The door barely closed before the Admiral flopped out a satellite map of the small town where I lived. I was impressed with his preparations. “Before we get into this tell me where you are going to start.”
“I’m going to start with the assumption that this asshole is at least as smart as me. Maybe more, since he is a Harvard Grad.” I said it with a smile.
“Good, few people ever died over estimating their enemy,” The admiral said. During the exchange I poured coffee for us both. The coffee was just as good as Helen’s, since I taught her how to make it. “Good coffee,” he added after he finished his thought.
“So what is your first move?” he asked.
“Intel, all I can get. And of course an ambush,” I said.
“Of course, the only thing open to you at the moment.” he said stating the obvious.
“So you are going to move from here and leave it as the bait?” he asked.
“Yes, and I’m going to work with the following assumptions. If they come here again, it will be a car bomb parked in the alley. Also it won’t be a suicide bomber, the driver will want to get away.” I said.
“Yes drug dealers don’t have ideals for which they are willing to commit suicide,” he agreed. “What else?”
“If he goes with the car bomb, it will be some low level thug from here. He has to have limited assets from home?”
“Maybe a dozen men,” the Admiral said.
“That’s my guess to,” I said.
“It’s a little more than a guess for me, but do go on,” he said.
“If he goes for a face to face kill, it would most likely be on of his own men,” I said.
“Yes, I doubt he would trust anyone local to do that kind of work again. It would be too risky, if they got picked up. His people have family who can be used as a threat, to keep them from talking to the police.” he said. “The one the police have is going to talk eventually. They must have been in a panic or still thought that you were just amateur blackmailers. Possibly their intel isn’t very good.”
“To them I am a female TV actress how hard could it be to hit me?” I asked. “But we aren’t the police. If we grab the assassin clean, he will fucking talk.”
“Enhanced interrogations?” he asked.
“What would you do to save your friend’s life and your own?” I asked. He just nodded.
“So what you need right now is a shadow team, and an ambush team.” the Admiral said. “Half of my force should do it, three for the ambush and two for the shadowing.”
“That is only until we get the intelligence we need to move on this bunch,” I said.
“What did you have in mind?” The admiral asked.
“Why a little insurgency of course,” I said.
“Ah a real war on drugs as it were,” he said. “We might teach the DEA a few things.”
He dropped a folder on my metal, work bench/dining table as he stood to leave. “Burn after reading, and I mean that Maxine.” Then he looked around and said, “I like what you have done here, very industrial looking.” Then he was out the door without any further comments.
He and I both knew the longer he and his team stayed the greater the danger to us both. I did like the gruff old man though. He reminded me of the gunny with a better vocabulary.
I went back to trying to decide how to make my new office building secure. There is no such thing as totally secure, but at least secure from gun thugs. I knew the first thing I needed to do was to control access, just as I had at the apartment. In the case of the office I wanted to try to minimize the damage, if someone tried to drive a car bomb through my front door. IEDs scared the pure hell out of me.
I still hadn’t decided when five of the people in black utilities came through the door. “Ms. Stone, the Admiral said we were to stay and help you for a few days.” The older looking of the five said to me.
“Work it out among yourselves who is going to man the ambush, and who is going to follow me around. Tomorrow morning it is business as usual for me. What about food, any special diets or anything.
“Ma’am you don’t have to bother, we can pick up something.” one of them said.
“No son,” I said to the younger man. “The ambush team is inside or within sight of this compound from now on. If our chink friend decides to keep this place under surveillance I don’t want him seeing people come and go. It would kind of defeat the purpose of an ambush.”
“Yes Ma’am, I do see what you mean. The shadow team goes where I go and when I go. Otherwise you are locked down as well. When you decide who is going to do what, come back and let me know. By the way, trust me the best stakeout food in the world is served here.” I smiled as they wandered off to Lois’s apartment to change and decide who would be doing what.
“We need a mason,” I said to Lucas.
“You mean like the brick layers, not the lodge members?” he asked.
“If our mason is a mason, I could care less. I just need someone who has a big enough crew to work fast.” I said.
“Ed knows everybody in town,” Lucas said.
“That’s even better. See if Ed will make the call. Ed can tell him that his nephew will meet him at the office to explain what he needs done. Tell Ed to make sure the guy can put a full crew on it tomorrow.”
While I waited to hear from Lucas that a crew would be ready to work the next day, I began to design a wall to go around the office. It was my plan to turn the parking area into a grassy courtyard. Grass makes lousy shrapnel.
“Ed said he knew just the man. Ed’s words were, ‘Hell of a mason, can’t hold his liquor, and can’t fight worth a crap,’” Lucas said with a laugh.
“What time are you going to meet him?” I asked.
“Ed called back after he talked to the Great mason/lousy drunk. Ed said to be at the office at 7 AM sharp.” Lucas said.
“Then that’s your assignment for tomorrow. Now remember you have to work out of that office too, so don’t let them fuck up this wall.” I waited until Lucas nodded before I went on. “I’m going to call an out of work dump truck driver, I met at Cowboys. I’m going to see if he is still out of work.” Actually I called Joyce.
