Instinct and Immorality Ch. 11
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This is the conclusion of the series. Warning, the first one-third of this chapter concludes the major plot and has no sexual content. Thanks to those of you that have followed these chapters and very sorry for the delays.
*** All persons engaged in sex in this story are at least 18. ***
Mia, 46, mom, sex worker
Rick, 28, Mia’s son
Katie Kim, 29, freelance financial crimes investigator and recovery specialist
Dmitri Sadakov, 63, organized crime boss
Colette, 33, psychologist, incest counselor
Louise, 54, Colette’s mom
Officer Diane Prady, 44, cop
Roxy Schuster, 41, boat pilot, ex-sex worker
Luke Schuster, 19, Roxy’s son
Jahanna Schuster, 18, Roxy’s niece, OnlyFans model
Ryan Schuster, 43, Jahanna’s father, Roxy’s brother
The police found the van in a Walgreens parking lot just off Sahara Avenue. The driver was shot five times, all to the back of the head. The FBI was sure that Dmitri Sadakov was behind it, but once again, there was no way to connect him to the hit.
Katie Kim and I were at the FBI field offices in Las Vegas, in a conference room, and Stephanie Krugman, a Supervisory Special Agent, was seated directly across from us. Stephanie is in her late forties and has been after Sadakov for nine years. When Sadakov moved from New York to Vegas, she followed him.
“Sadakov doesn’t leave witnesses,” said Stephanie. “So, you two are going to have to leave town.”
Stephanie looked at Eric Dobrovsky, the Special Agent in Charge. And as we have quickly learned, it’s not good when FBI agents look at each other before answering a question.
“That’s advisable,” said Eric.
“I thought you guys got rid of the mob?”
“The Russian presence here was basically legit until Sadakov took control,” said Stephanie. “That’s when the bodies started piling up again. And we believe he’s connected to a Russian intelligence cell that currently operates in Vegas.”
“A Russian intelligence cell?”
My phone was sitting on the table in front of me and beeped. It was an email, with “YOU ARE A LITTLE MAN” in the subject line. I read the email, swallowed nervously, then read the first two sentences out loud.
“This must be from Sadakov. ‘That was my jawbone. Return it and I will let you keep yours.'”
I beat Sadakov to Jarvis Karo’s NFC-implanted jawbone on the bottom of Lake Mead, which had the recovery words to billions of dollars.
“Can you forward that to me?” asked Stephanie.
I did, and a few seconds later, she read the email. She looked at Eric.
“Can we talk privately?”
There is nothing worse than having two FBI agents talk privately about you. Eric and Stephanie left the conference room and closed the door. And five minutes later, they returned.
“Rick,” said Stephanie, “would you be willing to help us out?”
“If we can set up a drop, can you make the delivery?”
“Delivery of what?”
“Jarvis Karo’s jawbone. You’ve already recovered the crypto, right?”
“We want to capture Sadakov’s pickup man. All you have to do is drop the package and go.”
They seemed very polite with their request. Just like asking me to go to the post office and mail a Christmas card. But there was a slight problem.
“What if Sadakov tries to kill me?”
“It will be safe, Rick. We know how to do this and keep you alive. Just drop the package and go. It will take you ten seconds.”
I looked at Katie, hoping she’d have a good reason for me not to do it. “What do you think?”
“Rick, I don’t think you have a choice. Unless you want to hide for the rest of your life.”
“Sadakov is plugged into Russian intelligence,” said Stephanie. “There won’t be a rest of your life.”
* * *
Five hours later, I was in an FBI van, in a bullet-proof vest, and headed to the drop zone, which was a mailbox in front of a Walmart Supercenter in Paradise. Of all the places for me to die. A Walmart. It seemed sacrilegious.
I was holding a brown envelope containing Jarvis Karo’s jawbone, which the FBI had implanted with a miniature GPS tracker. And two blocks away from the drop zone, the van turned into a gas station, and Stephanie gave me my last instructions.
“Okay, the mailbox is not far from the entrance. Just drop the package and then go through the door. There will be two agents waiting to greet you. They’ll take you to a safe place.”
“Um, how are they getting the package out of the mailbox?”
“Ex-Spetsnaz, Rick. They’ll just cut it open. It will take them ten seconds. Are you ready?”
I looked down at my hands, which were trembling. “Does it matter?”
