I kill rich people 2, p.44

I KILL RICH PEOPLE 2, page 44

 

I KILL RICH PEOPLE 2
 



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  “I can’t find any indication that there are upcoming events in Yonkers involving rich people,” Dale remarked.

  “Of course he’s planning to attack!” Owen barked at the techs.

  “Yonkers has to be his staging area,” he insisted. “He’s preparing to attack someplace else.”

  “Give the man an award!” Miller chided back. “I’ll have to get another bundle of Benjamins. He only sent the index cards after speculation about killing Jews. So why buy more ahead of time? What’s he planning to make clear?”

  “Why do you think he bought the index cards?’ Owen responded. “He’s going to mail them out, just like he did before. Is there any way you guys can scan U.S. Mail, locate where he mails them?”

  Stephen stood up and slammed his foot down under the table. “We’re four people! Four! You want us to map out the richest people in New York. You want us to track all these events. You want us to program facial recognition software for tens of thousands of cameras. Now you want us to scan the U.S. Mail? On the chance that he sends out index cards from a particular mailbox? Fuck it! Just fuck it! You’re fucking nuts!”

  Miller intervened. “Take a breather,” he told Stephen. “Chill out. Never mind the postcards, the Postal Service. It’s off the table.” He pointed at the map and Dilip followed Miller’s arm with the cursor.

  “West Virginia, rural, middle of nowhere,” Miller narrated. “That’s a man going to ground. But he tried that and he failed, even though he succeeding in killing the six men who came after him along with their pilot. He isn’t hiding now. He’s back on familiar soil, his hunting ground.”

  They could all see the pattern of attacks from upriver on the Hudson to the Connecticut shore, attacks in Manhattan on the Upper East Side and Central Park West, Long Island attacks at Sand Point and all the way out to Sag Harbor. It resembled a fishhook.

  “So, why business cards?” Miller wanted to know. “How do business cards fit in?”

  “Access,” Owen suggested. “Getting inside a security perimeter.”

  “Crazy,” Kip quipped. “You can’t even get inside clubs unless you’re on the list. What good is a card going to do?”

  “That’s your next bonus,” Miller told them as he walked toward one of the offices. “Figure it out. Isolate the top twenty events and the top twenty fixed targets. Get every camera in every location and every subway station in the vicinity. Get ahead of him. If it takes all night, get ahead of him.”

  “Top twenty in terms of attendance, in terms of gross income, by median income—what criteria do you want to use?” Stephen called after Miller.

  Owen stared, debating and groping for answers. The objective seemed simple enough, but leave it to a tech to parse it into a weeklong debate.

  “Median income,” Owen decided. Fuck it. He looked around for Miller, who had disappeared behind a closed door. “This is still bullshit. One detective and four techs. We might as well be sifting a beach to locate a single grain of sand.”

  *****

  Spencer double-parked outside 110 E 71st, leaving the emergency flashers blinking while he rang the doorbell outside Terraza.

  “Where do I park?” he asked, dropping his tool chest at the doorman’s feet. “I can’t afford more parking tickets.”

  “What are you here about?” the doormen wanted to know. He was dressed in full livery: black police hat with gold band, full-length wool overcoat with more gold at the collar, gilded buttons and gold sleeve ribbons, crisp white shirt and gray tie, gray trousers, shining black shoes. His square stance said it all. That was his door; nobody was getting past it without his say-so.

  Spencer thrust a pink copy at him and ran back to the car while he perused the work order. “So, where to?” he yelled back. The doorman produced a blue handicapped placard, ran it out to Spencer and pointed toward Madison Avenue. “Walter” was printed on his gold nametag.

  “Watch my stuff, will you?”

  “Grab a spot, then come back and register with me,” the doorman said.

  Once he got inside the building, Spencer was startled. The building went far beyond the older-looking structure he saw on the online images. An entire modern new building had been added that towered over the original structure.

