Fifty Three

A few days of calm waters, we didn’t come to a conclusion regarding Shadows, we can hardly shoot them on the street and if Zero spots one we’d have to follow him or her, find out what they’re up to. She doesn’t know if all Shadows do nasty things, or that all Shadows have equal abilities. We have to take each situation as it unfolds.
‘Is killing for money at odds with killing Shadows for nothing? We don’t know that our target for assassination is evil, for instance.’
Zero, ‘People hold contradictory opinions or have contradictory values. It’s part of being human. Anti-abortion people want to force a woman to give birth, but they offer no assistance after the child is born. None of them volunteers to adopt the baby. Politicians cling to the idiocy that cutting taxes will spur growth, when history demonstrates that tax cuts have nothing to do with economic growth or business investment.’
‘True, and they never question the need for perpetual growth in the first place. Or have a clear explanation of what defines growth. I presume they mean the GDP, which many economists see as flawed. Bigger is not defacto better.’
CC, ‘You’ve gotten sidetracked, back to the question, are we holding two sets of dissonant values?’
Z, ‘Yes, we are. Consistency is overrated, probably impossible. Every situation calls for a response appropriate to circumstances, what applies on Monday may not apply on Tuesday.’
CC, ‘I’m feeling much better,’ she giggles, ‘for a moment I thought we were going to quit murdering people.’
‘You are a psychopath’s psychopath.’
‘Thank you.’
Zero, ‘When I first noticed the black auras, I thought they were like other angry people, just angrier. It took until we got a contract on Preacher to make me understand. Now I’m wondering if there’s some sort of Shadow network.’
‘We can capture one, ask hard questions.’
CC, ‘Based on my experience of getting tossed across a room, how do you propose capturing one?’
‘Good question, drugs maybe, inject him with Ketamine.’
‘What’s Ketamine?’
Zero, ‘Used as the primer for anesthesia, I read that it induces a trance-like state, pain relief, in a bigger dose, sedation, too big, death.’
‘So it’s a doctor thing, not something you can get at the drugstore.’
‘They sell it at raves, but it’s dicey, you never know what you really get. I can call one of my contacts, Army surgeon, I think he’ll make it available.’
‘You save his life or what?’
‘Held off a few Al-Qaeda loonies while he saved a life.’
‘What would they have done if you weren’t there?’
‘Killed everyone, or worse.’
‘What’s worse…oh, you mean torture.’
‘Yep, and they aren’t nice about it.’
Zero, ‘Good, and it doesn’t need refrigeration as an injectible. There are also pills, even a nasal spray. Getting a Shadow to hold still for a nasal spray isn’t happening, neither is forcing him to swallow a pill. The injectible is good for an hour, maybe two, then it wears off.’
‘Since we can’t know when we’ll come across a Shadow, we’ll have to carry it around all the time. I’ll ask my contact about dosage, the drug administered properly is quite safe, and not physically addictive. Some people get hooked psychologically, being numb can feel good. Bearing in mind those types don’t feel good, why they want to be numb. I should say feel less bad.’
CC, ‘With Shadows we don’t much care about safe, then again, killing him won’t get us any questions answered.’
‘Ketamine lowers ego defenses, the subject will talk, I suppose alternatives are amphetamines or Pentothal, I’ll ask my contact. I know the CIA used various drugs with mixed results.’
Z, ‘For all we know, a Shadow might like bragging about himself.’
I make the call, update on life, we don’t go down bad memory lane. 
‘The doc is three states away and it’s better if we meet in person. He’s going to get me a vial of each.’
CC, ‘He didn’t ask why you wanted it?’
‘No, and he won’t. Besides, he’s not dumb, he already knows why I want it, not specifically, but that I want to interrogate somebody, or somebodys. He also knows I’m not asking for personal recreation reasons.’
Why do three psychos care about what happens to people victimized by a Shadow?
We don’t. People get manipulated or coerced all the time, they even manipulate themselves with religion, political opinions, allowing themselves to be led by authority or power, the myth of family obligation.
We’re interested in how they do it, grab a mind and hold it. How long can they control another, how many can they control at one time, how do they blank the memory afterwards?
Zero, ‘Perhaps some don’t blank the memory, having a victim remember their degradation prolongs the suffering. A girl is made to have sex with her brother, or dad, or mom, or all three. If they recall doing it, imagine the aftermath.’
‘Guilt, self-loathing, blaming, even murder or suicide.’
‘And the confusion of knowing they did it, but can’t explain why.’
