B L A C K B E T T Y
BY ARCHIE WOLAND
“KC and The Sunshine Band was playing in Lloyd’s apartment. Keep it Comin’ Love, I think. It made him smile, from ear to ear. He sat behind his desk, wearing nothing, the leather from the chair, chilly against his skin. Lloyd, opened the drawer, stuck his hand in, and took it out. Lloyd was then holding a large, clean bowie knife. He smiled; well I should think so.
He brought the steel closer to his naked leg, his thigh. The blade was now resting on his leg, sideways. He cut, shallowly into his thigh. Pulling away from his stomach, he flexed his face in pain and the blood ran down the sides of his leg and onto his expensive looking chair. Then what the bastard would do is he’d take the piece of skin that he had just cut and put it into his drawer. Finally, he took a lot of puffy things, you know? What are they called? Cotton pads. Yeah, well anyhow, he stuffed the flesh wound with the cotton pads, and used a lot of duct tape, cellophane tape, whatever he could get his hands on. So, yeah, he cut himself up to death.”
George lit a cigarette and took a long drag. His hands were shaking, quite badly, and Darryl found this almost abnormal and somewhat disturbing, but Darryl, he frequently found himself being disturbed by many things, which to others usually wouldn’t give that sort of impression.
Darryl was sitting in a bean bag chair, with a toothpick, nervously circulating around his mouth. They were in Norfolk, in a small townhouse. It was a foggy Saturday morning. George sat on a couch with a small coffee table in front of him, on which there was an ashtray and a large piece of foil; a generously sized mount of cocaine, was sitting in the wrinkled sheet, of aluminum foil.
“That’s enough for me.” Said George. “You want a line, Darryl?” George said Darryl, with an extremely sarcastic tone.
“No,” replied Darryl, who was unusually twitchy.
George smiled, and wrapped up the foil sheet with the powdered contents inside and left it on the coffee table. He picked up his cigarette, and turned it upwards, so it was pointing up to the ceiling of the modestly priced townhouse.
“Well, you’ll want to hear this one.” Said George. “This freak of a man, marches into my office one day, and he tells me, just listen,” George waved his hands vigorously through all of this, including the hand with the cigarette, which was distributing brandished ashes everywhere. “He tells me that he’s a compulsive liar, he thinks that his habit is so bad it should be considered as a mental abnormality. Well you know I tell him that he should sit down…the routine, you know how it is. And he sits, down on the couch, and just starts to blabber on and on, all about how he was sitting on a bus, and some woman asked him what the time was. Well according, to him, he made up this intricate excuse for not having his watch, hell I wasn’t listening, but it probably involved monkey ninjas, and a stolen Russian nuclear weapon, oh and of course the president of America. God, some of these people should be shot in the face repeatedly.” Said George; to Darryl who looked like the only reason he was paying any attention to George was because he was afraid of getting shot in the face repeatedly. “I’m thinking, this guy’s a goddamn fake, he’s a nut, but not in the medical way, you know, he’s just looking for attention.
So I ask him, so Cody, or whatever the hell his name was. What do you like to do for leisure? The damn half-wit tells me he plays golf, in a club called Beavercrest with Jesus.
This freak thinks he’s the devil or something, so I realize that he’s an obviously mental patient, you know a retard, a psycho, he’s crazy…he needs to be in a cuckoo’s nest, psychiatric institute, a psychiatric ward.” Darryl was nodding, nervously. No doubt offended by all the derogatory terms flying left and right.
Darryl Rekur was a twenty-six year old man, who had an unsuccessful band named Dry Hole. Their musical talent was the dried out part. Their drummer was rhythmically impaired and couldn’t tap a beat right. But even if they had music talent they were definitely fated for a disastrous, doomed termination. They were trying to make a band that’s exactly like Sheryl Crow, except they’re all guys. Seems like anybody with half a brain, could figure out a lengthy list of all the wrong things with that.
The band broke up when the drummer shot himself in the arm, so he’d have an excuse to ditch the band.
George Oluf was a psychoanalyst with no license and no place of work.
