The Best Erotic Stories.

Prey For Me
Pt. VIII: The Scoop
by Dvora Sosan

Kim Wright appeared next on Jack's short list of appointments to make. He called the private number Sam Hanson wrote on the back of her business card. Jack knew it was an old card because Sam had told him Kim was no longer an investigative reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the largest paper in Nevada.

The two agreed to meet for an early dinner at a place called the Cipriani Restaurant. Jack had never been in the place but when Kim said "turn left on Flamingo and look for the lighthouse on the left" he did recall driving by on numerous occasions.

"Meet me in the parking lot please, Mr. Davis, about 6:00 PM," Kim requested. "I understand you have a black Mercedes convertible. I’m driving a dark blue Miata."

Spotting the Miata, Jack parked next to her. "I love your car!" Kim blurted out as she got out of her own convertible and admired his. "You simply must take me for a ride sometime. Wish I could afford one like yours. Perhaps one day."

Kim was a stunning young multi-racial woman. They stood outside chatting, in no hurry to enter the restaurant. "Mr. Davis," Kim began, "I already know quite a bit about you. I do my homework. As Mr. Hanson probably told you I was an investigative reporter with the Review-Journal until I resigned six months ago. And quit staring at me. I know what you are trying to figure out. My mother's name was Tran Thi Kim Hong; Vietnamese. I heard you were there. She died in an automobile accident when I was eight. My father is black; Jesse Wright, a retired Army officer. He brought my mother to the states in 1970 and I was born in 1972."

"Yes, Kim, I was wondering. Do you speak Vietnamese at all?"

"No, after my mother died I really didn't have much association with any Vietnamese. Just a matter of circumstance I guess. I do feel somewhat guilty about that. She didn't have much family, a few distant relatives who remained in Vietnam. Hey, I speak French fluently, is that good enough for you?"

"Sure it is. Well, go on with your story, Kim. And call me Jack."

"I did my undergraduate work at Notre Dame. I point that out because of something I will tell you about later. I did my masters at Indiana. Obviously you can tell I'm no relation to Donny Wright, the basketball coach, but I love that man. I'm currently close to completing my Ph.D. at Indiana in Mass Communication with a required minor in Journalism. All I have left is the doctoral dissertation and an oral exam defending it. Which is one reason why I want to talk to you."

"Kim, let's go for a ride unless you are starving." He handed her the keys. "You drive. Any fan of Donny Wright is OK in my book. I'm rather fond of the guy myself. Did you ever talk to him?"

They got in the Mercedes with Kim behind the wheel and she deftly handled the manual transmission as she pulled out and shifted from first to second gear. "I have talked to Coach Wright quite a bit. He likes me for some reason. I think he trusts me. And you can trust me, Jack, but I'll let you make up your own mind about that. I joke with Coach that I should do my doctoral dissertation on the media's treatment of him. But no, I'm doing it on the media's treatment of female killers. And I'm planning on turning my dissertation into a book."

Kim began to talk about her research on the subject of female killers. "I'm principally interested in serial killers but this local case of the murder of Ted Binion is fascinating. Everybody in Vegas talks about it all the time and I'm sure you, being a friend of Mr. Hanson, know quite a bit about it. But I think, Jack, your Lilith murders just might top that one. I know about the murders of Dr. Masterson and Miyuki Huang here in Vegas. Why do you thing I selected the Cipriani Restaurant? Yes, the food and the atmosphere is superb. But I like the name of the place. Jack, I talked to Sammy Cipriani, owner of the Fox Club in Phoenix. He told me all about your talk and the murder of Dr. Moroski there. But let's talk about the Binion case first," Kim insisted as she continued to drive no place in particular, just enjoying the Mercedes.

"I have been following the case rather closely," Jack said. It's what everybody who lives in Vegas talks about. That and Sam has been running various theories by me of late. He is not personally involved in the investigation but his friends are."

"I have my own sources at the Review-Journal," Kim interrupted. "You tell me what you know and I'll tell you what I know. Deal?"

