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Authors: Don Pendleton

Tags: #Action & Adventure, #Fiction, #det_action, #Men's Adventure, #Bolan; Mack (Fictitious character)

Savannah Swingsaw

BOOK: Savannah Swingsaw
6.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Savannah Swingsaw
( The Executioner - 74 )
Don Pendleton

The Executioner poses as a convict to spring a man marked for death by a mystery assassin.

Mack Bolan wants to know why a petty embezzler is the target of an international hit man. But Bolans plan is foiled by a group known as the Savannah Swingsaw — four female vigilantes who break him out instead, in a baffling move that fires the big warrior to blazing action.

Don Pendleton
Savannah Swingsaw

Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all.


I often wonder how other people see Mack Bolan. Personally, I feel he's incorruptible, selfless and entirely committed. I don't think he necessarily likes what he's doing, but someone has to do it. And he's not bitter or cynical about this world. If all this personifies the perfect man, then so be it.

Hal Brognola, Director of Sensitive Operations Group, Stony Man liaison with the Oval Office.

Dedicated to Sir Anthony Berry, British cabinet minister in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government, who died as a result of a terrorist bombing at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England, 1984.


The squad car chased Bolan into the dark alley. An unexpected flash thundershower an hour before had left the pavement slick and shiny under the full moon's harsh light. Bolan's feet splashed through muddy potholes as he ran, bumping overstuffed trash cans, spooking a prowling tomcat. Behind him, the police cruiser followed slowly, relentlessly, colored lights pulsing atop the roof. Bolan could hear the worn shock absorbers squeak as the car bounced over the ruts in the road. The only way out of this alley now was straight ahead. Another thirty yards of slimy wet hardtop would see him to the other end.

If the cops decided they weren't in the mood to chase him, then a bullet would be faster, easier.... Well, he'd worry about that then.

Bolan raced for the end of the narrow street, a plain brown paper bag twisted at the neck and gripped in one hand, an untraceable Smith and Wesson Model 67 38 Combat Masterpiece in the other.

He stuffed the sack into his worn leather aviator's jacket as he ran. The laneway opened onto Decatur Street, busy enough that he might get lost in the late evening weekend traffic.

In the distance, the headlights of passing cars and the moonlight lent a fluorescent effect to the scene.

A dying man's fantasy of the pearly gates, Bolan thought with a grimace. The Executioner had no such fantasies. Not anymore. He'd seen enough of heaven and hell right here on earth. "Stop!" The bullhorn from the squad car squawked. "Throw your gun down. Now!" Bolan kept running, his arms and legs pistoning like a dragster's engine.

Ten yards more. The humid Atlanta air slicked his skin, made his bulky clothes unbearable. He sucked in air hungrily, but the air was too hot to satisfy his burning lungs. Still, he headed for the open end of the alley. Suddenly a second squad car bounced into view with squealing tires, plugging the exit. Its light whirled dizzily, its radio crackling with instructions from the dispatcher. Bolan skidded to a stop as he saw the two uniformed men grab shotguns and spill onto the street. He spun and ran back the way he came, toward the first car. The cruiser was also parked now, its doors open as far as they could go before scraping against a building.

Behind each door crouched a young policeman, aiming a shotgun at Bolan.

"Drop it, hotshot," the black officer yelled from the driver's side. The young white cop behind the other door was blinking nervously. He looked as if he had a bad itch and the only way to scratch was to pull that trigger.

Bolan hesitated, glanced over his shoulder at the two other cops kneeling behind their squad-car fenders. Then something moved behind the trash can.

The white cop swung his shotgun around and squeezed off two rounds before his partner's crisp voice broke through the panic. "Jess! Damn it. Stop shooting!"

But the old dented garbage can already had a pair of fist-size holes chewed through it. The lid flew off and the can toppled over. The ragged metal edges scraped along the pavement as it tumbled lazily toward the second squad car, spilling garbage as it turned.

Behind where the can used to sit, a wet splotch of fur, blood and guts was all that was left of the cat.

The fluids that had kept the small creature alive leaked out onto the damp ground, mixing with the oil, dirt and slime of a hundred other unwitnessed tragedies that had taken place in that dark alley.

"Hell, Jess," the black cop said, shaking his head. "You know better'n that. Now we gotta talk to a shooting team."

"Sorry, man," Jess said, shrugging.

The two cops at the other end were laughing.

"Bagged yourself a real bobcat there, Jess," one of them taunted.

"Yessir," his partner joined in. "Meanest damn cat I ever seen. Fangs and claws and everything. Saved the whole damn city from certain destruction."

