High Body Count

Null & Boyd Noir #3

by Gary S. Kadet

After the grotesque revenge murder of her adopted son by a kiddie-porn ring, Detective Lieutenant Kay Boyd has a mental breakdown that plunges her into a deep depression. Now the undisputed “Meth King” of Boston, arch-criminal Joseph Xavier Null tries to convince Boyd that to cure herself she should join with him in his strategy to start at the top of the top of the ring—the Hebe Group—and kill their way down.

At first she refuses, but Null proposes that Boyd approach members of the Hebe Group and offer them the opportunity to surrender themselves, or deal with murderous psychopath Null, who will torture and kill them.

Null finds himself drugged and delivered to Hebe Group hitmen by criminal contract killer Janis, who in the nick of time decides to side with Null. Later, she and Boyd wind up rescuing Null again, this time from the creepy psychopath known as the Expert. But Hebe Group has their own expert, the nefarious Legere. It’s going to take Janis, Boyd and the tough street gang run by Null – the Gangsta Boyz – to finish the Hebe Group, whose kiddie porn and child abuse extends from Boston to Dubai.


Chapter One

“What made you come directly to me, Mr. Null?”

“I wanted to start at the top.”

“You’ve managed that. I’m afraid I’m not entirely comfortable with the fact.”

“Comfortable enough to take my deposit?”

“Of course.”

“Why uncomfortable?”

“Your reputation precedes you.”

“You mean that I’m supposed to be dead?”

“No. I don’t think anyone in Boston is fooled by that tale anymore.”

“BPD thinks it’s pretty credible.”

“Yes, but really, who are they?”

“Exactly, Mr. Finnerty. You know, I was hoping we’d do this in your office at city hall. You are the head of code enforcement, after all.”

“There are some things I don’t care to do while on the people’s dime.”

“This One Boston Place office is pretty swanky, though. Nice view.”

“May I review the deposit?”

Null produced an attaché case resting by his chair near his feet and placed it gingerly down on the conference table. “By all means. All in cash, as requested. You can count it if you want. I’m patient.”

“That’s another reason why I agreed to meet this way—

a purely cash transaction. Kind of a rarity these days.” He snapped the case open, revealing neat little bundles of paper money. Appreciated the feel of it.

“Nothing funny about what’s in the case.”

“Apparently, your being Boston’s meth king makes you pretty free with the cheddar.”

“I have more than I know what to do with.”

“Only people lacking imagination have that problem.”

“I admit it: I lack imagination.”

“Not good for a king to lack imagination.”

“I never wanted to be king. Is the deposit enough?”

“It’s actually a little much, but I’ll make sure it’ll be fairly applied to your account.”

“And you’re saying I get a two-to-one return on my investment, after I finish the first payment?”

“Exactly—with a very short turnaround.”

“You seem nervous, Finnerty.”

“I am. All of Boston knows what you’ve done. I hear things”

“Gossip always exaggerates.”

“Maybe so, but there isn’t anyone doing business in town who isn’t a little afraid of you.”

“Do I inspire fear?”

“In all honesty, yes. And we’ll have to hurry this meeting along, regardless. I have city business going too, you know.”

“I need a few verifications from you before I leave.”

“Go ahead and ask.”

“The money is going directly into the KP end of the business.”

“Yes, that’s why it’s a high investment, high-yield, short turnaround proposition.”

“Are you involved in that?”

“No. I have nothing to do with the nuts and bolts day to day.”

“No contact with the, um, subjects?”

“Never. I never touch them.”

“So, you’re removed from the whole thing?”

“I can’t say that. I actually run it. This is how I can ensure your investment dividends. I manage the ebb and flow of product and profit.”

“You’re the boss—covering all of New England, correct?”

“All of it that counts; there may be a couple of gypsy outfits out in Rhode Island and Connecticut, but they can’t last. New Hampshire’s a joke. We eventually absorb them.”

“No need to be nervous, Finnerty.”

“Why are you here? You could have had the cash delivered. Wire transfer would have been just fine.”