‘Enough downer, what do you guys want for dinner?’
Zero, ‘I haven’t given it any thought, suppose you get Chinese, we don’t seem to tire of it. Tomorrow I’ll make osso buco if you’ll get veal shanks and the vegetables in the morning…and French bread of course.’
I go to our favorite hole in the wall. I know we aren’t in once a week, but I bet it’s no longer than ten days.
The counter clerk, one of the family naturally, knows me by sight, ‘Ah, jumbo shrimp in garlic sauce, Szechuan chicken, mixed vegetables, won ton or hot and sour this time?’
‘Both, I can never decide which soup I like best.’
A blast of Chinese over her shoulder to the cooks, the kitchen is visible from the counter, it always looks like the place is on fire, flames coming up around woks. Mom bagging as fast as the orders are ready. These people could teach better business courses than Harvard with all their studies and overpaid professors.
Ivy League my ass.
Thirty minutes later, I’m nursing a vodka rocks, splash of tart cranberry, the girls are having a Kir, white wine with a bit of Crème de Cassis. I introduced them to Kir Royale, which substitutes sparkling wine for white wine. Purists use Champagne, good Champagne is not to be mixed with anything in our house.
‘Zero, we should make blini one Sunday. I once had Beluga blini at the Russian Tea Room in Manhattan. It is exquisite, and goes well with Champagne.’
CC, ‘What’s blini?’
‘A thin pancake, thicker than a crepe, thinner than a regular pancake. A smear of crème fraiche or sour cream, Beluga caviar on top, actually any quality caviar will serve.’
‘Sounds almost healthy.’
‘Actually, it is. It’s an appetizer, best followed by Beef Stroganoff.’
Zero, ‘I’ll look up recipes tomorrow.’
We take our time with dinner, when we can we prefer the Italian approach, about an hour and a half from start to finish, with meandering conversation on any number of subjects.
Zero, ‘I’ve been reading Krishnamurti, he says thought creates the thinker; it is the thinking process that brings the thinker into being. Thought comes first, and later the thinker; it is not the other way round. If we do not see this to be a fact, we shall be led into all kinds of confusion…what do you think he means?’
CC, ‘Isn’t the thinker and the thought simultaneous? I mean you can’t have one without the other, can you?’
‘I don’t see how, I also see that thought must be first, a thinker without a thought is no thinker.’
Zero, ‘Thought creates the thinker, who then believes she initiates the thought, which implies free will. He goes on to say that thought is conditioned, there is no such thing as freedom of thought.’
CC, ‘So I can’t think what I want to think?’
‘You are the thought; put another way, thought thinks you, which demolishes the notions of freedom of thought and free will.’

Fifty Four

CC has a question from last evening’s conversation, ‘My brain is tricking me?’
‘In a manner of speaking, thought needs an agent, so it makes one called you. A you cut and pasted from memory and experience. All memory is incomplete because it includes only events you were exposed to, not all events. You don’t even remember exactly, only partially.’
Zero, ‘I can remember anything, if I don’t recall it regularly it fades, becomes blurred, overwritten by new memories. We don’t register everything we see, nor do we see anything that isn’t colored by conditioning. Likewise, we can’t think of anything we don’t know, haven’t experienced either by doing it or seeing it done. How could we?’
‘What about creativity? Isn’t creativity original?’
‘Creativity is putting together knowns in a unique way, not creating something out nothing. It’s like science fiction, an author dreams up universes with made up names, but the situations the characters find themselves in are little different from any fiction. Conflicts, challenges, responses, are all versions of the original science fiction authors, Homer to Shakespeare. The manner of speaking changes, the clothes change, physical descriptions of places and characters change, but not the behavior.’
‘You’ll notice that they never wrote about things that didn’t exist. Shakespeare’s characters didn’t have flush toilets or cell phones. They rode horses, not motorcycles, rode in carriages or wagons, not cars.’
CC, ‘What about, I don’t know, writers who wrote about flying machines before there were any?’
‘Where did they get the idea of flight?’
‘From birds, insects…ah, I see, they had the experience of a living thing moving through the air. Since humans don’t have wings, they made-up a machine with wings.’
‘And they called birds’ flying apparatus wings, so their flying machines had wings.’
Zero, ‘Enough thinking, time for doing, we have a predator stalking a woman up north.’
‘This come on the abuse website?’