  “So what’s this about?” the doorman demanded. Early forties, Spencer guessed. Protective. The leather thong and handle-end of a black nightstick dangled at the edge of his desk just behind the bar-height countertop.

  “The roof deck. Regular six-month check-up. Got to get a look at the membrane, see it isn’t going to start leaking again. Ounce of prevention or a pound of cure.” He fished into pockets, coming up with a business card. “Jay Spender. That’s me.” Spencer pointed at the name and back to the work order in the doorman’s hands.

  “You’re not on the list.”

  “So that’s my problem?”

  “You’re not on the list,” he repeated.

  “Ok. I did my job, you did yours. So I come back in six months. Maybe it don’t leak.” Spencer picked the toolbox off the floor, turned toward the door, stopped, and pulled a small notepad from his pocket, then thumbed until he came to the right page. Returning to the doorman, he offered the pad and pointed.

  “She’s your management agent, right? How ’bout you call and then she can send a right list.”

  The doorman lifted his telephone in one hand and rested his other hand onto the nightstick while he pressed in the number. Voicemail picked up. She was on vacation. The doorman hung up, looked Spencer up and down, and then ordered him to place the toolbox on the counter, take two steps back, and hold still.

  He hefted the toolbox off the counter down onto his desk. Inside the toolbox Spencer had a selection of used pawnshop tools along with the brand new drill-driver and the electronics. The doorman lifted open the lid, moved his gloved fingers through the various drill bits, safety goggles, screws, earplugs, and bits and pieces inside the upper tray, then lifted out the tray and examined the large compartment below. Box knife, wire-strippers, hammer, drill-driver, and electronics. He held up the electronics, turned them side to side and upside down. When he reached out his arm, Spencer caught sight of the crossed black powder pistols tattooed above his wrist.

  “What’s that?” the doorman asked, still moving and examining the round black ball, tapered base, and tail antenna.

  “Infrared moisture meter, sarge,” Spencer answered as he had practiced. “Looks for leaks where we can’t see ’em.”

  The doorman put the camera back inside Spencer’s toolbox then looked Spencer up and down and came from behind the desk carrying a security wand.

  “Take off the hat. Collar down. Arms out, legs spread.” Spencer obeyed as ordered. While he was passing the wand, the ex-MP patted along Spencer after each tone.

  “Army?” Walter asked.

  “82nd. Bragg.”

  “988th. Benning.”

  Spencer thought of Harmony Church, but didn’t mention the Sniper School. “Combat MP, huh? Saw your stamp. When did you serve, Walter?” Spencer asked.

  “Name’s not Walter, its Vince, Vincenzo. Every doorman here since ’82 has been Walter, so here I’m Walter. Makes it easier on the residents. Deployed in Desert Storm, Sierra Leone in ’97, Kosovo in ’99. Ten years. Staff sergeant.”

  “I’m only out a year. Not much.” Spencer pulled out another business card and read, “Maintenance Technician.

  “I used to destroy IEDs, now I fix toilets.”

  Walter gave him a gentle pat on the back then stepped back behind the counter.

  “Come over here,” Vince said apologetically, lifting up a digital camera. “I got to do it.” After taking Spencer’s photograph, he pointed to the resident elevators instead of making Spencer trek to the service elevators in back and then around again to the front roof deck.
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  “Seventh floor,” Walter indicated. “Wait a second.” He ducked down behind the counter and came back with a fresh pair of black booties. “Put these on inside so one of them doesn’t shit themselves over the carpet and go nuclear on me.”

  “Tough place,” Spencer remarked.

  “Naw. Rich people. There’s a few assholes lighting me up over every fucking thing just ’cause they figure I’m the whipping boy. But most are ok. They leave me alone. The worst is the ones who act like they’re your best friend. Ask me have I ever seen one those guys one time outside the job. Have they ever had me up for a meal? A beer even? No fucking way. They’re not my pals.

  “But I stay dry. We got the union. Sundays when I work I bring my iPad and watch the games.”

