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©02 The Media Desk

The STARE of theHunter


     John was back.
     The child porn dealer I had dealt with over a year ago was back in business again, and now he was even taking orders for movies and photos for his 'preferred' clients.
     Keia was the one that forwarded me the background information this time. Bishop 42 recommended me for the assignment since I had been the one to initially close him down. The folder contained a couple of pictures, and a short video clip that depicted barely adolescent boys and girls in acts best left to those that can at least vote.
     Bile and anger rose in equal amounts in me.
     This time, the note from Bishop42 read, 'maybe counting coup wouldn't be enough'.
     The research Keia had done had tracked him down as apparently now living in Costa Rica, and the pictures appeared to be light skinned Latinos. OK, so John had moved.
     I got on the WEB and went to the old address he had used to use to pedal his stuff. The page was down with no forwarding address. But the information had the new site in it. And from the oddball URL, it wasn't based in Florida either.
     I hit the parent site and went through the offerings. At first it appeared to be just your average adult smut site written in half Spanish and half bad American English. I went back to the opening page and scrolled down. There it was. The button Keia described, under 'Other Participating Sites'.
     "If these model are old for you taste, visit Smutty." It read.
     Smutty was John Kunsler. He was using the same opening page on his site. Some of the same graphics. He hadn't even changed his keywords.
     "OK, John." I said to the screen where it demanded payment in US or Canadian dollars. "This time you're gonna close for good."

     When I got home from work I thanked Keia for the fine job she did on Kunsler.
     "That man make me sick." She said. "You gonna do job on him?"
     I nodded. "I've already got a ticket to San Jose."
     She looked at me, then made a face. "I almost had to do that stuff before you buy me. And I was not kid. I want to go too."
     I shook my head. "I don't plan on just making him take down his web page."
     "You should kill him dead."
     I stared at Keia's face. Her eyes were full of hate, she would have strangled John with her bare hands right then and there if she could. "Yes, he deserves to die. But if he did, somebody would take over his business by next week. I plan to get him, and turn his client list over to the authorities."
     Keia thought about it. "Huntie wise. You know what best. But I come with you."
     "But I'm leaving from work tomorrow afternoon."
     "Flight 816, connect in Miami." She said Miami, MyAmy. Keia showed me a ticket packet. "Bishop already say yes even if Huntie say no."
     I held my hands up, "OK, I'll pick you up here. Now its time to go to bed."
     "No master and slave tonight. Mission tomorrow. Sleep now." She said seriously.
     I had to laugh in spite of myself.

     Keia was ready when I picked her up Friday afternoon. She had one carry on and a new suitcase to check through. I had my usual traveling set of the carry on that had my laptop and my checked bag with the dis-assembled .38 in it with its travel paper.
     The guy at international flight check in looked over my paperwork then me.
     My passport was a couple of years old, but it was still valid.
     Keia was done while I was still telling the guy about why I was going to Costa Rica. Finally he cleared me.
     One of the things I liked was the Bishop's view of traveling. He insisted for anything other than short flights or commuters his operatives fly first class, for one reason.
     You could ask to be left alone in first class, and make it stick.
     After we took off Keia tapped my arm and handed me an envelope. "From Bishop. He tell me to wait until we in air."
     I felt the shiver on my spine as I took it. An ID card was clipped to a short letter.
     It took a couple of readings to get the gist of it. The only problem was, it was only valid in the US.
     But I was now authorized by the US Department of Justice to use any means, any weapon, any vehicle to accomplish the business at hand. And no questions asked.
     "Cool." I said tucking the card into my wallet and putting the letter in my carry on.
     "Bishop say you'd like it."
     It was an interminable flight. Turbulence south of Miami, a headwind over the Gulf, a wait to land in Costa Rica. I got off the plane half sick and looking like I was dying.
     Keia looked fresh and beautiful, which made me feel even worse.
     We got a cab to the hotel the state department recommended to American tourists. The first thing I did was take a hot shower and try to get back on speaking terms with my stomach. But while I was soaking my head in steaming water, Keia came in all excited.
     "I find him!"
     "Good." I said. The shower wasn't helping. Maybe some work would. "I'll be right there." I got out and dressed. Then cleaned dad's .38 and put it together. It felt at home in its waistband holster.
     I called the hotel's concierge. "I want a car." I told him.
     "Good sir. We have bueno taxicabs."
     "You don't understand. I want to buy a car. Something that doesn't stand out but runs well. I am meeting a friend that doesn't want to be noticed. Taxicabs get noticed."
     He muttered something to somebody in Spanish, then, "I know just the thing."
     "And this doesn't require any official documents does it?"
     "For good Americaner sir, I can work wonders."
     It cost me what would be more than the average citizen's yearly wage for the car, and nearly that much again for the concierge's grubby friend to forget he woke up that day. But I had a car of unrecognizable make and year. It smoked when I started it, and sounded as if it imported rattles from New Jersey, but it looked like the majority of the cars in town. When I gunned the engine, it didn't hesitate or misfire.
     Keia had directions to a small town a dozen miles out on a treacherous road that was a lane and a half wide. The locals considered this a freeway and drove like lunatics.
     The town, Alajuela, wasn't all that bad. I expected three buildings and a phone booth. But there were a few modern buildings and I didn't feel we were the first outsiders to visit since Columbus. This was where John Kunsler had set up shop.
     "I get information by making like I want to work for him." She looked around as I drove carefully through town. "He in that one." She pointed to a frame building just out from what seemed to be the business district.
     I parked across the street and checked the place out. There was no obvious security, which led me to believe John paid protection to the local constabulary. I did notice a large cable to the building, ending in an old phone service box. This was it. His Internet business itself was run from here. Now the only remaining question was, is John himself here, and where did he get his pictures?
     It was getting late, and I was still feeling the flight. I walked back to the car.
     "We stake place out, no?" Keia said staring at the building.
     "No. Go to hotel and get sleep." I said in her clipped English.
     "You make fun of me."
     "Yes." I smiled, "We'll come back tomorrow and watch for your friend."
     "He no friend of mine."

