Vegas Gambit Ch. 01bywallcleaver©
"Jack Daniels, on the rocks." I answered in response to the cocktail waitress's question about what I was drinking.
"Coming right up cowboy!"
"Thanks uhh ... Stacy." I added, reading her name tag. I don't think it was coincidence that the name tag was pinned right next to the large expanse of cleavage she was showing and I was admiring. Stacy stood in place a few seconds longer to allow me to appreciate the full effect, then turned and headed to the bar to get my drink. I also admired her nicely shaped bottom as it swung back and forth under her short skirt. Yeah, I know, this was all done for the express purpose of getting me to part with a larger tip.
No, I am not a cowboy either. I wasn't wearing the boots or the hat, just sitting in this service bar in the Excalibur hotel in the wild west of Las Vegas. I was here for a conference on security, something I had to do occasionally as part of my duties as the head of corporate security for a large insurance company located in Atlanta. I would have preferred to skip the whole week here, leaving it for the younger guys. Actually, at 36, I was one of the younger guys, but I considered the ones who were here for the party atmosphere the younger (and less mature) guys. I know that I have to attend these things, the nature of the business is changing so quickly that it is hard to keep up. 30 years ago, I would be worrying about how to combat employees from taking company staplers and calculators home in their lunch boxes. Now I had to worry about client lists leaving the building on micro drives, competing companies getting our trade secrets, even foreign hackers trying to bring down the American economy one company at a time.
This conference was one that was held several times a year in various locations. My peers in the security field would come together to compare notes, revive old friendships and generally have a good time on the company dime for the week. We would listen to experts tell us of the latest threats and then get a sales pitch from all the vendors who were offering their own solution to keep our people and products safe. All this in the lap of luxury here in Las Vegas.
Stacy came back with my drink and placed it on the table in front of me, bending over more than she really had to in order to set it down. I took the opportunity she offered and got another look at the cleavage. I took 2 $20's from my wallet and placed them on the table in front of me. Stacy picked up one of them and pulling a wad of bills from the pocket of her apron, made change and set it on the table atop the remaining $20. I took the bills she had set down, leaving the $20 behind. I looked at the bill, then at her eyes, then back to the $20. She understood, and smiling, bent over again to pick up her tip. She then folded the bill in half and pushed it into her cleavage. As she continued pushing it further down, the bodice of her tight top slipped down lower until her dark brown nipples were just peeking out above the edge of the fabric. She stayed in that position as I looked at the nipples presented to me, stiffening at my gaze, now standing tall and proud. She slowly ran the tip of her tongue over her lips, and then looked directly into my eyes. When she was sure I was watching, she moved her gaze to her bare nipples, then back to my eyes. I was enjoying the show, a stray thought passing through my mind wondering what they might taste like.
Calm down, Brian. You don't want to be taking a cold shower before you get into bed, I told myself. Stacy held her position for about 30 seconds before exclaiming "Oh my!" feigning surprise and embarrassment. She pulled the top back to its proper placement and smiled seductively as she walked away. Looking over her shoulder, she said "Enjoy your drink, cowboy!"
Right now, I was enjoying the view of her ass cheeks swinging from side to side as she headed back to the bar. Yes it was a game, and we each knew how to play.
I was sitting in the service bar just off the casino floor, having a quick drink before heading back to my room. If I was smart, I would have passed on the drink, but no one has ever accused me of being that intelligent. It had been a long day at the conference, and I had been tired before it started. I should have been here yesterday about mid afternoon, but problems at work had required my attention and I did not end up flying out of Atlanta before 6 PM. Getting to the hotel around midnight, I had not gotten much sleep last night. I was hoping the drink would relax me some and then I could catch up on some of my lost rest.
The bar here was quiet, maybe 6 or 7 people at any time. There were a dozen tables and 4 booths along the back wall, but not many patrons found their way inside. Stacy was not having any trouble keeping up with the orders rather she might be having trouble staying alert. The bartender, on the other hand, was continuously busy. There was a steady stream of roving waitresses coming in to get their orders filled so they could return to the gamblers who would not need to leave their slots or tables to satisfy their desire for alcohol. I chose to sit in this bar because it was quiet and I could do a little people watching without being noticed, the dark bar making it difficult for anyone on the outside to see in.
