He landed in Miami at 3:10am and immediately hopped on a puddle jumper for a very short flight to Key West. Lyndon was anxious to meet up with a guy named Jorge, his connection for the buyer of the stones. He thought a quick check-in and shower at his hotel was in order before striking out for the sunrise rendezvous. Lyndon looked down at the three drops of Axel’s blood on the right sleeve of his Armani jacket. It sickened him, he fought the urge to vomit. He thought it a strange dichotomy that he could basically perform an autopsy on someone, but the mere sight of blood or brain matter on his own person repulsed him so. Lyndon cursed himself for forgetting the rain slicker in his room at the W Hotel in Dallas. That damn disco music they piped in that place had thrown him off of his game. Didn’t they know that disco sucks?
Lyndon had been instructed to look for a black Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot of a butterfly conservatory, of all places, on Duval Street. His cab pulled to the side of the road about four blocks from the conservatory. “Are you sure you want to be left here buddy?” the cab driver asked. Yes, he replied, as he got out to walk the last length of distance. Lyndon was attacking the four blocks with delight, his Camper walking shoes were very comfortable and the color matched the leather band of his Cartier watch. Not many people would notice that, so few people had an eye for detail like him. In the distance he could see the black Jeep with a 20-something Hispanic male exiting the driver side.
Jorge patted Lyndon down for a quick weapons check. “Boss wants me to see the goods before you get in the Jeep.” Lyndon unzipped his fly exposing Calvin Klein boxer shorts with a wide-top elastic band. Through a small slit in the fabric, he grabbed a small piece of plastic and pulled quickly. The diamonds presented themselves in one long stream of clear plastic…he had hated ruining a perfectly nice set of boxers, but it had worked well going through airport security. Jorge grabbed a small, handheld radio from the seat of the Jeep and said something in Spanish. Lyndon spoke fluent French but had never bothered learning Spanish. He was thinking that would need to change if he stayed around the Keys long….or ever thought of taking a trip to the country closer to Key West than mainland America.
Jorge motioned for Lyndon to get in and the two men took off down Duval Street for what turned out to be all of a four-minute ride. “Why in the hell didn’t you just tell me to meet you here?” asked Lyndon, as the Jeep pulled up to the front door to the Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina Resort on Reynolds Street. He wasn’t so mad at the fact that he was given the run around, but at the fact that now he was not dressed appropriately for the Waldorf….he immediately started to feel uncomfortable. “Get out pretty boy….tell the front desk you are there to see Mr. Trujillo…the clerk will ask you for a password. You respond, papillion.” Lyndon exited the Jeep..this wasn’t going well….under-dressed and getting out of a piece of shit vehicle…he knew he should walk away, but the lure of the cash pulled him into the lobby of the five-star resort. No one here knows me, relax, no one here knows me.
Papillion, what the hell kind of game was Trujillo playing? The meet-cute at the butterfly conservatory, now the Spanish word for butterfly was his secret spy name for the Waldorf pukes working the front desk? Trujillo must have been watching too many late night movies,…why do rich guys have to always be so stupid? Lyndon was frisked for weapons again at the door to the suite and then led in to see his buyer.
Trujillo spoke, sounding like a bad imitation of Al Pacino in Scarface, he was a fan of movies thought Lyndon. “So Mr. Baines, give the stones to Mr. Kepler here.” Kepler, with a jeweler’s loupe on his left eye, squeezed the diamonds out of the length of plastic onto a felt square on the coffee table in front of him. He carefully inspected each stone, a result of his taking pride in his craft, or maybe the threat of the .45 pointed at his right temple by one of Trujillo’s goons. Kepler, the poor guy, was not a voluntary participant for this exchange.
Trujillo barked, “well, well….tell me you idiot, are they as pristine as promised??” Kepler, with shaking voice, responded affirmatively…they were the highest quality he had ever seen, perfection. “Please Mr. Trujillo, let me leave now and return to my wife…I won’t say a word about what has happened today.” The goon reached down and grabbed Kepler by the collar and led him out of the suite. Lyndon knew that poor slob was never making it home for dinner, his purpose in life was now complete. He didn’t fear death standing in front of Trujillo though…and was 100% sure he was going to walk out with 1.5 million in cash. Trujillo had sweetened the plot with a request of Lyndon to terminate one of his business competitors…Lyndon was happy to oblige the man. To him it was as if Trujillo had given him a bonus, a cherry on top of his biggest pay-day in life.
Getting into the cab at the Waldorf, tan duffel bag beside him, Lyndon was filled with hubris at a level that was even extraordinary for him. On the ride back to his hotel his mind wandered, his insatiable appetite was growing inside of him. His heart began to race as he plotted out the kill of someone named Randy Caufield. Somewhere on Key West…good old boy Randy was living it up. Probably throwing back shots of tequila while enjoying a lap dance…totally unaware that this was his last day on earth. That power, Lyndon’s solitary knowledge of the event that was going to take place that very night, was a better high than ecstasy or meth.
Now, with the nest egg that he had long wanted, he was free to explore the dark recesses of his mind and develop long seated fantasies. I am beautiful and I am rich he thought…nothing or no one can stop me now. The valet opened the door of the cab, “welcome back to The Gardens Mr. Delano.”
Franklin, about 4 hours later, was waking up from a nap in his hotel room. He sat up and turned on the television after calling down for room service. The local NBC affiliate was broadcasting a “breaking news” event. It seems that a well known jeweler had been the victim of a home invasion on the island. His wife had told the police that two men had kicked in their bedroom door and had drug her husband out of bed at about 2am that morning. The story was not about a home invasion/kidnapping however, it was about the jeweler’s murder. Kepler had been found in a field out by the Key West International Airport. Oddly, he was dead, but didn’t have a mark on him. The medical examiner would release the cause of death several days later. Kepler had died of asphyxia….a jeweler’s loupe was found in his throat, blocking his trachea.
I bet he didn’t see that coming, thought Franklin.