Lights in the Night

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Chapter 5: A Chance Encounter

These were the circumstances that brought Trevor and his two associates to the El Paso ‘International’ airport. For most, El Paso proper would not be considered a huge city, but for the Southwest United States, it is extensive. To include the surrounding area of two states and two countries there were two-point-seven million people working and living there.

Trevor would never be mistaken for an enormous man. Wiry might be a better term to describe him. When standing next to Barney, a person might question the authenticity of the claims of parentage for the two brothers. So, unalike were they, a person would find it hard to believe them friends let alone brothers.

In comparison, Trevor’s two traveling companions were, gigantic, lacking necks their heads seemed to meld into their shoulders. The two of them standing shoulder to shoulder seemed an insurmountable wall of flesh.

Barney knew Trevor’s ability to find trouble in the most unlikely of places, so he sent two of his ‘fixers’ with him. Not that these men disposed of bodies in the past, but they looked like they could, and would if needed. Adding to their supposed mystery, they rarely spoke aloud. More often than not, standing still observing events unfold around them, waiting to spring into action as needed.

Long ago, Barney took to calling them Cuff and Link. First in jest but since the two men never complained, the names stuck. And so that is how they became Mister Cuff and Mister Link.

Trevor made all the travel arrangements. The trek from London to the wide-open spaces of Texas, for three, was a huge trip. He’d reserved a full-sized SUV, considering the size of the two men traveling with him and the luggage, it was needed. They encountered their first run-in with bad luck, at the rental car counter.

Cuff presented the paperwork with all the information for their rental car, while Trevor and Link waited. They didn’t need to wait long. Cuff came walking back with an abnormal, for him at least, face full of dejection. He offered the paper to Trevor, and no keys.

So, Trevor took matters into his own hands, grabbed the paper and headed towards the counter, with his biggest smile and smoothest voice ready to use. At the counter, the saleslady said, “How may I help you?” she gave him the biggest smile of her own, her West Texas drawl seeming to take Trevor aback for a moment.

“My friend tells me there is no SUV for us. There must be some mistake, we have a reservation,” Trevor tried to out-charm the delightful young lady at the counter.

“Aw bless his heart, I wasn’t sure he understood me,” she leaned over and whispered to Trevor as a co-conspirator

“Is your friend deaf? He never said a word, only growled. It was kinda cute,” she smiled even bigger. Glancing over Trevor’s shoulder, she fluttered a little finger-wave to Cuff and Link. They did nothing but give each other a side-glance that smelled of apprehension.

“No. He just doesn’t say much--” Trevor started to explain but got cut off by the lady.

“Oooo the strong silent type, that’s a pity if he has as a smooth voice as yours. You three in town long?” giving him a quick little wink, she played his game, and she was winning.

“No listen, listen, we just want our SUV so we can get on the road,” Trevor stammered, losing all momentum.

“Honey as I told your friend, I am sorry there are no SUVs available at this time. There is a comic convention in town and all the vehicles are booked. Some have not been turned in on time, I’ve been calling just everywhere trying to find you something before you arrived, and there is nothing: I swear.” She held up her left hand and placed her right hand on an imaginary bible.

This battle lost, Trevor tried for anything, “This is Texas, you got a horse or something?” pure sarcasm but the woman didn’t bite.

“No sugar, this here, this is the city if you want a horse you gotta go out to the country.”

To the trained ear, the woman’s drawl was getting thicker, almost like honey dripping off her tongue. At that moment, the computer dinged.

“Aw sweetie, today must be your lucky day. I just got a message, a car is coming in now. Tell you what, I will give you the first day free, for all your trouble.”

By this time, Trevor would’ve taken anything to escape the airport, his trip was not beginning as expected. “We will take whatever we can get. I only have so much life and I feel like I have lost too much of it here.”

The lady had already started his paperwork. Pleased with herself for fixing the problem, anyone watching would’ve thought her flirting with Trevor. If a person were eavesdropping they could’ve heard her say, “Isn’t that sweet”, as she handed the keys and paperwork over to him, oblivious to the insult.

Link and Cuff observed the whole event transpire. Only once did Cuff lean over and whisper something to Link, in which Link nodded once in agreement.

Trevor strutted up to the pair, like Wellington after Waterloo, “That is how it is done!” Tossing the keys to Link, and heading towards the door. Cuff and Link smiled at one another, grabbing the luggage, they followed Trevor to the awaiting Lime Green Chevy Spark.