Right now, the person I was watching was a very well put together blonde who was slowly walking down the row of slots, stopping occasionally to look at one of the machines or say something to one of the gamblers. She was tall, and was showing off what she had. Her dress was an emerald green material, kind of shiny. The top was cut low in the front and it was obvious from the way her breasts jiggled as she walked that she was not wearing a bra under the dress. The top was not so tight to restrict the movement of those breasts, but fit her well enough to show off her figure. The skirt flowed out and ended about 2 inches above her knees. She was very striking and by the number of other men who seemed to be watching her, I could tell I wasn't the only one with that opinion.
I was keeping my eye on her as she walked, then noticed a man who took a step away from his slot machine to watch her progress as she moved past him. As he did this, he stepped right into the path of a middle aged woman who was walking past in the opposite direction. They collided and the man apologized profusely as they stepped away from each other. The woman looked like she had just gotten off the tour bus. She had gray streaked hair done in a bun, big glasses that might have been in style 30 years ago, clunky earrings and bright red lipstick that looked as though she had applied it with a trowel. She was wearing a big, oversized tunic of some sort and teal colored polyester pants with blue athletic shoes. She finished off her ensemble with a purse that was larger than some overnight bags I had seen. I assume she was on her way to the all you can eat buffet with her meal voucher. She looked like the type who would go in with an empty purse and emerge an hour later with a purse weighing 20 pounds. I had to chuckle, these women thought they were so sneaky, and the casinos knew exactly what they were doing.
I returned my attention to the blonde, she had moved further down the aisle almost out of good viewing distance. Just as I changed my focus, I thought I saw something fall from the tourist woman's sleeve into her purse. I couldn't be sure, but swore I saw that movement out of the corner of my eye. I returned my attention to the older woman, but she too was getting further away and out of my field of vision. I must really be tired, I thought I was seeing things, maybe it was really time for me to head up to the room and get some sleep.
I spent a few minutes nursing my drink and just watching the other people on the gambling floor. One can find a cross section of Americana just watching the people one sees in a casino. I had almost finished the drink and I was pondering the wisdom of another when I saw that green dress moving closer to this side of the room. I forgot my concerns about drink and waited for her to get close enough for a better look. I got a chance to see her come down the aisle directly opposite my position, she was taking her time and not in any hurry. I was concentrating on her movements when I saw that telltale teal color that was the pants the older woman had been wearing. Odd, she was again walking in the same aisle as the blonde, again in the opposite direction. This time I let my attention divert from the blonde and watched the other woman. I saw a big guy who had his full attention on the blonde turn as she passed and once again, the older woman walked directly into him as he turned. Again, she sort of bounced back after the collision, and he apologized. She nodded and kept walking, but this time I looked more closely and saw her drop something that looked like a wallet into her bag. Damn, she was picking pockets right here on the casino floor. I guess she had taken notice of the looks the blonde got and would use that to her advantage. As I had watched, I noticed that although she looked the part of a middle aged tourist, a closer inspection showed she was something else. The arthritic shuffle was not quite stiff enough, the lines and crow's feet around the eyes missing, the skin too tight and supple for someone supposedly at that age.
Both women had moved out of my view, so I looked for the victim of the sleight of hand. He had returned to his prior actions, checking out the other gamblers and moving from one machine to another. As he was walking away, I saw him stop, then check his pocket and he discovered that his wallet was missing. It was maybe 3 minutes after it had been taken, and now he looked really pissed. He tried to peer down the aisle and then tried to look over the top of the machines. I don't think he saw the woman he was looking for, he took out a cell phone and started speaking into it. I also notice that he was wearing a gun under his suit jacket. He didn't look like a cop and I don't think hotel security carries weapons. His pistol was not obvious, but my 10 years in Army CID had given me the experience to notice these things. As I watched, he continued to talk while also looking for the woman. He did not look like the type to just ask politely for the return of his wallet if he found her, just a hunch.
