Adrenaline Issue #2: Passing the Torch – http://wp.me/p6XfjF-1G
Available at the end of the month is Driver. The next Pine Bluff Mysteries installment.
Tommy Waters is a down on his luck ex-con when his cousin convinces him to drive the getaway car in a bank robbery, but this easy job turns deadly when his partners are murdered and their stolen money disappears. He is forced to drive for the man he stole from in order to find the money and discover who murdered his friends.
Driver is a noir thrill ride of pure adrenaline and suspense.
The early morning moon still hung in the sky as the sun began to rise over the New Haven Museum. The red and orange of sunrise a beautiful backdrop to the castle look of the building. Its towers rising on the corners merely for look with no functionality. The forest was cold on the dark winter morning as I sat in the dark. There had been several reports of muggings around the museum and I had a feeling that RS would be making their appearance soon.
It wasn’t long before I had gotten my wish. A nerdy young woman with disheveled hair and Birkenstock shoes got out of her prius. A young European male approaches her and pulls out a chrome revolver and shakes it at her. Scared she dropped her purse and her attacker pushes her to the ground. Suddenly from out of the shadows comes her knight in a white van. He chases the male mugger around the corner and the woman scoops her purse and rushes inside the museum.
Quietly I move along the outside of the parking lot just inside the woods hoping I had not lost the mugger and the security officer when I hear rustling of leaves. I stop, listen and as the sound grows closer I can see long blond hair. Calico kneels beside me.
“Did you see that?” she asks.
“Yep, lets see where this goes.”
We move silently around until the white van just comes into view. The officer steps out of the van to the male who is now leaning against the side of the building. The officer pulls out a wallet and hands the man an envelope. I think I am starting to get a picture of what is happening.
The sun continued to rise behind the estate as I approached the front gate. An RS officer waved as I pushed the button on the remote control and the gate opened as my Mercedes glided up the cobblestone drive. My mind raced as everything I had witnessed over the last couple weeks rolled around, bouncing off the walls and trying to comprehend the plan. I missed on major component to this whole scenario. Why? What was Rosu’s endgame? What could he possibly gain from creating such a rouse as to have the city guarded by his men? He couldn’t possibly be making that much money from a security firm.
Bags hung under my tired eyes as I sat down in my desk chair in front of the board I had created in my study. Haze filled my eyes as I tried to make out the plan. Following the red strings from newspaper articles to push pins of RS locations. It made no sense to me.
“Here you go boss,” Eli tossed a newspaper on my desk. “We need to talk, sir.” “What’s on your mind?” I stared at the board, paying him little attention.
He pulled a chair up beside me. “I am going to have to quit.”
“What?” he had my attention now. “Why? What have I done, do you need more pay?”
“It isn’t that sir, I know.”
“You know what?” playing dumb, hoping he didn’t really know, or that it was something else.
“I know what…who you are. Adrenaline.” He said.
I shook my head, not able to force the denying words out of my mouth. I couldn’t lie to Eli.
“Yes you are, all the signs are there, I’ve collected enough evidence that I know. I don’t want to prove it to anyone. Lets just say it would kill me to keep a secret like that with me.”
“I don’t expect you to, I only expect you give me time to fix it.”
“Fix what, Simon? Let the police handle this.”
“They can’t, or won’t, I don’t know.” Standing my bones creak and I grow dizzy and loose my footing. Stumbling gravity pulls me head first toward the board. I never saw Eli jump up, I only felt him grab me as my fall comes to a sudden stop.
“Sit down sir,” he guides me back to the chair. “Relax I am not going tell anyone who you are. I swore to your father that I would protect you and I plan to keep that promise. But that means that I have to ask you to stop. I understand why you went to Mexico, I get why you want to save this city. And I get that you need have something to leave as your legacy like your father. But figure out a way to do it safer, this life as Adrenaline will kill you.”
My ears were ringing and anxiety had my chest heaving in and out. Something in me knew that Eli was right. I knew that I couldn’t live this live this life forever. I am only mortal and have mortal flesh and bone, unlike Dr. Indestructible who was mostly bio-engineering and mechanical parts.
A headline from the newspaper drew my attention away from Eli. LARGEST GOLD DEPOSIT IN NEW HAVEN HISTORY TO ARRIVE TOMORROW AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE. I jumped to my feet and grabbed a pair of scissors and a push pin, after cutting it out I pinned in on the board and looked at Eli.
“What do you see?” He asked. “All I see are a bunch of red lines and newspaper articles pinned to a board.”
“You used to be in the military, if this were a satellite photo of an enemies city what would you see.”
“That’s not exactly what I did in the military.”
“Focus on the red lines,” I pulled all the newspaper articles down except the one I had just hung and the picture became clear. All the lines surrounded the reserve article.
“He is protecting the reserve? But why?” He asked.
“Not protecting it, surrounding it. In preparation for an ambush.”
