Fiction Friday – 24 April 2009 Lady’s Luck

This Week’s Theme: During her first trip to Las Vegas, a woman experiences the luckiest night of her life. (It’s not from gambling).

Sin City is being baptised. The Good Lord’s seen fit to send a second deluge to remove the stain of iniquity from the streets. Parts of the Strip resemble the Jordan, with cars sliding through the choppy waters like boats.

Rain’s coming down so hard, even the hookers and crack dealers outside the Chapel of Love have moved on; no business tonight ladies, every John has stayed indoors. Poker tables might cost them as much as a trick, but at least it’s dry.

Not even the Bellagio can compete with Mother Nature’s water and light show tonight. Sky’s incandescent, flickering with each roar of thunder. House will be happy – captive audiences with nowhere to go and money to burn.

I watch it all, as I always do, from on high. Tonight will be quiet. For a change.

There’s a girl on the street, and at first I think she’s a working girl, and pretty desperate to be out in all this, but no, she’s just unlucky. Trying to flag down a cab on a night like this? Not happening. Looks like she came wandering down the Strip, got caught in the maelstrom, and now needs to get back to her hotel. Doesn’t look the gambling sort, not part of a wedding party – I’m guessing conference attendee, and I continue to watch her.

I’m not alone. There by the bus shelter, baggy clothes and baseball cap pulled down. He’s watching too. Funny, I didn’t spot him before, but now I recognise him; don’t know his name, only his reputation.

You’re bad luck might just turn worse sweetheart. Looking up and down the strip, still no taxis. One draws close, but the lights are off, and it passes by, churning up surf.

Big mistake, she’s lost patience and starts walking. Two seconds after passing the bus stop, , the baseball cap slips round the back and starts tailing her. She’ll be OK for another block – bright lights, lots of people – but next block is a workzone, nobody around. That’s where it’ll happen. Big picture, it’s not my concern. Just another little story in a big town.

No, that’s a lie, it is my concern. If I didn’t know, if I couldn’t see it unfold, different story, but I do know, and I can see it; so no choice.

I drop down to street level, and shadow baseball cap, keeping as close to him as he does to the girl. First instinct, keep walking and proximity will deter him. So we come to the workzone, and he quickens his pace. I see the approach, can’t make out what he says with the damn rat-a-tat-tat of rain, but the girl’s being reeled in. Maybe he says he’s got a ride, which hotel are you at, it’s just in this parking lot, it won’t be any trouble, it doesn’t matter, she’s following him off the sidewalk and I’m out of options.

I run after them and grab the guy by the scruff of his neck, screaming at him. “Where’s the money Jack? I’m not kidding around here!” He’s yelling I’ve got the wrong guy, and I don’t know Jack from Adam, but it puts enough of a scare on the girl, especially when I pull a blade out, that she runs. You run lady. You run and you don’t stop until you find a cop, or get to a hotel, whatever. You run.

I drop the guy into the mud. “I don’t know who you are, but I’m not-” I cut him with a boot to the face, crouch down, and run the blade down his face a couple of times, just so he has something to remember me by.

“This, this is a warning. I know what you do, and I know what you look like. I know what you were going to do to that girl. It’s cold, it’s wet, and I’m pissed off, so here’s the deal. She got lucky tonight, now so do you.”

I let him feel my fist a couple of times, just so he gets the message. “You get tonight to pack and leave, disappear. You never come back. If you ever do, I’ll know. Now go!” I haul him to his feet, and push him away. He doesn’t even look back, just runs. “Clocks ticking!” He quickens his pace, and I lose him in the gloom.

Slowly I walk back towards the Strip, rain dripping off the blade, taking the last drops of blood from it. The Good Lord’s sent a second deluge. City feels a little cleaner.

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5 thoughts on “Fiction Friday – 24 April 2009 Lady’s Luck”

  1. This woke me up better than the cup of coffee on my desk. May I just say…wow? There is a great noir feel to this so it appeals to me. I would love to see more stories featuring this character and his work in the city.

  2. I can’t tell if he’s a cop or some creature from hell, still there is a sense of darkness and gloom to the piece, like a detective story or a gothic tale, I especially like the line about letting the guy feel his fist

  3. am very curious to who this character is – though have my suspicions – if not to who – but at least to what story line he is attached to and what he is.

    Once again Paul, the tempo you write with carries the reader along in its urgency and familiarity. I liked the way you used the rain to mirror the main characters inner feelings, noting how his small act washed away at least a little of the evil he felt the city held.
    You have a wonderful skill in establishing character and setting within a short amount of time; no doubt through the careful use of the words, not wasting a single moment.

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