped on me and tried to knock the wind out of me.
I struggled under his strong hands, feeling faint, my eyes going blurry. I took one of my hands off him and felt for the pen in my trousers pocket. I brought out the ball pen and thrust it in his side, catching him just beneath the rib. He screamed and let go of my neck. It took a few seconds to feel air going through my lungs again.
He staggered to his feet, pulled the pen from his body with a pool of blood. It was a lost cause for him, and he must have realized that when he plunged into the water.
I rushed in and called for an ambulance. I set free the captain, and we headed for the shore.
My partner was lucky, and the bullet had gone through his side neatly. He was going to make it, and the doctor said when the ambulance came.
If our assailant made it out of the water, we had no idea.