81 what’s mutha to do?
The sardines worked sort of. The cat would rush in to take the Sardine, then quickly back off. It was a game that his gimp leg was not suited to, but he seemed to make it work. When I went inside , I gave him the chance to join me, but he refused. I figured that itwas his right, so I left him outside. When it gets nasty enough, he might come in, I thought.
I spent the afternoon doing research. If I wasn’t going to serve court orders, how would I spend my time. I had no idea, so research was in order. Jen had mentioned a few things, for which she could see a need. Of course the body guard things, she always seemed to push me toward those, and something I had never really thought about. A company that specialized in surveillance. Yes it was mostly following husbands and wives to catch them in the act, There were other things as well. People steeling from industrial or construction sites would also be subjects of interest.
That sounded about half interesting until I remembered some really long nights staking out a warehouse filed with f18 parts. Some of the parts were going missing and the brass was afraid they might be going to the that day’s bad guys. The bad guys of the world were once our friends, so they had f18 aircraft. Now that friendships had change, we no longer supplied parts to them. The black market was the only place to find those parts.
That stakeout had cured me of ever wanting to do it again. Ten 12 hour days in a row, to find that one of the guys who worked in the warehouse was smuggling them out in his SUV. Nothing exciting in that at all. He rolled right over once he knew that he had been caught. Totally boring, so I put that idea on the far back burner.
It took two days for the expert to determine the value of ‘At Your Service’. While he did his thing, I kept looking for ideas but nothing happened. The most exciting thing was his report. Since the armory was mine and mine alone, the business had no assets worth mentioning. Since he had no idea, if I planned to include them in the sale, the two vehicles were listed separately, .
Lucas, Edd and I sat down in Ed’s office to discuss the report. “Well I’m not surprised to find how little this company is worth. The expert said that, if I had exclusive contracts, the company would be worth more. Since it was all just goodwill, the company without any of the real property is only worth about 10 grand. He based that on a new owner being able to walk in and earn a living.”
“So Lucas, if you want the business it is yours for five thousand dollars. You can pay it from the profits over a year’s time.” I explained after a pause to let the value sink in.
“If you want the van, get me a price on the Internet from one of those car chart things. You can have it for the lowest price you can find on the net. Low wholesale. trade in. whatever is cheaper. Otherwise it goes to the auction.”
“I’ll take it all.” Gwen and I talked about it and the deal is much better than we expected.” he informed me.
“Well, I hope you to do well with it. Now I’m going back to my cabin and take a nap.”
The cat and I had formed a working relationship. I fed him, kept him drugged, and he tolerated me. Mostly he didn’t destroy my trash. I felt like it was a good relationship. I still had hopes that he would come inside when it got cold, but as of that time he had not.
The week dragged on and nothing much changed. I tinkered with the idea of having lunch out again the next Sunday. but I didn’t want to make a habit of it. I had been walking at the community college gym every day, but hadn’t run into that kid Eddie again. It was just as well, I was beginning to feel stronge, stupid things might have happened.
On the three week anniversary of the parking lot incident, I marked it by going to the Cop Out for a beer. I even managed a few dances before I got too exhausted. I was about to leave when Blevins moved across the table to whisper something in my ear. The music was so loud, I shook my head to show that I had no idea what he said.
Blevins motioned me outside. We left the club through the alley door. “She what do you want Blevins, a blow job in a dirty alley?” I said grinning.
“Not tonight, but I’ll take a rain check. Word is, you are the best.” he said leering at me.”
“Bullshit, nobody here knows what kind of blow jobs I give.”
“Of course they do, but that isn’t what we need to talk about.”
“So what do we need to talk about?” I asked.
“Vladimir Blostovick ,” he said
“What the hell is that, the sir name of Dracula?” i asked with a laugh.
“No that’s the name of a Moscow policeman. He was assigned as liaison with the task force of Russian crimes in the area.”
“Okay, what about him? Does he want a blow job in a dirty alley?” I aske d with a girlie giggle.
“Will you stop with the blow job shit. He said he needs to give you some information. Information that might save your life. You should listen to him. He is a straight up good guy.”
“Okay tell him to call me.” I was suddenly all business. I was still a little paranoid about the Russians. If Vad the impaler had information to keep me in the game a while longer, I sure as hell wanted it.
I drove home and doped the cat. Then I got into bed alone with Vald on my mind. I had to masturbate in order to shut my mind down enough to sleep.
The next morning at eight the call came. “Hello Maxine Stone?” The heavily accented voice asked.
“Yes are you Vlad the Russian cop?” I asked.
“I am, we need to talk,” he informed me.
“So our mutual friends told me last night. Let’s meet?” I suggested.
