Trigger Brown slouched down and scoped the mall’s food court. He was pleased with his choice of tables .His crew enjoyed an unobstructed view of the ATM on the far wall, yet they were too far away to arouse suspicion. Trigger’s real name was Lemanuel Brown, but to his dealers, customers and competitors, he was Trigger. The boy loved handguns and was considered a shooter. He had three kills to his credit, two rival dealers and a ninety-year-old woman who had pissed him off.
Trigger was dressed for a hit. It was important to dress in a manner that would be easy for a witness to describe, but so generically—“young black dude”— that the description would fit two-thirds of the males in the mall; sort of the hidden-in-plain-view concept.
Trigger caught himself in the mall’s mirrors and smiled. Baggy denim pants sagging six inches below his waist, a XXX Atlanta Falcon’s football jersey, oversize Air Jordans, all accented by a scarlet do-rag. His Glock rested in the deep side pockets of his cargo pants. Trigger was locked, loaded and ready to rock and roll. All he needed was a target.
The rest of his crew tilted back in their chairs, munching on fries from the nearby Burger King. This was a veteran crew who’d worked together since elementary school. Tomasha Lee Grant was known on the street as “Doo doo,” because he was the color of baby s poop. Doo Doo was dumber than chicken litter, but he was the best wheel man in Alabama. His driving skills had saved their asses on more than one occasion. He couldn’t hit his momma’s fat ass with a pistol, but always stowed a sawed off shotgun under the driver’s seat.
Doo Doo nudged Kamala Ali Foster, street name “Bones,” with the toe of his shoe. Bones was Trigger’s back-up shooter, always covering Trigger’s back. The tall, skinny kid responded by slapping Doo Doo’s foot away. “Watch it, mothafucka. Don’ be puttin’ yo nasty feet on my outfit. I’ll be kickin’ yo short fat ass all over this mall.”
“Don’t be so touchy, asshole; I thought you might like to note that fine little black ass over at Chic-Fil-A.”
“Dammit, Doo Doo,” Trigger said. “Try to keep yo mind on the mission. We ain’t gonna get nothin’ but gash from that skank, and what we need is working capital. Keep yo eyes peeled for a target, not some wore-out slut.”
Trigger was captain of his own crew because he understood basic business principals. He understood the need to build their own meth lab, to cut out the manufacturers and dealers draining their profits. Trigger controlled the local distribution system of underage kids that muled the product, and he wanted to improve their risk-reward ratio. Trigger needed capital, and the ATM was loaded with it. He intended to make an indirect withdrawal this morning.
Carol Forester paused to admire her new do before she left Gloria’s Salon of Fashion. Not bad for an eighty-two-year old broad, she thought; not bad at all. Carol worked out at the spa on a regular basis, and still had her girlish figure. Granted, things sagged here and there, but for her age, she could more than hold her own. Her husband of sixty-four years still couldn’t keep his hands off her. Thanks to a killer libido and Cialis, he managed to overcome the aches and pains of old age to perform regularly. Still in love after all this time, they made love more than most thirty-year-olds.
She’d tipped Gloria with the last of her cash, and since the ATM was on her way out of the mall, she might as well stop and save a trip later. She headed across the food court and passed a table of young black men kicked back, enjoying the sights of the mall. She smiled, but she couldn’t make eye contact with the group.
“Oh well, I guess they don’t have time for an old white woman,” she mused.
Carol stopped at the ATM and withdrew two hundred dollars. She put the twenties and the receipt in her purse.
“Lord, let me remember to enter this in the checkbook. It drives Jimmy crazy when I forget.” The automatic doors leading to the enclosed parking deck opened as she approached them. The three young men she’d seen stood and followed her out.
Jimmy had lost a leg on Tarawa, and it entitled them to handicapped parking, and Carol’s car was just outside the mall entrance. She opened her door with the remote key, and glanced over her shoulder to see the three men staring in her direction. Carol didn’t much like the look she got, and decided to keep an eye out as she exited the garage. Two floors down, she passed the three guys getting into an old blue Chevy Caprice. They had backed into the parking space, and she couldn’t see their license plate. She pulled out into the flow of traffic, and noticed that the Caprice turned and followed her.
A stab of fear hit her with shocking intensity. She reached into her purse and got her cell phone and dialed her home number. Jimmy picked it up on the second ring.
“Forester residence,” he said.
“Hey, babe,” Carol said. “I think I’m being stalked by three men who followed me from the mall.”
“What makes you think they’re stalking you?” Jimmy asked.
“I saw them in the mall just before I went to the ATM, and they followed me into the parking deck.”
“That doesn’t sound so good. Are they still following you?”
“They’re about three cars back.”
“Come on home. I’ll call the cops and tell them what’s happening, and I’ll be out watering the flowers by the side of the house when you get here. Pull on past me and stop at the back door. As soon as you stop, go in the house and watch to see if they follow you into the driveway. If they do, call the cops again.”
“Jimmy, just what are you planning to do if they come into the driveway?”
“I won’t do anything unless they get out of the car. If they do that, I’ll try to delay them with a diversion.”
“And if that doesn’t work?”
“Then I’ll come in the front door.”
“Jimmy, you be careful. You already have the Navy Cross; don’t try to be a hero again.”
“Don’t worry, babe. I’m older and smarter than the kid on Tarawa, and it ain’t 1943.”
“Just be careful.”
Trigger saw the old woman signal a left hand turn into a small grey shingled house surrounded by large privet hedges. “Perfect, now pull in the driveway and stop when you clear the street. This is gonna be easy pickins’.”
Doo Doo whipped the car into the driveway and slid to a stop. Trigger and Bones jumped out of the car just as Carol entered her back door. They assumed the gangsta gun pose: standing straight with their gun arms stiffly at eye level and their pistols turned to the side. We’re looking good, thought Trigger. Just like TV.
Out of the corner of his eye Trigger noticed an old man on a crutch watering a flower bed. “Get on yo face, motherfucka, ‘fore I do yo ass right here.”
The old man dropped to his good knee. And as he went down, he reached behind him, pulled a Colt Army .45 from the back of his belt, and assumed a two-handed shooting position. He sent three well-aimed shots through the idling car’s windshield.
Pieces of Doo Doo’s head splattered against the seat in a pool of red. Trigger and Bones began shouting and shooting wildly. Standing straight up and turning the gun sideways didn’t do much for their marksmanship and they didn’t come close to their target.
The old man was not rattled by their screams or their shots. This wasn’t his first time in combat. He calmly put three rounds into the body mass of each shooter, knocking them halfway into the street. Later the police would count twenty-one rounds fired by the shooters, none of which connected. Only five actually hit the house. Gunnery Sergeant James Forester, USMC Ret. managed to hit nine out of nine.
After the police and press had left, Carol hit Jimmy on his shoulder. “Nice diversion, Jarhead. I’m glad you didn’t do anything dangerous.”
“Nothin’ to it, babe. It’s like riding a bike; you never forget. They were easy pickins’.”