A thunderous blast erupts with a crack of lightening illuminating the gray, muddled sky and the Manhattan area surrounding the Michelangelo Hotel’s 152nd and West 51st Streets with hurricane-like conditions for the past week.
Inside the Michelangelo Hotel’s two-bedroom suite Christopher Cutter restrains his anger behind a coy smile and announces “The difficulties now lie in your inability to delegate results Mr. Charles Daniel and Mr. Robert Worth” Christopher Cutter says with an aire of presumption. “We cannot rely on our previous endeavors. Those tactics proved inconclusive, inconclusive, and argumentatively unproductive. The end result to come out unscathed without incident was not satisfied and the failure unfortunately was at the hands of our own people: Frank Baldwin, Gilbert Glough and Peter Cooper who lost their lives in the process. They not only lost their lives but took the lives of two innocent families on Murphy’s Meadow.
“I will not apologize for Frank Baldwin’s idiocy” Robert Worth retorts. “Baldwin, Glough and Cooper’s motive was to pose as DPW workers doing an early morning scheduled garbage pickup, disable the camera and alarm systems, break into Richard Anthony Southwick’s Tuxedo Park home, and alleviate him of one hundred fifty million dollars in cash and bond assets. They were supposed to be in and out without being detected. Who knew at three am Southwick was wandering the hallways with sleep apnea. Cooper didn’t have to use Southwick as a live subject. This is what happens when you hire amateurs!” Robert angrily says. Then after the job is done, the compacted cash and bonds in the back of the garbage truck are being unloaded Baldwin has this spark of genius, a glimmer of intelligence to steal the two helicopters and rather than split the cash and bonds six ways he figures himself, Glough and Cooper are going to live the good life. Greed and stupidity fogged there judgment to the point they crashed the two helicopters only thirteen miles away into Murphy’s Meadow setting two houses ablaze. This plan was of his own doing. Frank Baldwin acted without my approval.”
“This much I am aware of Robert. It is a simple request there will be no more literal or figurative fires to extinguish. If we have a repeat performance, I am not positive what outcome will be provided for you. This next job is to transport the heroine out of Canada and to the warehouse. Mr. Crosswell is biding you one full month, by May 6th, to get the mission completed.
Charles Daniel shifts his blue/green eyes beyond the outer windows where the midday sunlight attempts to peer beyond the incessant downpour into the Michelangelo Hotels fourth floor suite. “Rest assured Christopher” Charlie boldly says, his deep voice resonating off the walls, outstretches his long arms, places his large hands on the desktop supporting his six foot, four inch, two hundred fifty pound frame to look five foot Christopher Cutter in the eye and smugly continue “Mr. Crosswell will be quite satisfied”.
Charlie slams the door behind him leaving the Michelangelo’s suite snorting “If he wasn’t Crosswell’s boy I’d have to beat his little ass” Charlie says pounding his fist into his palm making a loud slapping sound.
“Don’t let your temper cloud your judgment Charlie. We must stay levelheaded if we want this to succeed. Christopher Cutter is the least of my worries, it is Crosswell we should worry about. Even though Cutter is Crosswell’s puppet and he is pulling the strings we must stay respectful of Cutter. Remember the adage keep your friends close and your enemies closer. All in good time Charlie, all in good time”.
Roberts Blackberry sounds its familiar tone:
“Good afternoon Richard”.
“News does travel fast. We just stepped out of his office not more than five minutes ago. By the tone of his voice he did not sound very pleased with us at all.”
“I understand the proximity between Ontario and New York.”
“That’s our next job.”
“It is obvious land is our only option, any ideas?”
“You are brilliant Richard”.
“When can you pencil me in?”
“Fine we’ll see you in about one hour”.
“You’re the best. Ciao”.
The silver elevator doors whoosh open and Robert and Charlie silently step inside. The usual unfamiliar faces, visitors from out of town, business men lugging briefcases, a blue tooth adhered to their ear. An observer of human nature Robert studies the faces: the furrowed brow, the tight jaw, and the pursed lips, tense shoulders. “
“Not a smile among any of these lousy bastards” Robert thinks ” No time for fun & frivolity when you’re chasing the golden ring. No life. Just work. Poor slobs” Robert shrugs forcing his way through the crowd.
Out beyond the revolving door Robert and Charlie step underneath the Michelangelo Hotels awning turning their Giovanni Navarre trench coats tight against the torrential rain and slide into the leather-bound Venusian grey Brooklands Bentley’s back seat.
Edward Brodie sits behind the wheel grinding a Marlboro red out in the ashtray.
“Eddie hit the Henry Hudson.”
“How’s that glass jaw Eddie?”
“Just fine Mr. Daniel as long as I stay out of the ring. It gets broken one more time and the doc is talking about me sucking my steak through a straw forever. I enjoy chewing my food before I eat it.”
A raucous laugh emanates from all.
“Mr. Ogden’s place on 371 West 117th Street, Mr. Daniel?”
The Henry Hudson Parkway is awash with weary travelers.
“The city that never sleeps” Eddie remarks switching on his right directional “We’ve run into a bottleneck. Would it be best to find an alternate, quicker route” Eddie taps the dashboard mounted GPS.
“Let’s just ride out the storm Eddie. It will give us more time to think” Robert exclaims.
