The RedeemerHarry Hole investigates a mistaken assassination
Trader of Secrets
Most of the blood left on the concrete floor of the garage in Washington belonged to the big black investigator working for Madriani, the man named Herman Diggs, but not all of it.
Liquida could feel the tight constraint of the large gauze bandage covering the searing wound under his right arm. Every bump in the highway brought pain as the motion tugged on the metal staples holding the wound closed. It made his eyes water. Still, the pain kept him awake and on course.
What kept Liquida going was his hatred for Madriani and an unquenchable thirst for retribution. The firm of Madriani and Hinds had caused him to lose a small fortune, enough money for Liquida to retire. That was before the lawyers’ investigator carved up Liquida’s back with a knife, but not before Liquida had dealt the man a deathblow. As the bastard lay dying on the concrete floor, Liquida twisted the knife by telling him that he knew where the girl was and that she was next. Now he intended to make good on the promise.
His right arm hung limp in a sling as he steered with his left hand. Liquida struggled to keep his eyes on the road, periodically holding the wheel with his knees as he sipped fluids, alternating between coffee and orange juice. He refused to consume the pain pills given to him by the physician for fear they might dull his senses; not until the girl was dead.
The doctor had told him to change the bandages daily and to remain quiet for at least a week to allow the stapled sutures to heal. The all-night clinic was a seedy place in a dingy area just outside D.C., one of those surgi-centers where, for enough cash, usually they would remove a bullet or stitch up an open wound, no questions asked. Liquida was in and out in less than an hour.
He had no intention of remaining quiet for ten days. Madriani’s daughter would not wait that long on the farm in Ohio. Once she was told what had happened in Washington, she would bolt for another location to hide out, or join her father. Either way it would be much more difficult to find her again. Liquida knew he had to act and act quickly. Before he murdered Madriani, he wanted the lawyer to know that his daughter had died under Liquida’s knife.
He made the four hundred miles from D.C. to Groveport, Ohio, in a little under eight hours. Liquida napped just briefly in a small motel a short distance from the farm where the girl was staying. He knew that with every minute that passed he ran the risk that Sarah Madriani and her father’s law partner, the one they called Harry Hinds, might pack their bags and make a run for it. But Liquida had no choice. He was in no condition to plan and carry out a killing against a well-guarded location without at least a few hours’ rest.
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