We made a stop on the way to the rebuilt house where Holly might be held. The house had been rebuilt with insurance and Disaster funds, then it was taken over from the owner who couldn’t repay even that small amount. The gang had taken over, but left the ownership in the name of the previous owner.
They had made even more improvements. They reinforced doors, and barred windows not so much from concern about random crime, as concern about rival gangs and the New Orleans PD. The gang also had a guard on the street in front of the house, any time it was being occupied by the bosses or under bosses.
My job was to distract him long enough for the strike team to enter the house, If I couldn’t keep him occupied I was to kill him. Real simple assignment, but it was much easier to shoot a man ten feet away, than to cut his throat. When you cut his throat you could smell him and even smell the fear as his blood drained out.
My choice would be for him to run away, when he saw Karl, Mickey and The Brit hit the door. I knew even after they hit the door I couldn’t let him get behind them. I stopped and bought a slutty outfit at Kmart. I was going to ask, but I doubted they would say slutty outfits on aisle three.
I bought a fake fur coat. leggings. short gold shorts and a low cut sweater. I even got a cheap wig on the Swamp Dog’s dime. I changed in back of the SUV. We drove right to the house before anyone changed their minds. They were probably worried more about me, than anyone else. I seemed to be the only one with a qualm about killing, and yet I was the first to be put in the kill or don’t kill situation.
I got out of the SUV two blocks before the house. I walked in my hooker outfit up to the house. I could see that the gang member in front of the house was a young black man. I again hoped he would run away, when he saw the hardened soldier go into the house.
It was about ten at night, when I asked him, “Hey baby you want to have a good time?”
“How much?” he asked.
“Twenty,” I said.
“What do I get for that,” he asked.
“I’ll blow your whistle and your mind,” I said with a sleepy look.
“You do it right here?” he asked.
“I would rather go in where it is warm,” I said.
“Not possible, how about behind the house?” he asked.
“Yeah, but the money first,” I said.
“Sure just come on back out of the light,” he said.
If I had really been on the street, I would have demanded the money before going back into the dark. The problem was that I wanted him out of the light as much as he wanted me, back there, I knew I was going back where he could rape me and take my money, rather than pay me. Being a whore had it’s risk. It was all part of the game. Rape and robbery were in the job description under the down side. It was just one of the dangers of street walking, I told myself.
He was standing real close when he went for the pistol behind him. I was standing so close that by the time it came out of his waist band with the black automatic pistol my club hand pushed it away. Because I knew what he was going to do, but he didn’t know what I was going to do, I was able to cut his throat before he knew what was happening.
The stupid bastard never noticed that I was wearing lightweight cotton gloves. They were not thick enough to keep me warm, nor were they so thick as to impede me, when I reached into the coat pocket. Since the large box opener was clean, when I put it in the fake fur jacket, and I wore those gloves, I just dropped. It fell beside his already dead body, which ended up in a seated position by the side of the house. My main role in the drama was done, but I couldn’t hide out in the back. I could have, but it just wasn’t me. So I picked up his automatic and I went to the front of the house. The strike teem was already inside
I went in behind them to watch their collective asses. They had already cleared the downstairs or so I thought. They headed up stairs where the intelligence said the gang would have the dope processing room. It the girl was in the house she would be there. As they went up the stairs a man stepped out the kitchen door. I shot him in the face while he was getting his bearings. I looked around to check the rooms downstairs. There was a TV room the team had cleared before going up the stairs. The kitchen and dining room were behind the stairs and behind the living room. It also had a door to the rear yard. The man I shot must have been on patrol there.
The house was three stories. The strike team cleared them while I guarded the stairs, there were lots of shots. Then a couple of minutes of screaming before the strike team came down. Everyone but Helen had come and they all were in the house. When the team came down, we all jumped into the SUVand it sped away immediately. Someone had jumped in the car while we were inside.
That someone drove us to a second location, where the man on the curb acted as though he had no idea what was happening. They shot him as we went into the house. Clearing that house was just as fast as the first one. Again I guarded the path of our retreat. The difference was they came out with Holly. I knew it was a black female, but I didn’t know for sure that it was Holly. I just presumed it was.
