Butch sat behind his massive mahogany desk, his Corona finally lit and smoldering in a nearby ashtray, a tumbler of bourbon in his hand. Eyes closed, he fought the overwhelming feelings of anger and fear. A combination that was giving him a mighty headache.
Stanley, his bodyguard, sergeant, his heir-apparent, was standing well away from his boss, leaning against a wall of books that Butch had never read.
“What do you want to do?” Stanley broke the stifling silence. Knowing what Butch was considering, he forced his boss to say it aloud.
Downing the rest of the amber liquid in his glass, Butch sat up and cast his gaze on Stanley. Looking at him as if for the first time, he saw himself 30 years ago, and knew Stanley was ready to take over The Family.
‘It’s time,” Butch finally said. “Is everything in place?”
“Gail and Pauley will be at the arranged meeting place on the designated date. Pauley insisted on driving herself, but I’ll have a tail on her to make sure she gets there. She thinks it’s just an initial meet and greet with her mother.” Stanley was the model of calm where Butch was anxious.
“And the mark, do we have sights on him yet?” Butch poured another drink, and took a drag on his cigar.
“We have a man in place. When you’re ready, confirmation can be sent.”
“The plane is ready?” Butch knocked ash from the Corona’s tip, but did not look at Stanley.
“Gased and stocked. Once aboard it will be a straight flight to Casablanca. All your papers are in order. I don’t anticipate any questions on the other end.” Stanley walked across the room, and picked up Butch’s glass and bottle, moving it out of his reach.
“The estate is already prepared and staff in place,” Stanley went on. “The transition here will be seamless, there is no opposition to my ascendancy. It’s been expected.”
After his last meeting with Pauley, Butch set in motion a plan he began working on shortly after Gail first contacted him. That scum lawyer had discovered her identity and her connection with The Family. Seeing her as an easy mark, he tried to extort money, threatening to expose her and her only child to rival organizations. At the time Niles believed Pauley was a son.
The revelation of his mistake came too late to save him. His gambling muse turned out to be his Angel of Death.
Niles’ threat was the impetus for Butch’s decision to finally retire. His plan included pulling Pauley out too, kicking and screaming if necessary.
A private jet waited at a secluded air strip, it’s flight plan a direct route to a country that had no extradition treaty with the U.S. The only detail missing was how to get Gail and Pauley aboard the plane.
Gail wasn’t who worried him, but Pauley wouldn’t be a willing passenger. She also wouldn’t be interested in forced retirement even though it was unavoidable after being identified at a hit.
That part of his plan was what was giving him heartburn.
“Butch, it’s time,” Stanley handed his boss a cellphone. “Make the call.”