"OK. Binion was found dead in September 1998 in his home. At first it was thought to an accidental drug overdose, some type of prescription medicine for stress. An empty bottle of the pills was found beside the body. No suicide note was found and there were no signs of a struggle or trauma to the body. Accidental death seemed like the first best guess.

"Binion had a rather sordid past. Former heroin addict with rather well publicized ties to organized crime. He owned Binion's Horseshoe, a gaming establishment, until his gaming license was suspended a year and a half before his death. His sister became the owner of the Horseshoe after some legal wrangling.

"Two days after Binion's body was found a very interesting incident occurred in Pahrump, Nevada. Does Pahrump have any special significance for you, Kim, other that in connection with the Binion case?"

"No, not really," Kim replied as she shook her head looking somewhat puzzled.

"Pahrump is where our Lilith first made an appearance some five months ago. She actually spoke to some friends of mine, an old man named Joshua, a young girl named Rachael and an Indian named Nathaniel."

"Tell me! Tell me about it, Jack, please?" Kim begged.

"Not yet. You are the one who wanted to talk about the Binion case first. Two days after Binion died Rick Tabish and two other men were caught digging up Binion's millions in silver bars in Pahrump. Then police began to delve into the relationship between this Tabish and the late Mr. Binion's girlfriend, Sandra Murphy.

"Murphy, who is more than half Binion's age, is the one who found his body. The initial toxicology report completed almost two weeks after the death indicated plenty of Xanax and heroin in his body but did not conclude that is what killed him.

"A month after the death Binion's estate put up a $25,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of any persons involved in his death. This despite the fact that no concrete evidence of foul play had yet surfaced. But rumors were flying hot and heavy regarding the relationship of Sandra Murphy and Rick Tabish. Other rumors surfaced such as Binion was forced to eat heroin or was tricked into smoking a much more potent grade of heroin than usual.

"A Private Investigator who is an old acquaintance of mine, Tom Dillard, then became involved. He is a former Las Vegas homicide detective. Once he began feeding the police information the stuff really started to hit the fan. One thing you have to understand, Kim, the police are bureaucrats. They are so caught up in proper procedures and paperwork. They do not have the time or resources to investigate as thoroughly as does a Private Investigator.

"Dilliard obtained Sandra Murphy's cell phone records and determined Tabish called her eight minutes before she called the police to report Binion's death. Many other phone calls between the two were also documented.

"Binion's property then became the leading issue. The estate claimed Sandra Murphy made off with his money, silver certificates and much else. She invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions regarding the matter in court.

"Finally, nine months after the death of Ted Binion, Sandra Murphy and Rick Tabish were arrested and charged with murder and other crimes. The next day others were arrested for involvement in a related kidnapping plot and attempting to pilfer Binion's millions in silver buried in Pahrump.

"The case really broke when a friend of Tabish's, Kurt Gratzer, began talking. He told investigators Tabish tried to recruit him to shoot Binion and he told of Binion's comments about possibly causing Binion to overdose. Gratzer of course was granted immunity.

"Sandra Murphy was released on $300,000 bail a couple weeks after the arrest. Tabish remains in jail. A week after Murphy was released she filed a $2 million lawsuit against Binion's estate. For services rendered and an agreement between her and Binion that he would financially support her for those services.

"The preliminary hearing for Murphy and Tabish began before a Justice of the Peace in mid-August. One interesting revelation was an expert witness, a respected doctor, testified on behalf of the estate that Binion suffocated rather than overdosed. Another interesting twist was the maid Mary who said Sandra had some thumbcuffs she said she planned to lend to a friend to get some money paid back. The thumbcuffs of course became an issue so considerable testimony and speculation in the hearing. Then the star witness Gratzer started vacillating and disputing his prior statements and lost his credibility. Very strange goings on.

