Vegas Gambit Ch. 03bywallcleaver©
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I walked off the cool airplane into the 100 degree heat of the Jetway that had been sitting in the desert sun all day. 80 feet later and I walked into the air conditioned comfort of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. I had last been here about 4 months ago to attend a seminar and conference on corporate security. Things had happened during that time that got me involved in various incidents of intrigue. This particular visit was, however, due to an engraved invitation I received, in the form of a subpoena for Grand Jury testimony.
Some of the intrigue I had been involved with had to do with elements of the local mob and counterfeit currency. I had been informed that my testimony would be relating to the mob activities, but a little birdie had told me the Secret Service also wanted to speak to me about the funny money. I had not tried to hide my involvement with either matter, but did not go to great lengths to bring matters to law enforcement's attention.
I got the rental car and took the drive to the strip. I had reservations to stay in the Excalibur hotel and casino, and although it was a bit pricey, I had stayed there before and it just seemed like the right place to stay. I checked in and took a walk to the bar to sit and sort out my next few days and what I could expect. Force of habit took me to the small service bar off the casino floor. I liked the privacy since not many frequented this bar. Most of the customers were gamblers who wanted to take a short respite from their losses, but few stayed more than the time needed to down a quick drink. I was sitting and remembering the last visit when a glass was set in front of me.
"Long time no see, cowboy." I recognized the voice without looking, but took a moment to face the speaker before I responded
"HI Stacy. Yeah, it has been a few months hasn't it." She had remembered my preference and the jack Daniels I prefer was sitting inn front of me. I took the $20 I usually gave her and it disappeared into her cleavage as she had taken to doing when I paid for my drink. She winked at me but did not offer any more reward than the view of her cleavage as the bill disappeared. She thanked me and went back to her duties. I sipped the drink as I thought back to the events that had preceded my visit to Vegas.
I remembered the pick pocketing and the resulting danger to Jan and her sister Jen. Things had gotten out of hand and I ended up shooting 2 mobsters who had threatened them. I set up the boss and hopefully he had been arrested for his part in a counterfeiting ring. I had helped the sisters to get out of town, and now they were living with me in my house in Atlanta.
The girls had each found a home in the new jobs they were working. Both had decided that legitimate employment was preferable to the life of drifting and working schemes to keep themselves afloat. Not to say they were career criminals, but their attempt to become a pick pocket team ended without much success.
I thought back to the life I had left in Atlanta this morning. I was head of corporate security for an Insurance company and my life was busy, but now with 2 young, attractive women living with me, life had become more comfortable. I wasn't sure just why, but having someone else in the house to talk to, to eat meals with, to know that there was someone there to commiserate with gave me a feeling of belonging. I knew the sisters would not stay forever and we each had our own lives to live, but for now we all were complacent with the current situation. I had not connected with any of the women I had known before inviting the girls to move in with me and neither of them had found a romantic interest in that time either. We did not do everything together, but sometimes the 3 of us would go out, I might take Jen to the movies or Jan to the ball game. We were all happy with our lives the way they were.
I finished 2 more drinks before calling it a night about 11. I went upstairs to my room, and upon entering, felt something was different. I checked out the room carefully as my suspicions were confirmed. There was a message written on the mirror behind the writing desk in red magic marker. "Your a dead man!"
I was getting pissed by now. If it wasn't so annoying, I might think it funny. This was the last thing the loud mouthed gangster had told me when I warned him away from the girls. He was not the most intelligent of people, and now this threat was another indication of his lack of judgment. I almost took the opportunity to correct his spelling error. I didn't think they would be stupid enough to do something here in the hotel with people around, but past actions had shown they did not think things through very carefully before acting. I looked further and even though it was where I had left it, I could tell someone had been in my suitcase. There was nothing in it of value but who knows why they might open it. Maybe a rattle snake would come slithering out when I opened it, that would be the kind of ridiculous play I could expect.
