Episode 17: The Big Wrench
It was a fucking wrench alright, Kodek thought to himself, here he’d only been at his new job for two day (and had actually only spent one full morning there at the newspaper office since he’d started, if he was going to be honest). A wrench in his goddamned plans. Sure, maybe the whole newspaper reporter gig wasn’t working out exactly as he’d thought it might (with delusions of Woodard and Bernstein – and it had not been lost on Kodek that the whole Watergate thing had pretty much signaled the end of anything remotely left-wing in news media, as far as Kodek could see) but damn it all to fuck, it was something different than just going out and whacking corporate ops for Morimoto & Co.
Of course, hijacking a shipment of donated human organs was also different. Only, this was different in a bad way, and even Kodek the hitman could see that.
They’d been originally set up with a crew of six, four for front cover and two for the heist at the rear of the joint (and just what type of joint was this going to be, Kodek wondered? He was picturing something between a hospital and a grab-and-go sandwich joint. This whole thing stunk to high heaven, and not of anything remotely legitimate. The organs were probably on their fucking way to Bangkok. Great, that was all Kodek needed, was to get a gang of Thai organ traffickers after him. Fuck…)
So, anyway, the heist had originally been set-up with six guys. Well, there was supposed to be six, only one of these guys was supposed to be some Russian fuck who’d been killed in a car crash, which Kodek conveniently pretended to know absolutely nothing about, Ironically, Kodek himself was merely a replacement for the dead Russian, and Ernie had managed to track him down thanks to his nifty new job as a newspaper reporter (also slightly ironic). So now they had their crew of six back…
That was, until, Ernie showed up at Vicki the Vig’s Soho flat with Kodek in tow… Vicki had taken one look at Kodek with that one good eye of hers, which was on the side of her face that had not been re-formed by the 10-pound crescent wrench Kodek had smashed her in the face with six years ago, and that was pretty much that. Yeah, that had been bad, worse than heisting human organs from Bangkok gangsters, Kodek figured, because that whole wrench deal-y-o had been fucking personal. He’d had it in his head that Vicki had set them up over that botched London diamond heist six years back. Now, with the passing of time, Kodek wasn’t all that sure just what had happened that night. All he knew for sure is that whatever had transpired (something alien?) Chris was dead, and it had been a serious bloody fucking mess.
At any rate, he figured Vicki must’ve still been pissed at him about her face, because she took one look at the new addition to her organ-heisting crew and all of a sudden it was Ernie and Kodek on their own, Butch Cassidy and the fucking Sundance Kid, and Kodek remembered how that one had turned out. Which meant: any trouble at all with Bangkok gangsters, it would be just the two of them, in the middle of a heist taking place in an area of London that they were completely unfamiliar with…
Yeah, this was pretty bad. And now they were on the verge of being late, to boot.
Kodek followed Ernie through the labyrinth streets of Soho (and some of these streets would wind and web around a central six-road intersection just off of Leicester Square Station and circle right around back on each other, which Kodek figured must’ve been some marvel of road-physics engineering, as designed by interplanetary aliens just out to fuck with London tourists) and they passed through the crowd lined up for the Hippodrome nightclub, which Kodek found naggingly weird for some reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
They were about to arrive at the joint where the heist was about to go down, on foot, after having left the car parked many blocks many blocks away from even Vicki the Vig’s flat in order to avoid both noise and suspicion. It did not escape Kodek that this also meant they’d have to carry the shipment by hand and on foot back to the rendezvous. And of course, anybody with a how-to-pull-a-fucking-heist handbook would know that leaving your one and only getaway car without a driver parked half a mile back from the heist was not the grandest of plans. Ernie, to his credit, had wanted to hire some asshole off the street for a thousand pounds to sit and be the getaway driver. Kodek, to his credit, had seen too many Guy Ritchie movies to even think that would have been a good idea. So here they were. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Yee haw.
The back of the joint was all bricks and mortar. Kodek looked around the dark alley and saw the whole length of the block (or the backside of it, anyway) was all bricks and mortar. Perfect for trapping two idiots if you want to kill them fast and hard. Kodek could feel his gut getting its own inertia and wanting to drop out from under him.
They made their way along the alley, further into darkness and along the East wall, passing first some gnarly-looking gating, which looked to Kodek that the Brits hadn’t quite figured out the existence of barbed wire yet. Of course, back in the States barbed wire was hardly a deterrent for thieves and mischief-makers any more. But this British shit – hard steel that flowered into all sorts of points and stabbing mechanisms – well, it looked pretty medieval. Kodek supposed they had one up on U.S. security with that twisted shit.
They’d made it down to the third steel door, Kodek following Ernie, and neither of them having drawn their weapons yet (in order to further elude suspicion) when suddenly, it happened.
“Hey.” That was a voice with a slight Thai accent, echoing down the alley from behind.
Ernie stopped dead in his tracks and Kodek was likewise frozen behind him. “What should we do?” Ernie whispered.
“Not sure,” Kodek whispered back.
“Stop.” the Thai accent behind them commanded – softly, but it was definitely a do-or-die kind of command.
“I’m going to turn around,” Kodek whispered to Ernie.
“You sure?” Ernie asked.
“What else are we gonna do?” Kodek asked back.
Ernie just shrugged, and then they both turned around, instinctively raising their hands into the air, showing that they were unarmed (or rather, they hadn’t had the chance to draw their weapons, being caught totally off-guard, and all that).
Suddenly, Kodek wished he was back at home with Anna, naked in bed with her, fucking her brains out.
Or really, anywhere but here right at this moment…
“What the fuck are you guys doing?” Thai Boy demanded. He looked unarmed himself, save for the two cooler packs he was carrying, one in each arm. Kodek actually had to break a smile, because the guy looked like some Chinese food delivery kid. Kodek wouldn’t have been surprised to see a bike parked at the other end of the alley with a storage box strapped to the back.
“You’re not supposed to go inside,” Thai Boy informed them.
“Oh,” they both said, somewhat in unison.
Thai Boy hoisted an eyebrow. “And you can put your arms down, if you want.”
They agreed, then, and did just that.
“Here,” Thai Boy said as he set the cooler-boxes down on the ground. He reached into his back pocket and-
Suddenly, both Ernie’s and Kodek’s guns were drawn, pointing at the kid. The kid who didn’t even blink at the fact two 9-millimeter barrels were now pointing at his face and balls. He continued to retrieve from the back of his jeans… A thick wad of cash. Hundred-pound notes.
“Take it easy, fellas,” the kid said to them, and smiled as if slightly amused now. “You Americans sure are jumpy.” He handed the cash over to them. Fifteen thousand pounds sterling, they would discover later when they finally stopped to count it. “Now,” Thai Boy said, back to serious business, “ You make sure your contact gets both of these coolers. Both of them, you understand? Or there will be hell to pay.”
Ernie: “These are the organs, right?” He got an elbow in the ribs from Kodek for asking that, too.
Thai Boy simply rolled his eyes. Look, you make the delivery, no problems, okay?”
Both of them: “Okay.”
“Cool,” and with that, Thai Boy turned and walked away. They watched to see where he would go, when he reached the end of the alley he turned left, and after the sound of a motor scooter kicking up, he disappeared… and a moment later they saw him riding off with on his bike with a stack of pizza boxes strapped to the back, steam billowing off of the hot food in the cool night air, heading in the other direction.
“Well, then…” Ernie started, as he and Kodek both put their guns away. “What the fuck?”
Kodek couldn’t have agreed more.
Now all they had to do was figure out who this contact was, before somebody really did mean to do them some serious harm.