I kill rich people 2, p.11




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  Two radios. A police band. A standard AM/FM.

  “Emerson, let’s get real here. America has been battling over the size of government and tax policies since John Adams and Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. There is nothing new about the debates. What is new is a government purposely kept from governing because paralysis strategically benefits the Kochs and their rich buddies. What is new is a Supreme Court that calls corporations ‘people’ and tells big money that it is OK to buy out our political system. What is new are police forces that look and act just like the army, carrying machine guns and using tanks on city streets. What is new is an America where the standard of living for our children and our grandchildren will never match how we are living right now!” Elliot Emerson said on the radio.

  “Emerson, what other means do we have to fight these trends, you ask? The noose is tightening, man! They have our emails, our phone calls, our web searches. Come on! We need to wake up! This isn’t Democrat versus Republican; this is a handful of billionaires and the system they built coming in and ripping off everybody. Everybody.

  “At the risk of preaching to the choir, I say we need to get some perspective. When we rise against the one-in-ten-thousand to protect our democracy. That’s not a revolution. That’s a mild solution.”

  Spencer turned the radio off and leaned back in the dark. “It’s one radio station,” he told himself, but the rush continued to surge through his veins.

  No one alive was invincible. “Not the billionaires and not you,” he told himself in the small mirror over the sink.

  Strategies were breaking down. Momentarily, he weighed momentum against risk, and then shook his head. “It ends in death. It always does.”

  Target options had shut down completely; where at first he was able to select from charity breakfasts, brunches, luncheons, cocktail parties, dinners, and late-night art and fashion events, the effect of his actions had taken away nearly every option.

  He scoured through the online calendars again, looking at any event set for high net-worth investors while knowing full well that security would be through the roof.

  The event he picked was in Mamaroneck, six miles away. Mamaroneck felt right; the technical demands engaged him in a way that was familiar and comfortable, taking his mind away from neurochemistry and mortality, from radio stations and celebrity. Mamaroneck was all about planning and execution, shots from distance that demanded attention to detail; the targets were subordinated behind the complex equations inherent to long-distance fire.

  He was also determined to up his count; balanced judgment was telling him that he would never get to 131 otherwise. Higher kills per attack offered greater potential longevity than higher mission-counts. Besides that reality, there were fewer and fewer available targets. For eight, he needed the semi-automatic M110; faster than the Remington bolt-action. Combined with 850 yards over open water, eight was a worthwhile challenge even for the best snipers Harmony Church had ever put out. After the third or fourth shot, targets would not be static. They would be reacting, which meant adding movement to the equation. To get eight, he would fire at opportunities and not specific target identities. He wouldn’t be counting; unload the fifteen-shot magazine and get out. He had to get the actual count from the newspapers.


  Perfect position: flat soft ground, well hidden behind a vacant house up for sale. Multiple egress options, perfect conditions: no wind, moderate temperatures diminishing thermal lift. Eight.

  Two-man buddy configurations on security, four stationary, two patrolled the grounds. Two more private security guards in static placement on the rooftop. Binoculars, no night-vision. No rifles. Walkie-talkies and semis on their hips, probably 9mm.

  He counted the car emblems as guests arrived, pulling up in their Mercedes and Ferraris and Maybachs, handing keys to twenty-year-olds rushing up in red valet vests. A hissing noise distracted his attention. He saw the source; automatic drip sprinklers had cycled on. A circular cascade began soaking his left leg and shoe.

  One BRASS. Center forehead. Two BRASS, again center forehead. Three BRASS blonde, temple… wig! Four BRASS through pearl earring below ear. Five BRASS. Six. Argg! The spotlight sweep hit through his scope, exploding the green clarity like a ray gun directing 225 lumens directly into his retina. He blindly patted the soil, automatically reaching out to collect his shells. His flight instinct stretched out, contracting based on training alone; the light came off the water. Police boat. He was using a suppressor. Camouflage. They could not have seen him.

  Pulse up to 150. Breathe. He estimated fifty seconds getting from fire-position onto the motorcycle. He didn’t look at his watch. No point. It was what it was. Let the spotlight go, he told himself. Helicopters would not get there any faster. Breathe. He knew the route. Even driving with one eye open, he’d be through the suburban streets of huge lots and onto the freeway in less than two minutes. South, then west and five more minutes to the trailer park.

  He pushed the cycle out to the street. Siren. Fire engine in the distance. He started the engine. Rushmore to Bleeker. No lights. His pulse was coming down, but the right eye was fucked. Left turn. Alongside golf course. Turning onto Eagle Knolls, the bike felt part of him, not a foreign object. He was getting it together. Accelerating. Just when the car pulled out from nowhere.

  A deep three-inch blood-spitting gash sopped his pants leg and filled his shoe. Blood. DNA. The military had a complete DNA record for every soldier serving since 1992. If they had the blood, they would get his identity.

  Could be that the world was about to find out who he was and there nothing he could do to stop it.

  He wanted to call Jack. Try to explain himself before the shit hit the fan. But after icing the calf wound and pressing a thick needle through both sides six times to sew it shut tight, then moving eleven miles to his fallback site.

