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Authors: Stephen Romano

Tags: #Thrillers, #Crime, #Fiction, #Technological, #General

Resurrection Express

BOOK: Resurrection Express
9.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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Chapter 1: Five Percent
Chapter 2: A Pistol for Ringo
Chapter 3: The Getaway
Chapter 4: Full Disclosure
Chapter 5: Coffin Run
Chapter 6: Into the Future
Chapter 7: The Face of God
Chapter 8: Go to Zero
Chapter 9: Men and Boys
Chapter 10: Dead Game
Chapter 11: The Enemy of my Enemy’s Enemy
Chapter 12: Garbage Men
Chapter 13: Maniacs Like Us
Chapter 14: Mayhem and Death Ray
Chapter 15: Dreams in the Dollhouse
Chapter 16: Just One More Thing
Chapter 17: Unbreakable
Chapter 18: The Two Tonis
Chapter 19: Damage Control
Chapter 20: Living Through
Chapter 21: The Man Who Sold the World
Chapter 22: The Dark
Chapter 23: The Last Perfect Day
Chapter 24: Resurrection
Chapter 25: After the Apocalypse
About Stephen Romano
Bryan Geer
my first amigo on this wild escape
Rock Romano
my father, who still helps me get there
and, in order of appearance
John Schoenfelder
David Hale Smith
Ed Schlesinger
without whom . . .
veryone wants to believe they can be saved. Everyone wants a ticket to the promised land. Everyone wants to know that they are the heroes of their own lives, that it all means something in the end, that they are righteous in the face of so many mistakes and sins.

Everyone wants to be resurrected.

A lot of us die very disappointed.


I will resurrect you.




y fist connects with the soft spot in Coolie’s right cheek, just above his lower jaw, and I hear teeth shatter under my knuckles. I hit him just the way you’re supposed to, arm straight out, wrist stiff like steel, all forward thrust anchored from the shoulder and popped like a coiled spring at my elbow. You turn your whole arm into a concrete piston when you do that. This guy, he’s big and all—but big doesn’t mean anything when you go straight for the face. A monster can’t grow muscles on his teeth. Giant guys who are used to victory by intimidation never expect it to come right at them like this, not ever. Coolie stumbles back all dazed, the knockout reflex working overtime. I hit him next in the throat, a jujitsu-style straight jab with my fingers. His windpipe closes with a sick crack and he loses all his air. When he drops the shank and reaches up to grab his throat, I kick him dead center, just below the belt. That cancels the fight. But just to be sure, and to make it nice and showy for the boys, I swing around again with the heel of my foot and something that looks like a big red tomato bomb explodes in the center of his face. He goes down on the dirty asphalt, dreaming about whatever.

The crowd goes crazy, like it’s a football game.

The smell of blood crawls up my nose, sharp and wet and stinging, like salt water dripping from a rusty razor. I never get used to that. I always avoid it.

But some things are inevitable.

Like the sweaty smiles of two hundred drooling, backstabbing criminal jerks, cheering your name because you know how to kick the ass of a guy twice your size. It’s surreal. Like something out of a movie. My name, over and over. And the hand claps, in time with the chant:

Coffin! Coffin! Coffin!

They clap like this when you go in, when you first walk down the cell block. Some of them spit on you. But they only yell your name out loud when you’ve earned respect. That’s when nobody messes with you. They’ve seen me jack up six guys in broad daylight, right on the yard, just like this. The tougher guys, the big mean black dudes, they don’t chant or clap. But they give you the high nod without a smile. That means you’re protected. That means this idiot at my feet will be servicing the gangbangers for six months in the showers. I’ll get a carton of cigarettes when I’m out of solitary. T-Jay is my sponsor here, a gnarled ebony giant with a cold fifty-yard stare and a mouth filled with jagged glass. I broke the arm of a dirty white boy who called himself Mentor, just after I got here. He was bigger than Coolie, all full of muscle, but it never matters. Boom. They’re down. Then they’re someone else’s bitch.

