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I sent the burn phone home with Tiny Dancer and used the smarter than smart phone to call anyone I needed to call. My plan was to trade gifts with my friends the next day. I planned to put on my red pointed elf hat and make the rounds.
In the meantime I planned to enjoy the day. It was getting close to noon and all my shopping was done. I might be the only one in town who was sitting a story above the street watching the traffic run up and down. It was quite a sight even in a small town. Heavy traffic is a relative term. A hundred cars might be considered heavy in Aster and a thousand in the same space might be considered light in New York City.
I didn’t need to dress warm even though it was thirty degrees outside, but I did anyway. I had to pretend to be just like the rest of the people on the street. At first glance all the downtown traffic was passing through. However when you looked closer there were people working even on Christmas Eve.
I left home with a very large black backpack. Inside that backpack I had small boxes of candy. No I hadn’t been thoughtful enough to buy the candy, Sylvia had. She and Peter had bought it for me. I mentioned that I would like to do a give away someday, so they decided this was the year. I decided on the spur of the moment to go along with it. Too bad they weren’t around to see it.
I wore red stretch ski pants and a red sweatshirt and a red sweater. Dressed in red with the elf hat, I made a pretty fair Anorexic Santa. I stopped in the news stand first to deliver my candy. I had been inside the newsstand maybe twice my whole time in town. Still it was Christmas and I was determined to walk down the street from end to end or until I ran out of candy. The owner was middle eastern he was not Christian, He took the candy and thanked me regardless. Several customers also took the small boxes.
From there I just just went randomly along the street dropping off boxes of candy. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me, but the few kids I ran into loved it. It did nothing for my cover, nonetheless I was glad that I had done it.
I got about three forth of the candy distributed when Dancer called. “We have an after lunch date. Leon insists on going along.” she said.
“I’m sure Vlad will want to go as well. What time is the meeting?” I asked.
“3:30 PM seemed to be the least crowded time. They seem to think I have a lot of money, so they are all hot and bothered to make the deal.” she said.
“I hope Leon understands that if he goes in with you, he is going to have to play a pervert.” I informed her.
“Sweetie according to himself, Leon was an excellent pervert player. He said to tell you that he has played a pervert most of his life,” she said it with giggle.
“Very well, we shall see how he does. If he does a really good job, we will try to get him the perv of the year award.” I said laughing. I worried for a second that he wouldn’t see the humor, then I forgot it.
I still had candy to deliver. I took candy into a downtown jewelry store. “Merry Christmas,” I said to the single man working there.
“Merry Christmas to you as well. It must have been a lean year Santa,” he said.
“You know that the president’s council on fitness is everywhere,” I replied handing him the box of candy. “I expect to see you out at the mall walking after Christmas.”
“I promise Santa,” he said.
“Good, we want you around many more years,” I said. I turned to walk out when the two young men rushed into the store. I knew from the looks they were giving me, that it was to be a hold up. Some things you just know without being told.
“Santa you need to put the bag down and get behind the counter with the clerk.” one of the young men said.
I didn’t like the vibe I got from the young man. He was too nervous and seemed to be manic. I had a bad feeling about them. I also had the .38 in a holster under the sweatshirt. Getting to it wouldn’t be difficult. I just needed a distraction. It came when someone opened the front door. It was a young woman.
When both men looked to the door, I went for the .38. It came out clean as it always did. I had the pistol in the ear of the one closest to me.
“Now you want to hand me your pistol, or I’m going to blow the top of your head off. I’m the Homicidal Santa,” I said. The one I had under control handed me his pistol. “Now get down on your knees and don’t give me any shit.”
I looked over to the second one. He had the girl who had entered in his hands. “You need to put those guns down,” he said.
I didn’t even answer him. I shot him right in the face. When they asked me later, why I did that without any warning, I explained that I was standing in the open with no cover. If I hadn’t shot him, he could have shot me at any time. I did wait until the pistol was pointed at me before I shot him. It was an instant brain death shot. He was never any threat to me.
Of course I pretended otherwise. I cried and was traumatized to anyone who saw me after. Blevins came and interviewed me. “Turn it down a notch,” he whispered as he smiled at me.
“Is there someone I need to call for you?” he asked as if he expected me to need help.
