Post Scriptum (11.5)

Previously

 

Bell opened his eyes. The room was bright from the early morning sun. And quiet. He shifted and remembered he was in a hospital bed and couldn’t move all that much.

“How you doing?” Evan asked. Bell hadn’t noticed him and jumped in his skin when the youth spoke.

“Christ. How long have you been here?” Bell asked.

“I just got in. I’m glad to see you’re okay,” said Evan.

“Ditto. Hadn’t seen or heard anything from you since last week. I got worried for a second that something had happened to you,” said Bell.

“You’re the one who got whisked away to a black site and you were worried about me?” Evan asked.

“What can I say? You’ve kinda grown on me, kid,” Bell said. He paused, getting a solemn look in his eye. “Listen… about that. While I was there I… I talked.”

“It’s fine.”

“I told them everything. I… I failed you guys. I…”

“Harold. It’s okay,” said Evan, his tone as gentle and caring as Bell had ever heard it. “Don’t apologize for the sacrifice you made. You’ve done more than anyone could have asked for and… I’m sorry this happened to you. It’s my fault.”

“Don’t beat yourself up. There’s nothing you could have done,” said Bell. Evan nodded but didn’t say anything. “I think I’m going to need a vacation after this.”

“I hear the San Juans are nice this time of year,” said Evan.

“Yeah, well, first I’m telling the investigators everything that happened to me. I hope they get the FBI down here. I hope they get the IRS, I don’t even care. Those bastards are going to burn. Mark my words!” Bell bellowed before grimacing in pain. Evan couldn’t help but chuckle.

“I really appreciate this. You’re testimony is going to be critical in rooting out police corruption. Really, I owe you big time,” said Evan.

“I think you mean our mutual friend owes me big time,” Bell corrected. Evan just smiled.

 

* * *

 

Lloyd thumbed the old paperback. Just a few pages left. It had been a harrowing tale of suspense, danger and mystery and now it all came down to this. He hoped the build up would be worth it. The code for the cargo elevator was entered and began to move. Lloyd straightened his shirt and vest and made sure there was nothing in his teeth. The elevator dinged and opened.

“Hello and welcome to the One Stop,” he said.

The customer wordlessly stepped into the shop and let the elevator close. Lloyd recognized him as one of his newest shoppers. A gentleman by the name of Thunder Wasp. He wore a black leather jacket and a yellow motorcycle helmet with black tinted visor. He also had these sick looking gauntlets which completed the ensemble. A DIY superhero if ever he’d seen one.

“I heard you do some kind of storage here,” Thunder Wasp said.

“We do, but unfortunately we don’t have any slots open at the moment,” said Lloyd. Thunder Wasp shook his head.

“No, see, I’m looking to make a withdrawal.”

Before Thunder Wasp’s words fully sunk in, Lloyd suddenly found himself paralyzed. It happened right after Thunder Wasp pressed something on the back of his right gauntlet.

“Don’t. Don’t please,” Lloyd struggled to say. His finger was on the panic button. He just had to move it one inch. Just one.

“I’m sorry to do this, but I need access to your storage area.” Lloyd’s eyes involuntarily went to where he kept the elevator keys. “Much obliged,” Thunder Wasp said.

“You’re making a big mistake. A lot of people are going to be really pissed off. They’ll come for you. They won’t stop until you’re dead. They take their property very seriously,” said Lloyd as Thunder Wasp figured out the elevator mechanism.

“You make very good points. I guess I’ll have to make sure that no one knows who did this.” He put a hand on Lloyd’s chest.

“I have a family,” Lloyd pleaded, tears in his eyes.

Thunder Wasp paused. Then he said, “who doesn’t?” and exploded Lloyd’s chest. Ribs and organs and bloody clothing splattered on the opposite wall.

As the elevator descended, Thunder Wasp hummed his favorite elevator tunes.

 

* * *

 

ATF Special Agent Andrew Milgard couldn’t believe a few things at the moment. One was the huge haul of weapons they were getting from this abandoned hotel; another was that the people behind it, the Spiders, had somehow gone from a simple street gang to a mob capable of stockpiling this armory seemingly overnight. Lastly, he was amazed that this had come about as a result of one tip to the Jet City Police Department.

The third van had just arrived to collect more evidence. They were going to need a semi, maybe two, for the whole thing. There was just so much evidence. Meanwhile, the two people they had in custody weren’t talking. Milgard wasn’t sure they were going to for a while. Something had spooked them. Bad.

His phone chirped. His boss wanted an update on the situation. It was telling that nobody from the Field Office wanted to come up here and see the haul for themselves. Normally a bust like this would attract them like flies to shit on toast. Instead, nobody wanted to touch this until they knew for certain that none of these guns had come from the agency somehow.

Operation Fast and Furious was on everyone’s lips at the moment. It was all anyone talked about when ATF walked in the room. The scandal had broken a few months before when dozens of guns tied to the operation ended up at a crime scene involving a clash between drug cartel members, three law enforcement agencies and at least one private super team. The congressional hearings were slated for summer. That’s why he was here, babysitting this operation, making sure nothing went wrong. Of course, anyone who dealt with alcohol, tobacco or firearms knew things rarely went right when it came to those things. That went double for explosives. Triple.

“Milgard! Come quickly!” came a shout. Milgard looked out the window of his car and saw one of the team leads running from the hotel. “You gotta see this!”

Milgard sighed. That usually meant something really cool or something really fucked up was waiting for him and it was usually the latter in this line of work.

He made his way to the center of the hotel, the decrepit structure looked as if it would fall down on their heads at any moment. In one of the four ballrooms, the floor had been torn up revealing a hidden compartment or room. There were three chests down there. One of them was open. A light emanated from within its metallic shell.

Milgard wasn’t sure what he was looking at, at first. Then all at once he did and his eyes went wide with recognition.

“Holy fuck,” he said.

“We gotta call somebody, right?” the team lead asked.

“Yes. Jesus Christ yes.”

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