Mass murder can be complicated. And profitable.
From a vacant corner of the Chili’s parking lot, behind a four-foot-high wall of cropped manzanita shrubs, Gunther Pertile scanned the area for civilians. Not a soul in sight. He whipped out his Glock 9mm—with suppressor—aimed at each of the two main overhead lights and squeezed off a couple of muffled rounds. Glass shattered, falling to the ground as the entire scene went dark.
He dismounted his jet-black Harley, then slid off his helmet to reveal the short, curly hair he’d recently bleached so he would no longer be the dark-haired, dark-eyed killer on the FBI’s most wanted list.
Running his fingertips along each of the four loaded mags inside the pocket of his black leather jacket, he calculated the time to empty the extra sixty rounds. At three rounds per second and another three seconds to swap each mag, he could finish in just over half a minute.
One dead every half a second. Not bad.
But after dwelling on the fantasy of a mass shooting and bringing himself back to reality, he took a deep breath and enjoyed the security his weapon provided. After two decades as a sniper, he knew with one hundred percent confidence tonight’s job—his actual job—would get done. Piece of cake.
With his weapon holstered, he slid through the front door of the restaurant and took a window seat.
A flash of blue pulled into the parking lot. The target, a civil engineer named Jake Bendel, exited his Tesla and walked toward Chili’s carrying a laptop, several rolled up sheets of paper, and a three-ring binder. Once inside, the hostess guided him to a booth on the opposite side of the room, where he ordered dinner and began to work, checking his watch every few minutes.
Gunther took a slow sip of ice water, studying the mostly vacant main room of the Stockton, California, restaurant.
Eventually, the target’s food came and he ate—still checking his watch. Gunther smiled.
The other members of the assault team had already taken care of Dave, Jake’s friend. The man wouldn’t be dining at Chili’s tonight. Or anywhere ever again, for that matter.
Gunther finished his water, squinted, bared his teeth, then set the glass down.
His Android screen read 11:55 p.m. Perfect.
He dug a hand into his pants pocket and wrapped his fingers around a syringe filled with enough Trihypnol to subdue a professional wrestler. With the quarter-inch-long needle capped at the tip, he’d avoid accidentally injecting himself with the hypnotic drug.
Trihypnol was the perfect concoction for this abduction.
Once administered, the victim would remain fully awake, but in a highly suggestible and altered state of consciousness—alert and fully mobile for up to four hours. The famous Dr. Jake Bendel would later crash like a pelted pigeon and sleep for half a day, with zero memory of tonight.
Bendel stuffed the last piece of halibut into his mouth, chewed, and washed it down with a final swig of beer.