the BURN CARD or PROLOGUE
Six Days before Sun. Jan. 10th
1:30 p.m. ~ Flamingo Casino, Las Vegas
5K is what she had left behind.
And the man saw something genuinely wrong with that.
Because – and according to him – a “working” girl doesn’t leave big money behind unless she is hiding something.
And that is what prompted the man to investigate, and he had been investigating for several months now, and so far he had come up empty handed until now as four men in their late 20’s dressed in snug hugging jeans, t-shirts, v-necks and slim fitting blazers – men, who without a doubt, have done their fair share of muscling – walked into the hotel suite of their Boss who was sitting on one of the two oversized loveseats; Remi Martin in hand, his gaze glued to the stack still sitting untouched on top of the table where she had left it.
“Boss,” The head guard spoke.
“Yes?” The Boss nodded, wetting his lips; thinking how Remi was losing its touch.
“Brace yourself,” the guard admonished.
“Mmm-hmm,” the Boss agreed motioning for the guard to take a seat. The guard nodded and took to the edge of the sofa, to his Boss’s left.
“Her name is. . .Janie,” the guard staggered, stealing an anxious glance at the other three guards before settling a large manila envelope down onto the table in front of him.
“I’m listening,” the Boss reminded as he settled his empty glass of Remi onto the table and picked up the envelope. He peered inside for a moment. Satisfied, he put the envelope back down, crossed a leg over the other and waited. The guard nodded and straightened out his blazer: it was basic black and tailored to his athletic build. Nothing compared to his Boss’s three piece open blue coloured virgin wool suit. The guard cleared his throat.
“Janie Ray Ka – ”
“Hold up!” the Boss tossed up a quick hand thus forcing his head guard to still his tongue and listen, particularly as he chuckled in slight disbelief. “Do not tell me her last name just so happens to be Kasa, because if you do, Angelo. . .” and the Boss’s threat trailed off with a shake of his head.
“It’s Kasa, Boss,” the head guard Angelo confirmed despite the minimal threat as he had had his fair share of threats – some more extreme than others. Angelo’s Boss grunted. “Janie Ray Kasa-Diamond.”
“Goddamn it, Angelo!” The Boss then bellowed as his body shifted to the edge of his seat in a fit of rage. “Roman-fucking-Ryan-Diamond, Angelo?!” Angelo took a deep breath and nodded, keeping to his composure while the other three guards shifted uncomfortably in theirs. “Are you saying she married that fucking preacher?!” Angelo shook his head.
“No, Boss. Roman Diamond is her father-in-law; she married Roman’s youngest son, Shane.”
“Well if that didn’t just break the Camel’s-fucking-back, Angelo! I mean,” the Boss agonized, “of all the fucking cunts in the world!” he then raved as his words scaled the four walls of the entire suite coercing the back of Angelo’s tiny neck hairs to stand on end. “So the bitch at the club was telling the truth about a Shane being married to a DiamonD when all along I thought she was just talking about her heartbreak out of her ass because she just wanted to talk! And I just so happened to be the fucking idiot who listened!”
“There’s something else you should know,” Angelo said suddenly, ignoring his Boss’s irate demeanor and clearing his throat uneasily.
“Jesus-fucking-Christ, Angelo,” the Boss then mustered as both his hands grasped onto both armrests to the loveseat. Angelo could see that not only was his Boss no more than two seconds away from ripping into the leather fabric he was also two seconds away from ripping into his throat as it was obvious that his Boss didn’t care to hear anything more. But the way Angelo saw it, his Boss needed to hear it. “DiamonD is The DiamonD’s Boss.”
Though Angelo was expecting for his Boss to slip into a blinding rage over the shocking news; news that even had shocked Angelo when he had found out – his Boss instead did the next best thing and kept to his silence. And when his Boss finally spoke, Angelo found that he wasn’t pleased to hear it.
“I want it to be known, Angelo that this isn’t exactly the news I wanted to hear. I just wanted to know who the girl was and move on. But knowing now who she is and where she comes from and what she commands unfortunately has put things into a conflicting perspective. Agreed?” Angelo stiffened a nod. “So with that stated, girl or not, it’s time to rid The DiamonD from Vegas,” the Boss concluded without further thought coercing Angelo to glance up at the other guards warily.
“Mickey, Jo-Jo. . .Ralphie, give us some room, huh,” Angelo said, motioning toward the doors.
“Sure, Ang,” Mickey obliged, motioning Jo-Jo and Ralphie to follow him.
Once the suite cleared, Angelo shifted his attention back to his Boss. “The DiamonD is well connected – ”
“That doesn’t mean a thing,” the Boss argued mildly.
“It means a thing when you stand to lose everything,” Angelo argued in return.
“Exactly whose side are you on?”
“I don’t mean to upset you, Uncle Sonny – ”
“Then don’t, nephew!”
“They. . .this DiamonD. . .has the majority of Hollywood under its command and in time, they will have all of Hollywood and it’s surroundings. Aside from that, they’re affiliated with Carmelo’s Royals; The Church-Lucado’s; the Monteagudo Cartel – who just took over another cartel, by the way – The K’Organizace – ”
“That’s only because they’re related,” Sonny attempted to argue but Angelo ignored him and continued.
“They’re moving into San Diego and they just got into bed with the L.A. Koreans. . .I mean, this is some serious shit, uncle.”
“It’s not “some serious shit”, nephew, it’s luck. . .Pure, and simple,” Sonny quoted.
“It’s not luck, uncle; I can assure you,” Angelo shielded. “It’s beyond that. It’s strategy.”
“Well regardless of how you see it, Angelo, I’m not about to back down. Las Vegas is my town. And I’ll be damned if I don’t defend it!”
“Not with what we have you won’t.”
“You need to have faith, nephew,” Sonny said tapping Angelo optimistically on his knee. Angelo said nothing. He just choked back his frustration and resorted to listening to his uncle instead since his uncle never listened to him or to reason. As far as Angelo was concerned, he thought it a great stupidity on his part for even thinking he could curb his uncle’s way of thinking; make him understand what was at stake. But regardless of how Angelo felt – like standing firm on his belief about losing this territorial war with The DiamonD – he loved his uncle and respected him and so he kept to his silence.
“So,” Sonny continued, “I’m to assume that they all became one big-fucking-happy-family then?”
“It appears so,” Angelo retorted.
“Well then, nephew, I think it’s about time to break that ‘big-fucking-happy-family’ apart then, what do you say, hmm?”
“If that’s the way you want it, uncle.”
“Hmm,” Sonny said tossing both hands aside and settling back into his seat. “Get Renteria on the private line.” Angelo nodded and picked up the burner cell from off the square glass table. He flipped open the receiver and dialed.
Yeah, Renteria answered on the second ring.
“Sonny’s on the line for you,” Angelo said turning the cell over to Sonny.
“How soon can you get to Hollywood?”
As soon as you give the order.
“Angelo will courier over the order. Expect him within the hour.”
I’ll start packing.
“Mmm-hmm,” Sonny said handing Angelo back the cell. Angelo flipped the receiver shut and settled it back down onto the table. Sonny poured himself another shot of Remi. “I hate to sacrifice her,” Sonny said almost regrettably after he had sipped his drink. “It’s almost a shame; she’s a beautiful girl.”
“But?” Angelo pressed picking up the manila envelope from off the table.
“But. . .,” Sonny sighed, swishing his drink around in the glass. “It’s high time Shane Diamond pay for his deception and DiamonD for hers.”
“And what of Viktor and Roman, hmm? Are you sure they won’t interfere, much less, retaliate?”
“They’re weak. They value family above all else. And that will be their downfall. They won’t need my personal war for that.”
“So, the Boss has flipped, huh?” Mickey stated presumptuously as he, Angelo, Jo-Jo and Ralphie headed toward the silver Navigator waiting curbside in front of the Flamingo. Angelo said nothing. “Damn!” Mickey retorted heatedly as he stole a glance over his shoulder at Jo-Jo and Ralphie who were following behind he and Angelo.
“Think Sonny can bluff The DiamonD into folding their hands despite our bankroll being nothin’ more than a bunch of grinders?” Jo-Jo said anxiously.
“Been playin’ much cards, have we now, Jo-Jo?’ Angelo winked at Jo-Jo as he opened the Navigator’s front passenger door. Mickey and Ralphie chuckled.
“Nope. Just tryin’ to slip a bit of Vegas poetry in there, Angie,” Jo-Jo sustained with a slip of a jab. Angelo shook his head and slid onto the passenger’s seat and closed the door.
“The Syntino Famiglia isn’t weak,” Angelo stated belatedly as he passed the large envelope to Ralphie from over his shoulder. “It’s just we haven’t had a territorial war in a few years so we’re just a little rough around the edges,” Angelo reminded as Mickey pulled the SUV from curbside.
“Is Sonny aware of that?” Ralphie asked as he sifted through The DiamonD photos with one particular photo catching his eye thus stirring his erection a bit. The photo he held was of DiamonD taken in a club a few nights back. She was wearing a skin tight party dress and sky high stilettos and she was gazing up at a table; Ralphie assuming that she was in search of someone. “She is quite the knock-out,” Ralphie mustered beneath a lengthy sigh as he slipped the photo of DiamonD back into the envelope. He figured that if he didn’t, he was liable to jack-off all over it.
“I’m sure he is and that she is,” Angelo said as he gazed out the passenger’s front window; nodding to a couple of pretty girls in sexy garbs – one of them blew him a kiss.
“Maybe you should get her number? See what else she blows!?” Jo-Jo joked from behind Angelo’s seat coercing Mickey and Ralphie to laugh.
“Yeah. Right, hmm?” Angelo retorted the least bit amused as he wasn’t interested in what the girl could blow only hoping that his uncle’s greed – accompanied by his obsessive pride – wouldn’t blow up in their faces. “Fuck!” Angelo then mustered as he already felt like they were all just that – fucked.
“Don’t stress about it, Ang,” Mickey supported after he had heard Angelo’s distressed sigh. “I’m sure that somewhere beneath that example is a plan of its own,” he then advised leaving Angelo to ponder on those words for a moment.
“I’m sure there is,” Angelo concluded as he turned away and stared back out the passenger’s window. The clouds were starting to darken; there was a big storm coming.