This is how they rolled into town. The two massive men crammed shoulder to shoulder into the front seats of a way too small car, with Trevor mushed into the back. They pulled up in front of the only lodgings for let in town, at the very moment Trevor’s body could not handle it anymore.

Confined, in the way too cramped back seat of that car, his body rebelled. A monster cramp developed in his lower leg, yelling in pain he tried to birth himself from the car, while it rolled to a stop.

It was a rocky sounding comedy of errors. The way-too-wide men tried to extricate themselves from the front seats, while Trevor tried to get out before they had exited. Still screaming in pain, the two giants tried to help him escape.

As luck would have it, Trevor sprawled at Crystal’s feet. She had witnessed the whole affair with an expression of worry, while fighting hard not to burst into outright laughter.

Crystal wanted to help; she even made a couple of false starts towards helping. But gave up when she met with the impenetrable wall of meat, that was the backs of the two immense men stammering and sputtering over the yelling Trevor.

Ultimately Cuff and Link helped Trevor stand. By that time Crystal, convinced he was all right, continued on her way. She left Trevor in contemplation, as her platinum-haired, cinnamon body sashayed across the street, past the bank and into one of the storefronts.

Cuff and Link were watching Trevor, watching Crystal. They glanced at one another, then back at Trevor. Both in unison cleared their throats.

Trevor gave them a stare dripping with sarcasm, raising one eyebrow before speaking: “Alright, Alright, I get it. Go and take the bags into the rooms.”

He took one last longing gape down the empty street in the direction Crystal disappeared. Then made a feeble attempt to push the two much larger men with the luggage up the steps, and into the lobby of the Eddington General Store slash Hotel.

Immediately greeted by an Asian accent with, “Howdy Pardners,” from behind the counter. Trevor did not notice who was speaking. For a moment, thinking he might be hearing things, then he heard the tinkling of spurs walking on a wood floor. The two gob-smacked giants stood as he struggled to push his way between.

He was head and shoulders above a diminutive sexagenarian. Sporting a hat much too enormous for her head, complete with chaps, boots, and spurs. Dressed as if strolling out of a 1920s Tom Mix Western.

The first to gather some semblance of composure, Trevor, stumbled out an, “I beg your pardon?” Cuff and Link were; needless to say, mute on the subject.

The tiny woman said again with a still thick Chinese accent, “Howdy Pardner!” followed up with a, “How can I help ya? Seein the bags I’ma thinkin ya are lookin for a room.” With this, the woman motioned to the two statues that were Cuff and Link standing with mouths ajar.

For a second Trevor forgot why they were there, but recovered and mumbled out, “We’ve a reservation,” pulling a confirmation print out from his back pocket and handing it to the woman.

With gusto, she grabbed it, “Well why didn’ ya say so?” she sauntered behind the counter to a computer made to replicate an eighteen-hundreds cash register, and spent a few moments getting them all checked in.

“Yep, I got ya room right here and ready for ya.”

She slammed her hand down on a bell with what seemed like a deafening ring not once, but three times. Slid three credit card keys into a small folder.

“Wi-Fi password is in the inside.” Handing over the keys and paperwork, then directing them to the stairs.

To satisfy Trevor’s curiosity, he peeked over the counter and saw the woman was standing on a box to reach the register. Grabbing the paperwork and keys he headed to the stairs but stopped up short. “You said room?”

The ten-gallon hat slowly raised up, “Yes, room,” was her reply, “with two beds” followed directly afterward.

“No, it is supposed to be rooms, three of them. I have a reservation right there,” pointing to the paper in her hand.

The hat moved a bit more.

“Mister this right here says room,” pointing to the place on the reservation where it clearly stated one room two beds.

“Before you ask we got no more rooms, we full up,” ringing the bell three more times.

An expression of utter shock and disbelief washed over Trevor’s face. “Madam, will you please look at the size of my traveling companions. How can we conceivably fit into two beds?”

A young teen boy with a purple faux-hawk came out of a back-room, headphones on, music blaring, some speed-death-metal rock.

The woman reached over and patted his hand slipping from one accent to another, “Honey you be all right, they queen sized beds.”

Like a grandmother, she smiled a smile and added, “Another room opens up, it is yours. I promise.”

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