"About 30 witnesses testified over two weeks at this hearing making all kinds of contradictory statements and it was all on live television. What a show, 'eh? As you know the hearing resulted in Sandra Murphy and Rick Tabish ordered to stand trial for murder and four others were charged with various other crimes. The standard for burden of proof at a preliminary hearing is 'slight or marginal evidence' as opposed to 'beyond a resonable doubt' for conviction at trial. They all were arraigned in District Court a few days later and all plead innocent.

"A week later Sandra Murphy petitioned the court to be tried separately from Rick Tabish and to be tried three separate times for each of the three charges she faces. That request was denied and Murphy and Tabish will be tried together tentatively beginning in March with proceedings to last an estimated three months. There have been many other sideshow developments such as the P.I., Tom Dilliard, suing the Las Vegas Tribune for defamation. This is like the neverending story and no doubt many other scintillating details will surface before and during the trial."

"Jack, you have quite the memory and attention for details," Kim interjected as he paused in conclusion.

"Yeah, well I am a Private Investigator, you know," he responded with a chuckle.

"But Jack, you forgot the black panties."

"Say what?"

"What part of black panties don't you understand?" Kim asked coyly.

Finally he understood. "Yes, I do remember black panties now. Well, you tell me about them. I'm a little too shy about such things. You know, talking to a beautiful woman I just met about a woman's underthings."

Kim laughed and related the episode. "Our girl Sandy went back to the slammer for awhile for violating house arrest requirements and somehow lost her black panties. Her theory is they were stolen by the prosecution of perform various tests for, well, just use your imagination. New kind of panty raid I guess. Jack, you also forgot to mention that one of the many prominent figures in this soap opera is named Wright but no relation to me. He's mighty white and as you can tell, I'm a gook nigger."

Jack looked quite taken back at the last remark. "Kim, could we change the subject? I'm tired of talking so much. You talk."

"No problem, Jack. I can talk and talk and talk. I didn't mean to embarrass you. Yeah, right! Let me tell you how I got all interested in this murder business. Like I said; Notre Dame. La Porte is not far from South Bend. La Porte's most famous person was the serial killer Belle Gunness. I began to accumulate every old newspaper article and book about Belle Gunness I could find. Belle is credited with at least fourteen murders and sometimes as many as one hundred.

"On April 28, 1908, Belle's residence in La Porte burned as did four bodies. A woman and three children had been murdered before the fire was started. The woman was not Belle as originally thought. Twelve more bodies were then found buried in the yard. Most of the victims were men who Belle had lured to La Porte with her love want ads. She took their money and possessions and then murdered them, usually with poison.

"These are the female serial killers who interest me the most, Jack, the ones who use sex to lure their victims into their trap. A woman's greatest bargaining tool I would say; her sensuality. And your Lilith, seems like, well, the ultimate femme fatale.

"Belle Gunness was never apprehended. Many believe she continued her murderous ways under various other names. When I came to Bloomington I soon discovered there had been seven seemingly related murders there in 1910 and 1911. Of course the evidence is sketchy when you go back that far but there seems to be sufficient evidence to conclude Belle committed those murders.

"The Aileen Wuornos case is usually brought up as the one which changed the nature of the typical serial killer profile. Many female serial killers have probably escaped apprehension because those investigating the murders were thinking men.

"Numerous serial killers such as Gerald Stano preyed on prostitutes. Stano was unusual in that he didn't have sex with the women, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Rather he just tortured them with slow and painful deaths. Stano simply hated bitches, which was his justification for forty-one known murders.

"The Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen lured around twenty prostitutes, topless dancers and such to his cabin hide-a-way in the wilderness. After he had his sadistic sexual way with them he would set them loose in the woods and hunt them down and shoot them. His justification for his actions was on moral grounds. He was just teaching the ladies a lesson for their indiscretions.

"Aileen Wuornos turned the tables on the male serial killers who offed prostitutes. She is a bisexual prostitute who murdered her johns along deserted highways in central Florida. Once apprehended she confessed to disposing of seven men who picked her up hitch-hiking and then exchanged money for sex, then shot and robbed them and left their naked bodies beside their used condoms several miles from their abandoned cars.

