Shiva's Messenger

All Eyes on the Class Action

Chapter 10 – Shiva’s Messenger

All Eyes on the Class Action

The Winnipeg city police responded to the emergency call after tracing the dead air connection. They were slightly baffled by what they found. There was no sign of a struggle. The register hadn’t been jimmied and the cash was still inside it. The victims had been killed in mostly a professional manner. From the blood scuffs, it appeared that one had been allowed to suffer a leg wound before being murdered. One man had been armed but he had been killed before his weapon could be drawn.

The nightshift wasn’t equipped to solve this mystery. They took photos and then sealed off the area. A contingent of investigators arrived on Saturday to process the cadaver evidence. The remains were then transferred to the morgue before the odor became even more ghastly. The specialists in different aspects of criminology would have to examine this crime scene after they reported for work on Monday morning. Yellow ‘police line – do not cross tape’ fluttered in the biting wind and Frosty the Car Man’s lot remained closed for the weekend.

A watch was posted and the guards were pleased with what should have been an easy assignment. They might have even had time to read or just relax but they were kept busy fending off the dead owner’s obnoxious wife. When not present and whining for admittance, she could be found trying to sneak in by the back alley. While they could understand her desire to salvage the remnants of her husband’s livelihood, she couldn’t be allowed in to possibly remove or tamper with the evidence.

shivasmessenger

Shiva’s Messenger considered heading back to Ontario, but decided on Calgary instead. He could drop the Lexus in storage until he needed it and drive his BMW from there.

He obliterated Roger Connors’ identification. ‘Never get overly fond of an identity’, his father had warned him. ‘When the reasons for using it are gone, you move on and never look back.’ Connors had power-of-attorney for the now empty safe box in Fort Nelson. Roger was also the registrant on the pickup truck that Sam Levi now owned. Neither use was now current.

The Roger ID should’ve only been used when driving the truck. Audrey had been a surprise occurrence that caught him using an ID set with a history. “It’s a small forgivable error.” Even where the two usages of the name were found, they were only a string that joined two nails. The trail ended abruptly at either point.

With a twinge of regret, he also snipped up the beautifully done Mexican Diplomatic passport. Combined funeral services for Garcia Monterey and Roger Connors were held with a series of flushes in a public washroom.

The stripped and cleaned Ruger components vanished into various roadside trash bins. The barrels were deposited into the one with the nastiest smell. Spent brass rounds were generally not a problem as he always used gloves to load the magazines. When he reloaded with singles though, he couldn’t always be so careful. Where possible, it was always a good idea to collect the brass for proper disposal. He took out his latest ID set to begin the process of becoming that person.

“Hello, Douglas Walters.”

shivasmessenger

Darcy Leach heard about the overnight killings while enjoying her Saturday morning coffee. The news was just background distraction for her until the name of the car lot was mentioned. Then as her java grew cold as she became engrossed by the story with ramifications to her new client. If she didn’t act quickly, the needed documentation might become mired in a murder investigation.

She spent her off duty weekend time preparing a submission to present to a magistrate. Having a judge for a favorite uncle, the one who had inspired her to study law in the first place, certainly helped in obtaining a seizure order by Sunday night. The young legal professional giggled with delight. This case was turning out to be so much more exciting than it had first appeared.

shivasmessenger

Crime scene investigators and news reporters all converged at about the same time. The Winnipeg Police Service Public Relations officer braved the inclement weather to read her prepared text to the camera crews. The statement was a bland concoction of the facts that everyone already knew.

“Excuse me.” An attractive young woman had pushed herself to the front of the press throng and brandished papers. “I have a court order to search these premises for documents pertaining to another matter involving the deceased.”

“We have a homicide investigation and that takes precedence.” The media liaison officer was somewhat miffed at this embarrassing interruption occurring in front of the cameras.

“The murders were committed Friday night.” Darcy persisted by tapping her finger on her uncle’s signature. “A judge signed this order only last night. His honor obviously considered these papers important enough to issue them in spite of your investigation.” Had she remembered to expressly mention that homicides occurred at the same address? “I must insist on executing this order now.”

Since this wasn’t a PR issue, the lawyer was handed over to a lead criminologist. Darcy smiled wickedly: in strict point of fact, a murder investigation did take precedence because this was a felony and hers was only a civil matter. She recalled her Uncle Fred’s favorite quote. ‘Police are responsible with upholding the law—they don’t necessarily feel obligated to comprehend the statutes they are enforcing.’ That jewel of wisdom had served her career well on several times already.

