From where I am—a dimension undetectable by the human eye—I could see him perfectly. He was pacing back and forth, stopping every few seconds in front of the fireplace to rehearse what he’d say; practicing hand gestures to coordinate with his words. He kept this up—reciting his lie, until he had convinced himself that it sounded like the truth. Once confidence took over, he threw his head back and spewed a cocky grin. His facial expression had changed from pure panic to a new sense of ease and surety.
He was certain no one would ever find out.
He crossed the massive oak-paneled den to the liquor cabinet, took out a bottle of Southern Comfort, and poured a full glass—neat. He only drank it neat. He downed it in three quick gulps—like he always did—using the excuse that it was to celebrate. Only, little did he know, the drink would offer temporary comfort. One’s demise comes when they least expect it.
Miles away from Southampton, New York, Miami’s kingpin of the underground world awaited the news that would shake the history of mankind and make him ridiculously rich. His men, scattered throughout the eastern seacoast, upheld their posts and awaited their orders which would then be carried out by way of blackmail, force, and even murder. They’ll slither in the dark, like lower life forms do; unaware that their deviant acts would soon bring them the same consequences as those inflicted on their enemies. If only they understood the universal laws of karma. If only they understood they were out of time.
Over in Bayside, Queens, Officer Joseph Galante was riding his partner with enough stamina to win the Kentucky Derby. With his head buried in Melissa Torres’s neck, he rode her hard and steady, on the verge of his rush, when his cell phone went off.
“Shit,” he moaned into her neck.
“Ignore it, baby,” she breathed in his ear.
The phone was still ringing.
He pumped her faster, honing his thoughts on getting his business done and then succumbed to the uncontrollable spasms that left his body temporarily limp. When he was finally able to catch his breath, he reached his arm over to the nightstand and lifted the phone to look at the readout.
“Who was it?” Melissa breathed out.
“It’s Henders. What does he want now?”
“He probably wants to know where you are,” she said. “You’re supposed to be working, remember?”
Joey lifted himself from Melissa’s sweaty, naked body and rolled onto his back, letting out a deep sigh as his head hit the cool pillow. “I better call him before he sends the troops looking for me.”
He pushed himself from the bed and walked to the window with his phone and punched in the number.
“Yes, sir,” he said when the call was answered.
“Yes, sir, I checked it out. I’m heading back now.”
He closed the phone and then walked over to where his jacket was and shoved the phone deep into the side pocket. “I have to go. Henders is waiting for me.”
Melissa propped a pillow under her right arm and watched as he strut past her.
“Henders called you on your cell?” she asked. “Why would he do that?”
Her question caught him off guard, and his decision to not answer her led him to giving her just a shrug.
“Joe,” she said, now sitting up, “why would Henders call you on your phone? That doesn’t make any sense.”
Seeing no way out of giving her some form of an answer, he said, “I have no idea,” and proceeded toward the bathroom. But she wouldn’t let it go and pressed him again.
“Why wouldn’t he go through dispatch?” she asked.
He stopped at the bathroom door and turned to face her.
“Mel, I don’t know. Besides, if he went through dispatch, I still wouldn’t have gotten the call. I’m not in the car. Don’t worry about it. I have it covered.”
Melissa freed herself from the white tangled sheets and got out of the bed. She walked over to where Joey was standing and kissed his lips.
“You better take a shower,” she teased. “You smell like, you know, me.”
“I’m going to do that right now,” he said, giving her butt a swat. “And you better head back to your house. Okay?”
“You want me to leave like this?” she barked, gesturing to her sweaty body.
“Yes, I do. Now throw on your clothes and shower at home. I’m in a big hurry.”
With this, Melissa walked around the room gathering her things, muttering profanities under her breath. As she threw on her clothes, she couldn’t shake the thought that Joey was acting weirder than usual. She looked around the room, checking to make sure that she had everything, and then stopped at the bathroom door and poked her head through.
“Joe?” she said.
“You’re still here?” he answered.
“Yes, I’m here. Call me later?”
He turned off the shower and grabbed a towel from the rack. “Of course, sweetheart. Now go home and stop worrying.”
Not fully convinced with his answer, she blew him a kiss and headed toward the door. He turned his attention to the fogged-up bathroom mirror and began wiping the moisture away with his hand. A few seconds later, he heard the motel door slam. Satisfied that everything was moving according to schedule, he finished finger-combing his hair and then walked into the other room, took his phone from his jacket pocket, and hit the speed dial.
“She finally left,” he said into the phone.
“It took long enough,” he snapped. “Dear God, I can’t wait for all this bullshit to be over.”
“Are we going to go through this again?”Joey answered, rolling his eyes.
“Again? How much longer is this going to take? My patience is running thin.”
“Look, I’m doing my best. This isn’t easy for me. Will you just relax?”
Neilson let out a long breath and then answered him. “Any time left on the room?”
Joey looked at his watch. “About three hours, why?”
“I’m on my way.”