Dead Reindeer Tell No Tales

Chapter Nine.

Outside in the car I drove around the corner to get some shut eye and try to figure out what my next move was. If I was right then Tink’ would be busy putting together the evidence she needed to make sure I got charged with Richard’s murder. I needed to get her to confess to me without knowing that someone else was there to arrest her, which meant I had to bring Rudy in on the quiet and make sure he didn’t jump the mark before I was in the clear.
I pulled my hat down over my eyes and grabbed forty winks. If this was going to play out the way I thought it was I was going to get as much rest as possible.

I’d heard the rumours that Tink’ had spent a little to long hanging around with the Captain the last time they toured the rep circuit, but I’d never really taken any notice of them. Vegas was a town big on gossip and a story like that had legs. Besides, what would a girl like Tink’ need to get into crime for anyway, she’d got enough brains going for her to get any job she wanted. Nobody had been surprised when she finally became DE –  she’d worked her way up through the legal system, making sure that she got her face in all of the right papers to further her career. No one could find a bad thing to say about her, which made some of us suspicious.
The first sign of a rot setting in was she’d brought in guys like Blitzen to do her dirty work – sure in public she didn’t want anything to do with the harsher methods of law enforcement – having people run out of town if they became too public. The media didn’t pry to far into the matter because she was continuing to get results and that was all that mattered to Joe Public.
I’d first encountered her in a professional capacity when she’d brought the prosecution in the Easter Bunny case, it was her who’d brokered the deal with him in exchange for details of who was behind the union trouble at the time. I’d always suspected it was a way of trying to muscle me out of my operation and further her political career – it had played hell with my staff as many of them had been forced into early retirement – but I’d never been able to prove anything.

After I’d moved out of town she’d got busy cleaning up the Strip’s drug problem, clearing out the low life’s and pushing it to the edge of the city – the less respectable neighbourhoods. She’d made a big deal of the fact that the number of Fairy Dust shipments coming into the city had dropped since she’d started her campaign, but no-one had ever questioned why the number of addicts hadn’t dropped along with this. I guess no-one wanted to pry to closely into the matter.

I woke up and looked at the clock, just after ten – ideal for what I had planned. La Salle Verte would be just warming up and it seemed fitting that this should end there. I drove around the corner, I had a couple of calls to make to get everything in place.
“Rudy – listen, make your way over to La Salle Verte and keep it quiet that you’re there. Post a couple of guys you trust on the doors and make sure they aren’t seen, I need no-one to know you’re there until I’m ready – can you do that for me?”
“What’s this about Boss?”
“I’m about to get you a promotion.”
I put the receiver down and fumbled in my pocket for more change. I dialled the DE.
“Evening, I’ve got the evidence you need, meet me at La Salle Verte in an hour and come alone.”
I put the phone down before she could try to trace the call and went back to the car. I needed to get over to the club before she got there to make sure it went to my plans, not hers.

I got there twenty minutes later and sure enough the DE had a couple of her goons out front – I wasn’t surprised, indeed I was relying on it – which meant that there were probably even more inside. I parked the car down the street and began to look for an alternative entrance but then it hit me, the DE expected me to be there so there wasn’t any reason for me not to use the front door. She’s want a nice, public arrest and that’s what she’d get inside. I nodded to the door staff as I went in and found a table near the back. I sat down.
Madame Absinthe was up giving it her all on the stage and I noticed that the DE had secured a table near the front. Everywhere I looked I could see another of her hired goons. A man tipped me the wink from the bar, Rudy had got here on time and had made sure he hadn’t been noticed.
I ordered a drink and slipped through one of the side curtains, I needed to get to Madame’s dressing room before they had time to clean it up. Inside the same two gorillas that had used me as a punch bag were turning over the room and getting ready to torch it – something else that would probably be blamed on me. I picked up a fire extinguisher and got ready.
“Hi guys!”

The first one leapt at me with a speed I hadn’t expected, I barely had time to raise the fire extinguisher and hit him squarely in the nose. He hit the floor, blood squirting everywhere, I dropped the extinguisher on the floor.

“Get out.”The gorilla made a bolt for the door and I went inside. The drawers were full of Fairy Dust, enough to keep the city’s addicts afloat for a month. That was there game, the three of them had muscled in on the city’s drugs racket and were using their reputation to cover their tracks.

A friendly face appeared in the doorway.
“Boss?”
“Rudy, listen, get behind there and don’t move until you get the signal – ok?”
“But Boss?”
“Just do it, Rudy – and keep your head down.”
Rudy his out of sight and I made my way to the edge of the stage, making sure to catch the DE’s eye. Right on cue she got up and made her way backstage. I went over to the unconscious gorilla and took his piece out of his jacket. Only three shots remained in the chamber, I hoped I wouldn’t have to use them.
“Nick?”
It was the one voice I hadn’t wanted to hear, I wanted to pin this on the DE and the DE alone – there was no reason for her to get involved. I turned and walked over to her.
“Listen, get out of her and get out of the city, there’s no need for you to be involved.”
“Involved in what Nick?”
I turned round, it was too late the DE had me firmly in her sights, the light from the stage glinting off her piece. I saw Rudy pull his piece and step back further into the shadows.
The show on stage finished, the crowd to applaud. I waited for someone to make the next move.

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