The uniformed man held the papers at arm’s length while he was supposedly scanning them but his eyes strayed around the boring form to study Darcy’s curvaceous one instead. He signaled her to cross the police barricade and ushered a hand to send her ahead.

Were I a male or less attractive I would’ve been stymied. She commented internally she walked in front of the inspector: enabling him to inspect her backside. Police departments must spike coffee urns with testosterone to ensure the officers are prone to excessive violence—with the side effect of making them sexual predators.

“Oh phew!” She was prepared for the sight of the blood in the room but the young lawyer wasn’t quite ready for the foul aroma. The inner office had a window in the far wall but it was painted shut. From the overpowering stench, Darcy could safely assume that more than blood had leaked postmortem from the victims.

“It takes some getting used to.” The detective sympathized but hoped she would swoon into his arms. He gave her a handkerchief to breathe through.

“Whoever said that murder cases are glamorous obviously never experienced the fragrance of one.” Darcy accepted the gift and clamped it over her mouth and nose. The cloth didn’t dampen the smell but it offered a small comfort to feel she was filtering particles from going into her lungs. She looked at the office desktop that was bare except for one file folder. Then she spied the safe with its door swung ajar.

Squatting to riffle through the safe, she soon found a file that contained pages upon pages of photocopied ID and status card numbers, each with examples of signatures or in some cases X marks. Then she elatedly discovered a sheet that held her client’s information. Darcy flipped to the stapled second leaf. Here the deceased scumbag had listed all of the transactions when he had used Audrey’s name and tax status without her knowledge.

“Yes!” Darcy almost squealed in delight. “Audrey, you’re home free.” With nothing of further interest in the safe, she stood up and turned to the desk. “What’s in that file?”

“That’s something you can’t have. I don’t care what it says on your court order.” The inspector was very firm on the point. “We’re pretty sure this is the key to why the men were killed. You may have a brief look but only if you handle the pages wearing latex gloves and carefully by the edges.”

Complying with the instructions, Darcy saw the several hundred sales receipts all signed on the day the men were executed. She noted on several forms that her client was listed as the consignee.

“I want to obtain copies of these too.” The smug female set the file back. “My client’s name is listed on some of them.”

“That could take you another court order.” The policeman’s leer hinted that some off-duty courting would suffice instead.

“No problem.” Darcy left the implied invitation dangling and beat her retreat from the horrid smelling room. She put the folder into her briefcase and patted it lovingly. As she stepped over the barricade line, a woman wearing a heavy mask of make-up accosted her.

“What have you taken from my husband’s office?” the overly buxom lady grabbed the barrister by the shoulders and physically shook her rudely. “It’s mine and I want it back.”

“You can learn of what I was looking for at the Clerk–of–the Courts office.” Darcy brushed herself free of the woman’s grasp.

Thoughts of a class action lawsuit swam through her head as she climbed back into her car. That annoying woman might find her inheritance greatly reduced by claims against Andrew Frost’s estate. Her thoughts next traveled to something that she had heard in the press statement. Two of the other men found dead had also owned used car lots in the city. She should obtain warrants to search those offices also. If she was going to start a multiple claimant case, the broom should sweep widely.

“Oh ya!” This time she did squeal with delight. A nice fat class action suit was something every law firm loved. This could give her standing in the company a very nice kick-start. “I may even merit a larger office.”

Darcy couldn’t help but wonder if there was some connection between her case and the killings at the car lot. Maybe one of the abused people on the list of names exacted revenge but the killings were expertly done. Unfortunates who traded on their status cards for extra cash didn’t have the means to hire professional killers.

Audrey’s benefactor, the handsome Roger Connors, may have been able to afford to hire a hit man but what would his motivation be for that? Having Andrew Frost dead didn’t help Audrey’s case. Even if there wasn’t a direct connection, it was an odd coincidence.

