Katz up a Blind Alley
Katz up a Blind Alley
‘~You’ll head to Windsor, Ontario and meet my cousin Boris.’ As the commercial jet descended into Toronto, Anaconda recalled the mafia chief’s words. ‘Leonid and two others will collect the girl from Seattle.’
‘~I thought that I was to deal with her.’ The subaltern had managed to resist his desire to immediately maim the man withholding of the object of his intended vengeance. ‘~I should be tasked with flying to Seattle.’
‘~My valuable friend,’ Sergey had placed a consoling arm around the Anaconda’s shoulder, ‘~a trained monkey could make the actual exchange and Leonid will suffice for that duty. I need you for an important function but you will still be responsible for her final disposition.’
‘~What do you want to occur?’ Though the lieutenant had initially seethed at being excluded, the prospect of his crossing paths with her in Canada instead of the U.S. sent his anticipation soaring.
‘This whole scenario has developed out well.’ Sergey had chuckled and switched over to English. ‘On my other trip to America, I stopped in to see my cousin who owns a tidy bar in the Canadian city. At the time, Boris wanted to buy females but I had none to sell and his offered dowry was far too low. A day ago, my doltish cousin contacted me again seeking a contact with the thieves-in-law in his vicinity. Boris has stumbled onto a diversion where he needs mafia muscle.’
‘This is a very long distance to travel simply for strong-arming.’ I see that his dictionary is open to the ‘d’ pages. The Anaconda suspected that diversion meant situation, but using the word dowry for a sex slave’s price was humorously incongruous: he wondered next at the doltish derogative in the description of Sergey’s kin. If that’s a misuse of English then I don’t really know what he is trying to imply—so I’ll take him at his own word.
‘I wouldn’t have disbanded you except with desultory timing the jobs have coincided. Boris has offered to take the non-satisfactory girl and I certainly don’t wish to have defamed merchandise returned.’
‘I’ll complete your cousin’s assignment and accept her bride’s price.’
‘Leonid will arrive with the merchandise.’
‘As always,” the Anaconda grinned: unlike Sergey’s dingy black smile, the mob lieutenant’s teeth were dazzling white, ‘I’ll make the appropriate decisions of what serves the best interests.’
The CEO’s hangdog smile was gleaming white too, but on emerging to see his employee in a plush chair, his face turned whip-welt red.
“Bob Wall,” Collin looked up and offered a hand to the female seated on the sofa, “meet Oksana Gagarin.”
“Uh,” Wall stammered, “I’ve met her once before—on my yacht.”
“Speaking of a boat,” this latest episode had finally pushed Collin to a decision he should’ve made before, “I think it’s time for me to jump ship.”
“I need you here.” Wall began, but then he glanced at the girl. “Maybe we should continue this discussion in private.”
“I’ve been with her for a few hours now,” Hersker gave no impression of moving from his comfortable spot, “and I’m entirely confident that she doesn’t understand any English.”
“We can talk here.” Bob cautiously took a seat on the other end of the Chesterfield. “Would another healthy pay raise change your mind?”
“My life isn’t all about money.” The asshole felt as if Wall had called him a whore. “You stole intellectual property right in front of me. To my direct knowledge, you effectively had a human murdered by organized crime and you’re participating in white slavery for the purpose of sexual gratification. Now, I’ve witnessed your illegal drug use.”
“I can explain.” Bob’s voice was trembling: he had come to rely on Collin, but the man’s defection would also make him a worrisome source of public humiliation or as a prosecution witness. Oddly, Wall’s worst fear was the exposure of the one thing the asshole hadn’t listed: that was the naked and bound position he had been obviously been found in.
“Then please do so.” Hersker put his feet up on the coffee table.
“You know why I hired you,” the CEO took a deep breath: he would need his finest suck-holing techniques to change the man’s mind, “but do you know the reason why I sought you out?”
“You wanted an acquisition specialist.” Collin might have previously wondered about the motivation, but then Wall had offered his quote to the effect of ‘rich people buying reality’. He presumed that put a handle on the second part answer. “But the events I’ve so far been a party to, have caused me to self-evaluate my continued involvement.”
“As a successful man grows older,” the CEO followed his employee’s lead in making himself more comfortable for an extended talk, “he begins to wonder if he’s achieved his aspirations. I found mine lacking, so I took you on to help me reach for my new goals.”
“If theft, murder and sex crimes are the only items on your new agenda then I wish I had left earlier.”