     Keia slept in the other bed, since we were on a mission, she insisted on 'sleeping'.
     It didn't bother me. Most of my night was spent reading yesterday's English language paper in the bathroom. I found an ad of immense interest. A modeling agency in Alajuela was looking for all types of models.
     I wondered how many modeling agencies could be in a town no bigger than that.
     After a couple of hours of sleep, I got up when Keia answered the wake up call.
     "Huntie look awful."
     Just what I wanted to hear. I got dressed, packed, and went down to see what the Costa Rican's called a Continental Breakfast. Weak coffee and toast was all my stomach would tolerate. Then the ride to Alajuela made me wonder about that.
     We parked a bit down from the building and waited, Keia staring at the door with small binoculars. Several people were standing around out front waiting as well. I listened to an over excited radio DJ jabber in Spanish.
     In about an hour I saw a car turn onto the main road behind us. I watched it in the mirror. It definitely did not belong in this town. Shiny, new, European. And an 'Americaner' was driving.
     "John." We said together.
     He parked in front of the building and walked in with a swagger. In a few minutes a woman opened the door and waved at the first few people to come in.
     "Business as usual." I said. "I'm going to go see what I can see." I reached over the seat and picked up my laptop. "Be back in a bit."
     The back door next to the trash was unlocked. I peeked in and looked around. There was a small office full of boxes, computers, and video dubbing machines next to it. I went right in. Nobody noticed. It only took five minutes to rape his computer. In that room I collected enough evidence to sentence John to life in prison in a dozen countries. Unfortunately, I didn't think Costa Rica was one of them.
     I packed up a box and carried it to the car. "I even got his regular mail mailing list." I grinned to Keia as I put the box in with our stuff.
     Then a car with 'Policia' hand painted on the side drove by. I waved and smiled at the nice officer. He waved back and kept going.
     "What we do now Huntie?"
     "Get gas." I got in the car. There was one station in town. I filled the car up, and bought a big plastic can to fill up as well. My plan was taking shape. Now I needed some other supplies. In the small sell-it-all store I paid outrageously inflated prices for some basic items, but it was for a good cause.
     "Now this may get ugly, but I think it's the only way."
     "Not ugly as he is." She said with a nasty face.
     I typed for awhile on my laptop, then handed her a disc. "You're coming in with me, get to one of his on line machines and stick this in it and hit run. It'll forward the information on anybody that hits his site to the Bishop until they shut it down."
     "You get him?"
     "We're bringing him with us."
     Keia smiled broadly. "Good Huntie."

     I parked right in front of his building and looked for the Policia. No sign of them.
     In a few minutes I nodded to Keia and we got out and walked right in. I didn't say a word or even look at the startled receptionist. But went from room to room, looking for John. Keia stopped at the front desk and put my disc in the computer over the receptionist's objections. Then she went to another one and repeated the process to make sure she got it in the right machine.
     I caught up with John in a room where he was 'interviewing' a couple of kids. I didn't even smile at him. But he knew I was trouble. He got about three feet before I stuck dad's gun in his ear then handcuffed and blindfolded him. He began yelling, so I gagged him.
     The place was going nuts when we got out and I shoved John in the back seat. But I used a trick I had heard about years ago, I scattered a handful of American Dollars on the ground and told them they saw nothing.
     Then I drove like one of the local lunatics out of town.
     And kept driving, right through San Jose.
     "Where we take him Huntie?" Keia asked. I just smiled.
     After a full day of driving, stopping only once in a town, to refill the car and the gas can. I took the gag off John so he could sip from a water bottle Keia held for him.
     "You'll never get away with this. I've got important friends."
     "Who are you?" John asked in a minute.
     There was silence from the back seat. But I think John was crying.
     After another day of driving I was stopped at a gate. For the first time I used the card from the Justice department and asked the man where the brig was.
     "Where are we?" John asked still blindfolded.
     "It's an American Consulate. You're in the old Canal Zone."
     Now John did cry.
     I turned John and the box over to the MP's and explained there were people in the US that would be very happy to take him off their hands.
     "You seem to feel better Huntie." She said in the Consuls Office.
     "Yeah." I looked at her. After sleeping for two days in a car along the Pan American Highway she seemed to not look quite as fresh. "We've got to reschedule our flight." I said to the Consul, "Can I use your phone?"
     "Better than that. There's a cruise ship coming through the canal tonight making for Miami, I could pull a string or two and see if I could get you guys on it."
     I looked at Keia and shrugged.
     "Yes master." She said with an unreadable face.

end 12 stare

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