Janah and Chan are hunched over maps, there are lines with distances, terrain, photos of the RVs and the inhabitants. They calculate the estimated time to get from the distribution people and dealers to the production facilities.
Janah, “We can do distribution in a couple of hours. It will take a couple of hours to get to the production facilities. We’ll have to drive to a deserted stretch of desert to meet the copters, then fly to two sites each. Three helicopters take out six facilities. I'm having C-4 delivered, paste it around the RV, Boom!! You are to get the producers out first, they get a shot at giving up.”
Nikko, “One shot.”
Janah, “Six of us, Chan and Amaya, Black and I, Nikko and Daphne. Someone who can mental will be on each helicopter. When the labs are cooked, back to the SUVs, to Flagstaff, to home.”
“What about the Indians leasing their land to these meth factories?”
Janah, “The Society will send them a message through other teams. Two messages, a blown up meth factory on their land, and visitors from elsewhere explaining the new reality. Any more RVs show up on their property, their house is next to go boom.”
Nikko, “These people are pretty hardheaded, think the threat will work?”
“I hope so. If they’re stupid enough to try again, then the last thing they hear in this life will be extremely loud and incredibly close.”
Black, “Seems like they ought to get more than a warning for leasing to the pigs in the first place.”
“The warning will include a missing finger.”
“Ah, a memorable warning.”
We review maps, the helicopters have GPS with the latitude and longitude of the meth labs. Surveillance is tracking distributors and dealers, we'd get their exact location, strike at the same time. Once we’d thoroughly discouraged them, drive to the copters, fly, make a loud noise, fly back.
It is time for dinner and rest. Amaya and I shag food and bring it to the rooms, we don't want to be seen as a group, even in Flagstaff. Beaver Street Brewery sandwiches, haul the goods to Janah’s suite and the six of us demolish vegetarian, a second three sausage pizza, margarita chicken sandwiches and a couple of Arizona quesadillas with flank steak.
Black, “You gonna kill us with food?”
The girls eat a sufficiency, Black and Chan are in big guy heaven, in the end, all that’s left is boxes and paper.
Black, “Hit my empty spot, not bad.”
“I’d have tried their desserts, but they involve stuff that either needs to be warm or has ice cream. However, Amaya and I discovered an Arizona supermarket chain called Basha’s. And they have a remarkably good bakery. We have cookies, chocolate chip, sugar, and Mexican wedding and/or brownies with a healthy sprinkling of powdered sugar, and flaky fruit turnovers, more wine anyone?”
The wine drinkers are Amaya, Nikko and Janah, the rest of us are Shaolin priests under vows.
Chan, “The cookies are good, this is from a supermarket?”
“Yes, it’s Arizona local, I don’t know how many stores they have, it looks like a typical supermarket, we came across it, went in and noticed that the baked goods looked quite fresh. I tried a chocolate donut, it was light as a feather, tasty chocolate coating. The turnovers looked good too, also went with cookies and brownies.”
Black, “I go no complaints, any of the wedding cookies left, a brownie?”
I resupply, then my guys have finally gotten filled, for all the food, we have only a half dozen cookies left. At least they’ll be fortified.
Black, “I’m gonna call Sonia then sleep,” he stands to go.
Chan stands with him and they leave for their rooms. Nikko disposes of boxes and bags, and all the bad girls go to bed.
Tomorrow is now today, Amaya and I are seated at the table, her hands on my legs, frequent kisses to my neck and face.
Janah, “What did you two get up to last night? Amaya hasn't taken her hands off you since we got up.”
“You haven't checked the replay, I didn't feel you in my head. Sit back and check out the memory bank.”
Janah stares out into space, a slight grin, then a major grin, then a laugh,
“Good Lord, you two blew out the fuses, then fused, small wonder she's so possessive.”
“Oh God, Nikko drilled me everyplace I can be drilled, I got my revenge though, I gave her the Mystical Tongue of Janah, everyplace she can be tongued. When I fell asleep, she was mumbling to herself in Japanese.”
“Ah, that's why we haven't seen her yet this morning.”
“She worked me like a ten dollar mule,” she giggles.
Amaya, “Been recapping the sexual exploits?”
