It’s cold. Too cold. The cold is working in and shutting me down. I must have three or four broken ribs and several hits. I can taste blood. That means internal injuries. Laying here watching that path I can’t help but think about my wife Sara and our daughter Trina. She just turned two and is walking. Trina not Sara, she had been walking for a while now. I had a Colt M4 with six magazines and a Glock 17 with four magazines. In my position, I have a clear site along the trail on the west side. The two I was protecting went east on the only other path. I hope they make it.
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A break in the storm brought about a dark yet clear sky as well as a clear satellite connection. With that I received an Email from Phil. He told me he had sold our location to the Taliban who then told the family of the quests where they can find us. He was to be paid around five hundred thousand dollars for the information. What really happened was they set an ambush for him instead. He said he was sorry and wished he could take it all back. I wish he had the courage to come to Alaska. Maybe then I could have forgiven him. Ok, maybe I would have buried him in the snow, but we may never know what I would have done.
Whoever that was must know that they will need the building we are in or we would already be dead. All the supplies are in here and those auxiliary buildings weren’t built for long term habitation. They had another two to three hours before the storm stuck again. This time it would be around for days. I gathered everyone in the common room. I told them what was what and explained how we need to defend the main building. Dleen took the three children that came with them into a panic room in the center of the main building. She also took a Colt 1911 with a couple of spare magazines. No one in their right or wrong mind would shoot the windows out so we took up positions at the doors. I quickly realized this was a bad idea, we need to take the fight to them.
The snow was thick and deep. Tina’s makeshift snow shoes actually worked. Tina, her brother Dan and I made our way to the auxiliary building they were occupying. There was six of them all in lite snow gear. All of them with AK 47s. Clearly, they didn’t understand what fall in northern Alaska would be. Then Tina did a count. She realized there was ten cots on the floor. Four men were missing. We made our way back to the main building. As we approached we could hear the mistakeable sounds of AK and M4 fire. We made in inside to find two of them dead along with a woman named Kayoosh and Tina’s brother Dave. They were taken by surprise. Ted was hurt but not badly. It took all of us to keep Tina from rushing out at the others in the auxiliary building. I made a mistake by splitting up and it cost us two good people.
One of the children watching out the window said the others were on the move. I ordered all the quests into the panic room. Sara would have none of that. She wanted a gun and a chance to defend herself. Is love at first fight a real thing? Soon all the woman wanted guns. Three of the men went to a loading dock on the other side of the building. The first thee charged inside the front. They found nine-armed people waiting for them. A very quick exchange of gunfire ended up with all three dead. I don’t know or will ever know if the heard all that gunfire and were spooked or whatever they were thinking. The three at the loading dock made a break for it into the wilds of Alaska. Their wolf eaten frozen bodies were eventually found sometime in the spring. Two years later.
Just before the storm hit again we received a message. Jimmy somehow made it out of Afghanistan. He found his way back to our headquarters only to find a message Phil taped to the door. He then found Phil the next day on a beach in Mexico. He enclosed a video of him making Phil dig his own grave then him filling it. As much as I want to say I don’t approve of this, I did find myself watching this video two or three hundred times over the course of the next two months.
Two months later we were just days away from getting out of here. The site was compromised by Phil and the quests were going to be moved. All except for Sara. I woke up every morning with Sara next to me. I wouldn’t mind doing this for the rest of my life. Up here in the devil’s icebox a Jew and a Muslim found happiness with each other. Dan and Ted found something too. Who knew? Well, I guess they knew.
We would go back home and go from there. I didn’t have enough employees left to keep the company running. Maybe one day I would open shop again. I gave Tina, Dan, and Ted enough money so they wouldn’t have to work again. Bobby gave Jimmy seven million dollars in his will. He planned to open a catering business offering a restaurant experience in a person’s home. It sounds a little too price but who knows it may work. Sara and I will go back and manage all the properties I built while working as a mercenary. Maybe we will franchise the Russian bar concept? It will be nice to have a job that only requires wearing one gun.
We received news that they took off and were on their way. They also told us about the brothers and Gregg. Bobby was one of my first employees and a good friend. His brother Jimmy was a screw-up. His last act was to give his life so they could escape. I hired Gregg because I saw something in him. I knew he could be doing better. He proved to the rest of the team he was one of them. We don’t have time to morn.
I sent Tina to the meeting point with the snow van. It is an extended van with treads instead of tires. Soon even this vehicle won’t be able to go out. A strong storm is moving in. Our guests will just make it in time. We however, are going to be trapped with them for what could be a month or more. I guess I should stop calling them the brothers. Dave and Dan helped me batten down the station for the storm. TCs parent’s employees won’t be here in time. Their plane was diverted to Anchorage. So, their first months of education would be online. All we can do now is prepare and wait.
About five hours later they made it to the camp. Well, most of them made it. At one of the stops along the way Phil got off the plane. He said he had enough of the life and wanted out. We helped the quests out of the van along with the meager possessions they brought with them. Their clothing was bought along the way. Most of them had never seen snow before. Now there where surrounded by it. A security blanket with a temp of fifteen degrees below zero. Tina said there was one other plane on the tarmac. There was no pilot or crew and the plane was just left out for the elements. The troubling part was that the plane had a flight plan that originated in Saudi Arabia.
With the snow moving in we would be safe soon. Whoever that was, it would appear they didn’t plan for the weather or remote locations. Off in the distance I could hear a helicopter. In this weather and at this temperature that is not a good idea. I pulled in my people and did a weapons check. Given the nature of our duties we planned accordingly. Each of my team had a Colt M4 and a Barretta Storm. I had my Browning Automatic Rifle or B.A.R. and my Barretta Storm. One of the ladies watched us prepare. She walked up and said in what was very good English, “are we in trouble?” I answered, “don’t know yet but it’s better to be prepared than not.”
