Bad time to be a gun thug
“There is one more thing we need to discuss before the police get two deep into their investigation,” I said into the phone. “I just want you to stop and give some thought to where this thing might lead. Now that the cops are involved, you need to consider all the possibilities.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” he asked. His temper seemed to be getting the best of him. Not the best time to let it show, I thought.
“I have no proof of anything the Sheriff’s department is doing the investigating now. What I have is not really even a suspicion. However I wouldn’t feel right, if I didn’t warn you that there is a possibility your ex-wife could be involved. If she is involved, then she might have to go to jail. I am mentioning this, so that you can be guessing what her motives might have been. You will also want to think about what to do with the kids, if that happens. Is your wife a good mother?”
“Yes, she is a very good mother according to the kids,” Nate said.
“I just wanted you to think about what might happen if your ex is locked up. You know how the old saying goes forewarned is forearmed,” I suggested.
“Do you think she was involved?” he asked showing his temper again.
“Like I said there is no evidence of it at this time, but when those guys start talking, there is no telling who they will implicate,” I said. “It is just a possibility, nothing more at this point.”
“I’ll deal with it, when and if it becomes an issue,” he said.
“I expect your present wife won’t mind, if your kids from the previous marriage come live with you. Personally I think it would be asking a lot, but then that’s not my call to make.”
“I think you have done your job, and we are finished,” Nate said then hung up.
“Somehow I feel he wasn’t happy to get your opinion,” Wilson said.
“He certainly didn’t seem to be. So what other things need our attention?” I asked. Wilson was much better at keeping our calendar than I could ever be.
“The Railroad Hotel owner still hasn’t given us an answer. The time is about to run out,” Wilson said. “So do you want to do anything about it?”
“Well, I’m not going to call them, so let’s go visit the agent who has my check,” I suggested. “We might want to leave his house with it in our pocket.”
“I think we need to go to the barge for a quick shower,” Wilson said. “We have been out running up and down the road since last night. Frankly we both stink.”
“Okay, but I get to use the shower in the office,” I said. The shower in the conventional stick built unit was much better. Better because it seemed to have an endless supply of hot water. That was why I had the shower installed in the office in the first place.
Whenever I used that shower, I always washed my hair five times or more. My hair was always thin and limp like fine sewing thread, but it was even worse after one of those showers. The only upside was that I knew it was squeaky clean and not greasy.
After my shower I walked across to the barge wearing only a short terry cloth robe. When I say only the robe, I mean there was absolutely nothing else covering my body. I felt a bit slutty, but I also knew that no one had any idea, so I was okay with it. Well, I really didn’t care if they knew, just so they didn’t do anything stupid.
I found that I had a ‘missed call’ alert flashing on the screen of my cell phone. I did one of those return the call things by having it dial that same number. I recognized the voice that asked, “Hello the number you have reached is 339 6331. I recognized the voice as that of the phone operator of Swamp Dog.
“Sylvia Porter here, you rang?” I asked.
“Can you be here in two hours?” the female voice asked. “It’s urgent.”
“I can be there in 90 minutes,” I said hanging up on her.
“Wilson,” I shouted. “Something is wrong at the Swamp. You will have to get along without me for a while I expect. I have to leave right this minute,” I explained as I pulled on my pants and a red tee shirt with gold letters.
“I threw some things into the half duffel and moved out. During the whole hour and twenty minutes of the drive I ran the possibilities through my mind. By the time I got to the long driveway leading to the compound, I was pretty sure that it was a rescue mission. Most likely it would be halfway around the world.
I got out of my car, then I took a good look around the parking lot. There were several of the black SUVs parked in the lot. If they called me as soon as the others then they were the compound employee’s cars. It they were bringing in a contingency from the church camp they wouldn’t have had time to arrive.
I went into the dining room as much for the coffee, as I did for the assessing of the mission. I assumed it was a big deal, since I had said no more. That is why I assumed it was a rescue.
The coffee was exactly like I made it at home, since I had introduced them to the mixture of coffees. I poured myself a cup and sat facing the door. There were two people in the dining room, who I had never seen before. I didn’t speak and neither did they. They looked solemn, so I knew whatever it was had to be bad.
“Sylvia,” Martin said. I promised I wouldn’t call you, but if you heard from someone else, I expect you would want to kill me. You do not have to go along on this.”
“Martin stop the BS and tell me what this is all about please,” I replied.
“Right, we had a team down there to intercept a big drug shipment and turn it over to the DEA. It went south and our team got bloodied. These bad guys are holding them hostage and we don’t know their status. If you are willing, I would like to have you negotiate for them. You do know we don’t have to play by the rules.”
