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Protecting David-Alex's Story
--- Chapter 19 ---
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Protecting David-Alex’s Story 19

8:00 AM Wednesday morning

Palo Alto, California

David

This was the day. At eight o’clock Mr. Tam and I had a light breakfast together.

Mr. Tam said, “Money at airport. My men load into van, many men guard it.” As usual he was all business and totally unflappable.

I nodded. “With the drop at 1:00 in Sausalito they should head out by 11:00 the traffic in the city could be bad or they could even have an accident.”

“Have other van follow. Everything be okay. Men who pick up money will be most trusted of enemy troops. When Alex safe they should die. Save many troubles later.” He sipped his tea.

I nodded. “You’re right and if Alex isn’t found they should be followed and then tortured. They may know where he is.”

He nodded vigorously. “Have men very good at that. Do many times, they get truth.”

Mr. Tam leaned back in his chair and looked at me. “When this over I give quote on security. Very good….not so cheap…but very good. Alex, Mark, they not see my people. Other security too easy see. Very bad. You buy house Co lo ra do?” He laughed. “Speak English many years, that hard to say name.”

I smiled and nodded. “The boys wouldn’t want to stay here……….too many bad memories. I made an offer but I don’t know if it has been accepted yet or not. The house is in the mountains, well, in a canyon in the mountains.”

Mr. Tam sat forward. “Have mother and daughter used to work for me. Live in Denver now. Retire. Mother very very good cook, daughter clean. Very professional make good cook and scrub girl make boys very safe. Don’t tell boys real reason.”

I held out my hand and Mr. Tam shook it. “That’s a good idea. If we get the house I’ll take them.” We left unspoken the other possibility.

We reviewed all that had been done and all that was planned as a contingency if we turned over the money and Alex didn’t show up. About ten o’clock we walked over to Alex’s condo. The misty early morning was clearing and turning into a sunny day. When I looked at my watch I knew that Mark would soon be boarding the helicopter with his men to go to the ship.

In the condo Larry was pacing the length of the living room with his hands thrust deep into his pockets. The muscles in his face were pulled taut, he glanced at me, nodded and kept pacing. Bob was in the kitchen leaning against the counter watching his brother in law pacing.

Samantha was at the front door and Ellen at the patio door. I sat Mr. Tam in the breakfast nook next to the kitchen and went and stood by Bob.

I spoke quietly, “How is Larry?”

Bob shook his head slowly. “Ready to explode. I feel useless, why the fuck can’t I do something for him? We keep telling Becky that he’s doing good. She’d be on a plane otherwise. This has gotta end.”

“It will Bob. Did you hear on the house?”

He gave me a look that clearly said that he was wondering if I wanted to commit to this. He started to say something and I interrupted him. “David are…………..?”

“Did you ask Larry about moving back?”

He sighed heavily. “Yeah. With Alex next him the answer is as fast as possible otherwise I think he’s planning on tracking down……..some folks.”

“Bob, get on the phone and buy the fucking property!”

The doorbell rang and in a moment Samantha came in and said, “Sir there’s a Mr. Guarino to see you.”

The man standing before me was relatively young and dressed in conservative business clothing his hand extended.

“Mr. Kerry, my name is Edward Guarino. You may have heard of my father Robert.” I shook his hand wondering what the son of the top mobster in California wanted, well it could only be one thing.

He glanced around the room. “Could we speak privately?”

I looked at Mr. Tam and Samantha and then said, “We can go in the office.”

When we were alone I offered him a seat but he declined.

“My father sent me to apologize to you personally for the problems that you’ve been having with Mr. Bonurato. He asked me to particularly emphasize that he in no way condones Mr. Bonurato’s behavior and he would appreciate it if you would tell Mr. Salvatore Armento that we have been of some service. In that regard I came into possession of this information very early this morning and while I haven’t yet been able to confirm its accuracy it is very unlikely that we would have been mislead.”

He handed me a piece of paper with an address on it. “I’m told that your son is there.” And with that he turned and walked out.

I looked at the address my hand shaking and rushed into the living room.

“Mr. Tam, this is supposed to be where they’re holding Alex.” I handed him the paper. Samantha was already on her cell phone.

I turned excitedly to Larry, Bob and Jack. “Look, why don’t you guys stay here just in case this isn’t legit. I’ll call you as soon as I know.” I grabbed my satellite phone and laptop.

Larry grabbed my arm and said, “No fucking way! I’m goin with and your options are having one of those goons kill me or taking me.”

