Denice walked into her suite at the motel and was slightly annoyed that the smart-lights were on. She assumed that a maid had just dropped off some laundry.
It was evening and she was running late. She watched news in split-screen mode. One half of the screen was local and the other half was Cali. She had developed the routine so she could keep her fingers on the pulse of both sides of her business. She needed to hustle or she was going to miss the first part of the shows.
Focussed on finding the TV remote, she never heard the tall figure slip out of the shadows and walk up behind her on the balls of his feet. Nor did she hear the swish of the length of iron pipe that hit her on the right side of her head, impacting from the end of her eyebrow and across the top of her right ear.
She fell like a sack of grain.
Her head was a blaze of pain when she awoke and her eyes could not focus. All she saw was a white blur. Breathing was difficult.
She on her belly and her hands were secured behind her with zip-ties and she had a plastic grocery bag tied over her head. Inhaling was difficult and the tightly stretched plastic molded to her nostrils. It shrieked as she struggled to inhale.
“I am glad you are woke up before I finished killing you.” a masculine voice said. The voice was vaguely familiar.
“First, Bona-Brown sends his love.” the voice said. “You helped him win a bet and he is grateful. Not grateful enough to let you live, but grateful.”
“Spirochete also had a few choice words for you. Hmm! Let me see if I can remember. Oh, ya, ‘Fucking cunt needs to be put down like a dog. Stupid bitch does not realize she is supposed to fail.’ Ya, that was it.” The voice said.
“In case you haven’t figured it out yet, SD-LA had to hit rock-bottom before we could go on to the next step. The people had to be screaming for salvation before we could implement the next step of total control. We were almost there. We were SO close before you came along and fucked everything up. First the corn and now draining out the ‘huddled masses’.”
The voice continued “But don’t worry, you only slowed us down. We are going to blame your death on the Cartel and shut down the buses. We will get the chaos we need even if it was not the way we originally planned.”
“Gee, Mz Delarosa, you seem to be having difficulty breathing. I can’t spend all night waiting for you to die.
“There is a clear, obvious solution to this problem but I am not going to put it to a vote. I would let seniority decide but you don’t seem to be able to talk so I get to decide.”
“Do I want to implement the obvious solution?”
The man smirked. “You bet I do.”
He planted a booted foot to either side of her head so she could not turn her head. Then he reached down with both hands and grabbed handfuls of hair. And then he pressed her face into the carpeting until she stopped thrashing.
He left the door open when he departed.
The CPU in the light controller processed the sound data and arrived at the conclusion that the conversation needed to be preserved and transmitted to the server. The sound file was compressed and a separate text translation was added. A priority code was added. The files were sent to the wireless server in the motel which assessed the priority code and retransmitted the files to several anonymous addresses. After several bounces, the encoded files would land in Dilip and Liz’s email accounts.