Excerpt From “Vendetta: You Reap What You Sow”
Preparations for Doomsday
The EMS truck and police arrived on Lemay Street with lights flashing from corner to corner. Yellow tape and cones were used to cordon off the area with police going from door to door asking residents about what they saw. No one was to leave the area without police authorization.
Among the detectives was police Sergeant Steel who wanted the evidence analyzed and forwarded to the lab ASAP. She suspected this shooting to be connected with the one on Buena Vista Street.
The street was littered with dead bodies of dope-fiends, crackheads, ecstasy shooters, heroin addicts, and alcohol and amphetamine users to innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Family members were at the end of the barriers wanting to see if any slain were their kin who frequented the dope house. The police had a second job keeping them out. A few heads had to be cracked with their batons because of being insistent on crossing the line.
Five ambulances and EMS trucks were at the scene with paramedics checking for life. The killers had been thorough as to leave no witnesses as testimony of the nine bodies found dead and one near death. The paramedics were amazed at how the one survivor could still be alive with his body riddled with holes.
“Hey Bennett, we have a live one over here.”
The glass and debris made crunching noise under the paramedic’s feet making his approach to assist Dee Dee.
“What we got here?”
“Pulse weak but still alive.”
Dee Dee yelled loud informing the police department there was a live one.
Sergeant Steel came to check, amazed as to what kept this man alive. His clothes were matted with blood with at least 30 machinegun bullet punctures that were either lodged in his flesh or had passed through his body. Who could take such punishment and still live?
“Bennett,” Dee Dee encouraged, “Please make sure we have a second back up I.V. system in place even if we have to take one from the other trucks.”
“I’ll go get it ready.”
“Sergeant Steel, I hate to ask you but could you help me get him on this stretcher and take him to the EMS truck?”
“No problem, I would like to know who this is, his background. He might be instrumental in helping solve this case. Something tells me this will not be the last time I’ll be seeing him. Does he have any I.D. on him?”
“He has driver’s license and about four thousand dollars in cash. I guess it was not a robbery motive in the kill.”
“This man is staying alive for one purpose, revenge. If he lives, he will lead us to the killers for somehow I’ve a gut feeling he knows who they are. I am secretly going to put a tail on him if I have to do it myself.”
The 240-pound frame of Sledgehammer was taxing on the two women who loaded him into the EMS truck. Bennett had set up the I.V. unit and as soon as they had entered began administering aid.
The plasma and saline pack were almost miraculous as the contents slithered down the tubes into Sledgehammer’s body, his pulse began to increase with spasmodic movements of his hands.
Steel exited the rear doors marching briskly to a squad car and got a bull horn announcing, “Make way for the EMS truck that’s exiting to Warren Avenue, we’ve got a live one.”
The truck weaved and bobbed through the activity finally making its way to Lynch Road heading for St. Joseph’s Hospital.
The news media was allowed to make broadcasts after it was determined no more bodies were to be found. Channel 7 news anchorwoman Jessica Lopez announced, “Here on the far Eastside we have another drive by shooting that has killed 9 people and wounded 1 who is at this moment being taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital.”
The camera panned to the house behind her showing a dismal picture of destruction and desolation.
Jessica Lopez continued, “The scene behind me is a picture of the devastation perpetrated by those who have no feeling, no care or respect for human life, property and the welfare of the community. It is said that one innocent bystander was killed, no names has been released. We’ll keep you informed with any breaking news as details unfolds.”
The camera pans once again to the neighbors’ houses and back to the house that is devastated.
“We can only say it is a total waste of lives and another sad chapter in Detroit’s history who is working hard to clear its image of crime to become world class with communities working together.”
“This is Jessica Lopez for Channel 7 Action News.”
The camera was still filming the scene when Sergeant Steel approached prompting Jessica Lopez to seek her out asking, “Do you have any suspects of who perpetrated this tragedy?”
“I do not want to elaborate on this at this time, but I can say, whomever did this will pay to the fullest extent of the law. You will not get away. There is no place you can run and no place you can hide. You will be brought to justice, this I personally guarantee!”
“Do you associate this shooting with the one on Buena Vista Street about a year ago when 6 were killed and four wounded?”
“I don’t know at this time. But I can say we will make comparisons and see if this is so.”
“Any other comments you’d like to make at this time, Sergeant Steel?”
“This is for the killers of this crime, You can run but you can’t hide and had better believe ‘You reap what you sow.’ I give you my word this day, you will do hard time because I am coming after you and you can take that to the bank.”