I carefully opened the bag, not sure a bomb would be there. After some careful perusal, I detected nothing unusual, so assumed they had just searched the bag. I called the front desk and told the clerk that something had come up and I would be leaving. I asked him to get everything together so that I could check out in a few minutes when I came down. He said he would, then just as I was about to hang up, he remembered that a package had been delivered to the desk for me. I had been expecting this, but in the excitement I had forgotten about it. "Can you have someone bring it up, please?" I asked.
"Of course. I will have the bellman bring it right to your room."
5 minutes later and there was a knock at the door. I took the package from the young man and offered $5 as a gratuity. Closing the door, I thanked FedEx for being prompt. I had not expected problems, but knew I should be prepared just in case. To cover that eventuality, I had sent myself a package containing my Sig Sauer P226N pistol. I was licensed to carry it in Georgia, but probably not here. I had needed one before and a friend in town for the seminar had supplied it. This was my personal carry gun and I was glad to have it now. I put it on with the shoulder holster that was also in the FedEx box. I felt more comfortable now and took my suitcase and left to check out. I wasn't really afraid of the threat, but did not want to stay here in case things got too crazy. I knew from the past that the gangsters had at least one person inside this hotel, so being away from scrutiny was best.
I checked out and headed to the parking lot and my rental. As I was walking, I noticed a young woman ahead of me, and then recognized her as Stacy, the cocktail waitress from upstairs. I called out to her, intending to thank her for her service earlier this evening.
Stacy stopped as I called her name, then looked back to me and smiled a greeting.
"Hey cowboy! Leaving so soon?" she asked, seeing the suitcase in my hand.
"Yeah, got a couple of issues I have to take care of and I won't be able to do that here." I didn't want to explain the exact reasons and get yet another person involved. My rental was in the next row and Stacy said employee parking was 2 rows beyond that. As I neared my rental, the light in the lot illuminated the car, its dark paint covered by a thin sheen of dust. Dust everywhere, except for the handprint near the bottom of the driver's door. I had seen that kind of thing before, and noted that events were getting out of hand quickly. I had no doubt that there was an explosive device of some sort affixed to my car below the driver's seat. I did not want to deal with the police at this moment, but could not drive the car and did not want to just leave it with a bomb underneath.
"Stacy, can you do me a really big favor?" I asked.
"Sure, I guess. What do you need?"
"Can you go back into the hotel, and call the police. Use a hotel phone and don't use your name, I don't want you to get involved. Tell them that you saw 2 men tampering with a car in the lot. Tell them where my rental is and give them the license number. That should be enough."
Stacy looked at me like I had 3 heads. "Why do you want me to do that?" she asked with some uncertainty.
I was sure I had already asked too much of her and did not want to explain, but felt I had to.
"I think that someone put a bomb under the car."
"Oh my God, why would they do that? Is it dangerous?"
"I think I pissed off the wrong people last time I was in town. I am sure it is dangerous, I don't want to leave it here for any passerby to set off unintentionally. I can't really say more now, but please can you make the call?"
"How can you be sure there is a bomb?"
I didn't really want to get into this any further, but it was too late now. One more person I would have to worry about. "I found a message in my room threatening me. I am not too worried about myself, but I don't want others to get caught up in things. I can see a handprint on the side of the car where someone held on as he attached something under the seat. I've worked with the police enough to recognize these signs."
Stacy looked a bit frightened but as I pointed out the mark on the car door, she could see I wasn't just making things up.
"I'll go make the call. What are you going to do?"
"I will stay close enough to the car to warn away anyone who might get too near." I told her.
Stacy turned and walked back into the Excalibur, looking back over her shoulder as she walked. I waited a few cars away from mine, but there were no other people nearby at this late hour. Stacy came back out about 10 minutes after she had gone in, saying she had complied with my request, and that the police had been notified.
I didn't really want to be here when the police arrived, although it would not take them long to trace the car to me. I also did not think the chance of someone else getting too close to the car likely, so decided to move away. Stacy asked where I was going to go, so I answered I would find a cab and get another room. She offered to drop me if I wanted, no need to look for a cab at this hour.
