apart x iv

mr. danude had risen his way to the top the hard way, stepping on backs and breaking shoulders, stained with colors in only one shade, black or what was translucently covered up in a hole so deep you’d have to dig to china to find out. 

he sat at the head of the table. everyone wearing shades and resting their hands on the table as a sign of good will, a symbol of what could otherwise be a hostile and hasty threat .. hands at their side, holding and ready.

a big guy walked in, as was often the case, to whisper into his ear the latest news, and in an attempt to keep it together, mr. danude relieved himself by, in a somewhat controlled manner, slamming his fist down onto the table. 

”collier, any word with the guy down at the shop?” 

collier, a big man, seated further down and dressed in all black except for his large gold rings that he wore on almost every finger except for his right ring finger which was half the size of the others, shook his head. 

“well, you working on it or what? this shit is a fucking mess.” though he smiled wryly, only his right hand man seeing. 

collier cracked his knuckles. "i'll talk some sense into him." danude nodded.

"look, i know the heat is high and the eyes are looking in our direction. but this is business and if we ain't working, we ain't getting paid. don, i'm gonna need you to call in the big guys. i'm putting my vote in early. and hayes, bring in that chum from yesterday. it's time to plant some seeds into him and cut some strings."

 

laney showed up to the event dazzling, makeup and hair, her figure still what it was five years ago, probably due to the fact that as her smoking habit picked up, her appetite decreased and stress was enough of a workout for anyone.

jim caught her as she walked in, looking quite dazzling himself so that it stopped laney for a second, remembering what had once brought a sparkle to her eye as she looked at him. he kissed her on the cheek and dropped his hand to her low back as they walked in.

“play along.” he said.

they ordered drinks at the bar and attempted to scan the scene without making it apparent. 

“see anything?” asked laney in his ear, appearing to be kissing his ear.

it was hard to see anything unusual if you didn’t know what you were looking for. luckily, jim did. he nodded to the far east corner where two men in tuxedos stood straight and not talking. he took another sip of his drink and pulled laney along.

“what are you doing?” laney demanded of him. 

jim walked up to them stumbling with laney on his arm.

“hey you two. look like you could use a drink. let me get you something. what’ll you have?” he motioned to a server who came over. he was playing a drunken card and laney knew that this wasn’t a card you could always play right. she pretended to be annoyed at her drunken date and looked apologetically at them.

the guys didn’t look amused but took the drinks anyway, still standing straight and not talking.

“so who are you here for? the blase company or the blase bling?” jim asked as someone carrying a tray of jewels walked by. he took one of the necklaces and held it up, looking with distaste. “surely you two nice looking men must have finer taste.”

one of the guys took a step forward, clearly annoyed and ready to be rid of the two of them.

“or perhaps you’re interested in something else.” laney walked closer and talked into one of the guy’s neck, breathy and flirty. she winked at him and turned around to plant a fat one on jim. he tried to hide his surprise, but it seemed to go unnoticed by the two now shocked men who looked slightly more interested in the couple now.

laney stepped closer and traced her finger on the other man’s chest, revealing to him the rings on her fingers.

“look, we’re not interested in the petty dealings of those who here may consider themselves of the elite but are really just scraping by to even get in. i’m a woman of fine taste, and you two look like just the type to show a lady what she really wants.” laney reached into her clutch and pulled out a slip of paper, scribbled something onto it and handed it to them. “we’re looking in this price range.”

they looked down, read it, looked at each other, looked at her, then at jim. apparently, something of their size up matched, and they nodded them to follow along. laney breathlessly smiled and grabbed jim’s arm a little too tightly as if to say~ what the hell so we do now?!  

they were led into a hallway behind locked doors with dim lighting provided by wall sconces and the floor had a mid 20’s carpet lining it, still clearly in a condition maintained with the times. 

the two men opened a door at the end of the hallway after giving brief acknowledgment to the two other big ones on guard.  

laney thanked her lucky cards and dillon, one of the guys in the office that got her hands in touch with the gems they now wore. also hoping the tag on the dress she wore was still intact so she could return the thing tomorrow without too much of a dent in her credit.

she had gotten them through the door. now it was up to jim to get them out.  

copyright 2019 ⓒ / forrest gallagher