Ellen and the twins bring Mani home, she’s still a little out of it, anesthesia is a bitch. But she has her pain pump and it drips out Marcaine, a local anesthetic. Big advantage, it’s doesn’t go in bloodstream, so it doesn’t go into the brain. No foggy head from pain pills.
Now it’s a matter of rest, take it slow for a week, keep the scars medicated and take the antibiotics.
Sarah comes over, she sits with Mani in her room, they watch movies and read, play video games. Neither is a big gamer, they play simple stuff off the arcade site, it’s a time killer.
Sarah, “Feeling better?”
“Yes, the anesthetic drip was a really good idea, I haven’t needed the Percocet, or even aspirin. Have to sleep on my back for a while and I won’t be too active anytime soon. He said six weeks before any bouncing around.”
Sarah stays overnight, Ellen takes her to school in the morning, “You have a race Saturday, yes?”
“Right, but it’s not a qualifier for anything, I don’t have to set records. What I usually do is hold back a little. The race is for me to stay in form. Running alone isn’t like a race, no competitors to dodge, more concentration than just cruising along on a training run. I’m a good runner, but I don’t want full time. Frankly, I think most runners over train. They get the high and want it again, nothing more than common addiction.”
“Good for you, sometimes I think there’s an overabundance of competition in every damn thing.”
Sarah, “God, at school it’s a nightmare of college prep this and AP that, service clubs to build resume cred. Not motivated to play that game. My dad went to Tulane, I’ll get into Tulane easily, particularly since I’m doing English and linguistics. Thanks for the ride, can I come over tonight?”
“Don’t skip homework, they give you homework?”
“Sometimes, I can do it online.”
“What time is school out?”
She takes her school bag, out the door, Ellen returns to the house, Mani’s asleep, the twins are in the office.
“Sweetie’s at school, she wants to come over tonight so I’m getting her at three. Think we’ll do pizza for dinner, I have cold cuts for lunch sandwiches, roast beef, pepper turkey, ham, any preferences?”
Katja, “Make feenger size, all kinds. Wiz only cheeps and maybe pickle slice. Ees good wiz crust cut off.”
“Simple then, got it.”
Lunch comes and goes, Mani comes down to eat. She doesn’t have to be immobile, in fact it’s better to move around some.
“Hardly any pain, more like tight, like a strained muscle.”
Ellen, “Good to hear, just don’t get too antsy, take your antibiotic today?”
“Yep, all done.”
“Sarah’s coming over after school.”
Mani grins, “Cool, she can do homework here as well as at home, but isn’t she training for Saturday?”
“It’s not a qualifying race, she’s just doing it to stay tuned, you know, all the people instead of running alone. She says it makes her concentrate. Anyway, tonight, then she’ll be back Saturday evening. I don’t know how long the twins need. They leave Thursday morning but didn’t book a return.”
Thursday, Ellen takes the twins to Lakefront airport, Blue Sky gets them to Boulder Municipal in three hours. Private flying will chew up most of their end of the fee, they don’t care, it’s not about money anymore. They like the luxury, like taking their guns with no hassle, they like to murder people. No, not right, they don't have any feeling about it, it's a...vocation, a calling, like becoming a priestess of death.
If they're moved to kill, and don’t need money, why not just randomly shoot people? Understandable question. The answer is it would be too easy. This way, they have to stalk a specific target, figure out a place, do the job and don’t get caught. More methodology, a bit of skill, none of which is required for picking out a random citizen and capping him. It may be somewhat tortured logic, but that’s how they see it. And we have the comfort of knowing they won’t just show up and murder us, not unless someone we know hires them to do it. Best be nice to people, you never know.
They drive to the campus, take a walk around. Nobody pays much attention, they’re college age, dressed differently enough not be twins, both wear different sunglasses, Katja has a ponytail, Katya has her hair parted on the left, partly covers the right side of her face. Katja wears platforms, Katya sneakers.
Professor Sanford doesn't wear platforms or sneakers, he teaches philosophy, an adjunct, which means lots of work and not much pay. His classes are popular, he allows lots of room for debate and is considered an easy A, or at least a solid B. A couple of simple papers, essay tests that leave him able to subjectively grade and no heavy stuff like Heidegger, who nobody understands anyway, not even Heidegger.