“I could come to your cabin in the woods.” he suggested.
“Not unless you have a death wish,” I replied. I had always known that it was a matter of time before someone planted a gps device on on the cruiser. There was no way to check it every time I returned to the cabin.
“You don’t sounds surprised that I know where it is.”
“It was bound to happen, the real question is will you tell anyone else?” I asked,
“No, your secret is safe with me.”
“It for sure will be, if I kill you,” I said quietly.
“I knew that would be your response. You are exactly as I have been told. We do need to talk. I understand you are partial to meetings at the marina.”
“Your English is very good. Marina isn’t a word one would learn in a crash coarse in English.”
“Then it is the marina in 30 minutes. I will bring the coffee and rolls,” he suggested.
“No thanks, I’ll bring my own coffee and biscuit, but thanks anyway.” I said.
“Have it your way,” he said.
“I usually do,” I replied. “Make it an hour, I have an errand to take care of on the way.
“Very well, one hour at your marina,” he agreed.
I could have set him straight. It wsn’t exactly my marina, but he was close enough. The errand was to stop at the armory in Ed’s office. I traded the easy to conceal 9mm for the bigger heavier 10mm pistol. I wore it in the upside down shoulder holster. On my small frame the huge gun shouted, ‘This woman is packing.” Since that was the idea, it worked out perfectly. Even the large hunting coat couldn’t hide it. I had no desire to hide it from Vlad the impaler. I slipped the derringer, the same one that had kept me alive in the hospital, into one of the side pockets. I also dropped one of the stun guns, fresh off the charger, into a pocket on the other side of the coat. Since I was all tooled up and out of pockets, I locked up the armory and the office on my way out.
My next stop was Hardee’s for a biscuit and coffee. I didn’t have time to hunt down Helen. I waited outside the marina’s office and reception area for just a few minutes. I did not want to be early or late. I just wanted to be right on time for my meeting. Yes I know I’m paranoid.
When I got to the terrace, I saw him sitting there. He would have been a tall thin man had he been standing. Even seated he gave an impression of strength. He was pale though, with slicked back light brown hair. He had to be at least fifty, but an in shape fifty, not the way Reverend Archer would look at fifty.
“Vlad?” I asked.
“Ms Stone,” he answered.
“My friends, and most of my enemies, call me Max,” I replied.
“Oh, do you have any living enemies?” he was smiling one of those mysterious smiles. It was the kind meant to make one wonder what the interrogator knew.
“One or two I’m sure, but I probably haven’t met them yet.” I decided to play the arrogant bitch for him. It was obviously what he expected.
“Have you ever met this man?” he pushed a picture across the table, even before I opened my coffee.
I opened the coffee cup and unwrapped my biscuit, before I took a close look. “No I never saw him,” I replied.
“How about this one?” The second picture he showed me was of the Russian I had shot a few months before.
“Him, I did know for a while. You are well aware of the circumstances I’m sure.”
“The one your don’t recognize is his brother Ivan. When we say crime family in Russia we are very literal. Anatol and his brother Ivan were enforcers for a Russian gang in Moscow. I tracked them to your country.”
“Ah you wanted to take them back to Moscow for trail. I’m sorry I had to kill one of them.”
“No Ms Stone, I came to kill them myself. No extradition, no trials, just a bullet in the brain. The fact that you killed one makes my job here easier. I would have preferred to have pulled the trigger myself, but somehow I’m sure Ivan knew it was coming so that is enough.”
“He knew at the last second. I saw in his eyes that he would have begged, if he had the chance. He didn’t.”
“Good for you, give him a chance and he would have killed yo u while he begged for his life.” Vlad informed me.
“So is the brother the warning you told Blevins about?”
“Yes Ivan will kill you.”
“I understood that the Russians had declared it a clean hit, and not worth coming after me.”
“Yes the management did, but that isn’t going to stop Ivan. This week, next week, next year or five years, however long it takes is how long he will wait. It is as you say in your country, a blood feud.”
“Well thanks for the warning, I’ll keep an eye out for him.”
“Wouldn’t you rather neutralize the threat?” he asked.
“Possibly, but first I want to know what is true and what is bullshit. I doubt that you are above turning me into your private assassin”
“I’m not, but do your homework. I am confident that you will find I have told you the truth.” He handed me a card with a phone number hand written on it. “That’s the number of my burn phone. Call me and we will solve this problem together. I will not put you as the goat.”
“I understood that he had just promised not to use me as bait I would have a chance to take the matter into my own hands. It was all I could ask, If indeed Ivan was the bad guy that Vlad portrayed him to be..
I was about to get overloaded. I still have davenport to deal with, if he ever crawled out of his hole.