WHAT YOU SEE….
Isn’t Always What You Get.
by Ann ♥♪HB♪♥
Later, after Joe had retrieved the book from Gino, the Hardys got ready to take down Jimmy and the other corrupt businessmen named in the ledger. They’d already called Sam Radley, a detective and friend, to come help.
Right before the time was up, Joe, disguised as Frank and still driving the impressive sports car, rolled into the parking lot of the warehouse where the meeting had been agreed to. Jimmy had wanted it to be at one of his warehouses, but Joe had told him that it was this one or he wouldn’t show. His uncompromising words over the phone apparently convinced Jimmy, because it was agreed to.
Joe felt the adrenaline rush of what they were about to do. He couldn’t ignore the fear that things wouldn’t turn out the way they’d planned….but he wouldn’t worry about that. He’d just do what he needed to do to the best of his ability. And keep praying.
As soon as he reached the side door, it was opened.
“Is this where the honest businessmen’s seminar and luncheon is being held?” Joe grinned. “I hear Jimmy is up for Thug of the Year award.”
The guy at the door with the gun didn’t have a sense of humor and indicated for Joe to step into the warehouse. As he did so, the youngest Hardy was glad he was still wearing his shades since that made the light adjustment much easier. Blinking nonetheless, Joe’s contacts weren’t the most comfortable things in the world and he felt empathy for anyone who wore them all of the time.
He spotted Jimmy up ahead, waiting. The mob boss nodded to one of his men, who frisked Joe for a weapon or a listening device. They didn’t find any, but they kept his glasses.
“How’re you doing, Jimmy? Guess those oysters weren’t in red tide, huh?” Joe noted.
“You have my book?” Jimmy looked like he was in a bad mood.
“Uh, yes…and no.”
“Do you understand who you are dealing with here, kid?” Jimmy bellowed. Apparently he was done being the “jovial” guy he’d portrayed at the restaurant. Or tried to portray.
“A slimeball?” Joe suggested with a raise of his brows, buying just a little more time for everything to be in place that needed to be. “The book is somewhere safe. I’ll tell you where it is and then when one of your goons goes and retrieves it and calls back that he has it, you will let me go and leave my family alone.”
“Sure, Hardy, we’ll do it your way.” Jimmy suddenly went from being belligerent to almost chortling, deciding there was no way that this Hardy guy was going to win. “First, though, you have to fight one of my guys, to give you a little taste of what will happen if you double-cross me. A lesson, so to speak.” Jimmy pointed toward two of his men, who moved aside to reveal a guy sitting in a chair, waiting.
Joe’s eyes widened as he looked up and up some more as the giant rose to his feet. At six foot, Joe wasn’t often dwarfed, but right then he felt like he was the size of a five year old. Not only was the guy taller, but he looked like he wouldn’t even sway slightly in a full-scale hurricane.
“Man, what do you eat?” Joe asked, knowing prayer and speed would be the most important factors of his best defense.
“Punks like you.”
Joe gave a short laugh. “Why did I have the feeling you were going to say that?”
Neutralizing the giant was essential, speedily and effectively, or Joe was going to get badly hurt. They wouldn’t kill him yet because they didn’t know where the book was.
Joe didn’t wait around, head-butting the giant in the solar plexus, and then followed that with seven elbow strikes, the last being a punch to the jaw. Dazed, the giant wasn’t ready when Joe quickly grabbed one of his opponent’s shoulders with both hands while bringing his own knee up fast, repeatedly connecting with the giant’s head, which had a devastating effect on the guy’s consciousness.
Finished, Joe looked over at Jimmy. “Nice lesson, so to speak. Did you learn anything?”
“I can’t believe it.” The mob boss was staring in shock at the downed giant, a modern-day Goliath.
“The Philistines were pretty shocked, too. David nor I got beaten, disappointing goons like you,” Joe told him.
Jimmy glared at Joe, “Okay, Frank Hardy, you better get me my book or we’ll see how well you do dealing with a bullet.”
“I compared myself to David, not Superman,” Joe said. Another male voice was suddenly heard.
“Actually, his name isn’t Frank Hardy, or David or Superman, for that matter.” A tall man with auburn hair said wryly, stepping forward, surprising Jimmy and his mob. Suddenly all guns were trained on the newcomer, who didn’t change expression or look overly concerned at all.
“I wouldn’t get too carried away there,” the new guy commented, addressing Jimmy. “Your guard at the door didn’t fare too well when he tried to stop me.”
Jimmy sent a guy to check, who came back to report that the guard was indeed out.
“Who are you?” Jimmy asked with a snarl.
“Here to keep you from making a big mistake. You know, sort of a designated hitter, if you’ll pardon the expression.” The man named an associate of Jimmy’s from another state. “Ever hear of him?”
“You mean you work for him?” Jimmy asked.
“I don’t ‘work’ for anyone. I have helped in some….situations. Fixing the situations.”
“So, what’s going on?”
