Anya kept watch over Uri while I went across the street to tool up. I came back with the 10 mm glock on my hip, the hammerless .38 revolver in one of my jacket pockets, the .410 gauge derringer in pocket of my jeans and a recently acquired switchblade knife on the other side. I bought the knife for fun during a recent trip out of the country. I didn’t think that I was going to be having any fun that night, excitement for sure, fun no.
I also carried the shotgun cane, since I had to have a cane anyway. I didn’t so much need to walk with it, as it made getting up and down much easier. Also it made getting in and out of cars better. I lost my balance some since the leg just chose to give way now and then. The cane made the staggering me look less like a drunk.
“I’m riding with you,” Anya said.
“He said he would kill her if I didn’t come alone, so we have to at least pretend to play along.”
“We can pretend with me hidden in the back seat. If the shooting starts, and you know it will, even one more gun can make a difference. Remember for lack of a nail the battle was lost. So don’t let the battle be lost for the lack of one bitch.”
“Only if you promise to shoot Uri in the head, if I can’t,” I suggested.
“That was my own plan love,” she said smiling.
“Then let’s pack up Uri for his great adventure.” We duct taped Uri’s hands gagged him with the same tape then put the black cloth bag over his head. “I have got to get some of these bags,” I said to Anya.
“Christmas present, I promise,” she said.
The cruiser wasn’t bullet proof but it did offer some protection. I parked it so that the cruiser was between me and the building. I figured any snipers they had would be in the building.
Somewhere, I had no idea where, Vlad would have his team. Their only job was counter sniper fire. Whoever drove up was my problem. I could only return sniper fire, if I knew the sniper was shooting at me otherwise i would be shooting at my own people.
The problem was we all over estimated the kidnappers. We assumed, since they were in the company of pros, that they would act like pros, not so, They chose the parking lot because it was a wide open space. They were concerned about cops, not an ambush by old farts with rusty guns. So when four people in ski masks came from the sedan, I was surprised. I knew Vlad saw them, he was too much the pro not to watch everything. Suddenly it looked as though I had the only snipers. The clowns had parked their car so that it wouldn’t be between then and me. Which meant they were standing around exposed to the building. It was going to be a shooting gallery, when it started. If I died first, which was possible, I could rest easy knowing they were right behind me.
“Where is the girl,” I asked of them in general.
“We decided that killing you, would be easier,” he said.
“Oh my, you just made the biggest mistake of your life.” He had obviously been watching too much American television. I pulled the Glock and began shooting. I only needed one of them alive. One out of four didn’t seem so much to ask.
I went to my knees early in the firefight. I felt a hammer blow to my chest and a burning pain in my right arm. I knew that I have been hit. I also knew I took two of them with me. Okay maybe Anya got one of them. Hell she probably got the first one as well. She had her pistol out before I even started to go for mine. The move was her go signal.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
“Find one alive and get us the hell out of here,” I said.
Then as a second thought I said, “Check the trunk of their car.”
“Nothing in the trunk,” she said.
Anya pressed a piece of cloth against my arm and said, “Hold this. It’s just a flesh wound. What about Uri.”
“Killed in the firefight by his own people,” I said “Make it happen. Get the angle right.”
Anya shot him twice, with one of their guns, from about ten feet away. He was standing beside my cruiser, when he died.
We were trying to make the trade when it went south. He got shot in the crossfire. It was my story and I was sticking to it. Jennifer would have the jury crying, if I got the girl back.
“Three dead or dying,” Vlad said. “We have to go. One of them has a flesh wound.”
“No executions, we have to look like the good guys, but make sure we take the only one who will ever tell a story.” The crew loaded the lesser wounded one into my cruiser with Anya watching over her. Two of the others were dead outright. The last one left behind had to be helped along with a hand over her nose and mouth. Yes there were two men and two women.
We had the second woman in the back of the cruiser. It was going to be a strange night. We drove back to the drugstore condos. Anya was squirting antiseptic cream into the hole in my upper arm muscle. “If this thing turns septic, you are going to the hospital,” Anya demanded.
“Maybe Jeff’s clinic,” I said.
“Who is this Jeff,” she asked.
“A doctor who owes me a favor. If he will do this big a favor in return is questionable, but who knows. For now you can stitch it up and pack it with antibiotic creme.” I said it swallowing a Vicodin
“You have quite the first aid kit here,” Any observed.
“Yes my first aid kit has a needle and thread, along with all kinds of gauze and tape. It is almost as good as the ones from an ambulance. Remember I know a shit load of paramedics from the cop out.” I said.
“Some of them in the biblical sense no doubt,” Anya said with a laugh.
While Anya watched I walked to the work bench and found a small round file. It was the kind my dad called a rat tail. I opened the breach of the Glock and ran the file in and out of the barrel several times. Yes it was painful to do with the bleeding arm, but I wanted to make sure the inside markings were completely altered. At least enough to create reasonable doubt.
“Lets go chat with the kidnapper,” I suggested.
