Smokey strolled down the street. He’d just left his favorite
Las Vegas sportsbook, was very much anticipating supper. A
nearby restaurant served Cuban style rice and beans. Smokey
licked his lips.
A limo pulled over. A rear window rolled down. Some
skanky appearing blond woman leaned her head out the window.
“Hey pal,” she hollered, “You seen any little dogs around
here? My Pekinese just ran off.”
Smokey went to the blond. The blond had slid back into the
limo. Smokey found himself looking at the business end of a
“Get in pal.” ordered the blond. “I don’t wanna use this, but
I will if you do anything stupid.”
Smokey opened the door, climbed in. Besides the chauffeur,
there was a beefy character wearing a cheap suit, sitting shotgun.
The limo swung out into traffic. The destination was a large
warehouse behind the Convention Center.
Next to the loading dock, a bay door was open. The limo sped
in, screeched to a stop.
“Out!” ordered the blond, waggling the pistol from side-to-side.
Smokey, the blond, the muscle, all climbed out of the limo.
The warehouse was large, dark, mostly empty. Birds chirped in
Smokey watched the muscle pull a pistol from under his
jacket. With smooth, much practiced motion the muscle reached
into a pocket, pulled out a silencer, screwed it to the barrel of the
pistol, pointed the pistol at Smokey’s head.
The blond slid her pistol back into her purse.
A swarthy, older man strolled up. He was nattily dressed in a
three-piece suit. He gave the blond a plain
“There you go, Laurie,” said the man in an whiney, high-pitched voice.
“I put in an extra hundred for Terry. He’s the best driver I
ever used. An’ he keeps his mouth shut.”
“Thanks Lou,” replied Laurie.
Without another word, Laurie climbed back into the limo.
The limo backed out, swung around, drove away. With much
screeching and rattling the door rolled down.
There was an easy chair and a wooden kitchen chair facing one
another. The easy chair was embroidered with large and
colorful flowers. There were doilies on the arms and the
“Sit,” ordered Lou, indicating the kitchen chair.
With a grunt, Lou settled into the easy chair.
“You been causing some of my friends problems, Smokey,” announced Lou.
Smokey said nothing in reply. He glanced repeatedly at the
“You don’t need to worry about Big Al,” smirked Lou. “He
won’t do nothin’ ‘less I give the word.”
Big Al nodded, said, “That’s right, Lou. You just give me the
Lou snorted, then continued, “Look Smokey, what you do here in Vegas, I
could care less. I got nothin’ to do with gambling; my game
is girls, protection, whatever.
“Unfortunately for you, you’ve been touting folks in New York an’ New
“I got friends there what makes lotsa scratch from sports
betting. An’ you been cuttin’ into their incomes.
They been givin’ me heat. Seems they (cough) interrogated one
of your associates; found out your location.”
“Now, it’d be real easy for me to have Big Al put you out of my
misery. But here’s what. You tell me ‘zactly
how you can be so accurate with the information you’re sending your
associates. An’ if I like what you
tell me, an’ if I’m sure you’re gettin’ outa the business, maybe I’ll
send you home to the missus.”
Smokey glanced at Big Al, then replied, “Sure, I’ll be glad
tell you all about it.
“I’ve got this great-uncle; he’s brother to my paternal
grandpa. This great-uncle of mine, way back in the 1960s, he
fought in Vietnam.
“After he came home the guy started having flashbacks. Before that,
even as a kid, he sometimes had prophetic dreams. So my
great-uncle, he figured out that flashbacks and prophetic dreams are
“This great-uncle of mine, he’s a bit of a wiz. He figured out that our
spirits exist in a dimension where
there’s no such thing as time, so the spirits experience the past and
future as present. My great-uncle says it’s because there are
no neutrons in that dimension. It’s beyond me, but he figured
it all out.
“So my great-uncle’s into electronics and photonics and such.
He built a device that tunes him directly into his spirit.
“I had him build one for me. In the future, I send the
outcome of games via my spirit back to me in my present. By
using meditation, I learned to communicate with my spirit, sorta like a
shaman gets info. Then, I bet on the outcome of the games.
“I’m making a bundle. Of course, I give my great-uncle a cut
so he can live out the rest of his life in comfort.”
Lou snorted. “If dis system works so well, then why didn’t ja
see all this happenin’.” Lou gestured toward Big Al.
“I did,” smugly replied Smokey.
“That’s why Big Al and his family are going to be living on easy street
for a very long time.”
Big Al swung the pistol from covering Smokey to aiming at Lou’s head.
“Sorry Lou,” said Big Al. “Business is business.”
The pistol sounded a faint phfft.
Big Al casually strolled over to the slumped Lou. The pistol
went phfft twice more.
Big Al scooped up the empty shell casings. He and Smokey went
to a side-door.
“You wanna join me for some Cuban style rice and beans or
whatever?” asked Smokey.
“I need to talk to you. After your payoff, I need to put you
on retainer. There’s a coupla more such incidents looming in
C.E. Gee (aka Chuck) misspent
his youth at backwater locales within Oregon and Alaska.
Chuck later answered many callings: logger (choker setter) meat packer
(Norbest Turkeys), Vietnam war draftee infantryman, telecom technician,
volunteer fireman/EMT, light show roady, farmer, businessman.
Chuck now writes SF stories, maintains a blog at
story in the Aphelion
Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum
Return to Aphelion's