Read Kim Oh 2: Real Dangerous Job (The Kim Oh Thrillers) Online

Authors: K. W. Jeter

Tags: #Mystery & Crime

Kim Oh 2: Real Dangerous Job (The Kim Oh Thrillers) (8 page)

BOOK: Kim Oh 2: Real Dangerous Job (The Kim Oh Thrillers)
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As I was pulling on my helmet and climbing onto the Ninja, I could hear the snarl of Braemer’s hopped-up Ducati, heading out of the warehouse district. I fired up my ride and headed after the other motorcycle.

 

Getting into the city proper, I was able to keep the Ducati in sight, without Braemer realizing that I was following him. The advantage to something like a Ninja 250R is that there are a lot of them on the road. So you don’t stand out, which is good when you’re doing something like this.

 

I weaved through the traffic lanes, keeping as much distance between me and Braemer as possible, while still not losing him. When Braemer eventually did find out that I’d trailed him, it would come as a surprise. That was the whole point of the plan.

 

Monica had explained it to me last night. She knew that Braemer and the other dealers in illicit equipment – the kind of stuff that Cole bought – they all hung out together. At some bar close to the edge of the city’s financial district. All she knew about it was that it had some outside tables, right on the street. Braemer and his buddies liked that because it enabled them to sit out there and talk business, while keeping an eye out for two things: their customers and the police. When dealing in stuff like that, you’re always keeping watch. It comes with the territory. Cole, back in the days when he’d been up and running, had met there with Braemer and the other dealers a couple times, then told Monica about the layout. Everything except the street address – but that worked for us now.

 

Up ahead, past a Transit Authority bus and a couple of taxi cabs, I could see Braemer slowing the Ducati down. Up until now, he’d been riding it hot, doing all those cutting-in-and-out maneuvers that piss car drivers off so much. I backed my own machine off a bit and watched as he swung his toward the curb.

 

That must be the place. There were some other guys, mostly older than him, but with the same visibly twitchy quality to them, sitting out at some tables behind a low barrier stuffed with plastic foliage. A couple of them even lifted their hands from their drinks and gave little waves of acknowledgment as Braemer slid the Ducati into the row of parked cars, then pulled off his helmet.

 

I stayed a couple of blocks away, pulled over by a newsstand. For him not to see me was all part of Monica’s plan. A psychological thing, to bend the little bastard’s head.

 

As he sat down with the other dealers, I took my cell phone out of my jacket pocket and scrolled down the list of numbers on its tiny screen – I had to lift the silvery visor of my helmet to make them out. When Braemer got a call from me and realized that somebody was on to him, that I knew exactly where he was and what he was doing, then he’d know that he wasn’t so cool after all. And that he wasn’t getting away with anything, like talking to Michael, without anybody knowing about it.

 

According to Monica, as she’d told me about it last night, that would put the fear of God into the jittering little twerp. Or at least the fear of Cole, which was worse. And if she said this was what would do it for the guy, and keep him from running his mouth off, I was willing to take her word for it. She was the one who’d slept with him, after all.

 

I found the number Monica had put in and hit it with my thumb. I held the phone up toward the hinge of the helmet visor, close enough to hear Braemer’s voice when he answered. I looked down the street to where he was sitting, watching for him to pull his own cell phone out of his jacket when it rang –

 

I didn’t see that.

 

Instead, I saw a fireball – churning flames and black smoke – fill the street ahead.

 

The shockwave was almost enough to knock me off the Ninja. Stunned, I tilted my head back, watching the smoke pile on up to the sky, rising alongside the facade of the nearest office building. The only sign remaining of Braemer and his dealer friends was an empty metal chair, bent by the force of the explosion, lying on its side in the middle of the pavement.

 

I could hear people screaming. And shouts and all the other kinds of confusion that happen when you set off a bomb in the middle of the city.