“Thanks Sergeant Steel. Here folks we seen the carnage and the promises of the law that it will prevail.”
“This is Jessica Lopez for Channel 7 Action News.”
The eleven O’clock news repeated the story becoming a metro wide area sensation with everyone talking about it. Yamato called Sapphire asking if she was aware of what’s happening suggesting she to turn the television to Channel 7 Action News.
Shocked and dismayed at what had happened forced the exclamation, “Oh my God, they have struck again. I knew I should have taken them out when I had the chance at the loft.”
“So you know who did this?” Yamato asked questioningly.
“I sure do. I wanted to wait before I made my move hoping they would lead me to who put out the contract on me. It is more than Hanes involved. Since he did not take care of this himself, his source is of a higher nature and that is the one I seek. Even if I took care of Hanes, the contract would still be hanging over my head. I’ve got numbers and names of people in Chicago that I’ve got to locate.”
Before Sapphire could finish another headline broke through. The newsman said, “We’ve got some updates on the developments of this shooting. A lone survivor going by the name of Sledgehammer is reported in critical condition. It is still too early to determine if he will survive but sources estimate that he took about 30 slugs at the scene of the crime and lived. We can speculate that if he made it this far he should recover. There has been no mention of what hospital he is in for his protection. Channel 7 news will keep you updated with any new breaking developments as they happen.”
“John Turner for Channel 7 Action News.”
The screen switched back to the regular broadcast as Sapphire turned her attention back to Yamato.
“There are three major hospitals in that area; St Joseph’s on Outer Drive at West Grand Blvd, St. John’s DMC at East Jefferson past Belle Isle and Detroit Receiving downtown. I think I will pay a visit to locate where he is, Yamato.”
“Be careful Sapphire since there has been public notification that Sledgehammer is alive the killers will be looking for him.”
“Got ya. I’ll talk with you later.”
Sapphire pondered over her next move. She would not be the only one looking at the news with a good guess that Hanes, Steel, and the drive by shooters were contemplating their next move.
Hanes was direct when calling DPD asking for information regarding Sledgehammer. Information what he sought would not be given with a warning not to do any investigation out of his jurisdiction. If he were caught he would be arrested and put in Detroit jail.
He was hoping his troubles were over with the drive by shooters, praying if that did any good, they were part of the carnage. He had two choices, go check himself or send one of his subordinates. Since he was not setting well with DPD, he would send his office assistant to the hospital. On the next business day he would make it an assignment for Helen Barker to see what the situation was and himself lay low.
Sergeant Steel knew where Sledgehammer was hospitalized and ordered plain clothe policemen guarding his room 24-7.
Helen Barker was unable to fulfill her bosses request because information was withheld and returned with a negative reply.
Steel paid a visit to St. Joseph’s hospital to see Sledgehammer who had recuperated phenomenally considering it was just a short time since his body had been riddled with over 30 machine gun slugs. He was walking around talking even though his speech was weak and slow, managed to express himself audibly. He had a look of disdain for anyone trying to help him for he was use to doing things for himself. It was amazing that during his time of recovering he had not lost much of his muscle tone.
Approaching him casually Steel said, “How are you doing today?”
Sledgehammer didn’t want to speak not knowing she was a cop not in uniform. It didn’t matter if she wasn’t he had not much to talk to her about.
Steel insistent on getting his attention, “You are much of a man to survive what you did. Tell me what you are made of, flesh or iron?”
Sledgehammer prided himself on his body and toughness and responded, “Neither one, I am made of steel.”
“By the way, my name is Steel, Sergeant Steel.”
She showed him her badge as he looked on inquisitively. “A cop huh. What do you want with me, I haven’t done anything?”
“Well it is not that you’ve done anything, I am here to find out if you know about those who have done this to you.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“What do you mean you don’t want to talk about it? Man, these people whoever they are almost killed you and you don’t want to talk about it!”
“Naw, I don’t want to talk about it, I want to do something about it and no cop ain’t the one to help me.”
“If you don’t want no help I can understand that, but why would you want to prevent me from doing my job? I have just as much stake in this as you because other people were killed even though you survived. I owe it to them to bring their killers to justice.”
“It will be justice for all when I find them. You don’t know the pain and agony I’ve been through just to stay alive to pay vengeance for just a small portion of the pain that I’ve endured.”
“Just the same, I have a moral obligation beyond the duty of law, it is my own conscience that must be cleared that these individuals must pay for what they did. Do you understand where I am coming from?”