“So I sign this guy into one of these psycho places,” continued George. “Four days later, I’m thrown out on my ass, because this guy “shows no abnormal behaviors whatsoever”.” George imitated a chirping voice. “No license, limited amount of money, no self-esteem, in two months I’ve got no place to live.” George emphasized each of his misfortunes by striking the table angrily with his fist. “I tell you those bastards! So that leaves me here, too poor for my own good, and only some sort of ivory, chalky powder brings me happiness.” George smiled.
His cigarette was burnt out and he thrust it violently into the ashtray, and then, the phone rang.
George got up; looking quite interested in this occurrence and walked out of the room, over to the phone, and he picked it up.
Darryl looked sick. After a moment of two he got up to leave; however, his path was obstructed, by George running into the room, with a look of wildness on his face.
George was precariously swearing as he pulled out a duffel bag, from behind the couch and stuffed the pack of foil inside. Darryl was frozen and standing there, in the middle of the room, like a statue.
“Damn it Darryl, we’re real screwed now. We’ve got to get the hell out of here!” Yelled George who was already running up the stairs to the second floor.
Darryl went back to the beanbag, and looked around the room as if he didn’t believe that it could ever really happen. He heard drawers, closets and doors, opening and closing with a bang and George still cursing wildly, stampeding the whole ceiling.
In less than two minutes, both personages were out the door, and in their car, or somebody’s stolen car, anyway that isn’t particularly important. In two hours Darryl Rekur and George Oluf, were on a plane, on their way to Las Vegas. Darryl was about to ask several questions regarding their premature exit, but he really thought there was room for George to calm down, besides, when George was that pissed off he could probably shoot somebody in the face repeatedly, with his Luger. He often carried it around, and at a time like this, Darryl came to the conclusion, that this time there was no exception.
“So there is a total guarantee, right Pedro?” Asked George.
“Yes, is correct, is correct Senor Oluf, she will come in first, I ensure this fact.” Said Pedro Lavero
Pedro Lavero, was a middle-aged man, in all likelihood Pedro was in his early forties. His moustache was a thick bushy black. He had an emaciated looking face, but his neck, looked like it had lard surgically pumped into it, or maybe collagen. He was quite tall, with long arms and legs that looked crooked and deformed.
George came over to Darryl, who looked like he felt, he was being ostracized, and this was no place for him. Darryl was standing about six feet away from Pedro, and George and a large, black horse. George patted Darryl on the back, and then proceeded to caress him with a devilish laugh accompanying the hug.
“This is it Darryl, we’re gonna make it after all, Darryl!” Said George, with a grin from ear to ear still present on his face.
Surprised by the lack of Darryl’s enthusiasm George’s cocaine eyes, almost suspiciously circumvented Darryl from top to bottom, side to side and in diameter in succession of about three times each way. He spoke, “The hell is wrong with you?”
“I’ve no idea what you’re so excited about.” This made George burst with laughter.
“Oh, Christ, in all this excitement, it being all set up and all, I’ must’ve forgotten to tell you. See Pedro here,” George waved his hand vaguely towards Pedro, who was still petting a black horse. “Has given and will continue to give daily doses to this horse, of some boosters, with a special type of drug, a sort of amphetamine, that’ll give her superiority in the race, artificially enforced of course, but such small details, they, you know they don’t matter. I mean, what was the last time you heard of a horse, going through a fucking drug test eh?” George laughed hoarsely at his own statement. “So she’ll be in the sixth race on this Vegas track every second day for the next month and a half!”
George walked back to Pedro and patted him on the shoulder as well.
“What’s the name of this horse, a beauty, a horse of such pulchritude-“ George asked with an overdoing amount of passion, even though the desire of his passion was an immense amount of money.
“Black Betty.” Responded Pedro, with a smile, bearing a nearly perfect oral example.
The ploy seemed simple, sure, but complications were bound to arise. One, for instance was the money, the money that was needed for betting in the first place, the money that needed to be a reasonable amount, the money they didn’t have.
George came up with an idiotically outstanding plot to commit armed robbery with his Luger, in the darker streets of Las Vegas; rob some unsuspecting tourists. Seemed simple enough, but it didn’t prove to be all that simple.
George had a ski mask on his head, armed with his Luger, and a fake stereotypical, Mexican accent.
