Milton Van Moore’s schoolmates from East Grand Rapids would not have been surprised to see him, now.
In elementary school he had stolen their lunches. Rumors circulated of his cruelty to cats and to puppies. In Junior High, he terrorized all the other boys. In High School, at the prestigious East Grand Rapids High, he reigned supreme as the alpha dog. None of the wrestlers or boxers or football players dared challenge him. He held court behind the shop class, smoking cigarettes, swaggering, and feeling up his ever-growing cadre of girlfriends. His sycophants did his bidding. He dealt drugs with impunity.
Most of those other students, most of them now lawyers and doctors and rich professionals, cringed at the memory of how they kowtowed to their tormentor and they would have been happy to see where he was hiding, now.
He and Louie had fled to one of his Safe Houses. It was a bleak hovel, once a proud and rambling home for four large families. It had been deserted for a decade. It sat at the corner of Field Street and Kerchevel, in one of Detroit’s countless, hopeless, dying neighborhoods. Inside, a grand bay window butted out as if to make a stand against the neighborhood of crumbling crack houses, broken sidewalks, and street lights that no longer functioned – since all the copper wires had long ago been stolen and sold to scrap metal dealers.
Mattresses were jammed up against that window, with just a two-inch gap at the top. That, too, was hidden by dirty shades. All the windows were shuttered and closed. More filthy mattresses were piled against all the outside walls of the dump.
A bare lightbulb, hanging from a stripped wire in the ceiling, lit the scene: Louie and the creature that was once Milton Van Moore busily jamming 9 mm bullets into magazines for their twin Micro Uzi SMG’s. Louie was sweating heavily and repeatedly wiping his brow. Tiny Morrison, his dark face twisted into an animalistic snarl, focused on the problem at hand. His tiny eyes darted left and right, his hands worked automatically.
“When are the guys getting here?” asked Louie.
“Any minute,” said Tiny Morrison.
The two resumed their task.
Three Remington Model 700 rifles were stacked in the center of the room. Next to them was a 338 Lapua, Tiny Morrison’s personal favorite. His revolver sat on a wooden box filled with bullets.
“Is the plumbing working?” asked Louie. “I gotta take a shit.”
“Yeah,” said Tiny Morrison.
Freddie Jacobs drove his junky van down the road and parked it two blocks away. He and Spongy Hahnemann got out, locked the doors, and shambled down the sidewalk towards 2119 Field Street.
Tiny saw them coming and opened one of the front doors for them.
“Get in,” he said.
Freddie Jacobs, a tall, redhead with long, greasy hair, was the first to enter. His pockmarked face and slack-jawed expression spoke volumes. Dressed, as usual, in sweat pants and a Pink Floyd t-shirt, he was the first on the porch.
Hahnemann was a different sort of character. While he was another oily character, he dressed like a gentleman and had the body of a weightlifter. He stood about five-foot six inches tall. He wore his black hair slicked back and in a ponytail. His shrewd eyes surveyed the living room, where Tiny had laid out the weapons.
“It’s happening, again,” he said. Without another word, he patted his own pistol, hidden inside his shoulder harness, and sat about inspecting the long guns.