I was at home depot returning their truck, when I speed dialed Helen’s number.
“Helen, this is Maxine, I’m in trouble again,” I said.
“What do you need doll?” she asked. For a change she seemed concerned, but not terrified. I think she was learning that not all trouble was an emergency.
“Could you have food for about ten people ready for me to pick up by 2PM.” I asked.
“How about ham with mac & cheese,” she asked. “I can send enough for left overs to make ham sandwiches later, as well.” she said.
“That will do just fine,” I said. “Any old snack foods you have left over would be good as well. Helen this is going on the show’s expense account, so have a bill ready and don’t cut them any slack.” I said it even though it was likely that I would be paying.
Earl and I left the home depot for the apartments. I clicked Martin’s magic microphone jammer before I spoke to Earl. I’m going to jam the microphone when I talk to our detainee. I am also going to cover the lens on the camera in my apartment. That will get you off the hook with Mike. But do not try to find some work around, or I will make your life hell on earth,” I said.
“This is the first time in years that my life hasn’t been hell on earth, but I do get it. Do you need any help?” he asked.
“Yeah make the Swamp Thing team look like heros, when you edit the tapes. Do interviews with them while I talk to the detainee. Also be sure someone picks up the food from Helen.”
“Do I want to know about the interrogation?” he asked.
“I don’t know, but I expect you would prefer to stay in the dark.” I said.
My Marine sniper met me at the gate. “Come on in,” he said. “I can’t believe how easy this was.”
“Now that’s bad news,” I said.
‘What do you mean?” he asked.
“These have to be plants, if it was that easy. Now the information I get from them will always be suspect.” I said.
“Shit, I never thought of that.” he said.
“So who you got, and what brought them to your attention?” I asked.
“We got a man and a woman. She parked a car in the alley behind your building. Just like you said someone would. She hustled away and we grabbed her just before she got in a car. We got the driver as well. He had the detonator.” he said.
“Than it’s a plant. If it was real the chick in the car would have blown her up with the car bomb. Dead whores tell no tales,” I said.
“So what do we do?” he asked.
“Why hell son, we listen to their tale, then we break their asses.” I said.
“So who do you want first?” he asked.
“Bring me the chick,” I said. I pushed the furniture against the wall to make an open space. I put one of the clunky metal folding chairs, I had bought at a yard sale, in the middle of the floor. It wasn’t a black prison, but it would do. The chick on the way was no pro breaking her shouldn’t be too hard.
Before she showed up I wanted details of the take down. I called the Kid who met me at the gate. “So tell me every little thing.” I demanded over a glass of iced tea at my metal workbench/dining table.
“We saw the car coming down the alley. It came a couple of hours after you and the kid left. Me and Eddie slipped out the front and rushed around one on each side of the building. Mitchel went out and got the Escalade ready in case we had to chase her with it.
She jumped out of the car and took off back the way she came. A second car was waiting at the end of the alley. We called and Mitchel brought the Escalade to blocked the road. I got to the car as it tried to turn around in order to get away from Mitchel.
It wasn’t too hard to take them both. We brought them down here and called the Admiral. He told us to hand them over to you. So we called.”
“Okay, so what do they look like,” I asked.
“The girl looks really rough. Like maybe she is a junkie,’ He said. “The guy looks clean but he isn’t oriental, so I don’t know.”
I picked up my phone and dialed Lucas’s cell phone. When he picked up I said, “You need to get back here, it’s time to do some fact checks in a hurry. Stop by the office on the way to see how the preacher’s crew is getting on.”
“Tell me about the bomb,” I demanded.
‘It is s diesel fuel and fertilizer bomb, but a small one. I don’t think it was very well thought out. It is too small to much damage to a building. It is more the anti personnel kind of weapon.” he said.
“What was the trigger and who had it,” I asked.
“Cell phone and the man in the car had it,” he said.
“Well this is a game they are running on us. Whatever information we get from these two will be only to lead us into an ambush. Actually to lead me into an ambush. I’m not sure they know about you guys yet, but they will soon.” I said.
“To keep all the information out of their hands, we would have to kill them both. Murder is nasty business.” I added.
“Yeah, thats what the Irishman said,” he replied.
“Good for him, now lets see what we can find out and figure a way to counter attack,” I suggested. I wonder how the chick will react if we don’t act as she has been told to expect.
“What’s your name,” I asked the girl with really. really bad skin. My guess was that meth was her drug of choice. So that led me to wonder what the hell was going on. A meth addict working for a heroin importer. It just seemed strange.
“My name is Margaret but everyone calls me Honey,” she said.
“Oh how did that happen?” I asked.
“How did what happen?” she asked.