“I was bragging about my good fortune, Janah was sharing her loving appreciation of Nishiko.”
Amaya, “You two have the best lovers on the planet, plus the other best lovers, each other.”
Janah, “We are grateful for you and Nishiko, two exotic erotic treasures.”
“It is only proper that you should acknowledge your good fortune,” she can't help herself, starts laughing at her own pomposity, which starts up Janah and me.
Nikko appears, “It sounds like twelve year old sleepover in here. You must be reliving your filthy behavior.”
Amaya, “Janah was sharing your filthy behavior. She was quite complimentary.”
We check out of the Inn at 410, too bad, rooms are super, breakfast lovely. We take the two Escalades to visit our targets, two groups, Janah, Black and Chan, Amaya, Nikko and me. We’re in Flagstaff for a reason, the four distributors live here. It’s the biggest city close to the production labs, next to nothing between here and the reservation. Every two weeks, the distributors drive fresh ingredients to the production labs. Temperature ranges from the tens in winter, with lots of snow in Flagstaff, to 110 in the summer desert on the Navajo reservation. Most of the year, however, the temperature is in the 40s to 80s. When the extremes hit, producers and distributors take vacations.
It’s a reasonably efficient operation. Make a lot of crank for the seven or eight months weather permits, store the overflow for production downtime. Street dealers and large wholesale customers always have product, meth has a long shelf life. Stored properly, cool dry spot, out of sunlight, and the stuff will last far longer than a couple of months of bad weather.
Our part is to get the producers and distributors out of business. Street dealers would be out of business by default. How long would that last? Hard to say. The Society is documenting the connections, right down to the guys who push meth on the women, and hook the kids. We expect the few rehab clinics to be overflowing in a few days. That’s not our problem.
Nikko, Amaya and I pull to the curb a block down from our first target. He isn’t living the high life, not here in Flagstaff anyway. It’s a decent house, in a decent neighborhood, no flashy cars, no gates, nothing to bring attention to himself. There’s plenty of money and plenty of time to travel to Vegas or LA for action and entertainment.
Nikko and I take the front and back of the house. Amaya in a schoolgirl outfit, demure, not porn-style schoolgirl, just a short enough skirt to distract, knocks on the door.
Distributor One answers, a stocky Latin, well dressed, no sloppy jeans and sandals, rather slacks, a dress shirt, loafers.
D1, “Help you?”
I can see through Amaya’s eyes that he would love to help, help himself to the vision before him, Nishiko appears from the side of his door and crushes his face, inside with the door shut before he hits the carpet. Nikko lets me in the back door.
Amaya works the piano wire, wrists and ankles. He’s groggy, not out, we haul him up onto a kitchen chair. I pop an ammonia cap under his nose, he jerks, blinks.
“What..” his nose drips blood.
I hit him with more ammonia, Amaya hold his head steady, firm grip on his ears. He tries to move his head, pain tells him to forget about it.
“Got your attention, Jesús?”
He looks at me, wondering how I know his name, “Jesús, I know your name, you date of birth, your social security number and who you spent the evening with on your last trip to Vegas. I know you deliver supplies to three RVs out in the desert, and bring back tightly sealed containers of methamphetamine. I know you cut it into smaller batches and deliver them to street dealers for distribution to the reservations. I know you feed dealers here in Flagstaff, who bring product to LA and Vegas,” I rattle off a list of his contacts.
He’s smart enough not to admit or deny, he tries glaring at me, so many have before, yet, here I am. Apparently you don’t die from being glared at.
“My friend will demonstrate one of her numerous specialties.”
Nikko cracks him hard in the jaw, a new flow of blood down the side of his mouth, then before he can think, the point of a very nasty cutting tool is a hairsbreadth from his eyeball. He doesn’t move because he can’t. Things are cutting into his wrists and ankles, if he moves his head, he’ll lose sight in an eye.
“Getting the picture, Jesús? Let me explain what’s happening. You’re unemployed, cutbacks due to economic conditions. No more meth, no other drugs. You may have noticed I didn’t read you your rights, or wave a search warrant in your face. That’s because you have no rights and I don’t care about cops or courts. I am your new law, you new constitution. I am your new God, señor.”
I turn to Nikko, “Show him God’s wrath.”
