Just a little taste today, Mammonites. Just moving the ball. If you’re new to the game and need to catch up, you can get all twenty chapters right here.
Bobby Lee’s brain was racing, trying to think of something he could give this guy that might keep him alive.
Bobby’d been taking a little break. Made a nice chunk running a quick background check, nice day out, ran up to that Italian joint on Washington, one that made the good sammies, got himself a beef-and-pepper combo he’d brought back to his place, figured he’d sit out on the patio in back, watch the whiteys golf for a bit.
Which was when the skinny guy in the linen sport coat walked around the corner of his place, .22 along his leg with a silencer on it, asking if they could step inside and have a word.
Now he was in his boxers, duct-taped to his office chair, blood pooling on the floor, and his left foot hurting like hell where the guy had cut off his little toe with a pair of pruning shears.
“Man, makes no difference, I tell you anything, you still gonna fucking kill me,” said Lee.
“You know that’s not true,” said Husam al Din.
“You already cut off my fucking toe, whaddya mean I know that’s not true?”
Husam sighed. Americans. No experience with this sort of thing, he supposed. “Precisely because I cut off your toe. The psychological impact of a finger is far greater – and the nerves in the fingers are more sensitive. But you need your fingers to do your work. And my employer values your work. So I will leave you alive and relatively intact if you give me that option.”
Husam was actually a little surprised. He didn’t have faith in MOIS to do much besides identify his targets and wire his fee. But he knew the Mafia people who had tried to kill Hardin must have gotten intel from the same source that he had. They, too, had found Hardin’s car. So he called MOIS and asked them to find the source. They’d gone back through their middle man, someone had hacked through some complex security and tracked down the IP address. And here he was.
“Employers?,” Lee blurted. “Who you workin’ for, man? Let’s get ‘em on the phone, sort this out.”
Husam shook his head. “You don’t deal with them directly.”
“OK, OK,” Lee said, thinking maybe he’d get out of this just down a toe. “Just tell me what you need.”
“I need to know everything you have given out on Nick Hardin, and everyone you have given it too.”
Lee’s sack shriveling up on him again. He starts handing out info on Corsco or Hernandez, somebody else’d be buy to cut off something sometime soon.
“Jesus, buddy, you gotta know I can’t be ratting out people like that. Part of the service man, I mean whoever your guy is, you think he wants me telling anybody who shows up what he got?”
Husam al Din reached down and slid the blade of the shears around the fourth toe on Lee’s left foot.
“Fuck you doin’ man?” Lee shouted. “You don’t gotta . . . JESUSFUCKINGCHRIST!”
Husam cut off the toe. These were fine shears. He’d bought them at the Home Depot store on Route 59 and they cut through the bone with almost no resistance at all. He would have to pack them when he left. He liked these shears.
“I’m not negotiating,” said Husam. “You can give me answers or body parts. And I have done this sort of thing before, many times. I know the people who will tell me what I need and those that won’t. You already know you are going to tell me. You are just wasting your toes.”
And Lee knew he was right. He spilled, about Corsco, about Hernandez, all of it.
“But you don’t know where Hardin is now?” Husam said, leaning forward a little, opening the shears.
“NO! Man. Fuck no. I mean I told you. My main gig is Chicago, right? Got eyeballs on everybody down there. Out here? I mean I can hack systems and shit, been running checks on his Hardin ID, on that Fox ID he used. But I got nothing.”
“All right,” said Husam, fitting the shears around the next toe.
“FUCKFUCKFUCK! Hey, wait, one more thing. I mean probably nothing, right? But I got call from Hernandez’s guy like an hour back, wanted me to run a check on an address. Turned out to be some chick who works for the DEA. I mean I didn’t tell you ‘cause I figure that’s just day-to-day stuff for him, nothing to do with Hardin that I can see, but I mean that’s something right? I’m not holding back on you here.”
Husam pulled the shears away from Lee’s foot, sliced the tape off Lee’s wrists and turned the chair toward the computer terminal on the desk.
“Print out that address.”
Lee clacked away at the keys for a moment. A printer to the left started spitting out a sheet.
Husam al Din shoot Lee three times through the back of the head, close enough that one of the slugs punched through, coming out Lee’s eye socket, blowing some gore on the monitor screen. Amazing what these Americans will believe. He looked at the sheet. Donwers Grove, the next town east and on his way back to the hotel. Worth a stop.