A FEW CASUALTIES SO WHAT

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Chapter 30

The Four Tower Inn motel was located on Sunset Road a 30 miles outside of Retro

City near I-77. It didn’t turn into a ruin, but the Great Meteor did make it just a hollow

place for teenagers who needed some place to go after prom night. Prom night wasn’t

every night so how it stayed in business was a mystery, but it did prey on weary travelers

going and leaving the city in opposite directions. A middle-aged woman with a noticeable

growth on her nose ran the place. She didn’t hang around much leaving an out to lunch sign on

the desk, but if you were desperate for a room then you call her on her cell and be patient

till she returned. If she was there then you might find her asleep with the TV on watching

the rerun channel of shows from the past. A bell on the check-in desk was her alarm clock.

The only style the place had left was the towers that were shaped like castle rooks. A good

place for romantic dinners and to also get a great view of basically nothing. You enter from

the balcony, and people knew it was occupied by seeing you or a occupied sign on the door by the

person using it. The entrance and exit were a large arch-way design with a mid size pool

that was no longer in use. The apocalypse had come and gone, but at least it didn’t leave any

zombies.

A silver Mercedes pulled up and parked next to a gray Saab near the end of the motel. The car door

opened, shiny red pumps followed by long tan hose legs that went on forever stepped out. Red wasn’t

dolled up as usual. Not that she needed a paint job to look good. She wrapped herself in a black fur

coat. She also had a frown on her face. But Thomas said he wanted to try something different. Red

normally said no to Thomas which made it true when they said he was Red’s companion when it suited

her. Red agreed to meet Thomas for this discrete encounter because she noticed Pone being some-what

stress free and figured she’d give it a trial. Sex was supposed to be the cure, and she needed some

loving. Sure she could have any man, but she respected Thomas enough to go out with him because he

approached her like a little shy school boy at one of those lawyer galas and asked her out to dinner.

She thought that was so cute she accepted and they have gone out together when it suited her ever

since. She was not in love with Thomas Maxwell, so she was doing this little venture because maybe

she was jealous? She knew her family wouldn’t approve of her and Pone; not that she would kiss and

tell, but according to them, he was alive only because he was working for her. Red took Pone on as her

right hand man because he was a killer and she was afraid that pretty soon he would get tired

of their threats on his life, so she was not only protecting him from them, but protecting her family

from him. Pone made the mistake of wanting to get out and unfortunately in their line of work that was

a no no since in the business, they assume you know too much and eventually become a rat. Red knew

that Pone was no rat, but her siblings particularly the twins, mainly Linda didn’t trust him. Red didn’t

tell Pone that daddy dearest made her siblings back off as long as he worked for her. Red’s brother, Paul

J. gave her right hand man a nickname, leave ’im alone Pone.

Red approached room twenty; Thomas had instructed her to just come on in with-out knocking. She

entered, but didn’t gasp when she saw her little man tied to a chair with a black strap around his head

and a cherry sized ping-pong ball in his mouth.

A recognizable voice came from the bathroom.

“Welcome Miss Brigand,” said Crowe holding a .38 special. He instructed her to move away from

the door.

“Thomas . . . baby, I know you said you wanted to try something different, but this . . .”

Crowe pursed his lips. “Laugh now, but you won’t later,”

Thomas sat with his eyes lowered to the floor avoiding eye contact with Red.

“Are you all right, Thomas?” asked Red.

Crowe smacked him on the back of the head. “Sure he is . . . oh crap, I forgot your mouth is full.”

Red gave an angry sigh,

Crowe flashed a devious smile. “Easy there girly. Your little man is dressed up, but no place to go.”

Thomas gave an angry glance as if to say who are you calling little. Even though Crowe was two

inches taller.

“Why Harvey?”

Crowe sat down on the bed holding the gun tightly. Red looked for a place to sit. The room was

small and very uncomfortable to say the least. The bed wasn’t even queen size; two chairs, a round

wooden table and a window near the door. Red bit the inside of her lower lip because at that moment

all she could think about was what the hell was Thomas doing out here with Crowe. No way in the hell

was there going to be a threesome . . . ewe. And if she was going to test those waters she already had

her fantasy partners and secretly one was a woman and the man was not going to be Thomas. Red

studied them both and realized they were planning something and Crowe decided to abort their plan

and instead use Maxwell as bait to lure her out here to the wasteland, mission accomplished. Red felt

light headed and needed to sit down.

Crowe pointed the gun at her. He was feeling good and confidant now that he had the big

cheese and her mouse was out and about in the maze. The Four Tower motel was the perfect place

for his back up plan to work. He heard about the flophouse from one of his hired guns. He told

Crowe about an owner who took extended lunch hours and sometimes didn’t come back till the

next day. The story proved to be true and that played perfect into Crowes hands for using Maxwell

as bait for Red and now Red was bait for Pone. He anticipated one his jailbirds would get greedy

and off the other, whether it was White or Krasko he did not know or care, but the bag was on

the move. Crowe put his money on Krasko because he believed White would have been smart

enough to check the bag for a tracer. Crowe did his homework on both inmates. He had eyes and ears at

local watering holes in the city that both gangs hung out and did a lot of talking and that’s how he found

his pigeons. Krasko was pure white trash coming from nothing and the only way out poverty was the

military or gangster life. Krasko like White went the military route and like White stayed in long

enough to learn a trade. Crowe was so bent on revenge he kept tabs on the both of them since they were

both part of the Hip-Hoppers and Prohibitions. He set them up for crimes that would put them in the

pen and got them both out only to be his dummies and he their ventriloquist.

