And the Mammon keep rolling along. You can download all eighteen chapters right here. Got a comment? Hit me up.
“He gonna be able to talk any time soon?” Lynch talking to the doctor at Northwestern, in the background, Fenn was laid out on a ER gurney, tubes running in and out of him, ventilator pumping away.
“You’ll be lucky if he talks ever,” the doctor replied. “Him just staying alive is touch and go right now. Then we have to see how much brain function he has left. Going to be a few days, anyway.”
“Looked like he’d been snorting,” Lynch said. He’d seen the rim of powder on Fenn’s nostril. “Don’t see OD’s off of that usually.”
“Stuff they brought in with him you would,” said the doc. “Absolutely pure. Medical grade. He’s used to tooting street junk, I’m not surprised this shorted him out.”
“OK,” Lynch said. Something to think about. “Gonna leave a uniform. Not sure this was accidental. Also, once the word gets out, you’re gonna have press up the wazoo.”
The doc shrugged. “Not my problem. They’ll have him upstairs or in the morgue by then.”
Lynch called McCord, who was processing Fenn’s room. “Got anything?”
“Been drinking, it looks like,” McCord said. “Got through half a bottle or so of Knob Creek, so that would help him along.”
“Was he alone up there?”
“Fucking hotel room,” McCord answered. “We’ll dust it, but we’ll get a million prints. He was nude when they found him, so we’ll check if he got his rocks off anytime recently. Bernstein’s talking with the security guys, but no cameras n the hallways up here, so the best we’ll get is maybe some lobby traffic.”
“Tell Bernstein if he gets any faces, have IT run them against anything with Corsco’s name on it,” said Lynch.
Before Lynch could even put the phone back, it buzzed again. Starshak.
“Yeah?” Lynch answered.
“You guys done there?” Starshak said.
“Close,” said Lynch. “Not much to go one. You got somebody from public affairs teed up? Gonna be a shit storm.”
“Yeah. Got a mouthpiece on the way down. Guy named Merenick. Should be there any minute. Fill him in, then you and Bernstein get your asses down to HQ. We have a meeting. Very mysterious.”
Seephus Johnson leaned against the window of the commuter train, half awake. Up past three laying pipe with one of his baby mamas, this commuter crime shit killing him. Meant he was moving up in the world, though.
Seephus wasn’t wearing his usual. Had a pair of Dockers on, polo shirt tucked in, pants all the way up like some white fucker or goddamn Obama or something. No bling. Stupid computer backpack thing. ‘Course the bag had a kilo brick of blow in it, delivery for the dudes out in Aurora.
Delivery thing was Hernandez’s idea, that’s what his crew boss told him. Stick some brother in a tricked-out sled, baggy ass jeans, have him drive out to white Irish land with his Lid on sideways, tags hanging off it, just askin’ to get profiled, have some Bubba cop from Naperville popping your trunk just for stylin’ on his roadway. Also, Seephus had to admit, most of the brothers ain’t exactly Rules of the Road types, fucking stoplights and shit. Get too many busts coming out of traffic stops.
So Hernandez says get some of the more dependable dudes, guys got a future, dress ‘em up all Cosby like, stick ‘em on the train – mix ‘em right in with the commuters. Contact in Aurora picks ‘em up at the station, they hook up with the LK dudes out there, guys that handle distribution for the Western burbs, pack the cash in the bag, hop back on the train downtown. Wanted them on the train early, reverse commuter runs, that way they got the most traffic to mix in with.
Like having a fuckin’ job, though. Up at goddamn seven in the fucking morning.
But Seephus was cool with it. Meant the crew boss thought he was a player. Meant he got to meet the out of town crews, build out his network. Might even mean Hernandez knew his name.
He knew one way to make that happen for sure- find this Hardin fuck.
Crew boss, he’d passed the picture around, let everybody know this was a major fuckin’ deal. Didn’t say what it was about, just that Hernandez wanted this fucker bad, and that any brother played a part in that, he gonna’ be one happy nigger. So Seephus had studied the picture good. He was good with faces. Little game he played on the train, watching the people get on and off, trying to remember who goes where. Like the guy up two seat on his right? Guy with that buzz cut white guys like when they goin’ bald, always got the IPod buds in his ears, always got the laptop open? Got on every morning in LaGrange. Got off at Route 59. Always had a Starbucks cup.
Little tired for it today, though, just leaning on the window, watching the word slide by. Wished he could sleep on the train like he seen so many people do, but he figured he nods off, somebody pinches his bag, he be sleeping on a slab down at the MEs for good.
That’s when he saw Hardin.
Hardin was going stir crazy. Spent all day in the damn condo. Him and Wilson eating all their meals take out, couldn’t even get out, take a run, nothing. Made sense, all the people looking for him, but it was sawing on his nerves. Switched on the TV, switched it off again. Did another hundred pushups. Have to get out tonight, make his deal with Lafitpour. Should be scaring the shit out of him, instead he was looking forward to it.
She had a lot of books, at least. He flipped the coffee maker on, checked out the shelves, saw The Mosquito Coast by Theroux. Read a couple of his travel books and liked them, figured he might as well see what the guy could do with a novel. Coffee maker dinged. He poured a cup, walked out on Wilson’s small balcony, sat at the little café table she had out there, watched the train pull in to the station while he settled in.
Seephus looked up again from the Sun-Times he’d picked up off an empty train seat when he jumped off. Proud of that move. Gave him something to do ‘stead of just standing on the platform. Had the disguise on, he knew, but he still felt like the only brother at a Klan meeting. Nobody seemed to be paying him no mind, though.
He’d jumped off the train when it pulled in, not sure about that move, not sure what the crew boss was gonna say. LK guys be lookin’ for him ‘bout now, train be pullin’ in to Aurora. Hoped the boss remembered to clue them in – not like he had a cell number or nothin’. Called the boss, told him he had his eyes on Hardin. Boss told him sit on that fucker, he’d get a call.
Been like half an hour now, though. Couple of trains had pulled in, one going each way, him still on the bench on the platform. Fucker was still up there though, second floor, second balcony in from the corner.
Seephus’s cell went off. Tupak tone he’d downloaded, Seephus slapping at the phone, trying to shut that shit off, kinda thing get the whiteys lookin’ at you.
“Yo?” He answered.
“Mr. Johnson, this is Jamie Hernandez . . . “
Seephus trying to listen through the ca-ching sounds in his head.