Payback: Chapter Two
This is the second chapter of a two part series. The first chapter was printed last week, titled The Drug Deal.
It was time for a shift change and the parking lot at the Thonburi Precinct was busy with police officers were coming and going.
The station was an old three story stone and cement building with holding cells in the basement. The four-door dark blue Honda drove through the open gates and slowly maneuvered over the cement drive, searching for a specific parking space. If the driver had patience and waited, one would become available, if not tonight then the next night or the night after that. The stolen automobile had tinted windows and the interior roof and door lights had been removed. The license plates had been changed.
The driver had all the time in the world, lighting a cigarette, watching the cars pull in and out. He wore sunglasses and a dark brimmed hat over his large head. He had pulled the lapels of his suit out and over his white shirt and his heavy muscular body was tightly squeezed behind the wheel.
There- a uniformed policeman was unlocking his car door. It was just about the right spot, near the back corner of the building.
The driver waited until the officer pulled out and drove away. The stolen car cruised past the parking space and stopped, turning and backing into the spot with the rear bumper against the building. The driver turned off the engine and made sure that his foot was not on the brake, causing any unnecessary lights to be on. He reached over the front seat and took the braided wire that ran out of the space in-between the back seats. He gave it a firm even tug until he felt a small click. No need to hurry. He had a good ten minutes, enough time to start the car again, drive away and abandon the vehicle if need be.
He slipped out of the car and locked the door, checking to make sure that the other doors were secure. He walked towards the front gate, taking his time, looking for the right moment. A group of men exited the building. He waited until they passed and thenfell in behind, walking close enough that he could have been one of them as they proceeded through the exit gate.
He continued on for a block until a black Mercedes pulled to the curb. He climbed into the front passenger seat.
The driver of the car was also a heavily built man, much larger than the small man in the back.
There was no need to talk. They knew what they were going to do next. They had one more chore to finish before the night was over.
Lieutenant Jipthep sat at his desk with his back to the window. There was only a view of the parking lot anyway. He was just half way through typing up his report, not looking forward to handing it into the Colonel tomorrow. Last night had been a total fiasco. It could have not gone worse. The two suspects in the drug sting had been killed, loosing any connection to Johnny Wou. More importantly one of the most loved and respected police officers on the force had also been killed. Jipthep pushed himself up from his desk and went into the restroom right outside his small office. He had drank too much Gatorade trying to rehydrate his body after a punishing workout. He had tried to expend his frustration on the heavy bag at the gym in the afternoon, almost tearing it apart in his fury.
An alarm clock rang in the car parked against the building, completing an electrical circuit that ran to a detonator sitting on the wood crate full of dynamite in the trunk. It exploded with tremendous force, knocking a ten-foot hole in the building wall.
Flying chunks of stone completely crushed the desk in Jiptheps office. Windows were blown out through the building.
A split second later, the cars on either side of the Honda blew up in balls of flame. Their gasoline tanks spraying flame onto the neighboring vehicles. There were three automobiles completely destroyed and another two on fire igniting the cars along side of them. Massive chunks of red hot steel and stone flew into the building. The bathroom door blew in, knocking the Lieutenant over the toilet and smashing him against the wall. Lieutenant Jipthep slumped bleeding to the floor. Pieces of steel pierced the door and the interior walls. The ceiling collapsed and two by fours along with wood floor planks crashed down.
The large Mercedes sedan cruised towards Sukhumvit. The destination was the Grace Hotel on Soi Three. The men in the car smiled in satisfaction as fire engines raced by on the other side of the street, their sirens screaming.
Rick was at the bottom of the pool. The water was thick and heavy. He was trying to get to the top. A small bell was ringing above him. He struggled to swim higher and the bell became louder. His arms and legs felt like lead; he was moving in slow motion. Soopies reached into the water and grabbed him. He broke the surface. The ringing blasted into his ears and he woke up. It was the fire alarm.
Get up, the hotel’s on fire,’ Soopies said as she stopped shaking Rick and put on a bra over a towel that was wrapped around her.
For Gods sake, Sonia, the hotel is burning down and you are going to put your clothes on over a towel. I can’t believe it.’
I’m a good Thai girl and we don’t get dressed in front of strangers.’
I’ve seen you naked ten times already,’
That doesn’t matter, a girl has her standards you know.’
All right.’ Rick grabbed his pants and threw on his shirt, slipped into his shoes and catiously opened the door. The urgent piercing sound of the alarm filled the hallway. A dozen people were running towards the fire stairs. A fat balding farang with only a white hotel towel wrapped around him was striding quickly with a small barefoot Thai girl clothed in a short blue robe. A fully dressed older European couple, each carrying a suitcase hurried by. Rick took Sonia’s hand and eased out of the door, joining the crowd. They were almost to the stairway when Rick glanced behind him. There were two large Thai men in black suits at the end of the hallway, walking towards him, unconcerned about the alarm or the people rushing past.
Rick,’ said Sonia gripping his hand tighter.
I see them; lets get down the stairs.’
Rick opened the fire door. There was a small Asian man blocking the landing. He had short cropped black hair and close lidded, slanted eyes. His thin lips broke into a slight smile, like a large sleepy snake.
Don’t worry about the fire. It’s a false alarm.’
Rick raised his arm to brush past. The Asian man raised his hand at the same time. It was holding a revolver. He put the muzzle against Ricks throat, just under his chin.
Let’s go back to your room. I need to talk to you.’
The other two men grabbed Rick and Sonia by the arms and marched them back to the room. They forced them inside and shoved them onto the floor.
Cut it out you dog shits,’ Sonia yelled.
