“Gregory Slickson?” Cat asked.
“That’s right,” he said.
Who the hell is Gregory Slickson?
“Sorry, but we don’t know you,” Cat replied.
“No… that’s a given,” the man said, “if you did you wouldn’t have taken that case from Mr. Oasis.”
Mr.? He was talking about Salvatore Oasis, Sal. Shit! How could he know about Sal.
“We really don’t know what you’re talking about,” I muscled out of my tired jaw. Despite being bound to this chair by all these ropes, I was tired from sitting. It was so hot. I was sweating profusely.
“Planning on going on a trip?” Slickson asked as he dumped out Cat’s suitcase, towels and bikini top strings tumbled to the floor. Taking a moment, Slickson bent to the ground and picked up a bright lime color bikini top and rubbed the cup as if he were rubbing one of our bare breasts, staring down at his hand as if he were taking part in some perverted fantasy.
“The warehouse is empty. Go ahead. Look around,” Slickson calmly said, tilting his head in every direction. The building we were in, this warehouse, was enormous. I had a difficult time seeing to either end of it, although the cold sweat running down my forehead and burning my eyes didn’t help with that.
“Feel free to scream or do whatever it is you want to do because no one will be able to hear you. There isn’t anyone breathing within 45 miles that isn’t on my payroll.” While Slickson was saying these words he started unfolding Cat’s beach towels and he began spreading them on the ground. “I like vacations too,” Slickson said in a strange tone.
“Which one of you brought the tanning oil? I could really use some. Which one of you will volunteer to rub it on me?”
Was he serious? Was he seriously asking us this? He couldn’t be serious. I looked over at Cat and she was tied up just as tightly as I was, her sweat was falling from her brow just as much as mine. She looked weak, although I could tell she was trying to look strong the best she could.
The entire warehouse was dark and desolate, but for the lights that shined in from the numerous windows riddling the walls. I couldn’t see out of a single window, however. They all look desperately far away from us.
“Here’s the oil!” Slickson said with glee, “I found it!” Reminding me of a little kid, carefully placing the bottle on the ground next to one of the towels he had laid out, the towel he was now sitting on. “So, ladies… let’s get to the brass tax. I can’t imagine either of you enjoy being tied up, but it’s not that bad. My cousin Harold was pinched once, for a crime he didn’t commit. He served three years in a box, three hours in a chair isn’t so bad.”
“What the fuck do you want!?!” Cat screamed, tears uncontrollably rushing down her face like an irrigated stream.
“And that’s the $300,000 question!” Slickson announced as if hosting a game show.
How does he know about our last boost? Cat and I already secured the cash, bundled in thirty $10,000 stacks, locking it in one of the secure safes we installed at a property Cat controlled as a realtor. We kept all of our money hidden in private safes across a multitude of properties. This last take took us over a million each.
“That suitcase you ladies took belongs to a friend of my father, and he’d like it back,” Slickson casually said while brushing his thumb across his short boxed beard.
“Where are we?” I muttered, unable to remember how we had been captured or anything about being tied to these chairs.
“Good. So you remember why we are here, my Father’s friend, Sal.” Before I could start shaking my head so that he’d recognize me refuting him, he already started walking towards Cat.
“You know Sal, don’t you darling? You’re the one who gained access to his personal vault. I must say, very impressive. It only took you what, 2 or 3 months from the day you met him to fuck him, get him to start renting another place on the side for the two of you, before you caught him slipping up and was able to swindle him out $300,000?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Cat said in a terrified tone.
“That’s right, before you ‘serendipitously’ bumped into him, you were actively stalking him for 3 months, Is that better? Are you beginning to understand my reach? Let me be clear, before you were sure he was even a target, we were targeting you.”
“Not close enough,” Cat coyly replied back, “you still have no idea where we have it, do you?”
You fucking idiot, was the lone phrase soaring through my head. My mouth opened to stop her, but I was too shocked to let any sort of sound escape.
“Have what?” Slickson quickly interjected.
“Stop playing stupid, the $300,000 we stole from Sal! Obviously you know,” Cat said without prudence or foresight.
“And thank you for confirming it.” Slickson clapped his hand as if announcing a winner, his head spinning towards me he stopped and made eye contact with me, pointing his finger directly at me said, “You’re the brains, I presume?”
I just stared at Slickson as he approached me. His dark blue suit with light blue pin stripes made him look taller than he was, although he probably stood around six-foot three inches. His hair was dark, but he had light highlights, and it looked like he almost walked out of a salon. His skin was slightly tanned and his eyes were an ice cold blue.
His beard and mustache looked well groomed and the light blue shirt underneath his suit coat looked very expensive, his tie shining brightly with silver and blue colors.
“While you ladies were busy dodging street cameras and the authority, you’ve managed to catch our attention for quite some time. It’s ironic really.” Slickson said all of this with an amused smile, slowly approaching me bound in this tight chair. I was bound too tight to struggle. I just sat silently and listened to him.
“From our estimations your little operation has cleared more than half a million dollars in the last two years, this last venture being your biggest take.” He quickly turned his head to look at Cat, “that duffel bag you smuggled out of Sal’s hotel room had $300,000 in it,” and then he turned back around and stared at me, a few feet from my face.
“We would have caught you both en route if it hadn’t been for that 3rd vehicle switch. That was rather brilliant.” I couldn’t help it, when I heard his complimentary words I must have smiled. Slickson’s long arms reached out for me and his hands gripped my neck. “Are you two sisters or something? You know each other so well.”
He let go of my throat and I began coughing. I heard Cat screaming and yelling at him in the background, but I was unable to focus on what she was saying. “So you met in college,” his mouth said inches away from my lips. “That’s sweet, two college girls gone bad. There’s a video series in there somewhere.”
“That money you stole belongs to my father’s operation, and, we’ll want a cut of the other half a million dollars you’ve made over the last two years and everything you make from this point on. In other words, we’re absorbing your franchise. Think of it like a merger.”
I just stared at him intensely. “But, I have to say,” Slickson continued, “your mouthy friend is right about something. We don’t know where the money is. We don’t know where any of it is. So, we’ll also want to take over your money stashing secrets as well, while we’re collecting the money you owe us. Now this might not seem like a choice, but of course you have a choice.”
“Either you tell us what we want to know,” he continued, “and give us the money you owe us, or” he pulled a smartphone out of his suit jacket and held it up to my face, “this is a message that gets anonymously turned into the feds.” Slickson played a highlight reel of the last four jobs we did, two of them had to do with stealing drug money from two Narcotics agents we were ‘dating.’ Some of the video showed our faces, a few of the cars we had rented, enough to easily help them identify us despite the fact that they occurred in different states.
“I know, I know,” Slickson continued, “you both thought you were slicker than you were. But, either you work for us or we turn you in. With all the charges that you’re looking at, you’ll both spend the next 10 to 20 years in prison, maybe longer. Of course, we have a third option. An option where you can keep the money you’ve already taken, including Sal’s money. I know, it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.”