We had snow gear just not deep snow gear. We were supposed to be out of here by now and the new crew coming in would have all the gear they would need. We would have to improvise. Tina said she saw a couple of rattan chairs in the back. with a little imagination and a lot of duct tape she could fashion some snow shoes. The rest was just layers of clothing and goggles. Jimmy had packed about fifteen pairs of goggles in a box marked grenades. I looked at the box and thought about him and all he did. The sky turned from blue to ashen then black within a few minutes. The storm was here.
I stood by a window and watched it snow sideways. I grew up in northeast Ohio. So, snow is nothing new to me. I remember one day when it snowed three feet in five hours. It just snowed that in one hour. This wasn’t just snow, it was end of times snow. Looking at this I can see why people say the suicide rate in Scandinavia is so high. Nothing but icy cold death as far as the eyes can see. Sara joined me at the window. She said, “I couldn’t have ever imagined such a place like this.” Sara was the quest who asked us if we were in trouble. Her husband would beat her if she left the house. She is around 5’ 11” with a dark olive complexion, long jet-black hair and a figure that makes Marylyn Monroe look like Olive Oyl. She wore her hair over one side of her face to cover a scar given to her by her husband. One day he was going at her with a bamboo rod when she picked up a kitchen knife and held it in front of her. He tripped and impaled himself on the knife. Although it was ruled an accident, his family wanted her head. No, literally her head.
What I couldn’t tell her was I wasn’t staring at the snow I was watching an auxiliary building. The lights were on and someone was home. It wasn’t one of us. We had company. The thermal camera wouldn’t work here. Although with it back at our headquarters it definitely won’t work. The box marked camera was filled with ketchup packets. I want to ask who put Jimmy in charge of packing the gear. Oh, that’s right it was me. That boy just loved ketchup. In our inventorying, we found something like three thousand packets of ketchup. They took the place of the camera, extra ammo for the Barrett, Ted’s backup laptop and Tina’s romance novels. As I stared out the window Tina was reading an old dog-eared copy of War and Peace.
I find myself in the snow again. Well, at least it’s not snowing. We were working a job a now retired operator setup just before she stepped away. My right-hand TC decided she didn’t want to risk the baby she was having on working in the field. She said it was selfish to put her wants before the baby’s needs. She and my best friend from high school were expecting their first child soon. So, I find myself in uncharted waters. Yes, I have done many jobs without her. this will be the first with her completely gone.
I own and operate a specialty security service. I started this company to do some good while making some green. TC’s father worked for the World Health Organization or WHO. He retired a few years ago but he kept some of his contacts. While there he and his wife started a secret organization helping women to escape violence. They started in the middle east but now operate all over the world including America. Occasionally, we provide security for those who are escaping from more violent troubles. Some are running from abusive husbands’ others from family.
My team was split up with Ted, Tina and her brothers with me in Alaska setting up our hideaway while Gregg, Bobby, Jimmy, Phil and Janet are in Afghanistan helping our guests make the move. They will enter Canada then cross the border into Alaska. This site works well with most people thinking, “who would go from the desert to the tundra.” People in hiding move here for a year or two. while here we can help them assimilate into the culture. By the time they are ready to leave they have everything they need to start a new life.
We had a window of about three days. Then a storm will close off access to this site. I don’t want to be here then. It could be a month or more before anyone can get to this hideaway. We built up enough supplies for twenty people to stay comfortable for two years. There will be at most thirteen people including the people TC’s parents hired. This site also includes a remote weather station which provides satellite Wi-Fi. The station acts as cover for why we are there and provides a connection to the outside world. Now all we need is for my team to show up with the quests.
Five miles from the departure point they found themselves being chased. Gregg and Bobby were on point in a Land Rover with a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on top. Jimmy and Phil were in the rear with a Humvee and another 50-cal. Gregg and Bobby pulled to the side and let the convoy pass. They ducked behind a hill and waited for the ones following them to pass by. Three old Land Rovers passed. Two of them had 50-cals and one was loaded down with RPG rounds. This was bad. It would take some time to load the plane. A running gun battle with children would be a bad deal. They needed to stop them or at least slow them down. Bobby radioed ahead to warn the airstrip. With Gregg behind the wheel and Bobby at the gun they struck.
They caught the pursuers by surprise. Bobby hit the third car with the 50-cal. The excessive number of RPG rounds in the back exploded turning it into a fire ball. Gregg dodged the flames sending the Land Rover to the left. The second pursuer found his target and opened fire on the two. Over the radio Jimmy heard his brother and Gregg cut down. Jimmy Sped up and came to a stop. They were approaching the end of the mountains. The terrain then opened to a flat plateau. From here the pursuing Land Rovers could catchup. He had Phil get out. Janet in the truck with the refuges started to protest. Jimmy said, “they will need all the help you two can give them. I need to finish my brother’s work.” The truck slowed down enough so Phil could get on. Janet looked back knowing she would never see Jimmy again.
Jimmy blocked the narrowing road with the Humvee. He then grabbed his Barret rifle and a bag of magazines from the back. His last act was to set the explosives in the Humvee. He just had time to take a position when the two remaining pursuers arrived. They slowed to a roll as they approached the Humvee. Jimmy waited for them to get close. Then he set off the explosives in the Humvee. The explosion turned the Humvee into a large grenade. The shrapnel ripped and shredded both vehicles. The surviving men ducked behind a ridge. Jimmy opened fire on them. His first three shots hit their mark. Off in the distance he could hear more trucks. These guys had help coming. Jimmy fired until he ran out of ammo.
