A lone man in a long, dark denim coat, Converse Chuck Taylor black sneakers, black woolen baseball cap, and black leather gloves walked briskly up the steps of the F-train subway stop at Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street in the heart of fashionable Park Slope, Brooklyn.
He left the subway station and emerged on Seventh Avenue, sauntering along the shopping thoroughfare past stores and restaurants closed for the night. When he reached Twelfth Street and the Ansonia Court loft condos, a converted nineteenth-century factory, he picked up his pace.
Although he had no idea of the gloomy building’s history, he had an excellent mental image of its layout, a five-story brick sprawl more than a half block square.
This was his fourth late-night visit in a week to the neighborhood, and only the week before he’d walked around the old Ansonia factory block twice a day, up Twelfth Street and down Thirteenth, morning and afternoon for seven days.
A nineteenth-century cobblestone courtyard, entered from the middle of Twelfth Street, held his attention.
Night, and the early November air was cold, calm, redolent of familiar New York scents, gasoline and asphalt, old newspapers and garbage stuffed in plastic sacks.
Windows on both sides of the street were dark, the night, silent, the only sound his Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers padding steadily on the sidewalk.
During the subway ride to Seventh Avenue, he’d experienced anxiety, but now he felt calm and confident, his thoughts drifting into song lyrics, the cadence of rap music matching his steps . . .
Not feelin’ small,
I’m all ballz
When killin’ callz . . .
He’d tried his own hand at writing lyrics, with disappointing results. He had some good slams, but the record people were scumbags . . . no contract, no time for him, no nothing.
It’s falling out their ass.
Ripping off his ideas. He heard songs on the radio on Hot 97, and he sure as shit knew they were his compositions. No question, flat-out stolen. But all that bad stuff, that was over now.
He’d had enough. So did some other people, and the way he saw it, they’d soon be extremely grateful to him for what he was about to do. Never again would his life be a waste of space.
The 48 Laws, he read them all. Over and over. And like a lot of people he knew, he also memorized the laws . . .
Destroy your enemy.
Law number . . .
. . . whatever the fuck it was.
As the man walked up Twelfth Street toward the Ansonia courtyard in the middle of the block, he kept his right hand gripped on the end of a solid steel bar, a foot and a half long and tucked up the sleeve of his long coat.
As he drew close to the courtyard entrance, he grew more cautious, his movements more alert.
He saw no one. He was hoping that, as on other nights at this small hour, no one would appear before he reached his destination.
And no one did.
He turned quickly into the courtyard entrance, stepping behind a brick pillar. From here, completely in shadow, he could observe the entire enclosed space, the two doorways leading into staircases up to the loft apartments, and next to him the street entrance, the only route in or out. Good location, best he could hope for on this job. He’d hear any car driving up the street. The space in the shadows was narrow, only wide enough for him to step in, slip out. Doing his duty.
As soon as he felt secure, comfortable enough waiting here in the dark, he slid the steel bar down out of the right sleeve of his long coat and held it at his side.
The bar was still warm from the heat of his arm.
Now, if tonight was like all those other nights, he wouldn’t have to wait around in the dark much longer. Still, just in case, if it took a little more time than he had planned, he had a black silk scarf in his coat pocket and he’d pull it out and keep his neck warm. Couldn’t afford to get laryngitis. No fucking way. Not after tonight. Two new pairs of black wool socks on, too, he couldn’t risk catching cold, not from now on, not with his ambitions; after tonight he could forget about ever freezing his ass off again. He’d be collecting gratitude.
He was feeling pretty good about himself. Contented at last. Almost warm. Soon some people were going to be deeply obliged for the priceless favor he was about to do them. He could feel their love already, and he intended to collect his due from every one of them, badass men and sweet-ass women. They had to make all this shit worth his time and effort.
Finally, the moment was now. Right this sorry second.
Go for it . . .
. . . here’s our boy.
He heard the car drive up Twelfth Street and stop in front of the courtyard entrance.
He checked his watch.
Yo, bro, quarter to four. This mother was disciplined, always right on schedule. No wonder he scored so big.
The car door opened; the car door slammed closed. A loud noise at this late hour.
Leather heels clicked on the pavement, that scumbag and his custom-made shoes.
All by himself this evening.
No posse, no circle.
Asshole didn’t need an audience, not for dicking his side piece of pussy at four a.m. And won’t she be glad and grateful soon enough. She’ll be showing killer here some serious gratitude.
You got to have gratitude,
Gratitude . . .
Think about it. The payoffs would set him straight for the rest of his long, long life.
The car drove off up Twelfth, turning left onto Eighth Avenue, exactly as the motherfucker passed through the courtyard entrance.
Behind the pillar, the lone assassin in his Converse Chuck Taylor black sneakers rose up onto the balls of his feet. Moments like this and he realized he was totally alive.
Your time’s up now, cocksucker . . . You and your fur fucking coat, fur hat, Ervin top-dollar mink-and-chinchilla collar. Look at that prick, he’s wobbling, weaving, swaying all over the place. It’s all that good shit you’re drinking and snorting since dinner, it’s catching up on you, dickhead, fifty-year-old Cognac and fresh-off-the-boat coke crawling up your ass.
The killer’s target moved unsteadily into the courtyard.
Title: Fanatics (A Brooklyn Crimes Novel)
Author: Richard Hilary Weber
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
For fans of Kathy Reichs and Linda Fairstein, Richard Hilary Weber’s new Brooklyn Crimes Novel follows police detective Flo Ott as she crisscrosses the borough’s mean streets and lands in the crosshairs of a highly skilled assassin.
NYPD detective Flo Ott has rotten luck. First she’s put on bodyguard duty for U.S. Senator-elect Cecil King after a ultra-right-wing terror cell announces plans to assassinate him. Then she’s saddled with investigating the homicide of a hip-hop mogul. Ballz Busta was fatally rapped on his head outside his mistress’s Park Slope condo. The two jobs couldn’t be more different. Finding Busta’s killer takes Flo into the outrageous livin’ large margins of the Brooklyn music scene. Keeping Senator-elect King alive requires constant vigilance as well-trained assassins could strike anytime, anywhere. It’s only when these cases explosively collide that Flo realizes she’s finally caught a break.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s lit a fanatic’s fuse and now he has a new target: the woman cop with the nerve to try and stop his murderous schemes.
Richard Hilary Weber is a native Brooklynite, Park Slope born & bred. A Columbia grad, he’s been an English-language script writer for European filmmakers, and has written and produced documentaries in Latin America. He can now be found most often in France or London, where he writes plays, novels, and screenplays.
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Penguin Random House