 

I looked at the cell phone in my hand and made the connection. I shoved it into my jacket, then wheeled the Ninja around and kicked it into gear. Leaning down behind the windshield, I gunned the engine, weaving the bike in and out of the stalled traffic. In the distance, I could hear the sirens starting to shriek.

 

* * *

 

“You sonsabitches.” I glared at the two figures lying on the mattress. “You set me up.”

 

“No, we didn’t.” Cole didn’t even look at me, but just went on watching the cartoons on the portable TV. “You didn’t get hurt. What’re you griping about?”

 

I was more than griping. I was ready to kill – deliberately, this time.

 

The whole time heading back to the warehouse, I’d been stewing about it. Monica hadn’t been keeping anything from Cole – it was me she’d left in the dark. She and Cole had been together in this little plan from the start. Packing the old Xaver 400 device, that one that supposedly had stopped working, with that RDX explosive that he liked to use – she couldn’t have done that. Plus wiring it to a cell phone, so that when I called its number, the whole thing would go off – that was the kind of thing Cole was good at. It hadn’t been Braemer’s number that she had programmed into my cell phone. It’d been the bomb’s number.

 

That was why I’d been so pissed when I’d come storming into the warehouse and found them together. Everybody had known what was going on, except me – and that Braemer guy, of course. But he wasn’t thinking about it, at least not now.

 

“Kim, honey –” Leaning against the wall behind them, Monica had an arm around Cole’s shoulders. “Just relax. It’s no big deal.”

 

“No big deal?” I glared at her. “I could’ve been killed.”

 

“Not as long as you stayed a couple blocks away when you made the call. The way I told you. I was looking out for you.”

 

She might’ve been right about that, but it didn’t take my anger down any.

 

“Fine,” I said. “What about the people who just got blown away? Now I’m the one who pushed the button on them.”

 

That drew a raised eyebrow from Cole as he glanced over at me. “Nobody got killed who didn’t deserve it. That guy Braemer? And those other dealers who were sitting there? They weren’t exactly innocent lambs. If they were doing business with me, you can believe it, they were dirty. In a lot of ways.” He turned his gaze back to the TV. “Besides – if you hadn’t taken him out, it could’ve been us who wound up getting killed. He should’ve known better than to go around talking the way he had been.”

 

“Whatever. But that’s not the problem here.”

 

“Really? What is?”

 

“You lied to me,” I said. “Both of you. You had your whole little act going on, between the two of you. And I fell for it.”

 

“So? You learned something, then. Didn’t you?”

 

I let that one slide.

 

“Why didn’t you just tell me?” Inside me, I could feel my anger starting to simmer down, turning into something colder. “That this was what was going to happen?”

 

“Because,” said Monica, “if we’d told you, you might not have gone along with it. But if we didn’t tell you, you would.”

 

“For Christ’s sake. Couldn’t you have at least given me the chance?”

 

“I did.” Her gaze locked level with mine. “Last night. When I talked to you, and roped you in. If you were as tough as you need to be . . . you wouldn’t have fallen for it. You’re still not tough enough. Up here.” She tapped the side of her head with a fingertip. “There’s still just a little too much left, of that other Kim. The one you used to be.”

 

I listened to her – and I knew she was right. I wasn’t angry at the two of them any longer. I was pissed at myself.

 

“All right.” I zipped up my jacket. “I’m going home now. Maybe I’ll be back here tomorrow.”

 

“Suit yourself.” Cole went on watching the portable TV.

 

“But if I do come back –”

 

“What?”

 

“It’ll be different,” I said. “A lot different.”

 

I turned and headed for the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went back. I didn’t have a choice.

 

Think about it. If I didn’t go back to the warehouse and team up with Cole again, that would’ve meant I was still that other Kim, that Little Nerd Accountant Girl I used to be. Which would’ve meant that Cole was right about me. I wasn’t hard enough. I didn’t have what it takes. So the only way to prove the sonuvabitch wrong was to go back.

 

The whole way over there, riding on the Ninja, I couldn’t help thinking that somehow I’d gotten rooked. And he won either way.

 

I gave up thinking about it. There was a job to do.

