Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 446 - B.R. Stateham


Originally published at ThinkingTen earlier this month

See you in hell.

Those were his last words, spoken in defiance just before the .50 caliber high velocity bullet struck him in the chest and vaporized him into a red mist, a mist that expanded in the air exponentially and coated the cement wall behind him like a madman’s surrealist painting.

Vladimir Sokolov. Russian mobster and purveyor of pain. A killer to the core. And someone who wanted to take over the drug traffic currently controlled by Gino Mancini.

Not that Gino Mancini was a choir boy. But the Italian mob had been in the city for generations. They were family. They knew the town. Knew the citizens. Knew what they could get away with and what would bring down the heat. Knew the rules.

Not so with the Russians. They were fresh immigrants raw and unsophisticated. Ex-KGB and Spetsnaz killers who decided to bring their talents to the States and cash in on the lucrative drug traffic trade.

“Here’s a hundred grand, Smitty,” Gino said pointing to a large, expensive leather satchel sitting on the floor of the stretched Lincoln limo. “Down payment. Another one hundred fifty G’s are yours if you can take out Sokolov permanently. But it won't be easy. The guy’s got an army of goons circling him like frickin’ maggots wherever he goes. Getting in close is going to be damn near impossible.”

Black eyes as dark as the inner well of a black hole looked down at the bag and then back up at the frail figure of the Italian mobster. Gino Mancini looked like someone’s grandfather. Looked like an Italian gardener. Except he wore tailored suits of imported Egyptian cotton and had a thing about wearing heavy gold rings embedded with big diamonds.

Smitty said nothing as he collected the leather handles of the heavy bag in one hand and opened the car door with the other. Stepping away from the stretched limo, satchel in hand, he watched in silence as the black limo drove away—the image of Mancini’s aged face staring up at him through the door window vividly in his mind.

Time to go to work. Time to let Sokolov know he was a hunted man.

Twelve hours later, Smitty strolled out of the men’s restroom of an empty warehouse with a bloody switchblade in one hand and a white cloth—part of an expensive linen shirt—in the other. Using the shirt to wipe the blood off the weapon, Smitty paused, half-turned and stared at the restroom door and grinned with the vicious leer of a laughing hyena. He needed information about Sokolov’s habits—of his peculiarities. He now had it. Thanks to Sokolov’s number two man in his organization. Thank you, Viktor Puskin.

См. вас в аде. See you in hell.

It did not take long for the Russians to find Puskin’s body. It didn’t take long to hear the rumors that a hired killer with amazing black eyes who called himself Smitty was hunting. It didn’t take long for Sokolov to react. Within an hour after discovering Pushkin’s body, half a dozen gunmen spread through the city like an influenza epidemic hunting for Smitty.

All six were found dead twenty-four hours later. All six brought down with a sharp knife and a slit throat.

Sokolov got the word, roused out of a deep sleep by a shaken, petrified underling, and shot the messenger between the eyes in a fit of furious disbelief. But, after cleaning up the body and belting back two stiff drinks of vodka, he decided perhaps it was time to go into hiding. Time to bury himself in his fortress hideout.

Four carloads of his goons escorted him to the warehouse district just outside of town. Fifteen goons surrounded him the moment he got out of his car. Only one building within a mile was near the empty warehouse which was Sokolov’s fortress.

But a .50 cal. will travel farther than a mile and be just as deadly when it hits its target. A kill shot a mile away. Not impossible. Not for death to complete. Somehow Sokolov knew. Knew the moment he got out of the car and walked to the cement wall this was the spot. This was where he was going to die. Turning, he stared at the building a mile away—stared straight into the oversized sniper’s scope Smitty was staring into and mouthed the words in snarling defiance.

См. вас в аде.

See you in hell.

BIO: B.R. Stateham is a sixty year old kid who likes to think of himself as a writer of good noir fiction. Murderous Passions is the first novel of a police-procedural series featuring detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales. A Taste of Old Revenge will come out in 2010 through the auspices of Shadow Line Press.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is tremendous! It's sharp and vivid and blew me away!
excellent stuff--right up there with all classic noir. loved it.