Ten told me Betty has been seen in and around Carlsbad California.
At the light bar in Tommy V’s in Carlsbad, California, Betty has been drinking, in fact she is quite intoxicated. The barkeep informs me she’s been drinking wine spritzers; two of them. I listened as she confided, loudly, to her companion about her love life problems. Betty does not have a pleasant speaking voice, at least not when she’s drunk as a lord.
Of Armenian descent, Betty fit the typical visual profile for women of that region; dark almond shaped eyes, jet-black hair, elegant nose, and medium skin tone. At five feet, two inches tall in her sensible shoes and about eight stone; Betty fit the contract information perfectly. The problem is, the photo I have is so poorly focused, I cannot be completely sure the woman in the photo is the one three feet away.
Betty, well the Betty I’m after, is a nurturing mother to fourteen wayward boys. More accurately, she is chief importer of designer narcotics from Zhōngguó and distributor to dealers in fourteen cities along the California coast. To boost his failing re-election bid, an American politician wanted Betty to disappear; apparently the legal system in California America had been unable, or unwilling to stop Betty’s enterprise.
Company policy is no background information needed or wanted. My job is not to make moral decisions, only to perform a task requested and paid for by the interested party. The politician purchasing the contract, insisted the “why” be communicated to the provider, me, regardless of policy. I imagine this helps him sleep at night while circumventing the laws of his country and ordering the hit.
I knew what had to be done. Without at least a 93 percent positive identification, I cannot proceed on a target. I had to turn on the charm and get to know Betty, to learn her ins and outs, her ways and means, as it were. I’m about to make my move, when Betty greets a newly arrived female with a long, lingering, mouth-to-mouth French kiss. This complicates things. The three tottered off to a table outside for a smoke.
In my line of work befriending the bartender allows me unfettered handling of minor affairs, as long as I keep it quiet. In the United States, a C-Note speeds the friendship along. On the outside chance that Betty has a rap sheet, I acquire the glass from her last wine spritzer, in hope of lifting a fingerprint. A quick trip to the nearest office supply store to purchase a forensics kit, and then back to the hotel.
At the Office Depot, I purchase black laser printer toner; the toner is a much finer powder than talc and shows the print in high contrast. A drafter’s brush, very soft for dusting the print. And small self-laminating sheets, more transparent than tape for lifting the print. Using my contacts in Special Branch, I called in a couple of favours and had them run the prints through the international fingerprint database.
A few hours later, a match from the American FBI database. It seems our gal once held a job in the American finance industry. Beatrice (Betty) Tavatian, Armenian parents, dual citizenship in China and the U.S., last known address: Encinitas California. The age, description, ancestry all match, the attached photo is good enough for the positive ID. No rap sheet, interesting, but hey, I got lucky!
There is a cash bonus if the hit appears to be an accident or natural cause. Since I’m losing money on this job because of Ten, I’ll pursue any financial advantage available. While deciding the means to the end, I’ll have to keep a close eye on the target. Fortunately for me, stalking women is both a hobby and valued trade skill.
While perusing the Internet for temporary female companions, I stumbled on a human interest story about Ms Tavatian. Betty had recently announced her bid for Governor of California America. Betty earned a Masters degree in international marketing and trade from Brown University. Running her network of soup kitchens for the homeless and destitute takes up a great deal of her time while in the US. Betty travels extensively overseas, working with food distributors in China to supply her kitchens with low cost provisions.
This bit of new information will be helpful. Responsible law abiding citizens generally have easily spotted routines. Betty, for example, has lunch at Tommy V’s whenever in Carlsbad. Today’s choice was the boneless beef rib, which by the way, while delicious; is definitely not rib meat. Of course I’ll need to check out this story about her do good public image. I just hope this won’t lead to a moral conundrum.
I’ve been tailing Betty for a few days now and I have yet to see any of this illegal narcotics activity. I have watched as she visited a couple of homeless shelters and participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new children’s wing at a local hospital. Seems her only fault is her taste in women. I overheard Betty telling one of her lovers to meet her in San Jose tomorrow, her absence will give me a chance to search her Carlsbad place.
Just when you start to think lady luck is smiling on you. Betty left her laptop computer behind when she went to the airport. Finally a break! Well, not so much, she returned for the computer, while I was still there. I hid in her bedroom closet and was forced to endure a spontaneous and rambunctious donut bumping session between Betty and her housekeeper.
I did manage to recover from the laptop an encrypted file titled “homeless”. Let me back up a bit, “homeless” is the street name for the designer drug that Betty is purportedly importing to the country. I’ll just need to send the file to Kathmandu for decryption. Hopefully it will lead me to the ideal execution plan. I also found incriminating videos of her various bedroom escapades; but I’m not in that business.
The Raptor Sanctuary at the Desert Studies Center is where you will find the Buzzard Buffet. At the end of Zzyzx Road, about seven miles south of Baker California, the DSC studies the interaction between man-made ecosystems and endangered animals. The Ecological Eradicator Establishment classes I took in Glendale and the DSC are sponsored by CS University, thus I came to know this resource.
About one mile east of the old airstrip is a macabre forest of partially buried human shinbones standing upright amid the litter of other bones and clothing on the ground. Still attached to some are femurs, and to one pair; a pelvis. All are devoid of flesh and are sun bleached white. The Buzzard Buffet is both a means to an end and an ecological method of evidence destruction. Betty may very well end up here.
I’ve examined and verified the files and have discovered what Betty is up to. A very ambitious undertaking. Ms Tavatian is building Homeless Opportunity Centers in fourteen cities along the United States west coast. Each centre will provide job skills education and job placement assistance. In addition to providing meals, bathing and lodging; each facility will include a subsidised clothier and haberdashery.
