The Twinning Factor – Chapter 8 – Readers and Writers Book Club

The Twinning Factor – Chapter 8

The Twinning Factor
Joseph McGee Private Investigator: Book Seven
McGee Faces A Conundrum
By Carl Douglass
Neurosurgeon Turned Author Writes With Gripping Realism

Chapter Eight

A thirteen-year-old Hasidic Jewish girl in Crown Heights Brooklyn enjoyed a day of cooking with her mother in preparation for her brother’s birthday party that evening. She was proud of her contribution; but, of course, would not say so; it would have been inappropriate. The dinner was a great success; the party was fun with the older people telling Yiddish jokes that drew peals of laughter.

Gramma Rebecca got the floor to tell her story:

“A little Jewish grandmother gets on the crowded bus and discovers that she doesn’t have the correct change for the fare.

The driver says, “I’m sorry ma’am, but without the correct fare you can’t ride.”

She places her hand gently on her chest and says, “If you knew what I had, you’d be nicer to me.”

He lets her ride.

She tries to move down the crowded aisle, but people won’t make way for her.

She places her hand gently on her chest and says, “If you knew what I had, you’d be nicer to me.”

The crowd parts like the Red Sea.

She reaches the back of the bus where there are no seats. No one gets up.

She places her hand gently on her chest and says, “If you knew what I had, you’d be nicer to me.”

Several people jump up and insist that she take their seat.

She settles into a good one by the window.

A woman leans over to her and says, “I know this is none of my business, but just what is it that you’ve got?”

The little Jewish grandmother grins and says, “Chutzpah.”

As the joking becomes a little more risqué, Mama Leah said to Ruth, “Time for bed my dear. It’s a school day tomorrow.

“But, Mama…”

Leah gives Ruth that look.

“All right, Mama. But you have to promise to tell me at least one story of Uncle Moishe Pipik’s [Moses’s Bellybutton]. Promise.”

Moishe was the family vit [jokester], whom Ruth loved dearly.

“Oh, all right, I promise. Now off to bed with you.”

Ruth was ever the obedient daughter, and she headed up stairs to her bedroom.

That was the last anyone saw of her for a very long time.

McGee and Associates became involved after thirty-two days when the police developed a firm but unprovable suspicion that a group of girls were being held in a dilapidated three-story brown stone walk-up in Hunt’s Point, New York City. The problem was that they had no real evidence, just an iffy report by a desperate CI trying to stay out of jail, and a senile Jewish grandmother’s call to the local precinct that there were “goings on” at the house. The clincher to keep the cops away was that the building—in fact, the entire block—belonged to a powerful alderman who was the acknowledged BLM leader in Hunt’s Point, and therefore, considered to be an untouchable.

The Chief of D’s of the 41st precinct in the Bronx called McGee to see if he had any ideas about how to get a look without having to have police actually being involved.

“Not legally, technically,” McGee said.

“Don’t tell me anything you think about doing,” Chief O’Hoolihan said. “I don’t want to know nothing about what youse mugs do.”

McGee put it to Ivory White, the only associate big enough, tough enough, and black enough, to be able even to get near the place. Ivory did get near—across the street—but the place was swarming with what looked to be armed guards, and Ivory figured that only a direct assault by a US marine unit could get in. If that happened, he reckoned, all the girls—if any were actually in the place—would get killed in the crossfire if not intentionally murdered by the perps to get rid of witnesses.

It was a first-class dilemma which seemed to be insurmountable.

McGee decided to take a flyer and present the quandary to his task force unit to see if any of the members might have some sort of idea to find girls, get them out, not involve the police directly, and not get caught or killed.

Caitlin O’Brian summed up the problem succinctly: “Impossible!”

But McGee had a reputation for solving the impossible. That reputation rivaled the famous Heinz Noonan, chief of detectives in the Sandersonville Police Department on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But, he was stumped and admitted it even to himself. This did seem like it was impossible—or any pet theory he came up with seemed to be impossible. He called Chief of D’s Noonan but learned that Noonan was away on a case at the time and would call back when he returned to the Outer Banks. On a flyer, he called his old friend—a well-known writer who solved fictional crimes of his own creation to see if he could help.

“Steve,” McGee said, “I have a conundrum to talk over with you. It seems impossible, but I know you are good at that. I have read all your books, and you are the smartest guy I know. Here’s my dilemma. Think on it and see if you can come up with something.”

“McGee, my friend, I will do my best. But you know my modus operandi: I think up an impossible situation, then thrash around to find a simple solution. I sort of challenge my readers to come up with solutions and to get involved. This is different. You seem to have run into a problem without a solution. You should at least have a good drunk, sleep it off, and start fresh in the morning. Then, force yourself to think of an entirely new scenario and see where that takes you. I’ll ponder it and get back as soon as I have some sort of brainstorm.”

“Thanks, Steve. I’ll look forward to your call. Stay safe and healthy and keep your good thinker working at its best.”

“And, thank you, McGee; keep on detecting. Say, once this thing gets solved, would you mind if I used your info for another book?”

“Feel free.”

Both Jason and James Richter were members of McGee’s team—although McGee only knew of the existence of Jason–for searching out traffickers, although in accordance with James’s new plan, both brothers used Jason’s name exclusively and never appeared together, even in family gatherings. They had gone so far as to remove James’s name from the door and the letterhead of the orthopaedic office stationery.