Katya, “Whoever wants him dead, it isn’t for a bad grade. The only way to get a C is to never show up and write three sentence essays.”
“Here ees class, ees almost feenish, we will see him.”
A bell rings, sloppy students in sloppy clothes and flip flops shuffle out the door. They peer in the class as students exit, Sanford is talking to an undergrad coed, a dark haired doll in snug jeans and a snugger top.
Katya, “Maybe a fuck buddy, he isn’t so old, she’s all flirt. He is married to a doctor, medical doctor. Maybe the attraction of lots of college girls and busy wife creates wandering husband.”
They come out of class together, the hall is empty, the twins have retreated around the corner.
“Is Mrs. Sanford at the hospital tonight?”
“No, unfortunately, but she is tomorrow.”
Coed cutie, “Cool, my roomie will be at the boyfriend’s. She practically stalks his ass. Texts or calls him ten times a day, constantly needs reassurance, has to be told ‘I love you’ every conversation. No clue why he puts up with it, it isn’t like there are no other girls around.”
Sanford, “Perhaps he finds her insecurity a way to control, make her dependant. Apparently doesn’t realize it makes him just as dependant. My experience with most students is that they are a neurotic mess.”
A giggle, “I just love the way your mind works Jerry. I love the way other parts of you work too. Come at six, bring wine.”
They split up, she takes a left and walks past Katja and Katya without a glance, Sanford goes down the hall the other way. The twins follow from a distance, Sanford’s oblivious.
Katya, “Get car.”
Katja splits off, Katya follows him a few blocks across campus to a faculty parking lot. Adjuncts don’t get offices, but they get a faculty parking sticker.
“He has a green Saab, not new, he’s fiddling around with something, papers, faculty parking three blocks from you, one block west.”
The Saab exits the lot, takes a left headed away from campus. Katja pulls alongside, Katya gets in.
“That’s him two blocks ahead, just follow, maybe we get our chance.”
It isn’t to be. He drives home, there’s a two car garage and two automatic doors. It goes up, he drives in, door comes down. If there’s a second car, it can’t be seen from the street. The twins hang down the block, it’s suburban plain, traffic is light, not a soul outdoors. They sit parked for a half hour, round the block and sit another half hour on the other side.
A tan Mercedes turns in the drive, a woman is driving, second door rolls up, car pulls in, then down.
Katya, “Ah, we could have had him already dead. Go to the hotel, not much chance to get to him tonight. His first class tomorrow is at eleven. We will see if wife leaves earlier. She is scheduled for hospital tomorrow night and may stay home in the morning.”
Katja drives to the Hampton Inn. Katya checks in under a travel name, leaves an imprint of a credit card in a business name, one of the Cayman shell corporations she has for this kind of thing. Katja comes in later, desk clerk isn’t at the desk, she takes the elevator and down the hall to 223.
Katya, “We will have a steak someplace,” she’s fishing around on her phone, “ah, Flagstaff House, they have Royal Ossetra caviar, and filet with cabernet wine sauce.”
Katja, “Call for reserving.”
At seven thirty, they’re seated. It’s a beautiful place, multi-level and indoor or outdoor seating. On a hill, there’s a nice view of Boulder on one side and the mountain range on the other.
Katja, “Good picking, ees nice place, ah, waiter,” she looks up at him, “what vodka do you have, top shelf only.”
Russian Standard doesn’t come up, they settle for Stolichnaya, rocks, olive. The waiter is all smiles when they order the caviar, a mere two hundred eighty five dollars per, one order is enough for both of them. They sip good vodka and taste exquisite caviar. At the restaurant, it’s marked up near two hundred percent, they buy it for around a hundred in New Orleans. He’s doubly happy when they order fifty buck filet mignon and a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet.
Katja, “Food ees first class, Ellen would like. Maybe we haf to kill someone else here again and she can haf peerfect steak filet.”
With the gratuity, they manage to rack up a five hundred dollar dinner for two. They took a cab over, one back, no point in risking a DUI, a taxi is far cheaper than an arrest. It’s nine thirty, they take time for gentle intimacies then to sleep.