“How did you go from Margaret to Honey?” I asked
“They say my grandfather called me that when I was little. It just stuck?”
“Where you close to your grandfather is that why you got into drugs. Abused as a child?”
“Nobody abused me, I just tried Meth and I got hooked. My life sucked and it made it better for a while.” Honey said.
“So honey, is the guy in the car your boyfriend?” I asked.
“God no, he is my supplier, he is the one who asked me to deliver the stolen car to you.” she said
He most likely was also her pimp, but that was of no importance. “It doesn’t matter about any of that. If I call the cops, you are going to prison for a long time,” I said.
“Not just for driving a stolen car. I didn’t even steal it.” She said.
“Oh, the car is not the problem, it’t the bomb in the trunk that is going to put you in prison. It won’t be six months for driving the stolen car. It’s conspiracy to commit murder with a weapon of mass destruction. Thats’s 25 to life.” I smiled sweetly at her.
Before I started to talk to her, I had killed the camera feed. I had also turned on Martin’s jammer.
‘Now here is my problem, I know that they told you to tell me certain things. Those things are all lies of course. You know it and I know it, but alas I am going to have to torture you to death, or you will be killed as soon as you hit the street anyway. If I torture you to death, maybe your pimp supplier will tell me something useful, when I torture him. You know hoping I won’t kill him as well. I would stop before you die, except I know that you don’t know anything. You were just hired to drive the car and tell lies. I have the man, who hired you, so there is nothing you can tell me. I’m sorry Honey, this isn’t personal. I just plan to save my own life. If I have to kill ten junkies to do it, that what the expression ‘shit happens’ is really all about.”
She looked at me with dancing eyes. “Do you really want to die a long and painful death or do you want to help me convince your pimp, boyfriend to talk? The choice is yours.” I said it quietly even thought no one could hear me. I wanted her to think she was about to die so I spoke with the voice I would use in the hospital room of a terminally ill patient.
“I can’t stand pain,” she said.
“There is going to be a little pain, but not great pain. I will not kill you in the end, unless you can’t pull this off, or you try to warn your boyfriend out there. If you do either of those things, I will cut your throat. Do you understand completely. One of you is going to die, don’t make it you.”
“I understand,” she said with those dancing eyes that were incapable of focusing.
“I have a an electrical wire hooked to a dimmer switch. I can adjust the voltage just like dimming a light. The low voltage with sting, but you have to scream as if it were rattling your teeth. Do you understand.”
“Yes I understand,” she said.
“And you have to beg me to stop, If you can’t sell this, I will have to increase the voltage until it is unbearable. You sell it to him and you live with only minor pain, you fuck it up and it becomes real. Now do we understand each other.” I asked.
“Yes, I understand.” she said. “But what about my kids?”
“I’m going to convince you pimp/supplier that you gave me only the information you were supposed to and died without talking. That way he has no reason to harm your family. We keep you hidden until the threat is gone.” I said.
“Like that TV show the US Marshal thing?” she asked.
“No, we are not going to hide you from the threat, we are going to eliminate the threat. You can go home and go back to being a junkie for all I care.” I said cruelly.
“Alright, I will do it,” she said.
“Honey, of course you will do it, you never had a choice. It’s just a matter of how much voltage I use.” I turned off the jammer and spoke to her again.
“Now Honey enough of this bullshit, we are going to dance now. I am going to ask questions and you are going to answer truthfully. If you do then it is a painless end for you. If you don’t or even if I just don’t think you are telling me the truth, it is going to be a very painful death. Do you see these two wires. The are plugged into that wall outlet. Now when I ask a question, you will have ten seconds to answer. If you don’t, or if I think you are lying, you get a reminder to play by the rules. Now I’m going to turn up the music to help cover the sounds.” I cranked up the music enough to hide a whisper, but not enough to cover her screams.
I switched to a whisper. “When you feel the current scream as if you are on fire.” I said.
I hit her with a small jolt and she screamed. “That was just to let you know what it feels like before we begin.” I waited a full minute then asked, “Who are you working for?”
Honey answered with the story she had been given. “Some guy I never saw before offered me a hundred dollars to deliver the stolen car here.”
I hit her with about ten percent of a full load, but she screamed as if she were cooking. “If it were a stranger, why was the man waiting for you at the end of the alley. When you got to the car. he was going to blow up that car bomb and kill me. “So tell me again, who are you working for?”
“I don’t know ask Luis,” she demanded. I hit her again with a small dose. She screamed again as if her body was on fire. I would have been convinced.
“Beg me to stop,” I whispered in her ear.
“Please I told you all I know. Please stop I can’t stand any more.” she said.
Damn she was a good actress, but then if you are a junkie whore, you would have to be just to survive day to day.