Torkelsen finished with the warehouse, then made a call to both intended targets. He started with Phin. “Yes. Phin. I need to see you at the warehouse. Say, an hour from now? Good.” He hung up and smiled, then dialed Miles. “Yes. Irish? Can we meet? The old warehouse. one hour. Good. Thank you.”
It was all set. Now he had to move his car so they would think that he hadn’t arrived yet. Then, he had to hide. And wait.
He found a longshoreman to drive his car into one of the other warehouses and stash it out of sight until he saw the others arrive. Then, he was to drive up in it as they entered. They were to see the car pull up, but not who was driving.
He watched his beloved Mercedes pull away. After it had disappeared, he went to the side of his warehouse and chose a spot where he could not be seen. From there, he would watch the targets arrive. Hand grenades in hand, he waited.
Phin was the first to arrive. He watched as his army buddy got out of the car and waited until Miles arrived. He watched as the two shook hands. Then, they turned and headed into the warehouse. Apparently, his driver had begun to approach.
He smiled when he heard the door open and shut. A flick of the switch would start things off, but the fuse for that one was long enough for them to get to the office. Ah, the office. Such fun to rig. He had thought of the most elaborate trap there. And he had used it. After all, grenades would scramble them. Mess them up enough to allow the rest of the explosions to take them in a blaze of glory.
Both Miles and Phineas knew they’d been set up. They had fallen into a trap willingly. Phin had heard the low hiss of the slow-burning fuse. “Miles, get down. Now! The place is rigged.”
“Th’ Boy-o must be desperate,” Miles frowned as he went to his hands and knees, his Irish accent quivering, “Wonder what other surprises he fixed for us.”
Phin shook his head negatively. “I really don’t know. I really don’t want to, either.” He reached over and grabbed a grasping instrument he’d stashed for just such moments. “Get down on your stomach. It’s goin’ to get awful deadly for anyone standing or at knee-level, if I know Ivan. They didn’t call him Ivan The Terrible for nothin’ when we were in the service. He made the Russian Czar look like a saint. Hell. He made Vlad The Impaler look like a saint.”
Miles looked over at his friend. “Like how?”
Phin looked back at the Irishman grimly. “You know the methods used by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups?”
Miles nodded. “Aye. The IRA used them as well.”
Phin grimaced. “Well, he took those to a whole different level. And the traditional booby traps? Forget it. He has his own special brand. When he wants you out of the way, he usually gets his wish.”
Miles swallowed hard. “Damn. Knew I shouldn’t a threw in with ‘im. Sean said there was somethin’ off about ‘im, but I thought–”
Phin smiled sadly. “That was your problem. You thought. Always go with the gut feelings of others. You stay alive longer. Especially when it comes to Ivan.”
The Irishman looked at Phin. “What is your excuse?”
He shook his head. “Dunno. I have always had a death wish. Some would say that I am suicidal. But not this damn suicidal.” He found two large pieces of iron and handed one to Miles, keeping the other for himself. “For what it’s worth, here. use this to shield yourself from whatever blast he has waiting for us. I won’t guarantee that it’ll save us from the one above, but the ones down at this level might be deflected.”
He reached out for the office door with the grabber. Twisting the nob, he pulled the door open gently. The sounds of the pins being pulled from at least a dozen grenades told him everything. They weren’t supposed to survive.
But damned if he didn’t suddenly want to ruin Torkelsen’s plans. Funny how a sound makes one that much more determined to survive. He heard the glass break in two windows. “Get ready for one hell of a big bang, Miles. Whatever you do, don’t look up, don’t remove the iron plate from above you, and don’t get up.” He handed the Irishman a set of earplugs he’d just pulled out of his pocket. “And put these in. the concussion will be enough to kill you…or, at least, blow your ear drums out.”
Miles looked at him suspiciously. “Do ye always carry a pair o’ earplugs in yer pocket?”
Phin nodded. “Yup. Ever since I met ol’ Ivan.”
The Irishman shook his head in disbelief. “I can nae believe it, Boy-o.” He stuck the earplugs in and hoped Phin was right.
Torkelsen paid the longshoreman, then got into his car and left. A few seconds after he disappeared, the warehouse exploded, knocking the longshoreman down. Smaller explosions rocked the docks, shattering windows out of the warehouses closest to them. When the smoke cleared, Phin and Miles struggled to their feet. Both men were shaken. Their injuries were minor, considering what could have been.
The longshoreman wasn’t as lucky. Phin looked at Miles. “Ready to turn the tables?”
Miles was not in a good mood. “What d’ye mean?”
Phin grinned. “Well, since we are supposed to be dead, we dare not retaliate. But we can turn state’s evidence if we turn ourselves in and ask for protection.”
Miles looked over at his friend doubtfully. “How do we get to the station? Our autos are nothin’ but a couple o’ fireballs.”
Phin searched the longshoreman and found a cell phone. “Like this.”
He dialed 9-1-1 and waited. Miles grinned and shook his head. “Boy-o, ye’re full o’ surprises.”
Phin nodded, then spoke when the operator picked up on the other end. “Yes. I would like to report one homicide and two attempted homicides. You’ll find us between piers thirteen and fifteen.”