‘Yep, and it isn’t an ex or former boyfriend; according to the message, he just appeared one day. At first he seemed to be just a pushy ass, the kind of man who can’t take rejection, no matter how gently or severely he’s blown off.’
‘Some women think playing hard to get is how to keep a man on the leash. That can work, but it ignores the obsessively persistent, turns hard to get into hard to get rid of.’
‘Or the woman who thinks jealousy is love and macho is protection, until it gets ugly and he decides she’s to blame for his insecurities. Too late when she realizes he’s not on a leash, she is.’
‘Feminists would say you’re blaming the victim.’
‘Fuck them. The women in our example have faulty ideas about relationship, hard to get sees it as a game, caveman woman wants to feel safe, even idolized. Why care about people blind to their own destructive desires?’
‘The one who contacted us doesn’t appear to fall into either scenario. They never had a relationship except in the guy’s head, and of course she wants to feel safe, anyone would, but she never asked him to be her protector, she never asked him for anything except go away. For her trouble, she got a trashed car, threatening phone calls and a dead cat. There’s no big brother to have a chat involving a baseball bat.’
‘You want me to play big brother.’
‘Maybe, I’d like to see if I can handle him, with CC of course. Two twelve year old girls whose combined weight is less than his. I don’t want us hospitalized over it, if it goes sideways, you jump in.’
‘Doesn’t seem fair, he’s outnumbered.’
We laugh, like we care about fair, why should we, the target doesn’t. He’s happy to bully around a smaller woman, make threats, vandalize her stuff, what kind of fuckwad kills a cat? From our point of view, he’s a psychological rapist.
Zero, ‘One thing he isn’t is a Shadow. A Shadow wouldn’t waste time with the antics.’
CC, ‘Can I just kill him?’
Zero, ‘You could, but screwing with him will be more fun.’
‘Shooting him is fun.’
‘Okay, granted, in this case, we stretch out the fun. You put a hollow point in his brain, the fun lasts milliseconds. We beat him senseless, it could take five or ten minutes.’
CC brightens, ‘Can I kill him after we kick the crap out of him?’
‘Sure.’
‘I knew there’d be an upside to this.’
Zero, ‘If we’re going to have osso buco, I need to get started, Commandant picked up nice veal shanks, better get busy braising them.’
It turns out splendidly, CC, ‘Geez Z, this is easily as good as steak with marchand de vin.’
‘Excellent Zero.’
‘I followed the recipe, usually do, I don’t experiment much. I like cooking, an orderly process, don’t claim to be a chef.’
‘One thing you have is time. In ten years you’ll still be twelve, but with loads of culinary experience. You can make-up, add, subtract, or substitute ingredients as you go.’
‘I left a message on the site, asked her to send any more detail, at the least a description of his car, name and physical description of the man. Getting a photo could be troublesome, it’s not like he’s an ex-anything stalking her.’
‘You mean where she might have photos of him, or them, in happier times.’
‘Exactly. When, if, she replies, I’ll book a flight.’
Zero found a movie, Thoroughbreds, which was pokey slow, and the ending was vague and not credible. The offset is that Anya Taylor-Joy is delightful eye candy, and the other lead, Olivia Cooke, was interesting, she had no feelings, no good, bad, happy or sad, nothing, anhedonic. The writers could have made more of that, sadly they didn’t. 
CC and Zero climbed in the bed to watch the movie, about three quarters of the way through they decided intimacy was more interesting. When I glanced over…okay, longer than a glance, less than a stare, Zero’s head was busy between CC’s endless legs. When I was drawn to check again, CC had a toy strapped on and was fucking Zero, from the sound of it, to her great delight.
I have a final drink, by the time I join them, two dears are adrift in the black sea of unconsciousness.
Morning, Zero is out and drying, CC still under the shower. I flush, then brush.
CC is done, steps out, Zero does towel duty, I step in the shower.
When I get to the kitchen, Zero has coffee ready, hands me a cup. CC is tapping a tablet.
‘Got a reply from our inquirer, no photo but a good description. Our target has a tattoo on his left forearm just under the elbow, or I should say circling his forearm, one of those hieroglyphic looking things. She said his hair is dark greasy curly, no glasses, one of the big tacky gold Rolex watches with fifty functions. Southern accent, but not a Texas drawl, maybe Alabama or Georgia. Oh, this should nail it, he’s fond of boots, ugh, cowboy boots. Slacks, never seen him in jeans. She estimates six one, not taller, average build.’
‘Be easy to spot then, I’ll book a flight, Zero’s dealing with breakfast. You guys want to go today or tomorrow?’
