short story

The Finer Things (conclusion)

A couple of hours later, Jake pulled into the parking lot of the Travel Lodge motel on 185th Street and switched his engine and lights off. He was a little early, but he’d rather be early than late. Punctuality was critically important in any business. It was all about keeping your word.

He checked his watch in the light from one of the motel’s parking lot floods. It was ten minutes to 8:00. He leaned back in his seat and tried to relax.

He occupied himself by contemplating the eighteenth century maple wardrobe he’d found this afternoon at a little antique store on the Pacific Coast Highway. It would be the crowning touch to his bed room, and, at $2500 dollars, was a relative steal. He had asked the owner to hold it for him, but the owner could only promise twenty-four hours. At that price, it promised to go fairly quickly and he could only be asked to turn away so many cash carrying customers on the promise of a future sale.

Still, he felt that familiar feeling of satisfaction as he imagined it standing on the west wall of his bedroom.

Just before 8:00, two black BMW’s pulled into the parking lot and parked beside each other directly below Diane Cordova’s motel room.

Jake banished the image of the wardrobe from his mind, sat up in his seat, and pulled out his cell phone.

Two large black men in suits and ties climbed out of the first BMW. The driver paused to scan the parking lot. His eyes found Jake’s Jaguar and paused there. He nodded, just a quick gesture no one else would even notice, then joined his partner on the stairs to the second floor.

Jake dialed a number on his cell phone and pushed the button to send it.

Diane Cordova answered on the second ring.

“This is Jake Bremer,” he told her. “I’m on my way up to your room. Let me in.”

“Okay. Did you find out something.”

“We’ll talk in a minute,” he told her, then disconnected.

A few seconds later, the two men arrived at her motel door. One of them knocked. Miss Cordova quickly opened the door. Her surprise was immediate and complete. Within seconds, the two men had overpowered her, led her, barefoot and wearing only a tee shirt and athletic shorts, down the stairs, and placed her in the back seat of the BMW. One climbed in beside her, while the driver started the car and quickly drove away.

The entire operation had taken less than a minute.

As far a Jake could tell, he was the only person who had noticed anything.

The second BMW started, pulled out of its parking space and swung over to pull up beside Jake’s Jaguar, driver’s door to driver’s door.

Jake lowered his window.

The large man who had greeted him at Club Paradise sat behind the wheel. He nodded. “Mr. Bremer.”

Jake returned the nod.

He pulled a thick envelope from his inside jacket pocket and handed it to Jake. “Five grand. As promised.”

Jake slipped it into his own inside pocket without bothering to count the bills. It would all be there.

Without another word, the other man closed his window and drove out of the parking lot and disappeared into the night.

Jake switched on his own engine and drove out of the parking lot.

He felt a moment of regret. The lovely Ms. Cordova would probably be dead within twenty-four hours, as would her larcenous little brother. However, they had gotten themselves into the situation, hadn’t they? And Mr. Marcus Williams wasn’t the type to give up. They were as good as dead the minute Donny had walked away with that package of cocaine.

It had been just a matter of time.

Jake had just sped things up a bit.

Besides, when you like the finer things in life, it cost a lot of money to acquire them.

Someone had to pay for it.


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