Aileen hung out at a particular biker bar, The Last Resort Bar, where she spent her last night of freedom playing her favorite tune, Digging up Bones. I only mention that because your Lilith rides a Harley so I hear. Like Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen has now become a born again Christian while in prison.

"Yes, Kim, but there is a big difference between Jeffrey Dahmer and Aileen Wuornos. Dahmer is dead. Another convict beat him to death and stuck a mop handle in his eye socket.

"But didn't he deserve it, born again or no? I mean, he did eat people and I mean in the culinary and not sexual sense, although he certainly did that too. A heart was found in his refrigerator and a penis was found in his lobster pot. And guess who is coming to dinner? Here's some jokes for you and don't say you didn't ask for it ...

Q: Why did the man who killed Dahmer in prison claim self defense?

A: He heard Jeffrey's stomach growl.

Q: What were Dahmer's last words to the guy who killed him?

A: 'Hey buddy, I used to eat guys like you for breakfast!'

Q: What did Dahmer say when the cops came to arrest him?

A: 'Come on guys, have a heart.'

Q: What did Jeffrey say to Lorena Bobbit?

A: 'You gonna eat that?'

Q: What did Jeffrey say to Pee Wee Herman?

A: 'Stop playing with your food!'

Q: What did Jeff say to his mother when she came over for dinner and kept

bitching at him with 'I hate all your friends' and such?

A: 'Try some of the salad.'

Q: Did you know Dahmer was an avid golfer?

A: They found buckets of balls in his closets.

Q: Why wouldn't Jeffrey ever give anyone a straight answer?

A: He found it necessary to always say, 'let me chew on it awhile.'

Q: What were the last words of all of Dahmer's victims?

A: 'Hey, eat me buddy!'

Q: What was Jeffrey Dahmer's last meal?

A: A pizza with everybody on it.

Q: What did they find when they did Dahmer's autopsy?

A: Jimmy Hoffa

Q: Why did Jeffrey say he kept testicles in the freezer?

A: He said 'Cuz sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.'

Q: What did Dahmer do if he didn't like his neighbors?

A: He scraped them off his plate.

Q: Why didn't Jeffrey like eating vegetables?

A: There wasn't room for the wheelchairs in his closet.

Q: What did Jeff say to O.J. in jail?

A: 'You show me yours and I'll show you theirs.'

Q: What did Jeffrey do after he dumped his girlfriend?

A: Wiped his butt."

"OK, OK, Kim, enough! That last one was totally disgusting. Dahmer died in jail, speaking of which, why were you in jail, exactly? I checked you out just like you checked me out. Two years ago you were arrested on an assault charge in Chicago and spent a night in jail. What was that all about?"

"Nothing much really. I was attending a seminar at the University of Chicago and was at a nightclub with some of the other attendees, who also happened to be black. We got in an argument with some redneck dudes and one called me a 'gook nigger' and my friends worse. I would have let the words and just chalked it up to him being a totally ignorant fat pig but then he copped a feel. So I kicked his ass. Yeah, I spent the rest of the night in a holding cell but the charges were dropped real quick once I started talking civil rights lawsuit. My girlfriend sprung me and she just happens to be an ACLU attorney. She was more pissed than I was about the incident. I never would have been arrested had I been white and the dude had been black. Anyway, my girlfriend and I decided not to legally pursue the matter and she got some special favors from the police."

Kim changed the subject from her back to the real bad girls. "With a few exceptions the female serial killers don't appear to be as sadistic and prone to such perverse activities as the men. You know, cannibalism and such. Dean Corll was one of the real wacko dudes. He murdered twenty some young men and boys and bit off their penises. A bag full of severed genitalia was found at his place. Isn't that what your Lilith does, sucks them off and I mean all the way off?"

"It appears that way, Kim," Jack replied. "Two young ladies in Phoenix I met while investigating the Moroski murder, who were into witchcraft and wicca, informed me that some witches practice penis-thievery."

"Yes, I know Jack. Their names were Jacqueline and Christa. I also talked to them; very talkative young ladies. What I can't believe is, they tell you they are witches, witches practice penis-thievery, and then you let them suck your cock?" Kim burst out laughing.

