Emmy started to cry. “What you going to do?” she sobbed.
He didn’t answer. Gave her an encouraging smile that doctors give to terminally ill patients. The smile that says the pain will soon be over. He started to stroke her face with his fingers as if sharing the tender moment. Murmured sweet words of endearment. She seemed to be calmed by his velvety voice. Pacified by his gentle actions. Her sobs lessened. Moved his fingers gently down to her neck...
...and squeezed until she lay still.
The ticking of the bedside clock pierced his consciousness. Tick tock. He snapped back out of it, closed the bedroom door and picked up Sammy’s jacket. Cell phone and the gun. Sammy would be carrying, he was sure of that, the egoistic Guinea. He found the Beretta Bobcat, snapped it open and checked the magazine. Full. He slipped it into his jacket pocket, picked up both his and Emmy’s cell phones from the table, moved out of the apartment, and went down the fire escape.
He could approach Sammy’s limo from the back, out of sight from the driver. If he had to, one well-placed shot should be enough. But it was risky in broad daylight, even in this neighborhood there were those who would call the cops. A more risky, but better strategy was to slide in behind him and hold the gun to his head. Then take a ride out to the barn and show the big ape around. And give him his own plot of land.
When he moved close enough to make out the back of the ape’s head from an apartment doorway he flipped open the cell phone and looked for Mike’s number. The timing had to be perfect. He waited for the pedestrian traffic to ease, looking up and down the sidewalk for a gap, and then he called. He saw the ape sit up and answer.
“Yeah Sammy, what’s up?”
“Get the limo doors open, I’m coming out.” Good enough impersonation. He was right behind the limo now, walking casually up the sidewalk, no one in close proximity when he heard the door buttons click up. He swiftly wrenched open the back door behind Mike, leaned forward and put the gun to the ape’s head before the guy was aware of his presence. “Try anything you’re dead,” he said. “Now let’s take a cruise. Head downtown and out aways on the highway. Keep your hands where I can see them. Now move it.” He dug the barrel in hard to let the ape know he meant business.
Mike growled. “You’re making a big mistake.”
Mason watched Mike trying hard to pick him up in the mirror, as he moved out into the traffic. “Just shut the hell up and drive.”
Mike shut up. They spent the next fifteen cruising. All the time the big ape was angling for an opportunity. Waiting. Mason kept a firm grip on the gun. Well nice try Mike, but it wasn’t going to work.
“Take the next exit off the highway.”
“Where we heading?” asked Mike.
“I told you to shut the hell up and drive.” He dug the barrel once more into Mike’s head. The ape wouldn’t worry about that. He would think he was being taken hostage. When the opportunity arose...
Traffic was thinning out as they passed empty fields. Mason told the ape to take several exits and double back a few times before he was satisfied they had no tails. They were by then on a single lane road.
“Okay, slow down, there’s a dirt road up ahead on the right. Turn in there, real slow.”
Mike slowed to a crawl and turned in.
“Stop by the trees. Roll down your window. I want to take a look before we move on up.” Mason’s diversionary tactic, giving the ape a false sense of security. No danger.
Mike rolled down his window “Okay mister,” he replied, as he pulled up and killed the motor. He sat there, hands on the wheel. Waiting...
Mason was prepared. He angled the gun to one side and pulled the trigger. Any bullets exiting the ape’s head would fly harmlessly out of the open window. Twice was enough. The ape slumped forward onto the steering wheel, setting off the horn.
Shit, thought Mason. Enough noise to waken the dead. He yanked open his door and then the ape’s, before dragging him off the steering column and over onto the passenger seat. He moved into the driver’s seat, restarted the engine and gunned it up the dirt road to the barn.
He parked it at the back, out of sight from the dirt road, got out and listened. Two minutes, then five more. Nothing, no disturbance, no noisy neighbors, no loose ends to deal with. Mason was satisfied. He inspected the limo, found the briefcase and opened it. Bundles of hundreds in their purple wrappers, a cool quarter million.
Now there was no hurry, he could ‘cut and run’ anytime. He went back into the barn and found a shovel. He tested the ground. It was soft sand and he dug a shallow grave at the back. He shifted the ape and the money into it and covered it back up. Then he dragged a couple of bales of hay on top to completely hide it. The limo could stay there; no one would find it before Saturday. But the ‘friend’ continued to worry him. The only one who could finger him. It would not go away. He sat back in the limo and thought through his options.