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Brigade (novel) Civil war Justice / revenge

The Brigade excerpts, chapter IV

by Harold Covington

“Valentine’s Night”

Covington in uniform
“This is going to be a doozy of an opening number for D Company, and we’ve got one week to work out all the details,” Hatfield told them all in a cheerful voice. “We’re going to try for two major takedowns within 24 hours, the second one flowing from the first. This means we’ve got to plan and carry out the Goldman hit in such a way as to leave us windows of opportunity for the FBI attack. I’ve thought about this, and I think the best place to hit the feebs would be at the same place we do Jake and Irene. I am basing this on the assumption that the FBI, when they do show up to investigate this nasty horrible hatecrime, will be constrained to at least put in a token appearance at the actual crime scene and pretend they’re Sherlock Holmes looking for clues and dogs that didn’t bark in the night.

“I want to do the Goldmans up close and personal, with handguns, so that the FBI and the cops don’t get an inkling that we have somebody of Volunteer Lockhart’s skill and stature on our side. We’ll introduce ’em to the boy on bigger targets than a couple of Jews.”

“I was in there once,” said Ekstrom. “Took Eva there for dinner, and unfortunately we’d already sat down before I saw the prices on the menu. I had to max out my one remaining Visa just for salad and a couple of sandwiches.”

“It’s a trés chic watering hole for our Blue State élite, all right,” agreed Hatfield. “One of those places where if you have to ask the price of something, you can’t afford it.”

“Yeah,” continued Charlie. “Wapner isn’t officially on our Jew list, although with that name I’m suspicious, but he’s on the liberal scumbag list. He toadies to the Goldmans and their ilk, probably because he makes his living off of them.

“It seems Wapner doesn’t speak Spanish, so he asked Conchita to run down his Valentine’s night program with his kitchen and wait staff. The Goldmans were a big part of it. They’ve got a special private dining room reserved, but get this—they’re not going to be eating off the regular menu. Goldman has ordered in a special ten-course glatt kosher dinner for two, flown in from, get this, some high-toned restaurant in Jerusalem. This special nosh is going to be coming in from Israel by chartered Lear jet and helicoptered in from Portland to our little airport, and then rushed to the Beanery by taxi, where Wapner will give it a quick warm in his ovens and microwave, specially rabbincally kosherized for the occasion, and serve it up to the happy hebes. Plus all the trimmings, kosher wine and hors d’oeuvres and whatnot, and the whole dining room covered in sheaves of roses. Total cost for this evening of conspicuous consumption, including a handsome backhander to Wapner himself for using his restaurant while not deigning to eat the same food as the rich goyim eat, will be over $60,000.”

“Mother of God!” gasped Campisi. “I’ve never even seen $60,000 in one place. My family has to make do with meat twice a week, and that’s with me and my wife both working.”

“If we do this right there shouldn’t be any shooting except the holes we put in Jake and Irene,” said Hatfield. “Charlie, once you see the targets leave the house, you call us and give us the signal. Tony and I will then pull the Yukon out onto the platform and into the parking area, get into position, and wait.”

“Do we take them before or after their big imported kosher banquet?” asked Tony.

“Before, on their way into the restaurant. We don’t need to be waiting around for a couple of hours with guns in our pockets. Besides,” Hatfield continued in a grim voice, “I don’t want one single sixty thousand-dollar kosher morsel flown in all the way from Jerusalem to go down those kikes’ gullets. I want that vile slap in the face to my people to sit there on the table getting cold and gooey while the roses fade and the petals fall to the floor. Call it a symbolic act. The Goldmans’ day is done, in every sense of the term.”

“Lieutenant, you have the soul of a poet!” laughed Lee. “What if there are people around who might see the whole thing?”

“Then they see the whole thing,” said Zack with a shrug. “We’ll be masked. We shoot them both, triple tap, first bullet dead center to put them down and two more into the head to complete the execution. We walk at a quick pace, but do not run, back to the Yukon and we drive at a normal speed off the pier, and then we rendezvous at Shangri-La.” Shangri-La was a code name for a vacation-rental RV on a scenic bluff overlooking the river in the nearby crossroads village of Knappa.

“Sounds simple enough,” said Len.

“Yah, but the simplest plan can go haywire because of the smallest missed detail or unexpected occurrence,” said Hatfield. “We need to get into the habit of going over these things two dozen times, extrapolating anything that might cause a hitch or go wrong. Now for hit number two, the one that will put D Company on the rebellion’s map. Those dead FBI agents we promised Brigade. That’s where you come in, Cat.”

“Christ Almighty!” he exclaimed. “An M-21!”

“Sniper version of the old M-14, semi-auto, with complete cleaning kit and accessories,” said Ekstrom proudly.

“We had a familiarization course on these at sniper school at Fort Benning, and I think I remember most of it, but I never thought I’d get to use one in action!” said Cat-Eyes Lockhart, balancing and presenting the rifle. “The older guys in the sniper school swore by them. They were all pretty much out of service by the time I went through. Where the hell did they get this beauty?”

“No idea, and I didn’t ask,” Ekstrom told him. “The Commandant just said our brigade’s best sharpshooter needed our best weapon.”