By eight in the morning, the twins are cruising the prof’s street. Garage doors are down and they can’t tell anything about activity inside the house. Flanked by two homes, and backs up against another, no way to creep around back and get a peek inside. The windows of the SUV Katya rented are tinted dark, and as per procedure the plates are not the rental plates.
Same routine as yesterday, sit for a while, drive around, wait. Just after nine the garage door with Jerry’s car rolls open, he backs out to the street and heads to the freeway.
Katya, “Too early for class, follow him.”
Jerry doesn’t make the freeway, his car turns into a shopping center, chain grocery, sandwich shops, barber shop and a dry cleaner. He slips in a space in front of the cleaners.
“Park further down, Subway store is not open yet.”
Katya gets out, Jerry is hauling a pile of clothes inside. A few minutes later, he’s out with several items on hangars covered in plastic. He opens the back door, lays the clothes on the back seat, shuts the door. Katya takes a quick glance at the counter inside, nobody around, the clerk has obviously taken the clothes he dropped off to the back.
As he slides in the front seat, Katya is next to him. Silenced Glock puts a nine millimeter hollow point just over Jerry’s ear. There’s no splattering exit wound, the hollow point breaks up going through his skull and the pieces dance around in his brain. She took the additional precaution of cutting down the normal load of gunpowder. Enough to do the job, not so much as to make an exit mess. She pushes him over towards the passenger seat to prevent him falling on the horn, clicks the lock, shuts his door and walks to the SUV.
Katja drives out of the lot and they return to the hotel. Katya calls Blue Sky, they only need four hours notice and it turns out the plane that flew them in is still at Boulder Municipal. With a lost hour of time zone, Ellen is picking them up at four.
Ellen, “Went quick.”
Katya, “Caught him on an errand.”
There won’t be more discussion, no details, what Ellen and Mani don’t know keeps things simple. They could go to the Boulder news on the internet and figure it out. How many people get murdered dropping off dry cleaning? But they won’t, it isn’t prudent business practice. If they all go, naturally everyone knows, that’s okay because everyone had a hand in the job.
Mani, “Welcome home.”
Katja, “You are getting better?”
“Yes, no problems, just occasional soreness, I move around more, it eases the tightness. Still swollen, but it’s slowly backing off.”
Katja, “We haf good filet steak dinner, eef we have to go there again, they haf cabernet wine sauce, like marchand de vin.
Ellen, “I make ours with cabernet, I suspect they just call it something different, what’s the name of the place?”
“Flagstaff House, you can see on eenternet.”
Ellen, “Tonight is veal lasagna and Italian salad. Sarah likes fried catfish so I’m doing that tomorrow. We never talked about the house on Magazine Street. It’s pretty much a tear down. I also checked around for rental prices in that part of town. To build a place, even a basic one, what the market might allow for rent just doesn’t work very well.”
Katya, “Then we pass. We are doing well in the stock market, municipal bond fund paying five percent tax free. We also have equity REIT paying dividends. We will skip more real estate, brokerage account is easy to manage, don’t have to find tenant, collect, make repairs, file tax with city.”
Ellen, “You want to sell the Governor Nicholls property?”
“No, Eduardo is a good guy. Maybe if he asks about buying it. Do not ask him, make him come to us. If he is happy to rent, then we are happy to have him. If he ever leaves, we will sell it then.”
“What about Katya Donut? You own one of the buildings and are buying another.”
“We will not add anymore. It is a good business, makes us legitimate, we can clean cash if we need to. Much of our cash is legitimate now, twenty two million seven hundred and fifty five thousand left to be placed. I will buy bitcoins over time, pay company in Caymans, they convert it to cash, send us a wire transfer. I can close all the bank accounts except personal ones and the ones for our shell companies.”
Penny calls, “We’re done,” which means the contract has been paid.
Katya hangs up. Penny will cash out the bitcoins and hold the money until Katya gets to Houston to collect it.
Katya, “Contract is paid, but there is not much to share, we used up most of our end flying privately.”
