After Jason Martin received a new car, a slick midnight black Audi A8 sent by his handler, Philip Bruce and he made their way to Doc’s place in the northern part of the Warrens. Fortunately it was on the way to The Blue Bayou Hotel where Wanda Tione lived.
“Doc”, as he was simply called by everyone who used his discreet services, analyzed the clear liquid in the syringe found in Cammie Scott’s apartment.
As he was waiting for the results, Philip received a call from Marcus Graecus who said he had an informant who was willing to provide some information but was unwilling to talk over the phone. Graecus offered to meet at the Lafayette stone bridge at Lake Ishekiowa, just after 8pm.
Doc said the results showed that the liquid was morphine which given at the right dosage could put a person to sleep. As thanks, Philip offered the rest of what was left in the syringe to “Doc”.
Later that night, Philip and Jason met with Marcus Graecus and his informant.
“This is one of my paid informants," Graecus said. "Call him Little D. He’s got something for us, don’t you Little D?”
Little D was a ratty, twitchy little Latino with dirty sports shorts, shirt, and a Wellstone Mariners cap. The sleazy little man looked nervously around, then spoke.
“Yo, man, I was talking to one of my homies in the Diablos and he told me he was outsida the Joint the night your boy Tommy got capped. My homie says that he saw the driver of the van and knows him. Some heavy cat named Cordova, a crazy San Josean who runs drugs and guns. He also says he thinks he knows where Cordova lives. He’s been there to buy coke and a couple of nines."
“Where does Cordova live?” Philip asked.
“The house is at 1724 West Street, up on the Spanish Quarter,” Little D offered, his body twitching. Philip knew the man was on something.
“Anything else you can tell us?” Jason asked Little D.
“That’s all I know,” Little D said.
Graecus dismissed Little D, who took off into the night. “Best of luck,” Graecus offered before walking away.
“Wait a minute,” Philip stopped Graecus. “Why are you really helping out Luis Batista solve his son’s murder? He’s a known drug kingpin. Not exactly the type you should be helping out.”
“I told you,” Graecus said. “Tomas Batista was a good man. He didn’t follow in his old man’s footsteps. Unlike his father and no-good brother, he had a better future ahead of him. He didn’t deserve to die like that.”
“Sooner or later, we all die,” Jason said. “It’s just a matter of time.”
“Wont’ argue with that,” Graecus said. “But Tomas’s death was a death undeserving. I can’t let his murderer get away with that.”
Graecus was right. Philip had seen enough deaths while he fought in the military. Dying while fighting for something was one thing. But dying simply because someone wanted you out of the picture, especially when you led a clean life, was another.
It was a death undeserving.
The Blue Bayou Hotel was a very cheap roach-infested hellhole of a place.
It was an old five story brick and mortar firetrap facing the street. The buildings on the sides and back were only about ten or so feet from the Bayou. The alleys were filled with trash, rats, and winos.
A toothless old geezer at a caged window in the lobby told Philip and Jason, with a cackle, that Wanda lived in apartment D, on the fourth floor.
The dingy old cage elevator next to the stairs looked as though it hadn’t been inspected in decades so the two opted to take the stairs. The trash filled wooden stairs creaked as they made their way up to Wanda’s floor.
When they reached the fourth floor, they heard three men making their way down a side hallway.
Philip and Jason tried to hide in the narrow hallway. The door they exited from slammed shut just as Jason exited.
“Check out what that was!” a voice from around the corner ordered.
A moment later, two gunmen appeared. One man, a thin Latino, was armed with a 9 mm pistol. He turned the corner and upon spotting Philip and Bruce, opened fire. Another man, a broad-shouldered black man armed with an AK-47 joined in the gunfight.
After the black man had been shot dead, a third man, a clean dressed Latino with oiled backed hair joined the gunfight.
But after the gunman with the 9 mm dropped with a bullet through his neck, the clean dressed Latino decided it was time to run.
Philip and Jason chased him down the narrow hallway. The man ran full-sprint towards an opaque glass window at the end of the hallway. Without slowing down, the man leaped through the window and disappeared below.
Philip ran into Wanda’s apartment while Jason ran to the window.
Inside the apartment, Philip found Wanda’s body on her bed. She was shot in the head through a pillow.