“Yeah, I dig you lady. You do what you gotta do, I do what I gotta do.”
“I want to leave you with this thought, If you go alone on your vendetta, who has got your back?”
“I don’t need nobody to watch my back, shit I can watch my own back.”
“That is what you thought before this incident, isn’t it? What did it get you nothing but in this hospital shot up like Swiss cheese. The next time you might not be so fortunate. By letting me know who did this at least you can have confidence that I’ll be there to pick up the pieces and get the ones responsible.”
“I tell you what, I am not in the mood for talking about this right now, I need to think over this for a minute. Why don’t you come back tomorrow? By the way who are those people outside my door?”
“I put security outside your door because you have been identified as the only person who survived the massacre. You had better believe the ones who perpetrated this will come back after you to finish the job.”
“Let them bring their behinds on, I am waiting and ready.”
“You might be when you are well, but right now all you are ready for is the bed.”
“Bed or no bed, I want them to bring it on do you hear me?”
“Yeah I hear you but that ain’t going to help. I need identity of those who did this to you so at least I’ll know who or what to look for if they should pay you a surprise visit.”
“I tell you this, look out for two men and a woman. The men are African American and Caucasoid, medium and heavy build. The female is White with blond hair. That is all I’m going to tell you.”
“Thanks, that will do good for now. Take care of yourself and get better.”
“You bet I am. I’ve got a score to settle. I’ll drink a bottle of castor oil for breakfast, lunch and supper if I have to in order to get well. Believe me, their asses is mine.”
Steel left Sledgehammer and his attendants going back to 1300 Beaubien to check the police database for any criminals meeting this description.
The bulletin board of felons wanted by the law caught her attention and the first thing she did was look for all White females wanted. Collecting a batch, she went to the photocopy machine, made copies and went to Captain Corbett’s office and asked if he knew any known felons matching the description she gave of the three. He was unaware of any.
This would be more complicated than she anticipated and would take some time. Her weekend was shot because time was of the essence and she wanted to crack this case as soon as possible. The cabaret at the police function would have to wait.
The drive by shooters were at another hospital waiting for Big Mike’s face to be repaired and release from surgery when they noticed that Sledgehammer had survived from the broadcast showing on the monitor in the lobby. They wanted to inform Big Mike but the attendants would not let them back until visiting time was open. Big Mike’s surgery was practically completed, as a silicone pack had been impressed into the cavity with antibiotics and bandages.
The other two drive by shooters, Carla and Joe had gotten very nervous and wanted to pull out knowing Big Mike would become a dead give away. It was early morning at Henry Ford Hospital when Big Mike burst out of patient care urging his people to leave the premises.
The attendants on duty tried to stop them but they pulled their guns encouraging them to get out of their way. Security was too slow in responding to the call for Carla had already secured their car from the parking lot waiting at the emergency entrance with the rear passenger door open when Joe threw Big Mike in the seat. Jumping into the front seat, they exited on West Grand Blvd.
Henry Ford Hospital is on the service drive of John C. Lodge expressway ½ mile from I-94, which made for a clean exit for the gangsters. Cursing as they drove one block down West Grand Blvd, making a U-Turn brought them to a Bp gas station where they filled the tank to the brim getting all the snacks they needed for their next stop would be Chicago, Illinois.
Little traffic did not impede their progress as they eased onto West Grand Blvd drove one block and hit John C. Lodge expressway exiting on Interstate 94 with Big Mike mumbling in the back seat of how he was going to get Sledgehammer if he lived from his wounds. Taking out a bottle of Mohawk Vodka, the 1991 Chevy Caprice Classic sped for Chicago doing 80 mile per hour listening to 50 Cents rap compact disk for the next four hours.
Sergeant Steel upon reviewing the evidence, made a discovery that prints on the .44 Magnum belonged to Sledgehammer and had been fired once. A question to be asked; had he wounded or killed any of the drive by shooters. If he had wounded any, it would be safe to say that they would need medical attention at a local hospital, especially from a .44 Magnum slug that could blow a person’s head clean off. With that assessment, it was safe to say that if any were hit, their body needed immediate medical treatment because a huge portion of their body would be torn off by the gunshot wound.
She would use trace evidence by calling all hospitals within an eight- mile radius to determine if there were any emergency admittances for gunshot wounds during the last 48 hours, starting with Detroit Receiving Hospital.