Mani, “Geez, you’ve made us filthy rich already. I’m barely eighteen with twenty million dollars practically gifted to me. If I ever complain about expenses, shoot me.”
Ellen, “Ditto, I gotta get lasagna in the oven, cocktails in an hour.”
The twins unpack, Mani goes to lie down for the hour.
Over cocktails, Katya says, “I spoke to Mrs. Pearson. There is a Society project. Mani is still recovering, sister and I will go to deal with it.”
“Indianapolis. There is a nonstop on Allegiant to and from and the times are good. Leave ten in the morning, two hours, no time zone change. Return one thirty. It is a discount airline, no first class from New Orleans, but only a two hour flight, it doesn’t matter. Other airlines have stops and take twice as long to get there.”
“When do you leave?”
“Not until Monday. Target is traveling, he is in Canada right now, scheduled to return Saturday. His wife is leaving Friday, she won’t be there Monday, we can adjust his attitude at home, there are no children.”
“He beats her?”
“Sexual abuse, degrading things, he brings in escort girl, she has to go down on her, hires dominatrix to humiliate her. Men come over to fuck her while he watches.”
“Why’s she put up with it in the first place?”
“Started out as sex play, then ecstasy, cocaine, things degenerated as he got bored and moved it to mean. Mrs. Pearson said the woman accepts responsibility for letting it go too far, the drugs kept her screwed up. Anyway, she convinced her husband she has a line on exceptional coke but had to go out of town to get it. She booked ticket to LA, but not for drugs, she is checking into rehab there.”
“And the coke story suckered him.”
“Da. And we will sucker him again Monday.”
The target is Joseph Winston, a metals engineer. He’s wrapped too tight, as engineers frequently are. His company makes specialty products for airlines and other high stress metal applications. He’s worth several million personally, his company another several million, but he has partners, it isn’t all his. He’s not so young, fiftyish, his wife, third, is twenty seven.
She didn’t marry him for love, money and relative luxury did the trick. The sex games were, originally, part of the attraction.
How the Society found out is never explained to Social Skills teams. They are given evidence of the abuse, in this case audio and video from cameras installed in his home while he was away on a business trip. The Society doesn’t post its stuff of course, even the contractors who installed the equipment couldn’t see it. It was live streamed to encrypted servers in Mrs. Pearson’s offices. She and her partner Daphne, the second Mrs. Pearson, looked at it, verified what they’d been told. They’ll keep it until Mrs. Winston isn’t Mrs. anymore, then it disappears.
Katya gets enough video to confirm, his wife’s faced is pixilated out, the twins will never see her in person. There are the additional details, photo of Winston, front of the house, his company, his car and plate number.
Katya, “Their surveillance people do good work. They will also be there Monday, when we arrive and will tell us where he is.”
Katja, “Ees efficient operating, the Society. Pearson woman knows what she ees doing. Gerard haf connect us to good beezness.”
Mani comes along, twists slowly left and right, “It’s stretching a little more every day. I’m starved.”
Ellen, “All ready, eat your salad, I’m letting the lasagna rest so it won’t be all gooey, have a glass of Chianti, you haven’t taken any pain pills?”
“Nope, aspirin earlier, when I laid down.”
Ellen cuts chunks of lasagna, hands out plates, Mani, “Oh god, this is heavenly. Veal lasagna, what’s in it?”
“Veal, guess that’s obvious, béchamel sauce, butter, flour, nutmeg, the ragú, onion, carrots, celery and tomatoes. Cook it all down, six layers under and over the noodles, bake.”
Katja, “Ees best lasagna ever Ellen. I am to congratulate. I will haf more.”
Ellen grins, best compliment is seconds, everyone has another half size chunk.
“Got some left, maybe an appetizer for tomorrow’s catfish.”
Mani, “Yeah! Plus Sarah will get a taste, she’s gonna love it.”
“Think so? Maybe she’ll show her appreciation…somehow.”
Mani giggles, “She’d do that if the lasagna was lousy.”
Knock on the door, Ellen gets it, “Sarah, come on in cutie, Mani’s upstairs chilling. Remember, she’s only a few days from her operation, no hugs.”
Sarah, “Got it, her texts say she feels fine, she isn’t fudging is she?”
