Read Dirty Harry 02 - Death on the Docks Online
Authors: Dane Hartman
FOR “DIRTY HARRY” CALLAHAN,
IT’S A LABOR OF HATE
WHEN HE BUSTS
A LABOR RACKETEER!
There are some guys in this world even dirtier than Harry Callahan. Like union czar Matt Braxton, the biggest deal on the docks. He’s corrupt enough to be cozy with the Mob, rich enough to afford friends in the highest places, and ruthless enough to kill anything that stands in his way. Dirty Harry’s standing there all right—and he doesn’t intend to give an inch.
Darlene whipped around, her eyes blazing, her lips like a red gash on her face. “You bastard! You killed him! You killed him!”
Darlene brought her gun around and fired. Harry turned aside, narrowly missing the bullet meant for him. There was another shot. But this one came from an altogether new direction. And found a completely unexpected target . . .
Books by Dane Hartman
Dirty Harry #1: Duel For Cannons
Dirty Harry #2: Death on the Docks
Dirty Harry #3: The Long Death
Dirty Harry #4: The Mexico Kill
Dirty Harry #5: Family Skeletons
Dirty Harry #6: City of Blood
Dirty Harry #7: Massacre at Russian River
Dirty Harry #8: Hatchet Men
Dirty Harry #9: The Killing Connection
Dirty Harry #10: The Blood of Strangers
Dirty Harry #11: Death in the Air
Dirty Harry #12: The Dealer of Death
WARNER BOOKS EDITION
Copyright © 1981 by Warner Books, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Warner Books, Inc., 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10019
A Warner Communications Company
Printed in the United States of America
First Printing: September, 1981
DIRTY HARRY #2
The Beginning . . .
t was way past midnight when the blue Dodge convertible belonging to Bernard Tuber pulled into his driveway. There was just one light left on in the house—in the front hall—so that Tuber wouldn’t have to fumble around looking for a switch. The shades were drawn in the upstairs windows; Marianne and the children were asleep.
For nearly half a minute Tuber and Halsey, his bodyguard, waited in the car. They did this by force of habit. If either of them sensed anything was wrong, Tuber would simply start the ignition and race back down the driveway. It had been like this since the onset of the election campaign for Local 242 of the Brotherhood of Longshoremen. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Bernard Tuber had been given little chance of winning. The problem was that he had every prospect of being victorious in the election the following day.
He was a quiet, reflective man; you looked at him and you figured he was a professor of anthropology at nearby Stanford University. You didn’t take him for a former stevedore who twice had nearly lost his life on the docks. He didn’t appear to be very strong, but he was; more than muscle he had the will and stamina to try and wrest control of the union from Matt Braxton’s machine.
But will wasn’t enough. Not when you began getting obscene phone calls threatening the lives of you and your family; not when prowlers hurled rocks through your picture window in the middle of the night. You needed more than will then. You needed somebody like Halsey, a man who knew how to use a .357 Magnum and when to use it.
Halsey was big, football big and basketball tall, and when he stepped out of the car and took up position astride Tuber he loomed over his boss by nearly a foot.
“Something’s wrong,” Tuber said, gazing out at the street. “I’m not sure what it is but I can smell it.”
Halsey’s eyes were working furiously to determine what it was.
“Streetlight’s out,” he noted.
The light that should have illuminated the sidewalk and lawn was not there. The only available light was coming from the lamp Marianne had left on.
“Of course, it could be that the bulb failed,” Tuber said dubiously. “It happens.”
“You want to go back to the car?”
They were already approaching the winding paved walkway that led to the door.
“No, no, it makes no sense to do that. Nothing else seems wrong.”
He was right; except for the monotonous chirping of crickets and the occasional sound of a car passing in the distance, there was nothing to disturb the air of tranquillity.
The two men advanced quickly. Not running, nothing to show panic, but a well-paced step that got them up to the handsome white door where they stood out starkly in the lamplight.
To either side of the door there were bushes that rose waist-high; they were thick but manicured, a nice suburban touch.
