Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 19


  1. I chose a seat down the aisle on the opposite side of DeHaven, and she spotted me the moment I sat down. The bitch even smiled and gave me a tiny nod of the head before inserting her money in the slot machine.

    Now that my cover was blown, I sauntered down the aisle and took the seat next to her. I slipped a twenty into the machine, gambling money as part of the expenses Mr. Nogales provided. Before I selected the minimum amount I wanted to lose, DeHaven spoke to me, although she kept her eyes on the slot.

    “You know, you don’t have to waste any money. I mean, I get that you’re following me so there’s no use keeping up the pretense.”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, casually and without care, a skill I learned during my gangsta days.

    “Look, I already saw you at the Flamingo when you tailed me like a monster truck going after a Hot Wheels car.”

    I didn’t know what to say. Shit. “I couldn’t have been that obvious.”

    She simply looked at me, deadpan, shook her head and continued gambling.

    “You’re racking your brain out trying to figure out how I’m winning, aren’t you?”

    The wheels on her screen spun at a dizzying pace before stopping one reel at a time. She hit the bonus, a “Spin the Wheel” icon that would let her hit the spin button for a chance at more free money. I watched the overhead circle rotate like a roulette wheel, gradually clicking to a stop on $100.

    “Yeah, racking my brain is exactly what I’m doing, Gloria.”

    Use of her first name didn’t unnerve her, but it caught her attention. She seemed mildly surprised, maybe at my familiarity.

    “Why don’t you just ask me how I’m doing it,” she hit the Rebet button, “Rufus?”

    I felt my eyes flash open. How did she get my name?

    “I should take you down in cuffs right now,” I threatened, pissed off by her arrogance.

    “Yeah, but even if you were a cop and not a plain old security guard without any kind of authority in this casino, you wouldn’t have probable cause for anything.” She cast her pretty brown eyes at me and fluttered her lashes, as if that would get her anywhere. “Besides, the casino has its own security.” DeHaven chucked her chin behind us and to my right. “The guy in the blue Hawaiian shirt. He’s been trailing me since yesterday.”

    I snuck a peek to my right and caught the guy’s eyes on me. He turned away and pretended to read his screen. Crap. He probably thought I was DeHaven’s partner. I’d have to meet with him right away and let him know that I was the one who called earlier.

    It was my turn to lean toward her. “You know I’m going to bring you down, right?”

    She inhaled. Her chest rose and fell, as if a fishing line connected my eyes to her bosom. The woman pulled out her feminine wiles and tried to get me off my game. It wasn’t going to happen.

    “You have things backwards, Rufus.”

    “How’s that?” I asked as I cashed out my ticket, five dollars less than what I started with.

    She kept tapping the replay key every few seconds, not even looking at the screen. Instead her eyes locked onto mine. “You think that because you had it so hard growing up, everyone else has to. Nothing ever came easy for you, so why should it for anyone else? And somehow you convinced yourself that you don’t even deserve anything good.” My mouth dropped open. “Am I right?”

    I didn’t know how to answer that, stunned that she had somehow accessed my private background information.

    “I’m starving. There’s a great café in the old part of Santa Ynez, about five minutes from here," she said. "Why don’t you meet me there, and I’ll tell you what you need to know?”

    DeHaven didn’t give me a chance to answer. She cashed out her ticket for over nine hundred dollars and headed for the cashier cage. The security guard stood up and started to follow her, but I stopped him and told him who I was.

    1. That's great. Are you going to work these into published pieces. I love how they're going. On the other hand, that could be a distraction from your novel!

  2. I'll post the final installment tomorrow. Its long, I'm tired, and I have ribs to eat!! Btw, congrats on yours and Jeffery's book launch. Wish I could be there, but wallyworld is a cruel mistress