on Tour August 2015
Read an excerpt:
The money, all forty thousand dollars, was lined up all out on the counter when Seth got there.
It might as well have been a million to Seth. He had been involved in big deals before, but that was when the economy was good and people threw money around for fun. He did that too, back then. Then everything changed and the people who had money, even in Vegas, went into their holes and stopped sharing. This was important and different and better. And it came at the right time, too.
The deal worked like this: He got to leave with half the cash right then. Twenty thousand dollars. He had already rented a safe deposit box to keep it in; that was the first time he had been in a bank in years. Yes, what he was doing was risky, but he got to leave with that unthinkable amount of money. This morning. He would spend one hour on a plane, and then he was done. Pretty much, anyway. And the rest of the money? His before nightfall.
He was on the 34th floor of the Trump Tower, one of the newer and more impressive addresses in Las Vegas. It was seven a.m. The sky was a warm yellow and promised heat, like almost every day in Vegas. But he didn’t get to see it much, not like this anyway. He couldn’t remember when he had last been awake at this hour of the morning. Check that: When he had woken up at this time. In a town like Vegas, you often went down when the sun came up. Normally he was either rolling in about now, or sleeping off the after-effects of a long night. But an early morning was what the job required, and Seth desperately needed this.
He had been to this apartment several times before. He had initially been wary of his benefactor’s strange behavior, aloof and put-on, far from the passionate pawing of his other suitors, but he was beginning to understand. He felt sure that he was hired because he looked so much like the man who paid him so well to come and visit. It was uncanny. His own skin was a shade darker than his doppelganger, but both men were handsome, around six feet tall, dark complexion and dark hair. Both men had light eyes. Twice on his visits the doorman had smiled at him as if he were the building’s resident. It took some getting used to, to sit across from yourself and talk, but Seth got used to things very quickly.
Seth was an escort, a plaything. He liked his job most of the time, but it led him into odd circumstances. Men paying you to suck his toes. Men wanting to cut his hair. He still wasn’t fully sure what to make of the quiet man who brought him here, to his apartment. Most other men desired Seth’s body, wanted to devour him, to come out of the closet in Vegas before stepping back in and heading home, or to add him to their strange Vegas menagerie. Not Yankee. He told him he just wanted companionship, conversation, just like the ad on Seth’s website said. No sex, no toe-sucking. Seth wondered if Yankee liked the idea of talking to himself, given their similarity in appearance.
Yankee’s apartment, where they always met, was big and somewhat bland, looking and feeling more like a nice big hotel suite than a real place where someone lived. Most of the men who lived in Vegas and invited him to their place generally had expansive and well-decorated homes, with Rothkos and Hockneys and other tasteful artists. The rest had festive and overdone palaces straight out of a Fellini film. Yankee’s place felt like the junior suite at the nicest hotel in town, but nothing more. It had maid service and a kitchen that looked like no one had ever cooked there. Seth walked by the kitchen every time he walked in, and he always took a longing look inside. Seth, who was a good and thoughtful cook, hated to see such a wonderful space wasted by someone who didn’t appreciate or have time for it. He wondered how much time Yankee actually spent here.
After the third visit, when Yankee said he knew him well enough, he asked Seth if he would be interested in a big job. Not just a thousand dollars here and there, but a score. Yankee had said he had looked into his background (or what he thought he knew of it), and felt that he could be trusted. He also knew from his profession that he had long ago lost his tendency to gag.
Yankee looked at him seriously. Are you interested? I understand if you’re not. But of course Seth was interested. He occasionally made good money, but there were all of the craps tables and party drugs to think about. Seth wanted to have a nest egg. He nodded, and waited for what Yankee would say.
Just swallow three condoms, filled with drugs. Take a one hour flight. Take some laxatives and release. Make twenty thousand upon swallowing, twenty thousand upon releasing the packages back to the owners. Some chance of death, some chance of prison. But, as he saw it, Seth dealt with those risks every day he sold himself in Las Vegas, and for a much smaller return.
He was nervous. He sat on the stiff leather couch, which it seemed like no one ever sat on, knowing that Yankee would appear after what seemed like an eternity. This was his way. Seth sat and looked at the money.
He thought about just taking the money, grabbing the first elevator and praying for ground, but he looked around and once again had the sensation he was being watched. He knew there was another entrance to this apartment, and he didn’t know whether Yankee was already here or coming through that entrance. But he knew enough to be sure he didn’t want to cross this man. Despite his kindness, Seth knew Yankee could be cruel, all without losing his quiet demeanor. There was always a chance that a condom would rupture in his stomach during his flight, or that he would get caught by officers waiting in Los Angeles, but that risk was nothing compared to dashing away with the money. He assumed that indiscretion would assure an all-but-certain death. And though he might say in a fit of boy-induced drama that sometimes he wished he would die, he really didn’t. He wanted this to go well, and he wanted to pocket the rewards.
