Just a good looking Canadian Boy trying to look cool in New York City

Published Works

The Dollar Club

The man and woman sat facing each other in the private compartment.  She was slim, her skin pale, her normally soft features hardened with the stress of the last months.  He was stern, watchful, his dark eyes roaming, constantly searching, never still.   Both of the weary passengers slumped back gratefully into the worn seats, relief flooding through them as the train began to pull slowly out of the Bahnhauf.  “Are you sure they’ll follow us?”  She was surprised her voice sounded so calm.  “I hope so,” her partner said.  His eyes fastened on the shadows moving across the compartment door.  “Will they find us?”  Her voice betrayed her uncertainty.    “I hope so.”  He grinned mirthlessly, “and when they do we‘ll be ready for them.  This time we’ll take them.”  He looked at her, his dark eyes hardening.  “We will find out what we need and then it will be our turn to go after them.  This time the hunted will become the hunter.”  She nodded wordlessly, her hand slipping absently under her coat, caressing the comfortable smoothness of the 9-mm Sig Saur that rested snugly in the shoulder holster.  Reassured she leaned back, her head on the faded green cloth of the seat, gray eyes slowly closing with fatigue.  “How long before we reach Geneva?”   “Four or five hours maybe longer, I’m not sure.”    She closed her eyes, letting her head fall gently against the cool cloth of the seat, letting her fatigue claim her.  At least they were safe for the next four or five hours.  Within a few minutes she was asleep.  He sat quietly watching her and wondered for the hundredth time why it had come to this.  He turned to the window, watching the German countryside flash by.  There was a deep weariness in him, but his fatigue was as much mental as physical.  He wished for sleep but knew it would be a long time coming.  Twilight softened the harshness of the day, its gentle cloak beginning to cover the afternoon brightness.  A dozen towns passed quickly by, each one differing only slightly from the next.  The train slowed almost imperceptibly as it rolled through another anonymous town.  His eyes watched as the cobbled streets and steep, vaulted roofs of the ageless village shops passed by.    It was a small town, not unlike one in Kosovo, somehow the same and yet worlds apart.  One small town that almost a year ago had been the start of it all.    Christ, had it only been ten months since then?  His mind wandered slowly, reluctantly back to the beginning.  Back to where his nightmare had first begun.     * * * *     Sergeant Ryan Stewart moved through the stunted brush and low grass, oblivious to any distractions, intent only on the blackness that enveloped him, the need to blend in with the dark, to be a ghost.  His toes dug into the soft earth and pushed gently, propelling him a few silent inches ahead.  Move a couple of feet then freeze, his body ridged, immobile, ears straining for that break in the night silence; the rustle of cloth on grass that would tell him the enemy was close.  Satisfied he slid his arms forward cradling his weapon loosely and pulled his body a few inches farther along.  Purposefully, silently, he crawled toward the small rise he had earmarked for his nest.    He reached his hide and slid into position.  All the outside distractions fell away as he focused on the mission, nerves jangling; all his senses alert to any danger.  He eased the weapon off his arms and quietly unsnapped the dull black Harris bi-pod.  The sleek deadly M14 fell naturally in line with his body, an extension of him, of his purpose and mission.  With practiced hands he quickly slipped the cover off the scope.  His fingers moved with a surgeon’s precision, automatically adjusting for the darkness and distance to the target.   This was the part Ryan loved the most, the part he was the best at, waiting for the target to appear, sighting on the exact spot and gently squeezing the trigger.  Feeling the recoil and hearing the muted bark of the weapon before slipping soundlessly, effortlessly into the night.  This time, lying on this hard foreign soil, for the very first time in his career, he felt vulnerable. The night was too bright. The moon almost full and a thousand stars shone intensely.  Prone in the ankle high grass, he felt as if he were centered in a spotlight.   His hands found the smaller magazine and he slipped it quietly into the weapon.  Each movement was slow and deliberate, nothing fast, nothing that might give his presence away. He reached down to his hip and felt for the butt of his Sig-Saur.  He was instantly reassured by the weight of the tough little nine-millimeter.   His target was a Serb captain named Anton Milovic, one of the hundreds of local warlords that had emerged in the war.  Not really very important in the big scheme of things but a brutal bastard who was generating the wrong kind of headlines and beginning to make NATO look bad.  He and his men had terrorized this part of Kosovo for months, killing and looting at will.  NATO couldn’t talk diplomacy while this pig raped and murdered helpless Kosovars whenever he felt like it.    Now it was his turn.    Stewart adjusted the scope and scanned the scene below him.  The target, was sitting on the hood of a jeep, his shirt unbuttoned to allow his huge belly to spill over his belt, a bottle, undoubtedly full of Slivovitz the fiery Balkan brandy, held in one meaty hand.  He had men spread out all around the square; most of them appeared drunk.  In the back of a small café, two waitresses huddled together trying to avoid the attention of the soldiers drinking at the tables.  Although the square was brightly lit, most of the buildings surrounding it were dark, burned out and gutted.  Only a few lights shone in the windows throughout the town.    Ryan did not like this situation at all.  He continued to scan the scene, taking time to note everything, not just his target.  The big Nimrod scope brought the small village square into sharp focus.  This was not like the briefing at all.  These troops appeared top of the line, hard core.  The one or two vehicles he could see were in good shape.  Nothing was the way the Ops Officer had described it, the way he told them it would be.  Something was wrong, it didn’t jive.  He was missing something, but what?  He scanned the scene again.  Nothing had changed.  Everyone was still in their place, like actors waiting for their cue.  He adjusted the sight, drawing Milovic close, filling the eyepiece.  The big Serb remained unmoving, the bottle still clutched in one hand but no closer to his lips than before.  His weapon leaned casually against the bumper of the jeep, close at hand.  Intelligence said he was a drunk, never far from a bottle.  He didn’t appear drunk.  In fact he looked alert and ready.  Next the scope pulled in the soldiers at the café.  They sat around in groups of two and three, drinks in front of them, but only one or two lifting the glasses to their lips.  A hard knot of

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