Mexico 2009 or How I became my own boss
Let’s see, one, two, three, four, five, six and me. Yes, if this was the old Adam West Batman show I would be Thug Number Seven. I took a job guarding a warehouse here in Mexico with eight other guys. I spend most of my day with an AK in front of me walking the perimeter. The others seem to be very uninterested in what we are guarding or in the actual act of guarding. The guy I am calling Thug Number three left his rifle at a card table and is now in the can. Thug Number Four is asleep in a corner. Clearly the owner of this warehouse was hiring top notch operators. Oh, wait they also hired me. Ok.
After a few years in this business I find myself without a partner. My old one found a different kind of partner in Africa. They are planning a wedding soon. It must be nice. I am broke and good honest work just isn’t paying the bills. I left the Army to get away from the old job of standing in front of things as in guard duty. I now find myself standing in front of things for a lot of money. Maybe too much money. If I am getting paid $900 a day and everyone else is too then they are paying $8100 a day. I think a good padlock or set of dogs could do as good a job and be a heck of a lot cheaper. What are we guarding?
I asked Thug Number One, “what are we guarding?” he just look at me and then walked away. Thug Number Two was by the door. He said, “someone is coming.” I shouldered my rifle and came to the door. Thug Number Five started to laugh. A former Marine, he was always trying to bust my chops on how I acted in the field. It seems like everything was a joke to him. Five got up without his rifle and went to the door. He was laughing as he approached the door. Two wasn’t laughing. He was tense and ready to strike. Something was wrong.
Two yelled, “duck incoming fire.” Five had no time to react. He was cut down in the open doorway. The incoming jeep had a 50-caliber machine gun on top and it cut through the door and Five easily. Splattered with Five’s blood I returned fire. I aimed for the driver not the gunman. My aim was true and the Jeep crashed into a parked van tossing the gunman over it and into a pile of blood and agony. Everyone left took up a position. In the exchange of fire Thug Number Six was hit in the head while he was in the bathroom. Just behind the Jeep was a semi-truck minus the trailer. We had a couple of trailers in here.
With number Two, Three and Four at the door I went to check the trailers in another room. The first one was stacked from floor to ceiling back to front with cash. What must be millions of dollars. The second was also packed. Bricks of a white powder that I don’t think is sugar. I can’t tell them about the money. It wouldn’t end well. Come to think it, they shouldn’t know about the drugs either. I then understand that I was working for a drug dealer. It seems that I am defending one dealer from another. I never wanted to work for such people. I need my own people. Find our own jobs. Here I am just another paid thug. As I stood there staring at the drugs, more gunfire erupted.
I made it back to see three men rush in. Two was down with a fatal head wound and Three and Four were fighting back. I joined in and the three outsiders were dead. A blast shook the building. We ran to the other side of the warehouse. They blasted the doors open and were hooking up a truck to the trailer with the drugs. We exchanged gunfire and forced them out. That is when what was left of my team found the drugs. Oh, great. We didn’t have time to deal with the discovery. The outside team made their way into the front of the warehouse.
As the fighting, reengaged Number nine was hit in some crossfire. He spun around and stumbled into the middle of the fight. The result was he was ripped to bloody rags. Thug Number One fished out a remote from his pocket and dialed in a number. The front room exploded. He had placed a sizable explosive in the rafters of the building. Makes me think it may have been for us. The explosive was too big. The building shook and supports started to fall. One support hit Thug Number One in the shoulder severing his arm. With that the building was on fire. Eight turned his gun on Three and fired. He shot him in the face then made a beeline for the truck. What he didn’t count on was the boobytrap in the truck. A small charge in the back of the seat acted like a Claymore mine shredding him with what looked like buckshot.
This left me and Thug Number Four. He looked at me then the truck and said, “let’s take the other trailer and split the contents.” I said, “why not?” If we left it there it would burn up like the drugs are going too. If we return it, the dealers will just buy more drugs with it. I asked him, “what’s your name?” He said, “my name is Robert, but most people call me Bobby.” I had the most experience with a big rig so I went out to find a truck. Just outside I found an old Mack truck. The bulldog was missing its head but the truck started on the first try. I pulled the truck in and we secured the trailer to it.
We somehow escaped with the cash. He and I split around three hundred million dollars. He knew a guy who would launder the cash for 20% or sixty million. We sent some money to the fallen thug’s families in our team. Even Thug Number One who looked as if he was going to betray us as soon as he could. To his credit Bobby only kept a little of the money. Most of it he donated to various charities. I split my remaining cash into thirds. One third to charity. Another third was used for investments such as low-income housing and eventually a Russian Bar. But that is another story. The final third I used to start my business. A year later with my old friend David, his new wife the tall Senegalese born TC and Bobby we opened up shop. My first rule was we won’t work for or with drug dealers.
Top Hat Santa with a Gun
We were sitting in a van watching an apartment building. Well some of us were watching the building. TC was watching Jimmy tossing a flashbang from hand to hand almost juggling it. not long after I hired Jimmy he accidentally set off a flashbang in a surveillance car being used to watch a target. Ted lost some hearing in his left ear and the flashbang set the car on fire. The result was that Ted doesn’t go into the field unless he has too. Or wants too. I wouldn’t stop him. Mid toss TC caught the flashbang. She said, “I’ll make you eat this if you toss it again.” She then let it drop into his hand. The flashbang suddenly because a priceless fragile egg like object to be protected and stored safely.
I run a specialty security service. For the most part, we are mercenaries. If you want security guards we can help you find google and look them up. If you need the kind of help that comes with gunfire and bad guys crying then call us. If you are a bad guy then don’t call. About a week ago we got a call from an apartment manager who thinks one of his tenants is dealing drugs from his apartment. While this wasn’t our usual type of job a video he sent brought back memories. A man came into the building then back out. He was tall and thin wearing a red and white top hat. It’s top hat Santa.