She does, his now broken jaw and broken ribs are helping him understand the unforgiving nature of his new master.
“Are you getting down with this, Jesús?”
He stares at me, not sure whether a reply only earns him more pain.
“Jesús, let me show you something,” I pulled out a phone with photos of his sister, her kids, his mother and his brother, all in Mexico.
His eyes widen, I explicate, reel off addresses and phone numbers, “Now, you’re going move back to Mexico, stay out of the United States, or…I send my friend here to meet your family. We will make your family suffer for your ignorance, then, when you have had plenty of time to feel the pain of it, she will come and slowly end your life. What’s it going to be, Jesús?”
He nods, tries to talk, Nikko has made that difficult, so I help, “I note your agreement to our terms. Still, it will be necessary to give you a more permanent reminder.”
His eyes narrow, Nikko’s blade takes his left forefinger, I briefly wonder if he’s left handed, I don’t recall…I don’t care, he’s profiting from the death of children.
Amaya unties the piano wire from his functional side, he can figure out the rest whenever he wakes up. She coats the stub of finger with Dermabond, shoots his hand full of Lidocaine. We angle the chair against a table to put his stub up in the air, higher than his heart. We have another meeting and still have to get to the producers, Jesús needs to be out for a while. She injects Rohypnol, the date rape drug. He won’t be functional for twelve hours.
Off we go.
Dealer Two lives in an apartment complex, which makes busting his face in the doorway dicey. Scare the pee out of a neighbor, cops appear. Even now, you can’t always count on indifferent citizens not wanting to get involved. For instance, look at us.
D2 is, however, a man. That makes him putty in Amaya’s hands.
Amaya, “Your friends in Vegas sent me over as a present, a reward for your excellent work ethic,” she lays her million dollar smile on him, “they didn’t tell me you were such a hottie.”
D2, Lexis, is mentally thanking his Vegas partners. Amaya has predisposed his brain to make the obvious connection, she knows he has contacts in Las Vegas, he associates Vegas with prostitution, his man brain doesn’t raise a shadow of doubt.
Lexis opens the door and waves her inside, “A most generous gift, what is your name, chica?”
Amaya, “Sufrimiento,” he cocks his head, she clocks his cock with her knee, Nikko clocks him out, I close the door.
Lexis is all strapped in, awake now, head full of ammonia. I sit in front of him, smiling, “Buenos Dias, Lexis. That’s about my limit in Spanish, so listen up in English. You are wondering what we want. I will tell you. You are out of the meth racket. You are going a trip, to Mexico. You are not returning to the States. If you do, you will not get three inches across the border. Try it with a hard on and see if I’m right.”
He sneers, “Puta, you have started a war, which will not end until you, your amigas and your family has been slaughtered. I am far more than just me, we do not forgive interference in our business.”
“Lexis, dear boy, just who are your associates going to look for? We aren’t the government, we aren’t interested in taking your territory, we don’t socialize much, haven’t joined any clubs, don’t have Facebook pages, not so much as a Tweet. Speaking of family, your sainted mother lives in Cozumel, in grand style, thanks to many addicted methies. Here’s a photo of her residence, which you visited as recently as two months ago. Look! Here’s you going inside. And here’s dear mama. Isn’t technology amazing? So, here are your choices, ready?”
He demeanor tries for hostile, not quite reaching it now that mom is factored into the equation, “Touch a hair on her head…”
Nikko rearranges his nose, now it sort of slants to one side, then a hammer fist down on his forearm, wired to the arm of the chair. I hear his arm snap. Amaya has a bath towel around his mouth, he screams, but it’s only a muffled nothing inside the towel. The towel does double duty soaking up blood from his mangled nose.
Amaya, “Lexis isn’t such a hottie anymore. I’m taking him off my A-list.”
I peer into his eyes, “Didn’t even get to taste the candy, and already you’ve been demoted. Life is most unreasonable. Let’s see, where was I before you stupidly made threats you can’t carry out? Oh, your choices. I’ll ask again, are you ready?”
He blinks, mad as hell, but he nods slowly.