“Give me your fucking money, or I’ll blow your fucking brains out on the damn wall.” Yelled George at his victims, a couple.
There were a number of things wrong with his statement. For one, blowing somebody’s brains out on the wall was a task, which was hardly plausible…because when George Oluf left Norfolk, he remembered to take the Luger, but not the ammunition. And with a lack of money, wasting it on ammunition was a prestigious act, which George couldn’t afford.
The obese, black man who George was trying to rob didn’t counter George’s outburst, of nervous cursing kindly. The overweight man advanced towards, George, who was scared shitless by now because this wasn’t going like it was supposed to at all.
Bulky, as he was, the man could kick, and that he did, when he was close enough to George. Precisely and squarely, the kick was directed towards George’s testicles and general genitalia, and it’s vicinity.
George collapsed onto the asphalt, with a growl of pain, continued by unhindered muttering, crying, and howling.
“You can’t touch me, you Mexican fuck, I’m an American!” Exclaimed the corpulent, fellow as he and his partner, wobbled away from the alley.
“At least the Mexican touch worked,” thought George.
Two attempts of armed robbery and both ended in failure. There was another alternative to be discovered, an alternative that this unlikely, and anything but dynamic duo needed. Time was running out as well. The first race that Black Betty, was going to participate in was scheduled to commence in nine days, at five thirty in the afternoon, like all sixth races at the Las Vegas track do.
Five hundred. That was the number that Darryl came up with for a primitive ploy, that needed a little money that would be put in towards the money to come, some fast-talking, and a lot of naïve folks.
Five hundred tickets printed for a fake event involving somebody, maybe a singer: a real favorite-type. And Darryl thought he knew just what to put on the ticket, so he got five hundred tickets printed, for the show that was going to dazzle and attract the public of Las Vegas to buy a ticket off a scalper for one hundred and twenty five dollars each. Quite reasonable for an event like that, seats were great too; such great artists featured in a show that promised to entertain at any cost.
Ninety-six, was the number of hours in which Darryl sold all the tickets, in the very heart of Las Vegas, not in North Las Vegas, the trashy area where Darryl and George were residing temporarily.
Sixty-two thousand and five hundred, was the amount of dollars, which they earned from selling the tickets on the street. Sixty-two and a half thousand dollars, sitting in a duffel bag, in a shabby hotel room in North Las Vegas, on a vomit-colored carpet. In celebration they both snorted two lines of cocaine, however their festivity was rudely interrupted by a knock on the door.
This affair, of a rapping on the door, was highly uncommon, neither Darryl nor George have heard a knock on their door since their arrival. Due do that, it was understandable why both men were in a great state of alarm and quite a bit of hysteria as they approached the door; blank faced with red noses.
After a few moments’ time, which was mostly filled with grimacing, and non-comprehendible gestures, except the seldom “Fuck You” middle finger raise, the door was opened by Darryl. Not opened all the way, however, just a small crevice by the wall, for a peeking hole.
Darryl Rekur’s gaze was laid upon a slender young woman, with black, straight hair that dropped down to her shoulders. Her eyes were big, blue, and seemed like they were smoky, a foggy atmosphere inside them. She had long legs, and certainly was a dish. The next thing you would’ve expected Darryl to do was commence an extensive drooling activity.
“You gonna let me in chum?” She asked, Darryl very nicely.
“Yeah, sure you could go right on in.” Responded Darryl. As he opened the door, and she walked in, looking sort of surprised to see George there.
She walked over to the bed and sat down, slowly, with a pleasant smile, a black skirt riding up her slender legs, and two homo sapiens of the male gender. Tempted to steal a priceless glance at what is under such clandestine coverings, concealed away, yet is so unimaginably close.
This woman was wearing a black sweater, up to the base of her neck, which revealed a graceful, smooth long neck. She was wearing leather shoes; they almost looked like moccasins…probably made out of suede.
After a few moments of silence she had decided to speak.
“My name is Elisabeth.” Said the very attractive Elisabeth.
“I’m George, this is Darryl.” Said George.
At that point he noticed that there was a large mound of cocaine sitting peacefully on the coffee table. George also took notice of the certainty that Elisabeth had noticed the blow, as well and was looking dubiously at it.