She handed me the keys to a rented car that I was supposed to drive into the parking lot. With my heart pounding and palms sweating, I took a deep breath, tried to quiesce my racing thoughts, then got into the car and started it. I then turned out of the gas station toward bahis şirketleri the Walmart Supercenter.
There were supposedly two undercover vans with tactical squads already parked in the lot, ready to pounce on the pickup man. And two FBI sharpshooters, just in case things went really wrong.
But that didn’t make me feel any better. I finally made it to the expansive parking lot and found a spot as close to the entrance as I could get. But it was busy, so I would have to walk about fifty yards. I got out of the car, checked to make sure my bullet-proof vest was secure, and walked toward the mailbox.
I made it to the front of the Walmart. This was too easy. I looked around at the customers as they were walking toward the entrance, and everyone seemed like a Walmart customer.
I only had thirty feet to get to the mailbox. I was home free.
Until I heard a loud explosion in the parking lot. There was a white van that appeared to have gone up in smoke.
Fuck. I think that’s the FBI van. What the fuck is going on? The rear doors of the smoking van burst open and three men quickly jumped out and took cover behind the cars. And that’s when I heard the gunfire start.
It was a fucking war. Right in the middle of a Walmart parking lot. Sadakov’s ex-Spetsnaz crew versus the FBI.
I froze. Most of the customers stopped dead in their tracks, watching the burning van, and several started screaming and heading for cover on the ground or in between the parked cars.
And that’s when I heard the second explosion. It was the other FBI van that went up in a cloud of smoke. What the fuck?
This is an ambush. Of all the fucking nerve.
As the gunshots grew louder and incessant, the rear door of the second van opened, and several agents leapt onto the asphalt. They were all holding rifles and took cover in between the cars.
I was still frozen, and the sound of automatic gunfire was overwhelming. I could feel bullets go right by me and slam into the building. Shit. Glass and concrete shards were splattering all over. They even hit the mailbox.
I’ve got to get to cover. I started toward the door.
And that’s when I got hit. The shock of the bullet hitting my vest was quickly replaced by the sensation of falling, and hitting the concrete, without even trying to break my fall. I just fell flat on my back. I looked up at the blue sky.
I didn’t even know if the bullet penetrated by body, but it hurt. It hurt so fucking bad. And that’s when a man got out of an SUV parked in a handicapped spot and walked up to me, seemingly coming to help.
He was wearing an oversized sun hat and dressed in a baggy flannel shirt and cargo shorts. He looked like a customer, but for some reason, with people screaming and the bullets whistling by and slamming into the windows and walls, he had no fear.
“Okay?” he asked.
I didn’t reply. I just looked into his blotchy face and bloodshot eyes. He leaned over and snatched the package from my arms. He ripped it open and looked inside.
Then he reached behind his back and produced a pistol. He pointed it right at my forehead. And that’s when I recognized him. I saw his photos at the FBI office. This motherfucker has balls of steel.
It was Sadakov.
“You’re such a little man,” he said.
And he delighted in the fear that was in my eyes. It’s why he didn’t immediately shoot me. And he smiled.
Until a hole the size of a baseball was put in his neck. He splattered all over me and fell down on my chest. Jarvis Karo’s jawbone fell out onto the concrete, right next to me.
The bullets continued to scream loudly, so I held onto Sadakov’s body and used him as a shield. I then heard the chopping sound of helicopter blades in the distance. It was a big Sikorsky.
But after ten more seconds, the bullets stopped, and the helicopter suddenly turned away. Sadakov’s blood was all over me. So, I tried to push off his big body, but I was in too much pain.
And then I heard the rush of footsteps coming toward me.
“Are you okay, sir?” said a voice. He was holding a rifle. But when I saw “FBI” on his body armor, I exhaled.
“Can you get him off me?”
A second agent rushed to my side, and they pushed Sadakov off and turned him over.
“Fuck, Ladbrooke, you killed Sadakov,” said the other agent.
They pulled up my shirt to inspect my wound.
“Didn’t go through. Those new vests are something,” said Ladbrooke. “You’re a lucky man, sir.”
“Ladbrooke,” I gasped, with tears streaming down my eyes. “Thank you.”
“What’s your first name?”
“Well, Aaron Ladbrooke, you’ve just become a rich man.”
He had no idea that someone going into a Walmart would be giving him millions of dollars for saving his life.
