The room was dark, the blinds drawn against the dawning light. Trying to move, Pauley’s arms and legs were lead.
The ringing woke her from a deep sleep, but Millicent didn’t mind. “Tell me everything!” The caller, near panic, was
Stan felt a of rush of déjà vu standing on the tarmac with Pauley, only this time he was holding her hand, not carrying her, drugged and unconscious, onto a plane. “A lot different from the last time, huh?” Pauley liked to tease Stan about his part in her involuntary exile with her mother and newly discovered father – Stan’s former boss and organization kingpin. “You know why I did that,” Stan stiffened. “I had little choice, but I knew you’d be safe with Butch and Gail, even if Butch had lost his friggin’ mind.” Pauley squeezed Stan’s hand with both of hers. smiling “I know, and I forgive you.” “You two should just get a room,” Millicent sounded bored. “Oh, I forgot, you already did.” Pauley let go of Stan’s hand and put her arms around Millicent’s shoulder. “Don’t be jealous Auntie Millie, I still love you too.” Lenore snorted, not bothering to cover her laughter. Millicent shrugged off
*Catch up with the adventures of Pauley and Millicent, beginning with “Dead Money.” This week, read Lance’s chapter first, “Shake it Out,” then come back here for the second installment. Stan and Lenore watched as Pauley and Millicent walked out to the porch. Millicent’s arm protectively hooked around her friend’s elbow. Pauley was laughing. “You know, there really is a Rick’s Café in Casablanca, just like in that old Bogart movie. There’s even an authentic 1930’s Pleyel there.” Releasing Pauley’s arm, Millicent sat on the porch bench, “You know I don’t play the piano.” “A senhorita Millicent quer um fogo grande,” Lenore said over her shoulder as she started climbing the stairs. Stan reached up and grabbed for her elbow, ducking when she threw it back with bone-breaking force. “Sorry, I won’t do that again, but Lenore, I don’t understand a single word of Portuguese.” Lenore, nodded, acknowledging Stan’s apology. “I am sorry too, I do not like to be
The scene below unfurled in slow motion. Pauley felt like she was running through quicksand, unable to get down the stairs fast enough. Tomas’ gun aimed at Stan’s head, his finger on the trigger, and she knew she was useless to help. She cried out, but Tomas never flinched. That was until Vivian came out of nowhere, like an avenging angel. A really pissed off angel. She had seen the results of Vivian’s ministrations, but never witnessed her in the act of killing someone so up close and personal. Still, she couldn’t think of anyone who deserved it more than Tomas. By the time she and Lenore made it down the stairs, the struggle between Tomas and Vivian was over. Pumped full of lethal toxin, Tomas succumbed to the poison quickly, but not so soon that he didn’t realize who was responsible. While he still had breath, Lenore walked over to him, and with a well-placed foot kicked him hard
Lenore squealed the tires of her sedan taking a sharp curve. Accelerating through the apex she drove straight for the Angels Trumpet covered wall surrounding Vivian’s complex. In the front seat, Pauley braced for impact, doing her best to brake from the passenger’s side. Stan, pressed back into his seat, covered his face with both arms. The car slammed through a hidden gate in an explosion of yellow blossoms, and splintered wood. “Damn, Lenore!” Pauley was the first to recover. “A little warning next time.” Skidding to a stop at the rear entrance to Vivian’s house, the trio exited the car in unison. Having popped the trunk with the latch under the dash, Lenore raced to the back of the car as Stan opened his gun case, tossing each of the women a weapon. “We can forget catching them by surprise,” Stan said, grabbing extra ammo clips. “Where to first Lenore?” “The noise not slow Sampas down,” Lenore slid back
The scene was chaos. Three men lie dead on the sidewalk, and a bystander wounded but alive. A trail of blood ended at the street where Tomas’ men rushed him away from the mayhem. Stan watched from across the street. Sirens wailing, but not able to cut through the crowd. He was surprised that more people hadn’t fled from the carnage. A few of the stragglers were Sampas crew, scanning the area for the shooters. Shielding his eyes against the sun, he looked over his shoulder to the roof top where he was only minutes before. A shadow fell across his face when a crew member leaned over the edge. A loose brick, the one that threw off Stan’s aim, broke free and tumbled to the ground. Jumping out of its way, he took it as a sign to find Pauley and Lenore. Turning away, he forced his way through the crowd, trying to follow the flow of the others