The hacks are already sounding the lockup bell, surrounding me on all sides, telling me we can go hard or easy. When a full-view fight like this breaks out on the yard, everybody goes back in the can for two hours. The guys are going quietly this time. A month ago, I had to take on three at once and there was almost a riot. Nobody’s in the mood for billy clubs and mace this morning. I give it up with my hands against the concrete, near the basketball stop. They grab my arms and hustle me off. Nothing too rough. They all know I have the cash to pay my way. I’ll get a week in the hole, but it’ll be easy. It’ll give me time to think. One of the hacks kicks Coolie in the guts to see if he’s still alive. I made sure he would be. I could have killed him, but I didn’t. This won’t even
go down in the books as self-defense. A few extra bills will make sure nobody saw a thing. I can get word to the Fixer from solitary that I need the money. Second parole hearing in just three weeks. The record has to be clean. I’ll be denied early release, right on schedule. But six rejections later, by the letter of this place, I’ll be out. That’s what the Fixer tells me. So long as the record is clean.

And then . . .

When I’m back on the street, I’ll find Hartman and make him pay. I’ll look right into his eyes and I’ll tell him he should have killed me when he could have. He’ll look me in the eyes and beg me not to kill him. I’ve never killed a man before in my life.

I’ll kill him for you.


•  •  •

his place is all concrete and corroded metal, almost a hundred years old, renovated once in the seventies. The kind of dungeon that still stands because someone got paid off. My cell is damp and stale. They always stick me in this one when I have to do solitary, because it’s close to the main block causeway, and I’m favored by the management. The walls reek of piss and semen and bad mojo. People get sick a lot because the plumbing is for shit and the water is brown. I never drink it. You can buy the bottled stuff for a buck in the commissary. Six bucks gets it delivered to the hole. Been living off Ozarka and Diet Coke for way too long.

Two years down.

I shouldn’t even be here.

Not down in the hole with monsters like Coolie and T-Jay.

The good news is that it’s a system set up like grade school compared to what I know how to navigate in the real world. They gave me thirty years. I’ll only be in for five. I’ve worked it like a pro, which is exactly what I am. They transfer you to the east side of the top tier with no cellmate when you have a clean
record for a while, when you do good in trade classes and group therapy and play nice with others. I’ve been on the top tier since day one, even though my case file has Organized Crime stamped on it in large red letters. That only cost me six hundred bucks to set up. Little trips like this to the shock corridor are just vacations. Time to get things straight, to plan your next move. You always have to plot everything. It all works if you let it. Once the design is laid out carefully, all the leads running end to end, it’s a puzzle that fits together, and the solutions are pure logic. Like a computer program. Like a time lock.

Like everything I know how to do.

•  •  •

hey send a guy to get me, three days into my vacation. Strange. They never do anything ahead of schedule here.

The hack’s name is Merrick. He’s a skinny little weasel with a big red nose. I’ve known him for six months. He splits my money with four other guys his size. Merrick’s voice crackles trhough the tiny speaker, telling me to step away from the door and put my hands against the opposite wall. The noise is for show because of the TV camera in here.

His key tumbles the lock. I know exactly what the gears and metal rods look like as they move from place to place inside that big steel door.

I could open it using a wire coat hanger and some spit.

That’s why they have two hacks with SPAS-12 riot shotguns on the outer corridor. Not to mention that nasty PC-based access grid wired to the main causeway entrance with laser sensors spiderwebbed across the entire cell block. The grid relays to an orbiting satellite. It’s not the most sophisticated security system I’ve ever sussed out, but it’s enough to keep me in here. Even if I got through the shock corridor to the main causeway, the 50-cal machine guns on the wall would turn me into deep-fried grits faster
than you could call me a dumbass. The guards all have iPhones now, like little pocket video games with custom applications that tell you exactly where to look when a con runs for the wire. It’s mostly muscle technology here. Big guns that keep people in line. Targeting systems. Maximum security. Like rigging a rusty old beaver trap with computerized heat sensors. I figured the escape odds once, and five years on the inside working the rehabilitation system was a far better bet. Fifty-seven men have been cut down trying to run from this place, and six of them were wireheads like me. One of them even had a plan all worked out.

BOOK: Resurrection Express
9.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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