Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Shrewd King 17.2: Reversals

Donnie’s mortar had been sighted in for exactly 440 yards at the Waverly Road bridge. Rather than screw around with changes in elevation to dial in a new range, it was easier to use the laser range-finder and set up the mortar exactly 440 yards from Pete’s store. Quite by accident, the new firing point was also thirty feet higher in elevation than the target, exactly like Waverly Road.

Five round collapsed two-and-a-half exteriors walls and the entire second floor and inventory pancaked onto the hostiles beneath.

Donnie directed his troops, “Any resistance; shoot them twice. If they try to surrender, have them crawl on their hands and knees to the road.”

By virtue of the fact that the survivors outnumbered Donnie’s fighters, several were able to make a successful run for the brush.


Gimp had a tourniquet on Quinn’s left leg. His ankle was shattered pulp. He would be lucky to avoid amputation.

Quinn was groaning and thrashing in pain.

“Here. Chew these.” Gimp said to Quinn. "It will help with the pain." It was two of the counterfeit Vicodins that came from the Duckworth hoard.

“I don’t need those.” Quinn said.

“Sure you do, GIMP” Mr Sullivan told Quinn. “Trust me. I have been there.”


The commandos had trained several times for this mission. They had practiced on a house that they assumed had a similar interior lay-out. The house was a common-as-dirt tract-house with a single interior floor plan. But it had been built seventy years ago and subsequent owners may have modified the interior.

Operating in their favor was the fact that the house had been a rental for most of those seventy years and neither tenants nor landlords were likely to sink any money into extensive renovations.

The commandos moved in from the north and the east, using the cover that was available. Nobody inside the house had thought install exterior cameras, a fact that the lead commando had confirmed with binoculars from a safe distance.

Most of the squad stacked up along the side of the house, keeping heads low so a casual glance out of a window would not reveal their presence. Four of the squad had grenade launchers and they used them to pump stun-grenades through the windows of the enemy’s command-and-control center. Each grenade launcher had two windows to service.

The battering ram breached the door.

There were two people in the command-and-control center and both were incapacitated by the grenades. Their hands were zip-tied behind their backs and each had one commando watching them.

The attack had been completely unexpected.

“Sir. Mission complete. Three subjects have been captured and the radio gear is still functional.


Benicio walked into the room where the prisoners were secured.

A large smile slowly spread across his face. “Ahhh! Derious. I had word that you had gotten back with your girlfriend. It would seem the rumors were true.”

The fact that Derious had parked his fancy SUV in front of his girl-friend's house was his biggest mistake. Derious had a weakness for flashy rides, including the one he had driven into Capiche during his failed invasion in May.

Derious, seeing his former boss, attempted to lunge to his feet.

Benicio smoothly drew his handgun and shot Derious in his left knee.

Derious collapsed with a howl.

“Did you know that there are 230 joints in the human body?” Benicio asked. “I asked a doctor.”

“Cooperate, and I won’t have to hurt you. Resist and you lose another joint.” Benicio said.

Derious spat at Benicio.

Benicio shot Derious in the left ankle. Derious spasmed in pain.

“Good! I was wondering about that.” Benicio said. “I was worried that if I shot you in the knee that you would not be able to feel pain below it. Each foot has 33 joints and I would not want to waste them.”

Derious pissed his pants.

“I should have guessed this attack was yours. It smells like you.” Benicio said.

“I am in a bit of a rush. It is my hope that you will answer a few questions, like where did you come from and where did the other half of your forces go?” Benicio said.

Derious said “Fuck you.” He knew he was a dead man.

Benicio sighed a tired, long suffering sigh.

“While I could do this myself, and I would enjoy it, I have people who are better at this than I am and I have other things to do.” Benicio said.

Then he beckoned to a man who had been standing in the hallway.

Some men are born to play the piano. Some compose symphonies. Others write sonnets.

Hyena, the man who had been standing in the hall wrote symphonies of pain. He played joints and bones and nerve endings the way a concert pianist plays a Steinway.

That is when Derious finished soiling his trousers. His girlfriend started vomiting.

“Let me know when you have the information. Go easy on the girl. We want her to be able to use the radio when you are done.” Benicio said as he left the room near the corner of Miller and M-99.



  1. At first I thought, "Oh crap! Chernovsky and Tim have been captured".

    And all this time I was thinking that Benecio was behind the May attack. Turns out it was this slimeball Derious.

    Quinn's shattered ankle is extremely worrying. There are no Level One trauma centers anymore. There is no medevac to MASH unit available. There is no army of orthopedic and vascular surgeons waiting to perform miracles on bone and blood vessels and nerve tissue. And then there is the risk of sepsis, infection, and gangrene. Let us hope it is not as bad as first appearance.

    1. Benicio WAS behind the attack in May. Derious planned and executed it. Then Derious defected rather than face the music that the plan failed.

      Benicio was gathering intelligence on why it failed and stumbled upon the fact that Duckworth and drugs were gone and he could buy other assets more cheaply than conquer.

  2. Wheels within wheels. I await developments.

  3. Very nice 'play' on the dissention among the 'bad' guys...

  4. Editor mode for Old NFO: dissension
    argh - you left me hanging wondering what's going to happen to Quin's leg...

    1. I imagine Quinn is rather interested in the outcome as well.

  5. AND...we don't know whose side "the commandos" that took the house are on, but I fear that they're the "bad guys". Things aren't looking good for the home team.

  6. They are Benecio's men. It looks like Benecio has decided to help out the Eaton Rapids communities. Not because he is a good guy, but because they produce the food that helps him maintain his position of power in his area.

  7. This Benicio guy is smart. He knows that he's better off trading with the people of Capiche than trying to conquer them, as he has nobody who has their skills. As long as he can exploit people in his own territory, anyway. That could change at some point. Clearly, first-world tribal warfare is more sophisticated than what we see in the third world today.

    I'm consistently impressed at the realism of this story. Joe, you have great skill and a deep understanding of human nature.


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