On a job a while back we met a drug addict hired by a twisted evil charity as bait. But that is another story. His name is Larry. He was or is addicted to heroin. We had help him find a treatment center and even paid for the treatment. Seeing him here was a little disheartening. I had to know more so we took the job.
After a few days of watching Larry finally came back. Just like before he went in the building them back out. We followed him. It wasn’t hard to follow a 6’ 9” guy in a red top hat. He went down the street and into an alley. As we watched I noticed another car was also following him. An old Monti Caro from the 80s in a low rider style were the car is almost scraping the surface of the road. It had a limo tint on the windows that was supposedly illegal. I guess when you’re a criminal you don’t care about the law. The car came to a stop and three guys got out with shotguns. Larry was about to have a bad day. We went to move in. That is when all hell broke loose.
Gunfire and not just shotguns. True automatic fire. Using a small drone, we went to do a little recon. In the alley, we saw the three would be killers’ dead. In fact, almost cut in half. There were four men with what looked like old Thompson submachine guns and Larry with a colt 1911. Larry went from addict to killer. We pulled the drone away and went back to regroup. Too many questions and not enough answers. The next day we sent Jimmy disguised as a cable guy to place some cameras around the block. We would gather information on the situation. We also took up residence in the apartment next to the suspect tenant. Using the fancy thermal camera and some slightly illegal bugging devices we put the tenant under a microscope. The result was surprising.
The Tenant was a guy named Barry. He was Larry’s twin brother. After nearly dyeing of a drug overdose he was house bound. Barry had a stroke from the drug. His brother would stop by and check up on him. Larry was part of a neighborhood watch program. But not one any city would approve of. They were killing anyone caught dealing drugs in their neighborhood. Personally, I have a no help drug dealer policy, but I also don’t want to see good people do bad things. It’s also nice to see Larry is still clean. We need to help them or stop them. I guess my only real job here is to tell the client he was wrong.
In the morning, I went to the job we helped Larry get. Before his days on heroin he was on his way to becoming a top-notch mechanic. He hurt his back and went from legal pain killers to the big H. People have a hard time giving a guy like Larry a break. Ex-convicts, addicts and people with mental health issues are unfortunately left out of society. So, for people like this, the non-violent and abandoned I opened a workshop. A little something for everyone. One part makes furniture. Another part operates a landscaping service. Larry works in a part that restores cars for sale. Some classics, but most are basic runners for people who can’t afford new.
I met him in an unused office. After the usual greetings, I showed him a video we made of what he and his friends were doing. I could see on his face he thought it was all over. His second chance was dead. I said, “I told you back them as long as your drug free you have a place here.” I also told him I can understand why he is doing this. His brother won’t be able to have a second chance like he did. I asked him, “what will bring you satisfaction and end this. Because you know this has to end.”
He said he wanted to set fear in the local dealers. They weren’t killing all the dealers just the ones that used violence on the streets. He wants them to be afraid to sell in his neighborhood. I asked him, “have you ever watched the old television show The Green Hornet?” I explained how in the show’s hero was a new paper owner that pretended to be a criminal mastermind. He would use this image to infiltrate gangs and take them down. What we could do is make up a new gang. One so over-the-top the others will stay away.
We started with a concept. After a couple of ideas, we set on a Russian gang. Most of us could pass better as Russians rather than Chinese or Hispanic. We designed some tags for marking our territory and the look of our gang. With all that we sent out some street artists a.k.a. taggers to spread our tag. The next day I rented ten black Chevy Suburbans. With every white guy in my employment we drove around Larry’s neighborhood. Everyone was told to slow down by every known dealer. We also applied for a liquor license for a bar in the neighborhood. A Russian bar. Not some themed bar out of Disney. One real classy joint.
Three weeks later something unusual was happened. After we opened Klassnyy our Russian bar about three other Russian themed stores opened. The bar’s name means Classy. The money coming in to the neighborhood was changing everything. The streets slowly were cleaned up. Abandoned buildings and rundown apartments were being renovated. A new vibe throughout. Our plan was to intimidate the dealers out, but what ended up happening was we priced them out. By the end of the year the bar was very profitable. The only trouble was I didn’t get to use my fake Russian accent. Ok, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Do svidaniya!
When somebody comes to work with us they sign a no-compete contract. They are not free to take jobs outside of the company. In sighing the contract, a new employee will receive $1200 a week plus health benefits. We also pay a bonus for every job worked. In a line of work such as ours having a steady paycheck without having to sell your soul is a good deal. Some people can disconnect what they do from who they are. Some are just evil and like to kill for money. It’s hard to find the kind of people we want and not the one we don’t.
I own and run a specialty security service. Mercenaries with a conscience. We won’t work for criminals, political despots and the Home Depot. We deal in a very different kind of hardware. Our goal is to make money while doing some good in the world. As the business has expanded we have found a need for new employees.
We were told about a team just outside of Phoenix, Nevada. They were an actual family. Three brothers and a sister. I went down there to interview them. The sister was the person in charge. She made all their decisions. Her name is Tina and she just wasn’t interested. She said how they already did all that without a boss. She also said they didn’t use guns. What it came down to was they were a strait up security company and not what we were looking for. I gave them my card and told them if they change their minds and want a little more excitement then call.
About a month later I was setting up a care package to some Russian friends in Canada when I got a call from one of Tina’s bothers. They took a job guarding a warehouse near the border with Mexico when they were ambushed. The simple job guarding candles was in fact a warehouse full of chemicals. Many of them can be used in the production of the drug Meth. What a surprise the client lied to them. To make the matter even worse the thieves took Tina.
