01-15-2013, 08:12 PM
12:00 am to 1:00 am:
Hidden deep in the heart of the Luxor Hotel was the video surveillance room. Banks of monitors lined the walls, showing images of every square inch of the hotel, from the atrium to the apex and beyond. The casinos were heavily watched, not only for cheaters or troublemakers, but for any signs of dishonesty among its own employees. Even the most inocuous areas, such as the corridors to the hotel rooms or the elevator foyers were under constant scrutiny. If there was even a hint of suspicious activity, the alert went out and the situation bought under control, usually with someone ending up in handcuffs. Almost nothing escaped the "eye in the sky", as the overhead cameras were commonly called.
"There's a possible misdeal on Fifty-One. Please confirm."
"Confirm accident on Forty-Seven, copy?"
"Minor slip and fall, no injuries."
"Negative on Fifty-One. Dealer error."
"We got a B and E in the Top Suite. Female, dark hair, seen entering using keycard. Please investigate, copy?"
"We got a D and D on Thirty-Two, two males in a fight. Copy?"
"Copy, we're on it."
"Uh, we've lost visual on Twenty-Seven."
"Damn! That thing was supposed to be fixed! Call the damn electrician again!"
"Maintenance? We lost visual in the Accounting Office, can you reconnect?"
"Top Suite, door opening. Someone's throwing something out the door."
"Can you get a fix on it?"
"Right there. It's a cat!"
"That girl probably tossed it out. We got someone on it?"
"Wait, we got visual back on Twenty-Seven again."
"Anything out of the ordinary?"
"Must have been a glitch. Have that electrician check on it, anyway."
Hammie gazed around in bewilderment. He had been napping on the back of the sofa, as was his habit, when some stranger came in, scooped him up and tossed him unceremoniously out the door. Instinctivly landing on his feet, he recovered his bearings and padded down the hall, exploring his surroundings.
Walls. Everywhere, walls. No cushions, no pillows, nowhere to perch. Hammie padded on, turning a corner to the elevator foyer. More walls, but there was one little room that was open. Curious, he padded inside, sniffing for any clues to tell him where he was. Suddenly, two doors slid shut, trapping him inside. Hammie paced around and around, looking for a way out. The walls were solid. Hammie yowled and yowled again, but no sound could penetrate the thick steel elevator car. He was a prisoner.
Filibuster was going strong, especially with Criss Angel on the drums. He played his parts so well it was as if he had been a long-time member of the band. And he was having fun!
Lyn and Stacy were rocking along with him, busting the best moves they knew. It was liberating to dance just for the sake of dancing, instead of being drilled by a choreographer. Lyn spun in caffiene-induced ecstacy, while Stacy was almost serpentine in her moves. Criss was good, they thought. Hell, he was better than good! He was great!
Julia, the bartender, was also amazed. She knew that Criss Angel was a magician, but that he also played the drums was news to her. Geez! Wasn't there anything this guy couldn't do? she wondered. Impulsivly she mixed a fruit drink for him, just for bringing in more business. She summoned a waiter and asked him to deliver it to him, and to tell him it was on the house.
The set finished to loud applause. "Thank you!" Pierce called out loudly. "We are Filibuster! With special guest drummer, Criss Angel!"
Criss stood up and took a bow, the spotlight squarely on him. The waiter slipped up behind the stage and offered Criss the drink. "From Julia, the bartender," he said. "On the house."
"Well, thank her for me," Criss smiled gratefully and drained it in a few gulps, his thirst from drumming seeming to rise up like a tsunami. Suddenly, he felt a bit light-headed, realizing that his drink had some alcohol in it. He should not have drunk it so fast, and he already had his quota for the evening. Criss was worried. Would he be sober enough to drive back home? The last thing he wanted was a DUI charge, or worse, but he couldn't very well leave an extremely expensive sports car here at the club just to take a cab.
He looked at the two dancers from his show, Lyn and Stacy. Maybe they could help, he thought. He slipped away from the drumkit and trotted up to them.
"Look, you gotta help me," he pleaded.
"Sure, Criss," Lyn assured him. "Anything you want."
