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.”
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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