“Well, the police can worry about that part.” She had more than enough evidence to have Audrey’s conviction overturned and her criminal record expunged. The first nations woman would definitely regain her son. “It’s not going to take much of the retainer to make that come to fruition.” Darcy chided herself for the entirely un-lawyerlike notion. “I’d best not let the firm’s partners hear me blaspheme their religion of money like that. My desk could be in the broom closet.”

shivasmessenger

Douglas Walters was in Calgary when he watched the news coverage from Winnipeg. Darcy’s interrupting the press briefing to deliver her subpoena was especially appealing. The lawyer looked as hot on TV as she did in person. Police were looking for a man named Garcia Monterey for questioning. The best description that they had of the potential murderer came from the car lot owner’s wife. Doug didn’t need to worry about matching the description. Mrs. Frost had tried to garner sympathy for herself with a vision of a cold-blooded killer.

“He’s a sinister man with brown eyes like death,” she had said on camera, “with just a look at him you’ll feel a chill on your spine.”

Doug looked at himself in the mirror but he didn’t feel that spinal freeze. He might have felt a slight bit of compassion for the grieving widow except for the fact the she worked with her husband. She would have definitely been aware that her expensive desires were satiated by the sufferings of the less fortunate.

Sam Levi would be able to figure it out as soon as he saw the name Garcia Monterey. Sam would keep that connection to himself if for no other reason than his loyalty for a friendship.

Wistfully, Doug wondered if he would ever be able to settle down long enough to develop friendships that could grow into trust and loyalty. Then he might be able to find a nice girl to spend more than a few days with. Jessica danced into mind.

“Quit that!” Doug gave himself a mental slap. He had a mission to accomplish and a vow to his dying father. Memories of a girl, however sweet, were counterproductive to the name of the game. Jessica had been a selfish move on his part. Only blind luck had kept it from catastrophic failure. He needed only single-minded determination.

‘Focus!’ How many times had he heard his father say that? It had to be thousands. That word didn’t simply mean, look here. It meant undivided attention with all thoughts converged on the same single point. His father confessed he could only focus sometimes but he was very impressed with how his son could retain a singular attention almost constantly. ‘That must be a reflection of how young you were when I started your training. I learned the technique when I was much older.’

“Girls draw my concentration to the wrong single points.” The assassin protégé hoped to prevent further blunders by finding one of his father’s litanies but the wrong message came up there too. ‘You are dealing with humans who will make mistakes: don’t forget that you’re of the same error prone species.’

Where should he go to next? At some juncture, he knew that he would have to cease his practicing and get on with completing his overall objective. Still, recent forays had been both instructive and very lucrative.

“So what’s next?” Back to the same question, he wasn’t quite ready to cross the U.S. border and throw his bullets into the political arena yet. The crooked policeman in Creston had a gun in his hand but he was thinking only of money and was caught unaware of his immanent danger. The bodyguard in Winnipeg had also been armed but his weapon never even left his holster. Being tested against tougher foes was critically important before he was ready.

“I need to write one more thesis in blood before I’m ready for my degree.” Shiva’s Messenger perused his road atlas, glancing at points east. The city of Windsor was separated from an American mega city by only the span of the Ambassador Bridge and a tunnel. Detroit would have its fair share of criminals and guns. Some must drift over the river to the Canadian suburb. It was possible he’d find an armed person or more that would be a dangerous adversary. Windsor was also moderately close to his father’s other Canadian mini-storage unit in Hamilton.

“Windsor it is then.” Doug circled the city idly with his finger and then traced the route back to his present position in Calgary. “It sure is a long way from here, though. I’m starting to feel like a yoyo on a thousand kilometer string.”

shivasmessenger

Nearby in Creston, two women that were fast becoming good friends sat having lunch and chatting about small doings in the town.

“It’s been suggested that you might be into cocaine.” Doctor Cindy edged into a conversation to alleviate a small concern.

“There’s no truth to it.” Jessica wasn’t offended and she knew why the gossip was circulating. “Irene Smith started the rumor after I let her go.”

“It surprises me that Irene was vindictive to lie like that.”

“She’s not telling an untruth.” Jessica sighed. “She interpreted something else wrongly. Irene was having difficulty with her being my superior in the office in one moment and suddenly being my employee in the nearly the next. We were trying to work though the situation but a conversation about drugs boiled it over.”

“What made her suspect your drug use?”

“The last time Romero went to Williams office, Irene noticed he had grown a fingernail as a coke spoon.” Jessica had never seen the nail as the Columbian had removed it again before returning to the Cranbrook suite. “She assumed that because I was away with him, I was on a cocaine binge.”

