A Sneak Peek at Sasha McCoy Freelancer
YOU CAN’T CHOOSE YOUR DEATH.
Those were her mother’s words as she lay in her deathbed. No more than you can choose the family you are born to.
How true is that? She wondered as she surveyed her present situation.
My life has finally caught up with me.
Somehow she managed a smile, miraculous considering her current situation. She scoffed at the moniker Madam and turned an evil eye on those who called her a female pimp. For thirty-seven years she was in the business. She wielded power. She was power. She ran the city with a strong hand . . . a hand that reached from Las Vegas to Southern California and parts of Mexico. Now three years retired and her former life was returning to haunt her.
Actually—to kill her.
“Stupid,” she said to herself. “Pure stupid. This dumb shit shouldn’t be happening now.”
She didn’t understand. She was sixty-years-old and crawling on the floor with a bullet in the meaty part of her left thigh. She had put her past life behind her and didn’t know why anyone would target her now. This was why she’d left the game, for this very reason: she didn’t want to end up in a pool of her own blood.
I’m too old for this shit.
It was the same thought that convinced her to walk away. The game had changed. Although she ruled with a steel hand, she had to leave the game behind before the game caught up with her. The young charges didn’t believe in respect anymore. Probably couldn’t spell respect. So why chance it? She made her bones and did what a smart businesswoman was supposed to do—leave the game while she was still standing upright.
Now she didn’t know how long that would last.
Internally she was kicking herself. Her princess had told her to pack her bags and move to a tropical island, anywhere far from the city of sin. But she had taken over the city from its previous owner and become the self-proclaimed Queen of Sin City. This was her home, and she couldn’t leave.
Now I am paying for my foolish decision to retire in the city I love. How stupid of me.
She didn’t know for sure how many of the young fools were gunning for her. She knew she had iced four of them. Good thing she still kept her babies in the nightstand by her bed—two pearl-handled special-editions Beretta 98s and a platinum-plated .357 Magnum handgun.
Call me old school or a girl who loves big things.
She blew holes through two of the young bucks’ chests and gave a serious stomachache to another. The fourth she shot in the throat as he was telling his boys down below that she had been shot in the leg.
Wish I had caught him before he opened his mouth.
From years of experience, she could tell there were at least four more, maybe more. Ironically, her mind had been in a reflective state prior to this home attack, trying to recall how she got started in this crazy ass business. Instead of figuring out why, she just remembered the good and crazy times she’d experienced. It was a good ride. She loved the excitement and adventure.
When she walked away from the business she never gave a thought to it ending this way. Not during retirement. In her mind, this type of scenario was supposed to happen when she was deep in the game. Not now!
Who is behind this craziness? Why? And why now?
Evidently, somebody had missed the memo. This was no longer her chosen profession.
She wasn’t a big or even small fish anymore. She was no fish.
But she knew someone wanted his or her reputation to reverberate throughout the neighborhood, courtesy of the Queen.
She looked at the young boys on the floor, and that was exactly what they were—young, wet-behind-the-ears, probably never-been-laid boys. They reminded her of the youngsters she had always tried to teach a thing or two. These boys reminded her of her own prince and princess—Dave and Sasha.
Poor and misguided Dave. Could he be behind all of this? she wondered.
“Please, God, don’t let it be Dave,” she said in a soft voice that lacked her usual confidence. “We’ve had our misunderstandings, but the love we have shared over the years has to outweigh the minor disagreements.”
In a way, she felt sorry for whoever was responsible for attempting to take her life tonight.
My baby, Princess, doesn’t know the meaning of the word forgiveness. She redefines wildcat and an eye for an eye. I just hope she doesn’t get too carried away with revenge.
She missed her daughter. She wished she knew where she was at that very moment. Wished she could pick up the phone, dial a number, and within two shakes, Princess would be there saving the day. However, the lemons life served didn’t always make lemonade.
Two more boys rushed through the door and the woman known throughout Las Vegas as Queen B shot the first one in the gut. She dropped the second one with a headshot. She could see the young kid’s brains splattered on the walls. She was sure he’d never used them for anything useful or constructive.
She was old. Her aging body wasn’t what it used to be. She was no longer the long-legged heifer who could run like a gazelle and kick like a raging kangaroo. However, she was still as proficient as ever with her firearms.
Somehow, she managed to dive through the doorway into the hallway, her Berettas blasting. She knew she hit at least five or six intruders coming up both sides of her double spiral staircases. She pulled out her Magnum and managed to take out another four before they hit the foot of the staircases. She didn’t see any more intruders and felt relieved. She quickly grabbed her ammo from her shoulder-strap ammo pouches and started reloading just in case.