It took Jack several minutes to get over the shock of Kim's last statement. Finally he spoke, "Could we go back to the restaurant now? I missed lunch and my stomach is growling in case you can't hear."

Kim drove back to the Cipriani Restaurant and parked next to her Miata. They went inside and were seated immediately.

"What do you recommend?" Jack asked as he perused the menu.

"The Ciopino is delicious. Fisherman's stew is what it is. Shrimp, scallops, lobster and fresh fish. All bathed in blood, 'er I mean tomato broth."

"Sounds good to me. What's with the blood, Kim? I'm almost afraid to ask."

"Jack, will it bother you if I talk about blood before dinner?"

"No, no. I'm so hungry I could bite your neck. Talk away, Kim."

"Hey! You're funny, Jack. Who would have guessed?"

The waiter brought their drinks and Kim took a sip of her rum and coke and stared at Jack. He wondered what she looked like naked and was somewhat amazed at his incredible good fortune in meeting extraordinarily beautiful and intelligent young women as of late.

"Alrighty then," Kim began, "Let's talk about Countess Elizabeth Bathory. I don't suppose you ever read the book ‘Dracula Was a Woman’ by Raymond McNally? The author said Bram Stoker was very much interested in the legend of Elizabeth Bathory. How about ‘The Blood Countess’ by Codrescu? Is that on your reading list?

"Elizabeth was a Hungarian Countess born in 1560. A descendant of Vlad the Impaler and related to Istvan Bathory, prince of Transylvania. At age 15 she married Count Ferenc Nadasdy and they lived in a castle, Csejthe. In her early twenties she began to bathe in and drink blood of virgin girls as a means to assure her internal life and beauty. She had more than 600 girls murdered by her henchmen and drained of blood.

"In 1610 Elizabeth's castle was raided by suspecting authorities. Fifty bodies were buried under the castle. Dead girls and even live ones pierced with holes were discovered inside. Her punishment was solitary confinement. Her room was walled up by stonemasons but for a small hole to pass food through. Stonemasons who became the Freemasons they were. Rumor has it they were bewitched by Elizabeth. She died four years later in that room.

"Elizabeth's diary was discovered and in it she documented 612 deaths. She wrote of torture and how the girls were stuck with pins and cut with scissors to let the blood flow. Often they would be hung by the ceiling and Elizabeth would shower in blood. All records regarding her were sealed for over a hundred years and mention of her name was forbidden in Hungary."

"Kim, speaking of Freemasons, what do you know about Freemasons or Albert Pike?" Jack asked, as it appeared Kim was momentarily out of breath and words.

Their conversation was only interrupted briefly by the arrival of dinner which was personally delivered by Maitre D' Lino and Chef Luigi. "How are you Miss Wright?" Luigi asked. He knew her from her previous visits and her past life as a newspaper reporter. "And you Mr. Davis?" He knew him by reputation. "Please enjoy your dinner. Can we talk to you later? Preferably after 10:00 when we close and everyone will be gone."

Jack looked at Kim and she nodded in approval so he responded, "Sure. Whenever you are finished with business bring us a late dessert, a bottle of brandy and whatever you gentlemen would like. Put it on my bill."

"No, no, Mr. Davis," Lino insisted. "This one is on us. Please." Jack reluctantly shook his head indicating agreement.

"What do you suppose they want?" Kim asked after she had taken a few mouthfuls.

"I don't know, Kim, and I'm not sure I care. I'd like to reciprocate somehow for this absolutely delicious fish stew we are eating for free. What did you call this stuff? Now where were we? I think I asked you a question. Do you remember what it was?"

"This stuff is called Ciopino. I remember what you asked about Freemasons and Albert Pike. I know the stories. You see, I am very much a Civil War and black history buff. I could tell you the story of how the black Buffalo Soldiers kicked the Indians' asses but that's a long story."

