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Authors: Pro Se Press

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BOOK: Nobody Dies For Free
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Monsieur Monroe, I am
Geoffrey. What is the plan?”


Hello,” Monroe said. “We’ll
be doing a simple bit of following, nothing complicated. Stay close
enough to not lose the target but far back enough to not be too
obvious. There won’t be anything violent tonight. I simply need to
know where they’re going.”

Geoffrey nodded.

Three minutes later, Garrett
Khan and his woman exited the restaurant. The three bulky
bodyguards followed. Khan waved two of the guards away, apparently
dismissing them for the night. The third got behind the wheel of
the BMW that had just been brought around by the valet. Khan and
the woman got into the back and they were off.

Monroe sat in the front with
Geoffrey while Winter was relegated to the backseat. Geoffrey
proved to have been a good selection by Arnaud Lafleur and the
operation went smoothly. They weaved in and out of traffic, took
various turns and routes, travelled for twenty minutes, and finally
arrived at a very expensive apartment complex in a high-class
section of Paris. Khan and the woman got out at the front doors and
their driver took the BMW to the parking garage and then returned
and went in the way his master had.

From across the street,
parked and watching, Monroe said, “Good. We know where he’s living
and it seems he has at least that one guard with him most of the
time. Geoffrey, you’ve done an excellent job tonight. Thank
you.”


Who is that man?” Geoffrey
asked.


One of the most evil men
you’ll ever see,” Monroe answered.


And he runs around Paris
free? Why has he not been arrested yet?”


Don’t worry about that,
son. Very soon, he’ll wish he
had
been arrested. If you
don’t mind, we’d like to go back to our hotel now.”


Of course, Monsieur Monroe,
right away.”

 

***

 


That was easy enough,”
Winter said as she and Monroe entered their suite.

Monroe said nothing. He took
off his jacket and hung it over the back of a chair. He removed his
gun and holster and tossed them onto the table. He turned and
walked over to the couch, sat down, closed his eyes and began to
shake, trembling and clenching his fists to try to make it
stop.


Damn,” Winter said, and she
went over to him. She sat on the opposite end of the couch, watched
him for a moment, wrestling with the question of whether or not to
try to talk to him or touch him or just get away and leave him
alone.


Winter,” Monroe croaked,
his voice suddenly hoarse and strained, “you need to go away, leave
the room, take a walk or something.”


I thought I wasn’t allowed
out of your sight?”


I’ll take a chance and
trust you. I need to be alone. Take some money out of my wallet if
you need some.”


I don’t think you
should
be alone. Your emotions are running wild right now,
you’re not rational.”


I’m shaking because I could
have put down the animal that murdered the woman I loved…and I let
him live another night.
That
was irrational. Regretting not
killing the son of a bitch is perfectly rational. Please go away. I
need an hour.”


If I leave, things are only
going to get worse. At best, you’ll just punch a hole in the wall,
hopefully not break your hand doing it, and the hotel will add it
to your bill. But worst case scenario, you’ll go running over to
Khan’s place, bust in there like a thunderstorm, and kill him and
however many bodyguards he has in there with him, and wind up in
jail…or you’ll be the one getting killed because you’ll rush in
without a plan or strategy. Now just calm down! And no…I’m not
leaving.”

Winter stopped talking then,
watched and waited. Monroe stopped shaking. He drew in a long, deep
breath. He turned to her and finally opened his eyes. He stared at
her for a second and let the words come out.


I just…I miss her so
much.”

Winter grabbed him then. She
slid toward him and wrapped her arms around him and held him like a
mother holds a crying child. She had no choice. She could not bring
herself to let him sit there alone with that terrible hurt in his
eyes. Richard Monroe had broken into her life with his lies and his
seductive charms and his ruthless ways, and he had gone so far as
to force her, under threat of death, to fly across the sea with him
on a mission to assassinate one of the world’s most dangerous men.
But Winter Willows held him now, like a friend comforting a friend
in a moment of deep and profound grief. At that moment, the tension
between them was gone—though Winter did not know if it would return
tomorrow—and there was no fear in her heart, just the desire to
make Monroe’s anguish subside, even if just for that one night. She
would hold him for as long as it took, even if dawn came to Paris
while they were still on that couch.

She lost track of time after
a while and Monroe certainly was not counting either. Eventually
though, he pulled away from her, stood up without a word and went
into the bathroom. Winter could hear water running behind the door
and assumed Monroe was washing his face to cleanse his mind along
with his flesh. Eventually, he came out. She could tell by his
eyes, he was back—the hardened veteran of a thousand secret wars,
with his blue eyes full of ice and his senses functioning
again.


You can have the bed to
yourself tonight,” he said. “I’ll crash on the couch. I have some
thinking to do and I’m not sure how long I’ll be awake.”

Winter had not expected
thanks from Monroe for the holding and the comforting. She would
have liked a show of gratitude, but she got none that night. She
got up and went to see to her own pre-sleep routine. When she came
out, Monroe was on the couch, flat on his back, eyes closed and
hands forming a pyramid shape on his chest. It was the posture of a
man very, very deep in thoughts of the heaviest kind. Winter smiled
at the sight and went to bed alone.

 

***

 


Yes, I do intend to kill
him. And no, I will not involve you or your men in the actual
assassination. You have my word on that, my promise as a friend and
a colleague.”


All right, all right,”
Arnaud Lafleur said. “No gunplay while any of mine are with you!
I’ll send him over in an hour or two, dressed as you
ask.”

The call ended. It was just
past ten in the morning in Paris and Monroe was awake, alert, two
cups of strong coffee into his day. Winter Willows had listened to
Monroe’s end of the call from the couch where she sat with her own
coffee, only half-dressed, sprawled across the sofa with her back
against one armrest and her feet near the other.


