The Brown Tarantula Part 7
The Plot Thickens
Copyright Robert F. Sacco
Charon stared out through the bulletproof window of his limo as the Winthrop Mansion became visible through the rain. He allowed his brain to chatter inanely about how sick and tired he was of the rain because he was hoping to drown out his real internal dialogue. He had only met once before with Caleb Winthrop. The day after he had become boss of bosses an invitation had been proffered and he had accepted. Not that he had been given a lot of choice in the matter. Caleb Winthrop was a multibillionaire with fingers in every pie. He owned controlling Interests in oil companies, computer companies, movie studios, banks and presidential administrations. Hell, he probably owned whole countries. He had been very straightforward with Charon. He told him how much of the street revenue would come to Winthrop (a meager two percent), what neighborhoods could be worked, which to avoid and what he could expect in return for obeying these rules (long life and no federal interference). He wasn't sure why Winthrop even wanted the money. Surely his legitimate enterprises made him so much money that his tiny take from the streets was merely a drop in the bucket. In the end he had just chalked it up to ego. How did the line from the song go? "King ain't satisfied until he owns everything"? He did know one thing though. Yesterday morning he put a bullet in the head of a man who had failed to control his territory and today he was going to be taken to task for the same thing.
One thing that he had to give to Winthrop, he did have class. The limo was met at the steps to the main entrance of the mansion by a butler and two maids holding open umbrellas for himself, Manny and Bill. Well, it would be nice to be dry while waiting to die he thought. The walk up the stairs, through the main hall and through a maze of corridors until they reached what seemed to be an ultra modern office complex took ten minutes. Charon was a multimillionaire but he couldn't even dream about how much money it cost to run an operation like this. He, Manny and Bill were shown into a large conference room. Already present was Caleb Winthrop looking like Sydney Greenstreet in an old Bogie movie, but, with a more muscular physique, and eight or nine people who rushed around like servants with Blackberries and I-Phones buzzing. Above and behind Winthrop were three large flat screens with images of three other individuals with similar conference rooms and similar staffs. Charon thought he recognized one of them as being some South American bigwig but he wasn't sure, he wasn't a big news watcher.
Charon was startled by the sheer number of people privy to this meeting. The more people who witness an event, the more likely it is that someone will talk somewhere down the line. At least that's the way it had always been in the mobs he had traveled with. "Ah, Mr. Charon, thank you for making room for me in your schedule. I know that you have some problems at the moment that require your full attention. I'll try to get you out of here as quickly as possible" Winthrop began. "I'm not sure I understand." Charon said, becoming confused. Winthrop actually paused from what he was doing on a notebook computer that was sitting on the conference table, pulled his glasses down further on his nose so he could look over them and turned his attention to Charon's face. Then he chuckled. "Gentlemen, I think Mr. Charon believes that he's here to have his employment terminated." Two of the three men on the large screen chuckled as well. The third smiled, but had a look in his eye that made Charon think that the man smiled because he was imagining the termination. "Mr. Charon, we're both businessmen. We both know that failure, and betrayal, are things that need to be dealt with efficiently and swiftly, but, I don't think you've had the opportunity to betray me…" an aid pointed to something on Winthrop's laptop screen, causing Winthrop to pause for a moment, push his glasses back into place and glance at the screen before turning back to Caleb, "yet…" He continued…. "And, the last two days are not your failure, but mine." Charon was just getting more confused. "There is no way that you could have stopped the Tarantula. His armor and automobile are very powerful devices. I dare say, while it's possible that a thug with a gun could get lucky and bring him down, it would take a genius with access to very advanced technology to make his demise a sure thing. I was aware that this particular problem could rear its ugly head and I'm afraid I didn't take it seriously enough to give you fair warning or help you prepare. So relax sir. You're here so that I can help you with this, bump in the road."
Charon breathed a sigh of relief. "So you've got a weapon, or, a plan?" He questioned. "Well.." Winthrop started "Not yet. The only way we're going to beat the Spynrotix armor is to out think it. It likes to accomplish more than one goal at a time. It is very efficient that way. Its current goals will be to finish off you and your organization, while learning about me and mine. The only way that it will be able to learn about my influence on your operation is to learn about your connections to government and international criminal organizations. In order to set a workable trap for him, I'll have to deduce which of our mutual associates' identities he will be able to deduce based on their reactions to his war on you. I must admit to being rather a big picture fellow so I don't know all of the sundry and sorted details of the day to day of your operation. We're going to need to pull that detail out of your head and try to see what the Tarantula sees." "Well… that's gonna take some time. We'd better get started." Charon said, still not really sure what Winthrop was talking about but glad to hear that he wasn't about to be executed and eager for the help that Winthrop seemed to be offering. He began to take off his trench coat and pull out a chair to sit at the conference table when Winthrop said "Oh no no no no… none of us have the time for you to sit down and relate all of the intimate details of your family business to us. Plus, like most, humans, you're likely to miss some important detail and, really, all the data is going to need to be analyzed by a rather brilliant war computer that we are justifiably proud of. No, I said that advanced technology was going to be necessary and, we have it." He gestured to a man who wore the white corduroys, scrubs, shoes and lab coat of a hospital worker. "John here will take you down to my personal medical facility and we will be able to extract the information we need directly from your brain."
This story has fifteen parts, links to the other parts will be posted below as they are published.