About three hours later I touched down near their location. Most of my team on a job in Afghanistan. A relief agency wanted a little security for their workers. With that in mind I had some good people with me as well as Jimmy. Janet is a former LA SWAT team member Jimmy the brother of a much more capable operator and Gregg. I hired Gregg after he helped me out of an ambush. In his time with us Gregg has proven useful, but most of my team won’t work with him because of his past. Janet is the senior operator so she was my second on this job. Jimmy once set off a flash bang inside a car being used for surveillance. He almost got us killed by insulting some Russians surrounding us.
When we finally found them, the brothers had received a ransom demand from the kidnappers. They wanted either ten million in cash a list of chemicals they sent via email. These guys were looking to start a little drug operation here in New Mexico. Clearly, they don’t watch television or they would know it won’t end well. I sent the email to our tech guy named Ted and he traced the IP to a man named Thomas. Using an ever so slightly illegal search we found his phone in an old laundry matt near a town on the boarder.
We sent them a message saying we could get the drugs long before the money. They sent a location to take the drugs. We split-up with Janet talking two of the brother and Jimmy with her to the meeting place while the third brother and Gregg went with me to the laundry matt. We will need to strike first and fast so we can rescue Tina and take these guys down.
Using the fancy infrared camera, we could count five bodies left after the other six went to the meeting. We setup a frequency jammer and went to the laundry. The third brother named Bobby took the M4 I offered and he and I went to the back door. The Gregg went to the front. His job was to make some noise while we broke into the back. Off in the distance I could hear a trumpet. When I first saw Gregg with the instrument I didn’t understand but now I wish I didn’t. He broke into a fast version of Taps. It somehow worked. The four men went to the front. We went in and untied Tina. That is when the gunfire erupted. Apparently the four potential drug kingpins didn’t like Gregg’s playing. In a fire fight the last place you want to be is in the middle. Too bad for them. We left the four dead men there and went to meetup with the others.
On the way back, there was a massive explosion. The plan worked. We made a bomb look like a container of potentially lethal chemicals. They checked the containers and were happy. They said they would release the girl as soon as they were away from them. The bomb was a clone of Thomas’s phone programmed to go off if a key phrase was used. That phrase was “kill her.” It was also get rid of her, shoot her and so on. They didn’t waste any time. Too bad for them. Ok, not really. When all was said and done they joined in and came to work with us. Their first job was to deliver the care package to the former Soviet Army unit in Canada. But that’s another story.
(quick recap my team and I were hired to find the thugs assaulting charity workers. What we found was a group of no goods up to no good. How no good, just keep reading.)
An hour later Ted came in with a newspaper. The cover was War in the Streets. The second story was about an Elf for New Hope being tied up and shot on a street corner. TC Said, “I didn’t shoot him.” I tapped on the box and said, “no my guess is there is a secret in this box worth killing for.” Ted said, “yeah no kidding.” Ted went on to say he would need time to examine the box. I told him he had twenty-four hours. I was going home to shower and sleep. At home, I found two officers waiting for me. They needed me to come back to the station and answer some more questions. Ten hours later they brought me back home where I showered and slept. In the morning, I went for a run. I noticed a bigger police presence in my neighborhood. After running I showered again had a bowl of corn flakes. Then using the back door went to the office.
At the office, Ted said we would have to meet in the secure room. In it he had dismantled the box. He had found a tracking device inside. Our secure room acted as a Faraday cage preventing signals from coming in or getting out. Ted said, “outside of the GPS marker this thing had no security.” I replied, “the security was the guys with the guns.” He went on to say how the box was a large hard drive storing peoples stolen credit card numbers as the donated. He said, “it’s the perfect scam. Most people today don’t carry cash so if they can donate using a card then they will.” The scam was worse. People with credit limits above fifty thousand or bank accounts above two hundred thousand a special marker was placed on the file. Using a program to retrieve erased files Ted rebuilt the past scans. He connected the marks with home invasions over the last couple of months with at least twelve deaths. But wait there’s more.
Ted said, “this is where top hat Santa comes in. I found a receipt on him with a barcode. When I tried to take the receipt, he flipped out. So, using the street cameras I followed him to a dealer.” Ted turned on a screen in the room. A video from a street camera showed top hat Santa walking up to a known drug dealer. The dealer stood on the opposite side of a fence from the buyer. The dealer pulled out what looked like a pricing gun and scanned the receipt. He left then came back with a small packer of something. I don’t think it was sugar. Ted said, “I also searched every known charity for homeless and poor and couldn’t find where they gave any money away.”
Identity theft, credit card theft, home invasion, murder, drug dealing and embezzlement of charity funds. I said, “what no puppy kicking?” Ted turned around and played a video of one of the elves kicking a kid's puppy into the street and under the tire of a passing truck. TC who had come in without a sound said, “we need to stop these people now.”
As if to answer the question the police were at the door. They had a search and seizure warrant for all fire arms in the premises. They took everything from my personal Beretta Storm subcompact to every AR 15 in the arms locker. They even took a plugged barrel replica of a WW II M1 Garand hung on the wall. None of the guns used that night were there. I have a secondary location for heavier duty weapons. If Ted did his job those guns were long gone. The location isn’t in my name or the companies. Luckily the donation box was unrecognizable in its separate parts. Then they took me in for 24 hours so they could test the guns. So, I wouldn’t make a break for it.