“No! You stand. Only I need to sit to tell this story.” He nodded toward Maxwell .”Little man

here has no choice but to sit.”

“Can I at least lean against the wall, you know in case you bore me to sleep?” asked Red.

“You got jokes, good for you.” Crowe nodded. “Against the door and arms folded.”

Red got comfortable.

“Okay … where do I start … oh yeah the year … that’s right ever since that damn rock passed

by and sent the world into a future shock; the years aren’t quite accurate now is it. The science

nerds just gave us an educated guess. Let’s see, I’m thirty-eight and the year was twenty-fifty.

Let’s call this story a few casualties so what, since that’s what innocence is considered when

there are victims of mob and gang violence. I was eight years old when I lost my family.” Crowe

got off the bed and went to the bathroom. He urinated and farted and came out of the bathroom

with a cup of water. He took a sip and sat back down.

“My father was a simple lawyer fighting for the little people. Not a lot of money in that

kind of law, but he had a good heart. My mother was a school teacher. Anyway, it was a

beautiful Autumn day; every day since then seems like Autumn, but my parents took the

family out for sight seeing in Uptown Retro.” He took a sip of water and swallowed hard.

“My brother and I, he was only four years old and mother was pregnant with my baby

sister. The air had a cool breeze, the sun was bright, and for a moment it was good times.

Until several cars screeched to a halt on both sides of the street and all hell broke loose.”

Crowe glared at Red. “On second thought stand.”

Red stood like a soldier. Crowe smacked Maxwell on the back of his head.

“Where was I?” Crowe snapped his fingers. “Oh yeah, all hell broke loose with

innocent bystanders wedged in by rapid fire. My dad shoved me to ground and yelled for

me to cover my ears and close my eyes. I was in a fetal position. I thought that damn gunfire

would never end. “ Crowe had a distant look in his eyes.

“But it did and when the smoke cleared, the cowardly police finally showed up to do their civic

duty. I sat up, saw my brother spread out, eyes closed and bloody as was my parents who died with

their eyes opened. My baby sister would never get the chance to enter this cruel world . . . probably for

the best. Of course, there were other survivors, they lost loved ones as well all to a few casualties so

what.” Crowe swallowed hard. “I was raised by mother’s older sister and her husband and kids were

great, but they were a substitute family and I should’ve never needed one.” He pointed the gun at Red.

“But your daddy set things straight between Macone and G. He just did it to damn late.”

Red shook her head, “Harvey, I’m sorry, but you murdered two kids.”

“Nothing hurts worse than the loss of a child . . . I’m a monster, but they created me.”

“You’re a dead man.”

“If they find out the truth.”

“Kids . . . why not the old fossils?′

“Taking out G’s son was like saying word up homey and Macone’s daughter, hey forget about it.”

Crowe snickered. “Wow, I don’t really understand that slang shit, but that was pretty good if I do say so

myself and I do.” Crowe looked at Maxwell. “Nothing hurts worse than your children biting the dust

just before graduation. Can you imagine Macone, G. and their clan sitting at home wondering what

could had been . . . believe it or not it even hurts me. Heard both kids were going to college on

scholarships, my parents never got to see me graduate, and my brother and sister never made it to

school. Life’s a bitch.”

“Others like you survive that day and manage to put their lives back together.” said Red.

“Well sorry toots, everybody deal with grief differently and I ain’t them. I got into criminal law to

erase scum, and I hit those two in the loins where it hurts.”

“You’re sick,” said Red.

“For a long time and in case you’re still pondering why Maxwell is here in the first place it’s because

I told him I would help strengthen his position in the D.A. Office by nailing your boy, but neither of

you need to worry about that because you two will be dead.”

Maxwell straightened in his chair.

“Got to hand it to you Harvey, you picked the right place to leave our bodies.”

“Yeah well there’s a minor glitch, but I’m still on course to start an all out gang war.”

Red smiled.

“What?′ asked Crowe.

“You still have to explain how and why Thomas and I died.”

“You’re not the one with brains. My hired help in the four towers recognized you both and got

revenge for what your family have done over the years and you know they are not innocent and

Maxwell put some of their friends in the pen or he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Either

way it works.”

“What about your man on the run?” said Red. She realized listening to Crowe talk he knew one of

his guys was dead and he picked White. She wasn’t going to confirm it, but let him continue with

his hypothesis.

’I’ll send one of my guys to track him down, put a bullet in his head and since he was once

prohibition, I’ll make it look like he was trying to do something to get back in good with Macone by

offing G’s kid and Macone’s daughter was friendly fire. You see G don’t know anything about the other

guy who was once part of his crew. As far as he knows his boy is still in the pen and as for Pone, once

he gets here my guys will take him out and dispose of his body. I’ll make it look like he caught up with

my man on the run and got gunned down.”

“Make one family believe a hit was put out on his kid and the other died of friendly fire,” said Red.

Crowe smiled, “Couldn’t said it better myself,”

“It won’t work.”

“The dead tells no tales.”

“You got it all figured out.” Okay, thought Red. He knows which of goons bit the dust.

Crowe shook his head. “Almost,” He pressed the gun against Maxwell’s head. “Get on your cell and

instruct your man to come here. No funny business.”

Red took out her phone.

“You see, my plan doesn’t work unless Chubby Pone is dead.”

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