Monday, June 1, 2009

Chapter 31: Another Interval

The man was sitting at the first booth on the left as people entered the strip club. He liked sitting there as it allowed him to keep an eye on who was entering or exiting the club, and to make sure that he was always aware of what was happening around him. He was focused on the documents he had on the table and seemed to be oblivious to the artificial charms of the semi-naked women who prowled the tables of the club.

He paused his reading for a few seconds, and an astute observer would have noticed the fact that his face became flushed for a few seconds, before he returned to the papers in front of him.

The man turned his head and gestured with his head for the manager of the club to join him. As the manager approached the table, he had to pause to allow a topless women to crawl out from under the table before he could take a seat.

The man, known almost universally as Dimitri, continued to read for a few minutes, keeping the club manager waiting. The manager's apprehension became markedly worse as he was forced to wait.

After some indeterminate period, Dimitri put down the papers and focused his full attention on the manager. His single raised eyebrow was the equivalent of a large dose of Truth Serum. The manager started babbling but had to stop after a few seconds as his mouth proved unable to keep up with his desire to tell everything he knew as quickly as possible.

He stopped, drew in a large breath and visibly gathered himself, before launching into his tale a second time. His second attempt proved to be more coherent, but ultimately unsatisfying as he really had no explanation for the events of the evening. He finally wound down and stopped. His eyes betrayed his state of mind, however, looking everywhere except at the man in front of him. There was no escape though, as Dimitri's glare had him pinned in place like a butterfly on a board.

"So, you are telling me that you have three men dead and have two others arrested?"

The manager could do nothing but nod to indicate that Dimitri had summarised most succinctly what he had said.

"And you have lost two women."

This time it was a flat statement, not even a rhetorical question. Again all he could do was nod.

"And the child?"

"Gone, along with the nanny."

"Who did this?"

"We don't know. Our men say that they were taken down by two black men who looked like car guards."

"Bullshit. There was a team there. They were too slick. Someone must have seen something. Find them."

Dimitri waved his hand and the manager scrambled out of the booth, frantic to get away from Dimitri and any possible retribution. As soon as he was gone, Dimitri's shadow appeared. He was a quiet man, dark hair and a flat, expressionless face. He listend carefully to the instructions that Dimitri issued in a few staccato sentences of Russian. His only response was a curt "Da" before he got up and left to follow the manager out of the club. Anyone observing his face would have recoiled from the implacable sense of purpose there.

Dimitri allowed himself a small expression of satisfaction. There would be a new manager of the club in a short while, one of his own men, while the old one met with an unfortunate accident.

He returned to his papers. There was a sense of satisfaction in seeing the figures on paper, and he knew he could rely on the paper where a computer introduced too many chances for someone to intercept the information. Everything was going well; the drug trade was firmly under control with most of the rivals eliminated, he was well on his way towards establishing control over the prostitution setup, with most of the clubs either under his direct control or paying 'protection' to him. There was very little street trade, but what there was would be controlled within a few days. The only fly in the ointment was the bitch Alina who had disappeared and now this incident tonight... As he thought about it, he suddenly wondered if the two were connected.

No comments: