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Chapter 14

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Pure unobliterated Vegas

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Hardball Chapter 14-Vegas

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Bob and Emily touched down in the Nevada desert about 7:45 p.m. on Friday. Emily could think of only one thing:

A solid 15 hours to attack the tables until her mysterious meeting almost 24 hours away. Bringston liked to partake in a little gaming himself, but he couldn’t risk being outside very long in light of the extensive dragnet Marsh had on him. As Emily and Bob rode in the taxi together, they looked at each other with penetrating eyes. They often

smiled at each other as if to say, “I’m glad I’m here with you.” Although their hunger for each other was always

present, lust had little to do with these deep emotions. It was far beyond the physical attraction. It was trust,

friendship and loyalty. At this moment, the comfort and confidence in the competence and courage of this particular partnership was more important than any pleasures of the flesh. Those strong sexual urges did surface randomly.

They glanced at each other curiously but knew that their respective physical impulses would have to be tempered during the Vegas mission. Engaging in a sexual encounter

and putting themselves in such a vulnerable position was too high of a security risk. Though they knew it would be

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temporarily unfulfilled, the primal attraction they had for one another created a warmth emanating from deep within them. Despite these blossoming biological forces, Bob and Emily composed themselves in preparation of their mission and protecting each other from the inevitable dangers ahead. The trust in each other was well imbedded into It was as inspiring as it was

their minds and souls. comforting.

They checked in at the Golden Nugget in downtown Vegas. They thought it best to get the 2-bedroom It would be hard enough to resist each

Presidential suite.

other in the same hotel room, but impossible sleeping in the same bedroom. The suite would make the highest of royalty feel comfortable. They opened the tall double

doors to a spectacular foyer and walked on to a polished white tile floor with gold strands scattered throughout. The walls were trimmed with gold crown molding around the perimeter of this 1,150 square foot opulent enclave and smartly decorated with fine art that would be the envy of any collector. The sunken den was fully equipped with a

large stereo system and built-in speakers throughout the suite, a big screen satellite TV and a sofa, thick in leather, deep in comfort, winding around half the perimeter of the lowered room.

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High above this already erotic ensemble was a ceiling with a unique added feature. With the mere flick of a

switch, the guest could choose an outdoor fantasy of a graphic depiction of all 9 planets of the Solar System, or a bright orange field of California poppies beneath a glistening Western afternoon sky across which was a freshly formed rainbow. “What do ya say, baby, planets or poppies?” Bob asked in a playful, yet firmly masculine manner. As Emily’s ovaries and her thirst for adventure took control of her body, any tension she had suddenly disappeared. The stress and high security of the situation In fact, the threat of

didn’t seem to bother them much.

death hovering over them seemed to heighten the sexual excitement. “I say that I already hit the jackpot with you,” she said with a sultry smile. Bob returned a warm grin of confidence. But he was

still tight and just couldn’t relax with the pressure of the mission on his mind. Once the two touched, they were physically inseparable for the next 2 hours. It was as if

they were making love for the last time. During most of this time, pretty much every opening on each of their bodies was entered, or otherwise explored. They were

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aggressively searching to connect to the soul of their partner as deep and wide as possible. As, Emily rubbed Bob’s shoulders, the feeling in her thumbs of a muscle or gland beneath the surface of his neck, unexplainably moistened the area between her thighs. It must have been a gland she touched as it prompted Bob into a state of total relaxation and made his masculinity fully surface. That biological phenomenon along with

raging hormones, blood and other fluids of all kinds racing throughout his body, blasted him into full male arousal. It was an island of firmness surrounded by a sea of calmness over the rest of his body. She inspired him to delve deep into her body and soul to unleash a most magnificent female. A woman even Emily

never knew existed. Together, they reached heights of sexual pleasure experienced only by genuinely caring couples. Those whose only real pleasure is realized when

the enjoyment of their partner is confirmed. Judging from their moans, screams and language, they each reached a level of gratification few have ever seen. Making love to Emily was the ultimate boost of confidence for Bob. Any doubts he had about the success of He was focused and ready to do

the mission had vanished.

whatever it took to fight his enemies, present or

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potential. Their physical and metaphysical merger was just the medicine each of them needed. About half past

midnight, they both fell into a most peaceful sleep. For Emily, though, three some-odd hours of sleep was just about right. Especially for a hard-driven, success-oriented

person like her and particularly when that dynamic female is in Vegas. She thought, though, maybe she shouldn’t get up to go downstairs so as not to awaken Bob. “Fuck it,” she thought, “There must be some reason I woke up at 6:30. a note.” She quietly rolled over and hopped out of the large circular bed. Even as she slid out of bed, Emily did so I’ll move around carefully and write him

with style and grace. She peered out the window and saw what looked like a rainbow to the south. She soon realized it was the multicolored lights from the Strip about a mile away reflecting off the clouds in the dawn sky. She was wearing a see-through nightshirt, which covered her about to the mid-thigh. Though so scantily dressed, she softly Sunrise was imminent. Sunrays

ventured out onto the patio.

bursting from behind the Sierra Nevadas formed laser-like streaks glistening along the top and across a large section of the vast mountain range. She looked to the south and in the distance saw the mega hotel-casinos on the Strip.

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“Some great places to eat and great shopping,” she contemplated, “but the only really cool crap games are Downtown.” She dashed back into the room and took a brisk, but thorough shower. She slipped into a pair of tight blue Guess jeans, a loose-fitting red, white and mostly navy blue cotton knit Tommy Hilfiger blouse and a pair of Prado blue suede loafers. As she entered the elevator on the top floor, she looked as if she was preparing for war. As her

fiercely competitive mind saw it, those friendly flakes running the games down there are focused solely on emptying as much of her pocket as possible. Her mission was to not only defend her wallet but to make it grow in the midst of a highly distractive atmosphere including loud music and other obnoxious noises like those from computerized gaming devices. The biggest distraction though, was the sometimes rather attractive men running the dice game who intentionally or otherwise, diverted her from her goal of protecting and expanding her pocketbook. Sure she could afford to lose a few grand but hated to lose at anything and this war fantasy was instrumental in her motivation. Though she knew her life could be put in danger at any moment, she just had to take the chance and play her little

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She did not, however, lose sight of

Although Marsh may not have known of Emily

previously, his massive investigative forces could have already revealed her. For all she knew, Joe may have been

forced to inform Marsh as to their planned Vegas meeting and her involvement. potential enemy. As the elevator car, occupied solely by Emily, descended from the 11th Floor, she noticed that it did not stop on the 10th and appeared to be building up speed through Number 9. Emily was counting on not stopping She hated elevators and was She trusted no one. Everyone was a

before getting to the bottom.

only using one now because she sprained her ankle while doing aerobic exercises. Her claustrophobic condition neared catastrophe whenever a crowd crammed into her car. This time though, it sailed straight past 8 headed, she hoped, non-stop to the ground. Suddenly, it stopped at 7. The door stayed open for a few seconds. Nobody entered.

The doors started to close when a large male hand suddenly emerged around the edge of one of the doors. The man pushed the door back open and walked in. He was about 50 with a

chiseled white face, crew cut, blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. He was dressed in a black suit, white shirt and Emily’s experience told her he was a cop.

thin black tie.

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Hopefully, she thought, not a federal officer or otherwise connected to Marsh. As they caught each other’s eye, Emily’s smile was returned with a cold, stone face and then the man just looked up at the floor indicator. Her chronic claustrophobic condition made her uneasy in the tightly closed quarters of the elevator car. It He

seemed to be taking forever to reach the bottom floor. abruptly reached for his inside coat pocket.

Emily gasped

ever so faintly and for a second or two and seriously considered making a move for the gun resting against her ankle. She realized she would not have to when she

observed the hand held computer the guy pulled from his pocket. Noticing the obviously startled look on Emily’s face, the man finally broke a smile. “Hotel security ma’m,

just keeping an eye on things,” he said as he entered security status information into his computer. Emily released a sigh of relief. What she first

thought was her first life or death encounter turned out to be a harmless private security check. to relax at the crap table. The dice were brutal. about 9, she lost over $500. lunchtime. By the time Bob paged her at She dropped another 300 by Now, she was ready

She had only $400 of her self-allotted gambling

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money left. She was not going to let the casino take her last few dollars. “I’m going to cool off at the pool, babe,” she told Bob on the phone. As enticing the prospect of seeing Emily in a bikini was, Bringston could not risk going out in public until it was absolutely necessary. He knew that at this very

moment, Marsh was working furiously to track him down. He had a sinking feeling in his gut that Marsh knew he was in Vegas. His premonition was right. Marsh had learned of the

Hanrahan meeting as a result of his World Wide Web monitors. During the last several weeks, men and women on

his staff had been closely watching all net activity by government employees, especially lawyers and other highranking agents. It was people in those positions most Joe

likely to have been in contact with Bringston. Hanrahan was one of those monitored.

The transcript of the

initial web dialogue between Emily and Joe was revealing enough as to the subject of the meeting. The chat between

the two did not last long enough for a trace to Emily. Besides, as a criminal defense lawyer, Sanchez took no shortcuts in equipping her computer system with the most cutting edge firewalls and other security devices. The

identity of Sanchez was not at all revealed by Hanrahan.

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Marsh was not surprised Hanrahan would not be one to cooperate. For years, Joe Hanrahan had been nothing but a He knew Hanrahan not only had the

thorn in Marsh’s side.

information to bring his operations to a grinding halt, but also had the courageous, independent mind to go public at any moment with what he knew. Thus, one of the major reasons for Marsh’s success. He had an uncanny ability to

respect his opponents for their strong points and take advantage of their weaknesses. part of Victor’s vocabulary. were. Preventing Hanrahan from going to the Vegas meeting was easy enough for someone like Marsh. He simply had a Hate and revenge were not Anticipation and preparation

briefcase full of hi-grade cocaine planted in Joe’s government issued car and promptly had 2 of his insider DEA agents arrest him en route to the airport from his office. He would have done the same to Bob and Ron long ago, but Bringston knew he was being pursued and had been able to elude Marsh up to this point. In addition, up to this point, Marsh wanted to continue to give Bringston more rope before pouncing on him. Marsh knew the case may not stick

but the arrest would certainly delay Hanrahan enough to make him miss the meeting, even if he was able to post the

Hardball prohibitively high bail. time to take him in.

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No more slack for Bob.

On the way down to the meeting, Emily and Bob stopped at the hotel gift shop for some soda. Bringston turned She would As strange

back towards the casino and Emily stopped him. never walk that way to a Binion’s dice table.

as it may be, the highly intelligent and independent Emily had a few superstitions and this was one of them. “No Bobby, we have to approach the table from the sidewalk. I’m not shooting any more dice tonight, but

that’s my lucky route and I want all the positive karma I can get,” she warned. As they took the short walk towards the crap table, Emily caught one of her heels on a wide crack in the sidewalk. The four-inch heel broke in half vertically

leaving her with a half side of her heel still attached to the shoe and a loose half. route. “Shit,” she exclaimed. “Maybe I can glue this when I Maybe this wasn’t such a lucky

get back,” she said as she put the sharp-ended, wooden half heel in her right coat pocket. Bob and Emily arrived at the famed Binion’s crap table a little before 7. in Downtown Vegas. It was the typical sea of pure people At 7:15, Emily was getting anxious. It

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was not like Joe to be late and certainly not for an appointment as crucial as this one. As a result of Bringston’s surprise DEA office visit and their confrontation months ago with the crooked cop in Arizona, Marsh was already aware of Bringston and Rosenberg. Up to this point, he hasn’t quite located them at Emily’s office and he’s had only a general idea of their movements. Now,

for the first time he knows exactly where they will be. He sent two DEA cronies to Vegas to get Bringston. At this A

point, Emily had still not been identified or detected.

few minutes later, the two corrupt federal cops approached Bob. They flashed their federal badges at him. “Robert C. Bringston?” “Who wants to know?” Bringston snapped back. “Mr. Bringston, we know who you are. Drug Enforcement Administration. We’re from the

You’re under arrest for

aiding and abetting in the trafficking of narcotics,” one of the feds informed him. “You must be out of your mind. boss are the drug traffickers. You and your fucking

You don’t arrest me, I

arrest you,” Bob screamed as a number of heads turned. Emily was casually observing the crap game at the other end of the table and at the sound of Bob screaming

Hardball walked over. Bringston. “Com’on Bob.

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The two goons had no idea she was with

Now just cooperate. Let me search you

and we’ll take a quick ride to the nearby federal building.” “You’re not taking me on any rides without my lawyer, pally,” Bob firmly stated. “All right, sir, we’ll have to do this the hard way then,” warned the federal cop as he motioned for his large partner to take him into custody. The bigger federal agent took Bringston by the right arm and was about to place Bob in handcuffs. Just then

Sanchez intervened, but not with any words. Emily’s devotion to aerobic dancing combined with her federal officer training sure came in handy here. She delivered a

vicious blow to the big guy who had just begun to take Bob into custody. The menacing mobster seemed to melt as

Sanchez landed just one punch to a crucial pressure point on the body where the back of the jaw meets the neck. other fed was not able to get his gun before Emily delivered a lightning fast drop kick to his gonads. “Go get the car Bobby. Nugget.” Bob hesitated to leave Emily alone. His protective On the other Meet me in front of the The

instincts were preventing him from leaving.