I continued to watch him. He had finished with the call, but now was starting to go up and down the various aisles, looking for the woman who had relieved him of his wallet. I noticed her pants from across the room, they were pretty obvious even from a distance. She was coming this way, and even though I don't condone what she was doing, I thought I had better give her some warning about this guy. I was still wearing my suit, although the tie had been loosened. I pulled it back into position and assumed my best look of an authority figure. My hair was not quite regulation length any more, but it was not so long I looked out of place. I walked to the edge of the casino floor, and as the woman came by, I stepped out into her path. She pulled up, and I told her in a firm voice "would you please step over here, Miss."
"Get outa ma way, mista!" she tried to bluff in a gravelly voice and then stepped around me.
I again moved into her path, this time saying with more authority "I don't think you want to make a scene here, especially with what you have in that bag. Please move over here with me."
I saw a flash of concern on her face, but it quickly disappeared back to her character expression. She did, however, allow me to direct her to one of the back booths in the bar. I motioned for her to sit and she did, still looking at me with a question in her eyes.
"I am not the police nor am I hotel security.", I started. "I do know what you are doing, and I want to warn you that the last guy whose wallet you swiped noticed it right away and even now is searching for you. I don't think he is the kind of guy to take this lightly."
"What you talking bout?" She was going to try to bluff her way through this, but that would not happen.
"I know you are not who you appear to be. I also know that you have angered the wrong person. Did you happen to feel his gun while you were helping yourself to his wallet? He was on the phone right away, and I would not be surprised if he called the police, although with a gun under his coat, he might be looking for some other kind of assistance."
She still did not look concerned, but at that moment, I saw the guy, now accompanied by 2 other men, each just as big and threatening as he was. I could also see that each of these companions carried a gun under his coat. I pointed this out to the woman and directed her to take notice of how angry the first appeared to be. I don't think he was very happy at this point.
My companion finally appeared to realize the consequence of her action. She calmly reached into her purse and removed a cell phone, a small cosmetic kit, 2 foil wrapped hand sanitizers, a folded bag and a pair of sandals that were just soles with a couple of thin white straps. She took the phone and pushed speed dial and listened for a minute. She did not say anything, but hung up after a short interval. I had seen the blonde in the green dress just as the call started and I noticed her stop for a minute, then put her drink down on a ledge between 2 slot machines, picking up her pace, not anything very noticeable, but something with more purpose. She was headed for the exit and I realized that these 2 were working together.
Once the call had been made, the woman opened one of the sanitizers and used the cloth to wipe down each surface on her glasses and earrings as she removed them and placed them into the bag. She had unfolded the bag and I saw it had the logo of one of the trendy shops located downstairs on the first floor. Next came the hair net, and I saw that the gray I assumed was hers was actually on the net. She then took a cocktail napkin and removed the garish red lipstick, crumpling the napkin onto the table. She pulled some pins from her hair and it tumbled down over her shoulders, a beautiful shade of brunette with reddish highlights. She shook it out, ran her fingers through the hair and she could have stepped from a salon just minutes earlier by the way her hair looked. She opened the makeup kit and with practiced strokes, had some blue eye shadow and a tasteful frosted pink lipstick applied in seconds. She took some dangle earrings out and inserted them into her lobes, each with a small blue stone. I had seen it, but found it hard to believe this young woman was the same person I had watched earlier.
Once the face was done, she unbuttoned her tunic, then removed and placed it into the bag with the other objects. She had on a shiny blue camisole top with spaghetti straps. She bent to remove the athletic shoes, each finding its way into the bag as it came up from under the table. Finally, she shifted around some, and the polyester pants came out and into the bag. All this had taken less than 2 minutes and I would bet money that anyone who saw the woman I had come in here with would not think these 2 the same person. She had not said a word during this time, just smiling knowingly at me as she worked.