I glanced at Jack who threw up his hands. I turned back to Larry and pointed my finger at his face. “Okay but you do what I say!” I really didn’t think for a moment that I’d have much control over him but had no choice.

Outside we got into two Chevy Suburbans that had screeched to a halt in front of the condo and took off for the airport. Since the locations was some way away we’d be using helicopters but we still had to get to the airport and then fly sixty miles. Mr. Tam was on his phone talking in rapid fire Chinese.

He turned to me. “I have man in that area. He drive by location and then talk us down.”

At the airport there was a pair of Sikorsky S-76 helicopters waiting for us. Eight burly fighters including a pair of huge Australian twins got into one and Mr. Tam, Larry, Samantha and myself got into the other. We rose slowly and then took off over the bay flying low for several minutes and then rising quickly to get over the hills.

I watched Larry as we took off, he was a man on the edge and I was beginning to wonder whether or not this was a good thing. His legs were jiggling up and down while his face registered a wide range of emotions. Finally he looked at me and shuddered. “What if he’s dead? What will I do?” They weren’t really questions but I answered anyway. We were practically screaming to be heard over the sound of the engines.

“He’s not dead, Larry!”

“You don’t know that.” He stared out the window while tears ran down his face. In a way I knew how he felt, I knew how I’d feel if it were Mark we were talking about but in a slightly different way it was even worse that it was Alex.

We traveled almost due east crossing over the heavily populated hills in the east bay and then on to the grass-covered hills beyond and then to the flat ranch and farmland. Thirty minutes later we were hovering at two thousand feet and Mr. Tam was watching a farmhouse with binoculars and speaking in Chinese.

The helicopter with the fighters on it was the first to land with the men rapidly spreading out with guns drawn and then entering the house and seconds later we started to descend. Mr. Tam looked at me and said, “Only one man. He has been restrained.” He listened for a moment and then said, “Alex injured but alive.”

Seconds later and we were on the ground and Larry was running towards the farmhouse with us following a bit slower. He disappeared into the house and moments later I heard him cry out.

When we got there he was scuffling with the two huge Australians to get near Alex who was being placed on a stretcher his clothing soaked in blood. Mr. Tam’s medical people were going over Alex whose eyes opened for a moment and then closed.

There was a noise from the corner of the basement where two men seemed to be interrogating a heavy set man who was lying on the floor holding up his arms in defense. Since two thirds of all the conversations were taking place in Chinese I pulled Mr. Tam back and asked him what happened.

“Man in corner beat Alex. My granddaughter thinks concussion. Take him to hospital quick.”

I looked up and saw Larry tear his shirt off the buttons flying. I started to tell him that they had bandages but then he tore the shirt in two and wrapped half of it around his right hand. I really didn’t get it and there was so much happening so I turned my attention to Alex who seemed to be trying to speak. I squeezed his hand and told him that we were taking him to the hospital and than everything would be fine but his eyes closed again. The basement was packed with people trying to help and many of them were talking in Chinese, it was chaos.

When I turned back to Larry he was kneeling over the guy in the corner the muscles in his back glistening with sweat and knotted in effort as he jack hammered his fist down into the guys face. I stood there shocked, I had never seen such a raw display of retribution and in moments it was like his fist was landing in a mud puddle as a fine spray of blood exploded out each time it made contact. I signaled to Mr. Tam who called out to the two Australians who had been standing there watching Larry. You could see by their faces that not only weren’t they upset by what Larry was doing they approved. I did too actually but I needed him out of there.

The Australians bend down and with surprising tenderness and strength lifted Larry bodily off of his feet his right fist still punching the air his face contorted in rage and dragged him gently off to the helicopter. I looked at the man in the corner and tapped Mr. Tam on the shoulder and pointed.

He nodded and spoke quickly in Chinese. A small oriental man bent down and broke the man’s neck.

Mr. Tam, Larry, Samantha, Mr. Tam’s granddaughter, the Australian twins and myself were in the helicopter bound for the trauma center in Sacramento. Larry knelt next to Alex for the entire flight crying and whispering to him as he stroked his forehead although with all the noise in the copter I doubt that Alex could hear a word although that may not have been the point. The twins steadied Larry every time the copter jolted and they were both looking very protective of him. Alex seemed to be moving in an out of consciousness. Amazingly, aside from what had apparently been a bloody nose Alex’s face was unmarked.

Looking at my watch it was almost noon.