24 hours later I was on the street. Back at the office I found everyone that works for me. TC called everyone who wasn’t on a job in to work on this job. I pulled TC aside and told her we need to do this by the book and within the law. With the police watching us anything stupid or illegal could end the company. She asked, “then what will we do?” I answered, “I have no idea.” It would seem Ted had an idea. He sent all the information we gathered illegally to a police detective he knows. This detective is the one working on a rash of home invasions taking place in the city.
We needed to make it able for the detective to investigate the charity. TC said, “let’s raid their offices. Using baseball bats and our fists we would go into the New Hope’s offices and break stuff. This will give the police an excuse to go in and find the evidence they need to take them down. This also could end our company. Our preferred clientele does not hire criminals and the kind that do we don’t work for. Before we left I addressed the company, “this could be our last action within this country. If anyone doesn’t want in I will understand.”
Near the door with the annoyed intercom was two loading doors. If we were to give the police the best way of seeing all the illegality happening we would need to take these doors down. It’s a good thing I brought the Hummer. I attached a tow line onto the doors and pulled them off. Inside was the entire elf army. Twenty men all dressed like either elves or Santa Clause. Also, there was one in an Elvis Santa costume. They were surrounded by guns, money and what turned out to be stolen items from the home invasions. In other words, evidence.
TC yelled, “let’s take it to them.” we charged in with bats. The doors coming off and our invasion took them by surprise. We struck. Luckily, they didn’t go for their guns. They grabbed whatever was handy. One of them threw a bell. The bell clanged off the Hummer. Santa Elvis pulled a knife and came at me. Before he got to me TC put her foot in front of him and he tripped over it. the knife went sliding by. He got up and threw a punch. I countered and caught him in the beard with a good old fashion round house. That is when the police arrived.
In the end, the charity was closed. All their operators were jailed. Some with multiple counts of murder. Inside the offices the police found a detailed account of all the drug dealers they worked with as well as all the stolen money and houses invaded. After some negotiations, my team was charged with several misdemeanors from simple assault to property damage. I now find myself alongside of the road picking up trash for the next one hundred hours. Also, our client refused to pay us. The elf that kicked the puppy may have had a little accident involving a baseball bat and his nuts.
Here I am standing on a corner ringing a bell. In a Santa Clause suit. The job sounded easy. Find the people beating up the Salvation Army workers. In the past couple of days seven bell ringers have been assaulted. One lost an eye in the attack. The temp service that supplies the local Salvation Army here wanted to protect their workers. After the cookie incident, I had said never again but here we are working for an icon of Americana in red and white suits. As it turned out the initial part was easy. About a day into our stake out a rival charity showed up to go after my second-in-command a woman we all call TC. That was a very big mistake. TC is a tall strong beautiful black woman who likes to kick ass.
The three men followed her into an alley. The first dressed as an elf swung a tire iron at her head. She easily dodged the swing and brought up her knee connecting with his junk. The force of the kick doubled him over. As he fell away the other elf and Santa struck. The elf pulled a knife and came at her with a downward slashing motion. Like he was a movie psycho. TC shifted to her side and used his downward force to propel the knife toward him. He stabbed himself in the thigh. Santa struck with a led pipe. He used a sideways motion trying to prevent what just happened to his elf. The result was a weak hit to the forearm. She easily disarmed saint nick and used the pipe on his, well let’s just say he won’t be walking right for a while.
TC is a valuable employee of a specialized security service I run. Some call us mercenaries, the ones dressed like elves just cry uncle. We handle cases most are unwilling or unable to take. If you are a drug kingpin, crime lord, or tyrannical ruler of an oppressed people then just don’t call we won’t help you. We may be mercenaries but we do have standards.
TC found a card on old saint nick for a charity called New Hope. The plot thickens. New Hope is a charity devoted to helping the poor and homeless. They put their people on every corner. Their business is high tech using specialized collection boxes that include debit and credit card readers and a money counter that could provide a receipt. They collect all year long using different themes for every occasion. Some are known for being aggressive with the bell ringing and asking for money.
The next day I went to the New Hope offices to find out what was what. The charity is being operated out of an office space in a strip mall. TC stayed out on the street hoping someone else tries that again. No windows, just a handmade sign. I knocked at the door. Nothing. I knocked again. A voice came over an intercom to the left of the door, “sorry we don’t take walk-ins or allow nonemployees inside our offices. If you want to make an appointment then please call.” The disembodied voice gave me a phone number. I said to the voice, “a couple of your employees tried to go after an employee of the Salvation Army and had their asses handed to them. It would be nice to hear if New Hope had an explanation.” Dead silence. So, I left a card in the door and went back to the office.
About an hour later five men came to the office with baseball bats. I had an idea that someone would be coming so I was waiting in our reception area. The five men walked in. I said, “this isn’t the batting cages fellas.” The first guy in the door said, “shut your hole and.” He stopped as I stood up holding AR 15. I am wearing gray and black camo with a full-size Beretta Storm on my hip and a compact Beretta Storm on a tactical vest. I said, “it seems that you all brought bats to a gun fight.” The first one went to make a move. I took a step back and aimed the AR at the lead. He turned white then red. He almost looked like he was going to faint. Then the smell. Yes, he crapped himself. They dropped their bats and left. I went looking for an industrial strength air freshener.
The upfront way wasn’t working so we needed a new plan. This may shock you but our plan was to steal from a charity. We needed to get a better look at their fancy collection boxes. I doubt any of them would let us. Ted and I went looking for a mark. He or she would have to be in a remote location with an easy escape route. After combing the city, we found our mark. A man dressed like Santa with a top hat instead of the traditional one. unlike many his box wasn’t chained down to anything. We were in a panel truck with a sign saying we were plumbers. Can anyone say shades of Watergate?
