Though not my first time in a casino, it was one of the first times, and all the previous times I stayed and played the slots near the doors. As with most casinos, this one was designed to draw you in, and keep you distracted. Looking around at all the lights and colours, I was a little daunted. Walking deeper into the building I was shocked at the size of it.
I knew Karl was somewhere in the building, but to find him could be like finding a needle in a haystack. I just hoped he was playing the craps table like he usually was.
By sheer luck I found him. While I searched for the craps table, I heard Karl call out in glee. I followed the sound of his voice, which led to the roulette tables.
Karl stood at the end of a table, with a sizable stack of chips in front of him, and a woman hanging on his arm.
As I strode up the spin was made. As soon as I reached Karl, opposite the woman on his arm, he let out another shout and collected his chips.
I grabbed his arm forcefully, but not aggressively. I leaned in and whispered in his ear. “Have a good day at work, Karl?”
I watched as the blood drained from his face.
He turned, stammering, “Kurt! Kurt, I– I know I’m not at work, but I’m up! I– I–” He trailed off at my glare.
“Collect your chips. It’s time to get home,” I ordered.
He was about to object, but I cut him off. “Now!”
Karl hung his head, and did as he was told.
While he collected his chips, I noted several casino staff watching us.
“Vhere are you goinz Karl?” the woman asked, pulling on his arm to turn him to face her.
I answered for him, “Home to his wife!”
She glared at me. “To zat tramp!” She looked at my brother-in-law and continued, “Karl, stay vith me. Stay vith Sasha. Stay and vin zom more!”
He looked pleadingly at me. I simply grabbed his bucket of chips, pushed it into his hand and gave his shoulder a push.
Sasha gave a sniff and walked away from our retreating forms.
When we made it to the counter to exchange his chips for money we were met by two burly men in suits.
“The owner of this fine establishment would like to speak to you two. If you both could come this way please?” the one on the left asked in a high pitched voice, before leading us away.
Fear lanced through me. Though the man politely asked, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, it was not a request.
Karl clung to his bucket of chips, and followed the man silently. The other thug followed behind us.
We were led through a service door and into a back corridor. After several twists and turns, we were brought to a boardroom full of overstuffed executive chairs.
A man in an expensive looking three piece suit stood from where he sat at the head of the table. His hair was combed back, and looked as though enough oil covered it to cause a slick in the ocean.
“Karl Briggs, it’s nice to see you again. And this must be your brother-in-law, Kurt Jaeger. It’s nice to finally meet you Kurt. I’ve heard a lot about you recently,” the man stated as he held his hand out to shake.
I clasped his hand firmly. He squeezed my hand in some kind of manly show of strength, but I held my own; I didn’t crush his hand, but didn’t let my hand be crushed either.