Law Of The Gun 007: "Bethesda"
“Sir, it has to be a joke…”
“I’m afraid not soldier, this is your mission.”
Walter knew no prison could hold him, but he has never even think about what a house in the suburbs of D.C could do to him. He had never dreamed of having a house in Bethesda, he never even wanted it. For as long as he could remember, his life had been about confinement in small spaces and struggle for survival. The U.S Army sent him in the hardest places on earth where he had to live on five hours of sleep and less every night because of the constant danger. He had slept in attics, on concrete floors, sometimes on a pile of dirt. He was engaged in gun fights that lasted for hours, ran out of ammo, ran for his life, there was nothing he didn’t do.
Even before the army life was combat. Walter was from West Baltimore where he had to fight just to get some food. His father had been the first enemy to bring down. As far as he could remember, Walter never had a mother. Only an alcoholic dude living off his welfare check with whom he had to fight to get a meal every day. When he was a kid, he used to go eat at a neighbor’s apartment. Nana, a nice African immigrant was feeding him along with her six other kids. But Nana moved when he was eight. After that he was on his own. That’s why he joined the army at sixteen. It was one of the three ways out of his condition, the two others being organized crime and death.
But that…was something new for Walter a three stories house with a garage and a yard big enough to build a helipad in. He would have that house and an unlimited expense account, plus his pay check for him, alone, for as long as it would take to get Dr. Aksoy’s operation down. Looking at the high ceiling and the clean walls made Walter feel lonely. He didn’t risk a peak at his neighbors yet, scared that it would make him feel even worse than he already did.
“Let’s go over this again Walter, what’s your name?” asked Colonel White.
“What do you do for a living?”
“I am a successful businessman, I own six multi-purpose warehouses that I rent to people.”
“Yes, I uploaded the addresses to your Blackberry.”
“Colonel…I don’t even know how that thing works!”
Marvin White bursted into that deep laugh that was characteristic to him. It was getting on Walter’s nerves. He was so new and helpless in that situation, it frustrated him. He thought he wasn’t cut out for double agent work. His forte was brute strength. Looking at the enemy straight in the eye, shooting people in the face, extracting hostage with machine guns and explosives. That’s what he liked to do. Walter thought he was born to fight and he saw nothing rewarding to pretend he was a capitalist douchebag indefinitely.
“Oh come on Walter, don’t do that face, this is a mission like another. If it wasn’t for that you’d still be rotting in Mannheim.” said White.
“At least I’d know what to do”.
“You know what to do Captain, Murat Aksoy lives across the street, become buddy-buddy with him, find out the most you can about his operation…and then, if you’re being nice, you’ll get to the part you like the most. Kill him and tear his clinic apart.”
Colonel White seemed as annoyed as Walter was with the whole situation. There was a huge pressure made by the upper crust of the U.S Army to get to Dr. Aksoy, but no one explained why. Whoever was working on his case had to keep his identity secret, so Walter was John Bailey until the mission was over.
“I left all the documents on the kitchen table; review them as much as you can. You start working next Monday, so I suggest you study and relax during your week-end, get used to your new environment, and get friendly with your neighbors, John!” the colonel winked and got out the door. He knew Walter would be OK; the kid had a tremendous adaptation capacity. He was like a snake, shedding skin when it was necessary. Marvin White left Bethesda with the conviction that Walter Tatum would put his career back on tracks.
Walter thought otherwise. A look into his wardrobe made him feel a sound panic. High pants and polo shirts all over the place. He prided himself into not being a dork; it seems that in his twelve years tenure with the U.S Army, they didn’t quite grasp that side of his personality. John Bailey was a dork that succeeded in warehouse business. He had to become a dork, which he found harder to do than to kill ten well armed guys. He’d give it a shot, he knew it. He always gave a try to everything; he just tried to keep that everything army related for the last twelve years.
He took a look down in his backyard. Everything was so green, so square, so perfect. It was all foreign language to Walter, who was used to live in the chaos of war. He looked at his neighbor’s yard. A kid was mowing the lawn. Walter saw the opportunity. Whenever he saw in a new environment, he’d approach the kids first. They didn’t judge, they forget fast and they always gave a very objective account of the situation. Judging from a far, the kid on the mowing tractor seemed to be not more than twelve years old.
In the yard Walter approached the fence and feverishly waved at the kid on the tractor. The kid stopped, turned his machine around and drove up to the fence. He was a pudgy one with a double chin. He seemed shy as his stare kept alternating between Walter and his steering wheel.
“HEY KID, WHAT’S YOUR NAME?” said Walter, overenthusiastically.
“Gregory…you?” said the kid, looking down.
“HEY GREGORY I’M WA….JOHN!”
“I’M YOUR…new neighbor” said Walter, trying to control himself.
“I don’t live here, I cut mow the lawn.”
“OH!...SORRY!...who lives here then?” asked Walter.
That announcement stunned Walter and stopped him dead in his tracks for a second. He just stared blankly in space for two or three seconds and said:
“Don Salvatore D’Ambrosio?”
“Like in Mafia Salvatore D”Ambrosio?”
“Yeah, my dad knows him”, said Gregory, proudly. “That’s how he got me this job.”
“Oh…I BETTER NOT PUT HIM ON MY BAD SIDE HA HA!”
Walter scrambled mentally to try to find another subject of conversation. He was amused by the fact he was living next to a renowned mobster, but he would get to it later. He decided to start gathering intel on doctor Aksoy.
“WHO LIVES…theeere?” asked Walter, pointing at Aksoy’s house.
“Why do you want to know?” answered Gregory with another question.
“It’s a nice house…I might…wanna buy it.”
“I’m not sure exactly”, said Gregory. “I’ve never seen him, Mr. D’Ambrosio said it’s some kind of doctor. He called him a savage malaka.”
“Oh, Doctor is not social type huh?”
“Well THANK YOU GREGORY.” Walter said, giving him a burly tap on the shoulder that sent the kid over his steering wheel.
Walter smiled walking back to the house. What kind of uppity neighborhood was this? Living in between an Italian mobster and a crazed experimental doctor. He suspected that it was not the last surprise Bethesda had for him and that the life of John Bailey might not have been as boring at he though.
He sat on the steps of his porch and started toying with his Blackberry phone. The listings contained every phone number in the US Forces. He started to put them in folders to keep things organized and easy to use. There was over a thousand phone number, most of them being completely useless. It was most likely an old phone that they recycled and they didn’t think about wiping him out, trusting Colonel White would do it.
Erasing numbers, Walter stumbled upon one that would light up his day a little bit. Mannheim military base. He pressed the speed dial option:
“050-225 cover agent from the states. I’d like to speak with Doctor Simon Travers please.”
The automatic answering machine passed his call to the psychiatric ward.