Suddenly there were two cars. “Get in the car with Holly,” Karl said.
So I did. It was a large older Ford of some kind. We drove off in one hell of a rush. In the car were me, Holly, the driver who I had never seen, and The Brit. It drove us back to the house. The moment we were out of the car, it took off. It was all like a dream at that point.
Holly didn’t resist, she was very docile. I had no idea, who drugged her. I didn’t know, if it was the gang, or Karl the Killer. It was someone for sure because she was on the nod big time.
I helped her into the room, which Helen had prepared for her. Since it wasn’t need to use while pulling bullets from one of us, Helen put Holly into what should have been my bed. I did not argue, since I didn’t really have the nurturing gene in me.
I went out and found Karl standing by the SUV. “What you going to do, if some one got the plate numbers?” I asked.
“I almost hope they did,” he said. “I don’t know, if I want them following a false trail, or have then left with no leads at all.”
“You are going to have to explain that to me,” I said.
“On the way here we stopped in Arkansas. We went into a giant mall and stole a license plant from a Ford sedan. Then we went across the lot and stole a plate from a pickup truck and replaced it with the plate from the Ford sedan. Now the man from the sedan probably hasn’t discovered it missing. Usually it take a few days, but maybe not. If not they are looking for that plate.”
Most likely it will take years to discover the mistake. These days, to save money, they issue a new sticker for the plate not a new plate. Even if they find the plate, there has to be a brand new search for whoever took that plate. But since we are out of state, it is very unlikely they would stop us. Even if they did, that plate is now in ‘Old Man River,” He said with a grin. “Either the cops are following a false trail, or they have nothing.”
“And the occupants of the two houses?” I asked. “They won’t be talking to the cops either, Trust me New Orleans won’t be missing them.”
“Somewhere a mother is crying tonight,” I said.
“That is true I guess,” he said. He also gave me a strange look. “You gonna be okay with this?”
“Sure, we wiped out the equivalent of a city block’s worth of kids, to save one rich junkie,” I said. I knew I had said too much. If they thought I would talk, they would probably kill me. They might really hate to do it, but they most likely would do it.
It was all about self preservation for them and for me. So, I could live with this, but it was the last one for me. These guys were going to have to work without me. They could use what I had done as blackmail to keep me in line, but I was through.
I took my turn watching the the perimeter and said nothing. They hadn’t broken my only hard fast rule. I don’t kill cops and I don’t let anyone I’m with kill cops. That was rule one for me. Everything else was flexible.
When my turn came to sleep, I was exhausted so I tried hard to sleep. I knew Karl was in touch with the Colonel, so I kept very quiet about how I felt. It bothered me but I kept it inside. I hadn’t seen it, but I was damn sure that they had executed at least one prisoner. The one who screamed, before he gave up the second safe house. In a really smart gang, he wouldn’t have known where it was, so he couldn’t give it up. The gang leader had no idea who would be coming for the girl. He might have expected the cops, which was probably why the girl was at a second location. He could not have known that there were men one hell of a lot worse, than his worst nightmare, on the hunt for Holly.
It took Helen ten days to dry Holly out. She didn’t go cold turkey she was brought down using methadone as a anti-withdrawal drug. We could hand over a girl in methadone treatment, but not a junkie. Why that was I didn’t know and didn’t ask. What they could arrange for her was up to mommy and daddy, as far as any of us were concerned. Helen kept Holly away from the rest of us. Probably so she couldn’t identify us. She just might develop a need to confess all. Hell she might even have been in love with one of the dead boys. Nobody knew what caused her to be on that bed with semen stained sheets.
After ten days Helen declared her free of the Heroin or any other drug. Well any drug but methadone. So Holly was ready to return home. We put a black bag over her head and arranged a meeting. We handed her over at a deserted service station one of hundreds in the south. The blacked out SUV followed behind the sedan which had delivered her to the safe house. This time it carried her to her father.
The delivery was made without incident. Helen talked to Holly’s parents on the satellite phone. She gave them directions for Holly’s care. Then it was over. I caught a bus to Jackson Miss where I caught a plane home. I was glad to walk away from the men who were on the strike team. If I needed help with a problem, I would like men like them, but I was ready to put them back on the shelf for now.