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©02 The Media Desk

The Hunger of theHunter

Ch 38
[Warning: May disturb more sensitive readers.

     Bishop42: I am ordering you not to do anything. We'll handle it. The FBI has the case.
     theHunter: You already said the suspect walked.
     Bishop42: I have it on good authority there is other evidence that will turn up soon.
     theHunter: ...
     Bishop42: Give them two weeks.
     theHunter: Two weeks. if nothing happens, or he walks away again
     Bishop42: You have my word. If he gets off, he's yours.
     >>>theHunter is scowling at you while nodding.

     It was a long two weeks.
     I had to accept it. Allied Forces may never be the same.
     The Bishop had him brought to our house and Keia took care of him better than his home care nurse.
     Everybody stopped in to see him. Conga even brought his wife out and I met her for the first time.
     While he sat and talked to Allied Forces, I chatted with Teri.
     I've heard opposites attract, but this was stupid.
     Conga seems to be half bear. Since I had seen him last he had gotten at least two shirt sizes bigger, and had gained another step on his martial arts black belt, now a sixth degree or something. She was under five foot tall and would weigh ninety pounds if she was carrying a sack of groceries. I've always thought Keia as tiny, but next to Teri, she seemed rather tall and well built. But all she could say was how much she admired and loved Conga.
     "He heard me, he looked at me and recognized me." Conga said when he came out.
     I nodded. "He's made great progress."
     Conga looked back into the dining room where the women were getting ready to feed him his dinner.
     "We need to talk." I said to Conga.
     "And how."

     We went up to the armory. Conga turned back to the door behind me and locked it. Then he walked to the workbench and picked up a pistol. He loaded it and began firing at the targets on the far wall.
     I put the earmuffs on him while he was shooting, he didn't even notice.
     Then he reached for the sawed off shotgun, I handed him several rounds and he blew them up.
     "No progress?" I asked him.
     "How could you tell. Does that work?" He gestured to an odd-looking assault piece with the magazine on top.
     I nodded and handed him a loaded magazine for it.
     He ran off the entire clip without even breathing.
     "I gave the Bishop my word. He has two weeks."
     "When is that up?"
     I didn't even have to look, "About fifty hours. If they don't have that piece of shit locked up for Simon's death, and what he did to Allied Forces."
     "Not to mention those two local cops."
     "Not to mention those two local cops. He's mine."
     "Ours." Conga picked up a throwing star and imbedded it solidly in the composite backstop behind the targets.
     I nodded.

     Allied Forces had been on the case with Simon and some local contacts for about a week.
     The FBI had been trying to find the connection between a local two-bit politician and some plastic money laundering but they never got anything solid. Allied Forces was pretending to be a customer. The background had been in the works for months, and now it was time to make the deal. He would come in from overseas with some slightly warm foreign credit cards, the contact would arrange a meet and a drop and the identity of the plastic would change and become ice cold. To be sent back out later by courier.
     But somewhere along the line the bad guy must have gotten wind of something.
     The meet was arranged, but when it went down, things went to hell.
     Simon was lucky, he had his head blown off. The local police officers were shot and one died later. Allied Forces...
     Allied Forces wasn't so lucky.
     The bad guy tied him up. And shot him up full of drugs.
     Not one drug, not an overdose of a couple of drugs.
     He put so much stuff in him they still haven't identified it all.
     And left him. The wounded cop said he heard him screaming, and then the screams changed, then they stopped, to be replaced by panting and sobbing.
     And he lived.
     At least his body did.

     The politician sat smugly in a press conference and said he couldn't believe such a thing could happen in his town. The bad guy vanished into thin air. And Allied Forces sat in restraints on a ventilator.

     theHunter: thirty. six. hours.
     Bishop42: No.
     "No what? What does he mean no?" Conga asked me over my shoulder.
     theHunter: No what?
     Bishop42: There won't be thirty-six hours. There is no new evidence. There will be no arrest.
     theHunter: He got away.
     Bishop42: Cleanly. The Bastard. I want you to...
     theHunter: say it
     Bishop42: I want you to drop him off the face of the Earth.
     >>>theHunter logs off.