“You mind, if I do a line?” Asked Elisabeth, with a certain hesitation in her voice.
“Go ahead,” replied George.
She walked over; Elisabeth looked as if she knew what she was doing. She cut the coke into a thin short line, and snorted away with a twenty that was on the coffee table. It wasn’t what she was expecting.
Elisabeth threw her head up looking at the ceiling, growling, and inhaling large amounts of oxygen through her nose, and rubbing it excessively. After a few moments of that poppycock, she laughed and went back over to the bed.
“You two…you know. You guys fags?” She inquired.
“No, we like the ladies. You know what I’m saying?” Barked George.
“Yeah, sorry, I mean it’s just that it’s not often you find two good looking guys, with a heap of coke, in a Northern Vegas hotel.” She sounded too sincere.
“Oh, that’s alright.” Uttered Darryl.
“Well, let me be blunt with you guys. My name is Elisabeth Dure, and I’m a journalist. Now I’ve seen the shit you pulled with the tickets. I want a cut of that money you earned, and the secret is locked away with me forever, and if you refuse, the consequences will be ample of destroying you, both of you. You guys know the minimum sentence for fraud?” She asked with a grin.
Darryl and George, as if by rehearsal, strolled towards the other end of the room and whispered for several moments.
“Ten thousand.” Said George.
“Sorry?” Elisabeth looked overwhelmed.
“Will ten thousand dollars, American keep you quiet?” Asked George.
“Oh, yes, no question about that!” Elisabeth exclaimed.
“How do we know we can trust you?” Bellowed Darryl, almost crying.
“You have my word.” Said Elisabeth.
“Oh, yeah? And how good is that.” Darryl pleaded.
“Pretty damn good.” She said, no doubt searching for something that could back her up in that. “I was a Girl Scout when I was a kid. Oh, I also went to an all girls Catholic School.”
She was too perfect!
“We can trust her.” Said George cynically to Darryl.
“Now, please, I really don’t want to be seen by you two as some sort of really sinister person.” Said Elisabeth, with a sorry look on her visage. “I am a nice person. How about we celebrate, I’ll buy some champagne, and I’ll only take seven thousand.” She went for the door, but was interrupted.
“No,” said George. “Darryl, you go, you need some exercise. Be back as quickly as you can though alright?”
“Yeah, sure no problem.” Darryl said and walked out.
“I’m starting to hate that kid, I’ve got to get rid of him or something.” Said George and looked at Elisabeth.
A Romeo and Juliet type thing occurred while Darryl was gone. Elisabeth and George both looked into each other’s eyes for the first time, and it was “love at first sight”, yes cliché all around, you could kill yourself, if you hate it this much.
But, unlike Rome and Juliet’s encounter, it wasn’t just a sensuous exchange of sweet nothings, and a meeting of two red pilgrims but a lot more than that. Fornication occurred and an adequate and quite pleasing climax by both parties involved was reached.
Elisabeth, was a part of them now, since George and Elisabeth were in love, it would be a trio now, three con-artists working together each with their own unique skill and together forming a sweet perfection: nobody could stop them then.
One million, four hundred thirty seven and five hundred thousand, is the amount of heavenly money, from hell, that this trio raked up by the time Black Betty finished her runs. She came in first every time, except the last. In that time, the love between this unlikely couple, Elisabeth and George, blossomed, into a flower with lucid energy, of unbelievable strength. A flower that couldn’t be ripped out from the soil, couldn’t be cut, and certainly could never wilt and wither to a melancholic death, until it was time for that.
There was a problem abroad though. One of the con-artists was unhappy. George always said that money you have is just potential money that could be made into a lot more or a lot less than you’ve got now. Darryl was very much against that. He was becoming the Lennon, of these Beatles.
Darryl wanted no part in this, he frequently stole money, got drunk off his ass, came back to their now very expensive hotel room at night, and exhibited boisterous behavior, towards George, who was growing very irritated of this nonsense and Elisabeth, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Darryl repeatedly threatened to expose all of the shams that they’ve committed to the police. Darryl was growing too careless for his own good, and George wanted no part of this charade anymore. George had decided to solve the problem like he used to, before he became sensitive. Solve it with his Luger.