The phone call to Detroit Receiving was negative as well as all other East side hospitals steering her search to the closet on the West side of Woodward Avenue. That would be Henry Ford Hospital where she hit pay dirt. It did not take much effort because the hospital was in search of a patient who had left without being released. Also it was reported that firearms were pulled on the attendant with gunplay with a security guard who was not injured.
The information suggested the patient was related to the search she was looking for. No further trace evidence was available and where they could be located left a cold trail. She could only wait until something showed up or a witness volunteered information. Either way, she would keep every avenue open to crack this case because now she was personally involved. It would require she lay low until the trail presented itself again, hopefully not with dead bodies. As fate might have it, Steel was not the only person interested in Sledgehammer and the drive by shooters, Sapphire, Yamato, and Hanes were keenly interested in this turn of events.
Chicago’s skyline never look so good to the occupants of the 1991 Chevy Caprice Classic as its chrome wheel spinners were slowing down from the 80 mile per hour trip on I-94 to Michigan Avenue. Carla had phoned ahead for a hotel making reservations using their credit card at the famed Chicago Marriott Downtown that soars 46 stories into the Chicago skyline being only two major avenues for the famous Chicago loop of Lake Shore Drive.
The structure made Mike feel invigorated even though the pain was almost unbearable. He had been moaning in pain all during the drive because the Novocain had worn off sending shock waves through the left side of his face. Medical attention was top priority after securing a place of residence, Big Mike knew an outcall doctor since Chicago was his home. The first contact would be Dr. Sands and the second the top man of Chicago’s mafia who sanctioned all contracts to be carried out, including the one on Sapphire. His reputation was in jeopardy since the prime target had escape the net, also Big Mike’s. He would be looked upon with disdain picturing the fact that it was a lone woman of 20 years old and he being a seasoned veteran with over 17 kills. Was he loosing his touch by bungling up with Sledgehammer with a huge portion of his face shot off? Now it seems as if he was running to his boss whimpering like a baby. He wanted Sapphire dead to redeem himself and Sledgehammer even more for ruining his face and career as a contract killer.
The Mafia boss lived on the forty-sixth floor of the Marriot with the entire side facing the skyline of Lake Shore with a terrace that acted an expansive patio where all sorts of outdoor activities took place in the sky. When his face was in order, he would give him a call with plans of finishing where he had failed because failure was not tolerated in this business.
Carla called Dr. Sands explaining the issue with an appointment to see Big Mike within the next hour.
They settled in their quarters sharing small talk until the doctor arrived. Eyeing the unsavory characters as he entered, breaking the ice would be a nice change due to the chill in the atmosphere. He would patch Big Mike up as quickly as possible and get the heck out of here.
“We will need some hot water and a basin to clean this wound up. Could someone take care of this?”
Carla brought back what was needed making it easier for the doctor to do his work. About an hour later, Big Mike was feeling better following the procedure Doc. Sands initiated on him.
Doctor Sands did not wait for them to reply to the medical treatment but said, “There is no need for payment because I am being paid by the Big Boss to take care of his people. I’ve left you a week’s supply of what you might need to treat that wound. Should there be any complications, don’t hesitate to give me a call.”
“Thank you doctor,” replied Big Mike.
After the doctor made his hasty retreat, Big Mike called the Big Boss asking for a priority meeting with him to discuss necessary business.
Sergio Erriconi, a mild mannered man of forty-five years prided himself on his good Italian looks and intelligence. It took more than a strong arm to rise to the top of Chicago’s underworld at less than fifty with contacts all across the United States. Only two others were more powerful than him, the New York and Miami Don’s and they feared him.
The expensive meeting room was decorated with expensive furniture from around the world with an oval mahogany table in the center of the room encompassing forty-feet in length.
Everyone was seated when Don Erriconi sauntered into the room escorted by two Japanese bodyguards armed to the teeth. They did not need the guns for they were adept in all manner of killing with bare hands, but were showpieces as deterrents were these weapons.
“Good morning people, it is nice to see the family together again. This meeting will be short and to the point for I have other business to take care of.”
Standing at the head of the table his vision scanned the room until it fell upon Big Mike. He sat gingerly.
“Big Mike, you called this meeting today, please state you concern?”
Big Mike had fear of Erriconi even though he was good-natured, for he could change without a moments notice.
“Mafia Don Erriconi, I am here to state the contract in Detroit was successful and unsuccessful. It was successful in that it was carried out as instructed, but somehow it was unsuccessful that the target survived. I don’t know how because we took every precaution to leave no one alive, but she managed to evade our termination of her. I am making no excuses just the fact that one got away.”