McGee laid out everything he had learned about the suspect Hunt’s Point location: it’s address, 2243 Farragut Street, Bronx, New York, a little more than a block from the new Fulton Fish Market on the intersection of Food Center Drive and Farragut Street; photos of the house taken by Ivory White during his reconnaissance mission; the name of the owner—Alderman Serius Porterman Jones—and a general indication of the security personnel present in and around the probable traffickers’ prison/house. McGee and Ivory explained the point of view of the police and why nothing could ever expose their involvement in any plan hatched by McGee’s team.

The members of the team came in both genders, all socioeconomic strata and races, and a range of ages from adolescents to octogenarians. He found no reason to pay particular attention to a slovenly dressed, scraggly bearded, youngish Caucasian man who looked as if he might be part way stoned. For his part, Jason Richter paid very close attention to McGee, Ivory, and everything they said and showed.

The conclusion by the team was that the task was all but a complete conundrum, but they promised to think on it for a week and to return with something, anything, that might allow them access to the girls suspected to be staying in the house. There were several points of view put forward, but not a single plan. McGee drew a blank from the meeting and told the committee members just that.

Unknown to the others, one of the men in McGee’s group went home with the gears of his mind whirling around an idea. An audacious idea, but not impossible.

James reported to Jason.

“This is the first real test of our plan and of our mettle. Can we make the plan work? Can I get to where those girls are without being killed?”

Jason shook his head dubiously. However, he loved Elle with all his heart and soul; and if there was even the slightest chance of finding her; it had to be worth the risks.

“All right. But, little brother, you take it very very carefully. I’ll handle the alibi and get the necessary equipment without anybody being able to track the purchases. Let’s draw up a good—and I mean as near perfect as is possible—a plan as our good minds can conjure.
For three days, the twins planned: black ninja suits and balaclavas, soft, thick soled black lace-up shoes, whole thorax and mid-back Kevlar vests. Weaponry: ankle and waist belt combat knives, three hand-guns—one under arm holstered, one held in a front pouch fanny pack, and one held in a holster in the small of the back. Jason went to a right-wingers’ flea market and pro-Confederate flag festival in South Carolina and came back with two short barreled, fully automatic AR-15 pistols [AR-15 pistols with 10-inch barrels which were perfectly legal with a hard plastic stock that was not quite so legal].

Nor was the refitting of the guns to be fully automatic quite so legal either. Technically, they should have been classified as SBRs–short barrel rifles under NFA Rules. Finally, at an adjacent Freedom Lovers’ gun market, he bought ATN NVC7-3, hands-free military grade, night vision, goggles [$10,000 cash for NTVs that retailed for $7,000-take it or leave it], the best wrist GPS technology, cheap Timex wrist watches [proved by the SEALS to “take a lickin’” and keep on tickin’”], small round Chinese hand grenades, subsonic jacketed bullets [cop killers], and SureFire suppressors trusted by elite military forces around the world. They delivered a combination of sound attenuation, muzzle flash reduction, and dust signature mitigation—everything a parttime orthopaedic surgeon/ninja could want. Everything was paid for in cash with no background checks or receipts, the way the Patriots liked it.

James used his knowledge of the large hospital to pick up a few necessaries clandestinely. In a musty basement storeroom—ignored for years—he found six large brown bottles of chloroform, placed in storage nearly seventy-five years ago when it was discovered that the once highly preferred anesthetic was proved to cause fatal liver necrosis in an unacceptable number of surgical patients. There was a sealed bag of non-woven polyester cellulose surgical pads. James purloined the entire bag along with all the chloroform.

Leaving nothing to chance, Jason hired a mafia business entrepreneur to rent a seedy studio apartment for a week which was located on the top floor of a building that was frequented by a lot of Italians and no one else every came in, including cops.

“Youse want it for the whole week?”

“Yes. And I want a couple of single bed… clean mattresses, towels for the bathroom, and a hot plate.”

“Thinkin’ of takin’ ta the mattresses for a little war, Man? If that’s the case I’ll have ta talk to the caporegime, maybe even the consigliere. At best, it’ll drive the price up way high, if you get what I’m getting’ at.”

“No gang war or even cross words with any made guys or associates. You have my word. I just need rest and privacy. I am willing to pay for your discretion.”

“Ten large for the week then. You won’t be bothered, and you were never there; ya have my word on that.”

Both men spat on the palms of their hands and had a firm handshake.

As a dry run, both twins suited up in their ninja outfits and made a midnight reconnoiter the night before the planned caper. It was busy, but they were practically invisible; so, they came away with confidence for the real thing.

I chose to use a pseudonym for personal reasons. I’m a retired neurosurgeon living in a rural paradise and am at rest from the turbulent life of my profession. I lived in an era when resident trainees worked 120 hours a week–a form of bondage no longer permitted by law. I served as a Navy Seabee general surgeon during the unpleasantness in Viet Nam, and spent the remainder of my ten-year service as a neurosurgeon in a major naval regional medical center. I’ve lived in every section of the country, saw all the inhumanity of man to man, practiced in private settings large and small, the military, academia, and as a medical humanitarian in the Third World.