Warren Murphy: Mafia Fix

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  • Название:
    Mafia Fix
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    Детективная фантастика / на английском языке
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When ten billion filthy drug dollars' worth of heroin pollutes the Jersey shore and threatens to make the Mafia a second Evil Empire, the president knows there's just one man who can stop a Jersey Kingpin from destroying the country and that's an ex-Jersey cop resurrected and nicknamed the Destroyer. Remo Williams is on a mission to mainline death and destruction into the Cosa Nostra before Main Street gets stuck. But how will Master Chiun's masterpiece of a human killing machine score? Will history's biggest drug score go bust? With Remo on the mission you know he'll sniff out the swine and cover his tracks but when he gets to the top will he find he's gone too high and realize that the Mafia fix is in?

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Vincent Fabia, inspector of the United States Treasury Department, who drove his green hot dog truck on to the edge of Pier 27, and parked it as he had parked it for the last three weeks, began to heat the big kettle with the oversized frankfurters, opened the flaps on the sides of the truck and looked out at the most beautiful scene he had witnessed since his wife presented him their first-born son.

To his left, the Panamanian registry Santa Isabella, which had just docked this morning, stood in sharp relief against the New York skyline across the Hudson. Directly in front of him was the long asphalt field where empty truck frames sat in a long string. Within a few days, truck-sized containers would be hoisted from the hold of the Santa Isabella and placed carefully on the back of the truck frames. Then cabs and rigs would be attached and the sealed and locked containers, their contents untouched by human hands on this side of the Atlantic, would be on their way out into the mainstream of America.

Vincent Fabia knew that the two containers he was after would be there this day. Not because intelligence reports told him so. His stomach told him so. "Today is the day," it said, and no computer could tell the mind of Inspector Fabia otherwise. Today was the day he and his men had waited for.

O'Donnell and McElaney would work the hold. They had their longshoremen cards. Hester, Baker and Werner were drivers and assistants. They would be arriving soon to wait for their cargo and they would be there for the entire unloading operation, since in Marseilles their containers were the first to go into the hold. So they would be the last to get their cargo and they would hang around waiting and complaining, but mostly waiting and watching.

In the office building to his right were his reserves, Needham and Viggiano. They would move only if ordered to by Fabia, or if Fabia were dead. In the meantime, they sat there behind a camera, with telephoto lens and high resolution film, ready to pick up identifiable images at a great distance.

Stretched out along Routes 1 and 9 were unmarked Treasury cars. On standby, without exact knowledge of what the standby was for, were the state and Hudson police. The FBI was available for call and "directional reinforcement," which was a nice way of saying that if you fouled things up, they would attempt to unfoul it.

Vincent Fabia, in tee shirt and chinos, straightened out his small formica counter at the side of the truck and added fresh napkins to the dispenser.

He checked the small mustard container on the counter, and seeing it only half-full, filled it. He put out the relish. He opened the heating bin of the sauerkraut and gave it a stir.

The ice in the soft drinks was packed right. He shut the lid on the ice. The straws were adequate.

So was his .38 police special. So was his little transistor radio that he kept plugged into his left ear and which he accidentally had unplugged every day now for the last three weeks so people would hear that it was playing music. Today, it was not playing music and it would not be unplugged.

"It's coming out first. A triple shipment," a voice crackled over the radio.

Fabia clicked his fingers as if hearing a beat. Three containers. Three truckloads and up until this the biggest hauls had been suitcases. The beat went on.

A shiny metal truck container came out of the hold of the Santa Isabella, connected to the end of cables and chains attached to a derrick bolted on the ship.

Containerization. The new way to ship. Four tractor rigs filed into the Pier 27 waiting dock. Needham and Viggiano would pick them up with the telephoto lens for evidence, license plates, company names, everything.

"I said no mustard, you stupid bastard."

Fabia looked down. A longshoreman was looking up angrily at him from the counter. He had given the man a hot dog without realizing it and had drenched it with mustard, also without realizing it.

"Take that frigging radio out of your ear and maybe you'll hear people."

"Yeah, sorry," said Fabia. "I'm sorry."

Ill eat it, but I won't like it."

"I'll give you another one."

"No. I'll eat it. But next time, like listen, huh?"

"Sure thing. Roger."


"Uh, thanks. I'm sorry."

"Yeah. Okay."

Relax. That was what Fabia told himself. Pretend this is just another bust and relax. Don't blow it. By tomorrow, you'll be standing in front of the television cameras with those trucks behind you and everyone in the world hearing those last two vowels on the end of your name. Just relax and pay attention.

Slowly, painfully slowly, the crane Lifted the first container to full height, paused, then swivelled around and lowered the container onto the waiting truck frame. Immediately, the first tractor rig drove up and began to hitch itself to the truck.

"Don't you want your money?"

"Yeah, sure," said Fabia.

"That was two hot dogs, the specials. And a soda."

"A dollar five," Fabia said.

"That must be some program you got on."

"Yeah," said Fabia and smiled. "Great."

"Second container being readied. There are four in the shipment," came the voice over the radio.

Four? Vincent Fabia smiled at his customer and made sure that he absolutely certainly got the order correct. Mustard and relish on one, sauerkraut and mustard on two and one plain.

"You got onions?"


"How come you don't have onions?"

"I don't get a big enough call for them," Fabia said.

And the transistor radio-"tall, dark Caucasian, 275 pounds, suit and tie. Standing near containers in the hold. Just looking. Think he's involved. No reason to be here."

"If you had 'em, you'd get a call for 'em."

"But I don't have them."

"Why doncha?"

"Cause I don't get any call for them."

And the radio-"It's definitely four containers. And there are three men in the hold looking around. Well-dressed."

"Hey, I asked for two, not four." "Sorry. Two, right?" "Right. With onions."

"I don't have onions. What do you want from me?"

"Onions. You know everybody's got onions. You're the first guy in here what deals from a truck that don't have onions."

"I don't have onions."

The longshoreman's face reddened. "I know you don't have onions. I'm saying you oughta get 'em 'cause customers like 'em. I'd pay five cents more for onions if you had 'em. Some people just like onions. It ain't against the law. Nobody says you gotta have mustard and kraut on your dogs. Hey! Whaddya doing?"

"What?" said Vincent Fabia.

"Whaddya doing? I didn't order no mustard or kraut."

And the radio-"Number two going up, those men staring at it. They're involved. Maybe we can get them with the telly. Whoops."

"Mustard and kraut, right?" said Vincent Fabia. "Blow it out your ass."

Vincent Fabia shrugged as a hot dog salesman would shrug, and he leaned down into the corner of his small truck as if to get more mustard. He whispered into a small microphone. "Did you pick up the deck with the telly?"

"Somebody just passed. That was close. I'll let you know when there's something new. Everything's too close."

Vincent Fabia sold 174 hot dogs that morning and eighteen more by 4 p.m. that afternoon. He was literally soaked with sweat. His tee shirt looked as if it had been hosed, and his trousers were two shades darker than normal. His hair hung limply in wet strands; his eyes were red. He felt as though he could neither lift his hands nor his feet; just keep his balance by great strength of will. But when the four loaded tractor trailers with the emblems on them- Ocean Wheel Trucking Company-began to roll off Pier 27, he knew suddenly that he could climb Mount Everest if he had to.

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