* * *
The FBI was still trying to sort out Sadakov’s motives for the Spetsnaz-like ambush. But they didn’t tell me one very important factor that might have caused me to reconsider my assistance.
The US government had just bahis firmaları approved sanctions on Sadakov and was in the process of seizing the Blue Coron Hotel and Casino. So, he gassed up his jet and had it waiting for him at an abandoned runway north of Vegas, and was going to fly his helicopter there. He was leaving America. With a big “fuck you”.
And except for the huge and very painful bruise on my chest, which hurt with every breath, I was physically fine. Mentally, not so good. I was still shaking. And after a bitter argument with Stephanie, I refused to be admitted into the hospital.
And right now, I was determined to deal with my mother. Once and for all.
It was just after 9 pm when I was transported back to my home in Summerlin. When I walked in the front door, I immediately went upstairs and loaded a crypto wallet. With ten million dollars.
I went downstairs, where my mother was seated at the breakfast table in the kitchen nook. She was watching CNN, and a female reporter doing a live shot from the Walmart parking lot. The caption on the screen read: “War in Paradise”.
I stepped into the kitchen, picked up the remote control, and turned off the TV. I then sat down in the chair across from my mom.
“Did you see the news, Ricky?”
“Yeah, you could say that.”
“Do you know what happened?”
“Dmitri Sadakov happened. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about it, would you?”
“Ricky, I don’t like your tone.”
I reached into my pocket, pulled out the wallet that I just loaded, and put it on the table in front of her.
“What is this?”
“That’s ten million dollars, mother.”
“Ten million? Are you crazy?”
“I found Jarvis Karo, mother. Or rather, what was left of him.”
“Jarvis Karo had NFC chips implanted in his jaw. And you knew it all along. Didn’t you?”
“Ricky, just stop with your fucking tone of voice. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, yes you do. And I’m gonna make it worth your while to confess. And if you do, you get to keep the ten million dollars. That’s the easiest ten million you will ever make, mother.”
Her eyes were pensive and contemplative. She picked up her beer, took two long sips, then put the bottle down.
“Marcela is really Alina Kuznetsov,” she said softly.
The ten million dollars was doing wonders for her memory. “Okay, keep going.”
“Like everyone else, I thought Alina was dead. About two months ago, when Luxi got out of prison, she emailed me and said she was Alina’s daughter.”
“So, she was trying to find the crypto?”
“No. She had recordings of conversations between Kuznetsov and Sadakov.”
“What kind of recordings?”
“Sadakov wanted to hit Jarvis Karo and asked for Kuznetsov’s approval.”
“Well, Jarvis was looking for a dentist that could do NFC implants. And there were only three in the country. One was in Vegas. The day after Jarvis did his implants, he borrowed Kuznetsov’s boat and went fishing. Kuznetsov had no idea he just had the implants done. So, he told Sadakov where to find Karo. He just wanted to make sure that the boat wasn’t damaged.”
“Then what happened to Kuznetsov?”
“He never trusted Sadakov. So, he made recordings of all his conversations with him. Then he gave them to his daughter and told her to go to the FBI if he ever went missing.”
“Why didn’t she go?”
“She wanted to blackmail Sadakov.”
“Even though he killed her father and her fiancée?”
“They were already dead, Ricky. Going to the FBI wouldn’t bring them back.”
“Oh, that’s so sweet. So how did Sadakov find out about the implants?”
“Luxi had set up an anonymous back channel with one of his crew, and we told him about Karo’s implants.”
“And you asked for a piece of the action?”
“We asked for ten percent, and he agreed. But we didn’t believe he’d pay us a cent. So, we were waiting for him to recover the crypto, and then we were going to blackmail him.”
“Do you have the recordings?”
“Alina has them on her laptop.”
“Where is she?”
“Upstairs packing, with Luxi. They just saw the news. They’re leaving.”
“So, you knew that Karo was dead all along?”
“Not until Luxi told me about the recordings.”
“Why did you lie about that?”
“Because I knew Katie Kim would be all over you, and you never lie to Katie, even for the sake of your own mother.”
I was afraid this was going to happen. This was the moment I’d have to accept the fact that I’ve never been anything in her life but another mark. I am simply the collateral damage of her life of crime. And I always thought that I’d be much better off if I severed my ties completely.
But there was another person inside me that wouldn’t let her go. It was that helpless little boy that wanted nothing more than a real mother. He clung on to that hope his whole life.
But of the many casualties of the last two days of horrific violence was that little boy.