She smiled at the thought that whoever was behind her murder attempt sent a ton of young charges to take out one old woman.
The good old days. I remember a time when I would take the offensive and rush downstairs with both guns blazing, spare weapons in shoulder holsters. The good old days.
If she could, she would tip her hat to her days of old, toast her days of grandeur. Life had been very good to her. As much as she would like to call it a troubled life, she couldn’t. Unfortunately, she had known too many who had dealt with much more adversity in their lives than she had. Still, the youngest of four girls, she had the dubious honor of burying her grandparents, her mom and dad, her three sisters and her worthless stepfather after she’d killed him for constantly beating and abusing her mom, and raping her and two of her sisters.
He was the first of many men she’d killed.
They all deserved to die at her hand.
For thirty-seven years she often wondered how her demise would take place. For the past twenty-five years, she had enjoyed the moniker Queen, or Queen B. She ruled the world of whoredom and criminality in the city of sin and the West Coast. She was known throughout the nation and overseas as a ruthless and no-nonsense pimp. And she survived that madness.
For the last three years since retirement, her life had been different, been good—and the thought of dying had never once entered her mind. She was finally enjoying the easy life. She smiled internally at the thought that many didn’t know her real name—Deana McWhorter. The name that would grace her headstone.
Tonight, she felt her age and she knew that number betrayed her. She had outlived the women in her life, from her grandmothers to her sisters. Now she hoped her princess would outlive her.
Sometimes—it only takes a moment.
For Deana McWhorter, it would be a moment of thought she wished she had back as she failed to notice the new young charges who rushed into the house. The first bullet hit her shoulder and her right arm went numb. She managed to get off two shots, which took out one of the shooters, but now she felt weak. The second bullet had grazed her neck.
Then she heard the voice behind her say to the young charges, “It’s OK, I got the Queen Bitch now.”
She was completely disappointed and mad at herself. She’d never seen it coming. It had to be someone who had the code to her security system. It’s always the one you least expect, she thought to herself.
Inside she smiled at a life fulfilled. Outwardly, a smirk skewed her face. She wished she had more time.
Please, God, wake me up from this nightmare.
The thing she hated most was betrayal. She loved her princess Sasha, and her overzealous Dave. She always treated her girls and everyone in her employment like people, not animals. She made sure they knew how much she cared about their well-being and families. It was a cutthroat business, but she was the boss and she made it tolerable, livable, enjoyable and financially stable.
“Why?” she asked her soon-to-be killer.
“Because I must,” was the weak reply.
She felt the tears falling down her cheeks. At this point the only thing she could do was cry. Betrayal was not a sweet pill to swallow. In the days and weeks to come, it would be the lie that she cried before she died that would dominate the story of her death. In reality, she shed tears for the betrayal she felt. A betrayal that would leave her dead in body—and soul.
Before the trigger was pulled and the words of her killer softly stated, “I love you,” the last thing Deana McWhorter screamed was, “Princessssssssss!”
A GOOD DAY FOR KILLING.
I was sure that’s what my horoscope said that morning. If not, that was what it should have said. From my viewpoint, it was a great day for killing, a better day for dying.
Partying late, waking up later. Nice swims, day and night. Damn, I loved this island. Nothing quite like Hawaii, except the beaches in Sicily, the Caribbean, Mexico and a host of other places to which I had traveled.
I wasn’t being disrespectful to Hawaii. I really did love the island. There was nothing like the morning, waking to the rising sun or feeling the drizzle of falling raindrops during monsoon season. Just before dawn on the main island of Oahu was heavenly, and certainly worth living for.
I also loved Hawaii because it seemed as if it was a million miles away from where I was born and raised—the original city of sin, Las Vegas. Always copied, never duplicated.
I sat in my Orange Pineapple taxicab outside the Honolulu airport in the pre-dawn light, waiting on my fare, Abdullah Azizi Mufar, son of a Saudi Arabian oil baron. My employer had arranged with the Orange Pineapple Cab Company that I would be the driver for our special guest. Mufar was an enemy of the United States. He was behind many acts of terrorism throughout the world. He had been connected to at least seven terrorist attacks within the past two years. The last two involved the bombing of American embassies in Peru and North Africa. He’d finally gotten what he wanted—enough national attention to put him on the Top Five hit list. He’d gotten the attention of the U.S. government and the attention of The Company—my employer.
I continued to chill in my borrowed taxi, snacking on fresh pineapples from one of the plantations on the island. As I waited, thoughts of my time on the island in the past and during this visit drifted through my head.