     The next couple of hours were grim. The next couple of days were grim.
     I didn't smile for weeks.
     Conga dug out a phone number and made a call as we packed the things we'd need.
     "We need a ride." He said into the phone without identifying himself. "I mean we need a ride. Now." He listened. "Its for Allied Forces and Simon... Yeah, the feds dropped the ball. He OK'd a sanction." He looked at me with a look that would freeze a quasar. "Just revenge."
     We continued to ready everything.
     Keia came into the office in an hour or so. "Centre's here." She said simply.
     We went into the living room. Centre sat next to the chair. Then he stood up and turned to us.
     The man looked like he could have whipped an entire street gang bare handed.
     "I'm coming." The man said.
     There was silence in the room.
     "He's my son."
     I nodded.

     Falcon landed in my back yard. He walked into the house and stood in front of Allied Forces, I don't know if he saw him or not. Either of them.
     We loaded our gear into the helicopter and took off with little if any talking beyond, "Put that over there."
     Keia gave me a file as we got on board. It was everything there was on our two targets. Not suspects now. Targets. She looked me in the eye and then looked away. I knew what she meant.
     We landed at the airport and rented two cars. Then we drove to the hotel we were using as a base.
     The politician was being watched by every eye in town. Some of his, some of ours, some of the others. It didn't matter. He was about to become an unperson.
     The bad guy had gone so far out of sight you'd have thought he was a submariner. But everybody has to eat, and sooner or later, even Elvis is spotted.

     "I'll be in here." Conga said pointing to the blueprint of the politician's office. "With you."
     Falcon nodded. "About noon, he'll, I mean, I'll, go out to lunch and then go shopping. They'll follow me, I'll make a show out of trying to loose them to meet somebody without being tailed."
     "That's when we'll move the luggage." I underlined the time for the hand off.
     "No problem. I'll have the van here." Centre pointed to the ally. "Big and bright, Kim So's Cleaners and Florist."
     "Where did you get that?" Conga asked him.
     "I know Kim. It's a rental."
     "But Kim's is a junkyard."
     Centre didn't say anything and ran his finger along the highway out of town on the map.
     "Just make sure he knows he's a goner." Conga said, then paused. "I want him to enjoy it, a lot."
     "I won't. But he will." Centre said.
     "Amen." I answered.

     Conga snored like a chainsaw factory all night. I tossed and turned and shaved, and watched 'Dancing on the Moon' at oh dark thirty. Finally it was barely the crack of dawn when I rousted him out and we got ready to go. Conga checked the emitters that put out a false signal to any eavesdropping equipment that might be in the office. They could only be used for a minute or so without arousing suspicion. We were ready.
     I hadn't planned on what I was going to do during the wait. So I worried. Did I really want to be part of the cold-blooded murder of an elected official, no matter how crooked he was? Was it right for us to be judge, and executioner? Then I thought back to what these two had done to my best friend.
     Damn straight.
     I watched the target walk into the building. He nodded to me as he passed my bench on his way down the hall. I touched a button on the side of my watch.
     I knew what was happening without watching. As soon as he closed his office door and answered his voice mail and told his secretary he was going out to lunch the closet door opened. A hand touched a button on a little black box. Then four hundred pounds of fast moving meanness grabbed him and choked him into unconsciousness in seconds. Then Falcon put on his clothes and walked to the window and opened it. Making sure he was seen by anybody that was watching. Then the button was pushed again and the listeners could hear him again.
     About lunchtime Falcon wandered out and went about his business. Now it was my turn.

     "He sayd he split sometin in de offise." I said badly to the secretary.
     "He didn't say anything to me. Let me check." She opened the door. It was now we could be discovered. I put my hand on the stun gun in my pocket. She looked back at me. "Yes he did. There's coffee all over the floor." She stood back and let me push the heavily laden cleaning cart in.
     "I gets dat ma'am an let ma selft back out. I do it the desk too." I pointed to where it had splattered.
     "Good enough. Just don't touch anything."
     "No ma'am."
     Just then the phone rang. It was somebody wanting to chit chat about this or that.
     The door swung shut as I mopped.
     Conga pushed the closet door open and loaded the now drugged looser into the open part of the cart, and securely tied him in. Then he went back in the closet until he got the all clear to join us later.
     I pushed the cart out and smiled leeringly at the secretary who ignored me.
     Nobody even looked in my stinking trashcan or dirty mop bucket as I wandered down to the loading dock and into the laundry truck.
     There I sat in the seat in my disguise as a very old Oriental man drove away.