“She’s tight, the anesthetic drip has been a lifesaver, she hasn’t opened the pain pills, aspirin only.”
“I reek boutique, need to grab a shower, see you in a bit,” she takes her stuff upstairs.
Mani’s lying on the bed, Sarah asks, “How are you feeling? You look okay, like not sick. I see something stacked on your chest, padded bra?”
Mani laughs, “Oooh, maybe no laughing for a few more days. It’s like a pulled muscle, which is kind of what it is. As long as I don’t move too fast, I’m good. The swelling has gone down a lot and the incisions aren’t so puffy.”
Sarah doesn’t ask to see, Mani doesn’t offer to show. Some things don’t need sharing.
Sarah, “I won the under eighteen group, actually I beat all the women.”
Mani, “Oh shift, I’d forgotten, you had a race this morning.”
“You have other things to think about besides my sixteen minute run.”
“Is it your best time?”
“Yep. Just to totally brag. I didn’t plan to go for the win, but my legs had other ideas. I got deep in the zone, like everyone was going so slow, my run was effortless. I’ve never had that sense before, I was watching myself run, I knew there were other runners, but they didn’t matter.”
Mani, “Wow, cool. I’ve read about being in the zone, a baseball player says the ball is just floating towards him, a basketball player knows his shot is going in before he shoots it.”
“Yeah, it was like that, amazing. I didn’t do anything to get it, it was just there.”
“They say it happens when someone practices a lot, a sport, doesn’t have to be a physical activity. Like math, people report looking at an equation and knowing the answer, or seeing the steps to the solution instantly.”
Sarah strips, “Need to clean the day off,” the shower starts up.
Towel dry hair, comb it through, air will do the rest. She slips on a t-shirt, the house uniform.
Mani, “Downstairs, it’s closing in on cocktails.”
Sarah, “Don’t tell me, fried catfish!”
Ellen, “Okay, I won’t tell you.”
“And macaroni and cheese, yum.”
Mani, “Wait until you taste the appetizer, it’s what we had last night, but we saved a hunk for you.”
“What is it?”
“Gotta wait, here, have a glass of Champagne and anticipate.”
Sarah, “Champagne and catfish, how perfect is that?”
Mani sets a half chunk of veal lasagna on a plate, warm from the oven, “Taste this.”
Sarah cuts a piece, bite and chew, “Awesome, this is the best Italian thing I’ve ever eaten. What’s in it?”
“Béchamel sauce and ragú, not the junk in a jar, homemade by you know who.”
Sarah, “You guys are so spoiled, Ellen’s fabulous.”
Ellen, “Sweet thing, thank you honey.”
Katja, “Ellen ees best cooking person ever, our private chef.”
Sarah takes the last bit, “Perfection, you should open a restaurant.”
Ellen, “Not for me, restaurants are real work, and the chef has to be there all the time. It’s a job for someone with the passion for it.”
Sarah, “Well I’m glad you have the passion for it around here, weekends are a treat for me.”
Mani, “Sorry this has to be a slow one.”
“I ran a race and worked all day at the shop, slow is welcome.”
Ellen serves up platters of catfish, mac and cheese and cornbread.
Mani, “You have enough catfish for a whole extra dinner.”
“That was planned, got an idea for tomorrow, we’ll have a combo breakfast and lunch around ten thirty.”
Sarah helps Ellen clean up, the twins go to the couch to surf movie options. Then Mani and Sarah go upstairs, Ellen brings Cognac and sits between the twins.
Katja, “Kingsman, moovey about secret service that haf good rating on bad tomato.”
Ellen giggles, “Rotten Tomatoes.”
“Da, rotting tomato rating.”
Turns out to be pretty good. It was the same director who did Kick Ass and X men, so it’s a bit over the top.
Katja yawns, “Sister ees for sleeping, good night Ellen, thanking you for dinner, excellent as always.”
“Night girls, think I’ll catch some of SNL, at least until the commercials start driving me crazy.”
Twenty minutes later, Sarah comes down the steps, in nothing.
Ellen, “Well, well.”
“Mani’s asleep, I saw the light on and wondered if I could give an orgasm to anyone.”