Driving, touring and exploring the island of Oahu brought me a certain peace, a serenity I never found in the continental United States.
The first place I visited every time I set foot on the island was the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. A solemn site for many, it gave me a sense of pride. I proudly served my country, and just the thought of what those who had perished did to make it possible for me and others to serve the country filled me with pride and gratitude.
Sometimes I wondered about the eleven hundred plus sailors who’d lost their lives on that dreaded day in December of 1941. I could feel their spirit and soul whenever I visited the site. I thought about their families and hoped the wives and children they would never see again or the grandchildren or great grandchildren they would never meet visited the memorial every now and then to pay homage to the sailors’ sacrifices.
While here I also made my rounds to the six military installations on Oahu. And if I was fortunate enough to be in Hawaii on a Wednesday or Saturday, I always made it a point to visit the flea market held in Aloha Stadium—the home of the NFL Pro Bowl.
As thoughts of the things I’d done here before floated through my mind, I realized I wanted to spend some leisure time in Oahu after this mission. It was a mindless thought on my part. Maybe it was just wishful thinking. Even if I didn’t have another mission after this one, spending time in the city after the mission was frowned upon at the CIA, especially if that city was a small island called Paradise.
My phone rang, bringing me back to reality. It was my handler.
Codename: Cobra Blue.
I’d never liked my middleman. He was a parasite from the first day I met him. His beet red face gave him the appearance of permanent sunburn, he was short and a hamburger away from being pudgy. His hair was thinning up top, and his face always sported a five-day growth of beard. If his purpose was to throw off the bad guys by looking like something someone discarded, he was doing a great job of it.
Cobra Blue was calling from inside the Honolulu airport. Every blue moon, he supervised a mission in country. Meaning, he stepped away from his office in San Francisco and stepped out where the rubber met the road.
This time the road was in Hawaii, so he definitely wanted to be on the frontlines for this mission. The man was responsible for at least three other field officers that I knew of and I wondered if he was a pain in the ass to them as well.
He informed me the target was on his way out.
Mufar had briefed his partners in crime in Honolulu that he would be arriving in two days. We intercepted the call and coerced his small contingent of bad players into dealing with us. Of course, the coercion included killing three members of their group before the other two would cooperate.
Sometimes, we must do what we must do. I laughed at my own silliness. Death wasn’t funny to me, but destroying our nation’s enemies made me feel good inside.
I spotted the ambitious Abdullah Azizi Mufar as he exited the terminal. I could see why he fit in well in American culture. He was smooth shaven with a chestnut brown complexion, a neatly trimmed thick, black mustache and a combination curly and nappy mini-Afro. The only thing that distinguished him as a Middle Easterner was his mustache, but a casual glance at his appearance made him look more like an African-American man with a thick mustache.
I pulled up slowly by the curbside and parked. The man recognized the cab and its number. He had also been given my basic identity: Dodgers baseball cap, light brown complexion, short hair. Nothing extravagant, just blending in with the other cabbies.
He immediately jumped in with only a small carry-on bag in his possession. It was strange, but Azizi Mufar didn’t believe in traveling with an entourage. He believed in blending in and what better way to stay low key than flying on a commercial airliner by yourself.
He didn’t speak. I knew where I was supposed to drop him off. That was if I was his real scheduled driver.
As soon as I turned onto the main drag departing the airport I looked in my rearview mirror and saw my passenger looking out the window. He started to yawn and I immediately surveyed my surroundings for other vehicles and pedestrians, then lifted my SIG Sauer P6 from the side of my seat and surprised my passenger with a point-blank shot to the head. The hollow point round exited his head and cracked the back windshield.
I pulled off the main drag at the next turn fifty feet away before anyone noticed the bullet hole or the brain matter splattered over the back windshield. I parked the cab in a back alley not far from the airport. I had been there before. Cobra Blue had already arranged for someone to pick up the car, clean it up, wipe it down and return it to the cab company. The bullet hole in the windshield could easily be explained away by our clean-up guy. Besides blood and brains, the clean up would be easy. I didn’t believe in leaving a mess. Because of the gloves I wore, no fingerprints or hair follicles would be trace back to me. And our guys were the best at cleaning up a mess, including ensuring no traces of Azizi Mufar were in the cab.
Mufar had pressing business in Honolulu. He had plans to meet with two other terrorist leaders—Jin Con Chen of North Korea and retired Army Brigadier General MacLean Baxter, U.S. born, and Army bred and raised.
My job was simple. Eliminate all three before the planned meeting. One down, two to go. Number two would certainly be easier.
Or so I thought.
The sunrise was so beautiful this time of morning. Damn, I loved Hawaii.