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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two old friends now engage in a war of both wits and nerves. The destruction of the entire Bay Area is the goal of one friend.

Submitted: October 14, 2016

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Submitted: October 14, 2016




A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Three

Hammy found his inner eye reviewing all those years of Rupert and his obsession with detail about everyone who he knew or intended to know.

Hammy was convinced that Rupert Longleat had storage lockers full of theses files. All those thousands of files would be in fireproof cabinets, in temperature-controlled rooms.

Hammy believed with absolute certainty that Longleat had more than one storage locker; but not in the same complex.

Rupert started to get up. Hammy raised his revolver; Marlene followed suit.

“Tell you what, Ruppee, why don’t you come up here and tell us what you really have on anyone." 

As Rupert lowered his head to take a step, Hammy whispered to Marlene, “go back upstairs and have headquarters run down any suspicious storage lockers; especially those  with temperature-controlled rooms; also any CCTV footage including Longleat; well, you know where I’m going with this.” 

Marlene immediately turned and ran up the stairs and into the building.

“Wait right there Ruppee.” Johns waved the cocked revolver. “Sit there and I’ll tell you what’s going to happen.”

Longleat stopped with a foot on the third step.

After a moment of staring at his friend, he perceived that the command was serious.

However he immediately realized that this pause would afford him more time to fool Hamilton Johns and go about the business of his revenge.

Longleat wondered what Marlene was up to but he continued to feel secure, if only because he still believed that come what may, his lifelong friend; his hero; his mentor; the best guy he had ever met, anywhere, would not callously shoot him. He sat and leisurely turned to face Johns.

Hammy spoke first. “What took you so long to get here, Ruppee? You used to be pretty good behind the wheel.”
He said this as an opening line for the strategy of forcing Longleat into a state of anger; preferably rage.

Complete surrender to his boiling fury was the only state in which  Hammy had ever observed Longleat lose it. In this state, Longleat became unnerved; rattled; unglued; and then, careless.

From all the reports viewed in the patrol car less than an hour ago, Hammy guessed at Rupert’s plan—at least part of it.

Marlene had begun to offer some thoughts before he told her to strap herself down and be a passenger at the Bob BondurantDriving School. The only sounds slipping out of Marlene all the way to the building were peeps of fear on the one way streets and while going through the red lights at full speed.

“Okay, old pal,” began Johns, “you’re really pissed off at a lot of people; and they all live in the City.”

Longleat stared at his friend and wore a faint smile of interest.

“You see Ruppee, I never believed you for an instant when you told me that you were taking Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure to help you with your career in social work and community organizing.

“Then I spent a few more years wondering what your ultimate goal was while you took all those sociology and other courses,” pausing, “and they were all courses that would help someone in the field---if they intended to enter that line of work.

“I kept watching you; and one day I understood.

“All this sociology help-out-the-downtrodden bullshit was exactly that.

"I knew you had your sights set much higher than wandering from one homeless encampment to another with smokes and a kind word. No, Ruppee, I knew you were up to something bigger; you wanted to make a statement.”

Hammy looked away from Longleat to welcome the sun from its foggy shroud. Its rays provided warmth for their discussion of the cold, putrescent business of death.

Hammy turned back to look at his one-time friend—a friend from a time that now seemed to him to be at least a century ago.

“Then, as the years passed you were so put down by so many people that you decided to do something they would never forget; well, something where only a few of them would survive to remember.”

Johns stopped talking and crept down to the fifth step, still holding the cocked revolver aimed squarely between Longleat’s incinerating orbs. His eyes glowed with the rage of boundless hatred that he now released and directed at his oldest acquaintance.

He no longer thought of Hammy as a friend. He had stopped thinking of Hammy that way many years ago.

A former girlfriend of Hammy’s passed on some remarks that Hammy had made about him. Hammy’s comments caused her to accuse Rupert of faking homosexuality in order to get her into bed. In other words, in Rupert Longleat’s eyes, Hamilton Johns both demeaned and disgraced him in the eyes of the female population.

They all knew both Hammy and Rupert but only trusted Hammy’s word implicitly.

Thereafter, soiled and fouled by feelings of hate and revenge, Rupert had begun his journey to this point; this time; this moment.  

here is that son of a bitch Johns snooping around and trying to undo all my work and prevent my revenge.