“I’m not the most trusting person. I like to know who I’m doing business with. And I prefer doing business with the boss. Take it easy, Finnerty. You’re sweating.”

“This doesn’t feel right, Null. You don’t feel right.”

“If you’re that uptight, why not call security?”

“You’re going to let me?”

“Probably not.”

“There’s not much you can do here. Just go. I don’t want your money.”

“Too late for that, Finnerty. You’ve earned it.”

“What do you want?”

“Nothing. Literally. What I think should be done, though, is another issue.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Why so worried? I’m not carrying any weapons. Your boys outside in the hall and down in the lobby made sure of that. You have four inches and maybe sixty pounds on me. You should be pretty confident you could take me. If you had to, I mean.”

“Listen, I’ve heard stories—”

“I’m not here to tell you any stories. But you can tell me a story. The children. Just what are they to you?”

“What are they to anyone? Nothing. I don’t know them. They’re a commodity, to just about anyone. Not even human, if you really think about it.”

“Not human?”

“They’re like animals. Desperate, scrounging, no families, no one involved with them. What kind of life and future do they face? They’d starve to death or freeze. Wind up abused, molested and killed. At best, a drain on society. At least with us, they have a purpose and are well-treated. Rewarded even.”

“To be abused, molested and killed? That’s well-treated?”

“Not at all. My operations are clean. They’re fed, clothed, sheltered. We use them up until there’s nothing to get out of them anymore, that’s all. They age out just as they would in any foster program.”

“Then what?”

“We do the only logical thing: we sell them outright to make room for the next batch.”


“One of the great things about this business: We never seem to run out of product.”

“Who do you sell them to?”

“Solid, substantial people. Qualified buyers. The crème de la crème in most cases.”

“Sounds like an excellent starting position.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Your office here—sound-proofed, am I right?”

“You are.”

“I think now might be a good time for you to go and call security.”

Nervous, tightening: “You’re going to do something?”

“Let me ask you something—”

Finnerty’s face went gray, his lips dragged down into a frown; beads of sweat dappled his forehead as he looked back toward his big, impressive cherrywood desk. He seemed poised. Ready to jerk from the table and get up fast, making whatever move he could. “What?” he asked by reflex just before.

Null’s eyes narrowed. “Got a pencil?”

* * *

Finnerty lay on the floor flopping on his back, his corduroy jacket strewn on the rug, his paisley tie loosened, panting like a freshly caught fish. His blue Brooks Brothers shirt was spotted with deep spreading vermillion patches of blood. Null was on him, stabbing him strategically, methodically and with odd calm, with a pencil.

“Too bad you missed that call for security.”

The pencil, with its now broken tip, nevertheless went right through Finnerty’s left arm and he let out a guttural scream.

“Sound proofed. Don’t you remember? Clever.”

Null stabbed him in the abdomen.

“Messy work.”

Finnerty rumbled up from his throat with a difficult whine: “Please stop! I’ll give you anything you want!”

“Yes, I believe you.” Null stabbed the right arm as Finnerty struggled pointlessly. “Trouble is, I don’t want anything.”

“You’re killing me!”

“Yes. That’s the plan.”

He bucked up hard, trying to dislodge Null from his position on top of him. It was a no go. Null punched him hard in the jaw to quiet him down.

“You have two options here: One is to die slowly in agony; two is to die in agony faster. That’s it. You’re not surviving this meeting. I guarantee it.”

“Fuckstick! My men’ll kill you on the way out!” He spat flecks of blood.

Null shrugged. “Could happen. But I found your gun. I knew you’d be keeping one around just in case. No flies on you, Finnerty.” Null produced a Heckler & Koch P7 from his overcoat. “I like the suppressor.”

“You’re dead, Null!” Finnerty screamed.

“I hear that a lot. I think it’s at least half-true. But you will be fully dead and there’s no way around that.” He sank the pencil into his abdomen and Finnerty squealed. Blood congealed in muck about the stomach. Null took his hands off the pencil for a moment and let it waver there with Finnerty’s breathing.

Null fumbled his smart phone out from his coat pocket and snapped a picture of Finnerty’s face, who winced with the flash. Null muttered, “Premature, I think,” and pocketed back the phone.


