An Easy Target - Chapter 1

It had taken three weeks to find McCall - the bitch always managed to keep her distance and her hands clean.

Her strict no-contact policy kept her underlings in line and out of her hair. The men on the streets spoke with middlemen, and the middlemen talked to one of three upper management guys. Those three were in contact with one of two senior managers, whose connection with their boss, McCall, was only ever virtual.

It cost more this way, but it also meant McCall was free to live her life as usual. She could take her kids to school and go on dates with her husband, or boyfriend, without fear or the need for a security team.

Grace had been given a little advantage, of course. She skipped over the guys on the street and the middlemen and started following Kane, one of the upper management men, from the get-go. Her client even gave her boss the name and location he was known to work from. The place his daughter had met Kane, and the place she went on to overdose at. It was a club in Miami called El Sudor.

Grace spent a week in the Florida heat watching Kane and his men. His days were mostly the same, which made following him easy. He was up by 7am every day, running along the beach to his gym with two men in tow. The three men worked out for an hour before running home and chugging protein shakes. All three were showered and ready for the day by 9am.

Very efficient.

Kane would then check on his businesses, of which there were many. He had his hands in a lot of pies in Miami, which was undoubtedly his appeal to McCall. Kane had connections that she could never have. He was a local, born and raised, and used his notoriety to his every advantage.

Night after night, Grace watched Kane go to his club and peddle his product. Well, McCall’s product. Kane had been small-time before McCall, with her money and connections, came into play. He was a Florida Kingpin with a decent reputation, who just couldn’t reach past Tallahassee. Working for McCall, he branched out into the surrounding states, and he was happy with his upper management position in her organization.

The drugs arrived in cases of booze the authorities always somehow managed to miss. It was then distributed to his guys on the streets who went out into the humid night to sell. Under McCall, Kane sourced all of Florida and most of the Bible Belt. He had Lieutenants in Alabama, the Carolinas, Mississippi, and as far as Texas. The drugs were sent to his main hub in Miami and then shipped out to his other clubs in the surrounding states. Clockwork.

But Kane wasn’t the only name on Grace’s list. She needed the top dog. She needed to cut the head off the snake.

So she watched. She watched and waited because she knew Kane would eventually reach out to his superior. The operation was too big to not be in almost constant contact. And Grace was very patient.

Luckily it only took a few days. Kane received a delivery the second day Grace was watching. She’d followed him to a warehouse and got some great shots of him and his men handling the product. The following day, Kane went to oversee the shipment out. Grace had stayed the night and documented the drugs being distributed from one box to another. She saw a man and a woman keeping meticulous track of every pill, packet, and brick. Not easy work, but soon enough, the shipments were ready to be boxed and loaded onto their respective trucks.

Kane arrived in time to look over the sheets and give the crew a pat on the back before waving the trucks off. The pictures of the drivers and license plates would help in the investigation that followed.

Once the trucks were all on their merry way, Kane had himself a big Cubano and a couple of beers to celebrate. Then, he went to his office at the club to call his boss. Grace watched him smile and nod and congratulate himself on a job well done. He drank some more and indulged in a little special time with one of his waitresses before heading out again. Grace stayed behind.

The club was closed and empty, but for a few bar backs and servers. With her hair in a bandana, headphones, and a smock covering any hint of a figure, she blended right in. Nobody gave her a second look while she cleaned the ladies’ bathroom. One guy even smiled at her as she polished the handrail, making her way up to the office. Apparently, he didn’t recognize her from a few days ago when she did this exact route. The blond wig probably helped.

Grace went into the office, and calmly began cleaning the windows. She was thorough and meticulous, vacuuming the carpet and wiping the dust from picture frames. She emptied the trash and wiped the desk, the computer screen, and the phone. Her bug slipped into her hand without a sound. Confident she had the call to Kane’s boss recorded, she opted not to replace it. Coming back to collect would be an unnecessary risk. So she puffed the pillows on the couch and polished the lamps on the side table before leaving. Not bad.