"Knock it off," the black cop shouted. Then he turned to Bolan, still frozen between the two squad cars headlights. "Do yourself a favor, slick. Drop your gun and get down on your knees, hands on top of your head. Don't think about it, just do it."

Bolan tossed the .38 into a nearby puddle and folded his hands on his head.

"Fine, now on your knees."

"Don't push it," Bolan said quietly to him.

He didn't. The four cops stood up and closed in on the Executioner, their shotguns leveled at his chest.

"Get his gun, Jess," the black cop said.

The kid nodded, glanced over at the mangled lump of wet fur by the wall, swallowed something bitter in his throat, then bent over the muddy puddle and daintily fished out Bolan's .38 with two fingers. One of the officers from the second squad car, the only one as big as Bolan, shoved him roughly up against the brick wall of the nearest building and frisked him. He pulled the paper bag out of Bolan's jacket and peered inside.

"Hundred and twenty-eight dollars. Same as was stolen from the liquor store."

"Wallet?" the black cop asked.


"Any ID?"

"Nuthin'. No car keys, parking stubs, not even chewing gum. Clean as duck spit."

The black officer clamped the cuffs on Bolan's wrists and used the shotgun to prod him toward the squad car. Jess dogged after them, still holding the dripping .38 between two fingers. "Meet you guys back at the station," the black cop told the other two. They nodded, climbed back into their vehicle and backed it through the small crowd that had gathered at the mouth of the alley.


"Book him, Jess," the senior officer said, slamming the door behind Bolan.

Bolan sat at the gray metal table, wiping the ink from his fingertips with the rough paper towel. A skinny plainclothes policeman wearing an ill-fitting toupee sat across from him lazily moving a stir stick around in his Styrofoam cup of coffee. He hadn't offered Bolan any. In fact the only thing he offered Bolan was a chance to make one phone call. They'd been sitting there for fifteen minutes, while man speaking. The skinny cop just kept staring and stirring. The only sound was a faint rattling in the air-conditioning duct. If it wasn't for the rattle, Bolan wouldn't have known the air-conditioning was even on. The room must have been ninety-five degrees. The humidity was like an invisible gel pushing at him from all sides. The skinny cop put down the cup and took off his jacket, all the time staring at Bolan. Dark wet stains drooped under each arm.

"Kinda hot in here for coffee," Bolan said.

"Is it hot in here?" the officer said.

That ended conversation for another ten minutes. The silent treatment was supposed to make Bolan nervous so he tried to act nervous, fidgeting with the inky paper towel, glancing anxiously at the clock on the wall, studying the green acoustic squares that paneled walls and ceiling.

Then the door opened and a scrappy-looking guy walked in, no taller than five foot six, but thick like a jeep. He wore a natty three-piece blue suit and carried a beat-up leather briefcase. Bolan guessed him to be around forty-two. "I got about two minutes, Culver. What we got here?" He had a soft Georgia accent.

"We got one smartass bad guy who won't give us his name."


"Signed and seated, Captain."


"Sent them in. They're checking now."


"Silent alarm from the liquor store. Boggs and Simpson caught him running away. Had a .38 and a bag from the liquor store with the exact amount of cash stolen. No ID on him."


"We're bringing the liquor-store clerk down for a lineup. The clerk had been knocked on the head, but the wound's minor. There shouldn't be any problem. This guy fits the description perfectly."

The captain looked at Bolan. "You took like you been around the block before, sport. You gotta know that playing dummy won't get you nothing but hard time and pain."

"I'm saying nothing till I see my lawyer," Bolan said.

The captain shook his head. "Lock his ass up."

"Right." The skinny cop stood. "Notice those tiny scars around the eyes and nose, Captain?" The captain squinted at Bolan's face. "You mean those wrinkles?"

"They're scars. My sister was in an accident when she was a kid. Her boyfriend had a snoot full and crashed his Studebaker into a tractor. Mashed her face something awful. Doctors did the best they could back then, but she never could breathe proper. Always chewing with her mouth open so's she could breathe. Ever watched yams chewed like that? Yeech."

"Get on with it, Jimmy." The cop patted his toupee, shifting it.

"Anyway, couple years ago she had it fixed and figured while they was at it they might as well do a little adjusting and tightening here and there. Had tiny threadlike scars just like this fella."

"What are you saying, Jimmy? This boy's had plastic surgery?"

"Looks that way."