“Make up your mind about how you want to die.”

“Anything you want!”

“Great. Dying in faster agony for you then.”

Finnerty began to cry, sobbing wounded and vulnerable, just like—

“Crying like a child? Maybe you want sympathy, mercy, humanity?”


“I can’t. You sold it all to rich perverts after it aged out. It’s all used up and dead, Finnerty. Just like you.”

Null stabbed him with the pencil deep into his shoulder, which produced a gasp of air from Finnerty that sounded like a sigh, combined with a whimpering.

“You’re like a child on the chopping block, ain’t you, Finnerty?”

Finnerty tried again wildly. “Anything!”

“The list of clients you sell the aged-out children to, please. Also, it would be nice to have a breakdown of the entire operation. Flow charts, hierarchies, payout information. That would be handy and helpful.”

Finnerty coughed, drooling. “The laptop on the desk. Has everything. Just take it and screw!”

“I don’t need anything else?” Null punched him dead in the face as he tried to rise, then stabbed him again with great force carefully in the thigh. “Nothing else?”

Finnerty screamed, high pitched this time, frail sounding. Null gave him just enough time to recover himself. “No,” he managed to rasp. “All there.” Wheezing.

“That’s all I need then,” said Null, stretching his arms.

Finnerty stifled a cough, heaved breathing, struggled to speak: “You— You’ll be dead before you get to use it!”

Null sank the blood-debauched pencil firmly into the center of Finnerty’s chest.

“That’ll make two of us then.”

* * *

“Kill him!” hollered the first one running down the hall, firing a powerful automatic. Null dropped to the floor, twisted out of the spray. “Kill the bastard!”

With soft, suppressed bursts, Null took out the young man’s throat, and he promptly dropped like forgotten baggage. Null stood, spotted with gore on his overcoat and porkpie hat, his arm extended with the Heckler & Koch P7, carrying the attaché case with the laptop in it, walking toward the elevator bank.

Null shouted clearly, “It’s inevitable that you’re going to die, probable that I’m going to kill you, but you don’t have to die today! I need some time to look at Finnerty’s laptop! So, if you were to run, I’d have much better things to do than catch you!”

Nothing. The quiet, somber buzzing of fluorescent lights and security cameras. The bell of the elevator.

“Could it be you going down? Let’s hope.”

Instead, a man rounded the corner from the elevator bank, started to raise his arm.

Null blew his face away with half a clip of the Heckler & Koch P7 before he could clearly see it.

“This is a good gun.”

He stepped over the corpse on the floor.

“Not your lucky day. I’m not sure you’re the right one, but every endeavor affords a margin of error.”

Null noticed a shadow behind him, fired into it without looking away from the corpse.

A blonde-haired boy, Null guessed at around 18-years old, fell to his knees and coughed blood, fired single rounds into the walls going down. Null had managed to hit him in the chest, the belly and the groin without looking. He stepped over to what was left of his assailant.

“Just a kid. Another KP casualty—backwards.”

He snapped pictures with his cell phone.

He went back to the corpse at the corner of the elevator bank and fired two rounds directly into the head, shrugged, and took the next elevator down, his gun drawn in the event he had a meeting in the lobby.

“This suppressor is impressive,” he said to absolutely no one.

He exchanged the clip in the gun for a full one going down.

The elevator doors parted for the final time and a middle-aged, dark-haired man with a pock-marked face sized him up, turned toward him.

Null shot his lights out before he could make any clear determination about the man.

“The margin for error here appears to be higher than expected.”

People in the lobby scattered off to the sides, cutting Null a wide berth as he left, walking at a moderate pace, the Heckler poised and ready. When he hit State Street, he pocketed the gun in his overcoat and sauntered past a couple of cops who elbowed their way past him, shouting for him to move.

“All in a hurry, but with no real place to go. No, not this time.”

Null strolled toward the Orange Line near Faneuil Hall, whistling the blues tune through his teeth, “I Asked for Water, but She Gave Me Gasoline.”

"High Body Count" by Gary S. Kadet



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