Wednesday, 1120 hours

Off the coast of California

Mark

Damn I hate the fucking ocean! The ship was only moving at a few knots but there was still a slight spray of saltwater in the air and the fucking deck never seems to be where you’d think it was supposed to be. With the helicopter blades thwump thwump thwumping above us the men went down the ropes likes drops of water down a string. My descent was probably a bit less elegant but then I’m nearly twice their average ages. Jeff Collins smiled at me once we were down and said, “Not bad for an oldster!” I just smiled and shook my head at him. As the helicopter departed we were waved towards a bulkhead hatch where a Lieutenant Commander was standing, he held out his hand to me.

“Captain Cannon, I’m Jim Waldon, we’ve been expecting you.” He motioned with his left arm indicating that he wanted us to follow him. “I decided that probably the best place for you was the bridge. Fewer people wandering around up there.”

Once on the bridge my men clustered in a group sitting on their packs. Captain Waldon and I talked quietly on the other side of the bridge. He looked at his watch. “About 1130 hours so there’s a bit of time to kill. We’re about an hour from the target so I thought we’d head in that direction. There anything I need to know before we get there?”

I pushed my hat back on my head and looked at him. “Captain,” I paused to consider what I was about to say. “Captain, when we get on the yacht and see that everything is……..manageable, I’ll fire off a flare. For the sake of your career, for the sake of the Navy and for my sake the very best thing that you can do when you see that flare is to take off for San Diego. Don’t look back either actually or with radar and don’t let your crew do it either.”

He had hard blue eyes and he was staring at me hard. “The CNO didn’t tell me that.”

“I don’t suppose that he did but take the advice from someone who’s pretty familiar with the way this stuff works and do as I’ve said. They told me that you would do as I asked and so if that helps tell em I ordered it. You and I both know that that’s not worth shit but use it if you need to.”

He smiled at me grimly and said, “I’ll consider what you’ve said.”

Thirty minutes later my satellite phone was goin off and I headed back outside to take it.

“Mark, we’ve got him!” David sounded breathless.

“How, when, the drop wasn’t until one o’clock?”

“It’s a long story but like Emi said we got some help from an unexpected source.” His voice dropped. “They beat him pretty bad though. He’s with the doctors now but it looks like a concussion and they beat him with something on his back.” My stomach muscles tightened and I could hear David voice crack when he said that and I knew what he was remembering. I hated hearing David that way and I hated what they did to Alex and changed my mind slightly about how they were going to pay.

“David, tell Mr. Tam to have our boat standing by we’ll be done here sooner than I thought. I wanna come to the hospital when I’m done here. I’m not gonna be able to relax until I’ve seen Alex. And David, call Emma, I know that she’s gotta be goin nuts.”

“Okay, Mark, I’ll have him move the boat closer and I’ll give Emma a call. The copter pilot already knows to bring you here.” Mr. Tam’s men had commandeered a fast and much smaller yacht than our target to return us to shore quickly.

I called Jeff Collins out onto the deck where we could speak privately.

“Jeff, when we board her I want your guys to destroy every communications device and do it quickly. I don’t want anyone making phone calls while were on the boat or later for that matter.” He was nodding his head yes.

“Lock the crew in one stateroom and everyone else but Bonurato in another one. It’s likely that the crew is just hired help and we’ll take them back with us. Once everyone is locked in a stateroom plant your charges. As soon as the Navy sails away I’ll call in our boat.”

“What about Bonurato?”

“I’ll take care of him.” Jeff smiled.

In a few minutes the Lucky Angelina II could be seen in the distance. I went in and talked to the Captain. “Can you block transmissions from the yacht.”

He smiled. “You’re not supposed to know that.”

I smiled back. “Let’s test the system.” He made a call.

The Lucky Angelina II, the Lucky Angelina the first was a racehorse, was a gorgeous white yacht that stood three decks high above the water line and looked unimpressed as we rushed towards her in the ship’s boat. The crew in bright white uniforms lined the port rail staring at us along with six men who were obviously passengers.

I leaned towards Jeff. “We won’t need the cocaine but we don’t want to loose it either. It must have cost a fortune.” We had originally intended to plant twenty kilos of cocaine on the boat and then “find” it. That wasn’t necessary now because I didn’t need the leverage, Alex was already safe.

Jeff got on a bullhorn and told the crew to assemble on the bridge and all passengers to assemble in the main salon. The crew responded immediately while the passengers seemed to go into total panic and it wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realized that they were frantically trying to toss drugs over the side. We could have saved ourselves the trouble of bringing our own.

