You thought I was kidding? I never kid. Here’s your second slice of Mammon from today’s Mammon buffet. Watch this space, two more to come. Need to catch up? You can download everything I got right here.
“What they fuck are they talking about, terrorists?” Hernandez said. Miko had picked up some of the talk on the radio, told Hernandez about it.
“They’re saying we’re Al Queda?”
“They are saying we are cooperating with them,” said Miko.
They were staying at an Embassy Suites, close enough to Aurora, close enough to Chicago, ready to move. Hernandez paced the room.
“We get anywhere with this other shooter, guy who took out Roberto and Gomez?” Hernandez asked.
Miko shook his head.
“I was thinking he was with Hardin, some back up, maybe. But maybe Hardin’s got more trouble than we think. Been gone along time. They got Arabs in Africa, right?”
Miko didn’t know, but he nodded anyway.
“Somebody paid Corsco. Maybe it was Al Queda.”
“Corsco didn’t tell you?” Miko asked.
Hernandez shook his head. “Said it was a personal thing, didn’t figure it mattered, as long as he played ball. But maybe he ain’t playing ball.”
“You should call him,” said Miko.
“Fuck that, smooth fucking talker like him. We’ll go see him. I want my eyes on him.”
“Shut the fuck up,” said Starshak. Lynch and Bernstein were in his office with Corsco and Ringwald. Ringwald had been whining about Lynch insisting they come in to the station, not being willing to talk at Ringwald’s office. “Corsco’s a crook, you’re the mouthpiece that chose to make a living sucking up to him. This ain’t a courtroom, you’re not on tape, so save it. We been trying to talk to this piece of shit for five days, you guys giving us the song and dance, now you’re whining ‘cause we don’t show our ass for you?”
Corsco reached over, patted the top of Ringwald’s thigh. “It’s alright, Gerry. We know to expect a certain amount of abuse from these gentlemen.” Corsco was a trim, tall man, dark hair graying on the sides, swept straight back. Expensive suit, expensive shirt, expensive tie. Corsco liked to talk like he was a college professor, but he’d come up through the Mob doing hits. Everybody in the room knew what he was.
Corsco raised his eyebrows, looked around the room. “I assume you have some questions for me?”
“Shamus Fenn,” said Lynch.
“A fine actor,” said Corsco.
“Know him?” Lynch asked.
“We’ve met. I advised him and his company when they were filming in town a few years ago.”
“Which film was that?” Lynch asked.
“Cal Sag Channel,” said Corsco.
“Advised on what?”
Corsco smiled, paused. “Verisimilitude.”
“Strange,” said Bernstein. “All these years you tell us you’re not a mobster, yet when Hollywood needs someone to vet their gangster movie script, you’re the guy they call.”
Corsco shrugged. “I am a simple businessman. If entertainers are willing to offer me a significant sum for my opinions, however inadequate those opinions may be, I believe I am well within my rights to accept that sum.” He turned to Ringwald. “Do I misunderstand the law as it applies here?”
“Well within your rights,” Ringwald said.
“But you do know Fenn?” said Lynch.
“Talk to him much, I mean since your Hollywood days?”
“From time to time,” said Corsco.
“In the last few weeks?” Lynch asked.
“I knew he was in town. I called to say hello. I was saddened to hear of his, well, his health crisis.”
“Ever hear of Nick Hardin?” asked Starshak.
Corsco smiled again. “As chagrined as I am to admit it, I did catch the little episode on Orpah the other morning.”
“So you know he had a beef with Fenn?”
“And then a couple of your shooters make a run at him.”
Ringwald put his hand up. “First of all, characterizing these gentlemen as ‘shooters’ and as ‘his’ assumes facts not in evidence.”
Corsco patted Ringwald’s leg again.