I was torn, but the thought of waiting around for a cab to arrive while the police might be looking for witnesses made my decision for me.
"OK, lead on. I hope I won't be imposing on you to drop me at another place this late."
"Not a big deal, I have to pass by a dozen hotels on my way home. Let's get going, my car is over here."
We started walking toward the row where her car was parked when a man came out from behind a truck and confronted Stacy. "So, I see you are picking them up in the lot now. Can't even wait until they check in."
The guy was pretty big and had a rough look to him. I assume he saw my bag, that providing the impetus for his comment to Stacy. I was going to say something to him when Stacy spoke up.
"Duane, get the hell out of here. You know you are not allowed to come close to me. Go home and sleep it off!"
Apparently, Stacy knew him, and from the sound of her words, I assume she had a restraining order against him.
"I ain't afraid of no order. I can see you whenever I want. Still a tramp, just like always." He spit out the words.
This time, I set my bag down and took a step toward him. "I think the lady asked you to leave."
He turned toward me and growled "I'm talking to her. Get the hell out of here."
I was going to say something else, when the beer bottle came up over his head in an arc and down toward me. I had not noticed it before, and just barely started to pull back when the bottle hit me a glancing blow on the side of my forehead. I saw stars, and then training and instinct kicked in... and rage. His swing had carried him past me and now he was facing partly away, the arm and bottle low after the swing. I grabbed his right arm, twisting it behind him and up, forcing him to drop the bottle. Just as the bottle hit the ground, I heard the crack of bones breaking, his wrist now useless. Duane screamed in pain, then I jerked him around, and my right arm came up toward his face. I was going to use the base of my palm on the underside of his chin, but at the last second, reason overcame rage and I pulled the punch, not hitting him with full force. As it was, he slumped onto the ground, moaning as he lay there. Had I not pulled the punch, his neck would have snapped back, likely broken, and he would be another to add to my list of dead bodies here in Las Vegas.
Stacy stepped over him and looked at my face. "You're bleeding. Do you have something to stop the blood?"
I had a handkerchief and took it out to hold onto my forehead. Stacy took me by the arm and directed me to her car. I got in and then she went back for my bag. I felt bad, both from the crack on the head and because I should have seen it coming earlier. My mind had been preoccupied and I knew better than to not be aware of all my surroundings. We were pulling out of the lot just as 2 police cars came by heading for the area where my rental was sitting. Stacy kept driving for a few minutes, I wasn't even paying attention to where we were going. After some time, I noticed that she was no longer in an area that contained hotels, and asked where we were headed.
"I'm taking you to my place. I feel bad that you got hurt when my drunken ex-husband came around."
I didn't want to pry, but asked "sounds like he does that more often than he should."
"I had to get a restraining order against him. He gets drunk every few months and thinks he can come by and push me around like he used to. I would call the police when it happened, but he would just end up in county for 10 days and nothing ever changed. Now I just try to stay out of his way as best I can."
I didn't really know what to say, the whole situation sounded like something was wrong with the system. I couldn't fix it and Stacy looked like she was capable of handling herself, so I said nothing more.
We arrived at a small townhouse in a nice neighborhood after a few more minutes of driving. I got out and Stacy came over to help, although by now I was feeling better, except for the pounding in my head. She took keys from her bag and after opening the door, led me inside. The place was small, but tidy and very nicely decorated. The walls had pictures and various hangings, there were placemats and napkin holders on the table in the combination dining room and kitchen, and I could see Stacy had done a fine job of furnishing her home.
Stacy led me to the single bedroom and told me to sit down in the chair in front of a computer desk. She went to the bathroom, returning with a wet cloth to put on my head. She bent down to inspect the cut on my forehead, and I got a close up view of her cleavage right in front of my eyes. The bleeding had stopped, but she took some time to clean the dried remnants from me before she finished. Her place was open and airy, although somewhat small. I was checking things out, but really did not want to appear too curious.
Stacy took the cloth back to the bathroom and washed it out, hanging it on the shower rod to dry. She came back and asked "How are you feeling now? I feel so bad you got caught up between me and my ex."