“Mike, I can accept excuses as long as business is done, but I do not accept failure. I did not progress to the top of this business by failure, but by success. I do not compensate failure but accomplishments. I like you Mike and know you are good at what you do, but I am good at what I do also.”
Big Mike almost pissed on himself as a small turd oozed out of his rectum.
“If your target survived, what is plan ‘B’ and when will it be accomplished?”
“It is already in the makings. I have sources who know that Sapphire has been in hiding and is tracing her whereabouts. We plan to seal this business before Thanksgiving.”
“You had better because I don’t want a bad taste in my mouth when I eat my turkey. If it is not done by then, you will be roast turkey, do you understand?”
“Yes sir, I understand.”
“Good, good. Now get your sorry ass out of here and do business.”
Big Mike and his troupe were stumbling over people trying to get out when Sergio Erriconi said, “by the way Mike, who rearranged your face?”
“A minor accident sir of being careless.”
“If that was a minor accident, I would like to know how you would look with a major accident. I guess your head would be blown off.”
The other gangsters present began to laugh. Big Mike did not like the laughter and would have let them know, but Don Erriconi was present and he had to pucker his behind and get out while he could.
“I’ll try to be more careful next time.”
“You do that.”
Carla was exiting the door first with the other two on her heels. The elevator to the fifth floor was not fast enough for they were spooked and sought a place to get rid of their shakes.
“We’ve got work to do and fast to find this Sapphire and end this once and for all. Damn Hanes for this job. I knew we should have never taken it. If law enforcement could not handle their shit, why should we? It goes both ways, if we fail, we die and if we succeed we still have the issue over our heads that we broke the law by killing someone.”
All were silent as they pondered what was just said.
Carla spoke up for she was riled to the bones. “It has come to the point where I don’t give a mother fuck. Excuse my French but this shit has got to end and I say we get this done right now.”
Joe second the motion by saying. “Let finish what we started and if need be, get this Hanes also.”
Big Mike was proud of his people as a smile came to his lips for they were going to kick some asses.
Sapphire was not ready to make her move on the drive by shooters but needed to find out about Sledgehammer. In his condition and where he was made it plain he would be recovering for a long time especially since the news said he had taken over thirty bullets to his body.
Suspecting the drive by shooters had left the City; she went to the loft to check for anything that could help her track where they were. They would have to lay low following the heat coming toward them.
The caller I.D. had two more numbers on it. She called them and traced them to the Marriott Hotel in Chicago. Now she knew that would be her destination when she was ready.
She would use the time until she was ready to sharpen her skills and get in top-notch shape for her vendetta. Once again she started working out at Northwest Activity Center, not as Sapphire, but as Jennifer Cole. Day after day, all day she worked out to the point beyond her endurance until she practically passed out. The problem she faced was the plastic compound on her face was hard to keep from deteriorating from the heat of her body during work out and Samaguchi’s absence. She was so accustomed to having him next to her with his sweet voice and touch that spurred her on to greater endurance, now she saw an empty spot where he once were that tore her heart asunder.
Time passed swiftly with autumn nearing its end. It had already snowed with temperatures hovering in the twenties. Equipment for her venture to clear those who threatened her life had arrived. The kalb beetles from Kenjiro arrived in sealed containers with an extra two in case something happened to the quantity she needed, was stored in a walk in closet safe made just for them. Tuesday was the pivotal point in which she received the last item on the list, her electronic disc.
The disc was made of pure titanium alloy with cutting blades sharpened that could sever a floating hair.
She decided to take a trip to Stoney Creek Metropolitan Park to give Dragon a chance at fishing and hunting other game. The parks were basically closed as if it mattered; she still had use of the facilities by her own authority.
The hour drive was one to reflect on what mattered most in life. She only wanted to finish school, start a family and live taking care of it. How tragic her life was caught up in this drama so early before she had a chance. What she wouldn’t do to start all over again putting God first in her life, even going to a Monastery, as a Nun would be preferable to where she is now. She was no killer at heart, but what are you going to do when your life is at stake? Do you lie down and take your medicine, the medicine issued by those who want your life, or do you reject it issuing medicine of your own? She decided that she was not ready to lie down and die when she had never experienced life. If life were a fighting game, she would go down fighting!
The scenery was beautiful as the Charger made its way to the Park. A couple of turns and she would be there. A huge padlock was on the swinging gate of the entrance, which posed no problem. Taking her lock picks from the case, she inserted the pick lifting the tumblers with light pressure on the tension wrench and the lock opened.
