The Ultimate Hot Ticket
Ray made the call from the airport. When he got to LA Phil’s limo was waiting to meet him. It took him to directly to Phil’s house, and quite a house it was. There were twelve rooms, a pool and two landscaped acres with palm trees. It was on the right side of town all right.
After showing Ray to his room, the chauffeur gave him the tour and told him he had the run of the house. It was obvious that his friend had done all right for himself. So he finally decided to take up residence at the mirrored bar in the game room until Phil came home.
Ray gave some thought to his BS story, and knew exactly what he needed from Phil. So when his friend arrived and started to probe for the details of his plight, he quickly shut him down.
“Phil, I already gave it all the thought it needs on the plane. I just need your help to lay low for a while.” “For how long?” “I guess until the broad tells her old man the truth.” “That could take years, Ray. Maybe never.” “Yeah, that's a possibility all right. So what I really need Phil is some decent cold ID so I can get in the wind and move around.” “Let me see what you're using now, Ray?” He quickly handed over the phony license, social security card and MasterCard that his brother had sent him.
Phil studied them for a moment and said, “This is shit, Ray. It will fall apart in twenty seconds if you so much as get ticket for littering. You are definitely going need some good ID. In the meantime, you can stay here.” “What about the ID, can you help with that, Phil?” “I’m out of the business now, Ray, I’m completely legit. But I think my cousin can put you in touch with the right people.
He’s a powerful guy, with a lot of heavy resources. He’s the one who set me up in the software business, and floated me the money for Tony.” “Can I see him tomorrow?” “Sorry, Ray, you can’t see him at all. Let's have dinner and I’ll get in touch with him tomorrow."
The next day Ray just hung out at the pool, taking in the sun. When Phil came home that night, he gave Ray a number to call. “My cousin told me these people can get you validated ID.“ “What do mean validated ID?” “I mean a legit driver’s license, a valid license you can literally take to the bank.” “When I call, should I tell them your cousin referred me?” “No, don’t tell him anything. Just tell him an old friend of yours gave you the number. If the guy on the other end asks who, tell him it’s none of his business.” Won’t he dust me off.” “No, he’ll appreciate your silence. How are you fixed for money, Ray.” “Don’t need any right now.” “If you do, let me know.” “Yeah, I will Phil.” “I 'm taking my car to work tomorrow. If you need to go anywhere, the chauffeur will drive you around. Oh, and I told the household staff you’re my cousin Tom Howell from Phillie.”
Ray waited until ten the next morning to make the call. The voice on the end of the line just answered “Hello”. Ray didn’t introduce himself, he just replied, “I need some ID.” “What kind of ID?” “Driver’s license, social security card...the usual.” “Who gave you this number?” “None of your business.” “Okay, you got a pen?” “Yeah.” “This is your ID... 127-11P, keep that number in your wallet, you’re going to need it. Take this number down 971-6234. Now go out and buy a cell phone. Call that number from a pay phone tomorrow at three on the dot. Have the cell phone with you when you call. Goodbye.”
Ray immediately took Phil up on the chauffeur offer and went out to pick up the phone and some clothes. Afterwards he had the Chauffeur drive him through the bad side of town. When he saw what he was looking for he told the chauffeur to pull up in front of a sleazy bar.
The Chauffeur quickly warned, “I wouldn’t go in there Mr. Howell.” Ray just smiled, “You don’t have to Briggs, I’m going in. You just go home and be back in front of this place at four on the dot.” Briggs replied, “Sir, are you quite sure about this?” “Don’t worry about it. Four o’clock. Got it!”
It was a scary bar, all right,, and all the right bad guys were there, just like he had figured. Of course he was no stranger to such haunts. After all, this use to be his normal business surroundings. He quickly sat at the bar and ordered a beer. It only took him a minute or two sort out the characters with his eyes, and find the guy he was looking for. Then he got the name from bartender and opened the conversation.
“Hey, Tikko, I want to talk to you.” Tikko threw him his bad look and strolled over. “Who the hell are you, man?” “I’m just a guy who needs something.” “What do you need?” Ray leaned over and whispered, “ A cold 45 with a loaded clip.”
Tikko pulled back and scanned him. Ray just opened his coat enough to flash the handle of a realistic looking toy gun he had just bought. Tikko caught the glimpse and smiled, “Why don’t we go back to my office were we can talk.” Ray ordered two beers and then took them with him to a booth in the back.
When they sat down, Tikko asked, “Who sent you?”“Nobody, I just got a last minute job to do and I don’t want to leave my personal property at the scene.” “Okay, so you need a clean gun. It’s going to cost you.” “How much?” “A grand, man.” “Let’s do it.” ‘You got the dough on you, now?” “What do you think?” “Okay, $500.00 now and the other $500.00 when I come back with the piece.”
Ray handed over five c notes. He wasn’t worried about getting ripped. He knew one way or the other Tikko, would be back for the other five.
Tikko gabbed the money and told him, “Okay, man. I got to go pick it up. I’ll be back in a half hour.” Just for insurance, Ray warned, “Don’t make this complicated, man. This is for a short notice hit, and if you f__k it up on me, I’ll blow your f__ckin head off. If I don’t, one of my associates will.” Tikko smiled, “Relax, man. Square deal. I’ll be back in a half hour with the merchandise.”
Ray stayed in the booth and had a couple beers delivered. Finally, Tikko returned and sat down in the booth facing him. Then he handed Ray a brown paper bag under the table. Ray looked inside and handed over the other five c notes. Friendly like, Tikko gave him a smile, “Thanks man, it’s a pleasure doing business with you. Can I buy you a drink?” Ray just cold stared him back and barked, “Now, get lost!”
Twenty minutes later Briggs arrived out front with the car, He quickly got out and opened the door for Ray.“Is everything all right Mr. Howell?” “Why it certainly is Briggs, Thank you for asking.”
When they got back to the house, Ray went into the kitchen and grabbed a plastic bag and some paper towels. From there he went up to his room and wiped the gun, its bullets and magazine clean. Then he put the loaded gun in the bag, took it outside, and hid it in the rafters of the shed.
When he got back to his room he just smiled to himself, “Yeah, I feel much better now.” You see, it had really been bothering him that he hadn’t been following his own advise. That advise of course was, “If you got a lot of money, you need a damn gun.”