“I didn’t pre-plan those,” Bob cringed at the blunt accusations striking him like from the flat of a paddle: he had already rationalized and forgiven himself for those actions, “and they weren’t all my fault.”
“How can you see it that way?” Hersker’s voice wasn’t accusing: he really did want to know.
“I am successful in business and I’m wealthy. You of all people have a solid knowledge of exactly how much money I have. When I was young,” Bob recalled a stage of his life before he acquired his empire, “I though the money would mean more. I expected power to automatically come with it and I envisioned sexual conquests to match. It didn’t turn out that way.”
“Reality seldom lives up to a fantasy’s expectation.”
“Money seemed to become the ends as well as the means.”
“Eventually,” Collin surmised, “you didn’t get the same thrill from it.”
“True.” Wall experienced a concern that he may even be speaking too candidly, but it seemed that it might be working. “I decided to buy some companies possessing greater political clout. That’s where you came in.”
“I know that and we would’ve gotten to it.”
“I made a mistake in initially contacting the Russian mob but it was a well-intentioned error. I wanted to reduce computer crime at the source.”
Collin Hersker didn’t comment. He shifted his eyes from his boss to the girl, who was twiddling her fingers and oblivious to the conversation. I would know if she understood: her face couldn’t help but to clearly show.
“Unfortunately, my limited association with the Russians unavoidably set the stage for what happened later.” Bob continued. “I’m a high profile person and in this kiss-and-tattle culture, I can’t just pick up prostitutes or anonymous mistresses. Involvement with the mafia granted me a possible way to satisfy my adolescent dreams: maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did.”
“I understand and could forgive you for that.” In fact, Collin Hersker could fully appreciate the allure. For one thing, the young executive’s own financial successes had already made him leery of women, who may just be pursuing him for his money. Then again, this one particular Russian junky exudes a natural feminine charm to seriously tug at my interest.
“Everything came together at once and the events seemed to move themselves.” Bob espoused the rationalization that had worked on his own psyche. “I intended to negotiate with the Canadian, but in delivering the first girl, the organized goons were already handy to exert extra pressure at my bargaining table. The situation spiraled downward when those lawyers unexpectedly provided me with the keystroke sequence, as an additional hammer to throw down. I used it very badly. I didn’t really intend to kill him but as seen in retrospect, I left the developer no other viable choice but to jump. I have to blame myself—even though he drowned on his own.”
“Your dealings with the Russian mob has left you vulnerable to them.”
“No they haven’t.” Bob hadn’t specifically thought out this aspect so had to wing-it. “I have all the physical evidence under my direct control. Furthermore, the mob boss still wants something I haven’t given him yet.” Bob had intended letting Sergey have the search engine result he wanted, but he rescinded that idea in favor of a lesser concession. “I can effectively block his any attempt to squeeze me.”
Collin’s eyes strayed again to where Oksana had her legs curled under her butt. When she noticed he was looking, the girl rolled her eyes around, just to be goofy and she tittered.
“Stay on and let’s finish what we set out to do.” Bob hadn’t noticed the girl’s antics, and he incorrectly surmised his underling’s slight smile was Collin’s buying the shovelful-of-bullshit. “I’ll give you a percentage stake in the corporations we acquire.”
“Alright.” The asshole relented. He didn’t sway me—she did.
“There are plenty of bars and casinos here in Windsor.” The Anaconda arrived in the downtown core. “This might just be a fitting place to set up my own independent operation. Bucketfuls of vice money must be drawn up from the deep well of moral turpitude in the U.S. of A.”
This city is technically in Canada but it’s closer to the American city of Detroit with only a river separating the two. Oddly, Windsor, Canada is south of Detroit, though it exists in the nation north of the United States.
“Alley Katz.” He found the stripper bar he was seeking. “It’s got nice visibility, but not much appeal.” The Anaconda parked his rental on the street. “It’s grungy now but could be a fixer-upper.”
The ex-Spetsnaz mafia enforcer entered the bar. These bouncers are overweight and soft. His eyes first surveyed the shabby interior but then concentrated on sizing up the arrayed forces. Still, they were all armed and as they watched him, they postured toughness. Why would the Obshina’s cousin require extra forces? Even if inferior, these seemed like enough.
“Show me to Boris Gagarin.” Anaconda bypassed one guard to speak with an older staff member who was shaped like a snowman. The man’s baldhead had bushy arched eyebrows that could be black winter moss and his nose was as a purple-red bulbous radish. Once upon a long time ago, he had a body builder’s physique but his bulky muscles had turned to flab.