“That’s why she alerted the police officer.” The doctor suddenly understood. “She didn’t like the thought of her small town being a haven for a drug operation.”

“That’s fine but she didn’t mention it to her boss. Instead, she used her position of trust to gather enough information on the sly to point the law to where and when the deal was occurring. My trust in Irene was shattered and that was my final reason for asking her to find other employment.”

“She took that as your protecting your supply of drugs.”   Cindy nodded in comprehension and patted the young lawyer’s knee. “I didn’t think you used narcotics but now I’m fully relieved.

“Winnipeg’s weekend murders puts me in mind of the press circus we had here.” Cindy nodded her head towards the café’s television set that was always tuned to the news channel.

“Funny though, there seems to be more familiar things about it than just the press.” Jessica’s attention had followed the doctor’s lead to the TV but her eyes remained fixed on it.

“I noticed that too.” Cindy quickly listed similarities. “Happened suddenly, professional hit, killer disappears completely, no clues to his identity, and the men killed were so called respectable businessmen: if you can class used car salesmen as respectable.”

“I know her!” The young lawyer was almost bouncing in her seat. “The girl on the TV. That’s Darcy Leach. She and I were best friends at the University of Alberta.”

“She’s at a murder scene? Is she attached to the Police?”

“No chance of that, Darcy was top of the class. If that wasn’t enough, she had connections and went straight into the most prestigious law firm in Winnipeg. I should call her.” Jessica looked slightly mischievous as she extracted her cell phone.

“Hey, Darcy! This is Jessica. I’m watching you on TV and you look fantastic, as always. What were you doing at a crime scene? Did you flip-flop and start hanging with the bad crowd out there?”

“Hi, Jess.” Darcy found a spot to slip in a word.

They caught up with each other’s lives for a few minutes and exchanged a couple of memories from law school. Jessica finally edged into the real reason for her call.

“So, curiosity has been eating a hole in me since seeing you on TV. What are you up to?”

Darcy told her a little about the native woman who had served time in jail and how her case really didn’t impact on the murders except in the coincidental timing.

Jessica could understand why her friend felt the urgency to push forward the warrant despite the investigation and in fact because of the presence of the police. She and Darcy had once double dated a pair of policemen. They later characterized the men as somewhere between Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal on the evolutionary scale. The girls had eventually bolted under the guise of a trip together to the washroom. They had reasonably envisioned that the evening was likely doomed to conclude with dual date rapes by the two men who believed themselves above the law. The nasty encounter created the shared foundation for their drastically reduced respect for law enforcement officers.

“I find your case interesting. We have similar occurrences with people trying to abuse status here in B.C. but it’s more prevalent further north in the Province. I’m surprised that a fancy law firm like yours even does that kind of legal aid work.”

“We wouldn’t have, but Roger put up a retainer.”

“Roger?”

“Yes, Roger Connors is a friend of hers and she was lucky to meet him. I see her life getting better from now forward.”

Jessica’s chin nearly hit the tabletop when she heard the name. The confirmation of a link between her Romero and Cindy’s Roger snapped into place through an unlikely source of a university friendship. Terminating her phone call as quickly as she tactfully could, Jessica returned her attention to the doctor.

“You’re not going to believe what I just found out!” Jessica’s deliberate tempo stretched out the drama.

“Did I hear you say Roger?”

“Yes you sure did.” She smiled tauntingly like a child with a secret. “Now guess the surname.”

“No!” Cindy’s jaw gaped even further than Jessica’s had.

“Romero and Roger are not only one in the same, he was also in Winnipeg at the time of the shootings.”

“What do we do about this?” Cindy took a long slow breath to absorb the import of this revelation. “We have a connection that the police don’t know. We have to report it.”

“Do we really?” Jessica didn’t particularly want to, so she put her legalistic mind into passing gear. “We all see crimes everyday but we don’t automatically volunteer to testify.”

“I would if I was asked to.” Cindy bristled in moralistic defense.

“Have you ever seen a fast food restaurant take cash for a sale and then only ring a one dollar charge into the till?”

“They’re only doing that to make change. That’s a service, not a misdeed.”

“Oh really?” Jessica smiled at her law-abiding friend’s naivety. “It would be just as simple to punch in the correct amount. Under ringing is done to avoid creating a record of the full cash transaction. It’s called tax evasion and it’s definitely a transgression.”

