The Man in Black Pays a VisitbyHeathen Hemmingway©
The heat was rising off the asphalt in waves, radiating upward like a shimmering cloud. It was so hot that it could cause an optical illusion if you stared at it too long. The man in black knew this, so at random he would take his eyes off of the road in front of him. After all, it was Dallas in the middle of August. A summer thunderstorm had blown through the day before and the humidity was hovering just above tolerable. The air felt like a damp veil of gauze.
He had the a/c on in the big Crown Vic so the temperature inside the car was nice and brisk, but the a/c couldn't take the moisture out of the air. Locked away in a compartment under the back seat were two pistols and enough ammunition to turn the tide at the Alamo. A small brown box wrapped in twine sat next to the guns, resting on a mat of padding foam.
The man in black had an appointment. He had been monitoring a hotel on the West side of town for a while. There was a tall silver haired fellow who called himself the Sandman holed up in that hotel. The Sandman was a dealer in child pornography. He had built a pretty sizable underground following. People from all over the globe contacted the Sandman for his goods. The Sandman didn't deal in websites or digital photos or DVD's or any of that. No, he dealt in the old school stuff. His specialty was 8x10 glossy shots. You name your perversion, he could get it. A blonde haired, blue eyed corn-fed Midwest girl, the Sandman could get it. A doe eyed boy from Cambodia, the Sandman could get it. He had connections that spread outward like a malignant cancer, reaching in all directions. He didn't just sell copies of the pictures he dealt in. He had them custom made to the buyer's preferences. That meant for each picture...
The Sandman considered himself to be a specialty dealer.
The man in black considered him to be dead.
He had been watching the hotel for days. He had a very expensive boom microphone and a large pair of binoculars. He had managed to find a room in a run down brownstone across the alley from the Sandman's hotel. He had been listening and watching for days, trying to pinpoint which room the Sandman was using. After a couple of days he narrowed it down and determined which room his man was in. He took notes and made careful observations about the Sandman's visitors. There were two men in the room with the Sandman at all times. Once he was dead certain which room they used and when they came and went, he had to prepare for his entrance. The man in black snuck over while they were eating and sprayed the inside of the striking plate on the door with a small shot of graphite. Just a quick shot. The next time the door was opened and relocked, the bolt would be coated with graphite.
While the man in black was monitoring the Sandman he also picked up on some very interesting conversations and goings on of the hotel's other tenants. On the second floor, room 509 to be precise, a married woman was meeting in secret with a lover. He heard them talking on the telephone several times. She would get a room in the hotel then call him over to meet her. Only sex wasn't the only thing he brought her. The sex was just a means to an end for her.
"Yeah we've been together for years." She hissed over the telephone. "But what he doesn't know won't hurt him."
"That doesn't bother me a bit." Her lover said. "I know how to take care of you, since he obviously doesn't know how to."
Her voice took a definitely indignant tone. "He has always taken good care of me. He has always been a faithful husband and a good provider." She pouted. "He just won't provide for me."
"Yeah I know baby." The man said. "I've got access to kilos baby doll. I can provide."
"And if he finds out I'll threaten to take the kids from him." She snorted. "That'll put him in his place."
They both laughed. Through the boom mike the man in black could hear a low snuffling sound. Sounded like about a hundred bucks worth of powder disappearing up a brat's nose.
That was the day before. Today he would introduce himself to the Sandman and keep his appointment. Appointments were a part of business matters, and business matters were important. Business matters always got special attention.
The man in black pulled the Crown Vic into the alley behind the hotel. He checked around him, then flipped the back seat up and removed his guns and the small box. He removed the twine, fiddled with the contents of the box for a moment then carefully closed the box and tied the twine back around it. Both pistols were fitted with short silver silencers. He put the box in his left jacket pocket. He checked and rechecked his guns. Old habits die hard. Both were fitted into pancake holsters, one under the right arm and one under the left. He was expecting someone before he went to see the Sandman. There were three men meeting the Sandman and his thugs in that hotel room. He was waiting on the last of the three. He got out of the Vic and walked to the end of the alley. It was around six o'clock, and dusk was consuming the narrow alley fast. He looked at his watch, and then looked up the street to his right.
Like clockwork, a man in a blue suit rounded the corner. He was a dumpy guy, on the verge of being badly obese. He had a slight waddle to his walk. The guy in the blue suit was all eyes, staring at everything as he walked. He looked like he was trying to play it cool. He wasn't very convincing. As he approached the man in black noticed his suit was made of silk, shining dully. The man in black stepped back into the alley, and as the fat man walked by he throttled him and pulled him back into the alley. He planted a gun under his chin and spoke quickly.
"Make one sound and I'll open your sinuses. Permanently." The man in black grunted. "I know where you're going. Give me the money."
The man in the blue suit stared at him in wide eyed terror, not moving for seconds. He opened his mouth as if to speak.
"One word." The man in black hissed "And you'll kick the breathing habit. Right here and now."
The fat man fumbled at his pockets and then pulled out a thick envelope. The man in black snatched it away from him, throwing it into the alley behind him. The fat man's eyes followed the envelope as it disappeared into the gloom behind them.
"Now. I am going to give you some simple directions. I know you are going to see the Sandman. I know you were going to his room on the third floor. If you follow my directions you will make it out of that hotel room. If you don't…" The man in black looked up above him. There were several cables strung between the buildings. In the increasing dark they were faint lines against the sky. He trained a gun on one of the cables then looked away to face the fat man. He winked at the fat man then pulled the trigger twice. A cable clanged to the ground behind them. The fat man just about jumped out of his skin.
