Witnesses and police informants are being murdered in the Magic City, no one knows where the leak is coming from but the consequences are devastating for the criminal justice system in Birmingham, not to mention for those who are being killed. With no one to turn to on the inside, a top police executive goes outside for help in stopping the threat before more people die. And there is no one more outside than Derrick Olin and his Triple-Ds! DETER! DISRUPT! DEFEAT!
Frankie Burrage may only be five and a half feet tall, and probably a buck forty soaking wet, but one should never underestimate a person based on size. An unfortunate and common mistake, and for some, it was often their last.
While it is true that Frankie is much better with a gun than with his bare hands—years as a shooter for Birmingham’s former top bad guy had seen to that—he has learned a thing or two about the unarmed arts since coming to work for me a few years ago. I watched him put those skills to good use this evening, much the same as a proud papa watching his kid parallel park the family sedan on her own for the first time after many hours of careful instruction and a fair amount of frustrated tears on both their parts.
Only Frankie wasn’t parking the family car, he was chopping the blade of his right hand across the side of the neck of the man who had tried to push past him into the ballroom, quickly following up with a kick to the shin, a raised knee to the solar plexus, and finally a kick to the groin, all delivered in rapid succession using the same leg. About as perfect a set of combination kicks as I have ever seen in operational execution against a much larger opponent.
Said opponent was now on the ground, attempting to clutch multiple points of painful impact, and there were, I believe, some tears in his eyes. That’s what happens when you’re an asshole and you encounter Triple-D.
THE TEAM HAD BEEN CONTRACTED by Magic City Dreams Founder and CEO Nadya Shaba to provide security for a fundraiser at the Birmingham Crossplex in Five Points West this evening that was sure to draw some protestors. It was a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Alabama, which was in the process of building a new clinic on the west side of town to better serve minority communities in the area, and in light of recent draconian actions on the part of the state legislature in Montgomery, reproductive rights and freedoms were once again at the forefront of everyone’s consciousness, those pro, those con, and even those who probably didn’t care one way or the other.
There were a lot of lawyers getting rich right now fighting it out in court for both sides, and recently there had been some politically motivated groups fighting it out in person. Two Planned Parenthood rallies in downtown parks had recently been shutdown early due to threats on one occasion and actual violence on another. The Birmingham City Council had publicly come out in support of Planned Parenthood and rebuked the state legislature for their total abortion ban, but many citizens were beginning to complain that the city was spending too much money providing police security at these events and that the risk to the public might not be worth the cost.
“Horseshit,” was Nadya Shaba’s eloquent response when someone said something similar regarding her planned fundraiser at the Crossplex. “There is no price too high in defense of liberty and personal freedom. Anyway, West Precinct is just around the corner from the place, and as far as event security is concerned, I’ll be footing that bill personally.”
It’s good to be the Queen, I thought. And it’s good to be a rich queen, with a bit of a bleeding heart. And I’ve always personally liked the woman.
Of course the security she would be footing the bill for was my team and me, *D*D*D* Countermeasures; Deter, Disrupt, Defeat. The last D use to stand for Destroy but I have been advised that this sounds too bellicose, bloodthirsty even. And what’s wrong with that, I asked with a grin, but still agreed to the change anyway, after all, I was a businessman now, not a barbarian. More’s the pity.
The Crossplex hosts a lot of sporting events but the gymnasium can be converted into quite the ballroom/banquet hall with the right amount of notice and finance. Finance was never an issue for Nadya, her last divorce took care of that. So by the time the invitees started arriving for drinks as seven-thirty, the place was as well laid out as any fancy ballroom I had ever been in.
Actual physical security of the venue was handled by officers from Master-Plan Security, the best large-scale contractor in the state, and one with which I have a long-standing professional relationship. The current CEO is also a close personal friend. All it ever takes is a quick phone call to KeeAnn LaForge-Parker and I get whatever I need. There were twelve officers assigned, plus a sergeant to supervise. I’ve worked with most of them before, including the sergeant, so coordination with my team was easy enough.
And speaking of my team, George Oliver (Ollie), Frankie Burrage, Sheila, and Bert Cortez. An odd conglomeration of individuals as ever you would find, all with uniquely distinct backgrounds, and a group that in the beginning I was not sure would mesh well, especially with me leading them. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly proven incorrect as over the past couple of years they have demonstrated again and again that they are the best team of operators I’ve ever worked with; which is saying a lot, considering that just recently I celebrated my thirtieth year in the professional protection business, including ten years as an Air Force security and antiterrorism officer.
Nadya was in a sleeveless black evening gown, low-cut up top, of course, long on the bottom, but with a slit up the left leg stopping about three inches above her knee and showcasing her magnificently shapely thigh. At age sixty-seven the woman was still a head-turner and knew it well. She had started to let her gray grow out recently and her once long black mane was now equally mixed with silver. Her jewelry was modest in presentation but worth a fortune because I knew the woman never went for cheap. I especially liked the pearl choker at her throat, it went well with her milky complexion, and drew the eyes up toward her face, but that plunging cleavage would eventually draw most eyes back down, mine included.
I was near the south entrance talking to Ollie. Master-Plan officers in blazer uniforms were covering all the entrances and exits, as well as the back-of-house areas, but I had my people stationed close by the major points, with me roving around, and when Ollie felt he could move, he would do so as well after letting me know he was going mobile. We were both wearing dark suits and not liking it much, but if I do say so myself, we were two very dashing middle-aged black men in the prime of our lives. And I dare anyone to say different