Issue 11

Nope. We’re fucked.

“Tom told me to call. He thought you’d like to know that everything was delivered less than an hour ago to the drop point, and you’d be wise to get it all moved sooner than later. Apparently there was a problem, and the window you were supposed to have to move it has shrunk, and if you don’t move it in the next 2-3 hours it’s probably gonna be found. Good luck Jonah.” And then Russell just hung up on me

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. I was not happy about having the plan changed on me last minute like this, but we’d come too far to have it all fall apart now. I got the guys together and we worked it out in that way we do, all on the fucking fly.

“Alright boys, we have a minor problem. Well, many major problems really, but we need to start someplace. Something got fucked on Tommy’s end and we’re on a clock to get all the shit moved. So Ralphie, do you think you can drive a semi?” He just nodded. I hoped he wasn’t pulling my leg.

“Wills, I need you to start making calls and find us some self storage units, preferably with someplace big enough to store all the shit. Obscurity would be nice as well. See what you can make happen. I have faith in the both of you. If you have to, then pull Stevie off his ‘studies’ and get him to help. Call me on my cell when you have something. Ralphie, let’s go.”

“Already on it.” They said it in unison and it sounded fucking stupid, but I didn’t care.

From the looks of things we had less than 3 hours to make all this shit vanish or not only would this deal go south, but chances were good that we’d all done enough to get some serious prison time under that stupid fucking Patriot Act.

Now, what Russ had neglected to tell me was that not only were the goods delivered, but that the delivery guys were gonna be waiting with them. Fantastic, just fucking fantastic. I spent 45 minutes driving to have to talk to these shitheads. I didn’t have time or energy for this. But these two uniformed jackoffs apparently had other ideas.

“You Jonah?” Oh God, but I just wanted to smash his head with a fucking crowbar. I am not a violent man by nature, but I got the impression these two were going to be yet another delay we didn’t have time for.

“Yeah, but my understanding is that there is a time issue, so we need to get this shit out of here. Now, I’m sure that you and your girlfriend there are perfectly pleasant people, but Tom didn’t tell me shit about any delivery people so you’ll need to excuse us, we don’t really have anything to discuss. So, here’s what’s gonna happen GI Jackass, you are going to give me the keys right now. You will then turn around and walk away.” All I could do at that point was try and quell the pulsing blood in my ears. It made an almost deafening sound, but I was so sick of all the shitheads involved in this working my last fucking nerve.

Clearly GI Jackass wasn’t impressed with my pithy little comment. He made a move towards me. Now this might be a good time to mention that in this world there are people who are built for fighting and there are people like me. God, in her infinite wisdom saw fit to build me in such a way that I would be the one of the greatest recipients of ass-whippings. Now with that in mind, I have no idea how what happened next was even possible, but what I do know is that I waved Brian off as he started to move to intervene. I then lifted my foot and brought it down with a force and from a direction that to me seemed to defy the laws of physics and reality. It had the effect that I was subconsciously going for apparently, in that it seemed to break in some fashion GI Jackass’s knee. I can only guess as to the severity of that injury, but as he went down I brought my knee up into his nose. This would have been when the second fucktard started to move in on me.

“Stop him!” And Ralphie did just that. For being military these guys were clearly not any kind of top notch. Not sure what or how Ralphie came to stop number two, but while he did, I proceeded to kick Jackass in the ribs a couple of times to drive home the point.

“The keys to the truck motherfucker.” He produced them, as well as some blood, which he saw fit to cough up all over my shoe. I gave him a kick to the face and appeared to knock him out.

I then directed my attention to number two, who was on the ground but looked to be in far better shape than the Jackass.

“Now, I don’t know what the fuck you two thought was going to happen here, but if Tommy told you that you’d get paid, take it up with him. You two shitheads might want to hurry up and get out of here.” I tossed Ralphie the keys to the semi, and as I turned to head back to the car, it dawned on me that these two jokers might have tried to seriously damage my persons. Now, why it occurred to me in that terminology, I couldn’t tell you, but I made a decision to be an even bigger dick right then, and went back and gave number two a good old fashioned kick to the balls as before walking away.

I just smiled from what had to be ear to ear as I headed back to the car. I forgot how good it felt to get physical like that on occasion. There was just something about letting that caged animal that lived inside come out to play. But before any doors were shut Ralphie signaled that he had a question.

“Where to?” Which was a good question, but the guys hadn’t called yet. Time to improvise.

“Somewhere not here. Just follow me.” And we started off. I got my phone out. I thought for sure that they’d have called by now with something, even if it was bad news. So I called the shop to find out what the hell was going on.

“Pandora’s Box, this is Wil, how can I help you?”

“You can tell me where the fuck I’m going.”

“I was just about to call you. You sound out of breath. Problems?”

“Not really. We can talk about that when we get back. Now, where are we heading?”

Turns out that ironically, there were some storage units available out by the old airstrip we’d met the Russians at. That would be perfect since there wasn’t shit out there anymore since the old mill closed. We could count on some relative privacy to get the chopper fixed out there. Ralphie and I headed out there and I met with a man who clearly only came out to meet with me and seemed a little pissed about having to do that.

This would be fantastic, cause to me it said that he’d be staying out of our business. I gave him money to cover the first three months up front and he went on his way.

He did comment on the blood on my shoe though. I told him it was from a nosebleed, and he just chuckled and went on his way. I liked this guy. He just didn’t give a shit and that would be a pleasant change.