“Who’s asking?” The bar manager blustered with his meaty arms bent to place his hands on the thickest bulge of his corpulent body—presumably those were his hips by the general location between head and feet.
“I didn’t ask you anything.” The mafia lieutenant leaned threateningly over the bar and his eyes narrowed. “I said I am here looking for Sergey Yanderiev’s cousin. Are you going get him for me, or must we discuss it?”
A snowball torso under the one comprising the head melted somewhat, or perhaps it deflated as the manager meekly acquiesced: he trundled away.
Whether armed or not, I could doubtlessly take every strong arm here either one at a time or all together. Anaconda glared after the scurrying bar underling. If these men give an accurate representation, I could easily establish myself as the supreme local underworld force.
“The Obshina sent you?” Boris Gagarin emerged from his back room.
“Brilliantly deduced.” The Russian scowled at Sergey’s cousin and felt loathing. The Yanderiev family shares a similarly repugnant appearance. They were reminiscent of the pigs kept by swineherd progenitors. Was a successful crossbreeding with livestock in the familial heritage? A donkey mated with a horse produces a mule and a sow impregnated by a human male with a penchant for bestiality, spawns a Yanderiev.
“~How is my dearest Sergey?” Boris switched languages and plastered on a grey-toothed chain-smoker’s smile to lighten the vibes.
“~You met with him in person less than a month ago and his state of health is unchanged: I’m not here for idle chitchat.” The enforcer allowed his host to scamper ahead to a rectangular table with a terrycloth cover. It was cordoned off from the other seating area and afforded a semblance of privacy—even were the bar to be full. “~Fill me in on the assignment.”
“~During Sergey’s visit,” Boris glanced around at his meager selection: they were of poor quality, “~I asked him about getting replacement girls.”
“~The Obshina had none to spare.” Anaconda followed the man’s eye sweep with his own cold inspection. I could cull these mongrel bitches. I would cheerfully perform that duty. “~Now, there is an available one.”
“It never rains, but it pours.” The owner gave a chortle that ended with a cough: he cured his hack by lighting up another cigarette.
“~I’m not interested in discussing precipitation either.” The Anaconda remembered where he had seen this man before: his picture had been on his late wife’s mantel. “~I’m sure you have the hard currency?”
“~The money isn’t the problem: at the moment I’ve more than enough cash.” Boris quailed under the mafia man’s now harsher stare. He felt as if someone was urinating on his future grave. Could he be ready for that internment by the time the piss flow waned to a drip?
“~Then what is the difficulty?”
“~An ambitious young pimp has procured a shipment of model class whores. I’ve already seen the product and they are top shelf.” Boris felt a wetness of saliva on his lower lip from just the thought of these girls. The drooling man took a long deep draught on his smoke to obscure the minor physiological gaffe: his pudgy thumb daubed away the spittle.
“~Are you quite certain they weren’t just hired models?”
“~I’m completely assured.” Boris lied: why hadn’t he thought of that possibility? “~I’ll take delivery of the six girls tomorrow but the interloper is insinuating himself where he doesn’t belong.”
“~How many men will he have with him?”
“~Uh, probably just himself.” Boris felt abashed in his call for extra firepower, when he already held overwhelming numerical superiority. His original motivation was to gain a good rapport with the nearby mafia but Sergey had circumvented it by sending his man instead. “~His competition with my cousin and his compatriots must be halted after the exchange.”
“~After the double cross.” Anaconda offered a more accurate portrayal and swung his attention over to leisurely inspect the dimly lit interior. This should be a prime time for business and yet customer seats aren’t even one tenth filled. The exceedingly low quality of his female wares doubtlessly accounted for the thin trade. With the new beauties and the girl delivered from Seattle, Boris would earn a tenfold return. By eliminating the young supplier, he avoided having to pay for a half-dozen girls. This presents a near perfect opportunity for me. “~Give me your gun and holster.”
“~I’ll have my manager get you one.” Boris offered offhandedly. The possibility of a scam with six hired models had taken his mind. It couldn’t be a sting! The young pimp had only himself and no guards. Still, Boris was now retrospectively glad he had some extra mafia men, even if they also presented a further threat.
“~I want your weapon right now.” The enforcer’s eyes had returned to lock onto Boris. I don’t require a firearm to kill him where he sits but his giving in to my demand will show him who is in charge. “~You shouldn’t need one tomorrow or you can get another if you feel undressed without.”
