12-11-2011, 08:45 PM
That afternoon, Criss sat with his production crew in his suite, ostensibly to go over the final details of the new MindFreak episode, but the usual banter had faded into a more sober tone. The morning bomb scare had everyone rattled, and things did not improve when Criss told them about what the crime lab had discovered.
"So the bomb was a fake?" Criss' brother, Costa said.
Criss nodded. "It was a warning to Casey for her to give up the Piccucci inheritance or else. My guess it was the son, Mike, Jr., who put it there."
"How the hell could he sneak a bomb, even a phony one, into a hotel that has three-hundred-and-sixty degree video surveillance, put it in a cleaning cart, then take off without anyone noticing?" George Strumpolis, Criss' cousin, wanted to know.
"Well, that three-hundred-and-sixty-degree video surveillance either missed something, or the guy wore a disguise," Criss retorted. "All I know is that it has to do with the will, and Casey's in danger."
"Where is she now?" Costa asked.
"She's got a job as Springs' caregiver."
"Danny Springer," Criss explained. "He was one of Mick Piccucci's 'business associates' with The Guys of Glitter Gulch. He's got stomach cancer and he'll be in the hospital for a while. Meantime, Casey's safe with him--if she's safe anywhere."
"Oh, geez," George groaned, "she goes from one mob family to another. Really smart move there, Criss."
"Hey, it wasn't my idea," Criss protested. "Felix didn't want her coming to the Luxor anymore because she posed a security threat, and she needed a job to support her family, and she already knew who he was, so she took him up on it."
"You think they're gonna try again?" Costa asked.
"Nine million dollars?" Criss retorted. "Yeah, like hell they're gonna try again."
Jim Meridian never realized just how large the Luxor Hotel houskeeping staff was--over a hundred people serviced the giant pyramid in a single shift. The management did its best to make his investigation easier by providing the list of maids on duty that morning, along with their personal files that contained each employee's fingerprint for security reasons, but there was still the questioning to go through. Jim eliminated those who didn't appear to fit the profile from the video: medium height, slender, dark hair tied in a bun. The few who did had not reported for duty until their appointed time; the keycard entry record from the service entrance verified it. Could it have been one of the off-duty employees? he wondered.
But wait--the video surveillance tape showed the mystery maid entering through the front of the hotel. From what he gathered from his questioning of the housekeeping staff, all employees were required to enter through the back of the building via the service entrance. Obviously, this mystery employee either didn't get the memo, or...
Meridian gathered up the employee files and handed them back to the housekeeping manager with a brief word of thanks. There was one more stop he had to make before the day was out.
In a small, cheesily decorated but comfortable motel room somewhere in the outskirts of Vegas, Michael, Jr., lay naked in bed with his current paramour, Jessie, a drop-dead gorgeous twentysomething with champaign blonde hair and a toned body developed from endless months in the fitness center. The sex had been good, better than when Pamela and he had been first married. Pam had been quite a knockout when they met; now she had grown tiresome with her constant demands for the latest fashions, trips to Europe, and endless rounds of parties with people with whom he had no desire to aquaint himself. She had become a social climber, aspiring to reach the pinnacle of high society so she could look down her reconstructed nose upon everyone else.
With Jessie, it was different. Jessie just wanted pleasure, especially in bed, bless her nymphomanic little heart. Despite his advancing age ("Past the speed limit but still in the race," he often joked to himself and to others), he gave her what she wanted and more: a small apartment in North Las Vegas, nicer clothes, even his silver Lexus--after he bought the Maserati, of course. Jessie was overwhelmingly grateful; she was so easy to please, unlike Pamela who demanded the best of everything no matter how much it cost.
Now Jessie lay dozing beside him under his arm, curled up like a little tan kitten. Michael, Jr., lay awake, staring at the ceiling. If only Pop had left him the estate like he should have instead of to his caregiver, what's-her-name, he mused. Then he and Jessie would be in Cabo by now, soaking up the sun and drinking Margaritas for the rest of their lives. Now all he had to look forward to was a court battle with that mad-dog (bleep) Tina LaRue.
He had no idea who really put that phony bomb in that cleaning cart, but he reasoned Tina had something to do with it; she wanted the money as badly as he did, the greedy (bleep). Now that the cops knew about the will and the upcoming probate hearing, Michael, Jr., decided to lay low for a while. If anything happened to her, they'd trace it back to him no matter who did it. Well, maybe he couldn't kill the caregiver, but he could intimidate her into giving it up--she seemed timid enough. There was no sense killing an innocent girl who, personally, had never given him any grief. Tina, on the other hand, had been a thorn in his side ever since Pop married her; more than anything, he'd like to deep-six that gold-digger to the bottom of Lake Meade.
But maybe he wouldn't have to resort to murdering anyone. Maybe the court would rule in his favor after all, since he was legally the only legitimate heir. Tina and her daughter, Heather, had no claim to it. Oh, sure, the judge might throw them a bone just to keep the peace, but the chances of Tina getting a dime out of the estate were zero. No, that money was his and his alone, and to hell with that (bleep) Tina, her (bleeper) daughter, that caregiver what's-her-name, and to hell with Pamela herself. To hell with them all! He was going to fight for that inheritance, horse, foot, and artillery--even if he did have to resort to murder.