Rupert Longleat looked away toward the west where he appeared to see some magical kingdom with himself as king and Johns as a slave to be beaten and lashed to a slow death.

He struggled to contain his wrath while he turned back to stare into the quiet eyes of his enemy.

“Well, Hammy, I suppose you think you know everything; like I know everyone I ever knew or knew about; from the time I began cutting stories out of the paper and pretending to talk to them as friends. I was two,” sighing, sensing a softening of Hammy’s guard, pressing on, “but you have no idea, Johns. I am so far ahead of anything you could ever imagine; you and your spook partner are simply skittles to be kicked out of the way.”

Hammy produced a wry smile. “Well, well, well . . . Rupert. Aren’t we the cocky little prick of old . . . still,” Hamilton Johns leaned closer to the volcanic eyes of his former friend and present adversary, “but you know what, ‘old sport’, as you like to say, we have more access to more data bases and more people in the entire country than you have in your silly little world of playing toy soldiers with the information you found about all the people you know.

“Tell me, Ruppee, what  do you have on those three psychs who examined you and let you go? Must have been heavy, man. But you know what, old sport, we have the copies of every report plus every note plus every recording made in your case. Pretty cool, eh?"

Johns turned to look at Longleat and saw some cracks appearing in his otherwise mocking face.

“Surprise number one, Ruppee: We knew you had several storage lockers throughout the Bay Area and we’ve opened all of them.” Johns deliberately stopped to observe Longleat’s reaction. The latter blinked and his face showed a tincture of concern.

“We’ve confiscated all your files, ‘old sport’; hundreds; no, last I heard, thousands of them.”

Hammy knew he was taking a chance here.

Longleat took the bait.

“You’re shitting me, Hammy; again,” releasing a weak, ersatz laugh, “but you know I can always tell when you’re having me on.”  

“Am I Ruppee?” Johns leaned closer to Longleat and locked onto his enemy’s hysterical eyes, “we went through your entire house one afternoon but only came up with about a thousand files. I told the guys to get on the net as well as their network of contacts. I hit my network of contacts as well; and guess what?” 

Johns stopped and carefully studied the expression on his former friend’s face.

It told him what he wanted to know. Longleat was beginning to believe him.

Johns pressed his advantage. He steadied the barrel of his revolver and moved it a few inches closer to Longleat’s forehead.

“Yup, ‘old sport’, we found them all and of course we found the beginnings of all this stuff you have here. The stuff you wanted to protect for that special day when you would take your revenge.” Johns laughed. “I love it, Ruppee: the honeycomb effect; all the doors; the secret crawl space; the housing for all the wires and detonation buttons and . . .”

Longleat lunged at Johns and turned sideways to miss the expected shots. Instead, Johns let him go by, like a matador does a charging bull, and then he cracked him on the side of his head while he grabbed Longleat’s jacket and pulled Rupert’s face right up to his.

For a moment, the two stared into each other’s raging eyes.

Abruptly, Johns threw Longleat backwards. Longleat would have tumbled uninhibited down the stairs, off the landing and the forty feet to the ground. However, Johns managed to catch a sleeve of Longleat’s jacket and reeled him back to a spot three steps down, where he deposited Longleat in a sitting position.

Johns had believed that this last knock on the head, plus the almost-tumble to his death, added to the sharp words from his former friend, would leave Longleat in a collapsed heap. However the contrary occurred.

Although Longleat revealed no weapon, he stiffened his back, lifted his head, and spit in the direction of Hammy’s face. He would have hit the mark had Marlene not called to Johns from the third floor landing.

Hammy turned slightly to one side, still keeping his revolver aimed at Longleat.

“All there, sir. Every one of them. And they have all the other material as well.”

“Anything we can book him on?”

“No sir. They’re still looking. Should I come down there?”

“Yeah; please. I want you to be a witness to my interrogation of Mr. Longleat.

Longleat immediately guessed his situation as well as that of the police.

“You don’t have a damn thing on me, Hammy. You’re bluffing. You haven’t a charge to hold me on, so,” standing and straightening his jacket, “if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be going to my office now.”

He took a step and ran into the chest of Hamilton Johns.

“You forgot to turn off your car, Ruppee.” He said this with a tone of confidence that rattled Longleat for a moment.

Longleat hesitated while he scanned Hammy’s face for some clue to the reason for that tone of confidence.


End of Chapter Three

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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