“If Heaven and Hell exist, if God and Satan exist, then I know I am going to burn for the life I’ve lead, the things I’ve done, and what I will do before my time ends. Down is where we’re going. Way down.”
Carson O’Leary’s head rested on his desk, leaking blood and brains on the expensive hardwood. I’d shot him, killed him dead, in cold blood, eye-to-eye. “Nice to know I’ll see you there.” I left the same way I’d arrived. I waited for the door to open, and walked through. Unseen. Undetectable.
I am Armor 17. And O’Leary deserved far more than death.
The trail started in Peru, in the mountains East of Cedropampa, with a cell of the Shining Path. The cell received a special arms shipment from a man named Rafael Smith. Rafael received the four cases of AR-15 rifles from a shipping company in Bonaire. “Thor Shipping. Not even the worst storm can stop us.” Great saying. Always made me smile.
Thor Shipping received the cases from Amos Black’s Merchandise in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, where everything and everyone was going bankrupt, and you took money where you could find it. Amos Black’s received the cases from a couple of cigarette boats that headed south from Miami, through tourist stops in The Bahamas, Turks and Caico, and The Dominican Republic.
The cases were packed on the cigarettes in Miami at 0300 hours on a Sunday morning. A Ryder truck dropped them off. That truck picked up the guns near Carrizo Springs, Texas. Several Mexican Police near Piedras Negras, Mexico borrowed the guns from the evidence lockers of the police station.
Everyone along the way got paid. The police officers made enough cash to pay the ransom for their daughters. That cash came from a man named Thomas Champlain. Champlain got orders from a burner cell phone he received in the mail, from the US Postal Service, in Del Rio, Texas. A man named Sal Houston mailed the phone from Froid, Montana. Sal received orders to mail the phone, with instructions for its use, from a letter mailed from a post office box in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania.
An administrative assistant named Cynthia Armstrong, mailed the instructions. She’d received a phone call from Kevin Holmes, in New York, New York, who’d received his instructions verbally from Carson O’Leary’s best friend, Owen Clark.
The money from the sale of the arms followed a reverse trail, ending at Carson O’Leary’s bank.
I was Armor. For us, there is no law. I followed the trail, verified who did what, who played what part. I documented everything with photographs on old-fashioned film. Film still worked in the US legal system. It couldn’t be faked as easily as digital images could. Of course I remained invisible, undetectable, contained in my armor during the entire search. I looked over Owen Clark’s shoulder as Carson O’Leary as he gave Kevin the orders about the guns. I watched Owen tell Kevin Holmes what to do, then watched Kevin call Cynthia Armstrong. I watched Cynthia write and mail the instructions to Sal Houston, and Sal place the order for the guns. I traced each step of the deal, from top to bottom. I did it twice, to make certain I knew every player involved.
Carson O’Leary was the head of the snake. To kill the snake, start with the head.
I watched him sit at his desk, smoking Cuban cigars all afternoon. I watched him fuck his secretary, who hated it, but liked the pay. I watched him plan his trip out that night, to the golf club, where two girl caddies would take care of him.
When he got ready to leave, I disengaged the armor’s cloak, and suddenly popped into existence. I can’t imagine what he thought, looking at a human shaped hole in the universe. The armor wasn’t black. It had no color. It reflected no light, like a black hole. And then, I spoke, and he got angry.
“Carson O’Leary. You’re guilty of arms shipments to Shining Path rebels in Peru. I also have evidence you’ve shipped arms to drug cartel units in Mexico, arranged the kidnapping for ransom, of multiple Mexican police officers as part of your weapons shipment process.”
“Who are you? What are you doing in my office!” He pounded on the alarm beneath his desk. “You’ve got some nerve coming here!”
I didn’t respond to his comments. I placed a packet of pictures on his desk, sealed in a brown, manilla envelope.
“You’re going down, Carson.” I shot him. In the face. “We’ll meet again, in Hell.”
It only took 20 seconds for the security forces of the bank to arrive at his office. The door swung open, and I calmly walked out, past four armed guards, and Carson O’Leary’s secretary.
All hell broke loose, of course. After all, the bank president’s brains were leaking out of his face on to his desk, and no one knew who killed him, or how. And then, there was the envelope full of pictures, which the police happily took into custody.
Another day on the job. Another dead body. Of course I still had to take out the rest of the players in the chain. I’d spare the Mexican officers, it wasn’t really their fault.
“It’s what I do. I’m Armor 17. I am the violence.”