Dragon was excited in the back seat as if he knew where he wanted to go. The Charger moved inside the gate as Sapphire closed it heading for the picnic area. Quietness invaded the Park with a serene atmosphere giving the feeling you had left the planet Earth. Sounds that were heard were of nature giving freedom of living without the chaos and confusion in the concrete jungle almost forcing Sapphire to forget her purpose. This was not time for daydreaming but to give her dreams reality by finding a way out of the mess she was in.
The container encasing the electronic disc was made on hardened polyurethane with a coded electronic lock. The code to the lock was set by the manufacturer at 000 that Sapphire used feasting her eyes upon the beauty. It was sheer death and as beautiful as any work of art. The titanium steel shone bright in the midday sun. It was preassembled ready for use as Sapphire wasted not time withdrawing it from the case. Examining the instructions she wanted to make a practice throw right away to see what it could do.
With steady hands she eased it out of the foam core like a baby and pressed the start switch. It hummed to life with multi-colored lights blinking in array. The control panel had selections of on, operation with speed selection and off. A remote control device was used that could be attached to the wrist making selections easier and manageable. She would give it a test to observe how it functioned in all three selections. There were five holes in the top of the disc like holes in a bowling ball with the disc at the bottom that would spin and cut.
Sapphire viewed the terrain in the picnic area and saw a six-inch thick sapling about 50 feet away. Entering the desired selections, bracing her legs and hunching her shoulders, she threw the disc in an arc for the sapling at moderate speed with boomerang effect. The disc flew in an arc adjusting itself to the target because of its laser sensors and resistance diodes, self programmed itself to the density of the object picking up rotation to sever the object and sever it did.
The sapling was cut cleanly as with a surgical knife and sensing no further resistance went into the boomerang mode returning to the trajectory in which it was sent. Upon its approach, Sapphire touched the hover button that caused it to stop and hover when it read the point of origination. Sapphire was ecstatic and shouted in jubilation.
“Damn, what do I have here?”
“Come and get your medicine Hanes,” as if he was standing in front of her.
Her next trial was to increase the range to 100 feet and speed to high intensity. The target was a thicker tree. The purpose was to see if it would get stuck in greater mass and not return. To her surprise, she threw it in an arch and watched her baby fly sensing the targets mass making self adjustments for optimum destruction, retracted the top holding area into slots until it became almost one blade picking up speed and rotation of the disc. Upon contact with the tree it sheared through it the circumference of the blade, as its sensors detected no other resistance returning to the boomerang mode extending the top to its original on its way back to the thrower and hovered next to Sapphire.
“Baby, baby, baby,” Sapphire shouted. “This shit feels good.”
The last test would be against several saplings staggered. She had already used it several times on saplings individually, but now was the time to use it collectively, so to say, against several opponents.
She arranged the sapling that had been cut twenty feet apart in random locations, set the control to multiple selections and let it fly. There was a pinball effect as the disc flew in geometric pattern from one sapling to the next shearing them and returning to Sapphire upon completion. As a mom with her babe, she stroked the disc as she flipped the switch to off. If ‘Blade, the vampire hunter could see the beauty of this disc, he would be full of envy.’
Satisfied with the results, she focused her attention on another weapon, the Beretta machine pistol. Chrome plated barrel with mahogany stock finish, 30-clip magazine, automatic and semi-automatic modes, with laser sighting made the pistol a formidable weapon. To test the range and accuracy of the weapon, a target was placed at 100 yards against an evergreen tree with a dark background. The background would be used in the event a situation called for a near dark situation inhibiting vision to prepare for effectiveness given this environment. Since she would be practically a one-woman army, preparation for any type of situation was necessary.
Backtracking to the point where she would begin her firing, she inserted the clip, took the safety off, sighted the target and fired. The results were analyzed proving a hit three inches to the left off center. There would have to be improvement even though there was a hit, she want a tolerance with minimum of at least 1 inch off center preferably bulls-eye. Putting on infrared night goggles made for clarity as the laser sight hit dead center. She fired without the silencer unmasking the big roar of the 9mm as the gunpowder assailed her nostril pumping adrenalin, as the target seemed not to move. Had she hit it or not? Inspecting the weapon to see if it had malfunctioned as she moved toward the target proved negative but the target showed positive results and it was a dead center hit.
