Hard Boiled – Episode Two: The Roof is on Fire 1.3

“Brothas and sistas, Montel’s gun emporium is now open for business.” The back of the Ford Expedition opened. Row upon row of heavily modified handguns gleamed in the sodium streetlights dotting the industrial parks in Garrison City. This close to the Lourdes, the buildings held smokeless industry – body shops, storage areas and the like.

Perfect for an enterprising gun dealer’s purposes; close enough to the customers and empty enough for a demonstration. No one in the office parks worked at night.

Montel pulled a weapon from the rack. His clients reached for their own guns, tucked away in their waistbands. The M-67 gang took their name from an Ecuadoran death squad trained by the CIA in the 80’s. They took the death squad part very seriously.

“This is the latest and greatest in high-powered automatic handguns. Please note the flash and kick suppressors built into every model.” He loaded the gun, sighted a heavy iron waste bin and fired. Gouts of flame spilled from the gun’s muzzle. The members of M-67 broke into appreciative catcalls as metal shredded.

“Hits like a forty-five, but kicks like a nine with three firing modes. If you’re worried about ammo, I’ve got extended magazines so you can keep rockin all night long.” Montel smiled. “Best of all, they tuck right into your draws. So, who wants some?”

“Me.” A metallic crack split the air and a small black cylinder rolled into the gang, spitting acrid white smoke. Then another. And another. Montel covered his mouth and backed away, closing his Escalade. Something moved in the smoke. Gunshots tore into the grey dark, silhouetting a tall figure wielding two sticks.

The figure whirled and struck, over and over. Montel winced as bones shattered. M-67 members fell like mown wheat. By the time he reached his car, the gang was down, crawling from the smoke, bleeding and bruised. He slammed the door, slapped his seatbelt on, and gunned the engine.

In his rearview mirror, he saw a figure stride out of the smoke. Clad in black, it wore heavy ballistic armor around its chest. Armored gloves gripped onto a pair of jet-black nightsticks. A gas-mask obscured its face, leaving no features except a red glow where the eyes should be. An hourglass, sprayed in bright gold, stared from its chest like an eye.

Montel punched it. The figure ran after the car. Fast, faster than any normal person should be able to run. By the time he hit the first turn, it reached the back of the SUV and grabbed onto the spare tire rack. Montel nearly flipped the SUV as he turned, and looked back.

The figure was gone. That was no comfort. Montel reached for his pistol but before he could clear it, the figure waved at him through his windshield. And then it raised a fist. The tail end of the nightstick punched through the SUV’s windshield and smashed into his right hand.

Pain flared hot red behind his eyes. Montel struggled with the SUV. “Careful,” he heard the figure say. “I hear these things flip easily.”

That’s when the figure yanked the steering wheel hard to the right. The Escalade slammed into the curb and flipped onto its side. Sparks flew as it skidded to a halt. The masked man just hung on and rode the escalade to a stop.

Gloved hands ripped open the window. Something cut Montel’s seat belt and pulled him out of the car. He lay on the ground, nightstick at the back of his head, as gas dripped from his Escalade.

“So, contributing a little more firepower to the gang war?” growled the masked man.

“Hey, I’m a legitimate business owner. I have a license to sell firearms GACK!” Montel choked, nightstick at his throat.

“Wait, let me guess. You’ve got a license to order and sell firearms – probably obtained using a fake social security number because we both know, they don’t check for authenticity. They check for matches against a criminal record.” Zip ties looped around Montel’s hands.

“So, you order yourself a ton of guns and start selling them out of your trunk.” Zip ties tightened around his ankles. “Because sales from someone’s trunk or at a gun show do not require background checks, right?”

Montel nodded. “‘Course, the downside of this kind of operation? Lack of insurance.” He heard the click of a lighter. His lighter. It sailed into the puddle of gasoline under his car. The Escalade, and all the guns and ammunition inside, caught fire.

“Nooo! Oh, God, noooo!” The ammunition detonated. Bullets flew through the air like deadly fireworks. The masked man hauled him away from the wreckage

“I want you to send a message. You think you can get away with all this while everyone else is sleeping?” The masked man tossed him against the wall. “I don’t sleep. Twenty-four, seven – Sleepwalker’s gonna be watching you.”

That was when Montel fainted.

Sleepwalker dusted his hand off and began spraying everything down with hydrogen peroxides, destroying any DNA evidence. After a quick rooftop sprint, he returned to a nondescript junker with a bubbled tint job.

Inside, Sleepwalker took of his mask and Lt. Andy Pope of the CGPD Vice Squad sighed. The scrapes and bruises he gained in the gang fight started to vanish. Dawn was still a few hours away. He didn’t have to report in for desk duty until 8 a.m. Hours and hours of time.

And he didn’t feel the slightest bit tired.

Crime never slept. And now, neither did he.

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