“Tax-avoidance and murder are two entirely different things.” Retrospectively, Cindy knew how easy operating a cash register was, but like most, she didn’t realize what she was witnessing.

“Guess which offense Ottawa prosecutes with more zeal?”

“Hmm,” now it was Cindy’s turn to think. There had to be a reason why they felt compelled to divulge their pertinent information. “What about the severity of the infraction?”

“In for a penny is good for a pound. A crime is a crime. Personally, I think the person doing the tax fraud has done worse. The dollar that they cheat is the same dollar you and I have to pay an extra penny each on to make up for the deficit in the great government sinkhole. On the other hand, what did Romero do? His murders seem to have helped society.”

“It only seems like that to you and I because we benefited.”

“What blessings were William Watson, Frank Thompson and that dirty cop bestowing on Creston? Now in Winnipeg, one unfortunate indigenous woman has her life back. More might reap the reward because Darcy,” that lucky stiff, “has a class action lawsuit and it seems only slime-balls died there too.”

“You’re not planning to say anything about this, are you?”

“Only to you.” Jessica wouldn’t trade Darcy her multiple litigant case for the class act that Romero had been. Losing control to the devil within, she giggled evilly and her voice dropped two octaves. “The only reason I might like to see him caught would be to arrange some conjugal visits in prison.”

“Jessica!” The doctor began with a horrified expulsion of surprise and ended with her head shaking in mock exasperation. “How many serial killers actually have groupies?”

“Cindy, what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know yet. I’m going to think about it because it goes against my law-abiding grain. You’re in it deeper than I, so I’ll likely just follow your lead.” The doctor wagged a reproving finger. “But if I get into trouble, you have to defend me—pro bono publico.”

shivasmessenger

From Calgary, Doug drove the sports car on a journey that seemed to go on interminably across the center section of Canada. Finally, at Thunder Bay, he couldn’t push himself any further. The potentially incriminating BMW Z5 needed to disappear eventually anyways. A used car lot offered to buy it for less than it was worth. Still, it was a bargain because it saved him the alternative of littering the landscape. For the rest of the distance, that seemed much shorter in an atlas, he was able to relax and sleep on the train.

After flopping boneless onto the motel bed, the tired traveler looked up as his own reflected image gazed down from the ceiling. It seems this motel doesn’t only cater to folks wanting a quiet night’s sleep.

Later that afternoon, Shiva’s Messenger toured the city in his rental SUV. Windsor was almost a suburb of Detroit except it was located in a different nation. Second only to the preponderance of casinos, the number of Adult Entertainment clubs was impressive. In addition to the favorable gambling regulations, laws regarding lewdness were probably less restrictive here than in neighboring Detroit because he soon found many of the strip club patrons were Americans. In some of the larger burlesque clubs, the shows were lavish productions with ribald announcers introducing performers. In some of the smaller ones, the main stage seemed to be only a lure to the more lucrative private shows.

shivasmessenger

The next club on his circuit was called the Alley Katz Bar. Most of the girls were less pretty, marginally older and not as slim as in other bars. They had vacant and downcast looks in their eyes that suggested drug use or worse. The girls bore vivid bruises on limbs or faces. Some tried to cover their facial markings with make-up while others had deep red and purple welts that were more difficult to conceal.

The manager, or maybe the slave master, stood scowling behind the long bar. Under a pair of salt and pepper eyebrows, his eyes roamed like a bald eagle’s scanning to ensure no girls were shirking their duties and that each tip and table dance was duly recorded.

Apparently, I was correct in my assumption that guns would be present in Windsor. The bouncers had bulges under their arms that were no doubt handguns in shoulder holsters.

At this slow time in the early evening, the customer pickings were currently slim. From their various perches, dancers preened skimpy costumes while they eyed the crop like crows watching for a tasty road kill. They also swooped idly in contrived flight patterns with sexy wiggles to pry loose the succulent wallets.

Here in Windsor, his persona was just dressed in off-the-rack and since he didn’t flash large bills, Doug was the least attractive man in the place. However, in a famine, even meat scraps clinging to a bone look delectable and a dancer spotted him at last.

“Hey, handsome,” she sidled up and split his knees with her hips to step in very close. Dressed in a micro miniskirt and braless halter, her body was thin and bordering on anorexic. “I’m Raven.”

