Home > Righteous Prey (Lucas Davenport #32)(3)

Righteous Prey (Lucas Davenport #32)(3)
Author: John Sandford

   He gave her his best whitened-tooth grin. “Maybe. You from around here, or are you traveling?”

   “From Austin,” she said. She looked out of the alley toward the street. They were alone. “Are you sure you’re really . . . let me see your face.”

   She reached out a slender hand, as if to turn his head into the light. Daniels let her do it, the grin still on his face. She didn’t touch him, though. She had the blade of a straight razor tight between two fingers, snatched her hand back toward herself, nothing gentle about it, and Daniels felt a streak of cold pain, like a lightning strike, across his neck.

   The woman stepped away and he realized, as blood gushed across his thousand-dollar sport coat, that she was wearing translucent vinyl gloves.

   Andi Carter’s father was the executive vice president of the LaFitte National Bank in New Orleans. He’d never be president, nor would he ever be less than the exceptionally well-paid executive vice president.

   When Andi Carter’s father was thirty-eight, his wife had run off with a building contractor to begin a new and better life in the Florida Keys. Her father was left in a middle-management bank job with not much in the way of prospects and with no notable assets . . . with one exception.

   Her.

   A smoking-hot thirteen-year-old, she’d caught the eye of several LaFitte executives and board members. They’d collectively made a deal with her father, and thereafter taught Andi the ways of the world, along with several uncomfortable sexual acts. They eventually (under some duress) pooled money to send her to Wharton, at eighteen, to study finance. Her father, in the meantime, had been promoted into the do-nothing executive vice president position. From which he’d never be promoted or demoted. That’s just the way it was, in New Orleans, if you’d whored out your teenaged daughter.

   At Wharton, Carter had been told about this extraordinary investment opportunity in a thing called Bitcoin; all the smart kids were talking about it. She’d extracted the necessary money (under some duress) from the bank executives and board members, and though she’d gotten in a little late, it wasn’t too late. A few years later, she was worth more than all the executives and board members put together. She could have bought the bank, if she’d wanted it.

   She didn’t.

   Now, in the alley with the slightly crazy Andi Carter bending over him, Jack Daniels bled to death, but not instantly. When cut, he’d staggered in a circle, grasping at his neck, his carotid artery slashed open by the razor and furiously pumping out his lifeblood.

   When he finally fell, Carter had again looked out toward the street, then dragged the body to the end of the walkway and behind the dumpster there, leaving a long bloody streak on the bricks. It was hard work, made easier by the jolt of adrenaline that was surging through her.

   When they were out of sight from the street, she squatted and watched in the harsh illumination of a LED penlight as the last of Daniels’ blood trickled out on the bricks. Trickling, not pumping: his heart had stopped.

   She gagged once, not because of the blood, but because of the rotten-tomato-sauce and spoiled-banana odors that lingered behind the dumpster. When she was sure he was gone, she took a Sharpie from her purse and wrote a loopy “2” on Daniels’ forehead. She packed the penlight in her purse, along with the tissue-wrapped straight razor and the Sharpie, and removed a compact 9mm pistol, just in case—she was not in a good part of Houston.

   She walked three blocks to her Panamera, which had a splash of mud across the license plate, obscuring the number. Still wearing the gloves, gun in hand, she made it to the car unmolested, looked at her watch. She’d be back home in New Orleans well before dawn. She took a burner phone from under the front seat, punched in a memorized number, and said, “It’s done. Straight razor, his body’s behind a dumpster at the side of the Asiatic Hotel.”

   The woman on the other end said, “A dumpster? That’s so delicious.”

   “The best thing of my life, Vivian,” Carter said. “I want to do another.”

   “That can happen—but we should leave some room for Three, Four, and Five before we go all Lizzie Borden.”

   “I guess. But move them along, huh?”

   “I will.”

   Carter clicked off. The phone would be dropped on a dark portion of I-10, its parts run over a thousand times before first light. She’d stop on a side street to wipe the mud off her license plate, so a cop wouldn’t stop her for that violation, and maybe remember it, if her car had been photographed as it passed near the murder scene. She giggled as she pulled off the blonde wig, threw it in the back seat, and settled down to drive.

   That whole thing with the executives and the board members? It had left a mark on her psyche, one not easy to rinse out. Not that she tried too hard.

 

 

THE FIVE


    We’re pleased to announce the death of the second of our designated assholes, U.S. Representative Clayton “Jack” Daniels of Brownsville, Texas. He was a real turd: a man of no morals, a liar, a racist, a deeply corrupt rabble-rouser who opposed the timely imposition of Covid-19 protective measures, a man whose vote in Congress was openly for sale to the highest bidder. He needed to go, for the safety of us all.

    One of us cut his throat with a straight razor early this morning—those are not easy to come by, in this day and age—and left his body in the alley behind the Asiatic Hotel in downtown Houston. Note to Houston police: look behind the dumpster. Another note to police: look for Bunny Blue’s fingerprints. They should be all over the bed.

    We put a numeral “2” on Daniels’ forehead and Americans will no longer have to put up with his political and sexual debaucheries.

    Again, to make the murder more interesting, each of the Five have placed an untraceable Bitcoin in a wallet with the address sent to the Texas Poverty Law Center, which leads the fight against Texas hate groups. At the time of the donation, each coin was worth $42,320 U.S. dollars for a total of $211,600. Will the TPLC accept the blood money? We shall see. Fun, isn’t it?

    The Five

    (Next up? We’re killing a real greedhead!!)

 

 

* * *

 

   —

   AS CARTER WAS rolling through the night toward New Orleans, Virgil Flowers, an agent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, was working late in front of a Lenovo computer. He looked up from page 388 of a 500-page printed Microsoft Word manuscript that had been edited in red ink, to the same manuscript on the computer screen. He corrected an on-screen typo and . . .

   Quit for the night.

   “Jesus.” No one awake to hear him. He’d been crouched over the screen for five hours and his back ached like fire. He stretched, scratched his head, yawned, and printed out the chapter he’d just edited.

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