“Joyce honey, it’s Maxine.” I said waiting to be sure she knew who I was.
“Ah my warrior princess,” she said.
“Sure,” I answered sarcastically. ‘Do you know if the bald middle-aged guy who owns a couple of trucks, is in or not?”
“You mean Bobby the guy in the International Harvester hat?” she asked.
“Yeah, has he been around?” I asked.
“Hell honey, I could spit on him he is so close,” she said. “And I probably should.”
“Well let me talk to him please, I have a job for him.”
“This is Bobby Hensley,” he said.
“Bobby this is Maxine Stone, do you remember me?” I asked.
“Sweetie everybody remembers you, even some people who weren’t here,” he said with a laugh.
“Good, I need to hire you to do a job and it’s urgent. But I don’t plan on being screwed in the process, It ain’t that urgent.” I said.
“Hell screw me and I’ll do it half Price,” he said.
“Get a pencil ready,” I demanded.
“Okay, what you need?” he said a moment later after scrambling for note making materials in a bar.
“Price me a delivery from the brick yard at home depot, or Lowe’s to 300 E Chestnut Street.” I said.
“I can already tell you fifty bucks a trip and I can haul four pallets of bricks,” he informed me.
“How about concrete blocks. How many of those can you haul?” I asked.
“Just two of those are some heavy mother fuckers,” he said.
“Meet me at home depot at, hold on a minute,” I said. “Lucas find out what time the home depot opens.” Bobby, we are trying to find the hours for Home Depot. Bobby I am going to need you to run all day long most likely.”
“They open at 8am,” Lucas said to me.
“Bobby meet meet me at home depot at 8am. If you are late the job is off, do you understand? I can rent a truck there to make the deliveries.” God knows I had driven one in a hell of a lot more dangerous places than Ed’s office parking lot.
“Yes Ma’am and I will be there.” he said.
“You damn well better be,” I said.
“Home depot is closed now, so we are going to have to move our asses tomorrow.” I said to Lucas after I turned the phone off.
“So what’s your plan get a wall built around the office in a day?” he asked.
“You got it kid,” I replied. “Even better not let anyone know it’s me. You deal with the mason and I’ll deal with Bobby. Tell the mason the truck will be there at nine with the first load of blocks. He needs to his crew to unload it. Later on I might be able to get someone with a fork lift to deliver them.”
“Well, it’s 11pm you aren’t going to get much more done today. I hope you have some cash on hand, since the banks don’t open till after the meetings with the mason and trucker.” He said.
“A little, too bad Smiley didn’t come through. We could have used his money to build the wall.” I said it as a joke.
“Maybe Jen can get the money from his estate,” Lucas suggested.
There was a knock at the door. Earl was on the monitors. He said, “They came from the apartment next door.”
“Then let them in Lucas.” I said.
“Ma’am, we talked it over and decided that Louise here would blend in better for the shadow team than any of us.” the tall blond kid about twenty five said.
“You a ranger?” I asked him.
“No Ma’am a marine sniper,” he said with pride in his voice.
“Are you on the ambush team?” I asked.
“Absolutely Ma’am,” he said.
“Then I feel better,” I almost had a tear for the Gunny.
“Nothing is going to happen to you Ma’am, I give you my word.” he said.
“It it does, I’m going to haunt you,” I said.
“Yes Ma’am I know,” he said. “Word from the Irishman was to stay close to you cause they can’t kill you. I plan to do just that, if the shit starts.” He said
I turned to Louise, so who are you going to spend all this time with?” I asked.
“Eddie Gibbs Ma’am,” She said.
“Okay which one of you is Eddie Gibbs?” I asked.
“I am Ma’am,” the much older man said.
“So Louise are you going to pretend that you have father issues?” I laughed a little.
“If I have to Ma’am,” she said.
“Okay the Ma’am shit ends here. I’m Maxine or Max. I don’t like being called Ma’am, because it points the bad guys right to me. Also I’m not quite old enough to be a Ma’am yet.
“By the way I like your outfits, the cargo pants and shorts can hide a lot of stuff,” I said. I said it because they all wore shorts or pants with lots of pockets, even Louise.
“Urban warfare gear,” the Latino looking young man said.
“Well that’s what you are signed up for no doubt,” I said. “Ambush team, remember this is a civilian operation. You can not kill them just because you want to. You need a real reason, or we are all going to jail. When I say reason, they need to be armed and pointing it at you ect. This place has cameras everywhere, so don’t think we won’t see.
“Ambush team; get with Earl and work out a monitor schedule. Someone has to be watching at all times. Also remember we want to snatch them up, not just kill them on sight. Dead men tell no tales and we want them talking. We need to grab someone before the local thug the FBI has starts talking. If they arrest these assholes, they are going to want to kill the witnesses even more.”
“Shadow team; we are going to be on the move early. So be ready to leave at 7AM. You will be following me in a car as will our camera person.”
“Earl, call Mike we really need everyone on their toes. You cant do that if you are up all night, and then have to follow me around the next day. Tell him not Morris or Willy again.”
“Right, I’ll get on it now.
“Well I’m going to bed, any of you who want are welcome to share the bed, but only one at a time.” I said laughing.