So we locked all our new goodies up and headed back to the shop. We did make a pit-stop so I could get some new shoes first, but all in all we had everything moved and we were back in the 3 hours we were given. Maybe, just maybe, things weren’t quite so fucked after all.

After I explained to the guys what had happened, I made a phone call to Russ. Tommy had some explaining to do and soon.

“Russ, you tell Tommy that I need to speak with him today, not tomorrow, not next week, today. I don’t appreciate that shit at the pick-up and he had better have some good fucking answers if he wants paid. You think you can remember all that. And you tell that fuck, that this is a face to face, I don’t care what kind of shit he’s gotten himself into.” And like clockwork I knew he’d have no idea what was going on. Let Tom explain what happened.

“Yeah, I can remember that. I’ll tell him.”

Why did I insist on face to face? I was too big a dick for even myself to be able to control sometimes. The only place I could think of that would be nice and secure would be at the store. It had several security issues, but I knew that I could rig up another one of the white-noise makers and have it make sure we weren’t listened in on.

Eventually the store would end up tricked out in a pretty hardcore security system, complete with some sort of x-ray technology that would allow us to essentially “see” guns on people as they came in the door, but that wouldn’t happen for some time and not until after what would later be referred to as “the incident”, but I’ll get to that. For the moment we had some prep-work to do prior to asshole Tommy’s arrival.

And time was a real factor now since Ralphie, Wil and I had a plane to catch that night. No matter though, as Russ called me back an hour before the store closed. This is the message as relayed by Ralphie.

“Tell Jonah he’ll get what he wants at closing time.” Couldn’t have been much more than that since the call lasted all of 3 or 4 seconds and the only thing Ralphie said was that he would.

So we had an hour of waiting, which wasn’t a horrible thing. In a way it made me glad I’d had cable installed in the store. At least until the news came on anyways. That was the point at which I saw something that almost made me shit myself.

Right there on the little screen in the shop was the evening news anchor talking about a military heist of millions in weapons. I started to get light-headed, cause this was supposed to be a little on the down-low as they say, and here it was, about to get national publicity. That couldn’t be good for business, I thought.

But as neurotic as that story started to make me it was no match for the follow-up. Authorities had the bodies of two men believed to be involved in the heist and were looking for a third. When they showed the pictures of the men whose bodies they had, my jaw just dropped. It was GI Jackass and his girlfriend. This was so fucked up. What I didn’t realize is that I’d begun chanting what would become my mantra and the guys had taken notice and were now just as upset as I was.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!”

“What’s the matter with him?” William would not be happy with the answer to that question.

“Those are the guys we threw down with.” Thanks Ralphie. Make it more real, why don’t you?

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!”

“There’s some guy outside.” Wil was apparently the only one not really concerned, at least not visibly. I had to compose myself.

“Goddamnit, he’s early. Ralphie, go tell Tommy to come on in. I’m gonna hit the pisser to get my game face on. Nobody talks to him before I get back.” I just stood there waiting for nods I knew would come, some slower than others, but they came all the same.

So, I started to play out the upcoming scenario in my head. There were some pros to Tommy killing those jokers, the biggest of which was that they were no longer an issue and would not be in any way possible potential interference from here on. The flipside of that was what scared me and that was that there would be something that could tie us to their deaths, and if that was the case, as much as it scared me, it pissed me off more. Anger, I thought I could work with. If Tom somehow brought this shit, his shit back to my door, then he’d burn for it and it sure as shit wouldn’t be in the chair. It looked like I’d found my game face. Good, time to be a hard ass, or at least pretend to be and try not to piss myself. I was starting to think that I should be up for a fucking Oscar as good as I’ve been making myself out to be some kind of hard nosed crime lord. I’d have to work on my acceptance speech later, for now though…

“What the fuck Tommy? First who were they, and second is going to come back to us?” No point in pleasantries.

“They were hired to be nothing more than delivery, but they decided that the deal I made with them just wasn’t good enough and so they wanted to renegotiate the terms of that deal. It was going to be hard for me to do so after that shit you did to them, so I had to tie up loose ends. There is nothing that will link it to you, and this doesn’t change any part of our deal.”

“It better not Tommy. I told you once what would happen if you tried to fuck me on this and I think you can see now that I am a man of my word. If I’d do that to them and they were just wasting my time, imagine what I’d do to someone who actually pisses me off, and all of this is starting to. If you cleaned it up, then we’re done here. You can get the fuck out now. Just remember not to make yourself a loose end. I’d hate to have to tie you up.” He stood there on the verge of saying something, but I didn’t care, time to step the charade up a little.

“Ralphie, help him find the door, he seems a little confused right now.” Ralphie grabbed him like a rag doll and started for the door, making sure to slam him into the wall and the door frame on the way. When he did finally make it to the door, He threw the door open and tossed Tommy out like a bag of trash, which as I look back on it was really all that disgruntled shitbag was.

And like a switch, I was back to meek and mild mannered Jonah. I could tell the guys were a little worried, but we’d deal with it in due time.

“Alright boys, get your shit together, we’ve got a plane to catch.” I just smiled. I was starting to like this badass character I portrayed. I began to wonder if it would eventually get me in shit.

After today I looked forward to the long flight. It would give me a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep. And so from before we even took off till the time we landed I did just that and slept like a fucking baby, which is to say in short stretches contorted into a position man wasn’t meant to sleep in.

Apparently Ralphie and Wil were just too nervous to sleep, which meant that they spent the trip drinking which made them super fun when we landed, a couple half-drunk, half hung-over Americans. We were going to be so popular.