“He will. He has to.” It was clear Viper was growing impatient when he said, “It’s time to move, boys.”
We all stood and followed Viper out of the conference room and out to the parking lot. The brothers were quiet while we all loaded up into the SUVs. As we drove over to Crockett’s, Menace went over all the details with Country one last time, making sure he knew exactly what was expected of him once he’d made his way into the basement. Just as he had two times before, Country assured him he knew exactly what to do. We’d just pulled into the parking lot across from Crockett’s when Viper received a text on his burner. He pulled the phone out of his pocket, and after reading the message, he announced, “Stark just left the hotel.”
There was no missing the sound of concern in Menace’s voice as he replied, “That doesn’t give us much time.”
“I’ve got it,” Country replied confidently. “Don’t worry.”
Viper cocked his eyebrow as he asked him, “Does that mean you’re ready?”
“Hell, yeah. I was born ready.”
“Get it done.”
“You got it, Prez.”
Once Country got out of the truck, Menace took out his laptop and pulled up the security feed from Crockett’s. While we didn’t have eyes on everything, we could see inside the bar and the alley. All eyes were on Country as he started towards the basement’s entry. When he disappeared from the screen, Menace announced, “Looks like he’s in.”
We were all watching the monitor when I remembered the fire alarms. The last thing we needed was the explosion setting off any alarms, so I leaned over to Menace and warned, “Don’t forget to kill the power.”
“Already taken care of.”
“How long should it take Country to set up the IED?”
“A couple of minutes, tops.”
We all watched the screen, praying silently Country would be able to pull it off, and just as we’d hoped, he came out of the basement and held up his hand, giving us a thumbs up. He’d done it. The IED was in place, as soon as Country was out of harm’s way and back in the SUV, we were able to breathe a little easier. A mischievous smile crossed his face as Country asked, “Since it’s my Gran’s old bar, can I be the one who pushes the button?”
“Why not?” Country pouted. “I risked my life to go in there and set up that IED. It’s only fair that I get—”
“No,” Viper repeated, putting an end to Country’s pleading.
Country didn’t persist. Instead, he simply leaned back in his seat and looked out the window, watching for Stark’s return. The SUV grew quiet as we all turned our focus back to the building. Waiting was always the worst part. It was a time when any doubts and second-guessing would start to roll in. Soon that anxious feeling would grow stronger. I could feel the tension radiating off my brothers.
As soon as we spotted Stark enter the building, we knew it was time for the second phase of the plan. Viper looked over to Menace and gave him the nod to proceed. After checking security cameras to make sure Stark had made it upstairs, he pressed the button on the detonator and triggered the IED.
It was just a small explosive, barely enough to blow up a car, but once it blew, the gas line in the basement had taken care of the rest and a rush of blue flames skirted across the basement floor. Seconds later, another, even larger blast sent flames and mortar soaring through the entire building. The discharge was so intense that we felt the vibration rattle the windows of the SUV.
We needed to ensure that no one was able to exit the building, so as soon as the fire had taken hold, Viper turned to us and ordered, “Let’s move.”
We got out of the SUV and being careful to stay out of view from onlookers, we rushed across the street and over to the burning building. I could feel the heat of the flames as we inched closer, and the smell nearly choked me as we came up next to Shotgun. “Keep your eyes and ears open. If anyone tries to come out, end them.”
Through the haze of smoke, I noticed some movement at the second-floor window. Moments later, glass sprayed out as a chair crashed through the window. With fire blazing behind him, Stark leaned out the window and started waving his hands as he called out, “Hey! Over here! Help!”
Stark leaned out a bit further but stopped the second he spotted me standing below. A wave of satisfaction washed over me as I watched his jaw drop. He knew it was my brothers and I who’d set the explosion and put an end to his plan and his life. “I’ll kill you for this. Each and every one...”