And the Mammon keeps rolling along. Heading toward the climax here folks. The shit is inching toward the fan. Atomized excrement ahead! Chapter 39 up and running.
If you need to catch up, you can download the whole shootin’ match righ here. And hey, thanks for reading.
“OK, thanks. Try to keep a lid on it.” Bernstein snapped his phone shut. “That was the doc over at Northwestern. Fenn’s awake.”
“Like talking awake, or just drooling on himself awake?” Lynch asked.
“They say lucid. Way better than they expected.”
“Think he’s up for visitors?” Lynch asked.
“Do we care?” said Bernstein.
Fenn’s bed was sitting up, the bed cranked up behind him.
“Look better than the last time I saw you,” Lynch said. “You remember us?”
“Got anything you want to talk about?”
“Detective, I told you everything I know last time we spoke.”
“And then you went back to your hotel and OD’d?”
Fenn shrugged a little. “I don’t remember anything about that. I remember getting back to my room. I remember dinner. That’s it.”
“We got you on possession, you understand that, right?”
Fenn shrugged. “I’ll have my lawyer call you.”
“And you aren’t worried about anything? Doesn’t strike you as weird, you talk to me in the afternoon, and that night you end up tooting some virgin powder that just about puts your lights out?”
“As I’ve said, Detective, I have no memory. And I believe I would like to have an attorney present for any future discussions.”
Lynch nodded. “Just so we’re clear, I’ll be talking to the DA on the drug side of things, so enjoy the hospital food while you can. Stuff in county sucks.”
“You really think you’ll be able to hold me on some possession charge?”
“We’ll see what happens,” Lynch said.
Husam al Din shut the trunk on the rental at the north end of the Grant Park Garage, only a few spaces from the stairs leading down from the park where the meeting would be held tomorrow. He’d picked up a few last items he would need the next day, now everything he would need was in the trunk. He locked the car, walked up the stairs, crossed Michigan, and got in the second car in the garage on Wabash. He cut west through the Loop and picked up the expressway heading south, taking it back to the hotel on Central near Midway, the southern airport.
He’d rented the first car at O’Hare under one ID, parked it in the garage, then took the elevated train to the other airport and rented the second car and checked into the hotel under a second ID. Given Hardin’s situation, he wasn’t anticipating police involvement tomorrow, but the French also could have access to automobile license information, credit card information. He might well be seen leaving the area. Tomorrow, he would park the second rental a mile or so from the park. After he killed Hardin, killed a few people, probably, he would take the diamonds and the first car and drive to the second. If anyone traced the information on the first car to the identity used, they would find a flight to Heathrow out of O’Hare booked for tomorrow afternoon. In reality, he would driving to Detroit. He would fly out from there.
At his hotel, he threw one of the bags from the Macy’s store on State Street on his bed and brought the other one with him into the bathroom. He turned on the water for the shower while he lined up his supplies on the counter by the sink. As he stepped into the shower, he was amused for a moment. So many Islamic traditions start with washing, always washing before the prayers. Perhaps this was a good omen.
“This shit is good,” Hardin said. “Something different in here, though.”
Hardin, Wilson and Foucalt were eating dinner at Foucalt’s condo. Foucalt had cooked lasagna.
“Bacon,” Foucalt said. “Pancetta, actually. Layered in instead of the sausage. Musrooms, spinach drizzled with balsamic, a few other touches. I call it baconsagna.”
“I want to eat it,” said Wilson. “And then lick the plate. And then lick the pan. And then maybe lick the stove.”
“How about the chef?” asked Foucalt.
“I’ll lick Hardin instead. He’s a bit of a slob. He’ll get some on him.”
“Foiled yet again by my superior manners,” said Foucalt.
“So we’re good to go, for tomorrow?” Wilson asked.
“Ready as we can be,” said Hardin. “Figure al Din’s gotta come in from the south, right?”
Foucalt nodded. “If you set up right at the colonnade, he’ll have no shot from that direction. And he’ll need to get in close. Can’t just kill you, he’s got to get the diamonds. So he’ll have to come in from other direction. I’ll be out thirty or so yards. When he gets past me, I’ll take him down. When Hernandez hears the shots, he’s going to reach for his gun, and then you take him out.”
“He’s gonna have a guy with him,” Hardin said.
“You take the guy,” said Wilson. “Hernandez is mine.”
“Fair enough,” said Hardin.
“And then?” Foucalt asked.
“Then we sit tight and wait for the cavalry.”
“Martin’s gonna be pissed,” said Wilson.
“He’ll get over it,” said Hardin. “Still goes his way, just he get dead guys instead of live guys. Maybe even better for him. Two less people to screw up his story.” Hardin turned toward Foucalt. “And the boys in Paris have your back, right?”
“If it goes well,” Foucalt said. “If not,” he shrugged. “C’est la guerre.”
“Guess I should wear my Kevlar shorts tomorrow then,” Lynch said. He was on the phone with Johnson. She was in DC again, but gave him a call to give him a heads up that the surveillance camera story was going to run in the morning – main story on the front page of the Trib, she’d be doing spots on CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
“I played it just like I planned,” Johnson said. “Started with the Lee killing and pulled it apart from there. No way for them to tie this to you.”
“I’m gonna get accused of pointing you at it, either way,” Lynch said.
A little dead air. “Are we OK on this? I mean I can’t stop it or anything, wouldn’t if I could, but I thought we were clear going in.”
“We’re fine,” said Lynch. “I knew the deal. Just, you know, I’m gonna catch some shit. Nothing to be done about it.”
“You won’t be alone,” Johnson said. “You’re going to have some big names scrambling for cover tomorrow. You’ve heard of Barry Zinc?”
“The divorce guy? The one with the billboards all over the Viagra Triangle?”
“Yeah. He made more than twenty payments to Lee over the past few years. We checked back with a few of the people that folded to him. Blackmail stuff. He’ll be lucky to keep his bar card. Going to be up to his ass in litigation for the rest of his life.”
“What about the country board race stuff?”
“Can’t tie it to Hurley directly, but he’s going to have to throw a few people under the bus, too. Sad thing is we’ve got a few payments that look like they tie back to Hernandez – they come out of Juarez. From the timing, probably information he used to set up hits on some of the competing dealers in town. But we’re not getting any traction on those. I was talking to the producer at Fox, guy actually said ‘well, if a few gang bangers went down then at least some good came out of it.’ “
“Corsco?” Lynch asked.
“Some money came in from Ringwald, but that’s a dead end right now.”
“Funny,” Lynch said.
A little gasp from Johnson. “Oh God. I didn’t mean it like that. I mean Jesus, his whole family?”
“Yeah, I know,” Lynch said. “I had a look at that. Funny, though. The cameras? I mean they’re working, so far as that goes. Starting to get a line on this al Din fuck.” He told her how he and Bernstein had tracked him.
“Other side of the story,” Johnson said. “You need to cover your ass, get some positive spin out for the City, we can cover that. I mean nobody said they never work.”
“Gotta catch the bastard first,” Lynch said.
“About that,” she said. “Be careful around him, OK?”
“Don’t worry,” said Lynch. “Comes down to it, I can always hide behind Bernstein.”
She laughed, but then stopped. “I mean it.”
“Yeah,” Lynch said. “I will.”
Johnson’s voice perking up, trying to change the mood. “So, anyway, I owe you one.”
“Thought maybe you’d have some ideas on that front,” she said.
“And just one?”
“Maybe a few.” They talked about that for a while. Lynch did have some ideas.