There ain’t no better way to kick of your weekend than getting Mammonized. That’s right, folks. It’s Mammon time again. Chapter 34 is good to go. Need to catch up? You can download anything you’ve missed right here.
It was hot in the self-storage shed in Ford Heights. In Husam al Din’s experience, people in more depressed areas are the least likely to contact the police and also are the most in need of money. After he paid the shriveled old black man two month’s rent in cash, he didn’t suppose he would be bothered. But it was hot in the shed.
Al Din enjoyed working with explosives. Nostalgia, he supposed. It reminded him of his childhood. He didn’t have access to the military grade material he’d had as a boy, as there isn’t much unexploded ordinance laying around in the United States, but he had access to what he needed.
He’d bought the folding table, a chair, a large plastic tub, several tubes of Styrofoam cups, two gallon jugs of water and some soap at a Wal-Mart store. From Home Depot, he had a battery powered drill, four lengths of pipe threaded on the ends, eight pipe caps, a pair of tin snips, several sheets of galvanized metal, two large boxes of small screws and two large metal gasoline cans. From a sporting goods store, he had four twenty-five pound weights. A short drive over the border into Indiana netted a large collection of fireworks. A few minutes driving along a street where people had put out their garbage yielded two one-gallon plastic bottles and several old newspapers. He stopped at a BP station to fill the gasoline cans.
First, al Din drilled holes in the center of four of the pipe caps and set those aside. He emptied the powder from the fireworks, threaded the undrilled caps onto one end of each of the pipes and began to pour in the powder. After every couple of inches, he would tap the capped end of the powder on the table until it would not settle further. When the pipes were completely full of powder, he screwed the end caps that he had drilled onto the ends, wrapped the pipes in duct tape, and put a small piece of duct tape over the holes in the end caps. The ignitors would run off cell phones, but he would not insert those before he was ready to place the devices.
Next, he poured the gasoline into the large tub and slowly stirred in the Styrofoam cups, adding the cups a couple at a time. When all the Stryrofoam had dissolved, he kneaded the screws into the paste, and then packed the grayish, doughy substance into the gallon milk jugs. He used the tin snips to cut off the front of the larger gasoline cans. He placed two of the twenty-five pound weights in the bottom of each can, and then set the gallon jugs inside the metal containers. He cut the galvanized metal into rectangles sized to fit snuggly inside the metal cans. He had enough of the metal to make ten rectangles for each device. He taped the rectangles together into thick, laminated metal pads, which he slid into the cans behind the plastic jugs.
He fitted two of the pipe bombs into each can, sliding them in between the plastic containers of home-made Napalm and the thick metal pads. He filled all the void spaces with crumpled newspaper until all the components were wedged in place.
The metal pads at the back would offer more resistance to the explosion than the plastic jugs to the front, focusing the blast through the plastic, igniting the Napalm and blowing it forward, along with the screws embedded in the doughy substance. The weights in the bottom would help to stabilize the device during the explosion. They were crude, low-yield bombs, but they didn’t need to do much. Just nudge people in the right direction.
“Twenty twos again?” Lynch stood in Ringwald’s kitchen. The wooden chairs were arranged in a semi-circle, Ringwald on the end to Lynch’s left, Ringwald’s wife on the end at the right. The boy was next to the mother, probably four years old. The girl was between the boy and Ringwald. Lynch was guessing seven.
“Yeah,” said McCord. Some Highland Park cops were milling around, but they didn’t get crimes like this on the North Shore. They were happy for the help.
“Everybody’s gagged except Ringwald,” Lynch said.
“Yeah,” said McCord.
“So you figure this al Din fuck was talking to him.”
“Yeah,” said McCord.
They both stood for a moment, saying nothing, looking at the bodies. The boy was wearing Iron Man pajamas. The girl was wearing a Miley Cyrus t-shirt and a pair of gym shorts. Rinwald was just in his boxers. The wife was in panties and a white top, probably one of Ringwald’s undershirts. Al Din must have got them out of bed, Lynch trying to picture the scene for a moment, everybody getting herded into the room, getting taped to the chairs, getting . . .
“This guy is starting to piss me off,” said Lynch.
“Yeah,” said McCord.
“That’s good news, Carmello. Nobody needs a war.” Corsco hung up the phone, turned to Martino. “Carmello’s talked to his cartel contacts,” he said. “They’re trying to calm Hernandez down. They’re going to explain the situation to him, let him know it was just a freak thing. Looks like this may all blow over.”
“Good news, boss,” said Martino. Right before the bullet came through the window, through his skull and lodged into the wall a foot to Corsco’s right.
Al Din watched through the scope from the roof of the building a block west Corsco’s apartment, saw the man go down, saw Corsco dive to the floor. He set the rifle down and pulled out his phone. He punched up the feed for the small web cam he had watching the garage in Aurora that the street gang that Hernandez was staying with used as their headquarters. He didn’t see Hernandez, but the weather was warm, and several of the gang members were lounging in lawn chairs in the entrance to the garage. Al Din had placed his devices to either side of the entrance to the building, hiding them in the piles of garbage that had accumulated there. He had the numbers for the cell phone ignitors on speed dial. He pressed one, then the other.
Hernandez and Miko were in the small office at the back of the garage, Hernandez on the phone with Julio, the next most powerful man in the cartel.
“We have his word,” Julio said. “It was Hardin, not Corsco. He does not want a war.”
“The man tried to kill me,” said Hernandez. “No man tries to kill me twice.”
“Think, my friend. What does he gain?”
“Some deal with Hardin,” said Hernandez. “Just because we don’t know what he gains doesn’t mean anything.”
“Can you wait at least?” Julio asked. “Give us some time to resolve this.”
“My men are on their way,” Hernandez said. “You have until they arrive.”
And that’s when the bombs went off in front of the garage. First from the left, then from the right. Two of the LK men were sprawled flat on the ground, shredded by the shrapnel, their bodies coated in burning jellied gasoline. Another man ran toward Hernandez, his body a suit of flame from his knees up, shrieking. Miko pulled his nine and shot the man through the forehead.
Hernandez still had the phone in his hand.
“What the hell was that?” Julio said.
“Corsco,” said Hernandez. “The wait is over.”