“Did I know these gentleman? Yes. They have assisted me with security matters from time to time. But are they employees of mine? No. They are, I suppose independent contractors would be the word. Now, because I do have interests in certain industries in which the criminal element sometimes dabbles, I do hear things. And as a gesture of good faith, I will tell you this. It is my understanding that this Hardin has a personal dispute with one of the major Mexican drug lords. In fact, I believe there was an event in the suburbs just a day or two ago that demonstrates that. I can only suppose that Mr. DeGetano and Mr. Garbanzo were pursuing Hardin for the drug lord.”
“Convenient for you, isn’t it?” said Lynch.
“This drug lord turning up.”
“Not very convenient for Mr. Garbanzo or Mr. DeGetano.”
Lynch nodded. “Ever hear of Bobby Lee?”
“A general of some repute in the American Civil War?” Corsco asked.
Lynch pulled Lee’s photo from a file, slid it across the desk.
“So an African-American gentleman. How ironic.”
“How long has he been hacking the city’s surveillance network for you?” asked Lynch.
Corsco and Ringwald stood simultaneously. “This meeting is over,” said Ringwald.
“Lee kept backups,” said Lynch. “Just thought you should know.”
“They’re leaving now,” Wilson was watching the parking lot outside the precinct building as Hardin drove around the neighborhood. “They’ll have to take Ringwald back to his office.”
Hardin swung by, picked up Wilson, and followed the stretch Caddy back down to the Loop. Easier than it should have been because the driver was fastidious about traffic laws. Hardin figures the cops know Corsco’s car. They get a chance to pull him over, they’re going to take it.
The car pulled up on Wells in front of Corsco’s building. Corsco and Ringwald got out, went inside. The car turned the corner and pulled into the parking garage immediately east on Washington.
“Guess Corsco and his lawyer need to have a chat,” said Lynch. “We’re on.”
Hardin swung the Honda into the garage. Corsco’s Caddy was parked on the first level, near the entrance, one of the reserved spots you pay through the nose for. Must visit his lawyer a lot. Hardin pulled the Honda in front of the Caddy, blocking it. Wilson got out of the car, her gun out, her badge up.
“DEA,” she shouted. “Out of the car, now! Show me your hands!”
Both the front doors opened, the driver and the other man getting out on either side.
“What kind of fucking bogus roust is this?” the driver asked.
“Open your coats,” Wilson said.
Both men held their coats open. Both had 9mms on hip holsters.
“Put the guns on the ground, kick them under the car,” Wilson said.
“We got permits for those,” the man on the passenger side said.
“I didn’t ask about your permits,” said Wilson. “Get your guns on the ground, now.”
“This is such bullshit,” said the driver, but the men did as they were told. Hardin had figured their instructions were to always comply with the police.
Wilson waggled her gun at the larger man, the man on the passenger side. He’d be the security guy. “You, face down, arms out, legs spread.”
“Look at this fucking floor, got oil and shit all over it,” the guy said. “Gonna ruin my damn suit.”
“Getting shot will ruin your damn suit, asshole,” said Wilson. “On the ground.”
The man did as he was told, Wilson walked over, cuffed his hands behind his back. Then Hardin got out of the car.
“You’re that guy,” the driver started to say.
Hardin put his finger go his lip. Pointing his gun at the driver.
“You’re two buddies,” Hardin said. “They were both strapped and I took them out with a pen. Now I’ve got the gun and you don’t. Like your chances?”
The man shook his head.
Wilson kept a gun on the driver while Hardin reached into the car and popped the trunk. He pulled a tie from his pocket and tossed it to Wilson, who used it to gag the security guy.
“OK,” Hardin said. He handed his gun to Wilson and turned to the driver. “Help me get his asshole in the trunk.”
Corsco called for the car and waited in the lobby. The Caddy slid up Wells, stopped in front of the entrance. Corsco walked to the car as the driver came around and opened the door. Corsco ducked to sit in the car and saw Hardin on the far side of the seat holding a gun on him.
“Hi,” Hardin said.
Corsco heard a woman’s voice from behind him, felt a gun in his kidney.
“Get in the fucking car,” the woman said.