“Better, and far less painful for you, señor. You can move to Mexico by Friday, or you die Saturday. In your case, a narrow range of options makes the most sense. I won’t even have to kill you myself. Because Friday at six p.m., if you aren’t in Mexico, your associates in LA and Vegas will come to believe you’ve ratted them out to the DEA, the local drug cops, and the world famous Arizona State Storm Troopers. Then your associates are not likely to have a very long meeting about your future. Let’s watch a movie.”
I play a video on a phone showing Lexis meeting with upstream contacts, downstream local dealers, sitting around in clubs with his colleagues in LA and Vegas hotspots. The point is to demonstrate that we know to whom he reports and to whom he furnishes product.
“Now, Lexis, what do you think your friends will believe when we send this video to them? You’re, like, what? Making a video memoir of your life? Vacation photos? Or do you think, when I edit in case numbers and DEA logos, they might think the Feds have been following you around?”
Lexis is full bore attention. He’s Latin, but his coloring is a couple of shades lighter than when we’d begun. I take that as either a good sign or blood loss, hard to tell. I decide to leave his fingers intact, he only has a couple of days to get gone, and we have the video to hold over him.
I let his situation settle in, he is, after all, suffering a broken nose, arm and no doubt swollen balls from Amaya’s kneecap. His head sinks to his chest.
I put my fingers under his jaw, pull his head up to face me, “Look at it this way. You’re alive, and you can stay alive by getting out of the country. This is a much better alternative than your only other option.”
Lexis sees my dead eyes, the cold calculation of our refocusing, that we would not just walk away, he sighs, “My associates will think I’ve betrayed them, you may as well kill me now.”
“Let me handle them. Go home, live an honest life, take care of mom, you don’t die a violent death, do I have agreement?”
“We’ll be watching. Anything goes off plan, you see her again,” I nod to Nikko, “and your problem is, the psycho wants you to go off plan. Last hombre that went off plan took three days to die.”
He looks at Nikko, she doesn’t blink, she doesn’t breath, he decides to closely examine the floor.
“Prep him and let’s go.”
Amaya loads him up with Rohypnol, we buy another twelve hours. I tune into Janah’s mind, she’s watching Black fracture a target’s collarbone.
“All done, heading to the copter site.”
Janah, “This is our second one, first finished…permanently. I’m giving this one the talk, he copped a bit of attitude, when you tuned in, Black was explaining how to listen politely. We’re done in ten, see you soon.”
I crack the door, place is dead, not a soul in sight, in the SUV and driving to a stretch of desert for the afternoon festivities.
Amaya has the wheel, she’s all about girl driving, foot to the floor.
Nikko, “Speed limit. You get us stopped, we have a lot of explaining to do if they find a reason to search the car. Be sensible.”
“Sorry, I got caught up, stupid of me.”
“You like driving fast.”
“Oh yeah. We do not drive much in the city and the top speed is zero in Manhattan.”
“What if we send you to a driving school, not learn to drive, learn to drive as executive protection, tactical mobility?”
Amaya sparkles, “Are you kidding? Absolutely…when?”
“Nishiko learned some things at Paladin, but basics, she wasn’t part of the driver force, it’s a specialty. I’m sure she can find out where to send you.”
Nikko, “I’m going too. Something we should have done in the first place.”
Amaya, “That is sooo cool. I am totally pumped!”
“Keep your mind on business for now, dear one. You and Nishiko can crash cars soon enough.”
“I have the coolest life, I am sooo deserving of it.”
Nikko, “Just get us to the helicopters with no cops and in one piece. Time for quiet.”
Amaya doesn’t say anything, but she fist pumps a few times.
“I am going to give you the best sex on the planet, in the galaxy, across the universe, you are splendid, Red Queen.”
Maybe I could send her to race car driving as well.
Enough titillation, I’m about to explode in a lust volcano, back to the other dirty work. There are three helicopters, Eurocopter EC135s, accommodates up to six, plus a pilot, four hour, three hundred mile range. In short, overkill for our needs. Janah chose them because they are quiet for a copter, and maneuverability is important to keep us low to the ground without tripping over a cactus or meeting up with a power line. The pilots are hired by the Society, lots of hours, numerous missions. We aren’t the only refocusing team, we don’t know how many more there are. That’s part of the security, none of us exist.
