Please Note: Links to the previous episodes are in the top left panel. However, last Saturday, I published a slightly edited version of The Story So Far which makes the first episode's relationship to the Past Lives series invisible. So you can choose. Follow the links on the left to see it with the unmodified First Episode, or click on the Saturday story to read it just focused on The Kid.
And now ... The Kid ...
Kansas City. A cool, crisp night. He leaned up against the low chain link fence that separated the rest of the world from the airport, thoughts of Vegas and what it was going to be like out there filled his head.
"Don't move, Joey."
He felt a gun muzzle in his ribs. Not for the last time in his life, either.
His mind was racing. He had called him "Joey". If this guy was gonna kill him he'd have done so by now. He had to figure out what was going on. So play along ....
"Howdya find me?"
"The hat, fucker. 'Look for a guy wid a red fedder in his hat, Billy', the boss sez. 'It's shaped like a heart.'"
"No, howdya find me HERE?"
"Remember that cabbie in Chicago? The one that drove ya ta Midway? Shit Joey, every cabbie in the city was on the lookout. The cops ain't the only guys was lookin' fer ya. He watched ya buy yer ticket and called it in. Yer boss called my boss and here we are."
"You gonna kill me?"
"Nah, not unless ya give me a reason to. You and me are gonna be on the next plane back ta Chi. The people who want ya dead are gonna be waitin' at Midway."
"You gonna hold a gun on me all the way back to Chicago?"
"Wid all these people around? Waddya think I am, stupid or sumthin'? Nah, I'm gonna put my gun away. Just like this."
He slid his gun into the holster under his armpit and closed his jacket.
"You and me is gonna be pals, Joey. And pals stick together, see? Close together. If you try ta run, you won't get no more than five steps. 'Cause I KNOW you ain't faster than no bullet. Now waddya say we walk into the terminal and get our tickets ta Midway."
"Yeah, sure. I gotta take a leak, anyway."
As they walked toward the terminal building, he tried to make sense of what was happening. It was obvious this guy didn't know who he really was. He wondered if the cops knew who they were chasing; who it was they found dead. And when the boss called this guy's boss, he told him to look out for Joey. Could it be? Could it be, that they didn't know Joey was dead? Could it be, that they thought Joey had killed HIM? He had to think fast. And he knew what he had to do. Joey was never known to carry a weapon. Which means that this guy has no idea ...
"The men's room is right over there. I'll be right back."
"Now I KNOW you think I'm stupid. Pals, remember? I'm going, too."
The Kid pushed the door open with his right hand, stepped into the room and caught the door with his left hand, holding it open for his 'pal', Billy. His right hand, now out of sight, slid into his pocket and pulled out the stiletto, opening it with a well practiced move. As Billy moved into the room, he let go of the door and swung his right hand around and up under his 'pal's' sternum, his left arm clasping him around his shoulders. Billy let out an "oof" and leaned into The Kid as the life left his body.
The Kid walked out of the restroom. He had a jacket over his arm, and no hat. Under the jacket he carried the .45 Colt Automatic and it's holster. He went over to the all night newsstand and bought a little travel valise and some toiletries. He slid the jacket and gun into the valise, along with his newly purchased items, and slowly walked out to the plane, waiting on the tarmac.
In the men's room of the Kansas City Airport, later, they found a man in a hat with a stab wound to the heart. His body was taken to the County Morgue. After three days, and no one had come to claim or identify the body, it was turned over to a Mortuary and buried in Potter's Field.
The Boss in Kansas City assumed Billy Caprone, or Billy Goat, as he was known to his friends (Caprone means 'goat' in Italian), had killed Joey the Hat and taken the money. He called Chicago and told them as much. He also told them that when he caught up with Billy, he would send them Billy's right hand, along with whatever money they might manage to recover. He was told to "Just send the hand."
When The Kid took his seat on the plane, the Stewardess noticed he wasn't wearing his hat. She liked the look of his white-blond hair. If not for those cold grey eyes .... but she pushed those thoughts from her mind and went back to counting passengers, in preparation for takeoff. Some other time, maybe .. some other guy. Not this one ... no, not this one.