It took about thirty seconds before Bonurato was in our faces demanding to know what was going on.

Jeff turned to me and jerked his thumb in Bonurato’s direction, which was only five feet away. “He wants to know what’s going on.”

I acted like Bonurato wasn’t there and spoke to Jeff. “Escort him to his stateroom. I’ll speak with him later.” He was very unhappy.

We were inside now and couldn’t be seen from the ship. Jeff pulled his Beretta 92 from its holster and escorted a swearing Bonurato down a flight of stairs.

As soon as he was gone I walked out onto the deck and fired a flare. The captain must have practically had one foot on the gas and one on the brake because the ship took off immediately, or as immediately as a 170’ vessel can. I smiled to myself and hoped that he followed my advice.

I walked onto the bridge and checked the radar, no sign of our boat yet but then there wouldn’t be. In a few minutes the men started bringing up cell phones, satellite phones and radios and dumping them over the side and then marching the crew down to one of the middle staterooms, the passengers, with the exception of Bonurato were confined to the forward stateroom.

Jeff came up and stood next to me on the deserted bridge we watched the U.S. Navy moving quickly to the horizon. Jeff looked me up and down and said, “You look like a real fucking Captain!”

I laughed. “Yeah, I’m not but I play one on TV.” I looked around. “Pity to sink this thing, she’s gorgeous.”

He laughed grimly. “Paid for with drug money.” He shook his head slowly. “These people are a fucking waste of space. I told Bonurato we had a tip that there were large quantities of drugs aboard. He looked nervous. I bet if we tore the fuckin boat apart they’d be here.”

I glanced down at the radar and saw the blip I was interested in and at the same time my satellite phone came alive and Mr. Tam’s man confirmed they were approaching us at speed.

I looked at Jeff. “Can you lock that front stateroom?”

“Not that will last.”

“I guess it doesn’t matter. Well, I guess I’ll go speak to Mr. Bonurato.”

Jeff smiled. “Want help?”

I shook my head. “Nope. This is gonna be an intimate moment.” I tried to stop thinking of Alex being beaten. This’d been better if David hadn’t told me that, it creates too much rage. Rage makes for errors.

I walked the entire ship and noted that all the men were in place and everything under control. One of the men is in front of Bonurato’s door and I wave him away.

I open the door and step into his stateroom and as soon as he sees me and the officer’s bars that I’m wearing he’s in my face yelling. “What the fuck do you people want?”

I smiled. “I just came to kill you.” My fist flies out and I feel his trachea shattering. It’s something that I’ve practiced thousands of times and used in real life three times, always during war. The blow staggers him back against the bulkhead and his hands grip his throat and his mouth. He bounces off the wall and doesn’t fully understand that he can no longer breathe. Still holding his throat with his right hand he reaches for me with his left but I kick him in the nuts as hard as I can and he drops to the deck. Originally I had planned to break his neck at this point but the image of Alex being beaten is still throbbing in my brain and I decide that kindness isn’t warranted. He’s trying to vomit now but all that’s coming out is foamy blood. His heaving body has been without oxygen for a minute and he’s going down. His bowels and bladder are letting loose. It’s horrible but I’ve smelled worse.

I walk around him and pull a plastic trash bag out of my back pocket. David said that he wanted all of Bonurato’s personal papers and I go through his desk, look under drawers and empty the small file next to it and fill the bag.

I look at him one last time. He isn’t quite dead yet but even if I was a doctor I couldn’t save him now.

Out on the deck Jeff comes up to me. “How’s our friend?”

“Resting.” I look around. “Be sure an tell your guys to be careful of finger prints on the boat that’s picking us up. At some point the cops’ll be all over it.”

He laughs. “Yes, Mom. Geez, ya think I’m new to this?”

“Any chance they could bring up this boat?”

“Mark, we got 8000 feet of water under us. For a bunch of mobsters they won’t even consider it.”

“Can you fix the steering so that they can’t use it? I want this boat pointed west moving at full speed and the timers on the charges set for two hours. Can you do that?”

“Hey, no problem.”

“Can they fix it?”

He gave me a disgusted look and laughed. “Them? No fucking way! Besides, I’ll tell em we’re sending em to Hawaii and to just relax.”


5:00 PM Wednesday afternoon

Sacramento, California

Alex

It’s was weird, one moment I was in hell and the next moment everything was okay. Well I wasn’t totally okay I had this whole crying thing happening. Not all the time but basically I could go from happy and laughing to tears in about ten seconds. And my back was still healing, fortunately it was mostly bruising because that twerp Arnie was probably to fucking lazy to………….well, I really had to stop thinking about that there was lots that I didn’t remember anyway.