“Okay, mother. It’s time we part ways. Take kaçak bahis siteleri your money and go. Don’t tell me where, as I believe the FBI might have some issues with you and your friends.”
“When will we meet again?”
“We’re not. This is it, mother. Please, just get out of my life and don’t come back. I’ll live a lot longer.”
She picked up a napkin and dried the corners of her eyes.
“Ricky, I know I was a terrible mother. There’s nothing I can do to change that. But you don’t understand how the world works. I’ve tried to tell you, all your life. Hammers and nails, Ricky. It’s all about hammers and nails. And if you’re not a hammer, then you’re a nail. One day you will realize that and forgive me, whether you see me again or not.”
I was way beyond anything resembling forgiveness. And there would be no further attempts at rehabilitation. There is a time to love, and a time to cut your losses. And for the first time in my life, I was free.
“You better get going, mother. Somewhere where they don’t extradite. I have an appointment with the FBI tomorrow, and I’m going to tell them everything you just told me. So, you better get out of the country.”
She nodded. There was always one thing I could count on her to do. And that was to look out for herself.
* * *
The next morning, when I woke up, the house was quiet, except for the two cops that were now occupying my downstairs.
I got into the shower and dealt with the aftermath of life on the front lines. And I had become mentally insolvent. For the first time in my life, I had the very strong feeling that something very bad was going to happen to me at any moment.
It was one of the symptoms of PTSD. I normally have a bad attitude, so that didn’t seem any different. But things didn’t seem real. The world was suddenly a jumble of shapes and colors that didn’t seem to fit together. And I had an unnerving, disjointed vision of my future.
As I was getting dressed for my appointment with the FBI, the phone rang. It was the woman who saved my life. Katie Kim.
“Rick, how are you doing?”
“I’m better, Katie, how are you?”
“I’m good. My father’s home now.”
She said it so quickly. And it was time to dodge another bullet, because this one was headed right for my heart.
“Good, how is he doing?”
“He caught us, Rick.”
“On the boat?”
This is what happens to secret lovers. As soon as the secret is out, so are they. It was really just a matter of time. But still, it hurt just as bad as if she blindsided me with it.
“Okay, I guess we should cool it for a while.”
“Rick, I asked you nicely not to complicate my life, and you are doing just that. I can’t take any more stress. It’s killing me. So please, let me go.”
Holy fuck. I just lost my mom. And now Katie. Within hours of each other. But I can’t let Katie go without a fight. I’m not well.
* * *
The FBI wanted to meet at Katie’s house, so before I arrived, I stopped at Costco and bought the most expensive engagement ring that I could put on my credit card. I was going to ask Katie to marry me.
It was a shot in the dark. But it was either ask for her hand, or regret every day for the rest of my life.
There were two SUVs parked in front of Katie’s house when I arrived. There was a police officer standing at the front door, who used his radio to announce I was there.
And Katie opened the door. She was dressed simply, in a blue t-shirt and Levi’s. She was solemn and had just cut her hair. Once flowing all the way down to the middle of her back, it stopped just above her shoulders. It was a change-of-life haircut, and if I had any hope left, it wasn’t to be found in Katie’s sad brown eyes.
“How is your father?”
“He’s better. He’s asleep now.”
Agent Stephanie Krugman was in the kitchen talking on her phone, so Katie walked me out onto the patio, and we sat at the table across from each other. I brought a small backpack and set it on the table, next to a manilla folder that was already there. I opened the backpack and pulled out twelve crypto wallets.
“Here is your money. Five hundred and twenty million plus another ten for the island. It’s all Bitcoin and Ethereum, but you better convert it to dollars as soon as you can. I wrote the passwords and recovery phrases in the margins of this book.”
I pulled a paperback out of the backpack and handed it to her. I could have picked any book. But this was personal for me.
She looked at the cover.
“Romeo and Juliet?” she said with a withering smile.
“Yeah, have you ever read it?”
Katie seemed oblivious to my gesture and put the book down on the table. She opened the manila folder and pulled out several documents.
“The island in the Bahamas is actually owned by a corporation set up in the Cayman Islands. So, by selling you the corporation, you automatically get the island. I’ve signed the transfer documents and just had them notarized. And you’ll have to do the same. I wrote down all the information you need to record the transaction.”
Stephanie Krugman just finished her phone conversation and came out to the patio. And she was smiling from ear to ear.
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