KERRI'S WAR (Volume 3 of The King Trilogy)

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Chapter 78

Niagara on the Lake. Saturday, May 10.

A beautiful and charming town with a population of over 14,000, and located on the northeast corner of Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, Niagara on the Lake is a destination for tourists from all over the world. It is ground zero for wine connoisseurs, traveling great distances to experience wine tours of the fabulous and fertile Niagara Region. The town, featuring Lake Ontario to its north, the Niagara River to its east, and Youngstown, New York directly across the river, is a historic gem, the scene of critical battles in the War of 1812.

The job was easy for 48 year old Itzik Zeiman. His assignment was to follow Kerri King and to ensure her safety. For the most part it was boring, but safe. In sharp contrast to his former employment, never once did he consider it life threatening. It was hardly the type of work for which he was qualified, but it paid well and allowed him the luxury of a longer life expectancy. Moving to and living in Canada had made his wife and two boys very happy. It was a country in which they no longer had to worry about the constant threat of total annihilation by neighboring countries.

The only child of Israeli parents, Zeiman was born and raised in Tel Aviv. As a young adult he was tall, about six foot two, muscular, and handsome. His swarthy complexion, dark hair and superior intelligence had qualified him as a very eligible bachelor. After completing his masters in computer technology at Tel Aviv University, he became a Mossad agent, specializing in covert electronic surveillance. His concentration was the structure and internal operation of Hezbollah, an arch enemy of the State of Israel. Most of his thirteen year career was spent in Damascus, Syria, where he used falsified identification papers to masquerade as an Egyptian businessman. It was during an extended weekend vacation in Beruit, Lebanon, when he met Marie Steinberg, a Canadian born Israeli citizen. For both it was love at first sight. They married and had two children, both boys. It was in the winter of 1998 when Hezbollah discovered his true identity. He managed to escape, but his cover was blown, his life in jeopardy, and his usefulness to Mossad impaired.

With a generous pension and the blessings of Mossad, he resigned and moved his family to Toronto. Shortly after the move he was hired as a bodyguard by Northern Security Ltd., a company owned by Max Rabinowitz, a friend and fraternity brother of Mike King. He was assigned to the Kerri King case on Wednesday, May 7.

It was a sunny and reasonably warm spring day in Niagara on the Lake. The temperature was in the low sixties. Zeiman, dressed in jeans, light green sweater, and a grey windbreaker, strolled along Queen Street, a comfortable thirty feet behind Kerri King and Steve Monteith. Kerri was dressed in her usual grey track suit, large dark sunglasses, and Blue Jays baseball hat. Steve wore beige khakis and a heavy red sweater over a white T-shirt. Kerri had allowed him to wear her beloved Yankees hat. While the thousands of tourists crowding the sidewalks of the town’s main street made it difficult for Zeiman to maintain visual contact with his subject, he had enjoyed his day. He had even taken in the same wine tour, sampling the wonderful variety of fine Niagara wines, but never showing a hint of his reason for being there.

Directly across the street, Lorenzo Mengalli watched and photographed. He had been disappointed to see that Kerri King now had a follower. He had correctly concluded that he was her bodyguard. He had also concluded that to complete his assignment on this day, he would likely have to kill both the bodyguard and Steve Monteith. He did not want anyone left who could identify him. It frustrated him to be so close to his subject, yet so far from determining how he could kill her and escape to the United States without being caught or detected. It frustrated him equally to be so close to the United States, yet so far away from returning there. His instructions were quite clear. Jeffrey Wheeler had told him that the killing had to be clean. Any connection between Mengalli and the murder of his subject would most certainly be traced back to Enerco. A high powered rifle with telescopic sight would greatly simplify his task, but obtaining one in Canada without the necessary background checks and permits was impossible. Killing Kerri King would have to be by hand, knife, or some other locally obtainable weapon.

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