01-15-2013, 12:07 AM
10:00 pm to 11:00 pm:
Lolly drank her water carefully in little sips. She had learned the hard way that gulping cold water after a heavy set would lead to cramping. Filibuster was on break after the first set, and water never tasted so good than after a long jam session. She had tried alcohol, but it left her even more dehydrated than ever, so she made a firm rule for herself: water onstage, booze off.
Refreshed, she decided to seek out Criss Angel. By now the club was packed with partiers, but he was still easy to spot--right there on the sofa, with two women flanking him on both sides. They were attractive and slender, but they didn't look like supermodels or any celebrity she knew of, but they looked harmless enough. She casually strolled over to him, just to say hello, of course.
Criss looked up and smiled at Lolly, which secretly thrilled her to the core. He saw me! Lolly squealed to herself like a schoolgirl. He saw me onstage! She barely managed a "hi" when she stopped at the sofa and stood before him.
Criss invited her to sit on an adjacent cushioned chair. Lolly was only too happy to accept, but she kept her cool; she didn't want to come across as just another lovestruck fan. She was with the band, and wanted to give the impression that she was a professional.
"Great set, there," Criss complimented, breaking the ice. "What's your name, anyway?"
"Lolly," she answered. struggling to keep her cool. "Lolly Jones."
"Lolly?" Criss repeated. "Nice to meet you." He shook hands with her. "I want you to meet Lyn--"
"Hi," Lyn said, shaking Lolly's hand.
"--and this is Stacy."
"Hey," Stacy waved, smiling a little, just to be polite.
"They're in the Cirque show with me," Criss explained. "We were just unwinding after rehersals," Criss told Lolly.
"Wow, that's awesome," Lolly responded. "So, what exactly do you two do, anyway?"
"We're dancers," Lyn explained. Stacy nodded in confirmation.
"You do any of those aerial acts, like on those long ropes or something?" Lolly asked.
"Oh, no, no," Lyn laughed a bit nervously. "We're firmly on the stage. I'm terrified of heights."
"Me, too," Stacy laughed.
"I'd love to see your show," Lolly said. "But I got the band, and our fansite to monitor and a bunch of other stuff as well.
"Well, the show's not until September," Criss informed her, "I'm sure you can fit us into your busy schedule."
Lolly smiled at that. You bet I will.
Gary Brighton was hot! And it was all thanks to that little Kiddie girl at the blackjack table. Throughout the evening, he had scored three jackpots from the slots, a hat-trick at roulette, and even another game at blackjack at another table where she was dealing. It was as if Kiddie was helping him win, though he knew that was not possible. Every blackjack table was strictly monitored by video surveillance from above.
He learned that she was a "relief" dealer, subbing for the regulars when they went on break. Well, she certainly bought him a good deal of relief! Whenever he was with her, or even near her, whether at the blackjack tables, by the slots, the craps, or the wheel, he always scored. True, there was that little interruption by his kid begging for something to eat (why the hell didn't her mother take care of her? he wondered irritably. That was her job, wasn't it?), but as soon as he spotted Kiddie, he was high-rollin' once again. She was his good-luck charm, it seemed. And not bad to look at, either. She was a cute litle blond, five-and-a-half if she was an inch, with the deepest blue eyes he had ever seen--a beach bum's fantasy girl if there ever was.
He played it cagey, of course. These casinos were lousy with security cameras, and if they saw him paying a little too much attention to her, they'd nail him for a stalker. Play it cool, keep it friendly, and whatever you do, don't let on that she's helping you win, he said to himself. It'll put the kibosh whatever magic she's got!.
He saw Kiddie leave the table where she had been dealing when the regualr dealer, a balding middle-aged man with a pony-keg for a stomach returned from his break. He stood before one of the slot machines, slipping in a token and pushing the button, all the while keeping an eye on her. He watched as she disappeared into the back. Oh, no, no, no! Don't leave me! I need you, Kiddie! Gary pleaded with her mentally. I need you to bring me good luck.
The slot machine's rotors stopped spinning. All lemons, no jackpot this time. Gary's heart sank.
Okay, maybe she went on her own break, he reasoned. I'll just grab a bite to eat at the buffet and wait until she comes back. Not a problem. I've won plenty this evening, more than enough to cover one loss. No big deal.
Steve Packard couldn't sleep. He tossed and turned between sweaty sheets, wishing he had a girl with him. Sex was the best sleep aid he could get without a prescription. Even a quickie would have helped him relax.
In three and a half hours, he would meet Vic behind the Luxor and carry out their plan. They had gone over every detail for two weeks, casing out the area, locating the security cameras and their "blind spots," and how to open the safe. The planning was easy--it was putting it into action that made him nervous.
He rehersed his plan, step by step, in his mind. He would enter in the back, using a master keycard (his own would be a dead giveaway), wearing his usual workclothes. If questioned, he could plausibly say that he had been called in for an emergency repair on one of the slots. This was not uncommon, as slot machines became jammed by cheaters using slugs or other devices, and a malfunctioning machine lost a casino money in downtime.