After the transformation was complete, she took a second sanitizer and started wiping down each of the wallets as she pulled them one by one from her bag. She removed the cash, but left everything else intact. The wallets were then dropped onto the floor under the table where the cleaning staff would find them and hopefully return what was left to the owner some time later. The third wallet she emptied contained the anecdotal 'wad of bills that would choke a horse', all $100's. I assume this was the one from her latest victim, the one who was even now searching for these women. Her final act was to take the blue purse that could masquerade as a suitcase and start folding, pulling and pushing it into shape. When she had finished, she was holding a stylish black shoulder bag with a gold chain.
I sat watching all of this, not really believing what I was seeing. I started to think that maybe this was an elaborate hoax perpetrated on me by my colleagues or that some director would come out of the shadows and point to a camera that had filmed the whole thing. As I was pondering, the young woman said the first words she had spoken in her own voice.
"Are you ready?"
"Ready for what?" I answered.
"You are going to escort me outside then hail me a cab. I know you are a gentleman who would be willing to help a lady in distress." She laughed.
"Well, if I am to escort you out, can I ask what name to call you?"
"I'm Janet." She answered with a smile. "And you?"
"Brian. Nice to meet you Janet."
I stood first then taking her arm, I started to leave the bar. Just as I took the first steps, her phone rang. Janet looked concerned, and then answered. She listened a minute, then "shit! OK, try another."
She listened again, and then replied to the voice. "Shit. See if you can hide out in the ladies room for a bit. I will see what I can figure out."
I saw the concern on her face, maybe even turning to worry. "Problems?" I asked.
"My sister Jen says that there are men checking people as they leave the casino floor. Not anything too obvious, but they are there and looking at everyone. She isn't sure if they have made the connection between us, but doesn't want to chance trying to get past them."
The first guys call for help had been answered, and now things had suddenly gotten more complicated. I told Janet that Jen could not stay in the ladies room for long, the attendant would notice and call for help if it looked like there might be a problem. "She needs to get off this floor soon before they have all the exits covered. That dress she is wearing will look like a beacon on a dark night, it won't be easy to avoid being spotted."
Now Janet really started to look worried. "I'm not sure how to help her. Got any ideas?"
"I don't think they have had time to get all avenues covered. If you can call her, tell her to use the escalators in the center of the room and go up." I thought of all the old movies I remembered, shouting at the heroine to go out of the house not up. Then I remembered one of the flyers I had put into my pocket from the seminar earlier today. "Tell her to get to the 4th floor. There are hospitality suites there that will have a lot of people and she can get off of the casino floor. If she goes to room 410, a friend's company is sponsoring the suite and she can wait there. If anyone asks, and they probably won't for a beautiful woman, tell her to drop my name. I am on the guest list and I can go up to meet her."
Janet started to call, but I interrupted her for a minute. "I am Brian Patrick. Tell her what I look like. I will be wearing my name tag so she can be sure it is me. Tell her to stay far enough inside that anyone walking by won't be able to see her from outside. Give me about 15 minutes to get there."
Janet nodded, then made the call and relayed the information. As she hung up, I took her arm and we walked out of the bar, heading for the escalator down to the ground floor to get Janet out of the casino. We walked down the aisles of slots, and Janet stopped long enough to leave the bag filled with her costume on a ledge behind the machines. It would walk away soon once someone saw the store it ostensibly came from.
Janet took my arm and as we walked off the casino floor and through the archway toward the escalators, I spotted the guy who was trying to be inconspicuous as he checked out those leaving the floor. I was certain he would not recognize Janet as he checked, but before we got all the way to the end, I saw him look at a couple of pictures every few seconds as people passed. I asked Janet to move out of the way for a minute, and then looped around to get behind the observer. I got close enough to him to see a picture of Jen in her green dress and Janet, although Janet was in her costume. I went back to Janet and told her there was a problem. "They have a picture of Jen. It must have come from the hotel's security system. This is damn quick for something like that, they must have someone inside working with them."