After the plane landed, we were trapped in the airport for nearly twelve hours as, firstly, medical personnel checked us all over to make sure that there really weren't any sick. Secondly, we were all interviewed by the police. This made me quite uncomfortable as you could imagine. "Mr. Prescott" that, "Mr. Prescott" this, I had to lie my way out of a three hour interview and invent what Canadian Mr Prescott's been up to for the past few weeks. This was a problem if they double checked their report with credit card records or mobile phone calls registered to said Mr. Prescott. Needless to say, Mr. Prescott (at least the one in Las Vegas) had to disappear. Which is fine, I was done with him anyway.
Finally, I was out on the street, at 11 o'clock at night. If there have been long days in my life, this was one of them. Unfortunately it was about to get longer. I had no intention of doing "business" with high end hotels such as the Mandalay Bay, which was quite frankly a resort. Instead, I walked south down Las Vegas boulevard before turning east down a side street. I made my way to a cheap hotel parking lot where I figured I could get myself a pair of wheels. It took me only about twenty minutes to find a car that wasn't high profile and old enough not to have those pesky computer chip devices needed for ignition. I quickly went back into the hotel lobby and spotted the security desk. This desk was screaming to me. It was hidden from view, down a small dead end corridor that ran off the main hallway from the lobby. It was built in to the wall and there was a sign on the door that read "Authorized Personnel Only". That meant me of course. I walked over as inconspicuously as possible, counting the two people I'd need to work on. The door had a combination lock, so I knew I would need someone's involuntary assistance to get inside. I went over to the lounge area and found myself a magazine, took some pages out and folded them as many times as I could. I came back to the security desk and, out of sight, I placed the small stump of paper at the seam of the door under the hinges.
"Excuse me sir can you help me?" I asked one of the two guards.
"Sure, what's the problem." One said assuredly.
"There's some kids in the car park smoking something, and I doubt it's a cigarette." I said.
The guard nearly leaped from his chair. The words "Finally, some action!" were practically visible in a cartoon pop up bubble of what he must have been thinking. He opened the door and as he did so, I discretely pushed the paper into the space between the door and the frame with the toe of my boot.
"Where's this kid?" He asked impatiently.
"Top floor of the parking garage. It's not just one, I don't think. I heard them when I was getting back into the elevator. I'm sure as hell not going back up there. Is it ok if I wait here?" I said.
The other guard was furiously searching the cameras, probably upset that he missed these "kids" on their way up to the top floor of the parking garage. Luckily, I had payed attention to where the cameras were. I knew that there was a concrete outcropping that held the piping for an emergency fire hose, and behind it was a vacant space of nearly five feet before the elevator shaft protruded from the wall further down. It was pitch black in the space between.
"Chester, come with me."
Chester? I wondered how many wheels Chester's home had.
"Yes boss." he said, with a thick accent. Which is when I made my quite prejudice assessment that there were most definitely wheels on Chester's home, unless of course he burned them for heat.
The two scurried off toward the elevators. I was flabbergasted by the concept of allowing hotel security guards to carry firearms. Don't get me wrong. I spent a lot of time in countries where seven year old children where carrying Kalashnikov's on a daily basis. I can at least give those children the credit of having experienced real combat more times then these two have been in fist fights, let alone firefights.
The door, of course, wasn't securely shut. I pulled the handle and made my way inside. From the time it took me to get up and down the elevator, adding the time I assumed it would take them to stop looking for the ghostly hooligans, I calculated that I had just over three minutes to be out of this room and done getting into the beat up Volks Wagon I had selected from the first floor of the parking garage.
Serendipitously, Trailer Park Chester had left his keys on the table, and with them I unlocked the vault. I helped myself to a 9mm pistol which was placed in a weapons rack under the name "Captain Kirby". I had no intention of attempting to understand the reason behind this name. Needless to say, I got a glimpse of what kind of moron I was stealing from when I press checked the pistol to find a round already down the spout, and a full magazine seated. This person had taken the time to load a round into the chamber and then remove the magazine in order to replace the round that had been removed when he cocked it. What was this guy expecting to shoot this many times in a hotel lobby? What was he anticipating? A zombie apocalypse? Like I said, moron. Although he did have a nice knife I also pocketed. Moving on, I also got my hands on a torch and some batteries which would undoubtedly come in handy. There was a first aid kit, that I had to restrain myself from raiding, firstly for lack of time, and secondly for the fact that I wasn't entirely sure these two wouldn't somehow shoot one another by the time they finished this little expedition. I left it where it was most needed.
Before I exited the security desk, at sixty seconds into my plunder, I took three more things. The first was easy, a coat hanger. Then I removed the dvd from the surveillance recorder. Last but not least, I ripped the entire computer tower out from under the desk. This was noisy, but it was necessary. I wasn't sure if the recordings where being saved on the DVD or on the hard drive of the computer. The only way to safeguard my own security in a relatively short amount of time was to take both. With a dusty desktop under my arm and a pistol tucked into my pants I made my way hastily to the first floor parking garage.
I put the computer down and unraveled the coat hanger, curbing one end into a hook before sliding it down between the dirty glass and the rusty door frame of the dilapidated Volks Wagon. Suddenly worry struck. As I heard the latch unlock and opened the door, the thought hit me that possibly this vehicle wasn't going to start. I popped the hood and took a quick look at the engine, it didn't look all that bad. I burned thirty seconds of my precious three minutes to check if there was oil. There was. I took the final thirty seconds popping the sheath off the ignition and sticking Captain Kirby's knife into the key hole. I twisted and the starter wound up in agony. The Volks Wagon was a diesel, the fuel gauge was near the empty line, if it worked at all. Without control over the process of ignition, I was pushing the starter while the glow light was still on. Dark plumes of smoke coughed out the tailpipe as the vehicle miraculously came to life. I pushed down on the shifter to slap it into reverse before realizing that this was an older model that didn't have that feature. That was alright, I always thought it redundant to begin with. I slapped the vehicle in reverse and turned the lights on just as Trailer Park Chester and The Boss came out of the elevator door.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is where I realized that I had made a catastrophic error. Notwithstanding my blatant prejudice, I had failed to foresee that the most beat up, barely working vehicle in the first floor of the parking garage could have possibly belonged to none other than Trailer Park Chester.
Needless to say, Chester and Boss weren't at all concerned with rules of engagement, and before I knew it, there were 9mm luger rounds bouncing through the beat up hatchback as I careened around the concrete barriers, down the ramp and out parking garage into the street. Not, however, before busting through the gate arm that did a number on the windshield.
Good job Nick, now you've got a beat up Volks Wagon with bullet holes and a smashed windshield driving toward Las Vegas boulevard. You're not conspicuous at all. I had to ditch the car, but not here. I took my chances down side roads headed south until I hit the busy Saint Rose parkway. I continued south as briefly as possible on the Saint Rose before getting on the 604. Just before passing an RV retailer, I cut toward Radio Tower Hill, heading west across the desert. I crossed the underpass at the 15 and continued toward Sloan using nothing but desert black tracks. The Volks Wagon was unexpectedly sturdy, I had the uncanny impression that Chester had brought her out to the boonies on more than one occasion.
It was nearing two in the morning when I reached the outskirts of Sloan. I parked the beat up car near an open dump and brought the PC tower to some scrap piles. I found a good sized pipe and broke open the case and ripped out the hard drive, taking the pipe to it next. I pocketed the disks and went on toward town by foot.
Soon I found myself on the north side of a dead end street named South Decature boulevard. There was a parking lot nearby, and in the steely night, I put Captain Kirby's knife to use once more before making my way on to the 15 toward the site of Camp Saint Teresa.