I had one person that wanted to get the Rosu family as much as I did and I had to convince him that I wasn’t crazy. More to the point I had to convince him that Adrenaline wasn’t crazy. And I would need some help from the girls to help me.
The black sedan sat near the intersection of Grand and Market just two blocks south of police headquarters. Calico and Blur hopped through the intersection jumping from car to car and off onto the sidewalk. A blue minivan, distracted by the commotion, didn’t realize the light had turned red and sped into the side of a red sports car causing a chain reaction. The black sedan became trapped between three cars, boxed in. Detective Henry Parker was just about to step out of the car and assess the situation when I slammed my foot into the door closing it on him. I slid into the back seat and tossed a large envelope into his lap.
He glanced at the evidence and tossed it in the passenger seat next to him. “What is this?”
“I think you know what it is.”
“I don’t ask questions if I already know the answer.” He glances in his rear view mirror. He won’t be able to make out my face for the hood that hangs over my eyes casting a shadow on my whole face. “Adrenaline?”
“In the flesh. That Detective is the latest plan Rosu has hatched. I’m giving you the opportunity to the right thing and arrest him.”
“I’m sorry son but at this point the only person to have broken any laws that I know of is you. I can’t arrest someone on the picture evidence of some vigilante.”
“I’m not ‘some vigilante’ I am Adrenaline. If you and your men will not do something about Rosu and his crime family and make this city safe again, WE will.”
I shot out of the back of the Detective’s car and got lost into the crowd and could see him looking for me. He stood outside the car staring into the crowd oblivious that he was looking right at me.
Nash Industries sat lit up like a Christmas tree atop Commerce Tower in the heart of downtown New Haven, until nine p.m., at that time the lights go out everyday so that is the time I start my stakeout, the girls have been hitting Rosu’s men hard the last few days but have yet to come by Nash Industries. That is until I spot two hyper flexible girls bouncing across the city streets being chased by a half dozen police cars.
I watch as The Blur runs along a raised concrete balcony a few feet above the sidewalk on one of the buildings below. She is like an acrobat on speed, the girl is amazing. The Calico Cat is no less impressive as I watch her scale a nearly flat wall in a matter of seconds. A few moments later they had lost their tails and were sneaking into the parking garage below The Commerce Tower. I quickly make my way back to Nash Industries and watch as they take out two guards with a couple tasers.
I finger the Kali Sticks on my back as I inch closer to the elevator. They should be coming any moment. I can see the numbers counting up slowly reaching me. As the doors open I dart in with Kali Sticks drawn, but it is empty. The elevator dings as the doors begin to close. There is only one floor lit up on the button tree, the basement button. I get a glimpse of Calico and Blur as they dart out of the stair well laughing as I was left to ride the elevator to the basement and then back up.
I didn’t figure my chances were good that I would find them when I got back to the offices. I moved cautiously in a prone position with my gun drawn. Not about to miss these chicks again I pushed the door to my office open and saw them sitting on a couch in one corner of the office, a left over from my father. He liked to do business there while drinking scotch.
“Please have a seat, Adrenaline,” Calico said.
“Why don’t I just shoot you?”
“Why would you?”
“Because you killed someone close to me.”
I charged them.
Calico, like a cat, jumped from a seated position to the coffee table in front of her and then in one swift move was in the air, flipping over and then behind me. My head stung as her foot struck me, knocking me to my knees. Blur shot from her seat with her knifes drawn and began slicing them in criss cross motions, bouncing off my armored suit. She throws a roundhouse kick that lands on the side of my face knocking me to the floor. Calico does two quick cartwheels and straddles my shoulders dropping to her knees. She places her right knee to my throat and I feel her muscles tense. Stars began to form in my eyes as my oxygen level drops.
I awaken on the couch unable to move, my hands and feet tied behind my back. My mask sits lonely on my desk. They know who I am.
“Well Simon Nash, I must say I am a little surprised. I had no idea a billionaire playboy was such a hard ass,” Calico said.
“You like the sound of your own voice don’t you?”
“Actually I like the sound of bodies falling to the ground after I cut them down for being the pigs they are.”
“My uncle did nothing to you, I guarantee you that.”
“I didn’t kill your uncle.” She said.
“No you didn’t, your sidekick did. Or are you the sidekick I haven’t figured that out yet.”
“You haven’t figured anything out yet,” Blur said. “I didn’t kill Uncle.”
“It was your knife, I saw it.”
“I won’t deny that, but I was trying to save him from Rosu’s men.” The Blur said. “But I failed.” Her head hangs at her small chest.
“I loved him like a father,” Calico steps into my line of view. She bends down, God she has an amazing body, and her blond hair flows like corn silk. Her green eyes look familiar to me.
She pulls her small blue mask over her head revealing her beautiful face. Katrina Mason had loved him like a father and he loved her like a daughter. A single tear rolled down her cheek and I felt a tug on the rope that tied me down. Then it went slack. Blur stood behind me sheathing one of her knifes. Blur was right, I hadn’t figured anything out. I heard the ding of the elevator and swung around to see the familiar dark figure step out of the sliding door.
