Excerpt from Detroit War-Zone
Chapter 2 – The Vindicator
DEATH AND VIOLENCE had sculpted the man from the young child christened as Nathan Mark Helson.
Many outside Helson’s tight circle of allies might have tried to blame his childhood for his actions. In truth, Helson’s very deadly skills had come courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps. Born to hard-working, middle class, Lutheran parents in Richfield—a quiet and unremarkable suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul—Helson grew up in an environment like a hundred other boys his age. He attended public schools. He had like-minded friends with whom he spent adolescent summers in a tree fort looking at dad’s girlie magazines and sneaking cigarettes. He joined the Marines in 1964 out of a sense of duty and patriotism, and the college money wouldn’t hurt either. His parents hadn’t really approved of this but hadn’t gone so far as to forbid it. Especially after his father was out of work for a time, and Helson sent most of his pay home to support his family.
Then he came home and found criminals tearing up everything for which he’d fought and bled. They were dealing death to hard-working folks just trying to get by, dope to kids, and forced labor to the helpless or indigent. Helson watched and observed. At the heart of it all was the Mafia. They were everywhere: in schools and homes and businesses. Even in some religious sanctuaries. Many of them were “God-fearing Catholics”, after all, and there were the christenings, and Christmas, and Easter to think about. And of course weddings, lots of weddings.
One had to keep the bloodlines as pure as possible, as if it were a sacred duty.
Well, Nate Helson saw that he also had a duty. And after three years of college for an accounting degree, and a year of trade school in auto mechanics, Helson joined as a junior CPA for a small firm. Now gainful employment at this particular firm had been by design because it had a number of large government contracts. Helson learned there were computer terminals tied to some fairly significant resources of the day, including full tax information. Enough that Helson had a friend get him inside places he shouldn’t otherwise have needed to be in the performance of his duties. Since the Mob had money, a lot of money, they needed places to hide it while still operating “legit” businesses.
These places are where Helson gathered his intelligence, and ultimately led him to open the ceremonies on the Infantino family in Detroit.
Detroit was more than just a place that manufactured automobiles. There were a lot of stolen cars there, too, cars that got chopped and were sent out to ferry drugs up from Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
“Carmine Infantino is where we need to start,” Helson told his friend with the special computer skills.
Joshua Brennan, aka “Buster”—he’d earned this moniker for his time spent bunker and tunnel busting with a LRRP team in Vietnam and Cambodia—could program just about anything. Brennan knew several computer languages, and had years of electronics schooling. A necessity to do his job effectively in the Army.
“Look, Nate,” Brennan said. “I hate what the Syndicate has done to America probably as much as you do. But doing open battle with them? Seems crazy.”
“It’s not crazy,” Helson said as he rammed a cleaning rod through his Browning Hi-Power. “They don’t get a free pass just because they’re the Mob, Buster. If it were a gang or just a bad criminal element in my own neighborhood, the situation wouldn’t be any different. What’s different here is scale, nothing more. But it’s not crazy.”
“You think Amelia would agree?”
Helson stopped cleaning his pistol and eyed his friend. “Don’t bring her into this. It’s not fair.”
“Life ain’t fair, buddy,” Brennan replied. “If anything, Vietnam taught us that. And I wasn’t as much talking about going up against the Detroit Mob as I was about this whole persona thing you’ve started. Calling yourself ‘The Vindicator’ and fabricating a bunch of those chrome, V-shaped calling cards you drop everywhere.”
“We’ve been through this before,” Helson said with a sigh as he cleaned his pistol. “Criminals are inherently cowardice. I will use everything at my disposal to get them off guard and keep them there. The more fear and uncertainty I can put into them, the more mistakes they make.”
Buster grinned as he lit a cigarette and then smiled through a gust of smoke. “Yeah. And the more nervous you make them, the more likely you are to die.”
“‘The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.’ George Patton.” Helson smiled and winked.
“Except your country thinks you’re a candidate for the looney bin. Especially the cops.”
“They’re definitely going to be a big problem in this. They are an unknown element to any battle plan.”
“At least they’re somewhat predictable.”
“Yes, I have that on my side. But I won’t kill a cop. I won’t even shoot at a cop. If the cops show up, I run.”
“You mean until they get wise to you? Your luck can’t hold out forever, old buddy. Sooner or later you’re going to make a mistake. Then what?”
Helson again stopped his chore and stared at his friend. “Then the Vindicator will have reached the end of the line.”
Detroit War-Zone: The Vindicator – Book I
Copyright © 2017 by Jon Guenther. All rights reserved.