It was time to see what it would do on automatic. She lined up some soda pop cans about a dozen staggered ten feet apart. Flipping the switch on the safety, setting it to full automatic, she pulled the trigger as the regular 9mm slugs tore up the cans seemingly all at once, like bees flying in the air bumping into one another the cans made their dance. On the ground where they were placed, not one was left needing no further investigation if they were hit.
One last test was to be had using the titanium needle tip elliptical shape bullets. Five solid core concrete blocks were set at 100 feet away with each 10 feet adjacent. The purpose was to test the penetration of the bullets. The first test would be without the silencer and the second with the silencer. Flicking the switch to semi-automatic mode, she fired one shot at the blocks. She expected the blocks to shatter but did not. Upon investigation, the titanium tips had entered and exited the blocks cleanly with an almost perfectly round hole stopping at the fifth block in which it was imbedded.
The last test would be with a three quarter inch corrugated steel plate. The bullet penetrated the plating but left mild deformity on the tip. These results proved the penetrating power and would stop whoever was in its pass. The only draw back would be the safety of those not involved or innocent bystanders. She would have to use the titanium tips only when there is no such thing as innocent bystanders.
The Kevlar suit was used to test the titanium tip bullets as well as the effectiveness of the material against regular bullets. Taking this into consideration, she attached a Kevlar piece of material on a tree fired and fired regular bullets that had no effect on the kavlar except when hit in the same area with automatic fire made it very warm to the touch.
Finally it was with titanium tips. She fired one shot hitting the material squarely and found that it was torn slightly, no appreciable damage tiny particles of kavlar linen. The final test was to empty the clip with titanium tipped bullets to see the effect.
The larger sample the size of a medium sweater was place on a plywood board taken from the trunk of the car, mounted, firing automatic from a full clip. The effect was devastating in that the bullets were ricocheting everywhere she being lucky one did not strike her. The test was successful in that the fabric withstood the onslaught with no appreciable damage except it was hot to the touch. She was ready with her armor.
Other weapons were tested to her satisfaction making her feel confident and ready for war. Inside she was torn that she would have to do something like this, but it was necessary. The course that life had dictated to her is that you have to kill or be killed on no uncertain terms.
What am I going to do now as fear invaded her realm of consciousness knowing full well the consequences of her actions? It was not something she could dismiss or forget it was life to the full that was as cruel as could be. She said a silent prayer that God might take this away, but somehow she felt it would not be answered. Who could she turn to? Everyone else had his or her own problems, who wanted hers? It was a no win situation, if she just forgot about it, she would be killed? If she did not take things into her own hands and relied on others who did not take the situation seriously, like law enforcement, she would be killed by law enforcement. She could be killed anyway by those who had a contract out on her even if she fought back to keep alive. The sum of the situation is that she would rather die trying to save her life than put it in someone else hands.
Bits and pieces of her thoughts were being shattered by Dragon who was having a good time flying from treetop to treetop cawing and diving for fishes in the creek. He made a sport of it as the fishes were jumping in the water. It seems as if he was perfecting his skills by diving, not to grab its prey, but come as close as possible and veer off to the treetops for another strike at the prey as they jumped in the water. She let out a chuckle; let him have fun.
The sun was beginning to dip behind the trees with the approach of nightfall bringing out nocturnal sounds. Issuing that special call for Dragon to return home, she packed her things to make way for Detroit. I-94 was smooth sailing to Pinehurst Street where she unpacked, showered and went to bed with good and bad dreams that Samaguchi was alive and Jimmy was dead.
Sledgehammer’s health progressed to where he was released from St. Joseph’s Hospital. He had no visitors while he was recovering except Sergeant Steel who brought him flowers and tried to make small talk hoping to get him to release information on the drive by shooters. Not even Brad Adamo, his boss visited him. He was alone in this world since six years old when his father had been killed in a street brawl and mother died having an illegal abortion. They found her in an abandoned house decaying after having bled to death.
He was through with Brad Adamo and this life having saved his money putting it in a safe deposit box amounting to over $250,000 cash. The first move was to pay Brad Adamo a visit to collect his $10,000 for the job that almost killed him.
Surprise was the thing these days as his swipe card would not work on the entrance security system. It was plain that he was no longer employed, which did not matter, but the money did.
His course of action was to call Brad if his number remained the same. A positive response made him feel better as the number rang exposing Brad’s voice.
“Adamo here, how may I help you?”
“Ten thousand dollars would be a good start.”
The phone line was silent for a moment with Adamo pondering over should he continue with the conversation. Not speaking, Sledgehammer made it known who was calling, “This is Sledgehammer and I want my money.”