“When did it start?” I asked Dr. Indestructible as we sat in my office taking advantage of my fathers scotch.
“That night you were at The White House and Rosu’s goon chased me down. He raped me.” Katrina said.
“That explains why you sliced his crotch.”
“He deserved worse,” Blur said.
“You’re right, he did.” I said. “I’m just lost as to what is going on.”
Richard explained that he believes that Rosu is planning something big in the city, what it is exactly he couldn’t be sure but he believes it has something to do with the Rosu Security Firm. He had under bid or muscled his way into ninety percent of the security business in the city.
Within a week I had discovered that The Romanian had secured the business of Kikomoro Tower, Toro Corp, Nash Industries, New Haven Art Museum, New Haven Hospital and nearly all of the warehouses in the Boneyard District and nearly all the industrial buildings in the Ford District as well as the residential neighborhoods of Saints, Coyote Village, Haven Village and Louis Falls. This gave him access to the whole city and soon his security officers outnumbered the police three to one.
The police looked at this as a blessing, less work for them. I on the other hand had a feeling this was exactly what the Romanian wanted.
Sitting atop the Mia Bella watching the dark building that had once been The White House. It looked lonely sitting there with its windows boarded up.
Two men stood outside next to the door smoking cigarettes and cutting up. They appeared harmless but something in the air felt wrong. Crystal Theater was about to let out its production of Fiddler on the Roof. Tuxedos and evening dresses filled the streets. Soon my attention was drawn to an older man and woman with pearls around her neck as they walked toward The White House. The two men stamped out their half smoked cigarettes and turned to move toward them.
I quickly climbed down the fire escape and talked into my ear piece. “I’ve got two muggers en route to an old couple.”
I pulled the Kali Sticks and jumped to the cold winter street. Just as I made my move on the two men, two Rosu Security Officers stepped out of a dark alley, how had I missed them? I spoke into my ear piece again.
“I’ve got two RS officers in pursuit.”
The officers swiftly and silently take down the muggers just as the couple notice they are in danger. They taser the two muggers who fall to the ground and begin to shake in pain. I watch in silence as the couple run to the officers thanking them the whole way. The officers handcuff the two muggers as the couple climb into their BMW and drive away thankful for Rosu Security. A small cargo van with the newly familiar Rosu Security logo sits next to the theater. The officers drag the two men and throw them in, putting on a show for the snapping cameras and flashbulbs of the paparazzi. I decide to follow as they speed away but lost them within two blocks.
“I lost them,” I said into my ear piece. I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.
“I haven’t seen anything tonight,” Dr. Indestructible said. “I think we call it a night.”
Cool early winter air filled my nostrils. Standing atop Louis Mountain overlooking Coyote River I could hear nothing but howling wind as it whipped in from the canyons below. The sheer rock cliff that stood before me was an out. A way to let it all go. A way to never care about Nash Industries, never care about those that I’ve lost, never care about Christof Rosu and his Romanian Mafia. I have no true friends, and no family that cares about me. My father left me in charge of a company I give two shits about and the responsibility of a city that doesn’t want my help.
Gravity began to tug on my shoulders as I leaned over the edge. The moon full hung high in the sky and all was calm. It seemed for an instant the world stood still. The force of the planet pulled harder on me as I bent my knees and extended them with a great force.
I instantly felt the wind whip against my face and I was free. Nothing for me to do except fall. Edward was gone, Russell was gone and New Haven was gone. They all had been left at the top of that cliff. I thought about nothing but the fall, the helplessness and the freedom of sky.
I closed my eyes for a second to feel the adrenaline as it pumped through my veins.
It lasts for only a second and I pull the cord to the chute and I come to a sudden stop, popping back to reality. Base jumping was truly an escape for me.
I maneuver the chute so I am headed toward Nash Estates with its high wrought iron fences. Beyond to the fences stood a large blue Colonial with white trim and white pillars. The mansion stood over looking the Coyote with New Haven in the skyline to the front and Louis Mountain in the back of the mansion.
A white cargo van with the RS logo on side sat just outside the gate. It had been part of the contract with Nash Industries for the Rosu Security to guard Nash Estates as well. Needless to say I was growing a bit uncomfortable with my new bodyguards. I think I would stick with Eli, who was waiting for me at the mansion and as my feet touched the roof of the house.
I checked my watch, heart rate fine but I’m a full thirty minutes late. I guess its a good thing he works for me and not the other way around. Inside my home office he had the things I had asked for, a large map of New Haven, post its, thumb tacks and red string.
After placing all the items on my office wall I began placing thumb tacks on all the locations that I knew had procured the services of Rosu Security. Next we began to string it all together and a red web appeared on the map. The city was completely covered with red string.
His company literally had eyes on the whole city. But all that work done and I still couldn’t see what he was up to. And I knew Rosu so I knew he was up to something. I left Eli to stare at the board after it had given me a headache.