"I am fine now. I have a pretty hard head. This isn't the first time I have had my skull cracked."
"Just relax. You can stay here tonight."
I protested that I could get a room. "You don't have to do this. I don't want to put you out."
Stacy responded "I have the room, I have made up my mind, and Stacy's taxi is out of service for the night. Just accept that you will be staying, cowboy."
I guess she told me.
Stacy had been picking up things around the room as she had talked. She stopped long enough to unzip the dress she was wearing, and then pulled it off over her head. She put it into a clothes hamper in her closet before returning to her tidying up. She was now wearing a low-cut push-up bra and a pair of thong panties. After more tidying, she reached behind her back and unhooked the bra.
"Damn, it feels good to be out of that thing." She commented.
I was getting a show and would do my best to enjoy it. I was now treated to a full view of her chocolate brown nipples, the last time had just been a tease. I was surprised at her nonchalance at getting undressed in front of me. She had continued with her task, almost as though embarrassed that I would not find her housekeeping up to Martha Stewart's standards. Next came the thong. She pulled it off and it too went into the hamper.
"That's another thing I hate to have to wear. Those strips up my butt crack annoy the hell out of me."
I was looking, but just had to ask "then why wear one?"
"Heaven forbid if someone in the casino saw a panty line. I know the whole outfit is intended to get people to drink and in turn to get a bigger tip, but the routine is starting to get old. Joe tourist comes into the bar right after he calls home and says good night to wife and kiddies. Now he is on the prowl and thinks all the waitresses and show girls are just waiting to line up at his door to jump into bed with him. A little wink or maybe a comment about how manly he is will be all it will take. What a load of crap!"
I hadn't thought much about it, but the story sounded pretty accurate from what I knew. "Why do you stay there?"
"The money is pretty good, and I don't have to kill myself to make a living. I am planning to get out soon, but for now I just put on a smile and keep working."
Stacy had been naked the entire time we spoke, she finally finished neatening up her room. Once done, she put on a short robe before continuing.
I am a student at UNLV during the days, I hope to finish next semester. I am studying Criminal Justice and want to go into law enforcement."
"That is a coincidence. I got my degree in criminal Justice. I was in The Army CID for about 10 years before getting into corporate security." I offered.
"Really, which do you like better? Is the Army a good choice? What about local police departments?"
"I liked the Army, but it was kind of restrictive for me. I wanted something different, so went into this job. There is a lot happening in each side, you just have to see what looks best for you."
"Was your job anything like the NCIS I see on TV?"
I had to laugh. "Not quite so exciting and glamorous. Mostly it just involves catching small time thieves and keeping crime on Army bases to a minimum. There are a few bright spots, but mostly it is routine stuff. I will give you my number before I leave and you can call me if you have any questions. I have some contacts and maybe I can get you in the door for an interview."
"That would be great. I won't let you forget."
Our talk had slowed and Stacy said it was time for her to get to sleep. She had the day off tomorrow, but still wanted to keep to her normal routine. I offered to sleep in the living room, but she only had a couple of wing back chairs and she refused to let me even try to sleep there.
"There is plenty of room in my bed. I won't bite and I don't snore. Get in and that is the end of it!"
I guess she told me again. I stripped down to my boxers and Stacy hung up the robe, getting into bed naked. She turned out the light and soon I heard her breathing slow and become regular as she fell into sleep. I soon did the same.
When I awoke the next morning, I could see light coming in around the drapes, morning was half over by now. I was spooned up against a naked woman's body, and the thought of last night with Janet came back to me. I had my arm over her waist and was holding her left breast in my hand, gently massaging it, the nipple hardening at my touch. Odd, for some reason this breast feels smaller than it used to. Suddenly, I remembered where I was and who had been in the bed with me before I went to sleep. I had slept with Janet the night before I came to Las Vegas and I was remembering that morning, lying in this same position and teasing her awake by playing with her breast. Now, I had remembered the event by transferring it to Stacy, someone I was not sure would appreciate my efforts.