Ellen, “Let’s give and receive,” she loses her t-shirt, vigorous invigorating intimacies ensue.
They wind up in Ellen’s room, Ellen strapped up and vibrating while she screws Sarah silly.
Morning finds the toy on the sink, the girls entwined in each other under the sheets.
Ellen blinks awake, rolls off the bed to the bathroom, visit the toilet, brush teeth, then under a warm shower. Toilet flushes again, tooth brushing, Sarah joins her.
Dried and dressed, sort of, house dress code is that limited is better. Ellen cranks up coffee and tea, Sarah takes a cup up to Mani and finds her awake, coming out of the bathroom.
Mani smiles, “Yay, just in time, thank you. Ellen entertain you sufficiently last night?”
“Entertained me to death, the good kind of death, death by climax.”
Ellen’s making eggs St. Charles with the catfish, it’s a Brennan’s recipe. Fried fish, poached egg on top, Hollandaise sauce on top of that. She’s also making Milk Punch, milk, brandy, bourbon or rum, simple syrup or sugar, dash of vanilla extract, nutmeg sprinkled on top. Today she uses Cognac, one shot per, it isn’t meant to be a drunk drink.
“Warm-up cocktail, enjoy. We’re having Charles Heidsieck Champagne with the entrée.”
Mani sips, “This is good, really good, where did it originate, or did you invent it?”
Ellen, “It’s a Brennan’s recipe, so is today’s entrée, it’s ten thirty, we’ll eat at eleven.”
Katja and Katya are curled together half watching the Sunday talking heads programs, which are always politics, national and global.
Katya, “Every time I see these programs, I wonder why anyone watches. It is all blah, blah, blah, and the same thing every week. Government criminals, corporate criminals and cop criminals. American government makes Russia look legitimate.”
Katja, “All government ees corrupt, democracy government, socialist government, dictator government, ees only for reech to climb to top and protect money, then to get more money.”
Katya, “In America, they spend eight hundred billion a year for a military that can’t win any wars.”
Ellen, “Take a place,” she’s setting out plates with the entrée, side of Brabant potatoes. Fills chilled Champagne glasses with Heidsieck.
Sarah takes a bite, “Criminey Ellen, I’m running out of superlatives. My mother makes me go over the meals dish by dish. She’s so jealous, mom can’t make toast.”
Ellen, “Do you want us to invite them over one night? I’ll figure out something tasty.”
Sarah, “Really? That’s so nice, is it okay Katya, Katja?”
Katja, “Eef Ellen wants people over, ees her house too. Sisters don’t anyway mind.”
Technically, it isn’t her house, but that’s not the point, Ellen is part of the family, a valuable and trusted companion.
Sarah, “Then let me know a date, dad might even make it, he’s usually home on Saturday and Sunday. Mom is open whenever.”
Ellen, “Then next Saturday, if something comes up, we’re flexible.”
Katja, “Maybe invite Gerard, he ees eenteresting person, make, what do they say…dining party.”
Ellen, “Great idea.”
Sarah, “Who’s Gerard?”
Mani, “A friend who lives in the Quarter, Barracks Street. He’s a nice man, lives alone and is happy that way, but he’s not just a recluse. He’s comfortable meeting people and we get the sense he knows a good many, all across the social spectrum.”
Sarah, “Of course, he was at EnVie one time, I’d forgotten. Cool, my dad loves quirky people, my dad is a quirky person.”
It’s Monday and time to take the twins to the New Orleans airport.
The flight is uneventful, Allegiant is a cheapo airline, there are no frills, everything has a fee. Checked bags are fifty bucks for instance.
In Indianapolis, there’s an SUV parked in the short term lot, key under the mat along with the room keys to a SpringHill Suites room.
Katja looks around, “Room ees nice enough. Where ees target now?”
Katya is reading the update from Surveillance, “Went to his office, which is also the factory. They put a tracker on his car as I asked and they are gone. It is just one, we can find something for lunch, then wait to find an opening.”
Katja, “Maybe he goes to late lunch.”
“Nyet, company has a cafeteria, he eats there.”
They pick up a couple of chicken sandwiches, split an order of fries and wait down the street. Winston’s car is a black E class Mercedes sedan.