Zero, ‘We have nothing on, figuratively or literally, let’s go today. We can stalk a stalker.’
CC, ‘There’s more, his business interests are diverse, used car lot…uh oh, pawnshop in a strip mall with a guns and ammo store next door, he owns both. The used car lot is down the road, nearer to the wealthier side of town. He also has a bail bond business, that one near the courthouse.’
‘When does he have time to stalk anyone?’
‘Good question, maybe he’s the money, other people manage the business.’
I call the airline, we’ll find out in a few hours.

Fifty Five

We land, deplane, collect luggage and stow it in the Chrysler Sludge. It’s muddy brown, like…well, sludge.
CC, ‘Car looks like it’s made of clay.’
‘Camouflage, I almost ordered the Lego, but the colors were too bright, we don’t need to stand out.’
‘Does it snap together, like Legos?’
‘Probably not, likely a not so subtle advertisement for the toy, cross-marketing.’
‘Did we get a car description?’
‘No, I should have mentioned, she said he’s always in a different car, drives one of the cars on his lot.’
‘Makes it harder to see him coming, this guy’s too smart for his own good.’
‘What’s first?’
‘Drive to the businesses, see if we spot him. We don’t know enough to say one place is more likely than another. If we don’t get a lead today, and it’s already five, then we get to the car lot in the morning, see if he takes one or leaves one.’
CC, ‘He could also swap in the afternoon, any time of day really.’
‘Good point, let’s go to the lot, if they’re still open we can find out what he’s driving.’
‘Think whoever will just cough up that information to people he’s never seen?’
‘Let’s see.’
Zero directs me, we get to the lot at five thirty, someone is there, couple people walking around eyeballing the cars. It’s a specialty lot, half sports cars, half 4WD trucks, most of them verging on behemoths. 
I pull in down the street a half block, ‘Stay here, don’t need his employees seeing you.’
I put the bandana over my head, tie up the tails in back, sunglasses, doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, one could say I’d be more memorable, big guy, black bandana, black sunglasses, black half gloves with fingers cut back to the middle knuckle.
Zero, ‘You’re looking dangerous.’
‘I am dangerous.’
I get out and stroll up the street, walk on the lot.
A wormy little toad comes up, typical salesman grin, ‘Hep’ ya?’
‘Maybe, Tommy Lee around?’
‘Naw, he comes in the morning, swaps cars coupla’ times a week. Privilege of being the boss.’
‘Ah, I thought I spotted him earlier, driving a red Porsche Pusket?’
‘Ain’t him, he’s gotta black GMC Monstrosity today. Don’t drive the sport models much.’
‘Sounds like Tommy Lee.’
‘You know him?’
‘Sort of, he came to a gun show, we had a short chat. Said he owns a gun and ammo store.’
‘Yeah, that’s TL’s Guns and Ammo, does a brisk business I’m told. Never been there, wife don’t like no guns or even gun talk.’
‘Not much on guns myself, my brother is a gun fan, convinced me to pick up something, pistol, for protection.’
‘He’s got ‘em, know the address?’
‘You gave me the name, I can look it up, thanks.’
He gives it a go, ‘Got a real sweet Corvette Emasculator, one owner, went broke investing in bees.’
‘We need bees.’
‘Well,’ he grins, ‘he got stung. Guy sold him kamikaze yellows, vicious bastards that don’t pollinate, they kill the ones that do.’
I laugh, ‘Got stung…that’s good, you’re a sharp guy.’
He does an aw shucks, smiles, everyone’s a sucker for a compliment.
‘Not in the market for a car, I’m a Harley fan, hot or cold, wet or dry.’
‘Shoulda figured, you got the look. Where is it, the bike?’
‘New tires, I don’t let the tires get worn, isn’t safe. Thanks, nice talking to you.’
I walk off, I’m not a potential customer, he’s lost interest, crosses the lot to chat up a kid looking over the Vette.
Back in the Sludge, ‘For now he’s in a truck, GMC Monstrosity, black. Directions to the gun store and pawnshop, Zero.’
We’re passing TL’s, his truck is next to the building, leaving the slots out front for customers, which are none right at the moment.
Zero, ‘He’s closed, the gun shop anyway, pawnshop is open.’
‘Get a fair number of customers at night I imagine.’
‘The pawnshop isn’t part of the gun store, next door but no pass through inside.’
