01-08-2012, 04:47 PM
The little Cessna plane landed on the tarmac with a bump, jolting the pilot and sole passenger inside, then glided to a halt. Alicia cautiously looked out the window for any sign of her mother, and was half-relieved when she saw none. The pilot helped her out of the plane and retrieved her little brown suitcase for her as well. Alicia crossed the tarmac and walked to the terminal with leaden feet. Deep down she knew that it was not going to be a very happy family reunion when she encountered her mother.
Maybe she wasn't there yet. She hoped against hope. Even the smallest delay would buy her some time to plan her defense, or at least plea bargain her way out of too severe a punishment. It was a longshot, but it was all she had going in her favor. But what if Mom was there already? Would she fly into a rage the minute she saw her, screaming like a banshee with fists flying? Or would she save that when they got home? It was death either way, she thought.
And even if she did survive her mother's wrath, what then? What would life be like after the whole ordeal was over? In Vegas she had dreamed of living with her beloved Criss Angel forever and ever in total bliss. Instead, she had been sent back to Marvinville in disgrace with only an autographed Loyalapalooza program to show for it. Now her future was a void, a black hole where all her past hopes and dreams were swallowed up, never to be seen again. She wished the plane had crashed en route to Marvinville--death was preferable to the lifetime of emptiness she faced.
Alicia hesitated at the foyer of the terminal of the airfield, a metal Quonset hut shaped structure that was half passenger terminal, half hangar for small aircraft, named after some long forgotten local World War One flying ace who had been shot down by the Germans. She took a deep breath, braced herself for a parental hurricane, and stepped through the doors. She did not dare look up for fear of what or who she would see, but wished the floor would gape and the earth would swallow her up.
"Hey, Ma!" came a childish and all too familiar voice that made Alicia cringe. "There she is, right over there!"
Alicia's spirits sank into oblivion. It was bad enough to meet her mother there at the terminal, but for her kid brother to accompany her was another twist of the knife. She knew that Kyle would keep rubbing her face in it practically for the rest of her life. Indeed, she hadn't been in Marvinville five minutes when the little brat launched into his "you're gonna get it" taunts.
"You're in big trouble now, Alicia!" Kyle sneered. "You are so gonna get it when you get home! Mom says you're gonna be grounded for life after this!" He began dancing around his miserable sibling. "Alicia's getting grounded! Alicia's getting grounded!" he singsonged. "Alicia's getting groun--"
Alicia silenced him with a slap across the face. "Will you just shut up, you little turd?" she exploded.
Kyle shrieked from the stinging blow. "Maaaaauuuuuummmm!" he wailed. "Alicia hit me!"
The presence of Nancy Rose loomed over her children. "All right, that's enough!" she commanded. "Both of you!" She turned to her outraged son. "Now, Kyle, it's not nice to gloat over what other people did wrong," she admonished him. "You should be thankful that she's alive and well and back home safe and sound."
From the dark look on Kyle's face, Alicia could tell that he totally disagreed on that point. Nancy turned to her daughter. "Now, Alicia," she began, "I want to make one thing perfectly clear--no matter what you did wrong, we all still love you. Understand?"
For the merest moment, Alicia was taken aback by this statement. She had expected a perfect storm of parental retribution when she arrived. She had to admit her mother's restraint was admirable. Maybe if she played her cards right, Mom would temper justice with mercy.
"Now, we're all going to go home," her mother continued calmly, "and we'll discuss it further after dinner." She turned to Kyle again. "And not a peep out of you. Understand?"
Kyle just glowered at his mother and sister. Yeah, he'd be quiet as a mouse on the way home, all right. He'd wait, biding his time, then when the coast was clear--look out! He'd go after his delinquent sister with both barrels blazing. It was like that old Klingon proverb he had heard on an episode of Star Trek: Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Normally, Richard Close didn't conduct any legal business on Saturday, but after the bloodshed resulting from the Piccucci Affair, he wanted to wrap things up as quickly as possible. Once he had fufilled his duty as executor of Mick Piccucci's will, he'd wash his hands of the entire clan, or what was left of it, and the sooner the better. Tina LaRue was dead; Michael, Jr., was dead; Pamela Piccucci was facing hard time for both murders and so was disqualified from all claim to the estate; the probate court had ruled with the wisdom of Solomon that the estate would be liquidated and divided among the only surviving daughter, the two grandsons, and Casey Worth.
Now came the liquidation part. All of Mick's property holdings were to be sold. As good luck would have it, some realtor in Vegas had already found a potential buyer for the house, a Mr. Saul Marten, also known as M. Soul, a rising young rapper with a bad stutter who had turned his speech impediment into a million dollar asset. The prospect of owning a mansion that had once belonged to a former gangster had appealed to him. The antique furniture, he insisted, had to go; he preferred more "modern" stuff. Not a problem, the realtor had told him. It was all going to be put up for auction, anyway.
As were the cars, all six of them: The Rolls Royce, the Bugatti, the Spyder, the Jaguar, the Aston Martin, and the Mercedes-Benz. Close wondered if he could get hold of Jay Leno to see if he was interested in any of them; the comedic master of ceremonies was renowned for his enormous car collection. If not, well, they could all be auctioned off. He just hoped there were no bodies in the trunks. Close hoped they'd fetch a good price in spite of the notoriety attached to them. Or maybe because of it--scandal made for good publicity, especially in Sin City. Owning a classic car or a house or anything else that had belonged to a Fifties-era mobster was alluing to say the least. It was like owning a piece of history, albeit a dark chapter of it.
Close studied the inventory listed in the will. He'd have to make a few phone calls Monday morning, make some arrangements, locate titles of ownership and other documents. It would be a long, tedious task, but to be free of the Piccucci crime family, it would all be worth it. It would be at least a month before Casey and the surviving Piccuccis would get their money. He just hoped none of them got too greedy like their dad and granddad's ex-wife and start going at each other's throats. But he had nothing to worry about, really. From their conduct at the probate hearing, not one of the four acted as if he or she cared how much they got. They all wanted it to end as badly as Close did.
And Close didn't blame them one bit.