The small dark man smiled at them. When I said there was no fire, I meant not just yet. Burning to death is such a terrible way to die but we don’t want the firemen to come all this way for nothing, do we?’
Snakehead motioned to one of his men, who took a liter bottle from his jacket and pulled the cork. The unmistakable smell of gasoline floated in the air.
Hey, I was just visiting. I have to get home. My mother is waiting for me.’ Sonia started to stand up.
I’m sorry my dear, but my employer would insist you stay. You both have behaved very badly and he is quite angry with you.’
Bamb! Bamb! There was a loud knocking on the door.
Is anyone in there? Everyone must leave the building immediately.’
Stand up and be quiet,’ Snakehead waved his gun.
A card entered the lock and the door opened. It was a curly blond haired white man in a navy blue jacket and striped gray and red hotel tie. He looked like he could have been a middle linebacker in college. He had a gentle cherubic face and round wire rimmed glasses, just the kind of person you would expect to see at the front desk.
A gold nameplate was on the breast pocket of his jacket, which was exceedingly tight on him as if he had suddenly gained an enormous amount of weight.
Everyone must leave the premises right now.’
We are having an important conversation and I do not believe there is a fire,’ Snakehead said.
Fire regulations. If you don’t leave I will call security and have you escorted out.’
No problem. We were just leaving,’ Rick grabbed Sonias’ arm, starting towards the door.
Wait.’ Snakehead put one hand on Ricks shoulder, holding the gun behind him with his other hand.
Why don’t you come in for a minute?’ Snakehead smiled pleasantly at the man.
All right but if you insist on staying, you’ll have to sign these forms.’
The hotel man walked closer, reaching into his jacket. Rick could read his name plate now. It said Chin Lee
Bell Captain. Rick stepped to the side, pulling Soopies with him. Snakeheads’ arm whipped around, bringing the pistol up.
Not fast enough. The hotel man had an automatic out. He fired the pistol twice, about a foot from Snakeheads face, spattering blood on the two men behind him, who were just starting to realize what was happening. They both reached or their guns. The bell captain fired again. The gasoline bottle exploded into a bouquet of splintered glass and flames as two bullets passed through it and into the second man. The third man flinched, raising one hand to shield his face from the blast, almost clearing his weapon as he went down with two more slugs in his chest.
The smell of burning hair and wool filled the room as red and yellow gasoline flames danced along the bodies and the rug.
Go out and get the fire extinguisher in the hallway, she stays with me,’ the bell captain shouted.
Rick ran out, unhooked the extinguisher from the wall and covered the blaze with thick white foam.
I’m outta here,’ Sonia headed for the door.
Not yet young lady.’ The man held the gun on Sonia and flipped open a leather billfold. It held a gold badge and photo identification.
Andrew Campbell, DEA and you’re under arrest. You are a couple of idiots. You blew a three month surveillance that we had on Johnny Wou. You’re lucky I was following you.’
Hey, round eyes. You’re in Thailand in case you hadn’t noticed. You can’t arrest anyone.’
We’ll see about that.’ Campbell pulled a cellphone from his pocket, keeping the gun pointed at Rick and Sonia.
I’m calling my Thai liaison at headquarters. He’ll come over and make the arrest.’
Listen Andrew, we’re working with Police Lieutenant Jipthep. We are gathering information so he can make some arrests and help stop the drug trade.’
Ha! Help stop the drug trade. Next you’ll tell me that you two are going to hold up your hands and stop it from raining.
Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? Do you know that across the border there are entire towns producing drugs.
Burmese towns like Mong Yawn with twelve thousand people all growing poppies or manufacturing amphetamines or driving trucks loaded to the brim with marijuana over the mountain roads into Thailand.’
Is everything okay in here?’ A farang man barged into the room flanked by two Thai police officers. All three held
Glock 9’s – their index fingers running along the sides of the weapon just above the trigger, in the prescribed manner.
These people are in my custody. I’m Andrew Campbell with the DEA in Thailand.’
Sonia and Rick were close to each other and she turned towards him, putting her hand between his legs, shielding the motion with her body. Her lips touched his ear. That was really exciting Rickey. They almost killed us. We were that close to dying. Let’s get another room right now. I’m going to have a orgasm and I want you to be inside of me when it happens.’
Not now Sonia.’
Please Ricky. I’m so excited. It’s making me crazy.’
The farang was a nice looking man with black hair and a five o’clock shadow. He looked unmistakably Italian but his accent was definitely New York or Brooklyn.
I’m sorry but I need to ask Rick and Sonia some questions concerning the murder of my friend by a Vietnamese hoodlum.
The man who hired them is going to answer to me.’
Wait!’ Sonia exclaimed. I bet you’re that American detective. What’s your name? Cannelloni- something like that?
They said they were going to put you in custody for a few days.’
Luckily, the officers they sent to arrest me were good friends of Colonel Pratt. We have twenty-four hours to get Johnny Wou and by God I’m going to do it, but I need your help.’
Sonia and Rick hesitated for a minute.
My main objective is to find Wou- teach him what retribution means. Come with me or be arrested by this Campbell guy.
It’s an easy choice.’
Okay, lets go.’ Rick grabbed Sonias hand.
Andrew Campbell held up his badge. Stop. I’m placing all of you under arrest.’
The American man and the two police officers held up their Glocks, pointing them at Campbell.
I think you’re out voted.’ He turned to Rick. Let’s get out of here. I have a proposal you’ll be interested in.’
Rickey, can’t we get a room now, please.’ Sonia was not quite ready to abandon her personal plans.
Rick and the Italian/American ignored her pleas and hustled her out of the room, past a half-dozen firemen rushing down the hallway hefting fire hoses, large red axes, and oxygen tanks.