“This is a Russian Army knife.” I told him.
“Yes. I was Army for many years, before I decided to stop fighting for them. However, a man like me, it is hard to get a job.”
I knew exactly what he meant. He had been put on trial, the American equivalent of a dishonorable discharge with a court martial, probably for being Chechen more than anything else. Racism was alive and well everywhere in the world and Chechens were considered subhuman by most Russians. Their acts of terrorism to gain their independence from Russia hadn’t helped their image much, but I understood. Chechens were about as Russian as me.
“Did you plan this kidnapping?” I asked him.
“Yes.” He looked at his feet. “You are only the second we have done. The first was easy, the government paid us quickly and she was released unharmed.”
“That was eight months ago. We use one of our kids for the ransom, it is all done electronically.”
“The money from that finally ran out, I take it.”
“Well, I expect hard work, but it’s honest work, and you won’t get arrested for it, if you are caught.” I told them. We heard cars outside. “If you get down on your knees and put your hands behind your head, it will go smoother.” I told them. They all three complied.
Zeke came through the door first, gun drawn. He reminded me of an American Cowboy, and I wasn’t sure why since my husband was half American and half Tahitian. Being black made Zeke stand out a little in Russia. They had black people, but not tons of them. Stalin had moved a ton of people out of the USSR because Stalin had been a serious racist who hated black people, Jews, and anyone that wasn’t Slavic through and through. It was one of the few things I had committed to memory about Russian history during my mom’s discussions of her life in the USSR.
“Are you okay?” He asked me.
“Yes, I’m fine.” I told him. “So, these three young men need jobs, jobs that actually pay enough to support them and their families, but they are Chechen and Chechens don’t make as much as Russians in Russia, no matter what they do.”
“This is why they kidnapped you?” Zeke looked at them.
“And you convinced them to surrender?”
“Something like that.”
“I get the impression I’m not going to like what else this entails.”
“They do this because they need jobs, one is a former soldier. So, I hired them for tomorrow to watch our backs while meeting with mob boss wannabes. I figure they will be good if things go south because I don’t have Aislinn Cain to catch the serial killer they want caught.”
“You hired the men who kidnapped you?” Zeke shook his head and looked at the floor trying to hide his smile.
“Zeke, they need jobs. We basically need an army and we have you, me, Vasili, and Apex because Aislinn decided he needed to follow us to Russia since we were dealing with the mob. Now, I know everyone in that list is very capable and very skilled, but these guys could be of assistance too. They just need some basic training on how to protect individuals. And at least one of them is former military.” I handed the knife he had given me to Zeke.
“Russian Infantry knife,” Zeke said inspecting it. “You guys can stand up.”
“Right? He might not be Spetznaz, but I’m dealing with enough psychopaths for one trip to Russia, so I’m okay with not adding another to the list. We can pay them decent money for helping us on this trip, because I know we could use the help. Plus, I seriously want to expand into Russia and Mexico. I was thinking about it while I was zip tied up. I wasn’t scared or worried about my safety, but these guys aren’t the type to rape and torture from what I can tell. The same cannot be said of all kidnappers looking to make a quick dollar by kidnapping American women, especially, in Mexico and Russia. Who better to hire than men who have plotted and successfully carried out kidnappings in Russia? Besides, what have we lost by doing this? At the moment, it’s cost me maybe five bucks. Even paying them tomorrow, I offered them 2,000 rubles each, I’m going to be out what, $100 total?” Zeke wouldn’t look at me which meant he was going to agree with me and he didn’t want to admit it just yet. I was right, and he knew it. We needed more back up dealing with the Russian mob and Chechens, especially military trained Chechens could provide it, because most Chechens had some kind of training, their entire group of people had been deemed terrorists because they were fighting for independence from Russia by forming militias.
“That was actually a good idea,” Zeke finally said, finally looking up from the floor.
“I’m glad you agree,” I told him. Technically, I was still the owner of Daniels’ Security Services even if I did have to answer to a board of Directors and not be real hands on, thanks to death threats and attempts. The only good part was that the board of directors were all friends and family of mine, including Alex, Kenzie, Zeke, all my brothers, Anthony, Sebastian, and my mother of all people. I wasn’t sure why I had a board of Directors, but I did, and it had increased business and removed some of the crap I didn’t want to do from my plate, which was even more awesome since I was no longer allowed at the office without an escort thanks to someone sending me anthrax in the mail. Unfortunately for the sender, they didn’t seem to realize I was accident prone and I had spilled a vase full of water on the envelope before I got around to opening it.
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This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are purely fictitious. Any resemblances to any persons, living or dead, are completely coincidental.
Copyright © Hadena James 2016
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