“I just live two blocks up the street. If you will get someone to walk with me, I will be fine.” I was fine of course, except the cops had my .38 which pissed me off a little.
I should have felt something since I killed a man on Christmas Eve, but I really didn’t. I had a second to calculate my actions, but no more. I had also calculated the consequences, and decided that the risk of jail was acceptable, so I shot the son of a bitch.
Vlad was at my door when the officer and I arrived. “Are you alright?” he asked.
“I’m just fine,” I replied.
“What happened?” he asked anxiously.
“My usual luck. I went out to play Santa for the down townies and a couple of guys decided to rob a jewelry store while I was there. I had to kill one of them to save my own life.” I explained. “Since the cop was still there.”
What I didn’t tell him is that the prick couldn’t have killed me, but he could have exposed me. So I guess I killed him to keep my secret. I would like to think that I killed him to save the girl.
You better stay with the ‘to save the girl’ defense, came the message from the farm.
“I’ll take care of her now officer,” Vlad said.
The officer nodded then walked away. He couldn’t wait to get away from the old lady dressed as Santa who had just killed a man.
“We have to get ready right now,” Vlad said opening his cell phone. “Come on over Leon and get your equipment.”
I walked back to the gun vault where my radios were also kept. I waited for Dancer and Leon to show. When they did, I fitted her with a transmitter, Then I used the small radio with a headset for Vlad. I was able to tap right into the microphone transmission with my built in communications devices. No one had to know that. Since the receiver had two ear pods, Vlad and I would appear to share.
When we got to the restaurant it was full but they ordered coffee and found a table. Dancer had told Sammy to look for a box with green metallic paper and a silver bow sitting on the table. Vlad and I sat at a table across the busy restaurant. It wasn’t long before the two small time criminals came along. They sat across from Leon and the Dancer.
“So what can we do for you?” Bristol Peace asked.
“We are having a New Years Eve Party,” I heard the dancers slightly accented voice say. “We need five women of rather low morals to entertain.”
“You mean you need five hookers,” Sammy said. He was making our job so much easier. We weren’t having to do the drawing out of intentions. Sammy was doing it for us.
“Yes we are looking for hookers, but very special hookers. Our guests have been all over the world and experienced many things. We would like them to experience something old, like from their grandfather’s time. Sex with a woman far below their station. Just as their ancestors might have with the servants on the estate.”
“Just like the good old days,” Peace said. I expected him to be incensed but he just laughed. “Sure, you are going to dress them as servant girls, I assume.”
Leon was improvising when he said, “Of course, they won’t mind carrying a tray of drinks will they. We will pay them well.”
“Two women and three girls who could be their daughters for $2000 for the night.” That was what I needed. I had him on audio and video tape making the deal. The final thing was the money changing hands.
“Five hundred now and the other fifteen hundred when we arrive at your Party.” Peace said.
“Fair enough, “ Leon said it then took out his wallet to deliver the five hundred. He did it discretely but I got it on tape. The whole thing made my stomach roll, but it was a clean operation. It just wasn’t finished.
I was tempted to call Atkins after I got home. Now listen to me Adkins, I have something you need to hear, would have been my approach. But the truth is I no longer trusted anyone. I wanted to make sure Atkins himself wasn’t involved. It would be easy for the preacher to be at the top of the food chain and cover his tracks. So the only way to know for sure was to ask Peace. To do that I had to grab his ass up.
“Call your friend Blevins. We don’t need to torture Peace.” Vlad suggested.
“Well here is the thing. If we do that we need to let the sting run long enough for the cops to set up their own operation at the fake party.” I said.
“So we throw a fake party, surely we can do that,” Vlad said with a hearty laugh.
“It seems simpler to just walk in and drive a nail in this guys hand and let him know how Crucifixion felt. I expect that he would talk.” I said.
“Yes but the questions is what to do with him after he talks,” Vlad suggested. He was right of course.
“Okay, I’ll call Blevins but I don’t like this as much as I would sweating Peace. I hate a phony baloney do gooder,” I said.
“Well call Blevins and have him set you up with a vice cop or whatever,” Vlad suggested.
I called Blevins who was still working on the Jewelry story shooting. “You are not going to be happy,” I said to him when I had him on the phone.
“And why is that?” he asked.
“I have a vice incident I need help with,” I informed him.
“Well at least you spread it around Maxine,” he said wearily.