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'Don't mess with me!'
Derek pushed the spectacles farther back on his nose. The grammar offended him even more then the return address, which read as follows:
69 Urban Hero Dr.
Brooklyn, New York
Normally a letter like this would have been donated to the paper shredder, but Mr. Jackson was unnerved. Not because it sounded particularly aggressive, no, Derek was worried because it was addressed to his private resort in Vermont instead of his major corporation in Atlanta.
Nobody was even supposed to know this place existed. This was where he did his private negotiations and organized drug transports and file evictions to the families of the prostitutes who had mysteriously disappeared during their winter porn shoots.
He evicted a lot of poor people, word would get out to them that he was responsible for the drug exports that landed their kids in jail, and they were much easier to dispose of once they were homeless.
Obviously, Derek got a lot of complaints from the poor people safely behind bars and the unregistered teenagers who hid in the sewers of the cities after their parents were shot, but they always ended up at his fake office in Georgia. Never before had one of these people known where he lived.
Derek let the letter fall onto his desk. His long fingers shook slightly as he started up his computer. The cursive was confusing. It would have been too easy to type out the letter, why endanger yourself by leaving a signature?
Derek had already traced the hand writing, and that was what was most confounding, it matched identically to the printing of a convicted felon who had been in jail these last thirteen years for smuggling dope. Derek had started checking all out gone mail from the prisoner within an hour of when he had received the letter. Sure enough, in a letter the convict had sent out there were those exact words in the exact hand. It was like he was looking at an identical copy of the sentence, ‘Don't mess with me!’
Ironically the letter had been a long page of sorrow and anger and pleading and threats to get him out from behind bars, and it had been sent to Derek’s public office in Atlanta. No one had even read it; it had been trashed almost immediately. It was expensive even for a multimillionaire like Derek to have it extracted from the photo storage in the U.S.A prison security department, so how did this other person gain access to it.
There were no fingerprints on the letter. Three sets on the envelope, all belonging to post men, and all of which had been thoroughly examined. The first postman had come out of St. Louis. That didn’t fool Derek however. The ink was traced to a certain brand of commercial pens that were distributed in only three cities, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Chicago.
The clues were limited, and considering how much this person knew about his location, he was smart enough to pose a threat. But Derek Jackson was not too frightened; if he should ever be taken to court he had bought out enough branches of the government to insure his liberty.
For now the best thing was to certify the premises, assassination was probably the first thing on the Urban Hero’s mind. Derek had placed cameras, motion sensors, electric shock impulses, a small army of snipers, a dozen of the best body guards to protect the stunt double he had paid to pretend to be him, and dogs; every guard dog that had ever been bred to sniff out a stranger. And all his employees believed different versions of where, or who, he really was, insuring that betrayal or revolution would be fruitless as well as crazy.
Derek stepped out of the plane into the St. Louis airport. It was a month since he had received the letter and he decided it was time to take action.
He was disguised as the flight attendant he had killed yesterday. All his body guards where dispersed among the passengers and crew, it had been expensive but he decided it was worth buying out the entire airline.
All of the rest of his men where dispersed in the night clubs of Chicago, with advertisements for potential body guards to interview a mafia drug lord from Vermont. Hopefully, most people not knowing about any trafficker based in Vermont, wouldn’t listen twice to the rumor, but the ‘Urban Hero’ who knew his location would enter an interview and be shot instantly. It wasn’t fool proof, but it seemed intelligent.
Derek had chosen St. Louis because he would be left undefended if he were to remain in Vermont, because it was located near Chicago so that his body guards would have to spend the least amount of time traveling back to him after they killed the hero, and since the letter writer had let the St. Louis postman leave his fingerprints all over the envelope he clearly expected Derek to assume that was where he lived and thereby avoid it at all costs.
Derek was in the Taxi Cab on his way to the warehouse he was staying in, somewhere south of the Downtown area. His phone vibrated and he checked his messages. It was one of his agents. Apparently, the person who had sold him the dogs had talked to his friend on a pay phone before he was properly disposed off. They had just learned this from the trade overseer a minute before he was killed for possession of excessive information.
From the alley all that could be seen was a shady group of people entering a building to smoke weed. How could anyone guess all but one of them could kill someone with their bare hands, and that the body guards were the least dangerous of the group?
Derek had another call. It was a different agent this time, saying the man they had hired to kill the flight attendant had escaped from custody. Someone might be trailing him.
The bodyguards had been taking turns smoking from the complimentary joints when their boss wasn’t looking. A wind rattled the windows of the warehouse, within a moment all of them were dead, the poison still fresh on their breath.
The only one left was armed, but not a fighter, and immediately turned to flee the building. Before he could move there was a silent click and a bullet spliced him through his eye. The body tumbled down the stairs.
A young man dropped from the ceiling beams, his face was painted in black and white slashes, but otherwise he looked normal, dressed in street cloths and holding a gun burning in his hands.
“F*** you Derek,” he said and pocketed the weapon. Then he flashed smiled, “bet you never thought to wonder if a certain pen was stolen from Chicago.”