Connected series from W W Watson

The first book in the Connected series; Dello Green…


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Small Problems for Big People

County Waste Transfer Station

Jimmy West

Jimmy West backed his big Dodge around to an open dumpster container, late afternoon was a perfect time. The county residents not in evidence: The large trucks done with their routes for the day: The dump about to close down for another day. Whenever he had something to dispose of and he needed privacy, he timed it so that he was here in the late afternoon just as he was now.

Smith, who now resided in the trunk of the Dodge, had met him on a back road of the local base. That was not as risky as it seemed. The base had been a small winter camp back in the early nineteen hundreds: When it had expanded the first time it had incorporated an entire nearby village. The whole township: Farms, streets, fields. At the third expansion, when it became a major base most people had forgotten about the old township and its farms and roads rotting away on the vast reservation. Jimmy, who had grown up in the area, had not.

Jimmy handled problems for different people. Very many of those people did favors for, or had business dealings with, people who had bad habits. Theft. Gambling. Prostitution, drugs, just to name a few. And many of those people with those bad habits got to know Jimmy West because they also had another bad habit: They constantly forgot to pay their debts.

Jimmy could see how a two dollar debt might slip someone’s mind. After all it was insignificant, but a three thousand dollar debt? Or even a thirty thousand dollar debt? No. He could not see how a debt that large could slip anyone’s mind. He couldn’t see how a debt that large wouldn’t be on your mind day and night until you had it paid, settled. Somehow, for some, it wasn’t that way and that was unfortunate for them because it meant they would most likely be getting a visit from Jimmy. A personal collection, so to speak.

Jimmy had a certain propensity for violence. His psychological evaluations in the service had shown an aptitude for following orders without question, and a certain flexibility of morals that some would find alarming, but which the government had used him for more than once. Killing didn’t seem to affect him the way it did others. In fact, it didn’t bother him at all. Killing was part of the job. That was how he looked at it then: And that was how he had explained his lack of empathy to the Army shrink that had debriefed him when he had resigned after his second tour. It was nothing special, it was how he was built. It was something his boss, Jojo White appreciated.

Jojo White ran the largest organized crime outfit on the east coast. He had met West fresh out of the service when some of those aptitudes had nearly gotten him killed. He had embraced that side of him. He employed West to fix problems for him.

Jimmy shut down the car and walked around to the back, looking in all directions, trying not be obvious as he did it: There was no one around. He keyed the trunk lock and the lid rose slowly.

West looked down into the trunk: Smith had been easy. Sometimes ordinary people picked up information or habits that became liabilities. When that happened Jimmy’s phone would ring. Not every problem he took care of knew something, but if need be every one of those problems had given up their information before he had allowed them to die.

Two weeks before it had been a reporter from Syracuse. He had gotten a little too close: Spooked White. White had put Jimmy on him. He had taken him out after have someone meet him in a bar. Men could be so easy like that. He had used one of White’s girls, and the reporter had followed her back to what he thought was her hotel room for a fun time. It was Jimmy’s hotel room, rented only to do the job. A few hours later he had carried him out to his car in his luggage. Today he had come here.

Smith had been selling in Jojo White’s cocaine territory. A bad idea. Jimmy knew he had sold the idea to a local bookie he had been in deep with. Move in, steal a little territory, sell fast and get the fuck out before Jojo even knew he had been there. It all sounded so easy when you were blue-skying it.

The bookie, Jimmy assumed, had passed the message on quietly: Was it worth the relief of a five thousand dollar debt? Ten thousand? Whatever it had been that Smith’s gambling habit had racked up, it had been wiped out: The man who held the reigns on those debts had forgiven it.

Jimmy, if forced to guess, would say that had been Jojo White, or someone who worked for Jojo. He was the biggest and the baddest: The most likely to be able to capitalize on information like that.

Jimmy didn’t like to guess though, guessing could get you dead pretty damn quick. So while he had curiosities about some things he handled, they were not strong enough curiosities to encourage him to ask a single question that he was not supposed to ask, ever. The jobs came through his cell. He answered, said yes in the right places and did the work: When the work was done he called another number. Later that day or the next the payment arrived in his bank account. A few times he had met with Jojo at his request. Sometimes he had met with others that also worked for Jojo, but for the most part he worked alone and took his orders over the phone.

He looked down into the trunk at the bundled and bagged remains of Smith. He was packaged up with actual garbage. He preferred to stop by a local nursing home and pick up a few bags from their dumpster to do the packaging with. It kept people from looking too closely.

He had met Smith on one of those back roads. It was a good place to meet even when there were maneuvers going on, and there had been.

Maneuvers meant gunfire, even live rounds. The whole area was off limits during maneuvers and training sessions, but he couldn’t have cared less about that. It was easy enough to sneak in, he had met him in a small clearing just off a one lane blacktop that had been chewed to bits over the years by tank treads, on the promise that he needed to show him something very important. He had taken him around to the trunk. He had been eager, probably thinking this was his way into the drug trade. The lid had risen to a plastic lined interior and he had shot him twice in the temple as the puzzled look had still been riding on his face. There had been no need to question him: There was nothing he knew that anyone needed to know: He had simply been unfortunate enough to have the audacity to challenge Jojo White.

A plastic rain suit had slipped right over his own clothes, and he had gone to work with an ax and a sharp knife that had been laying on the floor of the trunk waiting. By early afternoon the bagged remains had been resting in his trunk and he had been on his way to the transfer station.

He reached down, hefted the first bag out of the trunk and launched it into the huge steel container. Five minutes later he was finished and had paid his dumping fee as he left, smiling up at the woman in the office as he passed over the scales and drove out the gate.

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