     Conga's all clear was the building's fire alarm mysteriously going off in about an hour.
     It seems somebody put a digital timer on the alarm system's telephone wire that went off and sent a massive burst of feedback and static into the system causing it to go off.

     We drove for hours.

     Far out in the hills Centre found his landmark and drove onto some private property with 'Posted No Tresspassing' signs everywhere. I got out and unlocked several gates, securing them behind us.
     Mr. Politician was awake and making bad noise as we pulled up in front of a dilapidated building.
     "Let's get it over with." Centre said.
     I nodded.
     "You can't do this to me! I'll have your asses for this!"
     I didn't say a word but punched him square in the face. "Where's Harvey?"
     "I don't know a Harvey. You can't treat me like this."
     Centre wasn't as gentle. He smashed the man in his stomach with the butt of his shotgun.
     The man was silent except for his moaning.
     A blast from the gun into the ground between his feet shattered the silence. Blood leaked from his patent leather shoes. He spouted curses and threats.
     "One last time." Centre jammed the gun into the man's armpit. "Harvey."
     "He's at Lois's. The cathouse. On Dominion Street."
     "That's better." Centre growled, "Let's go." He gestured toward the building.
     "Where you taking me? I told you what you wanted to know. If I lied you can kill me."
     Centre stopped walking, he spoke to his collar. "Did you get that address?"
     In a minute a voice spoke from his pocket. "We're on our way to Lois's now. I'll let you know in a few."
     "So we wait."
     "That sounded like Grace." I said to Centre. He nodded once.
     Time crawled by.
     "Harvey was there." Centre's pocket said eventually.
     "Told you."
     Centre backhanded him to the ground. "What happened to him." He asked 2nd Grace.
     "He got lead poisoning. Real bad. We're clear and out." The pocket said.
     "You killed Harvey? You ain't cops..."
     "You're real bright for a lawyer." I told him.
     He looked at me like he was going to spit on me. "Fuck you."
     Centre shot him in the legs. "No. Fuck you."
     He tried to get up and run, but his left leg wouldn't work.
     Centre grabbed him by one arm and I took the other. We dragged him cursing all the way into the building.
     "Where are you taking me?" He demanded as I pushed open an inside door. The room was only dimly lit by the sun outside and what light snuck through the walls.
     Centre looked at him. "Hell." He said. Then he shoved the man toward several half-rotten loose boards in the middle of the floor. They gave way.
     The politician fell through.
     His screams went on for a long time, growing fainter and further away.
     "How deep is that?" I asked Centre as I listened to the faint echoes.
     He lit a handful of old paper that was lying next to the door and dropped it in the hole. We watched it fall a long time. It never hit water or the bottom as long as we stood there.
     Then I helped him put a few more half-rotten loose boards back over the hole.
     We drove out without speaking and I relocked the gates behind us.
     We left the van in Kim's junkyard. Within the hour it was flattened and on its way to a blast furnace.

     The helicopter ride back was solemn. Only Falcon talked. He told us about leading every body that was following the politician all over half the city and back again.
     "They finally ended up following this guy I met in the bar. I paid him to wear the hat and jacket out to catch a cab to the bus station."
     "How did you get out then?" Conga asked him without listening.
     "I hired a girl to walk out with me. She was cute too." He flew on in silence for a minute. "Allied Forces would'a fallen in love with her."
     I caught a glimpse of a single tear on his cheek.

     We sat in the helicopter in the back yard for a long time.
     I would almost say something corny like we were each coming to terms in our own way with what we had just done over the last three days, but it was deeper than that.
     Keia and Teri were looking outat us. I got out first.
     We walked in to the house to see Allied Forces single file. Centre came in last.
     He was sitting up in his chair, eyes open, but without much to them.
     He took a deep breath. Then another, trying to speak.
     I couldn't take my eyes off him as his lips moved to say something.
     "... Hi. ... ... d ad"
     "Hi Tommy." Centre said to him.
     Allied Forces couldn't say another word. Not that day anyway. But he had spoke enough.

end 38 hunger

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