  Relocate. Now. Tonight. Shave the head; let the facial hair grow out.

  What he needed was sleep.


  Blood samples. Stephen Nussbaum reported to Jeffers that a single-vehicle accident happened in Mamaroneck just after the attack. NSA forensics had worked the scene, collected evidence, and then scrubbed it clean. Bishop and Nussbaum came to Jeffers office to report in person with the lab results; Stephen had quietly added one additional recipient to NSA’s automatic report distribution, a dummy forward made to appear internal to NSA.

  Bishop reached the file folder out from behind his hat and handed Jeffers photos showing an oval blood pool measuring 11.375 inches plus a thick drip pattern measuring sixty-five inches. Bishop leaned over, stretching until Jeffers looked him away, then stepped back to point out the blood and the motorcycle paint scraped over the pavement that were both circled on the photo.

  “At least one significant wound from the look of it, but he still had the strength to stand the motorcycle back up and ride it away.” Looking at Jeffers, Bishop thought it important to point out that riding the motorcycle takes use of a right hand and right leg at the bare minimum. Before Jeffers’ next question, Bishop jumped ahead and answered. “We pulled all hospitals and emergency medical clinics. No walk-ins, no ER visits that night or yesterday.”

  Stephen looked over at Bishop, his eyes narrowed angrily.

  Bishop glanced back to Stephen, shrugged his shoulders, made an empty gesture with his hands, and then continued. What? He had said “we,” not “I.”

  “Jonathan Spencer, ex-military,” Bishop reported. “DNA confirmation from Defense Department record for Mamaroneck and confirmed for Central Park West by shoe prints taken from Mamaroneck.”

  “For whom is he working?” Jeffers demanded.

  “We’re onto that now,” Stephen responded, getting himself back into the game. “After military service we’ve got no credit card purchases, no ATM activity, and no cell phone account. We are running facial iden
tification on all social media and trolling all emails referencing Jonathan Spencer, John Spencer, J. Spencer, and MSJS, his only known nickname. No hits yet.”

  Bishop handed Jeffers the DOD personnel file. “Consistent with deep cover,” Bishop interjected, pushing himself back in.

  “No. Just on the surface. Way too many anomalies when you look deeper,” Stephen disagreed. He handed another printout over to Jeffers, who put it aside. Jeffers’ rapt attention poured into page upon page of military training qualifications, individual and unit citations, mission summaries, and C.O. reviews. Reading “a soldier’s soldier” and “most dedicated NCO in this entire division” had Jeffers eyes squinting. Bronze stars and multiple purple hearts changed Jeffers’ complexion to purple.

  “Two Experian credit reports were run on him,” Stephen continued, “both for rentals at New York City addresses. You have them, right there, along with a third address tied to a Harley Davidson motorcycle that was registered in his name less than two months ago. He continues to have current motorcycle insurance at that same Bronx address.”

  “Why’s he doing it?” Bishop wondered aloud. “What makes a soldier so elite that he is a star within the elite, a one-in-ten-thousand soldier, do this?”

  “Get the sonofabitch!” Jeffers barked. “Give me results, not analysis. IKRP has already absorbed too much time and energy. Every Vision Partners board member is lecturing me, especially the brothers!”

  He stared at the piercing blue eyes and earnest military bearing staring back from the photo on the page in front of him. “It stops now!” he ordered Bishop. “I’m making the call. We bury that DNA. You bury this bastard. You make sure his fifteen minutes of fame are over,” Jeffers said to the photo.

  “At the risk of talking myself out of work, why would you get involved? What’s the upside?” Bishop warned.

  Stephen looked to Bishop for guidance, as though something Jeffers had said was unclear. Bishop nodded toward the door and Stephen ran out in a flash, only too relieved to take the hint.

  “Nussbaum is a technology guy,” Bishop told Jeffers. “They like to think their hands are clean.”

  “You don’t get it!” Jeffers shouted at Bishop. A drop of his spit landed on Bishop’s lower lip.

  “Control the messaging and we control America. Every single day, I’m the guy who tells half this country what to talk about. Every day, I sift through pages of options to find that right sound bite and get it in front of the voices that matter. I like what I do; I’m not giving anyone an excuse to replace me. So I’m going to pick up this phone and tell the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee what we’re doing. He’ll be glad to hear it, too,” Jeffers said.

  He glared ahead. “I’m not sitting back to watch this play out as ‘Captain America fighting income inequality.’ Rangers, Special Forces, Airborne.

  “I didn’t obliterate Occupy Wall Street nationwide in one night to lose every inch of territory to this character. I own the message. I spent twenty years of my life crafting it! Red versus Blue, real Americans versus all the rest. I’m not losing that message so this country divides into Vision Partners versus the mob. Nobody is going to tweet his name. No Facebook. Alan Dershowitz and Gloria Allred are never going to swoop in to represent this piece of shit. This ‘Rambo’ is never going to go viral. Not on my watch. I’m going to make this Spencer disappear.”

  Jeffers crumpled Spencer’s profile and gazed out a window. “This sonofabitch doesn’t look anything like that,” he imagined aloud. “I see somebody else. As different as night and day.”


