Mick was sitting at a weathered Formica kitchen table in a single wide somewhere he could smell the ocean, with his hands cable-tied behind his back. He tried to shake off the hard, backhanded slap, touched the blood on the corner of his lip with his tongue. “Goddammit I told you. I don’t know anybody named Bumble Bee. Why is that so fucking hard for you understand? There. Is. No. Bumble Bee.”
Cletus started to backhand Mick again, Orrin caught his arm mid-flight. “Maybe it’s code.” He shifted his attention to Mick. “Who do you know has two million in a briefcase?”
“See?” Mick tried to focus his hangover and slapped silly glare on Cletus. “That’s a decent question. You should pay attention to the half of you with a brain. A Bumble Bee. With two million. That’s ridicu…Bobby! Bobby B, not Bumble Bee you fucking idiot. He’s got two mill in a briefcase, or he will have.”
Orrin raised his eyebrows at Cletus who was poised to smack Mick again. “You or that ho runs with your brother workin’ on goin’ deaf. Too many Stones’ concerts be my guess.”
“Can’t never be too many Stones’ concerts. Beach boy here be all fucked up an mumbly an shit, and the club’s loud. All that stripper disco, can’t hear shit in there. I told you to watch it about the Stones, man.”
“Mmmm. You hit the man like three, four times for nothin’. Mighta been co-operative early on had you known to ask him the right shit. Now you gonna have to go get him and us some breakfast.”
Mick was untied and rubbing his wrists when Cletus creaked the screen door open, stepped up into the trailer and dropped a white paper bag in the middle of the kitchen table. He set a tall to-go RaceTrac coffee in front of Mick. “Breakfast, your highnesses.”
Mick reached for the coffee, got his hand swatted.
“Nuh-uh.” Cletus checked Orrin on the far side of the table, got a nod. “Briefcase story first. Then you eat.”
Mick looked like he was slow roasting bare-assed over hot coals. He wiped the hangover and humidity sweat off his forehead with his shirttail, tried to think of a way not to sell out the FBI agents he’d overheard bitching about their assignment. He needed serious deniability when these two gomers and whatever their plan was went face first in the shitter.
“All I know is two security guards were going red ass on their boss for making them head out to Lafayette on New Year’s Eve to meet a charter on the first. A charter with the two hillbillies from my show on it. The first is today, if you’re keeping up.”
Orrin checked his phone. “The first it is. Chapter two?”
“All I know is Bobby B gets the two mill in a couple of days in Lafayette and takes it someplace.” He’d found a glare for Cletus. “Bumble Bee,” he muttered. “Christ on a fucking crutch. You two Einsteins need to go to Lafayette and figure the rest of it yourselves.” He dug a giant breakfast taquito and a napkin out of the bag, burned his split lip with the coffee.
Orrin threw a grease and oil smudged green duffel bag in the back seat of the Cutlass while Cletus checked the oil. “Phone says three and a half to Lafayette from Bolivar. Be there by noon. Even if they red-eyed outta L.A. no way they make it before three or four.” He opened the trunk, motioned for Mick, hands tied behind his back again, to get in.
“I’m not getting in there. If you’re going to kill me, do it.”
“You climb in like a good boy, hang your feet out and let me hook you up,” Orrin brandished a couple of large cable ties in Mick’s face. “Or Cletus can load your ass same as last night.”
“I said if you’re going to kill me –”
“Ain’t killin’ you no time soon, Mick. We don’t know what this Bobby the Bumble Bee or his bitch look like. You do us right an we get the money, we dump you somewhere. Alive. With some travelin’ cash maybe. You fuck us up, ‘coons be eaten parts of you out of a dumpster off I-10 somewhere ‘round Lake Charles.”
“Bobby and Bernie. They’re on my show.” Mick’s voice had gone up an octave, and his face was getting red. “You’ve seen them. You don’t need me.”
“Me an Cletus, we work on cars, we don’t watch Beach Boy motherfuckers work on cars on the TV. Be like Arnold Palmer watchin’ golf or some shit. Shut up, get in.”
Bernie knocked on Bobby’s door at the Lafayette Best Western, slipped past him the second he opened it, dumped half a pizza wrapped in a hand towel out of her purse and onto the bed. He started to say something, she put a finger on his lips.
“Shhh. I ordered us a deep-dish pizza.”
“That’s not deep –”
“Shhh. I stopped the delivery kid, tipped him five and said ‘thanks’. I left the box in front of the room it was going to, knocked, and ran away.”
“You stole somebody’s –”
“Shhh!” She made finger quotes. “‘Pizza’ is coming. All the way from Port Barre. The FBI asks, I was hungry for a slice of home.” She grabbed a piece of pizza off his bed, took a huge bite, wiggled her fingers at the towel. “Eat,” she mumbled through the pizza. “So we have crusts to prove it.”
“Thank you.” Bernie smiled at the swamp rough, long-haired, long-bearded pizza delivery guy in overalls.
“No ma’am,” he smiled back bigger than he should have, tipped his distressed Dale Ernhardt Valvoline cap. “Thank you.” He dropped his chin in a slight nod, closed the door without making a sound.
“You didn’t pay him. Or tip him.” Bobby checked the Port Barre gas station pizza box. “They’ll give him a raft of shit, coming all the way –”
“Not a problem.” Bernie flipped the deep-dish pizza box open, pulled out what looked like an oversized pistol, shoved one of at least a half-dozen clips into it.
“Holy shit, Bern. What the hell?”
“Beretta. PMX. Nine hundred rounds a minute of pure badass.” She flipped the stock open from the side, pointed the PMX at the ceiling, pumped her arm. “Ohhh, baby.”
Bobby saw all their work together swirling the bowl, Bernie getting both of them killed in a stupid robbery attempt.
“Look, Bern. If you want the money, wait till I have it and it’s yours. You don’t have to –”
“If I’d wanted the money I would have put one in that pineapple pizza thieving FBI man’s ear back in L.A. when he handed me my Ruger back, taken thirty cents on the dollar for money I could run with. What’s that, six hundred grand? For killing a senior FBI agent? No way. This baby,” she hefted the Berreta again. “She’s insurance. I trust our two pissy FBI escorts about as much as I trust the government they work for. Micro filament wired or not, two million of the FBI’s dollars turned loose for a run across the bayou with our disposable little ol’ coonasses says one thing and one thing only to me.”
“And that one thing only means you need a pocket machine gun?”
“Yep.” She popped the clip from the Beretta, tossed it in the pizza box, looked him in the eye. “You and me and that two million dollars?” She waved the Beretta back and forth between them. “We’re headed for a rendezvous with a world of shit.”