little joe ~ the hard way pt 7 (the coda)

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as he reached the the shore end of the pier his friend spoke.

i almost didn’t hear the shots.  too bad fog can’t be arranged for all of our wet work.

yeah, that would be nice.  it keeps the bystanders away as well.  very nice.

i left a trash bag over by the life guard building.  let’s get out of these overalls then you can get out of here.  i’ll take care of the trash.  don’t forget to give me the .22 and the extra ammo as well.

not a chance i’d forget that.  at least not with you around, my friend.

the two men quickly stripped off the outer garments while they quietly talked.  they shook hands.  he gave his friend the .22 and the extra magazine.  then he moved to his car.  finding the windows wet from the fog he took the time to wipe them off with a relatively clean napkin he found in a nearby trashcan.  no traffic accidents minor or otherwise in route to the airport and freedom.      

once at the airport he dropped the car off at the rental office. they were closed so he took the time to wipe the prints as best he could.  a minor precaution since the cleaning process would do the job as well.  the rental company would not even know the rental was fraudulent for at least several days.

it was a short walk to the terminal.  after checking in he had enough time to grab a beer, burger, and fries before his flight to las vegas was ready.  he slept through the short bumpy flight from orange county to las vegas mccarran airport.  after landing he caught a shuttle to caesars palace on the strip.  with him as the only passenger the shuttle made good time in the light midweek traffic.

as he walked through the front door of the hotel/casino he felt the rush begin to build.  he let it build steam then he damped it down as there was still work to do.  at the front desk he handed the clerk the phony ID and mastercard.  this would be the last time he would use the mastercard.  though he would hang on to it in case of an emergency.

ah, mr wences.  good evening.  we have two packages for you.

very good.  thank you.

the clerk left to retrieve them.  when he returned he handed them to a bellman and told him to take mr wences and his luggage up to his room.  he didn’t refuse.  vegas rules applied. 

after the bellman was tipped and he was alone he opened the larger of the two packages first.  inside were the two water colors he had purchased in san clemente.  he put them back in their container to be mailed to his drop in the morning.

the second package was a manila mailer.  size large.  inside was a smaller manila mailer addressed to his friend’s drop in san clemente.  the proper postage already affixed.  including insurance.  also inside the larger mailer were six $25,000 casino chips from caesars.  he smiled brightly.  good as gold he thought. 

he took a sheet of hotel stationary from the desk drawer and wrapped two of the 25k chips up in it.  then he placed it inside the manila envelop addressed to his friend and sealed it.  he would mail it when he went downstairs again.

next he called room service and ordered a bottle of the best brandy in the house, ice, and a steak medium rare.  he had enough time to shower before they arrived.  dressed in the last clean clothes he had carried with him he ate the steak and drank a few fingers of brandy over ice. 

after eating he found a hotel laundry bag in the closet and placed all of his dirty clothing inside it.  it would be tossed out when he went back downstairs.  he would have to be careful due to all the cameras but it wasn’t impossible.

he settled into the room’s easy chair and finished another brandy.  he let the rush come back into his consciousness.  this he thought is what it was all about.  the after job glow enhanced by a steak and fine brandy.  the prelude to an even bigger rush.  setting the crystal tumbler on the desk he picked up his packages and moved downstairs. 

his first stop was the 14th floor.  he got out of the elevator and casually walked to the ice machine room using his hand and the mailer to obscure as much of his face as possible. inside the room he found the trashcan and deposited his clothes in it.  he would buy more in the morning.  he left the ice room carrying a diet coke he’d purchased from the soda machine in the room.  as he left the elevator on the main floor he put the can of soda in the trash by the doors.  the next stop was the front desk.  he handed the mailer to the clerk along with $20 to insure it would be handled properly.

he turned from the front desk and walked towards the casino entrance.  the rush slowly coming on.  by the time he was inside the casino he was almost sure everyone within a few feet could hear the blood rushing through his body.  outwardly there was no sign.  he appeared calm.  he made his way through the slots and tables until he came to a raucous table surrounded by ten or fifteen people.  a short cheer went up at the table.  he heard a hotel employee say, ‘eleven, a winner.’  he felt as if his body had been jolted by a heavy electrical current as he pulled one of the $25,000 chips from his pocket.  he had only one thought and one thought only.  little joe, the hard way.

the end


copyright 2011 by john hauge


4 thoughts on “little joe ~ the hard way pt 7 (the coda)

    Crosseyed MOFO Incognito said:
    February 5, 2011 at 5:18 am

    Well I’ll be damned. “Write what you know” comes to mind and an uneasy feeling in my soul. I’m sure glad we’re both on the same side *touches wood*. Very well done John, your slaving to details is what really makes this go.

    johnhauge responded:
    February 5, 2011 at 5:33 am

    thanks for the kind words, mike. very nice of you.

    Cheryl Crittenden Timmons said:
    February 5, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Really enjoyed it, John. I hope you keep writing so I can keep reading your stuff…

    johnhauge responded:
    February 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Thanks, Cheryl, for your support and kind words. New story starts next week.

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