  Covered from head-to-toe in black SWAT gear, Bishop’s North Carolina squads hit in one synchronized simultaneous assault. Stephen linked Bishop online to the Bronx, Murray Hill, and Great Kills on Staten Island, each of the locations tied to Master Sergeant Jonathan Spencer. The screen image looked part video game, part reality TV.

  Bishop watched alone, sitting on the edge of his seat as the front man from single-file snake formation smashed front doors. The cameras jostled through dark and light, distributing down hallways and into rooms, fanning through the buildings. Bishop could not distinguish one two-man squad from another, each with a front man running attack, his partner covering security behind them.

  Each had the face in the photos committed to memory. Their orders were succinct. “Bin Laden”: make no attempt to capture. Kill him and everyone connected to him. Secure the remains. Return to rendezvous.

  From start to finish, all three were in, done, and out again inside ninety seconds, but afterward Bishop leaned back in his chair exhausted. He pushed his Stetson nearly vertical then let both arms hang down at his sides. Hitting a door himself would have been easier than watching the Go Pros on all those locations. Empty.

  On top of the tension, he added a $90,000 failure. He was back to square one with zero deliverables. Nothing to give Jeffers except a $90K invoice.


  Slivers from the motorcycle mirror stabbed inside the wound. Spencer had his pants off and a brown towel over the floor to catch the free-flowing blood pouring from his leg. A mail slot-sized gap flapped open where he yanked out the broken mirror. His trailer was getting marked and stained everywhere he touched. A smudged red handprint ringed the neck of his bedside lamp. He threw the shade aside and tried to bring the hot bare bulb close enough to see inside when he spread the wound, but it filled with blood again before he could spot the remaining shards. He unscrewed the top from the bottle of rubbing alcohol then punched it up onto his tooth to break the seal. A bitter, awful splash entered the corner of his mouth; Spencer stretched his tongue out and grimaced, then poured the alcohol liberally directly into the gash.

  He pushed the needle in deeply then used the bottom of his water glass to press it two-thirds of an inch through to the other side. After each of the six stitches, he cinched the sutures tight. The shards remained inside, but the bleeding slowed to a cycle of drips. Each droplet grew bigger until it broke away and ran a line down to his ankle. He waited an hour for it to coagulate and crust over. It still felt like the needle was inside. That pain was the fair result for messing up. Bleeding, riding a cracked-up motorcycle for six miles with a M110 strapped across his back; a mistake.

  Spencer lined the M110 and the smaller Heckler & Koch, both semi-automatic, along the trailer wall then reached underneath the bed and brought back a gym bag, which he upended onto the comforter in a cascade of empty clips and sealed ammunition boxes. One by one, he loaded by feel, separating the cartridges in his fist, rolling them down to the center of his palm, thumbing onto the clip spring. He had to hunker down. He traced his path through the trailer park layout in his mind, both lanes coming in and out. The back fence abutted a housing development. The other side was just a parking lot away from open space. But he was thinking purely out of habit. He wasn’t getting away. You could shoot through the trailer walls with a .22; he had nothing to barricade behind. Besides, he didn’t do this to kill cops; the guns had just one real purpose. He doubted that police would try to arrest him, but with an HK pointing at them, they wouldn’t try for more than a split second before it would be over.

  After loading both semis, he opened the small closet and reached for the soft carry bag, unzipped it, and slowly withdrew his Barrett. He caressed his hands down its tan length and wondered: had he made any difference? Was anything changed, or would the society parties start right up again after he was dead? Was even one vet going to get a fair shake because of what he had done?

  He wished he could write something, say the right thing to make people get it, make them see that oligarchs are the enemy everywhere. The rich were never going to back down except when they had no choice! A few deaths now was better than chaos, better than war and strife and everything falling apart when it was too late to do anything.

  Captain Sam, you should be here. You’d know the righ
t words to say. Exhausted, he flopped back onto the mattress and concentrated on his breath, nothing else, until the neurochemistry of tension gave way to sleep.

  At first light Spencer awakened with the weight of his Barrett crosswise over his lap. He peeked through the curtains. The only things moving were a squirrel and the liter-bottles fashioned into whirligigs on the next trailer twirling into the breeze.

  It was luck, pure and simple, that got him out of there after the crash. Now he was going to need more luck to come. In his fast departure he knew he had left behind tire tracks in the flowerbed at the vacant house. Crime investigators were going to figure out the line of fire. They would find the house and they’d find the tracks, too, unless maybe the sprinklers soaked them away. He stood up to pull on pants and get a look at his bike, and then grimaced; the ankle and knee had swollen up to twice their size. The Harley and everything else was going to have to wait.


  You need to get from Point A to Point B in bandit territory to provide ground support to the patrol taking sustained fire and pinned down at B. You have limited drone and sat time for surveillance and you need to deploy these for maximum result. Using the topographical maps, intel photos, and your knowledge of enemy objectives, force strength, weaponry and tactics, make use of the resources available to you and get your men through there in one piece. Gather additional intel, assemble your mission plan, and be ready to execute upon it in real time conditions. You have fifty minutes. Begin.

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