‘No, if he’s going to shut down the gun side at five thirty, he wouldn’t want people wandering around who went in the pawnshop. Probably a connecting door in the rear that customers can’t access. One of you take a stroll past and see what’s what, don’t go in the shop, screw with your phone while you see what’s inside.’
CC hops out, stops at the edge of the gun store, taps her phone…a message shows up on mine, dead inside nothing moving only the security lights.
She goes halfway across the pawnshop, just to the right of the glass doors. More phone fiddling…another message, tl behind counter protected by a window i assume bulletproof another person woman plus size plus more, rag mop hair.
She turns our way and comes to the car. Can’t do much here with Biggie inside.
‘Take this,’ I hand her a tracker, ‘stick on his truck. If he changes trucks, we’ll get it back later. Didn’t think to give it to you earlier.’
She scoots down the street, thunks the tracker in its magnetic case onto a bumper strut. Zero checks the signal.
‘Working, let’s find a hotel and something to eat.’
‘Keep an eye on the tracker, we need to find his crib, he’s going to lead us to it. Tomorrow we deal.’
Zero books a room at the Hotel Mensch, our usual, suite with a full kitchen. We stop at the grocery, collect food and wine, I’ll skip vodka until we have this settled. Follow the routine, I go in with my suitcase and the gun case, get the room key, text Zero with the room number. They show up in five with their single roller and the food.
We shower, going to bed with a day’s worth of pollution in our hair doesn’t appeal.
Clean and shiny, we move to the kitchen.
CC, ‘Roast chicken always seems simplest next to Chinese. Mixed vegetables, crackers and cheese. I’ll get the chicken cut up, Zero can open wine. Geez, it’s past seven already, what’s to watch?’
I fish around the channels, ‘Have you seen Taken 2, we saw the first one, remember, Maggie Grace and little shorts?’
‘Is she in this one?’
‘Yep, hope she brought the shorts.’
There’s a dining table, if we sit on two sides we can see the TV, first nibble crackers and cheese, then chicken and the vegetables. We poke along, in no hurry to finish, Liam kills a lot of people, our kind of guy.
Zero, ‘Tracker says TL’s on the move, let’s see where he stops.’
I swap to CNN, turn the volume off, we can watch the world continue in chaos without listening to talking heads act like everything some politician says is worth repeating, analyzing, followed by critiques from other politicians. Coastal cities are flooded again, the west is burning. People with houses near the ocean want the rest of the public to pay for seawalls so they don’t have to move. How stupid is that? Build on the edge of a cliff over the ocean and expect what?
Zero, ‘Seems like the homeowners should pay for a seawall. Any wall will destroy the beaches, so the public loses a benefit while homeowners get, not only a wall, but nobody on the now non-existent beach. They keep their view, which is what they wanted in the first place, how does the public benefit from that?’
‘In fifty years it won’t matter, the wall will be underwater. Nobody is going to win this.’
Zero, ‘He’s at a bar and grill, eventually he’ll go home, we’ll find out where tomorrow morning. Set an alarm to get us going by six, maybe we get lucky and catch him in bed.’

Fifty Six

Go along to get along.
The Loser’s Handbook

TL doesn’t live rich, his place is ordinary, even small. There’s no planned neighborhood, appears someone laid down asphalt for a stretch, houses got built here and there, the road meanders, a couple more homes. 
‘It’s kind of nice this way, no association dictating what color the house has to be, whether or not additions are allowed, how long the grass can grow. Some of America isn’t homogenized into same-same.’
Zero, ‘Also kind of nice that there’s no direct view of his house from other houses. We don’t have to sneak in the back door, or catch him elsewhere.’
CC, ‘The Monstrosity is there, let’s get going,’ she slips on leather driving gloves, Zero has an identical pair; the idea is to avoid scraped knuckles and fingerprints, mine are bigger, Zero could put both her hands in one of my gloves and have room left over.
CC bangs on the front door, nothing, couple more knocks, a voice, ‘Hang on for fuck’s sake.’
Door opens, I put my Glock to the side of his head, ‘Back up slowly, I get tremors and the gun could go off accidently with any sudden movement.’
Surprisingly, he doesn’t say anything, raises his hands and steps back.
‘Park it on the couch,’ he sits, ‘good boy, I should have brought treats.’
‘Check the house.’
The girls go down the hall, I hear doors open, a minute later, ‘Just us and TL the stalker.’
TL, ‘What stalker?’