“~I suppose.” Stuck for a better answer and leery of trying one, the bar owner began unbuckling holster straps. “~Do you have a car or should my driver take you to your hotel?”
“~I’ll be staying right here.” The Anaconda took the proffered weapon. I need familiarity with my domain. “~Comforts promote weakness.”
“~Uh,” Boris stammered, “~it’s against the fire code to stay overnight.”
“~I have a diplomatic immunity from ordinances.” Anaconda patted the holster as he strapped it on. I tire of talking with this walking corpse. “~Send me vodka and a jug of fruit juice.” He dismissed Sergey’s cousin by treating him as a waiter with a drink order.
“~This place is ideal for me.” The enforcer poured a drink of vodka. “Doltish,” to use Sergey’s doubtlessly misapplied word, “Boris could die alongside the pimp he intends to rip off.” Lifting the shot, the Anaconda offered a grim salute to the bear munching on the snowman’s cauliflower ear. I was just stripped of my manhood: a soft life here seems to rob men of testosterone. “~Who here in Windsor has the gonads to oppose me?”
In Russian style, Victor the Anaconda drained a glass of orange juice to chase the liquor. The outgoing used up dancers would each satisfy him in their turns. Six fresh whores will grow my booming business. That special girl coming from Seattle would be the first to die slowly in this very room.
“~The extra money Boris bragged about will also serve well.” With it, Anaconda could travel to Kiev to settle affairs. “~I enjoyed Max’s death but I can improve on it.” Sergey keeps muriatic acid in his garden shed. It was for pool maintenance but he envisioned a more auspicious purpose.
“~After finishing Sergey, I’ll have an international organization.” He went to unload his bladder full of vodka and juice. The upright porcelain urinal offered the unmanned male a rare chance to pee standing up. The act was both a treat and a source of anger at why he usually couldn’t.
The few lounge patrons departed. The women who didn’t leave with a client were tasked with a quick janitorial service before they and the staff left. Boris and the manager departed last, with each their chosen females. Though reclined on a thinly padded bench seat and with the solid lump of a revolver under him, the Anaconda slept contentedly.
In the Detroit mid-morning, Tariq was also reposed on a bench seat, but his was atop a motorcycle and he was at a vantage alongside of a hangar, with a pair of binoculars. He also had a weapon poking into his ribs but a paintball gun was all he had been able to procure.
“Americans have a constitutional amendment to allow people to own firearms,” he adjusted the gun and it’s compressed gas bottle in the satchel strapped to his bike’s fuel tank, then tried to get comfortable, “but a decent guy can’t get a lethal gun when he actually needs one.”
[Freya’s winged longboat should be here any moment now.]
The Iranian consulted his cheap wristwatch to confirm Loki’s internal timekeeping. His covert access in Wall’s corporate computer had supplied the jet’s identification letters and the estimated time of arrival. He scanned the runway’s approach and could now see a plane: it was difficult to spot because of the low backdrop of portentous dark clouds. Tariq watched the plane land and taxi towards the hangar, where a truck waited.
“Going from the luxury of a jet’s cabin to a delivery van’s box is quite the extreme.” The front fuselage door opened downwards and transformed into a short flight of stairs. The programmer lifted his gaze slightly to view the sky: the boiling black billows were now much closer.
[One, two, three little armed foes.] Loki sang his count to the tune of a nursery rhyme.
“So scrubs plan ‘A’ of snatching her right here.” Tariq surmised the waiting driver was just a hired chauffeur. He would’ve been quite easy to overpower or frighten with a paintball gun: the gas hose was stashed in his windbreaker for the weapon to seem as real.
The programmer swung his gaze back to the aircraft just as the young woman showed. Lyra Droski took one step down and then a heavy gust of wind took her skirt up and turned her hair into a fluttering corona.
“The girl is like a brunette Marilyn Monroe.” The view faded as fast as the passing air pressure front that briefly lifted her skirt: it had also fogged Tariq’s binocular lenses. Was it her steamy look or a temperature change?
It was already starting to lightly rain as the female prisoner was hauled to the waiting truck. After closing the sliding rear door, the truck driver hopped into the cab and drove out onto the street.
Wanting to have no risk of his loosing the quarry in traffic, Tariq had opted for using a motorbike instead of a car. It was big enough to take two people and a street bike is completely maneuverable. Unfortunately, a day of wet weather didn’t make for the optimum riding conditions.
“That’s why they didn’t take a limo.” After leaving the Detroit Metro Airport, the tailed vehicle headed straight for the Canadian border crossing. “The customs agents won’t look in the back as long as a duty is paid.”