Another death undeserving, Philip thought.
“The bloody bloke landed on a fire escape across the alley,” Jason told Philip. “I saw him escape out into the street.”
“He’s long gone by now,” Philip said.
“What about her,” Jason asked.
“The police will take care of her,” Philip said. “Let’s get out of here. All that gunfire? Someone would have called the cops.”
“Isn’t the sounds of gunfire normal here in America?” Jason said with a wry smile.
Back in the car, the two decided it was time to head to the address Little D had given them.
The house with the address they were given appeared to be in a neat but not overly rich neighborhood of residential houses smack in the middle of the Spanish Quarter. The streets were clean and aging. Well kept cars lined the block.
Large willow trees could be seen in most of the front yards and towering over many houses in the back yards. The sounds of televisions and music drifted from most of the houses to mingle with the sounds of the light traffic going up and down the block. In the warm night air, the smell of food lingered from evening meals. Even at night, many people were out and about, walking, visiting neighbors, or just hanging out on their porches and smoking, watching people go by.
The exact house Philip and Jason were looking for was a spacious one story affair located in the center of the block, facing north.
Crime must be paying really well, Philip thought.
The house also had the biggest yard on the block. Fenced in for privacy, half-hidden by drooping willow trees, it was obviously a very expensive house. It even had a pool.
A black van was parked in the driveway. Bright lights illuminated the pool and areas nearest the house while the back, side, and front yards were in shrouded in darkness.
A guard was standing just inside the front gate. He was casually eyeing Jason’s Audi as Jason drove by at normal speed so as not to arouse suspicion.
The neighbors on both sides of the property also had nice large houses and willow trees as well, but they didn’t have a high chain link fence, locked gate, or a security camera overlooking the front street entrance.
Jason parked the Audi a block away from the house. The two then made their way to the alley behind the house to avoid the front gate’s security camera and guard.
After sliding under the chain link fence, the two spotted a lone sentry in the large backyard. He carried a lit flashlight in one hand while holding an uzi in the other. The guard was smoking a cigarette as he panned the flashlight across the backyard.
Philip and Jason tried to quietly make their way to the guard but as they drew close, the guard suddenly turned the flashlight on them.
The guard then opened fire with his uzi.
Knowing full well the occupants inside the house had been alerted, Philip and Jason returned fire, killing the guard. Philip kept to the darkness of the side yard, while Jason ran towards the back of the house.
There were windows facing the backyard, but there were no doors. Jason quickly made his way towards the sliding door which led out from the house and into the pool area.
The guard from the front yard fired on Jason. He returned fire but the guard had good cover.
Philip, using the cover of darkness, made his way next to van. He dropped prone and shot the guard dead just as a hail of bullets tore through the sliding glass door.
Two men inside the house, who loudly bragged about sniffing enough cocaine to take down an elephant, kept Jason pinned down with their AK-47s. One of the men, an overweight Latino, charged out of the house and shot at Jason at close range striking him below the collarbone.
Jason shot back but missed. Philip, who had moved towards the house, shot the man dead. The man splashed into the pool.
Philip stayed at the edge of the sliding door’s frame for cover. Shattered glass lay everywhere. Inside he spotted two men in the house’s spacious living room. One, armed with an AK-47, was crouched behind a pool table where two Uzi SMG’s lay on it. The man’s nose was covered in white powder.
Another man, a Caucasian just over three feet tall was using the cover a large sofa provided him to his advantage. He shot at Philip with his 9 mm pistol but missed.
Another barrage of gunfire came from the man with the AK-47. This time, a bullet found its mark.
Jason Martin fell to the ground. From where he stood, Philip knew the shot was fatal. Blood gushed out of a wound on his chest.
It was another death undeserving.
“Don’t know who you are,” a voice from inside yelled. “If you think you’re going to rescue the girl, you’re dead wrong. Dead wrong!”
The voice sounded familiar. Philip realized it was the same man that jumped out of the window at the Blue Bayou Hotel.
Philip considered his situation. He was up against three armed men, possibly a fourth. And, assuming Cammie Scott was somewhere inside the house, he wanted to avoid getting her killed.
Philip weighed his options.
Face Luis Batista and the Cross Brothers as a failure? Or risk everything to complete what he was assigned to do?