"Well, I certainly wish you would tell me, Kim. I have a new friend named Caitlin Cornplanter, a Seneca, and I'm sure I could impress her with that story. In fact, you remind me a lot of her. So bright and funny and curious and very pretty. Can't forget the pretty part. You tell me your story and I'll tell you an interesting story about Bram Stoker."

"Sure, Jack, but not now. I'm starting to feel all warm and toasty. Dunno if it's the wine, the atmosphere or the company. Speaking of the company, thank you for the compliments, you dog. Let's lighten up the conversation a bit. I'm a sports nut, believe it or not. Football, basketball, boxing and just about everything else. Let's talk about boxing. I mean, this is Vegas and I have attended a few big fights here."

They spent the next hour and more arguing about boxing. Kim kept insisting that Roy Jones Jr. could beat anybody, heavyweights included.

"But Jack, Roy has the perfect style to beat any of those heavyweights, Lennox Lewis included. He doesn't rely on the jab. He could just stand at a distance and take his pot shots. He is so quick. I don't think a big heavyweight could hit him much."

"Maybe, Kim, but if one of those big guys leans and lays all over Roy and roughs him up, I think he would be in real trouble. This isn't like George Foreman getting the rope-a-dope. He and Muhammad Ali were about the same size. Some of these heavyweights weigh seventy-five pounds more than Roy and are much taller. It would be like me fighting you."

"You want to try, smart ass?" Kim joked. "I might be a lot more to handle than you can possibly imagine."

"Now that I do believe, Kim," Jack responded with a grin.

"Well anyway, Jack, Roy is so dominant his fights are boring. There is no light-heavyweight, or cruiser-weight, who could come close to beating him. He should just get it on and rumble with the big dudes. Now that would generate some interest. I repeat what I said before. I think a much lighter guy who is a true boxer can't beat a much bigger guy. Roy has the style, quickness and power that could beat anybody as long as it doesn't turn into a wrestling match."

It was about 10:30 and Luigi and Lino walked over with desert and bottles in hand. "This is Tiramisu," Luigi announced as he placed it before Jack and Kim. Traditional Italian trifle with ladyfingers, expresso, mascarpone cream and imported liqueur."

Kim took a quick taste and exclaimed, "This is delicious. Oh my, I gonna get fat!" she whined as she really dug in.

"Would you two sit down?" Jack ordered. "Now, what's on your mind?"

"This will really sound stupid, Mr. Davis," Lino began, "but we don't care. We want you to find our stolen motorcycles."

Jack laughed. "What are their names, Peggy and Sue?"

"That's close," Luigi responded. "We love our motorcycles."

Jack was getting a real kick out of these guys and couldn't stop his fit of laughter. It was just the so serious look on their faces. Kim was too busy with the Tiramisu to pay much attention. Jack pushed his dish over to her and her face lit up like a little girl blowing out her birthday candles.

"OK, OK, you two, tell me the story and try not to make it too melodramatic." Jack took out his notebook and also his handkerchief to wipe his teary eyes.

Lino explained, "Our motorcycles were stolen two weeks ago. Mine is a 1957 Harley Davidson FLH Hydro-Glide and Luigi's is a 1956 Harley Davidson FL Panhead. Here are pictures and all the details. Of course we reported the thefts to the police and our insurance company. We don't want money. We want our motorcycles back."

"You see, Mr. Davis," Luigi added, " we have owned those Harleys since 1957 when we purchased them brand spanking new. Lino and I are childhood friends. We joined the Army together, served in Korea together, saved our money and bought those motorcycles, which we have been riding for more than 30 years. We had them before we had our wives."

Lino interrupted, "And we got more rides on those Harleys than we did our wives. As Luigi says, 'why didn't they steal my wife?' and such."

Jack was really cracking up now. He couldn't help it. These guys were funnier than most of the hotshot comics in Vegas. He gritted his teeth and said, "OK, tell me exactly how your motorcycles were stolen."