“Who do they have?” I asked. I was damn sure I knew at least one member of the team being held hostage at that time.
“The female former Israeli operative, and one of the Arab type operatives. They also had Liam with them,” Martin said then looked away.
“And you are sure this was just drug smugglers,” I asked. Almost wishing it was a political kidnapping.
“Not any more, the DEA is calling them narco terrorist these days. And they are that for sure,” Martin said.
“Well Colonel, where do I get my background information?” I asked.
“There will be a former DEA intelligence officer waiting for you at the safe house,” Martin said.
“Where is the Motel?” I asked, fearing it might be some shit hole.
“Small town in Mississippi,” Martin said. “On the Gulf of Mexico.”
“Does it have a name?” I asked.
“Gulf Port it is just a few miles from the Air Base at Biloxi and the Casinos as well. Plenty of drug activities and most likely some mob money there,” Martin informed me.
“Martin this could become very bloody without warning,” I said.
“If this goes sideways, just pick anyplace in the world you would like to live, and I’ll make it happen,” Martin said.
“Who is going to be in charge overall,” I asked knowing it wouldn’t be me.
“Andrew,” Martin said simply.
Just great, another old boyfriend, I thought. “Do you know who has them,” I asked.
“A drug lord from Bolivia. The delivery was supposed to be locals bringing it in, but the intelligence from DEA sucked. There were two swift boats following the fishing boat. They overtook the boat minutes after the hijacking. There was a battle and some of the bad guys died. During the firefight they set fire to the boat. A deal was struck to save the load. Our men were taken prisoner and the boat’s fire put out. I have video of them so I know they were alive at midnight last night.”
“So the bad guys didn’t honor their deal,” I asked.
“No they didn’t,” Martin said.
“So what’s the plan?” I asked. I knew it was going to be grim.
“There are two parts, first we snatch our people. When they are safe, we spank the drug lord,” he said.
“You know this is going to make us terrorist, if we get caught,” I said.
“That is something we worry about tomorrow. I learned a lesson from you. We are going to walk down this road till we get to the end,” Martin said.
I laughed. “You have the deal with the DEA on paper,” I said.
“Video conference calls on record,” he said.
“So, what’s my part?” I asked.
“Gun thug on the rescue mission,” he said. He saw my look and added, “Cloudy Vision.”
Cloudy Vision was his way of saying bad shit happens during the fog of war. Nobody will ever be sure what really happens.
“Okay, you got it,” I agreed.
“There is a plane waiting for us at the capitol city airport. We got a couple of more assets coming from the church camp, then you leave.”
I had more bad coffee and a great dinner courtesy of Mary Ellen’s former friend. The recruiting poster should feature a picture of her in her kitchen outfit with the cleavage showing over her apron. It could even say world class cuisine from the Swamp Dog Kitchen.
It was shortly after dinner when the assets from the church camp arrived with a middle aged man in tow. He was far too soft to be regular operative. He had to be a special, special operative.
Shortly after their arrival and after they had eaten, we all turned over our cell phones, then started the two hour drive to the Capitol City airport. There was a virtual convoy of expensive black SUVs for the drive to the airport. They all parked together in the long term parking area.
We walked to the general aviation part of the airport. It was the place where private planes were handled. There was even a small waiting room there. Of course it was overflowing with men in green, khaki, and camouflage outfits. The beards on the men weren’t as long as the Duck show on TV, but we had some things in common. We were going out to enjoy killing things.
The man behind the counter motioned to the team leader. The team leader who was an old hand with Swamp Dog listened to the man behind the counter, then motioned for us to follow. He had not said a word since we arrived at the airport. Thinking back none of us had. Everyone’s attention was on the job at hand. Odds were our friends were dead and we knew it.
We followed the leader out to a Small Air Service Jet. The jet would seat ten and that was out group’s size. The luggage compartment was filled with weapons and ammunition. The plane was off shortly after sunset. That meant a failing light in the sky.
We arrived in a strange town before midnight, not the best situation for any rational plan. At least that was my thinking. Well until Andrew, the mission commander, gave me a capsule to swallow. He saw my questioning look.
It’s a GPS marker. It will stay in place for about three days. That is when I knew why a rescue mission was feasible, the Swamp had a new toy and we knew where Liam’s party was located. What we didn’t know was, if they were dead or alive. I surely hoped we were mounting a rescue mission. Not a recovery mission. Either way it was going to be very dangerous doing it without good intelligence. Something we were not likely to have when we jumped off.
What we did have was an abandoned farm house to use as a base camp. We parked the three rental cars in the parking lot a little after midnight. There were two men waiting for us. One was tied to a chair with a black bag over his head. The second man left immediately.
Edited by Walt