[Corruption is only considered a crime—if the dirty money doesn’t go into the ruling regime’s grimy fingers.]
Tariq pulled into the front of another lane and he passed through the border formalities easily. The customs agent didn’t ask to look in his bag. Unobtrusively and shivering, he waited as if a cop behind a billboard.
“There are more armed border guards,” the programmer considered a plan ‘B’, “than there are mobsters with guns. Should I alert them?”
[Will your forged documents survive the intense scrutiny that getting her back from immigration custody would take?]
“She might be better off in a holding cell than with the mafia.” Tariq removed his helmet and went to step off his bike, but then he reconsidered. “No, I can’t consign her to a government now, for the same reasons that we didn’t digitally contact them while she was held in Seattle.”
[Bob Wall has the money to buy officials, or at least to rent them.]
The body job truck also went through the border inspection easily. It continued into the light early-afternoon Windsor traffic. After a few more minutes, the truck stopped at the curb, in front of a nightclub named Alley Katz. A man, presumably a lookout, assisted the driver in opening the rear door and the occupants clambered out. The girl and her three male escorts had disappeared inside before the truck drove away.
“It’s too early in the day for a strip bar to be open.” The Iranian rode his 750cc Kawasaki slowly passed and then wheeled around at the end of the block. I saw some trash barrels in a shelter between two buildings: it seemed an ideal place for observation.
A coffee franchise was on the corner and he cycled to the drive-though window. “Do you have extreme-super-duper-mega-gargantuan size cups?” The ride had been chilly through a drizzling rain. After settling for just an extra-large, he cruised to his sentry post and checked his fake weapon: the gas was full and the magazine loaded with balls.
“If Lyra steps out without too many thugs,” Tariq spoke quietly to the cardboard coffee cup as he warmed his hands on it, “I can ride up onto the sidewalk and scoop her.” He took a sip and his mind played out a Rambo style vignette of his plan—with goons laughing at the yellow paint spots on their shirts, while firing real bullets at motorcycle rider.
“If she is intended to be a dancer or a whore, I can rent her services and disappear with her.” He would prefer not leaving her in there for that long. “If no other chance appears, I’ll be the first customer when the bar opens.”
Please God let Lyra safely get through whatever happens!
[Aren’t you supposed to be facing Mecca and saying Allah?]
“I don’t know why I said anything. I don’t believe prayers work.”
[They are always answered but often not as the beseecher anticipated.]
Like a Broadway performance, the cast was now assembled. Boris and his bodyguards had been the first to arrive. Soon afterwards, Leonid and his charge drove in from Detroit. As a director would, Anaconda ushered all into the bar and immediately reestablished his supreme authority.
“~Strip your clothes off!” The python-less snake man wrenched the female from Leonid’s grasp and roughly propelled her towards the stage. Almost stumbling, Lyra managed to hold her feet: she took a halting step.
“~You heard him.” Boris tried insinuating his exalted position with a grab of her shirt: he prepared to rip it from her.
“~Stop that!” The Anaconda slammed fingers on the owner’s forearm, like a spring-loaded leg trap on a grizzly’s shin. “You know shit-all about maximum wounding.” He switched to English so the girl couldn’t benefit from the knowledge. “It’s milder for a woman to accept degradation if it is beyond her control—as when her clothing is torn away. Denuding herself causes the greater psychological damage. For males, it’s the reverse.”
“~Strip!” Boris yelled to salvage some of his slighted dignity.
A secret fluency in English has served again. Knowing why, removed the ego crushing edge from the compelled actions, but Lyra’s hopes were all bet dashed anyway. Why did it have to be the Anaconda here? She was now certainly dead and so would Tariq be if he came in to save her—there was no escaping it. The girl undressed and then trudged to the stage.
“~The young whore master will be arriving momentarily.” Anaconda swiveled to take an inventory of his strength in guns: he would deal further with the girl later. My squad totals four and I can see that they each still have their weapons. Boris Gagarin had himself and his four others.
“~He’ll be unarmed.” The bar owner intoned.
“~Are you sure?” The enforcer looked at his host in puzzlement mixed with disgust: what kind of a coward was he? If the young man shows up without protection against nine gun-toting opponents then he’s either too stupid to live—or brave enough for me to keep him alive.
“~I can frisk him to make certain.” Boris continued in his self-assured voice and didn’t realize how badly he had diminished himself.
