You couldn’t give chocolate and flowers to a guy. Or, you could, Jane thought. Her boyfriend would probably put the flowers in a jar, and he’d eat anything, but he would probably prefer a case of Snickers to a red box of Russel Stover’s.
He wasn’t at home waiting for her, so any kind of gift she might imagine only led to thoughts of their empty trailer. He’d only been gone for six days, but she hadn’t gotten any word.
In the letter he’d left behind, he’d said he loved her, and that he’d be back, but she wasn’t sure he would have known how to dump her, if that had been his plan, and if he was dead, in some faraway place, she might never hear about it; he didn’t carry ID.
She’d been checking all the papers she could find, when the idea had occurred to her. She was going to set a fire, big enough they’d see it from orbit, metaphorically; she wanted to hit the papers and the nightly news, but it had to be at least nationwide.
Nerio Caiazzo was a big name. According to street lore he’d literally taken his old boss’s head when he rose to power. It was the combination of his outlandish violence and his expensive suits the media seemed to like.
Jane woke up as the sun set, her typical sleep schedule. She’d taken a short nap, lying in a ditch behind some hedges at the base of the exterior wall surrounding Caiazzo’s estate.
She wore black, special forces surplus like the MP5 strapped to her back. She pulled a can of matte black Kiwi from her pocket, the same polish she’d used on her boots that morning, and started to smear her face to match her outfit.
She’d spied the front gate on the way in, steel bars filling the arched entrance to the eighteen foot high wall. It had looked, despite its heavy frame, like the gap at the bottom was distinctly permeable. She crept along the wall, ducking from shrub to shrub.
Headlights splashed across white gravel, and she ducked down lower. A car rolled down the street and the gate slid to the side.
Jane took a deep breath and ran forward. As the big black sedan’s tail lights disappeared through the gate, she put her back to the wall and waited.
The gap at the bottom wasn’t quite as pleasantly wide as it had seemed at a distance. She was glad for the opportunity, and stepped through as the gate ground closed.
In one smooth motion she drew the bigger hunting knife from the back of her belt and sliced, impulse. She only then noticed the man standing in front of her.
He wore a cheap suit with a red tie, the same red his shirt was now, as he thrashed on the ground grabbing at his throat. He must have been a guard. It would have been bad if he’d caught her trying to squeeze under the gate.
Jane checked him, finding a Beretta with a spare clip. It was a cheap piece of shit, according to her boyfriend. He was super-pissed it had been chosen as the replacement for the 1911, two of which she now carried in her shoulder holsters.
She kept the Beretta just in case and started across the lawn. It was lit too brightly by flood lights for her camo to be of much use. She passed by abstract topiaries and trampled over beds of flowers on her way to Caiazzo’s white mansion.
She was headed toward a set of broad windows, planning to peek in and maybe get a lucky shot at the master of the house, but then there were suits, streaming out of every door.
There was a radio on that guard’s belt. She imagined herself doing a deep voice and pizano accent; she wouldn’t have convinced anybody.
She swung the MP5 from her back. Deafening three-round bursts. Suits dropping to the ground.
Her leg was dragging. She’d taken a hit. Her stomach hurt too, but that might have been the last bit of her conscience.
“Come on, you fuckers!” she screamed, and felt the blood, hot on her lips.
If she lived through that night, she was sure her boyfriend would be proud of her.