All of that had David and Mark goin a little crazy and David had already lined up a therapist for me once we got to Denver. I felt totally safe especially with my dads and Larry.

Larry was like my Rottweiler. He was always there and looked at anyone coming into the room like they were a threat. I loved it and actually it turned me on but the doctors were about at the end of their rope. The hospital and staff had cut him a lot of slack to begin with but the whole, “What the fuck do you want” attitude was not a hit with the staff.

He came over and knelt by the side of my bed and rested his chin on the mattress. He’s so fucking handsome he takes my breath away and while a couple of days ago I was wondering if I’d ever even think of sex again I’ve had a hardon for the last hour just watching him.

I reached out and touched his hair and then slowly ran my fingers through it. The problem with that was that I started crying again and his face got this agonized look that tore my heart out. I managed to croak out, “I’m really sorry. I dunno what the fucks the matter with me.” He wipes my eyes and kisses me. Shit, I’m so fucking pathetic.

“Alex, they said that this’d happen try not to feel so bad about it. I don’t give a fuck if you cry. Besides you’re doing it less than you were a couple of hours ago and by tomorrow I’m betting that you’ll hardly do it at all.”

“I know. It’s just frustrating. I mean I know that I’m safe and everything.” And just as fast as it came the crying was gone.

“Larry,” I laughed because this all of a sudden seemed really pervy, “feel my cock.”

He giggled. “Alex that is so……………..I was gonna say sick but it’s actually kinda hot.” He looks around and then goes over and closes the door. He comes back and slips his hand under the blankets. I gasp when I feel his hand on my cock.

“Holy fuck you’re hard!” We hear someone just outside the door in the hallway and he quickly pulls his hand away. “We should probably save that for later.”

Larry leans over the bed and kisses me shoving his tongue into my mouth. He sighs. “I really need to make love to you!” We both laugh and he looks into my eyes. “You sure that you’re okay with moving to Colorado? I mean you weren’t around to ask and your dad and I just wanted to do what we thought was best.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. There’s just no way that I could go back to Palo Alto. I can’t see myself walking around that……………………” Fucking tears. Geez I gotta get a fucking grip.

He strokes my hair. “It’s okay, Alex. You can do that with me.”

I sigh. “How long will it take? Are we gonna have to go pack?”

He laughs. “Have you met David? He’s already got people packing the place up. They’re loading everything now.” He looked at his watch. “Actually they may be done by now and they’re supposed to head out tonight for Denver. And cause I said that we liked the way that the condo was decorated he’s flying that woman to Denver to do that house. Remember her? What was her name………..Elli maybe? Anyway she’s doin the house.”

I lift his hand and pull it over my chest and wrap my arms around it. “Tell me again about the house.”

He grins. “It’s really cool. Bob and I used to drive by it all the time and wonder who lived there and then he found out that one of his clients owned it. Anyway, it’s really contemporary, think Frank Lloyd Wrightish and it’s got these really cool balconies that kinda jut out over the edge of the hill.”

“Hill?”

“Well maybe more than a hill.” He laughed. “You know like how here in California they call hills mountains so it’s more like a Colorado hill which is to say more of a big hill. Oh and think pine trees, lots of em. And it has kind of a concrete and steel look to it, really masculine and clean. There’s five bedrooms I think, maybe four…………and a really big library slash office then the usual living room, dining room, kitchen, family room etcetera. Oh and horses and they come with the property……….and chickens. Geez I hope someone’s taking care of the animals now.” He shrugs. “Gotta be, the guy who’s selling hasn’t lived there for a month so he must have someone taking care of the animals.”

Larry looks happy and that makes me happy, totally fucking happy. “So we’re gonna be like cowboys?”

He grins and kisses me. “Yep. You and me ridin the range. I’ll teach ya to ride. There’s lots of things you can do on horse back.”

I laugh. “I already know how to ride………….and fuck.”

His finger traces my mouth and his eyes are soft and locked on mine his voice is soft. “You never told me that. Did ya? I mean about the riding.”

“Probably not. No horses in Palo Alto. Well, none that I saw.” And then a stupid flashback and the tears start again.

Larry wraps his arms around my head and kisses my temple and I turn my face into his shoulder. His voice is a whisper. “You’re safe, Baby and I’m never letting anything hurt ya again.”

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