That's a lot of blood, that's a lot of moneyMature

A botched heist leaves one of the crew with a sizable chunk of change and a bullet in their gut

Ezra Barker knew the night would be a gigantic clusterfuck before he even entered the casino; his migraine told him so.

The lights still flashed in rhythm to some private tune only they could hear and the mirrors still danced as one passed them, but the place was empty, evacuated, and there was shit all over the floor: napkins, papers, cigarette wrappers, even a couple of chips mingled in there as well.  Ezra touched his fingers to the bridge of his nose and pinched his sunglasses to his forehead.  The sunglasses were no longer useful, as the sun had set more than ninety minutes ago, but he left them there anyway.

"Gin.  Now," he commanded one of the nearest security guards, who diligently scrambled off to fetch a glass of Hendrick's on the rocks for Mr. Barker.

The head of security at the casino was a sixty year-old Chippewa named Luke who greeted Ezra with a grim open hand which Ezra shook.

"What happened?"

Luke scowled and looked around, as if the missing money might have been dumped on the floor with the rest of the mess.  He said simply, "Heist.  Four men, heavily armed, baggy clothes, dressed as 70's era pimps or something: wide furry hats with the brims pulled down low over their faces, obscuring any details for the cameras, oversized fur coats that completely hid each individual's body type, and my favorite -- elevator boots."

"Excuse me?"

"Elevator boots.  You know, like the ones KISS used?"

The security guy returned with Ezra's glass of gin and he downed it in one gulp, shook his head and blinked.  He told the guy to keep those coming.  He couldn't stand to do this Crime Scene bullshit stuff sober.  To Luke he said, "So they all look like they're seven feet tall, is that it?"

"Yep.  Pretty much."

Ezra mumbled a "Jesus," and threw his napkin on the floor.

"So, what happened?"

Luke led Ezra to the rear of the casino.  It was a smaller casino, as these things go, about a quarter of the size of something from Atlantic City, but it was still ostentatious enough to intensify Ezra's already pounding head, "Can somebody please shut off these fucking lights?"

Luke motioned to a young dude sitting behind the bay and snapped his fingers, "Tommy?"

Tommy rose and walked to the wall, hit a couple of switches, and suddenly the flashing stopped.

"Good," said Ezra, "I thought I was having a goddamn seizure for a minute.  What happened first?"

"Uhhh, they managed to get key cards that apparently gave them access to the basement, which is where we have the vaults."

"Uh-huh.  Forged or stolen?"

"The key card technology is very high, so they would be impossible to accurately reproduce."

"Uh-huh," Ezra nodded.  How many times had he heard that one?  These friggin' Indians thought they were untouchable or something, didn't they?  Ezra himself knew a half-dozen guys who could get you key cards for the Pentagon inside a week, if given enough money.

It was always about the money, about who had it and how much they were willing to spend to get what they wanted.

"And probably not stolen," Luke continued, "there are only seven cards with that kind of clearance.  Four are accounted for, and we're looking into the remaining three cards.  But I doubt..."

Ezra was going to let Luke finish his thought, but the old guy seemed to just run out of steam on his own.

"So then what happened?"

Luke led Ezra to another room teeming with rows of flashing and noisy slot machines.  "They made it this far before anybody noticed anything.  I'd say they were trying to make it to the side door over there, and then out to the parking garage where they could make a clean getaway."

"But?"

"The radio lit up.  Everybody within the building with a walkie talkie or wearing an ear piece was getting an earful of the missing money.  The security guys told me that they tried to seal the exits before this crew could make it to the doors, but somebody pulled a gun and that's when the shooting started."

"How the hell did they get guns in here, Luke?"

"I don't know.  We're looking at the footage."

"All right.  How much did they take?"

"Eight-point-four million dollars."

Ezra smiled.  Luke had no idea what the hell happened tonight but he knew EXACTLY how much money had been stolen.

Like he said, it was ALWAYS about the money.

"So then what?"

"There was some kind of exchange of automatic gunfire and two of my guys were hit.  Not bad, superficial is what the EMTs told me, but my boys are at the hospital if you want to reach them."

"I do not," Ezra waived Luke on, "what happened then?"

Luke walked to the end of the hallway.  Next to the exit was a large red splash of blood on the wall, to which Luke pointed, "I think we hit one."

For the first time since arriving on Native American soil this evening, Ezra Barker smiled and thought, Maybe we caught a break here.  He said aloud, "We've got ourselves a leaker."

The End

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