“No God!” Pleaded Elisabeth. “Please, lets’ not. He’s a human being George.” Cried Elisabeth.
“I know, but some people deserve to die, and personally I think he does. He’s been interfering with us, he doesn’t like you and he’s lost all respect for me. I told him to go if he wanted, but I know he won’t make it out there by himself, he should consider this a favor.” Said George as he extended his arm with the Luger in it. “It’ll just be me and you. We could go to San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam! Wherever you want to go, we’ll go there, we’re rich and we’re going to be even richer.” George said. “Here put these on, he said, just in case.” George handed his leather gloves to Elisabeth, and she put them on with tearful eyes.
“Please George. Please don’t.” Whispered Elisabeth sobbing.
“It’s too late now, trust me. It’s better for every one this way. The bags are packed and we’ll be out of the state in a matter of hours. We have a duffel back with nearly one and a half million dollars. And you want me to give this all up? No way, just…just don’t look. I’ll do the minimal that’s necessary. No fear, no pain. He won’t even realize what’s coming.”
Elisabeth shrieked, and cried and whimpered. She turned the radio on very loud so that she could get her mind of this horrible business.
The door opened and Darryl walked in. Elisabeth cried loudly as a warning, but he didn’t hear it, the music was blasting loudly. George shut the door and charged the frightened young man. George bashed Darryl in the stomach with the butt of the Luger. Darryl huffed and backed up against the wall. George pressed a pillow that was in his left hand to Darryl’s face, shoved the gun into the middle of the pillow and pressed the trigger twice. George threw the gun onto the ground behind himself.
Two inaudible pops, and a few feathers flying around… these were expensive pillows. George stood above the lifeless body of Darryl Rekur, with no hint of pity on his face whatsoever. Abruptly a cold barrel was rammed into George’s right temple, and a single shot fired: the minimal that was necessary, no pain, no fear, he didn’t even know what was coming.
George’s left temple released a fountain-like spray of blood and his body collapsed onto the ground like a senseless heap, and Elisabeth standing there, over him, with no trace of pity in her face.
Elisabeth tossed the Luger loosely around George’s right hand. Elisabeth then quickly put the gloves she was wearing onto George’s hands and since they were his, they fit perfectly, and they conveniently had traces of gunpowder on them.
Elisabeth cut the flower that never existed. Also she did it while KC and the Sunshine Band was blasting out of the radio, so nobody would hear a thing. Two con-artists dead: deceived by the pernicious wit of another…ah the irony.
Elisabeth Dure grabbed her suitcase, and the duffel bag with the fortune stored inside and went downstairs.
The sun was going to start setting soon. She got into the white convertible, and took the keys out of the glove box, (George theorized he was so rich he could afford to get his car stolen.)
When, Elisabeth noticed that she was running low on fuel she decided to stop at a gas station. It looked deserted, but out here on this stretch of desert she might as well stop, it’ll probably be the last “gas bar” for a while, she thought.
Pedro Lavero had lived in Nevada for a while, and knew how to follow a car in flat land, without being noticed. A jeep was essential; he had stayed off the paved road and drove where people don’t normally look around for other vehicles. Elisabeth Dure had been no exception.
That was in all likelihood responsible, for Elisabeth Dure’s great surprise when Pedro came running towards her with a great rock in his hand. He was a strong man and he knocked her out cold, when he made contact with the right side of her face. The rock severed most of Elisabeth’s ear and she might have even been dead.
The duffel bag was in the back seat. Pedro opened it and checked the contents. He was happy with them because he zipped it back up and retired to the jeep. Pedro got back onto the paved road and sped away towards the horizon.
A Spanish looking man teed off at Beavercrest Golf Club.
“Good shot, Jesus!” Exclaimed the man standing to the side.
This man was very relaxed and enjoying this, because he bought a ticket for a concert in Las Vegas nearly two months ago, but it never occurred, (fraud he guessed), and playing golf was a very relaxing thing to do, and Cody did it often.
“Thank you.” Said the Spanish man. “Thank you Cody.” Jesus said again.