‘Don’t go dumb TL, we know who you are and who you keep annoying with threats and other bullshit. You killed a cat? What kind of pussy motherfucker kills a pet cat?
Another surprise, he doesn’t deny it.
‘Put down the gun and I’ll show you a pussy motherfucker.’
I stick the Glock in my waist holster, the girls intentionally aren’t armed. If they fight TL, we don’t need a gun going loose.
TL stands, ‘Let’s see who gets the lesson hotshot,’ his hands come up in a bad fighting stance, his torso is facing me, making him a bigger target.
He crouches, must think he’s in the ring, steps forward.
CC cracks him in the gut, just below the sternum…with the toe of her steel toe sneaker.
TL bends over with an ‘oooff,’ takes a shallow breath, ‘Wassa mater honey, daddy to pussy to do it himself?
CC, ‘Daddy would send you across the room in a state of deceased.’
Zero hits him with the palm heel of her hand, square on the nose, for good measure, she does it again.
TL is nonplussed, two girls, not particularly little girls, but girls just the same.
I provide guidance, ‘TL, you get to take on the two girls, I get to watch.’
‘So you jump in when I hurt them? Kinda deal is that?’
‘Only deal you get. Unless you get stupid, like go for a weapon, I stay out of it.’
TL still can’t process, ‘I ain’t wailing on some kids.’
‘You don’t mind terrorizing a young woman who wants nothing to do with you. Better get your mind right, these two will beat you senseless even if you don’t put up a fight.’
He looks from me to the two girls, Zero lays a hammer fist alongside his jaw, CC kicks the other side…steel toe and her speed makes for a nice cracking sound.
TL has blood creeping from his nose, spits blood from his mouth, she broke something in there.
He charges CC.
Zero swings a foot hard against his ankle, he falls face down…Thump!
I think she fractured it, he stands gingerly, lightly resting his left leg, the one she whapped.
He sneers, tries to say steel toe shoes, it comes out, ‘steetoe shew’, his mouth isn’t working well, but he’s not giving up. He pushes off his right foot, gets to Zero, grabs an arm and slides behind her, one arm in a choke hold supported by the other hand.
His problem is her arms are free, and he doesn’t have a clean hold. Zero learned well, has her jaw underneath his arm, he’s not choking anything.
CC’s foot sails over Zero’s head and square into his face, right under his busted nose and his upper lip. That’s loosened a couple of incisors, no, better, he spits one out. She takes a step to his side, spins, the heel of her shoe bashes the other side of his jaw. TL may have to start writing down threats, talking is going to be impossible.
He’s lost control of Zero, who squats using her arms to push his over her head and she’s free. She kicks him in the nuts, does it again, when TL is bent over trying to breathe, her toe catches him under the jaw. Despite the mismatched sizes, he flips backward and cracks the back of his head on a coffee table.
CC stomps the fractured ankle, now it’s properly broken.
‘I think he’s done,’ look down at him, dazed and confused, ‘you done TL? These girls got a lot left, you were barely a warm-up.’
He looking at me, his eyes unfocused, he raises one hand, waves it in surrender.
‘Here’s the thing TL, people around town are tired of you and your attempts to coerce and intimidate. You’re a creep, probably a sociopath, actually I’m sure you’re a sociopath. Your problem is us, we’re stone cold psycho, these girls eat sociopaths for snacks. People are watching you now, if we have to come back, if you stalk a rabbit in the woods, you go straight to sociopath hell.
He mumbles something, I don’t try for clarification, ‘CC, take a knee, just one, don’t get greedy,’ I hand her my Glock.
TL’s head is shaking, slowly, things hurt in there, CC puts a round just under his kneecap, TL manages a scream, louder than the suppressor’s whispered pop.
‘You pepa aw inshane.’ 
I grin, ‘I told you that TL, the best thing you can do is tattoo it on your brain. Fuck up and the next time we fuck you slowly, you could take hours to die, or days.’
I turn to Zero, ‘Dose him, no, waste of good drugs, whack him CC.’
Pop! Center shot between the eyes.
Collect the two casings, in the car we deconstruct, caps and gloves in a carryall, I set up a flight for early afternoon, we stop by the hotel for our stuff.
‘Two hours until takeoff, find us a breakfast or lunch place.’
Zero directs me to a diner, we can have either. I get steak and eggs, the girls veg omelets, hash browns. 
CC, ‘Better to take him out. He goes to the emergency and gets patched up, he has a gun shop and lots of time to get sorely pissed. The woman was too much at risk.’

Previous     Next