"It was exactly two weeks ago today," Lino elaborated. "Here is a copy of the report and the claim report we filled out for the insurance company. Luigi and I meet every morning at 9:00 at the McDonalds a couple blocks from my house. Right, two connoisseurs of fine food eat breakfast there. It's the American way. We read our papers, munch on hash browns and drink coffee for an hour and then head over here. We have been doing this the same way every day for years. Somebody was most likely watching our routine. This thing was planned."

Luigi took over. "We parked our motorcycles in the lot in back like we always do. There are people coming and going all the time and it's not like somebody could steal two Harleys without being seen. And the two guys who did this were seen. They were very large men with long hair and they looked like bikers. Dressed in leather, black dusters with a scorpion insignia on the back according to witnesses."

All of a sudden Jack wasn't laughing anymore and this was getting serious. He held up his hand for Luigi to pause. "Slow down a little. I'm taking notes here."

"OK, Mr. Davis," Luigi continued at a slower pace, "these two guys pulled up in a big black Ford truck, a F250 Super Duty Club Cab, according to one witness. He said it's known as the Testosterone Truck. They didn't have a ramp or anything. They just picked up our Harleys and put them on their truck. This all took about two minutes and happened around noon. That's about all we know. The police haven't found out anything."

"Please take this case, Mr. Davis," Lino pleaded. "We'll pay whatever you ask. Money is not the issue here."

"Well, guys, tell me what else besides the Ciopino is on the menu."

"Huh?" both men blurted out.

"Tell me what else is one the menu for dinner I said." Even Kim was paying attention now after having finished off both desserts.

Luigi recited the menu. "We have Seafood Risotto. Jumbo shrimp and scallops with baby squid sauteed with garlic, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes and arborio rice. We have Salmon alla Griglia. Fileted de-boned fresh Alaskan salmon grilled in a special house seasoning and topped with vinaigrette sauce. We have Scaloppini di Vitello alla Zingara. Veal medallions sauteed with herbs, a touch of cognac, fresh mushrooms, leeks and capers."

"Jack, Jack, I'm still hungry," Kim whispered.

"OK, you two guys, here's the deal," Jack stated with finality. "I don't want your money. I want to eat dinner here whenever I want, for free, and I want to bring my friends. You keep track of the bill. When and if I find your motorcycles and return them to you, we are even. If I don't find them then I pay you whatever the bill is. How's that sound?"

Lino and Luigi were practically sobbing with gratitude as they thanked Jack. Kim was giggling uncontrollably and didn't stop until they were outside and standing by their cars.

"Jack, you haven't even told me what I want to know about Lilith. You distracted me. Can we go somewhere else and talk?"

"How about Pahrump?"


"I'm leaving for Pahrump in the morning when the sun rises. Do you want to go with me?"

"Yes! But why would you take me with you?"

"I'll make you an offer perhaps you can't refuse, Kim. You said I could trust you. OK. I think I can. How would you like to work for me? I need some help. My friends Brett and Caitlin will be back for New Years to work on this with me, but I need help now. I'll pay you whatever you made at the paper. And I'll give you the scoop. You'll know what I know. All I ask of you is that you do not disclose any information to anyone without clearing it with me first. When this is over you can write whatever you want. I won't try to censor you in any way."

"The scoop, huh? And you'll pay me? I would have done it for free. What time are you picking me up in the morning?"

"Let's make it 6:00. Where are you staying?"

Kim took out a pen and a slip of paper and wrote down the address. "I stay with my girlfriend Andrea and her husband when I'm in Vegas. I don't really want to spend the money on an apartment when I'm off in Bloomington or somewhere else much of the time."

"Well, Kim, it has been my pleasure and I'll see you in the morning."

Kim kissed him fondly on the cheek and squeezed Jack's arm. "I'm really looking forward to this adventure. There is so much you are not telling me. But you will. I'm willing to negotiate. Good night."

Jack wondered about the "willing to negotiate" comment all the way back to his hotel and until he fell asleep. She said it so seductively. Kim reminded him of a beautiful black exotic cat. A Panther perhaps. Definitely dangerous and a man-eater.

To Be Continued...


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