“~I expect him to be bolting for the exit.” The Anaconda predicted.
“~He’ll panic on realizing you are mafia.” The owner saw the yawning rent in his plan. “~You and your troops should be in reserve until needed.”
“~I’ll stay.” The Anaconda motioned his squad into concealment. This is even better: my men don’t need to know I was the one who shot first.
“~The visitor is here.” A bouncer relayed the alert from the sentry.
Boris took a spot on the bench seat and he placed his briefcase of cash on the floor between his feet, but he didn’t let go of it: his knuckles grew white from his clench on the handle. Fleshy the abomination snowman bar manager sat on one side, while Anaconda settled on the other.
As still as in the seconds before the curtain goes up, they all waited.
Listening to the rain’s percussion solo on a tin roof above, the Iranian waited. After only a few moments, an SUV pulled up and parked: the sole occupant was a youthful male. He took several articles from his passenger seat and then spoke a word to the sentry: both entered the bar.
“There are at least five men in there now.” The programmer surmised.
[Hagar the Horrible couldn’t snatch booty from that many.]
“He is a Viking alright,” Tariq noted, “but only in a comic strip.”
[Drawn from actual history.]
“Clever,” The anxious man chuckled as drawn fit both illustrated with a pencil and pulled from the past to the present, “but I’m not sure if the cartoonist is even Scandinavian.”
He scanned the deserted street. The lookout isn’t around anymore, so I can take a closer snoop. The programmer drove onto the street but then climbed the opposite curb, to motor slowly along the sidewalk. It’s locked tight. He paused to check the door handle and noted that pulled outwards.
“If this wasn’t North America,” he recalled fire department knowledge, “where fire codes require business doors to open on a push from within: I might’ve been able to smash it down with my motorcycle and then roar in to collect her.” Well, maybe James Bond could’ve done it like that.
[Canute should’ve waited for the battle of Stamford Bridge until after Harold’s defense at Hastings. William the Conqueror would’ve been Bill the Defeated and Danes instead of Normans would’ve taken Britain.]
“History, both ancient and recent is chocker-block full of events that could’ve gone differently.” The Iranian-Canadian had one too. “I really should’ve told the border guards I saw illegal aliens in that truck’s box.”
Where did that stupid quip about Canute come from?
[If you can non-productively engage in inane speculations, so can I.]
“Point taken.” Tariq scooted back to his hunter’s blind to watch for a realistic opportunity to present.
“~I told you he would be alone.” Boris hissed.
He’s a handsome and well-dressed young man. Victor the Anaconda could easily see why girls would follow him like a pied piper to their later regrets. I was like he is before two women stole my perfection from me. Meeting the lad’s eyes, the mobster felt a rush of odium for the newcomer. His eyes and hers are identical down to that unique shade of blue. Victor averted his gaze to view the nude girl on the ramshackle stage. She makes it seem as ritzy as the Vienna Opera house: this woman is one truly worth my killing her. His peripheral vision noted the young pimp had also turned his face to the female virtuoso in skin.
“~Tariq, please don’t come in here now!’ Lyra hummed words as she danced. This situation was worse than any one man could handle—or was it? This one young man was here all by himself.
Who was this good-looking boy who appeared to be about the same age as she was. As he swiveled and beheld her dancing, the girl found his eyes and she felt an unusual sensation that was also oddly familiar. He’s in opposition to my captors—and I’m not alone. That feeling was akin to a sense of comfort she had experienced throughout her life, to succor times of loneliness—as in Phuket. He is outnumbered, but not grossly out of his league’s depth. How do I know that? Was it readable in body language?
His cropped hair was the same rich polished oak color as hers but it seemed lighter as his scalp was peeking between the hairs. Despite facing six armed men, he has a confident grace. She was compelled to observe and set her body on automatic pilot to writhe and sway to the music.
“Good afternoon Comrade.” Boris jerked the boy’s attention from the performance. The bar owner wasn’t watching the female now and neither were the other men seated with him nor the bouncer guards. Two armed thugs were already standing at the ready. A third moved into position back from a lone chair that was placed for the pimp like a hot seat. “Since I do now have a very large amount of cash here with me I’m sure that like your blindfolds, you’ll allow me my precautions. Search him for weapons.”
Holding a book in one hand and an electronic item in the other, the boy spread his arms to allow the goons to frisk him. The deadly Anaconda scrutinized so intensely, it seemed to peel a skin layer to see the red meat.
“What are you holding?” Boris panned his eyes to the gear.
