OK Mammonites, you’re all caught up, right? I mean I took four whole days off. Sure, I posted four chapters before I did, but still . . .
Anyway, back on the horse and putting the spurs to it. My goal remains the same. A chapter a day until I finish the book. If you need to catch up, you can download the first thirty chapters right here. And, as always, thanks for reading.
“Radio nut jobs are a national story,” said Starshak. He was standing in the southbound lane of Lakeshore Drive next to the Navigator, which rested on its roof in left lane, against the median. Overhead, every news chopper in the city was circling for position. The Drive was blocked off from 57th Street at the north end of Jackson Park, near the museum, all the way down to 67th, where Corsco’s limo was parked off the exit. “Now we’ve fucked up everybody’s commute. Now it’s local news.”
Tony Campano, guy from gang crimes, had his head inside the Navigator. He pulled it out, walked over to Starshak, Lynch and Bernstein.
“Most of his head’s gone, but that’s gotta be Charles Davis,” said Campano.
“Big Boy Davis?” Lynch said.
“He part of Hernandez’s organization?” asked Bernstein.
Campano shrugged a little. “It’s not like its IBM or something with an org chart, but he moved Hernandez’s product, on most of the West Side, anyway. And if you wanted to move any of it somewhere else in the Chicago area, then you bought it from Big Boy.”
“So his distributor?” Bernstein said.
“Not sure how far you want to push your business school model on this,” said Campano, “I mean when your product is illegal and you got a 9mm instead of a personnel manual, but yeah. His distributor.”
“So,” Lynch asked, “If Hernandez wanted some muscle up here on short notice, Big Boy’d be the guy he call?”
“Be my guess,” said Campano.
“You know the other guys in the car?” Starshak asked.
“Yeah,” said Campano. “Driver’s Jamal Coddell. Navigator’s his. Gotta love these guys, they get their hands on a little cash, they buy some fucking car nobody else in the neighborhood can afford, then they trick it out so it sticks out like a sore thumb. Might as well pin little homing devices on their pricks. Makes it easy to keep track of who’s where. He’s like, I dunno, I guess Bernstein here would say middle management. Runs a mess of the street crews out west. Other two were a couple of Big Boy’s better shooters. Gonna be a mess.”
“Territory up for grabs?” Starshak asked.
Campano nodded. “Big Boy’s had the West Side and the Hernandez pipeline locked down for a long time. He already lost a guy and a shipment a couple days ago. That clusterfuck out in Downers Grove? Now this shit. His second in command is a guy name Leroy McGee, but McGee never met a problem he didn’t think you could solve with a bullet. Plus he’s out one of his street crew chiefs and two of his better shooters. Soon as word on this hits the street, anybody with the bodies is gonna be making a run at him.”
“Guess we’re going to be busy,” said Bernstein.
“Yeah,” said Campano. “Good news is, these guy’s ain’t exactly Eisenhower or anything. Not like they’re gonna sit down, come up with some kickass plan. They’re gonna start driving around, shooting up each other’s turfs. Then were gonna bust a mess of them, and they’re gonna start rolling over on each other, and we’ll end up taking a lot of the senior guys down.”
“Sure,” said Starshak. “After a mess a five-year-olds that got nothing to do with anything get killed in the drivebys.”
“Right,” said Campano. “After that.”
“And then a mess of new people take over,” said Lynch.
“Yep,” said Campano. “And we gotta figure out who’s running what all over again.”
McCord was working on the cream-colored Mercedes that was angled into the median wall down toward 67th Street.
“Got anything?” Lynch asked.
“Everybody was shooting out car windows, so we’ve got brass all up and down like a mile of road here,” said McCord. “And even when we find it, we don’t know what came from which car. So there’s that. But we do have two shell casings on the floor in the back here, both 9mm. Car took one in the rear driver’s side door, low down. Somebody shot the shit out of both tires on the driver’s side,” said McCord.
“Seems like they were aiming for the tires, not the people,” said Lynch.
“Yeah,” said McCord. “Got a little blood here in the interior.” He pointed to a smear along the back of the window pillar on the driver’s side, a couple drops on the inside of the rear door. “I’m thinking somebody hit their head when the car went into the wall.”
“So we can get the DNA on that,” Lynch said.
“What do you hear on the limo?” Lynch asked.
“Besides the body in the trunk?”
“Heard about that. Corsco’s muscle?”
McCord nodded. “Looks like he caught a couple rounds through the quarter panel. Bad luck, his head was on that side. But we did find one piece of brass on the floor in the front and a three in the back. You’ll like this. Back seat? All 9mms. Front seat? .40s.”
Lynch remembered that Wilson’s duty weapon was a S&W .40 – and they’d had .40s and 9mms on the street in Downers Grove.
“So Wilson and Hardin were in Corsco’s car?” Lynch said. “And they shot up the Mercedes?”