By dodging the security cameras by keeping within the blind spots, he could enter the Accounting Office and where the safe was. Sliding by the wall under the camera facing the safe itself, he would disconnect the wires from it (he discoverd this during his usual delivery of slot cash on the job. An electrician had been working on the wiring that day and left the camera wires exposed). Once disconnected, he could get the safe open by punching in the code he had surreptitiously discovered, thanks to an accounting clerk who had stood sideways while she punched it in, allowing him to watch. Then he'd take the bag and stuff it full of cash, reconnect the camera before security knew what happened, then keep in the blind spots again as he made his escape to where Vic was waiting. He'd leave it clean, the door closed, and wear gloves and hospital slippers so as not to leave any forensic evidence.
Vic had promised him half of the take if he was successful, yet Steve could not help but wonder why he should have to do all the dirty work. If he got caught, he'd go to prison and Vic would walk away scot-free, totally denying his involvement and let Steve take it on the chin. But if he was successful, he could leave Las Vegas and start a new life somewhere, like in LA. Or even Hawai'i. Even with half the money in the safe, he'd be set for life. But why stop there? Why not take it all? After all, he was risking his ass doing all the work while Vic was just sitting there in the van. If he didn't show up, Vic would just assume that he had gotten caught. He bloody well couldn't go in and ask what the hell was taking so long. Knowing Vic, he'd deep-six him in a heartbeat if he knew he'd gotten busted.
Oh, yeah, Steve was going in, all right, but he'd find his own ride home.
Time flew by at Body English so fast it was time for Filibuster's second set. Neil, the lead singer, tapped her on the shoulder and jerked his tumb towards the stage. Lolly was startled, then annoyed, then embarrassed at having lost track of time.
"Look," she said to Criss apologetically, "I gotta go. Nice talking to you." She trotted back to the stage area, waving good-bye.
"Catch you later," Criss called out after her. He started to settle back, but he began to feel the drink special working his way through his kidneys.
"Excuse me for a moment, willya?" he said to Lyn and Stacy. "I'll be right back."
He got up and headed for the men's room. It was quieter in there, and brighter; at least here he had some semblance of privacy. He headed for the urinal in the farthest corner of the men's room for reasons known only to men, relaxed, and allowed one of Body English's overpriced mixed drinks to go down the drain.
Relieved, he reassembled himself and turned to leave, flushing the urinal behind him, but was stopped short by a human arm lying on the floor under one of the stalls. Concerned, Criss opened the stall door.
The arm, it turned out, belonged to Jason Loeb, the drummer for Filibuster, who now lay unconscious in the stall. Criss wasn't sure if he had overdosed or was simply drunk. At any rate, he had to get help. He dashed out of the men's room and flagged down the first waiter he could see.
"The drummer's passed out in there," he told the waiter. "You gotta get help."
Alarmed, the waiter dashed over to the manager's office and relayed Criss' message. Criss watched as the manager snatched the phone and punched 9-1-1. Unable to do anything more, he returned to the sofa where he had been sitting. Stacy and Lyn were still there, keeping his seat warm for him.
"We missed you," Stacy purred as Criss sat down.
Lyn, however, sensed Criss' distress. "What's the matter?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing," he replied, "just that the drummer's passed out in the men's room."
"Oh, my God!" Lyn exclaimed. "Is he all right?"
Criss shrugged. "I dunno, they called 9-1-1 already."
"Think someone should tell Lolly?" Stacy suggested anxiously.
Criss realized that she was right. Someone should inform the band about their drummer. "I'll be right back," he said, and left again.
It was only eleven PM and Athene was already bored--and frustrated. By now, Criss Angel and she should have been dancing the night away, the hottest couple of the evening, the only question on their minds being "Your place or mine?" Instead he was wasting his time with a couple of cheap tarts he had just picked up along the way, leaving her alone. And Athene hated being alone. Sitting in the limo, watching the Strip go by, she raged inwardly over his callousness.
There had to be a way to get back at him. There just had to be. She racked her brains for a suitable method of revenge. She didn't want to physically hurt him, of course--she wouldn't dream of marring that gorgeous body of his. No, she had to strike back in such a way that he would burn with shame, just as she was burning with rage. She had to hit him where he lived.
And he lived at the Luxor, just above her, she recalled. Athene pondered this fact, a cruel smile slowly creeping over her perfectly madeover face. She had her plan, ready made as it was; now she had to put it into action. But she would have to do it on her own, with no help from Crito or any other member of her entourage. There was no sense implicating them; besides, they had no business interfering, anyway.
She picked up the limo phone. "Driver, take me back to the Luxor," she ordered.
"Yes, ma'am," the driver replied obediently.
Athene hung up the phone and sat back. A wicked little giggle escaped from her ruby red lips. This was going to be good, she thought.