“I have a money counter because I don’t plan to sit here for three hours while I count by hand.” The young whoremaster shook the album to bring attention to it. “In this book I have a very special offer for you.”
“I have the money right here.” Boris took the case from his feet and set it on the table. “I don’t want photos now, where are the women?”
“They’re in a vehicle a short distance away.” The pimp’s chin gestured over a shoulder. “When I’ve ensured the money is there, I’ll make a call.”
“Then put down your machine and get busy.” Boris opened the case and then with a flourish, he spun it a half turn.
“First, I have a special treat for you.” The boy tapped a fingertip on the book. “On my last trip to Mother Russia, I obtained your girls. I also found a special sweetheart who I’ll sell for no less than $150,000. She’s cute and has the potential to be even more beautiful when she matures. She is a virgin—I knew she would be worth more to me if not despoiled.”
The Mafia man’s peripheral vision showed that the word ‘virgin’ had sparked a special interest for Boris. Perhaps, he hasn’t had a pristine girl since deflowering his stepdaughter. The bar owner and his manager’s full attentions snapped onto the folio but Anaconda’s eyes didn’t even twitch. Any man with half a brain would be squirming but this one is still cocky.
“Perhaps you would like to look at her pictures to help you pass time, while I count? We can talk more about her after.” The pimp smiled at the lecherous intensity with which Boris grabbed at the photo book. The bar manager’s oily face held a similar leer as he slid in closer for a better view.
The strangely calm youth picked up the first stack of bills while Boris cracked the album open to page one. Glancing down at the pictures only for an instant, Victor saw a very young and in fact an underage teen doing a little girl’s version of sexy. As the men flipped to a next leaf, Anaconda saw the boy prepare to take the sheaf of bills out of the wrapper. Boris turned another sheet as the pimp pulled the notes from the wrapper. You idiot! Anaconda felt like nudging him to pay attention to potential threats. He is as his boorish cousin: both let a little head think for the brain.
The young man set the stack of bills into the counting tray and a look of bliss passed over his face. I’m reminded of how I feel when I’m about to kill. Hairs on Victor’s neck bristled. I have an urge to pull out my gun. As the Anaconda reached, Boris became animated in trying to free a sticky page. The fumbling buffoon has wedged himself against my elbow.
The bar manager volunteered nicotine-stained fingers in eagerness to assist Boris in freeing the bound sheets and pushed the heavy dullard even further. With his arm hindered, the Anaconda watched as the pimp flicked a thumbscrew on the counter: the face panel of the non-functional machine dropped to allow access to a .22 caliber Ruger wedged in place of internal mechanisms. Finally, Victor managed to grasp his gun’s handle. It’s now up to the quicker gunfighter’s draw.
In one movement and in unison with the younger foe, the Anaconda extracted the revolver. He swung his aim over to the boy’s face but was fractionally too late. Seeing the muzzle of the kid’s gun infinitesimally as it cleared the money counter, Victor Rasputin witnessed a small puff of gun-smoke even before the muffled report hit his eardrum. So intent on the instant of impending doom, the Anaconda could almost see the bullet’s nose grow larger to nearly filling his vision. I’m undone by blunderings of Sergey’s incompetent cousin.
In a split-infinity that followed Victor Rasputin, the Anaconda grasped one aspect where he had failed all of his life. I should have known from the beginning that attributes I held so precious weren’t given for me to use for only my own pleasure. He would have a long time, in fact an eternity, to fully ponder all his other errors.
On stage, Lyra’s feet almost floated off the lacquered floorboards with the weight of dread that lifted when the Anaconda’s soul departed. That amazing boy still faces nearly insurmountable odds. It seemed he knew his trade well but he was not aware of Leonid and the two Kiev goons lurking out of sight. As a wild weasel fighter jet, the young woman veered her sleek body to the SAM emplacement. In this instance SAM was Semi-Aware Mob instead of Surface to Air Missile. I’ll distract these three.
The cloistered thugs diverted their radar from the vodka to a full frontal nudity as Lyra gyrated to the rhythm of the massacre.
Continuing his momentum, the boy swiveled in his chair. With quick but deadly accurate shots, he put a single bullet into the point between the eyebrows of each of the bouncers. At the sound of the first shot Boris and his manager snapped attentions from their struggles with the intentionally glued photo book. It took an instant too long for them to register the action unfolding and both were still fumbling for guns when the assailant pivoted back: he hadn’t lingered to watch the last goons performing carpet plunges.