It was a sudden rustling in the bushes on his right side that caused Halsey to turn abruptly in that direction. At the same time, instinctively, he brought his .357 into view.
Tuber, his key already in the door, looked blankly at Halsey. He’d had little sleep in the last few weeks and tonight he’d had to endure a final strategy session that had gone on interminably. His reaction speed wasn’t as good as it should have been.
“I don’t know,” Halsey started to say when there was a roar from the left, from the bushes over on that side. Halsey, his chest torn open by the blast of a shotgun, pitched over backward, smacking his skull hard against the cement walkway. The fractured skull was gratuitous; he was already dead.
Tuber scarcely had a chance to react. Two men wearing ski masks had risen from the right, another—the one who’d just killed Halsey—emerged on the left, all brandishing shotguns. They seemed to wait—not long, a second, two seconds maybe, just long enough for Tuber to realize his fate. Still he struggled with the key, succeeding in opening the door just as all three men fired their weapons, as if on cue. One blast threw Tuber forward, another back, and so for the briefest time he seemed to be suspended in midair, a corpse even before he landed, without a face, without a chest, without a stomach. Blood spouted into the air in grotesque mimicry of a geiser. Then, inevitably, he came down, crashing against the splintered door he’d just opened and toppling into his carpeted foyer.
“What is going on?”
Marianne’s hysterical voice carried down to the assailants. They stepped into the foyer, raising their guns just as Tuber’s wife, a modestly attractive woman in a red flannel robe, came down the stairs.
Seeing the men, malignant figures in blue ski masks, their clothing spattered with blood, then spotting her husband’s body sprawled out beneath them, she tried to scream. Couldn’t. No sound at all emerged from her lips.
Her face had paled, her hands trembled noticeably by her sides, and her eyes had gone as wide as they could. It was the moment when everything changes with no warning. No time to build up to it, no time to prepare. It’s the suddenness of it that gets people. And it’s that moment that the three men in the foyer savored most of all. They were very still, just waiting for her to do something. The way they were acting it was as if they had all the time in the world.
Right then she thought of her children. That spurred her to action. She turned and in her haste almost tripped, then she started to scamper up the stairs. The first blast took her head almost clean off. The body had some momentum and kept on for another step while the head, with its thick crest of brunette hair, swayed precariously on the stump of her neck. Then she collapsed, tumbling clumsily down the stairs, but so rapidly that the gunmen were forced to step out of the way for her. She came to rest on top of her husband’s prostrate form.
It should have been enough. It wasn’t. The men made their way up the bloodsoaked stairs. At the top two more victims were waiting for them, a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. The six-year-old was out on the landing, screaming in terror, clutching his teddybear close to his chest, his eyes blinded by tears.
“Hey, kid, what are you bawling for? There’s nothing to cry about.”
The gunman, with his gloved hands, carefully put down the shotgun. This gesture, however, did nothing to reassure the child. Nor should it have. For the assassin now had a Browning automatic gripped in his right hand; he pointed it straight down so that it touched the little boy’s scalp and discharged it. The head seemed to explode; flesh and agglutinative gray matter and blood spattered over the walls.
Retrieving the shotgun, the gunman now proceeded into the children’s bedroom. Sighting the rifle on the crib in front of him, he fired. The crib and the three-year-old girl lying in it disappeared for a moment in a cloud of smoke and splinters. When it became visible again, the gunman could see that he had failed to hit the girl. Not that it made any difference. A slice of wood, shaven off the crib by the blast, had come down on the sleeping girl like a dagger, impaling her to what was left of the mattress.
The three assailants now left, hastily but not in panic, more like guests who’d lingered too long at a party than murderers who’d left behind four corpses—all that remained of Bernard Tuber and his family.
C H A P T E R
O n e
he phone rang. At first it was not clear to Harry that the insistent ringing was not part of his dream. From his bed he groped for the evil instrument, and then remembered that it was his day off and that there was no compelling reason to answer the phone. The hell with it, he thought, let it ring.