“Where are you Sledgehammer?”
“Knowing where I am does not negate you owe me money and I want it now. I was almost killed trying to enforce for you. I tell you what, I am not going to beg for what is mine.”
“Sledgehammer, you no longer work for me and I am not obligated to pay you one red cent.”
“Lets keep it for real. You either pay me my money or I’ll have to do what I am trained to do, enforce.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“No, it is just an observation and a method to get my money.”
“I am putting it this way Sledgehammer, I am not going to pay you no ten thousand dollars. With my agent dead who is not bringing in any dough, you forfeited your share when he died in the shooting.”
“That is your loss, not mine. I am ending this conversation Adamo; I am coming to get my money. Have it ready or your spaghetti ass is mine.”
Adamo did not know Sledgehammer was downstairs, figured he would leave the premises before he got there. That was a mistake because as he was leaving the premises from the rear, Sledgehammer stepped from behind the corner of the big house in his path.
“Sledgehammer, where did you come from, I was just on the phone, how did you get her so quickly?”
“I was already here knowing your slick behind would try to weasel your way out. Like I said, I want my ten thousand dollars.”
“I don’t have that much cash on me, take a check or go to the bank with me.”
“I am not going anywhere and you are not either. Give me your wallet.” He had about $3,000 in it for the taking and a President Rolex diamond watch valued around $20,000 that he took off his arm.
“I will consider this as paid in full.”
“Sledgehammer, you had better watch your back. I am not forgetting this.”
“I hope you won’t forget it. I paid a dear price for you nearly with my own life, please remember that.”
With a look of contempt, Adamo said nothing.
“I hope not to ever see you again, but business has been lucrative.”
Sledgehammer left for Big Mike’s loft on the Riverfront looking for clues of his whereabouts. If he had abandoned his residence, he could be only one place, Chicago and that is where he would be heading after he purchased him another .44 Magnum.
Hanes was feeling better these days because Jim Bo’s doctor’s prognosis suggested he would walk again. The good news eased the pain he had been feeling over the last two years and it was approaching Thanksgiving making it even better. His war buddies had grown restless and sought other means of employment for the time being. There was a shocking phone call at the precinct from Sapphire announcing, “This is Sapphire, I am still alive, you can have this contract removed off me, or I’ll have my personal contract put on you. Which do you prefer?”
“I prefer you off this planet.”
“Then let it be, your words have sealed your doom. Henceforth from this day, I have executed a contract on you that will be carried out by my hands.”
Shocking news of this sort always make a person go numb, Hanes was no exception, speechless when he heard Sapphire laid the receiver in the cradle.
Dialing Chicago, he called Sergio Erriconi that Sapphire had put out a personal contract on him and what was he going to do about it?
“It is your ass and not mine.”
“I paid you my life’s savings to have her erased, but she is still alive demanding my life. You mean to tell me you are not going to do anything about it?”
“No I am not, I still have Big Mike and his people on it to vindicate themselves.”
“Vindicate themselves. When I am dead?”
“No just be patient, we’ll handle this. Keep upholding the law like you are accustomed.”
Cursing, Hanes did not want to talk anymore slamming the receiver down.
He knew Big Mike and his people were in Chicago by way of the conversation. How were they going to take care of Sapphire there, unless she was there? Where was she? As far as he knew she could have been outside or in the next room. He had to keep in touch with Chicago as to how things were progressing while keeping his eyes open for Sapphire here.
Steel approached Captain Corbett about what she found in the database linking the three drive-by shooters to Chicago. “Captain, I’ve found that our people might have escaped to Chicago and been wondering if I might have a week off to go there seeking what I might find?”
Captain Corbett, as much as he wanted Steel to put an end to this case, declined her request. “I am sorry Steel, but they are now out of our jurisdiction. Let Chicago Police Department handle it. If we get any word of them traversing on Detroit’s soil, then we’ll make our move.”
“I was close to breaking this case.”
“I know. What about Sledgehammer? Did you get any information from him?”
“Not as much as I wanted. He checked out the hospital and his whereabouts are unknown. Believe me, if he knows what I’ve come to find out, he is preparing for Chicago.”
Steel was not only true in this regards but Sapphire was doing the same. If Al Capone was notorious for gangland killings in Chicago in 1929, it was time for him to end his reign, as king of terror in that city, there would soon be a new kid on the block named Sapphire with a new identity called Fire!
© 2009-- Tommy L. Thomas, Taken from Novel, “Vendetta: You Reap What You Sow”