A door opens.
I was ready for the cardboard box in front of me. The dry cracked skin showed signs of age like anything would; with wrinkles and cracks and a variety of stains. This was the last box that was pulled from the last storage unit left in his name.
The last one.
Not the first one that was booby-trapped with plastic explosive.
Not the second, third or fourth one that had the same.
The fifth held an art collection and a unique set of tools that were kept with evidence of rampant attempts at fouled forgeries.
The sixth held a unique set of tactical equipment.
The seventh was a massive buried container full of ingredients that looked like it was supposed to act as the companion to the Anarchist’s Cookbook. Chemicals, food rations, hardware, and an almost endless supply of ammunition. To refer to it as one massive buried container was an understatement. We would come to find out that it was actually a network of them, buried around the whole plot in a pattern that was reminiscent of hieroglyphics or cuneiform or Viking runes, but done so in a way that appeared to be their own prepared homage to a personal take on all of the ancient forms. In total the 8th container wasn’t ONE container. It was equal to four industrial warehouses of munitions, consumables and equipment.
None of them held anything that was hot or dirty or traced back to criminal activity. It was all custom made in the little network of this bastardized take on the individual’s underground industrial park.
Relatively smaller than a house, this was a big break in locating the individual as every ‘box’ or ‘container’ we located served a different purpose.
This eighth and seemingly, hopefully, the final box, would hold what we needed to pull another shitty, bile-soaked lead out of our collectively-stuck rectum of a case.
It wasn’t even a case anymore.
It was a mess.
Calling in a fixer was too high profile, and there was nobody to kill yet so you couldn’t call a hitman.
It was just a big, complicated, difficult, spread-out mess.
Like when a toddler would have a temper tantrum that led to it shitting or pissing on the carpet and stomping in it with all of their misplaced anger at the lack of care or understanding of the world.
Only instead of brown spots on the wall, the fucking kid exploded.
I began to examine the box.
EOD and HAZMAT gave the all-clear for the last feds to see what was inside.
Before they were called off and retreated from the case like prey that got away.
This was the only bit that a private contractor with high enough clearance was allowed to see.
And so I examined it. Checked the tape. Checked the box. Checked everything. We even ran the fucker through an ultrasound. Looked like files and some basic tech. Our eyes collectively grew in the lab.
Hopefully a lot of it.
Hopefully enough to give us something, anything.
A scent for our hounds to hunt.
I crack the seal of the tape, revealing a stale mildew smell that exists around old canvass and harder cloth. The cardboard sounded off its age as the creaking corrugating cracked to life.
Now open, we could see the manila envelopes.
One had several invoices and shortlist financial records.
Another contained a large sum of old cash.
The third held a cloth-wrapped group of instruments.
In it were two pieces of recording equipment, both handhelds of varying times and theatres, with no doubt a treasure chest of important audio.
But it could also be nothing.
Answering machines full of nonsense, or worse, code.
Deciphers were expensive and more often than not a rouse or distraction meant to waste time.
Both took common power supplies so there was no reason that Bensington couldn’t wrap his goofy little mind around prepping it for review and investigation.
Quickly bagging and sealing the samples and envelopes, I returned to my bland little shitbox and puttered my happy ass back to the office.
Maybe now I’d get some answers.
Hopefully they would come with a massive cheeseburger and much needed rest.
But until then, I needed more than hopes and dreams.
I closed the door behind me.
Finire il primo