Every house had been cleared out. There was no sign of the occupants. No clue as to where they went. The agents at Dermott Real Estate knew very little. In fact, they knew nothing. It was infuriating. Dornan had never had anything like this happen before.
It was as if the targets had simply vanished. All utilities had been shut off, even the water. All mail had been stopped. He had definitely been outfoxed.
He called Toffer and let him know the scoop. Toffer was not pleased and threatened not to pay for time. Dornan hung up and sat down to decide his next move. He was growing tired of Toffer and his vendetta against people. Hell. He could be the fat man’s next target. No telling how many hitmen he had waiting.
Damn his luck for not asking for advance payment. He could have been long gone by now. But no. He had to do the honest thing and only require payment for services rendered.
He had decided. Time to turn state’s evidence. Time to pay for crimes committed. Hell. Time to get a little payback.
He started down the street toward the sheriff’s office. Two beat officers met him halfway. He handed one his guns. “Take ’em. They ain’t no use to me now. Shoulda been a gumshoe. At least I coulda been workin’ with yous guys.” He offered the other his hands, pressed together and ready to be cuffed. “Might as well do this all legal-like. Put ’em on.”
He smiled sadly as the cuffs clicked. The officer was rather mystified as to why this was all happening. Still, never look a gift horse in the mouth. At least that had been what they’d heard.
The officer holding his guns looked at him. “What’s with placing yourself under arrest?”
Dornan shrugged. “What else can a man do when he is sent to do a job and the job is nowhere to be found? Hell. I’ll be safer in jail than on the streets with Toffer French on the loose.”
The second officer stopped. “Toffer? What’s that fat toad got to do with this?”
Dornan took in a deep breath. “Look. Just so’s ya know. All those people who’ve disappeared? They didn’t disappear. Toffer ordered hits on them. I only did one, then felt like a damn louse afterward.
“I don’t know why he wanted me to do for him this time. He just called me and requested. I came. But the targets were nowheres to be found.
“Toffer’s mad, and I didn’t get paid. I wanna turn state’s evidence. I c’n give you a lot of dope on Toffer. And I mean a lot.”
They resumed walking. The first officer smiled. “That is for Wycross to decide.”
Natalia stood on the front lawn when Wycross’s deputies arrived. “Daddy! You’ve got company!”
Her mother looked out the front door. “He’s in his study, boys.”
One of the deputies smiled. “Thank you, Ma’am.”
She smiled. “You’re welcome.” She let them in, then looked at Natalia. “Nattie?” Can you come help me for a minute?”
Natalia turned and headed for the door. “Yes, Momma.”
Toffer sat in his office, fuming. His plan had backfired. The objects of his ire were gone. Vanished.
To top it all off, his hit man had just quit. And hit men were hard to come by, especially since the mob would have nothing to do with him. But, then, allies were also hard to come by as well. And his list of allies was growing shorter by the day, it seemed.
Gone were the days he could simply intimidate his enemies and those he gathered as his cohorts. Blackmail was so much easier when he actually held the right cards. Now, his deck was suddenly getting less. He had fewer tricks and it was driving him nuts.
He was starting to realize that he might just lose this war. He had forgotten how wealthy the Morrow family was. Hell. He had forgotten how strong a reputation they had.
He despised those Sunday do-gooders. They went to church every Sunday. They paid their tithes. They broke no laws, stretched no limits. They gave to those less fortunate.
Who the hell did they think they were? Did they really believe that they were better than him? Really. He was better than they, and he didn’t need a preacher to save his soul either.
Hell. He could cheat the devil out of the prize of a soul if he wanted to. He could buy the world! He was just that good.
He cheated on his taxes. He cheated on his wife. Well, at one time he could. Now he was too fat to do so.
He cheated his employees. He cheated the stores. He cheated his customers. He was the best at what he did.
No one had anything over on him. Good guys always lost. He always won. No matter what.
He chuckled to himself. He would beat the Morrows. He swore he would. He would tear their little empire away from them and make it his own.
To hell with all the traitors. They could all go to hell. He would meet them there. In the meantime, he would have as much fun ruining lives as he wanted. If they didn’t want to make deals with him, he would run them into the ground.
Michael sat with Frank and Allan in his study. Before them lay the files and ledgers that held the truth about French Industries. One set was marked Review, the other Actual Account Register. Frank smiled. “Apparently, the Review one was for Toffer’s eyes.”
Michael opened the second one marked Review. “except this one, which has been doctored to feed incorrect information to the IRS.”
Allan stifled a giggle as he looked at the one marked Actual Account Register. “The rat doesn’t even know that his ship has been sinking. In fact, it has already sunk. Unless he is trying to find another fortune, without working for it, so that he can feed his nasty habits.”
Michael looked at Allan. “Why would you say that?”
Allan moved the register to where Michael could see. “Take a look.”