Cat was examining the barrel. “You know, they trained us for kills up to 800 yards at Benning with the M-24, but if I recollect correctly some of the old guys in ‘Nam claimed they killed at a thousand yards with this. In a good covered position, with enough ammo, I could hold off an infantry company. They’d have to bring up copters or artillery.”

“You won’t be standing anyone off, Cat,” said Hatfield. “Shoot and scoot, remember. Don’t risk yourself. If ever it looks like it might be too dangerous, I want you to fade. Remember General Order Number Eight.”

“Well, that’s one thing I wanted to talk to you about, sir,” said Lockhart. “When I was in Iraq, we all had cards or some kind of mark we used to put on or near our kills. Signing our work, so the hadjis would know who was on their tail, a psychological warfare thing. I was the Jack of Diamonds. I was wondering if it would be allowable for me to do the same here? When I can do so safely, of course? Maybe leave the card in my firing position for them to find?”

“Wouldn’t that be just broadcasting your identity to the enemy?” asked Hatfield.

“Look, they’re not dumb. I’ve already got a record for horrible evil racism and male chauvinism and God knows what else,” reasoned Lockhart.

“You realize that will make you one of the most hunted men in the Pacific Northwest?” demanded Hatfield.

“They’ve already hunted me out of everything,” said Lockhart bitterly. “This filthy society has hunted me out of my wife, my children, my future, my dignity, and my hope. Good honest bullets will make a nice change.”

“Then we’ll start you off with each one of us buying a Bicycle deck and giving you the Jack of Diamonds, only let’s all make sure we wear gloves when we handle the cards. No sense in deliberately leaving the enemy a fingerprint. Now, once again assuming the feebs will show at Rigoletto’s, what about firing positions? Cat, you know that big hill overlooking 39th Street, the heavy woods?”

On Valentine’s night, Zack Hatfield and Tony Campisi sat in the front of a battered old GMC Yukon, parked behind a loading dock just off 39th Street. The night was dark and cloudy, and there was a light drizzling rain, a perfect cover for the Volunteers. The cell phone on the dashboard rang. Zack answered it. “Hello?”

“Is this Luigi’s Pizza?” asked Charlie Washburn on the other end.

“No, I’m sorry, you have the wrong number,” said Zack in an exasperated voice, in case anyone was listening in. He folded the phone. “Okay, they’ve left the house. Charlie and Lee will be behind them. He’ll let us know if there’s any delay or change in their destination he detects, but we need to get into position.” Hatfield started the Yukon and turned on the lights, and a moment later he rolled onto the long, curved 39th Street Pier. He pulled up into the parking lot on the former cannery platform and found the one available remaining space, which he carefully backed into. The restaurant was crowded, no doubt with Valentining couples. They could hear the noise and clinking of dishes and voices even through the rain.

“Where the hell are the Goldmans going to park?” asked Tony, looking around. “They’re chock-a-block in there, it looks like.”

“We will kindly give up our space, of course,” said Hatfield with a chuckle. “Okay, we’ve got a few minutes. Check your weapon, once, and then leave it alone until it’s time to use it.” Tony took out a .38 snub and broke the cylinder, and saw the five .38 Special Black Talon rounds. He closed the cylinder. Zack did the same with his old police-issue Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum. They were both using revolvers so as not to have to go scrambling around looking for ejected cartridge casings.”

“How you holding up, Tony?” asked Hatfield, noticing a slight shake in Campisi’s hands.

Campisi understood what he was talking about.

“You’ll do fine,” said Zack with a smile. “Just remember, let me fire first. I’ll take the yenta, you take Jake. Call it psychology. I’ve killed women before, here and in Iraq, and so has Cat-Eyes, and it doesn’t bother us, but for their own self-image and emotional strength I think every Volunteer’s first kill needs to be a man, and a clear racial enemy, a Jew or a nigger or a fed of some kind. God knows all the horrible ambiguities of war will set in for us all, in time.” The phone rang again. Zack opened it. A silly child-like voice said, “Is your refrigerator running?”

“Dickhead,” said Zack, and closed the phone. “They’ve just turned onto 39th Street.” Zack started the Yukon’s engine but kept the lights off. “Gun in your left hand, keep your right to open the door.” Campisi took out the .38 and complied. They could see the lights of the Lincoln rolling slowly across the pier toward them.

“Oy, honey, look, that nice man is leaving us his parking space!” mocked Campisi in a girlish voice. The Lincoln slid into the vacated space, and the lights turned off. Zack hit his windshield wipers; the rain was light but steady. He stopped the Yukon at the edge of the bridge. “No one is coming. Couldn’t be more perfect. All right, let’s do it. Masks.”

When they were five feet behind the two expensively dressed people, some sound or sense made the Goldmans both turn. They stared at two men coming out of the darkness just beyond the pool of friendly light and laughter, masked so that only the black of their eyes could be seen, and leveling revolvers at them. The two gunmen said nothing, but Jacob Goldman gasped out in a strangled cry, “You!”

A timeless drama was once again about to be played out, an ancient debt was once more to be paid, and blood was about to be spilled once more in humanity’s longest war.