The captain rubbed his chin. "Well, that don't change anything for now. Lock him up and wait for the fingerprint results. I think he's going to be spending some time in a Georgia jail."

There was a knock on the door.

The captain pulled it open.


The uniformed cop outside pointed to Bolan.

"His lawyer's here. Wants to see him."

"In a second."

The uniformed cop nodded and left. The captain faced the skinny plainclothes cop. "Let him jaw with his lawyer. Meantime, tell the D.A. what we got. This looks like one case we won't have to bargain down. This tough guy's going all the way."


"What kept you?" Bolan asked.

Hat Brognola closed the door behind him, dabbing at the sweat on his forehead with his handkerchief.

"I see you've been busy making friends again. The precinct captain looked at me as if I were defending Charles Manson."

"I grow on people."

"The list of people you've grown on who want to yank your roots gets longer."

"That's why I'm here. Right?"

Brognola sighed as he sat down. "I'm not so sure this is such a good idea, Mack. You're leaving yourself wide open. It's still not too late to change your mind."

Bolan shook his head. "Appreciate the thought, Hal, but I'm already here. Things are moving according to plan. I should be out of here before the paperwork's even done. I don't think they'll make any connection between me and the Executioner. What about the liquor store clerk?"

"He'll pick you out of the lineup."

"His wounds?"

"The best makeup artist around applied them herself. Looks like you laid an eight-inch gash across his forehead. That should add another couple of years to your sentence."


"Yeah, perfect," Brognola said wryly.

He plucked a fat cigar from his pocket and roasted the end with a match. "It's a bit hot for this," he explained, "but it's the only way to kill the damn smell of this place."

Bolan let his friend talk. He knew the man pretty well after all these years together.

Recognized his discomfort at the situation. He'd seen Bolan hatch a lot of farfetched plans before, but this was the most bizarre of all. Or maybe just the most dangerous.

"What about the fingerprints?" Bolan asked.

"Taken care of. It'll take them a day or two, but by then they'll match you through the FBI as Damon Blue. Your rap sheet would do any convict proud. Twelve arrests for armed robbery, assault, carrying a concealed weapon. Two convictions. Just like you wanted."


Brognola blew a cloud of smoke at the ceiling. "I'm glad you approve."

"What about our target?"

"Dodge Reed is still locked up nice and snug at the countyjail. No fights, no fuss. Model prisoner."

"Any word on Zavlin?"

Brognola hesitated, his face suddenly grim. "He's in the country."

"Damn! Already?"

"Flew in last night from Soviet Union via Canada. Lost our boys less than ten miles from Washington, D.C."

Bolan grimaced.

"He's their best. Maybe the best ever."

And that's what started this whole charade, Bolan thought.

Undercover sources in east Europe had passed word along the intelligence network that the KGB's best, most ruthless assassin had been assigned a new target for immediate elimination. Nothing unusual there.

Zavlin had been responsible for the assassinations of those bothersome to the KGB for years. When Zavlin was given a target's name, nothing could stop him. Many had tried.

The CIA routinely got advance notice on some of his marks and set up elaborate plans to foil the assassin. They never succeeded. Neither did the British, the Israelis nor any other government agency. All they ever got for their troubles was a long list of murdered field agents. Many anti-Soviet leaders in Africa, South America and Europe had fallen under Zavlin's hand.

What was unusual about this case was Zavlin's current target: Dodge Reed. Brognola had run every kind of check on Reed that was possible and the profile always came out the same.

Dodge Reed was just what he appeared to be, a twenty-three-year-old record store employee who attended Atlanta Community College at night, lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment and drove a seven-year-old Pinto. Three weeks before he'd been arrested for embezzling from the record store he worked at. He was awaiting trial.

What would the KGB's best international hit man want with a guy like that? "Nothing more on Reed?" Bolan asked. "No access to top-secret information?"

Brognola shook his head. "Nothing."

"Anything from your overseas agents?"

"Nope. Just that Reed is a top-priority kill. They want him dead within ninety-six hours."

"They know he's in jail?"

"They know."

Bolan frowned. "Damn! What does this kid know that scares them?"

"That's what you're here to find out." Brognola looked his old friend in the eye. "You know I wouldn't have come to you with this if there was any other way. Hell, you've got enough troubles of your own right now. It's just that we've finally got a chance to catch this monster and the usual agencies have failed too often. I don't want that to happen this time."

Bolan smiled. The words hadn't been necnot between them. "We'll get him," he said.

But even as he said the words, he wondered who'd get whom first.

BOOK: Savannah Swingsaw
6.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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