We made our move first speeding up then coming to a stop in front of the top hat Santa. Out of nowhere a shot rang out. The headlights of three cars came on. One car was parked just across from us with a guy and his AK 47. This was a trap. Top hat Santa dropped to the ground as gunfire erupted. After the first shot Ted had stepped away from the wheel. Which was a good thing as all the fire was directed at the driver’s side of the truck. Using our ARs Ted and I returned fire. The other two cars opened fire. The panel truck was armored but not completely. Within a few minutes the engine was dead. And if we didn’t do anything fast so were we. I shot out the street lights plunging the street into darkness. They didn’t pack any night vision for this little hunt. I try and never leave home without it. Ted and I using suppressors and night vision picked off two of every person in the cars. They eventually drove off. I sent Ted to a car we had stashed for an emergency with all the guns while I waited to explain to the police what this was. Ted also took top hat Santa who as it turned was a junkie the others paid to act as bait.
After a night of saying wrong place wrong time the police released me and I went back to the office. In our main conference room, I found TC with one of New Hope’s boxes on a table. She said, “I found one in a bad location and offered the Elf three thousand for it. He said yes as long as I knocked him out and tied him up.” She looked me over then she looked to Ted who wasn’t in yet. She said, “how did your night go?” I said, “you can read about it in the paper.” TC went over and grabbed a crowbar. I waived her off and said, “no this thing may be booby trapped. Let’s wait until Ted gets in.”
Neo-Nazi Bikers of Lodi
I was on a beach in Southern California I got the call I’ve been waiting for. My father has been battling throat cancer for a while now. Today he lost the battle. I was on the beach watching the surf when the call came in. He was diagnosed about three years ago. About a year ago they had to remove his larynx removed due to the cancer. His last words to me where, “I don’t know why you came.” This was nothing new. He and I have never had that all-American father son relationship from the movies or television. I had a better relationship with my grandfather. I had to tell my sister I couldn’t come right away but I would be there as soon as I could. I had another surgery in the morning on my hand scheduled. I was shot while on a job in Canada and required four surgeries to fit my right hand. It also required spending days on the beach and plenty of drinks. She said she understood and she wouldn’t touch the house until I got there. I was the oldest but Ruth lived nearby. She lived in Uniontown Ohio about 5 minutes from dad’s house. It would be a week before I could go back to Ohio.
I was born in Akron, Ohio but my family lived in Springfield township. This is not the same as the Springfield near Cincinnati. My home town was just south of Akron. My parents had a small home with a small stretch of land backing up onto a semi private pond. We lived here but for the first twelve years I lived on my grandfather’s farm in Lodi. For those who don’t know Lodi is known for three things, an outlet mall, the Amish and corn. We were not store owners or Amish. I have a Rabbi uncle who could attest to this. My grandfather was a corn farmer.
My grandfather as a young man had escaped Germany just before the war. My grandmother wasn’t so lucky. She spent the war in a workcamp. When the war was over he went back to find her. About three months into the search he found her in a hospital. They moved to Ohio. Their farm was part of a group of farms owned and operated by Jewish families. They wanted new lives away from the cities and violence. Living among the Amish would provide this. I would work the farm and learn from my grandfather what it all meant.
Then I was eight he gave me a lever action 22 rifle. I had to keep it on the farm because my father didn’t want guns in the house. I knew he had a Smith & Wesson police special in a night stand but I also knew better than to call him on it. My grandfather taught me how to shoot with that gun. Most importantly he taught me that gun ownership is a responsibility not just a right. Every action has a consequence. By the time I was twelve I was using a lever action 1895 Marlin. I was becoming a good shot with the large caliber rifle. One day he said he had a job for us.
The coyote population was on the rise here in Ohio. One was spotted on the farm a few days ago. The Coyote had killed some chickens. It seemed that it had made its home in the drying corn. I grabbed my new rifle and we were off. We tracked it to a tree line used as a windbreak where it had just killed a mother rabbit and was eating its babies. The coyote was fast before I could aim it had killed all the young rabbits. I took aim and fired. The shot went about three feet above its head. The coyote looked around then went back to its lunch. Grampa put his hand on my shoulder and said, “steady and aim true.” My next shot hit it in the head. It felt right and wrong all at once. I had killed before. Mostly rats in the corn but I never killed something so dog like. It was doing what nature intended it to do. We buried it and the rabbits in the windbreak.
On the way back, we saw a bunch of motorcycles coming up the driveway along with a pickup truck. The truck belonged to a neighbor to the south named Pascal. The bikes where a mystery to me but not my grandpa. Over the last couple of weeks, a group of bikers were intimidating the locals trying to get them to sell. There had to be at least eight of them. Most had swastika tattoos. We approached from behind the barn. Inside he handed me a box. In it was a Beretta M9. He said, “I was going to give this to you tonight.” He instructed me to go into the hay loft and take aim. He said, “don’t fire unless they start something.” I said, “how will I know?” He said, “you’ll know.” With that he strapped his old Colt 1911 on his hip and went out to meet the thugs.
He walked up to Mr. Pascal and the two started to argue. I couldn’t tell what was being said. My heart was beating so loud I could see it in the rise and fall of my gun. Mr. Pascal had some papers in his hand. As he spoke the bikers dismounted and started to box my grandpa in. Without warning Mr. Pascal dropped the papers, pulled out a revolver and shot my grandfather twice. He took as step back then fell backwards. My heart stopped and the picture became crystal clear. I took aim.
In my sightline, the bikers became paper targets. I rattled off three shots before the bikers could react. The rest scattered firing wildly in the air. Five shots later all the bikers were dead. Mr. Pascal had ducked behind the house. I jumped down from the loft and made it to my grandfather. He said, “run.” From around the house I saw Mr. Pascal. I shot at him. I couldn’t hit him but I could hit the house. The shots sent shrapnel into his face. As I shot I could hear more motorcycles coming up the drive. They had reinforcements. I looked back to my grandfather. He was dead.