The auburn-haired man strode over to Joe, “I don’t like having to repeat myself.” He reached a hand out to hold it in front of Joe’s face. “Take the contacts out.”
Jimmy watched as Joe looked as if to balk, but then the auburn-haired man looked at Joe, who, despite having just fought the giant and won, immediately did as he said. Putting his head down, he took out the dark contacts. When he lifted his head back up, green eyes were then seen. Time had been spent earlier working on that trick of having emerald contacts covering his sapphire irises.
“And his hair is usually yellow.”
“Yellow? Try blond,” Joe started to say, but fell silent when the auburn-haired man looked at him again.
“Take a look at this driver’s license.” The auburn-haired man handed Jimmy a card.
“John Baynes?” Jimmy asked, reading the name and seeing a picture of what Joe supposedly usually looked like. “Why?”
“What would you do if I told you he had been hired to kill you and your guys?”
“The correct word would be ‘whom’,” said the auburn-haired man. “He picked this place out, right?”
The ‘designated-hitter’ nodded, and was about to point something out, when there was suddenly a shout from the doorway. As everyone turned, they saw a police officer, likely patrolling the area, standing in the now open doorway. He didn’t get to do more than ask what was going on before there was a shot and he dropped instantly to the ground. Apparently the auburn-haired man was a dead-shot.
“You….you killed a cop!” Jimmy blurted out.
The taller man didn’t even respond, he just put his gun back in its shoulder holster under his jacket and then turned calmly back to speak with the mob boss. “We likely don’t have much time. The officer probably radioed in about activity in this condemned warehouse. Others will be here shortly. So listen quickly.” He saw he had Jimmy’s attention as well as his thugs’. “The ledger business is the least of your worries. Your accountant doesn’t have anything to do with what is happening right here. This guy–” He indicated Joe. “He planned on drawing you here with the ledger, and well, you know what happens when someone wants to gain territory, they hire someone. Someone to put explosives in warehouses.”
As the auburn-haired man talked, with purposeful movement as with everything he’d done so far there, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small device. “This is the remote detonator that was hidden in his car.”
“It wouldn’t have worked!” blurted out Jimmy. “I was going to kill him before he left here after I got my book.”
“I doubt you would have been successful.” The auburn-haired man’s mocking tone steamed Jimmy.
“No way this punk kid was going to beat Jimmy!” snapped the mob boss.
A half-smile played on the auburn-haired man’s face. “It’s always time to worry when they start referring to themselves in third-person. If you gentlemen, and I use the term very loosely, want to avoid the police, I suggest you leave by that door in the back. If this is timed just right, I can not only take care of this guy, but maybe some more cops, too.”
Jimmy’s eyes got big at his words. The guy must be crazy, he thought. He nodded to his men and they quickly exited the building. Right into the open, welcoming arms of the law.
“Hey! Don’t go in there! The guy’s crazy!” Jimmy yelled as some of the police officers moved toward the warehouse. The detective in charge, Phil Diamond, smiled and walked over to the mob boss. He was holding a book.
“I’ve been doing some interesting reading, Jimmy. Want to hear about it?” the detective asked. Jimmy just barely glanced at the ledger, his focus still on the warehouse. Seeing the mob boss still looking at the building, he spoke again. “You say someone’s in there? Who?”
“Whom…‘whom’ is in there,” Jimmy said mechanically, yet he was just as incorrect as earlier.
“Someone you are scared of, apparently.” Detective Diamond called to another officer. “Edward, go check it out.”
“No!” Jimmy shouted. “He’s going to blow the whole place up.”
“So he’s not one of your guys?”
“No, well, he takes care of some things….for other people!” Jimmy hurried to say.
“You mean like…loose ends?”
“Yeah, loose ends,” Jimmy agreed.
“Wonder what he’s going to think when he sees you talking with us.”
“What?” Jimmy looked like he was about to pass out when he realized what the detective was saying. He was suddenly hit with an idea on how to make things work to his advantage. “Get me outta here, put me in witness protection, and I’ll tell you all I know.”
The detective looked thoughtful for a moment, as if considering it. Something beyond the police detective’s shoulder drew Jimmy’s attention. The auburn-haired man was standing a distance away from the crowd of law enforcement officers gathered in the outer parking lot. He knew Jimmy had seen him, as he was supposed to.
Holding up the remote, he allowed the mob boss to see as he pushed the button. The area was then rocked with the explosion. The police officers, along with Jimmy, escaped the force of the blast, since it was situated toward the other side of the building. The side where Jimmy and his thugs, as well as that guy pretending to be Frank Hardy, had been talking only several minutes ago.
Shaken, Jimmy turned again to the detective, his face fearful. “Do we have a deal?”
“You should talk, just so we put you in jail for a long time. After all, I don’t think you want to be near any warehouses. Especially exploding ones,” smiled Detective Diamond. A short time later, Jimmy and his thugs were whisked away in police cruisers, glad to be out of there.