  “Oh hey. That reminds me,” Spencer said. “It takes me forever to send the images back to the office over the phone. You think I can use your Wi-Fi, Vince? Sure would save time.”

  CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

  All four techs were fidgeting more than their normal hyperactivity when they excitedly displayed their accomplishments. As they were getting more familiar with the huge enterprise system, they kept peeling back the onion to discover more and more functions. In less than two hours they had mapped primary and secondary events in order of the median incomes of known persons attending. They had every camera feed and all public transportation geo-linked in association with each specific event.

  At the onset, the entire screen looked like a jumble of flags superimposed one upon the other. Stephen opened the map view outward until each was differentiated, yet the concentration of wealth remained staggering.

  “Are you understanding this?” Dilip asked Owen.

  “You see, we applied color intensity to coincide with the median wealth represented at each venue,” Stephen explained.

  “Wow,” Owen agreed. “It hits you when you see it like this. I mean, you know the money is here. It’s New York. But holy crap.”

  “I also wrapped each flag in those circles, with the width of the circle corresponding to a public exposure metric,” Dilip added eagerly. “The more each event appears online, the wider the circle.”

  Dale opened the mapping tool wider still, exposing black camera icons. He suggested that Owen come closer and take the mouse. “Click on one of the cameras. Any one of them, just pick one.”

  Owen did as instructed and instantly a live view appeared in the upper corner of the monitor. He moved the cursor, clicked again, and a new view popped up.

  It was Kip’s turn now. Jumping in ahead of Dilip, he excitedly insisted upon showing the second side of the equation. “I correlated the Forbes 400 list with physical addresses here in NYC. Let me show you.”

  Dale interrupted; they acted like gleeful children during show-and-tell.

  “Here are their residential addresses; I backed out post boxes and commercial zoning.”

  The map showed another confused concentration of flags, green and purple this time. Owen assumed that one color represented addresses, the other cameras, but he would have been incorrect. Dale opened the geography outward so that smaller areas of concentration displayed as distinct flags, sometimes as many as sixteen flags in single key buildings.

  “Each of the purple flags is a Forbes 400 individual. Purple was, of course, the emperor’s color in Ancient Rome.”

  “I did the green,” Dilip chimed in.

  “The cameras,” Owen thought out loud.

  “Not at all,” Dilip corrected him. “Green flags represent foreign nationals, known billionaires with residences here. I derived these by filtering State Department and IRS records and supplemented high net worth private client logs within investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity databases.”

  Once he had the floor, Dilip continued frenetically, shifting to another screen wherein the black camera icons were so densely-packed that individual apartments had to be mapped room by room. As he moved the cursor over the icons, a graphic displayed the individual’s face, his ranking on the international wealth list, and net wealth in two digits—billions and hundreds of millions.

  Dilip placed the cursor over a particular camera within a large room at the top of the sixty-eight story building occupying a whole block on 5th Avenue between E. 56th and E. 57th and began giggling uncontrollably before he clicked.

  “No,” Stephen shouted, “not The Donald!”

  “Oh yes,” Dilip confirmed. “The Donald!”

  Dilip bowed and continued. “This is excellent,” he promised. With a right click, he opened a radius out to twenty feet, superimposed on top of the live feed. A number 4 flashed then moved to the upper-right corner.

  “Four devices,” Dilip explained before moving his cursor over one of the small red earphone icons on the screen.

  A valet appeared, with his back to the camera and a rack of gold ties from which The Donald, standing in his underpants, made his selection.

  “You tell them,” the voice ordered, “if their security people won’t do the job, then I’ll get up and leave.”

  Stephen beamed. His techs, Dilip especially, looked like three baby birds gaping for their momma. “Audio!”

  “Audio!” they shouted in chorus.

  “I don’t give a damn if they put up a Purell dispenser,” the voice affirmed. “I don’t shake hands. It’s filthy! They pick their noses! How hard is it to tell them in line before they get to me and up they come, reaching out?”