Eddie taps another cigarette out of the hard pack and into his palm, hears the lighter pop out and pushes the tip inside puffing as it smolders and then ignites. Eddie takes a long drag forcing the smoke out in small ringlets that explode like bullets against the windshield and merges into the right hand lane.
“We have the heroine in Ontario and must transport it by land no less without any complications to New York” Robert mutters aloud removing his glasses and inserting the arm between his lips repeating a humming sound rolling his tongue around the arm’s end.
“What is our end point in New York Robert?”
“Oddly enough Charlie our end point is not going to be NYC like I had originally assumed. Crosswell got a warehouse in Harriman. He wants to have the bulk of it at the warehouse and have the sellable heroine at the Marketplace.”
“What was Ogden’s input? Anything worthwhile?”
“Richard is talking about buying a fifteen foot box truck. He has two guys who would be willing to drive for us. He can without any revocation say there will be no complications.
The Bentley dances between the raindrops and up the Henry Hudson closer to Harlem. Closer to where Richard Ogden sits at his roll top desk, the wifi laptop seated amidst the disarray of Almond Joy wrappers. Richard moves from the Google search engine into the assorted listings. As he pursues the list “Hollingsworth’s Incorporated a seller of box trucks located in Ontario catches his eye, “South West 18th Ave and Olds Ferry-Ontario Highway. Excellent. This will do just fine,” he mutters, as a quick rap from the front door sounds unnoticed to Richard.
Suddenly the sound of the fish tank’s filter burbles through Richard’s reality and then like a fog lifting off a spring morning he rushes across the hardwood floor to the front door.
“Richard so good of you to answer the door” Robert sarcastically remarks.
“Why do you have to knock? The damned door is always open especially for you and Charlie. Next time you make me get out of my chair it’ll be your ass Richard assumes a boxer’s stance raising his fists to throw a jab.
“The boxer you’ll never be” Charlie says with a deep-throated laugh.
“Com’on Richard what have you found out so far. There is a lot of money involved here. If we can bring the heroine in a great profit can be had for everyone involved”
“I have these two men: Geoffrey Diefendorph and Paul Beckett trustworthy enough to get the heroine across the border.
They will be briefed down to the last detail”.
“That is very reassuring” Charlie interjects.
“I was researching out a box truck before you arrived, something inconspicuous to haul the heroine across the border. If we can hide the heroine under the guise of assorted furniture we might have a chance. Two guys sick of the Canadian winters just wanting to move back home into the states. Then once across the border we can transfer the goods and use the Magnum . . . Wait a second” Richard stops mid-sentence “Doesn’t Oswego have a SUNY based university?”
“I believe it does” Robert interjects raising his eyebrows to the occasion.
“Are Geoffrey and Paul look young enough to pull this off” Richard remarks; “I will let you see for yourself. I won’t give their ages. Only if you guess wrong, and assuredly you will, Ill tell you.” Richard flops into the high back executive chair and pulls the chair closer to the desk. Richard’s fingers fly across the keyboard and “Viola gentlemen the proof is in the pudding.”
“I agree both Geoffrey and Paul both look very young. So now I must guess their ages before we can proceed?” Robert chortles “I would have to guess somewhere between twenty and twenty three.”
“You will be very shocked to discover Geoffrey and Paul are both thirty years old” Richard enthusiastically says.
“Curb your enthusiasm Richard. You were over zealous about the last crew and that venture ended us dipped, battered, and fried. We can’t have any complications, no speed bumps, and no hiccups. To get back in Mr. Crosswell’s good graces is for this operation to flow as smooth as glass. We need to make it happen. If they step off the line for even the slightest moment then you will be held responsible.”
Just for now you’re going to have to trust me, okay?”
“Trust is a word so loosely used Richard. Remember the January 15 mission. Remember the trust, remember Murphy’s Meadow? Those people in the middle of the night were asleep in their houses. Casualties caught in the crossfire Richard putting Clearsands in the spotlight,” Robert says sharply, continuing Abigail Simmons was one of them. She trusted her nine-year-old daughter, Cheryl, would have the ability to go to school the following Monday morning and her next-door neighbor Christopher Remo and his five year old son Jason. Families now because of Frank Baldwin, Gilbert Glough and Peter Cooper’s actions are filing lawsuits against Clearsands indicating Mr. Crosswells involvement. Mr. Crosswell doesn’t like, or need innocent bystanders killed. It’s just bad for business. It would infuriate me if Paul and Geoffrey were to follow their predecessors lead.”
A thunderclap explodes rattling the patio doors.
“The Dodge Magnum, Give me the details Richard” Charlie says redirecting the conversation.
“Yes, the Dodge Magnum” Richard hesitantly says standing to his feet clearing his throat “will be on a transport on a duplicate route to Harriman.”
“And they’re not going to miss a brand new Dodge Magnum? How the hell are you going to pull that one off Richard?”
“The Magnum is not going to be counted into the transport inventory and for all intents and purposes be MIA. The transport will be one hour ahead of the box truck. This brief window will allow the transport the necessary time to unload the Magnum, where you might be asking. Approximately two miles from the Pulaski exit off I-81S on CR-2. Mr. Crosswell owns an abandoned four-bay garage to store the Magnum until our guys come to retrieve it. Geoffrey is originally from Germany and has extensive experience driving the autobahn so the Magnum should be no problem for him”.
“What kind of time table are we looking at” Robert intervenes.
“Ten hours maximum given there aren’t any major problems.”