“Doug.” He took her loose hand and found it skeletal thin and cool to the touch. Doubtlessly not her real name, it probably eluded to her black hair but the avian scavenger also fit the label.

“How about a table dance?” She leaned in even nearer and rubbed her chest against his. By asking so quickly and without any preamble, she gave an indication of how perfunctory the encounter would be. Initially Doug felt inclined to refuse but as random chance had led him to meet Audrey, he changed his mind.

“Sure.” Doug stood to follow. “I’m new at this though and I don’t know what the rules are.”

“Come on then,” she ignored the question or didn’t deign to answer it and led him to towards the back. The bar manager watched them cross the room and performed his mental tally.

Abutting against the left side of the stage there was a stub wall that didn’t extend fully to the roof. Since it bordered onto the back section of the performance area, Doug assumed that it was a place compartmented off for entertainers to change costumes. Several semi-screened booths were built against the partition and Raven led him into one of them. He sat in the low-armed chair while she adjusted a carpeted wooden box between his spread knees.

“You normally can’t touch me,” Raven explained the regulations as she cited the fee, “but for an extra tip, you can.”

If she can entice me to touch, she earns the bonus gratuity?

“Have you worked here very long?” Doug tried to initiate a conversation but his utterance only gained a curt nod that didn’t invite further dialog. Talking obviously wasn’t a vital ingredient of the regimen. Raven was much more interested in peering out of the enclosure at her overseer. She must have a quota to meet. As the current song ended, she patted his leg and delivered a smile that lacked any warmth as she ascended her solitary stage.

The semi-anemic girl began to seductively sway with the smooth melody. All of the music in these bars also fit a mold that he now realized was part of the industry. The tunes were to allow slow dances. High-energy beats would wear the performers out over a long night and swiftly moving body parts were not as easy for the amateur gynecologists to focus on and scrutinize.

Obviously, Raven knew this song and all others by rote as she had a set routine for disrobing her skimpy apparel. Her traversing through a repertoire of practiced moves had her rubbing her torso on his body while she breathed into his ear.

By midpoint into the music, the dancer had stripped completely. Her undulating poses were now dedicated to providing him with a detailed vista of the vital portions of her female anatomy. Already familiar with the outward appearance of sex organs, Doug’s gaze studied her overall visage, without concentrating on the proffered specifics. The hollow dark semi-circles under her eyes suggested a drug habit and marks on her too skinny arms confirmed it. Many black and purple bruises marred the pallor of her limbs.

Aware that the song would be ending soon, the girl now concentrated on bestowing eye level close-ups of intimate body orifices. Presenting her rearview, Raven bent at the hips while her knees shifted slowly. Her objective was to place her smoothly shaved, most private part as close to his eyes as practicable without it actually making contact with his face. The cheeks of her butt were nearly in position to slap his facial ones. As the music trailed away, she was hopping off her throne and stepping back into her skirt.

“Would you like another one?” Raven inquired with a hopeful tilt of her head.

“Later.” This was both intended and accepted as a polite no. As the dancer prepared to leave, she anxiously gazed back into the lounge area. Doug detected an expression of quiet desperation. He caught her arm before she left the booth. “I’ve changed my mind.”

She performed several more times and Doug touched her out of pity, instead of allure, just so she could earn her tip. Something is going on here that I don’t yet understand—but I don’t like it already.

“This is the last one.”

“Would you like—a happy ending?” Her hint was unconcealed.

“Maybe later.” That one definitely means no. This isn’t just erotic titillation. It’s a front for prostitution.

“Does it get busier later?” Doug used the innocuous query as an excuse to move his beer and take a seat closer to the end of the bar, nearest the hairless prune-faced manager. The mumbled response was unimportant: he was now positioned to eavesdrop.

He pondered while listening. Perhaps I’m missing something but the private stripping doesn’t stimulate me. In spite of the near proximity of a naked female, there was no closeness. Raven’s lines of scripted dialogue and her choreography supported the contrived role played so many times that she was an automaton. Doug found it terribly sad that she had to seal her mind in a deep vault, while she functioned as an anatomically correct animated mannequin. Which came first? Did her drug abuse begin as an escape from the drudgery of being a sex thrall or was it the necessity of supporting the habit that drove her into selling her body and soul?

After catching a few snippets of conversation between the malevolent bar tyrant and one of the Russian bouncers, Doug had heard everything he needed to know. I’ve found my next project.