  Dilip scrolled through until he found the mayor’s office.

  Miller shut them down, the minute it appeared, scolding them all. “Jesus! Tools, not toys. If it isn’t Spencer, don’t put it up. Not on monitors, either!”

  “Can you imagine how much the tabloids would pay?” Dale muttered. His mind was abuzz. “Even for the clips! Holy crap…there’s billions sitting there for the taking in this technology.”

  Kip expanded the thought. “Board meetings. Getting ahead of every corporate announcement. Getting the inside track on product releases, mergers.”

  “The person who controls this conceivably alters economies,” Dale confirmed, synthesizing all their thoughts. “Wicked shit.”

  “The end of privacy,” Nussbaum murmured. He took over the program and moved his cursor around, doing a ‘fly-over’ across Manhattan.

  “They’ve got security cameras everywhere, even in their toilet rooms,” Stephen explained. “We can see right into every room in their places.”

  “And we can hear,” Dilip added. “And not just in New York. The fundamental architecture scales to Beijing, Berlin, London, Delhi.”

  “Spencer!” Miller shouted at them, clapping his hands. “Stop with the Masters of the Universe. This is about one target. One!”

  “Filter out the apartments and drill down to exteriors and public areas,” Owen told them. “Everything in and around the primary targets on my list.”

  “Easy,” Stephen responded, “but thousands are still left. The system is built to spot any person we’re seeking across millions of cameras. It isn’t able to get inside his head!’

  Owen threw up his hands and turned to Miller. “We need assets in place, here, now! The second we get the next hit on camera we need to move! Right away! The moment Spencer attacks again, it is going to be all over the news and there goes your low profile. This makes no sense!”

  *****

  Spencer stretched his legs out on the basement floor and sat, munching on peanut butter and Saltines, while he studied the camera feed until his eyes felt like they were ready to explode out of his skull. Individual recon always meant either boredom or terror, but it was necessary and no one else was handing him prepared intelligence data.

  He awakened at 04:00 and studied the front and side entrances non-stop until 11:30. Middle of the week, yet he counted only eleven residents depar
ting the front doors all morning long. The doorman walked them out under his umbrella to waiting sedans where drivers held open the doors. He had key faces committed to memory from photos off the web.

  Even the lowest-grade spotting scope had better resolution than his wireless webcam. Not pretty, but it was sufficient; he could still recognize his target. This wasn’t Afghanistan; he had no satellites or drones to confirm target presence.

  Mercedes, Daimler, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and one Mercedes Sprinter Van passed the front doors. He wanted to tie his target to one of the vehicles. Get some kind of an edge.

  One drop of drizzle and the doorman’s umbrella obscured their faces; all Spencer could see were legs and shoes. “You’ll get one chance,” he observed. “You can’t miss it. That’s it. One chance.”

  Eighty-five people have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. Let’s make that eighty-four.

  Through the morning, he watched the screen off the feed from the camera he had mounted; it was fixed at 42-degree angle looking diagonally across the street to the corner of the Park Avenue structure. He counted thirty-one domestic employees entering off E. 71st. He also counted nineteen deliveries—FedEx, UPS, and DHL vans stopped in a nearly constant succession.

  Bingo. Big box vans. Big enough to carry a bomb that could level a city block.

  “Now make them believe it. Don’t leave them time to think. Get them running. Out the doors, straight into the line of fire.”

  *****

  Using a prepaid cell phone, Spencer dialed the Terraza.

  Vince answered, “Terraza, Walter speaking. How may I help you?”

  “Vince, Jay, calling about the roof deck. Good news and bad news, which you feeling like first? Ok. The good news is that the deck membrane isn’t too bad overall,” Spencer explained. “Bad news is there is a section along the southeast corner where the whole sub-structure is sopping wet. No good. Good news is we caught it before it soaked into the apartment underneath, but more bad news, too.

 

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