What are you planning?” she
asked.


A gathering of
information,” Monroe said. “Get dressed, I’ll need you to
drive.”


Drive what?” Winter asked.
“You don’t have a car here.”


We will soon,” Monroe said,
smiling, “a big black van.”

 

***

 

Geoffrey was dressed in a
Paris Police uniform when he arrived to pick them up. He was, just
as Monroe had promised, driving a big black van. They got in and
Geoffrey drove to start the trip. They went straight to the
apartments where Garrett Khan was staying and parked right in
front. Geoffrey got out, disappeared into the building after
flashing his badge at the doorman. Monroe ushered Winter into the
driver’s seat while he climbed into the van’s rear compartment, a
windowless box on wheels.

Inside, Geoffrey—looking
precisely like a real Parisian cop—located the building manager,
told him he was under arrest on suspicion of drug trafficking, and
hauled him out past the startled doorman. Monroe, who was watching
through windows, opened the back doors on signal from Winter.
Geoffrey shoved the arrestee in and climbed in behind him, slamming
the doors shut as Winter began to drive.

As soon as the manager felt
the van begin to move and saw the hard smile on Monroe’s face, he
knew it was no legitimate police investigation.


Do you speak English?”
Monroe asked as Geoffrey held the manager in place against the wall
of the van. The man nodded.


What is your name?” Monroe
asked.


I am Jean-Louis
Moret.”


All right, Jean-Louis, just
relax and I’m not going to hurt you. In fact, I might make you
quite happy. How would you like to make a generous sum of money,
tax-free, in cash?”


What is this
about?”


Answer the question,
Jean-Louis,” Monroe insisted. “Fifty thousand American dollars can
be yours if you help me.”

Moret’s body relaxed then
and Geoffrey was able to loosen his hold. The mention of certain
sums of money can work wonders on a man’s outlook.


I would like the money very
much,” Moret said. “But what do I have to do for it?”


Just tell me some things,”
Monroe said, “and then promise—and I will not only fail to pay you,
but I will do some unspeakable things to you if you break the
promise—that you will not tell anybody of this conversation. When
you return to your building, you will simply say that the police
were looking for a different Jean-Louis Moret. Can you swear to
that for me?”


I…I promise.”


Good. Now tell me this.
There is an Englishman with a Mongolian face who stays in your
building. I doubt he’s registered under his real name. What does he
call himself?”


You mean Mr. Garrett—Conan
Garrett.”

Monroe sighed, laughed, and
glanced at Geoffrey. “Basically, just a reversal of names; how
unoriginal.” Looking back at Moret, Monroe added, “Yes, that would
be him. What floor is he on?”


You mean to ask what
floors
!” Moret said with amusement. “He rents much more than
a room. The building is ten floors and Mr. Garrett had leased the
fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth floors. He wants much space around
him and much privacy and room for all his employees.”


And the building’s owners
allow all those rooms to go unused?” Monroe asked. “I can’t believe
he has enough employees with him to fill four stories of
rooms.”


No,” Moret explained, “he
has perhaps a dozen men with him and there are more who come and
go. And also there are many young ladies…but my bosses do not mind
that the rooms go empty, for Mr. Garrett has paid twice the yearly
rate for all of his rooms. He is a demanding, loud, strange young
man…but his wealth gets him anything he asks for.”


All right, Jean-Louis,”
Monroe said, “you’re doing very well so far. Let me ask you
something else. Have you ever seen the men who work for Mr. Garrett
carrying guns or weapons of any sort?”


But of course!” Moret
seemed to think the answer should have been obvious. “Always they
have guns, but we are less afraid of the guns because Mr. Garrett
is very generous with his tips. One of the maids quit because of
the guns, but she was a frail woman, easily scared. Those of us who
remain are quite happy with the arrangement. There is more money to
be made, but not so many customers to have to please!”


Jean-Louis,” Monroe said,
“I knew you could help me. You’ve done very well.” He reached into
his jacket pocket, pulled out an envelope and thrust it into
Moret’s hand. “Here, my friend, is one-fifth of your payment. You
will get the rest when my time here in your city is at its end,
perhaps in no more than two or three days. And remember,
Jean-Louis, the promise you have made and what will happen to you
if you break it.”

Jean-Louis Moret nodded
enthusiastically.


How far from the apartments
have we travelled?” Monroe called into the forward part of the
van.


Not far, she answered,
“maybe a mile.”


Pull over,” Monroe said. He
felt the van slow and halt as she obeyed.

Geoffrey, anticipating,
opened the rear doors.


Jean-Louis,” Monroe said,
“it’s been a pleasure. I’m sorry to just drop you off here, but
it’s better if you make your own way back. The
police
, after
all, are very upset that you turned out to be the wrong man. Enjoy
the walk…or you can always use some of your new money to get a
taxi. Good day, my friend!”

With that, and a wave of
Monroe’s hand, Geoffrey shoved Jean-Louis Moret out into the
street. Winter climbed back to join Monroe while Geoffrey took the
wheel again and drove them out of there.


Did you really just give
that man ten thousand dollars?” Winter asked.


I did,” Monroe
answered.


And what did you get in
return? Confirmation that Garrett Khan is a greedy little bastard
surrounded by armed guards? You probably could have just assumed
that and saved the money.”


No,” Monroe said seriously.
“I had to know for sure that I couldn’t get into that place and
finish him quietly in the night. Just one man against a dozen armed
guards won’t work, at least not in a way that I can extract myself
once it’s over. That means we need to get Khan out of that place
for the kill. Making that decision was worth the full
fifty-thousand. When Khan is dead, I have every intention of paying
Jean-Louis in full.”

BOOK: Nobody Dies For Free
12.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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