Outside, Shiva’s Messenger found an alcove swathed in shadows where he could watch the door. He returned to it at closing time and waited. Several girls exited holding the arm of a client. “Those are the fortunate ones headed for the nearest hotel room to view happy endings in the ceiling mirrors.”

Somewhat later, several more dancers left looking relieved at having made their allotments or at least not being on top of the slave master’s list tonight. Last of all, the manager and doormen emerged along with a man Doug hadn’t seen inside. The squat, beefy man is likely to be the owner. Each dragged a girl that didn’t look eager. Raven was among the unlucky ones.

Now, the employee negative incentive program of beatings and forced sex would begin. A goon and the manager had speculated on who it would be tonight. Raven’s mild panic earlier now made sense.

Though a natural response would be outrage, Doug felt no urge to interject or rescue. Anger clouds action. Channel your rage into creativity. Plan your strategy. Make your preparations. Then act with deliberation. The messenger coldly mapped out his strategy.

shivasmessenger

The encounter with Raven at the Alley Katz wasn’t the only table dance that Doug sampled but the others were comparable. He soon realized that it was unlikely that he would meet an open person here. For the necessity of protecting vulnerabilities, most dancers erected mental walls between themselves and the clients.

He continued to scour the prostitution bar scene for another two days, just in case he’d missed finding a worse mess to clean up. Alley Katz Bar was doubtlessly the pigsty in gravest need of Doug’s highly specialized janitorial services but a further three required custodial attention almost as desperately.

“If I’m going to go to all the expense and effort of doing a good set-up, then I may as well perform a management downsizing in four places instead of only one. It would be much more cost effective and a productive utilization of my time.”

shivasmessenger

Shiva’s Messenger left Windsor bound for Toronto, to begin his preparations. His father had left another mini-storage for him in Hamilton and he stopped there along the way. This supply depot had generally the same stock as the one in Calgary. But it did have one unique selection of gear that his father described in another of his notes. He read an excerpt.

 

When I placed materials into storage, I did so very carefully. I used gloves and wiped everything for prints. Articles contained in this box are different. I selected an assortment of normal items that I felt wouldn’t change for many years. Hotel room drinking glasses, for example, haven’t varied in design for the past 20 years and the same style in use today should be still around two decades hence. I’ve handled each piece in such a way to ensure that they carry a legible copy of my fingerprints. I then sealed the box and replaced the air inside with an inert gas. The body oils that comprise the fingerprints should remain fresh for many years.

My prints are definitely held somewhere in the law enforcement codex. Matched, they should raise flags in at least one government department. The CIA certainly wants me caught in a situation they can control. I’m sure they wouldn’t balk at fouling or trying to foil another department from getting to the prize first.

My son, you know that everything I possess I’ve given to you. That includes my own legacy and reputation as well. You may use these prints to implicate me of anything you feel you must.

 

Doug peered through the glass top and sides of the sealed case. There was quite a selection. These ranged from ammunition in single rounds of assorted caliber, to a shiny Zippo cigarette lighter that showed a thumbprint very plainly on the side. It was especially good as these were casual items even a professional might forget to wipe off in a hurry. The selection included an assortment of blank pieces of stationery and envelopes. The young assassin could envision a wide range of potential uses.

He set to work creating his new identification and again the library supplied his next persona. Yuri Malenkov had been the son of a mid-level Soviet diplomat. He lived fast and died young as the sole victim of a single vehicle accident where excessive speed, drugs & alcohol had all been factors.

shivasmessenger

“Phew!” The flamboyant hairdresser wrinkled his nose as he ran slender fingers though the black hair with the light roots. “Did a butcher shop do this or did you use a bottle of shoe polish all by yourself? Let me clip off everything that isn’t your beautiful natural color. You’ll look so butch that all of the boys will chase you.”

“You go, girl!” Doug treated him to a suggestive wink. He didn’t have the heart to break it to barber that he wasn’t gay. His head was cropped military short with all hairs bristling fully erect: this was a drastic shift from his original shoulder length style.

Yuri would have a different sense of style than either Romero or Garcia but he wouldn’t dress down either. A black lamb leather jacket was a must and Armani jeans to wear under it. He picked out some expensive gold rings, chains and a very good Swiss watch. Alterations completed, he gazed into the mirror and a Russian man stared back. “Hello, Yuri Malenkov.”

 

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