And now ... the Final Episode ... The Kid, Part 11 ...
"Hello Boss? Yeah, it's me, Sully ... Nah, he didn't do it ... I don't know ... They talked. I think maybe they knew each other. All I know is he got in her car and they drove away together ... No, I don't think they were goin' t' the desert. He didn't force her in the car, they just got in, all friendly like. Like I said, I think they knew each other ... No, I didn't follow. I didn't think I could without bein' spotted, but I figure they prob'ly went to her place - at least, that's the direction they started out in ... Nah, they don't know I saw 'em. Right now he thinks he's in the clear."
"Boss, The Kid is out of control. I don' know why, but he ain't followin' orders. We gotta do somethin' ... But I am worried 'bout The Kid ... Yeah, okay."
"Huh? ... Yeah, we know where she lives ... Okay, I'll get Chico and some of the boys over there right away. And Boss ... she's got a kid, an' I think her ole' lady stays with her, too ... All of 'em? ... Yeah, you're right ... no loose ends."
He hung up the phone. Picked it up. Dialed again.
"Hello, Chico? It's me, Sully ... Yeah, I know what time it is. Look. Get 3 or 4 of the boys and go over to 2323 Joshua Tree, apartment 2A ... Yeah, NOW ... Don't leave no one alive. Comprende? Take 'em all out. An' Chico .. make it look like a robbery."
"Hurry up!! I'm gettin' a bad feelin' 'bout this. I don't like this feelin' at all."
"C'mon Mom, get in the car! Jerry? Jerry, don't be such a slowpoke, honey, c'mon."
"Come ON, kid!!! We gotta git!!"
"I'll take car of my son, you just help my Mom get in the car."
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry. I'm just nervous, that's all. Just nervous. It's just that you don't know these guys ... I really don't wanna be here when they get here."
"Alright!! Alright, already. I get the point. They're in. I'm getting in. Get in and DRIVE!!"
The Kid got in, turned the key, pushed the starter button and the engine jumped to life. He drove to the corner and turned left down the narrow side street - the first turn he could make off busy Joshua Tree Ave. Just as his taillights disappeared from view, two sedans turned on to Joshua Tree at the stop light two blocks further up. The occupants of those two sedans never saw the beat up old Chevy make the turn and head in the general direction of the Las Vegas Greyhound station.
Chico and his men found Apartment 2A empty. Not of stuff. Of people.
"Ola, Sully? ... No, patron, they are not here. The leetle bird, she ees gone ... No way to tell, Senor, meenutes, maybe ... You think maybe the plane?"
"Ola, Muchachos!! Vamanos al la aeropuerta!!!"
Later that morning....
"If they took a plane out of here, well, I guess we missed them ... but that's not the only way out of town, either. We've made a mistake, Sully. We need to start cleaning up, and we're going to have to start with the Kid, I guess."
"Didn't you say you had somethin' in mind for him?"
"Yes, I did. You see this nice red box? All red and shiny and lacquered. With this big Chinese symbol for 'Luck'? Well, inside this box is a very pretty Smith & Wesson, silver plated .38 special, with a six inch barrel. I'm going to give it to The Kid tonight. I want YOU to go to the cheese warehouse about 10 o'clock. The Kid'll be there, with this in hand."
"What the fuck, you tryin' ta get me killed?"
"Take it easy, Sully. Take it easy. He's not going to kill you or anyone else - not with THIS weapon, anyway. You see, it's going to be loaded with these."
He dumped a box of cartridges onto his desk.
"I dunno Boss. Those look like bullets, to me ..."
"Precisely, Sully. They LOOK like bullets, but they're really blanks. A friend of ours made these just for me. Remarkable, aren't they? When they're fired, the 'bullet' just disintegrates. Just don't be any closer than five feet, or so, when they're fired at you. You'll be fine."
"I still don't understand ..."
"When they find his body, there'll be an investigation. If they dig too deep, they could expose this organization and, possibly, our police contacts. This gun has a couple of bodies on it. When they run ballistics, they'll see that the gun is connected to a couple of killings - which, by the way, WE have nothing to do with, and they'll go off in that direction, leaving us alone. We are throwing the cops a bone to chew on - so be sure to leave this gun there after you do him, Sully. It's very important that the cops find this gun."
"It's really too bad, Sully. I like this Kid. He's a little off his rocker, I suppose, but he's been good for us and he's always done what we've asked him to do. It's really too bad we can't trust him any longer. Okay. Sully, you go home and get some sleep. Come by here about 8 o'clock or so, double check with me, okay? Just in case there's any change in plan."
"Okay, Boss, I'll see ya later."
"Oh, and send Chico in here, please? I need to set up the rest of this."
"Sure Boss. Goodnight."
"What? Oh, well, I guess you have been up all night, haven't you? Get some sleep, Sully. You'll need to be fresh tonight."
"You wanted to see me, Patron?"
"Yes, Chico. I want you to track down The Kid and tell him I need to see him. Tell him I have a very important job for him."
"Si, Patron. I weel find the Keed for you."
The Boss slipped 6 cartridges into the Smith & Wesson and carefully placed it in the velvet lining of the red lacquered box, closed the brass latches, and placed the box under his desk. He sat back in his chair and contemplated his carefully wrought plan. Simple. Simple and elegant. The girl is gone. Not dead, unfortunately, but she can't hurt us if she's not here to be questioned by the police. The Kid will be out of the picture as of tonight. And the cops will be off in the wrong direction. Our contacts will see to that. Hate to sacrifice The Kid. But the good of the many, after all. The good of the many.
And, finally, early that evening ...
"Yes, yes, Senator, we'd be happy to contribute to your campaign ... well, that all depends on just how much you need ... just a moment, Senator ... come in, Kid, I'll be with you as soon as I'm done with this call. Have a seat."
And The Kid sat down, threw his leg over the arm of the overstuffed chair, and started cleaning his fingernails with the point of his stiletto. The stiletto he'd had for so long, that he'd done so many jobs with, that was such a part of who and what he was. How long had he had it? Wow. Just over thirteen years. Thirteen. Some people think that's an unlucky number. That's stupid. There's no such thing. No such thing at all. You make your own luck.
Thursday - the "Epilogue"
Please Note: Links to the previous episodes are in the top left panel. However, a few weeks ago, I published a slightly edited version called "The Story So Far" which makes the first episode's relationship to the Past Lives series invisible. The link lies between the Fourth and Fifth links on the left. So you can choose. Follow the Cardinal links on the left to see it with the unmodified First Episode, or click on the Story So Far link and then the higher ones to read it just focused on The Kid.