Exiting the office, Grace made her way down to the main floor. The bar back was gone now, likely doing an inventory count in the basement. A couple of waitresses arrived and smiled at her politely as they passed. Grace grabbed the garbage she’d collected and made her way out the back door, disposing of the trash in the dumpster before calmly walking to her car and driving away. Anybody that had seen her hadn’t really seen her. Being a woman meant she wasn’t a threat. Being a woman meant she was invisible.

The bug logged all the numbers dialed and recorded conversations. Grace listened patiently to each and everyone, just in case some useful information was revealed. She sat up and took notes when the last call played:

Unknown: Yeah

Kane: It’s Kane. Just calling to check-in.  

Unknown: You get everything out ok?

Kane: Of course. No issues at all. 

Unknown: And that extra bulk for Kentucky?

Kane: Shit, yeah, we got that. They havin’ a party we don’t know about?

Unknown: We don’t care so long as the money spends. 

Kane: Speaking of…

Unknown: You got your money. 

Kane: Come on, man. We talked about this. I’m working like ten states right now. That’s a lot of product—way more than in the beginning. I think I should be compensated for that. 

Unknown: *sigh* I’ll talk to her. 

Kane: That’s all I ask, brother. 

Unknown: Anything else?

Kane: Nope. We’re good. 

Unknown: Next shipment should be the same. I’ll let you know if anything changes.

The call ended abruptly, and Grace listened again. Kane sounded relaxed and easy-going. His boss sounded uptight and busy. He wanted the call to be short and to the point. He wanted Kane to remember his place.

She’d already sent the information to her tech whiz - the same guy that designed her little bug, and the trace didn’t take Guillerme long. Kane called a cell phone, and it was still on, making it an easy find. Kane’s boss was in Baltimore, located within a few blocks of City Hall.

Since the cell phone apparently wasn’t a burner, Grace decided it wasn’t necessary to go right away. Kane had the number on his speed dial, which meant it was his constant connection to his overlord.

And Kane was a priority for her client. He was the man that gave his daughter the drugs. She was young and beautiful, and Kane brought her into his exciting VIP world. They danced, drank, and fucked for a few weeks before her death. He got her into the drugs, and he was to blame for her overdose. Grace’s client wanted him punished just as badly as his boss.

The next few days were much like the previous: get up, work out, check on business interests, fuck a waitress or two, party with scantily clad college girls, sleep, repeat. Kane seemed to enjoy the life he’d made for himself. Grace thought monotony would take over and ruin it, but Kane really didn’t seem to mind. And with so many girls to choose from, he simply found a new one when he got bored.

By the seventh day, Grace had recorded enough damaging conversations and taken enough compromising pictures to be satisfied the police could, and would, get involved.

Kane’s boss had been careful not to say anything explicit on their call. No mention of drugs at all. Clean. Untouchable.  Kane wasn’t so smart. He spoke with his troops at length about their product, pricing, and sales. He talked about the girls he met and the men he beat. He ordered hits and encouraged a variety of illegal activities during his many calls.

And then there were the pictures.
Kane handling the shipments.
Kane beating one of his street dealers for coming up short.
Kane sampling his own product and getting rough with a waitress.
Kane in bed with a couple of girls who were not of legal age, despite what their makeup and mini skirts suggested.

Individually, this was all weak and circumstantial. But put together in a nice little package, it was pretty damning for the whole operation. At least the State’s Attorney would think so when she eventually received the anonymous package. Grace sent just enough to ensure Kane’s arrest, but not enough to bring him and his business down for good. Not yet. That would be too much of a red flag. She wanted Kane off the streets for her client, but she didn’t want to send the hive buzzing. Everything else she had was in a file, ready to be sent from a dummy email account when the time was right.  Her last picture before leaving Miami was of Kane in cuffs.