Chapter 51

The precautions that were taken to change the locations of the meetings added fire to the intrigue already at play. Rawley liked the sense of mystery though he was not entirely happy with Gus’s choice of places. He waited now, impatient to be done with it, in the back of a rundown bar While he drummed his fingers on the stained table top, he studied the blond who laughed too loudly and drank her beer too rapidly. Her skirt s was too short for her beefy thighs. The bar called for quiet conversation, the trading of packets of white paper and money, the drinking of cheap booze. He was annoyed by Gus’s lack of refinement.

Finally, the door from the alley opened and Gus made his entrance, his satiny egg shell colored shirt, catching the first light and focusing on him, as the center of attention. The blond walked up to him immediately. For once she said nothing, but brushed against the smoothness of his white shirt as he stared down at her, a cigarette dangling from his lips. It was apparent he liked what he saw and felt. He put his arm around her and whispered in her ear. She laughed and walked provocatively to her table, fluffing her bleached hair and winking at him with her shimmering eye lids.

Gus laughed and sat astride the chair opposite Rawley. He spoke softly, “Good news, Will, they’re ready to sell.  My family has a buyer lined up. All I want you to do is go to the meeting and make the pitch, swing enough votes, and the town of Taylor will be on the map as having the best resort this side of France. The family is already working the politicians for a gambling license.  We’ll be rolling in dough.” He rubbed his hands together.  “How would you like to have a management job, old man? I’ll see if I can set it up.”

Rawley seethed, “You call me old man one more time and I’ll rattle that little brain around in your thick skull. You sit there like a big shot, you damned fool. Don’t you know this precious family of yours considers you their errand boy?”

Gus stood up, “Nobody talks to me like that.”

Rawley waved him down. “I want to talk to someone else. Someone with authority. I’m not about to talk you about anything as important as my future. Sure I want in as management, a clean job. With no more of their dirty work, you got that, punk?”.  He leaned across the table and whispered fiercely. “I’m tired of talking to their errand boy.”

Gus stared at him for a long time. The expression on his face was a study in hate.  The silence of the couples at tables around them aded to the antagonism between the two. Gus kicked his chair across the room and slammed out the door he had come in while the blond stared petulantly after him.