Vlad had her more or less sitting in the same chair Uri had been taped to. I made sure she saw the wound in my arm. “You shot me, you stupid bitch,” I said as an opening. I do hope you are not expecting any mercy from me.”
“I didn’t shoot you,” she said weakly.
“Save your breath honey. I took two hits and everyone was shooting at me. So as far as I’m concerned you shot me. The only thing that is going to save your life is the location of the child. You give me that right this minute, and I let you live. You make me force it out of you and you will die either while I torture you, or right after. The decision is up to you.”
“The child is with Rosanda, at the little building behind the big building where we met you,” she said. Vlad was on the phone before she finished speaking. I had to stop him.
“No Vlad, the cops have to find her. Get a burn phone and call 911. Rosanda will be thrilled to give up, she is a victim.”
Vlad quickly left the basement. “Will you get me a doctor please. I am in terrible pain?” The slightly over teenage girl begged.
Anya looked at me. “I’ll take her,” she said.
“My car is already contaminated take it. Call Vlad to pick you up when it is done. Here take this and don’t bring it back.” I handed her the 10mm Glock along with the car keys.
The girl was gone but so was my maroon cruiser. The one with the bike rack. First thing in the morning I would report it stolen from the parking lot behind the Downtown House. I was sure the body would go into a shallow grave somewhere. The car, after a thorough cleaning with some of the bleach from my basement stash, to a chop shop never to be seen again. It wasn’t a perfect plan but it was one that would work.
The last problem was Rosanda, she wasn’t just part of it, she was it. Most likely, since there were two couple who died in that parking lot, she and her boyfriend were somewhere else at the time. Rosanda was with the child for sure. That still left the bad brother unaccounted for unless he was one of the dead.
It was 3AM when the phone rang. I was asleep there was too much going on. “Maxine it’s me Blevins. Where have you been tonight?”
“I spent the evening with Vlad and Anya, why?” I asked.
“There was a hell of a fire fight in the old furniture city part of town. Four dead all Russian,” he said. “One of them tied and gagged. It is going to take a while to sort this out.”
“Does it have anything to do with the kidnapping?” I asked.
“We got a phone tip an hour or so later. The tip sent us to the old power station for the mystic furniture plant. We found the nanny and the baby locked inside. Both of them are fine.”
“So the baby is okay, then all is well.” I said.
“All is not well, we have four bodies and it looks as though they were all friends of the nanny. Either they used her, or she is part of it.”
“My interest ended with the return of the girl,” I said. What I didn’t say was that it was up to the Russian community to settle up with Rosanda as far as I was concerned. If she wanted to be a gangster, she most likely had learned to take her ambitions on the road.
At 9AM I called to report the Cruiser stolen. They sent a patrolman by to take the report and he was younger than most of my clothes. Even so I was very respectful. He either didn’t know who I was or wasn’t impressed, either way I approved. We talked about this and that. He told me to contact my insurance company to arrange a rental car. I nodded my agreement even though I had a second car and wouldn’t be needing a rental. What I needed was a bicycle rack on the woodie. That was my big plan for the day.
I had no idea how Blevins and his buddies were going to piece the kidnapping together, but I sure as hell had an interest.
“I can’t leave you alone a minute,” Eve said with a new laugh as she walked through my rear door. Since I had never given her a key, it looked as though someone had taught her to pick a lock.
“Sure you can, you just can’t be sure that nothing will happen while you are gone. What are you doing back at this particular moment? I asked.”
I heard last night that you were working a kidnapping here. I knew there would be trouble. Am I too late to be part of the solution?” she asked.
“Yes it’s over,” I said.
She quickly changed the subject. “So let’s ride the bikes to breakfast?” she said.
“Eve, you don’t eat.” I replied.
“I know but I find the hot liquid I force down my throat to be soothing. Besides you eat and I do love the visual stimulation of the bicycle rides. They help me with my balance and they help you keep your girlish figure,” she said. She was a lot more light hearted than before.
“I expect that I will be back in the police interrogation room this morning. I think I will call Jennifer if I have a chance. If not I’ll call her from the police station.
“Why is that?” Eve asked.
“Too many people get caught up in their inconsistent statements. I want to tell my version of the tale once, next time I will listen to theirs.” I said.
“What is your version?” she asked.
“My version is I have no idea what happened and the cruiser being stolen is a great coincidence. Oh yes the 10mm Glock was in the glove compartment, bad break.” I stated flatly.
“You don’t expect Blevins to believe that do you?” she asked.
“No but I expect him to have trouble proving anything different. I also expect the DA to have a hard time finding a jury that will believe anything else happened.” I replied.
“What about the nanny she is going to roll over to save her ass,” Eve said.
“Why would she admit she was a participant. Right now no one can prove anything. Maybe she will talk, but I still don’t care. I plan to pull a Bill Clinton and deny, deny, deny,” I said.
If you have read this far you have read over half a million words in this series. Just sayin