 

* * *

 

At least Monica wasn’t there. She was at her job, over at the club. Which left Cole and me to get down to business.

 

Which at the moment consisted of me tilting my head back to watch Cole swarm up the heavy gym rope that had been tied to the warehouse rafters. His arm muscles bulged with the effort, his useless legs dangling below him. I was impressed in spite of myself.

 

He let himself drop, catching himself with the rope looped under his arms, just before he would’ve crashed into the motorized wheelchair below.

 

“Not bad, huh?” He was radiant with sweat as he eased himself into the wheelchair. “Not at my best yet – but that’ll come.”

 

I tossed him the towel that had been left draped on the padded weightlifting bench. “You didn’t look this good a couple of days ago.”

 

“There’s ways,” said Cole. “I can bulk up pretty fast. When I’m motivated.”

 

“That makes two of us.”

 

“Glad to hear it. Come over here. I wanna show you something interesting.”

 

I followed him as he motored over to where he kept his other equipment. Fortunately, he had scored everything on his shopping list before he had arranged for me to blow up the dealers he got the stuff from.

 

“Take a look at this.” He held out something in his hand.

 

“What is it?” I took it from him and rolled it in my fingertips. Some kind of bullet – I could tell that much.

 

“Something special. That stuff you’ve been shooting before – that was just to sharpen your aim. Get you used to pulling a trigger. Now we gotta talk about the real hardware.” He pointed to the object I was holding. ”That right there is one bad-ass little pisser.”

 

I weighed it in my palm. “Feels light.”

 

“That’s what makes it so bad-ass. Shaped epoxy cartridge with segmented tungsten-and-silver loads inside. Hits soft tissue, the loads split and pinwheel, ripping things as they go. Shatters bone like matchsticks. Comes out of the barrel with a velocity three times that of a regular bullet. It’ll penetrate Class 3 body armor.”

 

“What’s
Class 3
mean?”

 

“That’s what McIntyre’s bodyguards wear under their coats. Bulletproof vests. Anything heavier and they wouldn’t be able to move. It’ll stop a lot of stuff – but not that little bastard.”

 

That impressed me, too. I handed the bullet back to him.

 

“They’re strictly controlled,” said Cole. “Only law enforcement officers are supposed to get their hands on them.”

 

“Yeah, like a lot of the stuff you’ve got around here.” I glanced around the warehouse, then back to him. “But do we really need things like that? To do what we want to do?”

 

“We might.” Cole dropped the bullet into the pouch at the side of his wheelchair. “If you’re imagining that this job is going to be a piece of cake, you’re way out of line. It would’ve been tough before – and now it’s going to be lot tougher. Michael’s really taking his job seriously, as the company’s security head. He’s really tightened things up. McIntyre doesn’t show his face out on the street anymore. They drive him in to the parking garage, then take him upstairs in the elevator. The whole way, he’s surrounded by his people.”

 

“How do you know all this?”

 

“I’ve got my sources.”

 

“Like who?”

 

“Doesn’t matter,” said Cole. “Some people tell me things because they hate McIntyre as much as you do. Not going to break their hearts when something bad happens to him. Other people – I’ve gotta pay them, to get them to talk. That’s one of the reasons we needed so much money. Information costs. At least the good stuff does.”

 

I mulled it over. “So all that would be why a sniper operation wouldn’t work?”

 

“Basically. We just wouldn’t have a chance of getting a clear shot at McIntyre. Not from a distance. So we’ll have to move in close. With the equipment we’ve got, the problem won’t be blowing away McIntyre and his bodyguards. We can do that. What we gotta work out, though, is getting in. Where we’d have a tight shot on him. We pull that off, you won’t have to worry about how good your aim is. You’ll be standing right on top of him.”

 

“If,” I said. “If we can get in.”

 

Cole nodded. “That’s the real job. The rest is just details.”

BOOK: Kim Oh 2: Real Dangerous Job (The Kim Oh Thrillers)
10.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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