“I thought this mission was about logistics” challenged Slim.
“The logistics portion is nearly done. We have another vehicle staged and you all know about booking transport on a cargo ship. You also have a general idea which ports should be safe” I replied.
“What about finding out who set you up?” asked Stretch as we started walking.
“Oh, I can still do that. Dimitri will be the first bread crumb on the trail. Someone spent a lot of money to park him here knowing it would draw me out. He knows who paid him and that piece of information I will get from him before he dies. It will be the next crumb on what I suspect is a long trail.”
“Too bad Pretty Little Thing is compromised” I continued.
“How do you know that?” asked Giant.
“When you check your work phones later, one of you got me as an assignment and the other got Henry. Only reason I can think of that she is still alive. She bought in. Management believes you cannot survive in the wild. Of course management doesn’t know the amount of operational funds I carry around. You could hide for a long time bleeding off the diamonds, never shopping on-line. Buying yourself a small dwelling a ways out from a small town without any security cameras. If it was a wooded area so you could go outside without the satellites finding you. The only reason they ever found Bin-laden is he kept work contacts. Followed the messenger right up to the front door.”
“You planning on cutting bait now?” asked Stretch.
“I’m planning on hacking my way to the top of wherever this trail leads. I’m offering you guys a way out. Take a palm of the diamonds each and go in different directions. Never contact anyone you used to know again. Build a new legend for yourself and live it.”
“Personally, I don’t think that is a viable plan for me” Slim offered. “My gut tells me the only tunnel with light at the end will be the one you choose to go down. I’ll check my phone later tonight when we can all see it.”
“Probably should have brought them with you” I said.
“Why?” asked Stretch.
“The one place they know we have to go is that house. Checking them from there won’t tell them anything, except that we’ve arrived. They’ll figure that out soon enough. You forgot about the single guy living on that street. Most likely he’s a watcher.”
Stretch trotted back to the car to dig out his and Slim’s work phones along with the batteries while we kept walking slowly. None of us had changed our clothes. This OP was already blown. Henry was here and alive.
“Wait until we are inside to put the batteries in” I said into the air. “No need to let them know which direction we walked or where we parked.”
By now we had reached Henry. “I don’t suppose anyone thought to bring me a hankie?” he asked looking straight at me.
“Yes, I did. Not to be polite. I just don’t want to waste time waiting for you to get done puking to tell me what I’m supposed to look at. Brought you some plastic gloves and crime scene booties too. Time for all of us to Vap-O-Rub up.”
The Acrobats started to put on their booties when I said “wait until we are at the door for the booties and gloves guys. That shade of blue attracts attention thanks to all of those damned television shows.” Turning to Henry I said “I’m making the grand assumption you’ve already been inside.”
“Twice, but not recently. You took your time getting here. Now let’s go” he instructed.
Henry slipped a glove on to turn the knob and the stench hit us. My eyes watered. “Quickly! Inside!” Henry gasped before bringing up his hankie. He closed the door behind us. Both he and I put on our booties. The Acrobats noticed and followed suit with booties and gloves. I will never understand how cops and coroners do this. How they can walk into a scene like this without losing everything they’ve ever eaten. Especially the coroners. Half the time they get called out it’s for a body that’s been dead a while.
“How many bodies?” I asked Henry.
“Four. Three here and one in the kitchen.” Henry answered.
“Only the one in the kitchen” he answered. “Over here is the one you needed to see.” He motioned for me to step around the end of the couch. The Acrobats followed.
“The Badger” Stretch gasped. “Meanest psychopath in the company. They were serious if they sent him after you.”
Slim moved over to one of the other bodies and shined a small light briefly. “This is one of the condoms from the last time we played ‘bait the bear’” he stated. “I don’t recognize this other one.”
“You probably won’t recognize the one in the kitchen either unless you know him as a condom. Young and green” stated Henry. “Never try to sneak up on a chef in the kitchen. We should go now. I have a place for us to stay.”
“No fuckin’ way” I said a bit too loud.