Seth wondered if you could see his thoughts on the surveillance screen. He didn’t want to give anything away. He didn’t want to risk Yankee pulling back. He went back to thinking like a mule. That was what this job required. And if he got paid this well, he would think like a mule, act like a mule, be a mule.
Finally, some fifteen minutes later, give or take, in came Yankee. He kissed Seth gently on the cheek as he always did. This was their only physical contact.
“Big day!” said Yankee in an overly fey manner. Seth knew he wasn’t gay. “Are you ready?”
“I’m ready,” said Seth, who had been anticipating this for weeks.
“Well, they’re in the fridge.” Yankee went and opened the refrigerator and took out a plate with three pink condoms on it. “I put some strawberry jam on them,” Yankee said. “I knew that was your fave.”
The condoms were filled with a gelatinous substance. They were the size of small bananas, but not difficult to get down. At the last visit, they had practiced swallowing some condoms close to this size with a similar liquid. They timed how long it took them to come out: two and a half hours. Yankee paid him double for that session.
Yankee assured him that these were double-bagged. Seth smiled, and said, Down the hatch.” He opened up the back of his throat and swallowed the three packages easily, followed by lots of water.
“Lie down. Like last time,” Yankee said, a little hurried. “Then I’ll take you to the airport.”
Seth did. This place made him sleepy anyway. He moved to the couch, took off his shoes, and laid down. He closed his eyes and relaxed.
Yankee went to the kitchen. He opened the knife drawer, and took out the H&K pistol that was hidden in the back. The silencer was already on.
Seth started to drift. And then it hit him. Why would Yankee want someone who looked like him to make this run? Why wouldn’t he want someone completely different? Why would he want connections?
Checking one more time to make sure Seth’s eyes were closed, Yankee emerged from the kitchen. He strode stiffly across the room. Yankee bent over Seth and held his breath.
Seth felt the weight on top of his chest and opened his eyes in terror. He realized what was happening. He tried to push Yankee away but he had no leverage. He started to yell “No” but it was too late. Yankee put the gun up to Seth’s left eye and pulled the trigger. All that was heard was a sound no louder than a handclap. Seth slumped. Yankee started to shoot again, but saw it was unnecessary. Seth the greedy escort was no more.
Yankee flipped his body off the couch and onto the floor, where he landed face-down. Exactly as planned. Blood rolled down the leather couch where Seth’s head had been. He took the coffee table and flipped it on top of the body, enough to cause papers to scatter, but not enough to make much of a sound. He eased it on top of the remote-operated bomb that now was Seth The Escort. Yankee looked down and saw that he had gotten some blood on himself, which was not surprising. The room, normally so neat, was now oh-such-a-mess. Yankee laughed. He was still playing the fake fairy.
It didn’t matter. Yankee was never coming back. He took off his clothes and placed them in a black garbage bag. Then, just like the condoms filled with plastic explosives that now rested in Seth’s belly, he double-bagged it. Before he got into the shower, he turned the thermostat all the way down. He wanted it to feel like a meat locker in the apartment. Then he got in the heat and the steam and took his time. Lather, rinse, repeat. Stay calm and think. He breathed deeply and fully, slowing his heart rate as best he could, and made sure he had his plan ready. He came out of the shower, put on his delivery man get-up, replete with white coveralls and a red cap, put the trash bag in one hand and a clipboard in the other, and found the service elevator. He keyed in the code and rode down, happy that no one shared the ride. He made it to the ground floor and tossed the trash bag into the back of the trash truck, which had just backed into the bay, nodding at a couple of workers as he headed for the parking lot. He walked to the other side, got in his ride, and was on his way.
Yankee enjoyed his last minutes of anonymity, driving a red Ford pickup into history. Soon he was going to be the most hated man in America. Or at least the character he had created was.
Dale Wiley is a Missouri attorney who has had a character named after him on CSI, owned a record label, been interviewed by Bob Edwards on NPR’s Morning Edition and made motorcycles for Merle Haggard and John Paul DeJoria. He has three awesome kids and spends his days working as a lawyer fighting the big banks.
This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dale Wiley. There will be THREE U.S. winners of an ebook copy of either Sabotage, Kissing Persuasive Lips or both books by Dale Wiley. The giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on August 1st, 2015 and runs through September 31st, 2015.
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