I had three options. The house, the barn and the corn. The house and barn were a death trap. I could hear more bikes coming up the driveway. I had to run, now. I grabbed the Colt 1911 and ran for the corn. As I hit the field I could hear shots being fired. They followed me into the corn. City people following a boy raised in the corn. I had one chance, if I could make it to the neighbor to the north we could beat these neo-Nazis back. Mr. Kline was a survivor of Auschwitz and had no love for the Nazis. I zigged and zagged in the corn to though off my trail. At one point, I came to a stop. One of the bikers was just above me. He looked down and hesitated. A big mistake. I shot him in the foot then in the head thought the lower jaw. The 1911 had a kick and it turned the man into a blood fountain as he fell.
He had a radio and a cheap automatic of some kind. I had no use for such a gun, but the radio was a win. Just behind me a man fired a twelve gauge. I would have been cut in half but he had cut it down to hide it on his bike. The barrel was most likely rifled spreading the shot wildly. I was hit with a couple of shot in the shoulder. I had no time to think about it. I ran. As I approached the border of the farm I heard Mr. Pascal over the radio. He was calling some of the guys back to deal with my grandmother and sister when they came back from town. He was going to kill them then try and make it look like my grandfather did it. Time was running out.
On the way, I could hear them searching. One finally said, “the tracker on the radio is working fine.” The radio was a tacker. I was near a stream. With the fall rains the stream was moving fast. I put the radio in a plastic bag I had in my backpack and tried to fill it with air. Then I sent it down the stream so they could track it. By the time they found it I was at the Mr. Kline’s house.
I first found one of Mr. Kline’s sons working on a tractor. He saw the blood and called for his father. He knew me and my family. I told him what happened and that they were waiting to kill my grandmother and sister. He said, “no, not today. Never again.” He and his three sons grabbed their rifles and followed me back. He had lost his first wife and three children to the Nazis. His second wife said I should stay and have my shoulder looked at. He said, “no this is his fight.” Like that we were off to kill the Nazis. The Neo-Nazi bikers from Heck.
Nearly a half a mile out we could see them searching for me. Six men all armed with the same cheap guns except for guy with the shotgun. From that point, the four men took aim. I didn’t think they could hit anyone from there but within seconds four of the men were dead. I took aim and fired. After three shots, I hit one of them. Mr. Kline said, “you didn’t kill that one yet.” We found him trying to hide in the corn. I hit him in the shoulder. The shot dislocated it. Mr. Kline took aim. I said, “no. I need some information.” He looked at me and smiled. I walked up to the guy and put my foot on his dislocated arm. He screamed. He told us that they were hired to intimidate the Jews into selling.
Mr. Pascal was trying to buy all the land because of a report that a new tire plant would be built there in Lodi. Anyone with the land would be rich. Also, these farmers wouldn’t sell. I took my Beretta and shot him in both feet. I said to him, “wait right here.” We left him to be found by the police later. He would take a plea deal and tell how Mr. Pascal killed my grandfather and tried to kill me. His whole plan. Pascal was convicted and sentenced to two life terms. That lasted about a week. The Arian-brotherhood didn’t like having their members killed like that. I would tell you what they did but it’s better just no to think about t.
We reached the farm. The bikers were piling their dead onto a truck. The plan to frame my grandfather was being made. They all stopped working and looked up. It was almost cartoonish how they reacted. They reacted just a little too slow. We opened fire. The deer rifles were an asset in the field but by the house my lever action ruled. I handed the 1911 to Mr. Kline and he shot the last of them. Mr. Pascal was gone. He had a face full of wood shrapnel. About ten minutes later the police arrived. All the police that came were in some way related to Mr. Kline.
The police confiscated my guns as well as my grandfather’s 1911. It didn’t matter. My father wouldn’t let me keep them anyway. I knew that from now on my life would change. I had no idea how much. About six months after the shootout my mother left. I heard her say on the phone how she just couldn’t’ live with him anymore. I blamed him for driving my mother away. It wouldn’t be for years until I found out it was me she couldn’t live with anymore. She told me this on the day I joined the Army. I went from being her son to a monster in a day. By then the wall between dad and me was too thick too high too strong.
That night I went to a hotel and settled in. My sister gave me a letter my dad left for me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. We left things so final that giving him the last word just felt wrong. But I had to know. In the envelope was a key to a storage locker. Also, a hand-written note.
Jack, I wish I was a stronger man. I wish I could have been a better father or had the guts to say this to you when I could say anything. I was week and petty. I blamed you for her leaving when it was her and me to blame. I could see my father in your eyes and his strength. You are a better man than either of us. The last time I saw you I tried to tell you I was proud of you and you needed to be out there helping people but somehow all I could do is question you. Even now as a write this I know I won’t be around to answer for my neglect. One more act of a coward. I try and follow you and what you have accomplished with your company. Your partner TC sent me some information on your deeds. It makes me think that I may have done one thing good. But how can I take credit for your actions. All I can say is I am sorry and I hope one day you can forgive me.
The next day I went to the storage locker. Inside was some furniture, both of my lever action rifles, my Beretta M9 and my grandfather’s 1911. Later I stopped by the graves and placed a stone from Africa on my Grandfather’s grave. On my grandmother’s grave. I placed a stone on my father’s grave and said I wish I was strong enough to say I love you.
P.S. The tire plant was built in Mexico.
These are short stories I wrote. Some are connected to the larger books I am working on others are just for the fun of story telling.
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