Written for NYC Midnight Flash Fiction; 1000 words/48 hours.
Prompts: crime caper/a hotel car park/sleeping pill.
Paul caught his reflection in the back window of the battered Ford. He’d had black eyes before. No big deal. He rubbed his tender jaw. Expensive dental work would soon be no issue.
He reached in and checked the glove compartment again. The fake I.D.s and plane tickets were of course, still there.
He should have taken care of it the night before. They should already be on their way to the airport, laughing and looking forward to the future.
With the Worthington diamond.
He tugged on the leash, but the small dog continued urinating on his tyre. Paul slumped against the side of the car, the inglorious night before fresh in his mind.
Fast acting sleeping pills crushed into her dessert. The gluttonous Mrs. Worthington feeling faint. And the waiter and maid heroically being there to “assist her back to her room.” The lump of lard would be snoring her head off while he and Yvette casually sauntered out with the priceless necklace. With that chunky strand of pearls around her flabby neck, the woman may not even notice the diamond gone.
But he should have put the pills in one of the other five courses. For Mrs. Worthington succumbed to the pleading eyes of Mitzi, her equally rotund Maltese Terrier, and the little bowling ball with fur lapped at the chocolate ice cream with gusto.
“Noooooooooooo!” Paul dashed to the table, bending low to snatch the dog away from the bowl with the flair expected of a Palazzo waiter.
“Ch-chocolate is dangerous for dogs Madam.” To prove his point, Mitzi slipped into a coma.
Mrs. Worthington mistook the waiter’s watery eyes for canine concern and rose as quickly as size allowed. The dining table cannoned into Paul’s head, cracking an eye socket and loosening teeth.
Yvette, seeing opportunity in the confusion, dashed in to “help”, but slid in the spilt dinner drinks and suddenly found herself wedged face first in the woman’s fathomless cleavage.
Her attempt to sound sympathetic was muffled in the abundant flesh and sounded more like contented grazing.
Mrs. Worthington seemed to appreciate the concern anyway.
“Above and beyond the call of duty,” she remarked.
Later in the night, Paul lurked in an alcove near the woman’s room while Yvette triggered the fire alarm. Guests stumbled past, opting, as he’d hoped, for self preservation over material possessions.
He emerged from his hiding spot, just in time to encounter Mrs. Worthington, clutching Mitzi, at a full gallop. She collected the lightly framed waiter like a bug on a windscreen, engulfing him and riding him toboggan style down the opulent hallway as though she were at Aspen.
They eventually ground to a halt; Mrs. Worthington stunned but spared further injury by Paul’s obligingly cracked ribs. The diamond cruelly swung millimetres from his face, but her girth pinned his arms. It took a moment for Paul to realise that not only was Mitzi well rested, but male.
He humped away happily at Paul’s unprotected head.
“This time below and beyond,” laughed Mrs. Worthington when she came to.
Now Yvette was their last hope.
“She must take it off to wash” Paul had reasoned. “I’ll offer to walk the stupid dog while she gets ready.”
Mrs. Worthington would be ending her traditional week’s stay this morning, and Yvette begrudgingly accepted this final chance.
Now there she was, spinning out of the Palazzo’s revolving door.
Yvette staggered toward him.
He dropped the dog leash and ran to her.
“You bastard!” she hissed.
Her slap was just as vicious, ensuring Paul would resemble a racoon more than the picture on the fake I.D.
“What happened? Didn’t you get it?”
“Oh I got it all right,” sneered Yvette, fixing him with a hateful stare. “I used my key to let myself into her room, like you said. But there was no sign of the necklace, so I crept into the bathroom.”
“It was so steamy I figured I could find the diamond. Get out before she knew what had happened.”
Yvette shivered, despite the warm morning.
“Mrs. Worthington opened the cubicle door and saw me.”
“What the hell did you do?”
“I gave her a Palazzo smile and offered her a towel.”
“She pulled me into the shower. Where I learnt two things. That Mrs. Worthington is used to getting her own way. And that there’s probably no Mr. Worthington.”
“Oh you poor..”
“Don’t touch me!” screeched Yvette.
She was still trembling when the limousine pulled up next to them. Mitzi gleefully scrambled into the open back door and onto the lap of his owner.
“There you are!” announced a delighted Mrs. Worthington. “You two really are wonderful.”
She unclipped the string of pearls and casually dropped them into their hands.
“A small token of my appreciation.”
She winked at Yvette. “Above and beyond.”
Mitzi appeared to shoot Paul a wink as well. His swollen eyes couldn’t be sure.
As the limo pulled away, they struggled for the pearls. Yvette demanded them as compensation but Paul refused to come out empty handed. They wrestled each other to the ground, where the strand gave way. Horrified, they watched as the pearls, funnelled by the angled drain, marched briskly away like a line of soldiers before plopping one by one through a grate and into the sewer below.
Paul tore off the cover, and with a primordial scream plunged headlong into the muck. He rose sludge covered and triumphant fifteen minutes later, grinning up at Yvette with a single pearl.
The driver held open the door and Mrs. Worthington struggled out of the back seat. “None of my business of course Madam, but should you have given your pearls to those people?”
“Those? Fakes, my dear. I sold the originals last year. You don’t get rich giving away real ones, sweetie.”
Pulling her dress from her butt crack, she carried Mitzi toward the beaming smiles of the cruise ship staff.
“You wouldn’t get ten bucks for the lot!” she laughed.