The Chicken Little
The Chicken Little is a method of execution where large, heavy objects fall from the sky to crush the quarry. Usually aeroplane parts, though sometimes space junk, and in one failed attempt; the American Skylab, have been used. In this case it will be jet plane parts. Jaxon referred me to his ex-wife’s brother, someone eager to get into the business. Dave is a pilot with access to a C-130 cargo plane, perfect.
I explain the Chicken Little to Dave, his task was to load the plane’s cargo hold with a couple of jet engines, and be ready to fly when the mark would be in position. A few days later, while eavesdropping a call Betty made to her San Diego soup kitchen, I caught on that she would be making the drive down in the morning to settle a vendor payment dispute.
The morning Betty left Carlsbad and headed south on Route 5 in light traffic, I called Dave and gave him the green light. Eager to take advantage of the time off from stalking Betty, I spent a few quality hours with a salacious young lady and her Hamster suit. Later in the day I checked the local TV news to see the grisly aftermath of the Chicken Little.
I was disappointed. Instead of a couple of jet engines, Dave in his inexperienced enthusiasm, dropped in all; seven jet engines, three automobile engines, a motorcycle, four beer kegs, a Skoda and, I think, his bombardier. Everything missed. As did Dave’s comprehension that the Chicken Little is supposed to look like a plane part fell off mid flight. It’s a good thing Dave agreed to be paid C.O.D. Collect On Death.
With the failure of the Chicken Little, I enacted plan B. The Semtex Sandwich surrounds the victim with enough explosives to flatten Stonehenge. A talent search in Oceanside, a ten minute drive north from Carlsbad yielded two would-be movie stunt-men. In a particularly seedy bar I meet two out of work surfers dudes eager to get back into the movie business after having been banned their for poor safety records.
Over several beers I learn the two swarthy, mid twenty, tanned stunt coordinators were dismissed after a botched stunt crippled the movie’s main actor. Accidents happen, but they tested positive for “homeless” during the investigation, thus the ban. Sigh, again with the excess information. Anyway, we agreed on a price and advised them we will be “shooting” within the next couple of weeks.
My next task, Semtex acquisition, should be fairly simple with Camp Pendleton nearby. Sneaking onto the base to pickup the Semtex and a couple of contact detonators will be easy. Getting in is simple enough, if captured one only needs to claim to be a birder that got lost. Getting out with the explosives is the hard part and the lost birder ruse won’t work with pockets full of Semtex and detonators.
That’s why I purchased twenty pounds of Composition C-4 from a friend of a friend. I didn’t sneak onto the military base, that’s madness, leave that for experts. C-4 is the US manufactured equivalent to the Czech Semtex. I sent my two actors to Rent-A-Wreck in Fontana California to pick-up a couple of cars; I purchased the additional insurance coverage. All I need now is to wait for Betty to return from San Diego.
Clockwork. Betty returned to Carlsbad California and returned to her normal routine. Every Tuesday and Thursday after lunch at Tommy V’s place, Betty would go to the bar at McClellan – Palomar Airport to meet one of her lovers for drinks and debauchery. I called the two actors and briefed them on the details of the “shoot”.
Driving in opposite directions on Palomar Airport Road, they were to approach, at a high rate of speed, the intersection at El Fuerte Street. The “stunt” will have both cars T-bone Betty’s car, which will then explode in a huge dramatic fireball. I may have forgotten to mention to the actors that each of their cars would be rigged with ten pounds of C-4 and an impact detonator secured to the front bumper.
The surfer dudes were anxious to get started and with Betty’s regular lunch date tomorrow, everything is in place. 12:43, Betty is leaving Tommy V’s, I radio to the actors to get ready. It takes Betty about four minutes to get to the intersection, seven if she has to wait for the traffic light. I’m serving as spotter, I’m not leaving anything up to chance this time.
I sprint Northeast to the parking lot exit, I have the traffic and light timing memorised down to the second. Betty passes me turning up the hill to the intersection. I radio the boys the go signal. I sprint toward the intersection. I see Betty entering the intersection. I see the actors approaching Betty’s car. This is going to be a good one. The timing is perfect!
Almost. A cat, or something, darts into the road in front of Betty’s car, she slams on the brakes to avoid hitting it. The two cars driven by my actors slam head on into each other, the resulting fireball was truly spectacular, I’m almost sorry I wasn’t actually filming the stunt. Damage report: two dead junkies, one singed cat, or something, and Betty missed her date, but otherwise undamaged.
Who deserves to die? Often good people die before their time while evil people enjoy long lives. Are the evil given a longer time on this planet to redeem themselves? Are the good taken before they can be turned? Is our time on this planet predestined or do we have the ability hasten our demise? But who is to say that hastened demise wasn’t their appointed time to expire, anyway.
The first Tavatian Homeless Opportunity Center began construction yesterday in the Compton section of Los Angeles California. I’m beginning to think that terminating Betty might be the wrong thing to do. The community service, the soup kitchens, the homeless job aid centers; Betty is a huge advocate of the less fortunate. Beatrice managed to escape my clutches twice, I think she may have a guardian watching over her.
When governments need, for reasons you or I cannot fathom, people killed; they employ tools to do the job. Militaries are such a tool, my company is such a tool. Betty is late, not because she may have been evil, but because someone decided she was a problem. Betty is departed because I am employed to carry out instructions. Regardless of the guilt or innocence of the target, I am a tool of the government, It’s my job.