"I need you to drive me back to the Luxor," he explained. "I had two drinks that's gonna put me over the limit, and I can't risk it."
Lyn looked at Stacy, who nodded. "Sure, no problem. When do you want to go."
"Now," he insisted.
Steve's heart pounded as she snaked his way past the security cameras, keeping well within the blind spots. It had been easy planning the break-in, but he never thought the breaking out would be so nerve-wracking. Where was he? he wondered.
He pictured the layout in his mind. He had diagrammed his entry, but he had fumbled the escape. All he saw was blank wallspace all around him--it seemed Accounting didn't go for interior decorating. He had to move fast; his blind spot was shrinking.
He slipped out the nearest door he could find. Once he got his bearings, he looked up and cursed himself for his blunder. Instead of the back exit, he was in the hotel offices themselves, and they were monitored three-hundred and sixty degrees by security cameras.
Steve thought fast. He'd been in the offices before, to check in for repairs to the slots. He could fall back on his emergency-repair alibi if questioned. He just had to stay cool and not act suspicious. He pretended to go to the desk, but finding no one there, he stepped out casually into the atrium. The leather bag of money seemed to weigh him down like an anchor--or was it his conscience?
He had to get to the back door. If he went through the repair room, that would allay suspicion, he figured. He kept his head down and walked briskly to the service entrance. So far, so good, he could--wait! A security guard was coming! Panic clouded his judgement--he had to ditch the money and fast!
He saw a baggage cart laden with suitcases not too far away, belonging to some late night arrival or checkout. He sidled up to it as discreetly as he could and slipped the bag of money on the cart, out of sight of the guard, then strolled casually to the service entrance. So far, so good. It was a guard who knew him by name, fortunatly. Maybe he could bluff his way past if he was cool enough.
The guard kept walking. "Hey, Steve," he greeted him in a friendly tone.
Steve pasted on a smile. "Hey, Jerry! Good to see you."
"What are you doing here this time of night?" Jerry asked.
"Oh, you know, the usual," Steve shrugged indifferently. "Some (bleeper) tried to trigger the release mechanism on one of the slots and (bleeped) up the works!"
"Funny, I don't remember getting a call on it."
"Oh, they caught him red-handed, just like that," Steve said quickly, snapping his fingers for emphasis. "Anyway, management's got a bug up its ass to get it fixed. A broken slot machine doesn't make money, you know."
Jerry nodded. "Well, I'll let you do your job; I gotta get back to mine."
Steve smiled. "Okay, later."
Jerry waved back and returned to his rounds. Steve breathed a sigh of relief. Then he looked for the baggage rack. It was gone.
Man! What a show! Gary said to himself. He was tired, but it was a good tired, a satisfied tired, not the tired he felt coming home from his dead-end job, dreading another showdown with Irene. If he was lucky, she'd still be asleep when he returned to the room.
There was an elevator open, with an attendant struggling with a luggage rack. Gary was feeling so good he did something he seldom did in his life: he actually helped another human being. Steadying the rack for the attendant on the other side, it slid into the elevator with ease. The attendant thanked him.
"Mind if I squeeze in?" he asked.
"Not at all," said the attendant.
The elevator doors closed. Gary pressed Twelve. "Nine, please?" requested the attendant.
"Sure." He pressed Nine. The two men swiftly rode up the elevator until it stopped at the ninth floor. The doors slid open.
"Need a hand with that?" Gary asked.
"Nah, I got it," replied the attendant. "Thanks anyway."
The doors slid shut already. It was only three more floors up, and Gary was on the twelfth floor. He moved to leave the elevator when his foot struck something on the floor. He lookd down and saw a large leather bag at his feet.
Holy cow! Gary thought. That guy dropped this! I'd better see who it belongs to.
Gary picked up the bag and stepped out of the elevator. He examined the bag for any ID tags, but found none. Then he noticed the bag was open. Pretty careless. He decided to look inside, just to check for some sort of identification, of course. He opened the bag wider. His jaw dropped to the floor when he saw the contents. [My God! he exclaimed mentally, It's full of money! Holy (bleep)! I'm rich!