Janah, Chan and Black show up, nobody injured on our side, everybody injured on the other. I’d replay their refocusing later. I want to follow the action, see what went right, what might need to be changed or fixed. Since everyone’s healthy, more went right than wrong.
Nikko and Amaya verify supplies on all three copters (I’m avoiding ‘choppers’ everybody says it, it’s mundane.) Supplies means C-4, detonators, transmitters to trigger the blasting cap. C-4 is ultra powerful, you do not want to be unprotected in the vicinity of a blast.
I review the rules, “Set the C-4 first, insert the detonators, check to make sure the transmitter is the right one, one to fire the example, one to blow up the factory. The small explosion is to give them a reality check. Call out the men inside, explain their situation. Set off the sample. Give them two minutes to exit the RV. Either they come out or they don’t. In any case, find cover, click the button. We are offering them proof and a chance, we aren’t going in on bended knee with a ring and a promise. All clear?”
We’d discussed this already, I’m doing a moment of truth review. With C-4, you need lots of heat and a powerful shock, just setting it on fire, or even shooting it won’t do. I test every device, all charged up, fully operational. It almost doesn’t matter. In the event of a failure, we’d just torch the RV.
They’re in the desert, wide open space, uneven terrain, plenty of places to duck into or behind and let the blast wash over or around us. It’s important to have helmets, and find a spot with overhead cover. Junk will be sprayed up and around, we don’t want our head cracked open if it lands on us.
Up in copters, Nikko and Amaya, Black and me, Janah and Chan, we fly off in separate directions. Black and I emerge from our helicopter in under an hour. We have a mile walk, carrying about forty pounds of stuff in our backpacks, twenty pounds of C-4, the detonators, water, which is heavy. We don’t bring rations, if we need food, we have more problems that we’d bargained for. I have my tranquilizer gun.
I watch while Black creeps to the RV. He’s good. Even as big as he is, you had to be me to track him. I’m grateful for Shaolin invisibility training. I watch him crawl under the RV, pull the putty-like explosive from his pack, and squish it all around the corners of the vehicle. Ten pounds worth. With my eagle sight, from three hundred yards, I can see him inserting detonators like I was lying next to him. He inches his way across the desert floor to a pile of rocks forty yards from the RV, plants a brick of C-4 at the base of the rock, inserts a detonator. When he crawls his way back to me, I put a dart into the side of the RV, then call their number.
Producer One answers, “Who is this?”
“Your best friend, or your worst nightmare, depending on how stupid you are.”
P1, “I don’t got time to talk to no…”
“Do yourself a favor Pedro,” I’m not patronizing, that’s his name, “you and your girlfriend Javier look out of the south side window of your RV. I can see you moving around inside now.”
P1, “You got no business here. What he fuck, you better be gone when I come out.”
“Pedro, I’m short of time and patience, just look out the window.”
I nod to Black, he presses the magic button, a big rock turns into much smaller rocks and dust. It is loud and effective.
I hear, “Madre.”
“Getting the idea boys? Let me be more specific. The four corners of your vehicle are now packed with ten times as much C-4 as you just watched pulverize that bolder. You have one minute, starting now, to get out of the RV and start running north. You have one minute after that to find a big rock to get behind.”
Pedro, “Are you fucking crazy? Do you know who you are fucking with?”
“Pedro, I know everything about everything. What you need to know is that I don’t give a damn if you stay in the RV or hit the dirt. You have fifty seconds.”
I click off. I swear, sometimes I don’t know what it takes to make people see the obvious. I’m beginning to conclude that many folks are just too stupid to exist.
Pedro and Javier, however, are at least a few steps ahead of plant life. They’re running north, balls to the wall. I give them their hundred yards, nod to Black, the RV evaporates, as in one second there, the next vaporized.
“Dang, blowing up stuff is fun,” I say to no one in particular.
After the considerable dust settles, we round up Pedro and Javier. I read them their non-rights, explain the fatal consequences of continued meth production, give them bottles of water. The Society will have the state police collect them. We tie them together, out of the sun, walk a half mile and call our copter. Since I hadn’t explained that they would be rescued, I can still hear their pleas for help all the way. I hope Nikko’s pair don’t whine as much, she’ll cut their tongues out.