The dancing girl spun to present a rearview to her rapt audience and her face turned to the killing spree. Time seemed to slow and as she watched him fire two deliberate shots into the bar manager’s head, she could almost see the flying bullets. Look over here! Lyra tried a mental scream.
Wrenching her eyes away from the action in the main bar, the dancer focused on the leering face of the last living member of the elite squad. Max, Vlad, Anaconda, and Leonid had killed Dmitri and then all but the leader had participated in the night of her rapes. Reveling in the thought of what would soon to happen to him, Lyra kicked up her show’s eroticism.
Boris stopped struggling for his gun: it was too late. Why hadn’t mafia men come to aid? The young pimp’s pistol was muted with a silencer but they surely should’ve heard something. Sergey’s cousin looked furtively towards the compartmented off area.
Catching the owner’s eyes flicker askance, the gunman realized there were more worries. After shooting the owner once, he dropped off his chair into a roll. From a prone position, he peered at the stage. The girl’s dance was alerting him to the hidden danger as her exotic movements all but pointed him to his next peril. Leaping to his feet, he snatched a spare clip from the open money counter and while running he exchanged the semi-empty magazine for the fresh full one.
The young assassin leaped onto the stage beside the now ecstatic girl. Pirouetting as he jumped, as a skater doing a toe loop, his gun was brought level in front and aimed into the screened off area. Leonid and his cohorts had believed this female was to die for—and now they were utterly correct.
“Thank you.” Lyra breathed as he delivered each dead man a coup de grâce round. Finally having now stopped her dance, she threw her arms around her rescuer and hugged him as tightly as a size too small t-shirt. She kissed his cheek and burrowed her face into his neck then whispered again with more voice. “Oh, thank you!”
Looking up after only a scant moment, she beheld his eyes with her piercing blue ones. He is tall and well put together. My stripped body is plastered against his like stucco on a wall, yet I feel no sexual attraction. Was that an effect of all of the pressure she’d been under? “Who are you?”
“No one.” He lowered his gun. “Who are you?”
“I am,” The young woman paused. What should she answer? All her names were lies but having saved her, he merited the truth. Lyra is lira and that’s only money. Now I’m liberated and Tariq is waiting for me. “Free.” She returned his lack of information with none of her own and a coy smile. She released her grip on his shoulders and stepped back a pace.
“What’ll you do now?” The mysterious man asked as he collected his money counter and photo album.
“I’ll leave.” I’m a witness to his killings but I know he won’t harm me. “Before the police arrive I’ll be gone.”
“Take this then.” He handed over a loose wad of bills. “It’s taxi fare.”
“Thank you.” The girl disinterestedly took the proffered cash. Her eyes were more concerned with the dead mafia lieutenant. The Anaconda is dead and I didn’t have to do it. Dmitri, Oksana’s Mother, my Mom and innumerable others are vindicated. The girl couldn’t resist another stray thought. He was attractive still and doubtlessly was when younger too. What a waste that his mind was as repulsive as his physique was gorgeous. She tore her eyes away and took a satisfied breath. “I’ll go and collect my things. I suspect you’ll be gone when I get back.”
Apprehensive as rookie firefighter at the scene of his first blaze, Tariq watched from his nook beside the trash barrels, as the young man stepped casually from the bar and returned to his SUV. The vehicle drove around the corner then stopped at a concealed distance. Should he go into the bar? The Canadian kicked his starter and prepared to roar into the flames.
[Hold your hoses!]
Carrying her small valise, the now liberated Russian sex slave emerged seemingly unscathed and she looked in both directions.
“Who is he?” The girl saw her young benefactor was in his SUV at the end of the block: he was watching her. I’ll nonchalantly walk away.
After strolling a few paces, the girl looked back over her shoulder to see the vehicle departing. To her right and across the street, the Arabic man she had saved at the yacht was wheeling towards her.
[She would look incredible in a metal breastplate and a Viking helm.]
Her beauty would also be matchless though, if attired in anything from her skin to a black abaya complete with a burkha. The young woman was waiting with a Mona Lisa smile. With his attention exclusively on her, his front tire slipped on a wet steel manhole cover but he didn’t quite wipe out.
[At least one of us should watch what we’re doing.]
“What happened in there?”
“My mafia ordeal is over, but I don’t quite understand how it finished.” She hugged a man she hardly knew and yet felt she had known all her life.
“We can talk about it later.” Tariq gripped the girl. My hunch is that for better or stranger, my life is much different than only a minute ago.
[Now what do you think about prayers?]