“We’ll have to do the tests, match up the brass, but that would be my guess. Probably have their prints in the limo, too. We’re dusting that.”
“So who shot up the Navigator?” asked Lynch.
McCord shrugged. “Found some brass on the street back there. We’ll check it out. Had to have been witnesses.”
Lynch nodded. “Yeah. Light colored car, maybe a Ford, maybe a Chevy, everybody all over on that. Guy came up fast, jinked around the Navigator a bit, then lit up the passenger side. Automatic weapon of some kind.”
“And Hardin and Wilson aren’t here,” said McCord.
“Nope,” said Lynch.
“Means somebody gave them a ride,” said McCord.
“Yep,” said Lynch.
“What’s Corsco have to say?”
“Lawyered up. Got him in holding. Be interesting to hear.”
Husam al Din was parked two rows back from the black Honda. He had been watching the car all day and monitoring the progress of the discussion of terrorism and drug lords on the car radio. Interesting. It was clear that the information leaked was meant to position to government to apply the more relaxed rules they have established for dealing with what they call “enemy combatants” to drug traffickers. And yet all the callers wanted to talk about were illegal immigrants. Al Din was fleunt in a few languages at this point, and passable in others. He always made a point of talking with the hotel staff and other menial employees. They often had information. Every hotel maid he’d spoken with on this trip was Hispanic. He had to assume at least a few of them were illegals. And as he had driven around the wealthy areas near Oak Brook and Downers Grove, he had seen many Hispanics working on the large lawns and gardens. Hispanics had cleared his dishes in the restaurants. It was the same in every country. The disdain in which the rich held the poor who served them.
Then the talk show he was listening to was interrupted by a bulletin about a shoot out on Lake Shore Drive. Al Din knew it was the major roadway along Chicago’s lake shore, and that it was only a few blocks east of where he was parked. But the shooting had happened several miles further south. Corsco, the mafia boss was mentioned. Hernandez, the drug lord was mentioned. Neither dead, but both somehow involved.
Which meant Hardin was involved. Which meant he was no longer using the black Honda. Al Din got out of his car to walk to the hotel that was adjacent to the lot. The shootings would be covered on the American television stations. He would watch and see if there was anything to learn.
“I want my client released immediately,” said Gerry Ringwald. He was back in Starshak’s office with Starshak, Lynch and Bernstein. Corsco and his driver were down in holding.
“And I want him strapped to a table and given the needle,” said Starshak. “I guess we both gotta live with our disappointments.”
“Is he being charged?” Ringwald asked.
Lynch shrugged. “He was in one of the vehicles involved in a shootout that left four dead on Lake Shore Drive.”
“And he fucked up traffic,” said Starshak.
“And that,” Lynch continued. “We found a dead man in the trunk of his car. We found shell casings in his car. And when we wanted to talk to him about this shit, he said to call you and he shut up. So you want him released, give us a reason.”
Ringwald pulled a file folder out of his briefcase and opened it on the desk.
“Mr. Corsco visits me frequently for business issues, and parks in the garage around the corner from my building. He uses this garage partly because it has security cameras. After I spoke with my client, I went to the garage and reviewed the security tapes. These photos show Mr. Corsco’s driver and body guard being subdued at gunpoint by Mr. Hardin and a female companion. The car was then driven to my office, where Mr. Corsco was abducted at gunpoint and driven onto Lake Shore Drive, where he was subsequently attacked by persons unknown. Mr. Corsco is the victim here, and the evidence proves that. You have no cause to hold him.”
“So Corsco was carjacked?” Lynch said. “Funny, usually I talk to somebody’s been carjacked, they just tell me that. They don’t say get me my lawyer.”
“Perhaps, over the years, Mr. Corsco has grown distrustful of the police,” said Ringwald.
“He say why Hardin abducted him?” Lynch asked.
“Mr. Corsco claims that Hardin said nothing to him at all. He thought that perhaps someone had shared your ridiculous theory about Fenn with Hardin, and that Hardin was going to kill him.”
“And I suppose he has no idea who attacked him?” Lynch said.
“Can he tell us anything about the people in the Mercedes?” Lynch asked.
“Does he have any idea how Hardin and this woman got away?”
“Mr. Corsco was on the floor of his car in fear of his life. He has no other information,” said Ringwald.
Lynch looked at Starshak. Starshak got up. “Bernstein, check with the DA. If he’s got any way we can hold Corsco, then we hold him. If not, then he can go after we get a full statement. From Corsco, not from this fuck.”
Ringwald smirked, got up to leave.
“Funny thing,” Starshak said. “Tony says Hardin was going to kill him, yet Hardin shoot up the Mercedes with some of the guys that come after him, and he then leaves Tony on the floor. Would have been easy to park a couple in his skull before he took off.”