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hand, Sanchez seemed to have the situation well in hand. One guy took a nasty blow to the balls and the other was the target of a strategic pressure point punch and looked like he’ll be out for some time. He ran for the car. The one who took the shot in the groin, though, was still up, albeit kneeled over in excruciating pain. She had to think fast. guy. She couldn’t use her gun to get rid of this She felt two odd

It would draw even more attention.

but useful items in her right flannel coat pocket: a roll of 20 silver dollars and the sharp piece of wooden heel that broke off of her shoe a few minutes ago. The fed had his back to the sidewalk side of the crap table. He was still in a state of throbbing pain in a

sensitive area, but seemed to be on his way to a quick recovery. Emily pulled out the silver dollar stack, held

it tightly in her fist and gave the guy a winning uppercut directly to the chin. He was thrown back with such force,

he burst through two crap players, landing dead center on the table. The shooter had just released the dice which

flew over the beaten fed’s body as he lay barely conscious on the table. “Seven out, no nine, line away,” said the stickman. By this time, casino security had surrounded the table not knowing at this juncture who was involved in this

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violent confrontation. Whether it be an earthquake, a riot or the collapse of a player or dealer, there are few catastrophes that will bring a Vegas crap game to a halt. The security staff was about to remove the pain stricken, motionless federal officer from the table so that the game could resume. The steady flow of blood from the gaping

wound on his chin left a dark crimson circle of blood in the hardways section of the crap table. So much blood had

soaked the velvet green of the table, the only parts of the red dice pictured in the canvas were the white dots. She grasped the broken, sharp heel tightly in her right hand. The competitive and survival instincts of

Sanchez were telling her to kill the stricken fed laying helplessly on the crap table. the first time she killed. She hesitated. It would be

This was not a clear scenario By the time

of self-defense or defusing a definite threat.

these guys recuperate, she and Bob will be well out of Vegas. Before she could decide what to do, the other guy she first quieted somehow recovered. As he snuck up to Emily

from behind and grabbed her, she quickly reacted with an aggressive right elbow to the gut. He was winded and She drove the

keeled over and Emily now had no choice.

broken sharp wooden heel deep into the side of the goon’s

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neck who immediately collapsed to the floor.

to have a real knack for striking key points of the human body. Judging from the blood gushing out of the cavity in

his neck like water from a broken fire hydrant on some urban street, Emily must have severed the jugular or other major blood vessel. She grabbed her few hundred dollars

of remaining gaming chips and tossed them out to the center of the table. As much as she loved those shoes, she got Her refurbishing project would have to

rid of those too. be abandoned.

“Sorry for the mess boys,” Emily said. The pit boss and the rest of the gaming and security personnel had a look of utter horror on their faces. The

players that didn’t scramble away in a panic were frozen with fear. No one dared to challenge Emily as she raced

barefoot across the busy street where she met Bob awaiting her in the car. They had to get back to L.A., but knew it would be unsafe to fly. They were also aware that their

car was probably, by now, the most infamous in the state of Nevada. They abandoned the car, and hailed a taxi. They

paged Ron from a pay phone and added 3 numerals to the Vegas pay phone number they had entered, “777”. According

to the pager code devised by Bringston, this was the highest of security codes. The team member receiving this

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page was to immediately vacate Emily’s Hollywood office and call the entered number back from a public pay phone as far away from the office as was practical. When Ron called back, Bob told him what happened and that he must stay away from the Sanchez law office. “There on to us big time, buddy. get out of Nevada.” Bob informed him. We’ll be lucky to

“I knew you guys would have all the fun. I’ll catch the first flight out to help you,” Ron said desperately, even though he knew how impractical a proposition that was. “No, you’re staying right there, pally,” Bringston snapped back. But not in Hollywood. If Marsh doesn’t

already know exactly where Emily’s office is, he soon will. You need to find a safe place to stay, somewhere else in the city.” “How’ bout the Lowes Santa Monica Hotel? safe to me,” Ron chuckled. “Nah, too insecure. I know just the place. A longThat sounds

time business associate and friend has a well-secluded house in Encino. The address is 3939 Oak View Dr. Go

straight to that location ” Bob instructed Ron. The certainty in his voice gave Ron the confidence that things would somehow work out. and headed to the Valley. He packed his things

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