"You try and run and I'll do evil things to you boy." The man in black said. "Now, I want you to go into that hotel room, close the door behind you, get close to the Sandman and then open the box. He'll think it has your payment in it."
He pulled the small box out of his pocket, removed the twine and handed it to the fat man. He was careful to hold his thumb over the top of the box. He handed it to the fat man the same way. "I would not open that until you are in that room if I were you." He quipped. The fat man's eyes grew wide. He wanted to ask what was in the box but didn't dare ask. The gun under his chin had his full attention.
"It's just a calling card. Now just remember what I said. You follow my directions and you will make it out of that room."
The man in the blue silk suit nodded slowly. His eyes large and shot with panic. The man in black stepped back into the alley and was consumed by darkness. Five minutes later the fat man was standing outside of the Sandman's hotel room. Unknown to him, the man in black had taken the stairs and was waiting not ten feet away behind the stairwell door. The fat man knocked on the door. Low words were exchanged and then the door opened. The fat man shuffled inside.
The box contained a flashbang, a stun grenade used by all types of special ops and police forces. It was one of the older types that worked like a conventional grenade. The man in black had removed the pin and tied the box shut. Once he removed the twine the only thing keeping the top of the flashbang from popping up and blowing was the top of the box. So long as the fat man held his thumb over the top of the box it wouldn't go off. But the moment he released his thumb…..
Seconds later the flashbang detonated. The man in black smiled, and then hiked up one large booted foot and kicked the door, just to the right of the knob. The door bent inward and forward, the bolt slipping from the bolthole. The graphite worked like a charm. The door flew open and the man in black slipped inside. The door closed behind him.
The hotel room was in total disarray. Two men were lying sprawled out on the floor, unconscious. They might have been leaning over to look into the box when the fat man opened it. They both took one hell of a hit. The man in the blue suit was lying crumpled against one end of the table. His right side was a huge welt of red flesh circled in ragged blue silk. A thick fog of grayish-white smoke hung in the air. The Sandman's two thugs were rising from the floor, waving and flapping at the thick smoke that choked the room. The Sandman was sitting there in a chair at the end of a small card table, his back against the wall. His face was cradled in his hands. His hair had been blown back in a comical fashion. He looked like the Joker, only instead of green hair his was silver. His expensive tailored suit was peppered with holes and debris. There were pictures scattered about the room. The man in black tried hard not to look at them.
One of the thugs saw the man in black standing there and went for his gun. The man in black already had his pistols trained on them. He shot both the thugs in the gut. Not one of them, but both of them. They each got a slug dead center of their stomachs. In the chaos, the Sandman didn't even know the man in black was there. His ears were still ringing from the flashbang and his hands were covering his eyes. He got lucky because he was the farthest away from the explosion, but he was close enough to have all his senses screwed up by it. While he was trying to figure out what the hell was happening, the man in black shot the two unconscious men on the floor in the back of the head. I doubt the man in black felt any guilt about killing two unconscious men. After all, they were unconscious pedophiles. Violent pedophiles.
The man in black put his right hand pistol back in the holster. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a bunched fist. His fist was clenched tight around something. The Sandman was gathering his bearings, shaking his head and rubbing his eyes. His ears were ringing like merry hell. He knew he was in some serious deep shit. As his vision cleared, the Sandman looked up to find the man in black standing there, a gun in his left hand and his outstretched right arm held out in front of him.
"Who the hell are you?" the Sandman barked. "You can't come in here and step on me!"
The man in black didn't say anything. He opened his fist and a dozen silver nails clattered onto the table.
"Oh shit." The Sandman whispered to himself.
"Oh shit is right." The man in black said, and put a bullet in the Sandman's gut. The loads in his left hand pistol were doped, packing a punch like a runaway elephant. The Sandman flew backward out of his chair and landed hard against the wall behind him.
The man in black grabbed the fat man in the blue suit by the collar and drug him to the door. He opened the door and drug the man out into the hallway. He let go of his collar and the man fell unceremoniously onto the carpet. The man in the blue suit looked up through dazed eyes.
"Wha? Huh, wha... Oh God. Is it over?" He asked frantically.
"I said if you followed my directions you would make it out of that room." The man in black said.
"Oh, God. Yes. Yes you did. Oh, shit!" The man stammered. "Thank you. Oh bloody God thank you!"
"I didn't say you would make it out alive." The man in black said, and shot him in the forehead.
Moments later the man in black was striding down the hallway. He took the stairs down, but instead of going all the way to the ground level and leaving the way he came, he stopped at the second floor landing. There was a big number two stenciled on the door in blue paint. He studied the door for a moment, seemingly in great thought, and then stalked inside. He walked to room 509, stepped back and charged the door with all his weight. The door flew open with ease. Seems like maybe he got a little generous with the graphite in that hotel. The moment the door opened a woman started screaming. A man's voice could be heard briefly, followed by a sharp, hollow sound. The man's voice was suddenly cut off. The woman stopped screaming. The man in black had back handed him hard, knocking a few of his teeth loose. He had both guns at bay, one pointed at the woman and one at her lover.
The man in black leaned in close to the woman, his face barely an inch from hers.
"Shame on you." He said.
Then the man in black turned and shot her lover in the crotch.
"Hope it was worth it." He said as he left the room. "You won't die, but you'll wish you could, fucker."
Moments later the man in black was gone, nowhere to be seen.