Katja and Katya don’t require entertainment, don’t play the radio, surf their phones or listen to music. The satellite phone tracks Winston’s car. Katja has an amazing capacity to zone out like a Tibetan monk, Katya has enough data in her head to be her own search engine, she surfs herself.
Four thirty comes, then five thirty. At six fifteen, Joseph Winston appears, there’s a disturbance at the entrance, Winston says something unintelligible but loud and stomps off to his car. He cranks it and screeches out of the lot.
Katja mentals, “Ees angry, maybe treep not so good for him.”
They follow from a distance, it’s apparent he’s headed home. Fifteen minutes later, he turns in the long curved drive of a near mansion, brick with a steeply sloped gabled roof .
Katya, “Big place, small lake behind, relatively new.”
There’s an arched covered entranceway, garage around one side. He parks on the drive near the front door and goes inside.
Katya, “Good, car blocks door, we will refocus him here.”
Katja gets out, Katya drives two blocks down, turns on a side street and parks.
Katja knocks on the door, Winston cracks open the door, sees an attractive young woman in snug jeans, a fedora and sunglasses.
“Help you honey?”
Katja snaps a sharp pushing kick to his gut, he falls backwards, she tasers him, body seizes from the shock. After five seconds, the power shuts off. She flips the safety, clips the wires, leaving the barbs in his torso. He settles, breathing hard, still foggy, she duct tapes his mouth and covers his head with a dark nylon bag.
Katya comes in and goes to the kitchen to set up.
Katja stands him up and sticks a pointed blade deep enough in his throat to draw blood, “Walk.”
He’s strapped to a chair, wrists wrapped with picture wire, ankles tightly bound together with the same. Katya waits. Lets him consider his position. She reaches under the bag and rips the tape from his mouth.
“What the fuck is this? Who are you, what do you want. I don’t keep money here, I have some cards, a few hundred cash, take it.”
He’s nonplussed, this isn’t making sense, he’s trussed up, arms and feet painfully wrapped in wire, there’s already blood on his wrists.
“Well, goddamn it all, what do you fucking want?”
Katya plays him a video, he can’t see it, but he can hear it. And he knows what it is, he made it. One man is fucking his wife from behind, a second has his dick in her mouth, she’s bent so that angry red welts are visible across her back.
She’s crying. Winston is on the other side with a video camera cheering them on, “Fuck the bitch, eat that big cock cunt, cum in her face and feed it to her.”
Winston, “How did you get…this is illegal, besides, she asks for it. You think you can blackmail me, is that it? No chance, my lawyers will rip this to shreds.”
“Like you did to your wife?”
“Didn’t do anything, her dominatrix did it, at her request.”
“She says differently. If she wanted it, she wouldn’t come to us would she?”
“She’s a fucking liar then.”
“Well, out with it, or we just sit here all night?”
Katya flicks open a serrated blade, she runs the tip along his neck, a thin line of blood. Then before he realizes it, she’s flashed the blade down and taken a forefinger. The tape magically appears over his mouth again.
Muffled scream, he’s squirming in the chair making his bloody wrists worse, right forefinger on the floor next to his foot. Practically hyperventilating, his head rolls under the hood. Now he’s shit scared, these people are crazy. It hasn’t registered that when he abuses his wife, he’s hardly sane.
His head slumps.
Katya removes the tape a painful second time, “Raise your head,” he doesn’t move, she puts the pointed blade under his chin and lifts, “when I say raise, raise, understand?”
He lifts his chin away from the blade, slight nod. She owns him now.
“Here’s the plan, Joey.”
Winston, “Joseph, I hate Joe and Joey.”
“Joey, who’s the boss here, Joey?”
“Okay, okay, you are, Christ, my fucking finger is killing me.”
“Joey, your hand hurts, your finger isn't doing anything except lying in the floor. Listen carefully, tomorrow you will receive divorce papers, perfectly legitimate, dated a week ago. You’ve been divorced for a week and didn’t even know it, a little mystery for you. And your wife gets everything., you get the house, but there’s an eight hundred grand mortgage on a nine hundred grand house, and you just took out a hundred thousand home equity loan. What kind of organization is so powerful, it can arrange these things right under your nose?”
“Hah, bullshit, we’ll see about that.”
“Katja, search house for any safe his wife did not know about, I will get the combination for the one she does.”
Katja slips silently out of the kitchen, Katya says, “You have a safe in your office, I want the combination.”
She takes his middle finger, covers his mouth with her hand while he screams.
“Combination or you will lose a finger every five seconds, one..two..three..four,” the blade rests against his thumb, she starts to press.
“No! Shit, okay, Christ, he coughs up three digits, she mentals Katja.
Katja, “Maybe twenty thousand, papers, prenup ees in here.”
Katya, “Sit quietly while I open the safe. That’s picture wire around your wrists and ankles, attempt to move, well…you get the idea.”
She walks off but keeps him in sight, he thinks this is one person. His head shifts left and right, like he’s trying to hear where she is. Katja brings the papers and the cash, goes off second safe hunting.
Katya waits a few minutes, then walks in front of him, “Prenup, mortgage papers, twenty two thousand in cash, thank you, tax return, nice income and so many business expenses. You have a ten percent effective rate, impressive. I don’t see any receipts, maybe I’ll have a chat with friends at the IRS.”
“Jesus Christ, you got the money, maybe you created financial problems for me, what now, my hand is killing me.”
“Good point, hold still.”
She pulls a needle and syringe from her pocket, fills his hand with Lidocaine, “Your hand will be numb, but if you start pulling, the wire will cut deeper into your wrist. I don’t care, but you could easily kill yourself, lost a lot of blood already.
While he’s numb, she Dermabonds the finger stumps, covers them with a pressure bandage. He won’t die of blood loss anyway.
Katja, “Ees beeg safe een office, behind locked closet door.”
Katya walks away, opens and closes a couple of doors like she’s looking around. A few minutes later she’s back, “Now the combination for the safe in your office closet.”
“Oh Jesus, it’s…come on…”
“Got eight more fingers, ten toes, then right hand, left hand, I have all night and all day tomorrow.”
She relays the numbers to her sister, two minutes later, “Maybe a million or more, gold coins, wait….bag of diamonds. Papers, two folders.”
“Take it all, find a suitcase, I want to look over the papers.”
Katja sticks the money and the valuables in a rolling case she found in a bedroom closet. Katya goes to the office for the papers. She reads a page every five seconds.
“You and accountant are cooking books, pretty good job of it too. I think I’ll forward the documents to your partners, just to be fair.”
Winston says nothing, defeated, just staying above ground is enough.
“Do not look for your wife, she won’t be back, she won’t be her. My associates cleaned your brokerage accounts, you decided to transfer you money overseas. It’s cruising around the world even as we speak. By the time it gets home, it won’t recognize itself.”
Winston, “Just kill me now.”
“You are a smart man when you aren’t being a greedy asshole. Start over. Just know, I found you, and I’m watching you, you will be reminded of that regularly. Your own money is going to pay for your monitoring, how’s that for irony? Step outside the lines, for any reason, ever, you will be left to roll down the street legless on a board. I can give you more pain now if you wish.”
He sighs, “Enough, enough, I fucking can’t take more, please…please, no more. You got what you wanted, leave me alone.”
Katja’s taken the suitcase to the car, Katya cuts the wire from his wrists. By the time he frees his ankles, they’ll be miles down the road.
They pick up a pizza and Katja buys a bottle of Smirnoff from the supermarket next door. Katya calls a number, someone will pick up the SUV from the hotel lot, leave a sedan. They retain the suitcase, Katya doesn’t want it in the hands of Transportation people she doesn’t know, and she wants to count the money.
Over pizza and vodka they figure out they have two million two hundred twenty thousand in cash, a fat bag of cut diamonds, no clue about value, and a hundred one ounce gold coins, a hundred and twenty thousand dollars give or take.
Katja, “What happens to money?”
Katya, “We give it to Society, they can figure it out. We do not know how much they pulled from his brokerage and bank account. Maybe they keep this to cover expenses. I do not know how they handle it, we have already too much money, Pearson can decide.”