Act III - Chapter 1 - The Nevada Cooperative
The Pavano Family
The blazing golden sands gave way to grey tarmac. A heavy jolt shuddered through the plane as the rear landing gears touched down. The wings drooped as the flaps retracted, dumping lift; and the engines roared, diverting their thrust forwards to kill the momentum. A second jolt signalled the front wheel contacting the ground, the strut compressing as the nose pitched heavily down.
He sipped at the last drops of his drink as the aircraft taxied up to the terminal, and then gazed at the distant cityscape: the far-away casinos, boldly coloured, stood overtly juxtaposed against the drab suburbs. As the final bead of bourbon touched his tongue, a stewardess in a tight blue uniform was ready to take the glass from his hand.
"Enjoy your stay in Las Venturas, Mr Costa," said the young blond, sweetly.
The taxi took him from the airport and through the dusty streets. Cheerless malls were the flavour as they travelled towards the Strip. He hardly looked up as he travelled, choosing studious reading over the tacky scenery, and only glanced up as they passed a gaudy pirate-ship styled casino. The taxi stopped outside a vast hotel-casino complex. Faux-neoclassical styling blended with kitschy neon illumination meant that Caligula's Palace was simultaneously extravagantly opulent and obnoxiously repulsive. A round man in a cream suit stood amongst the hotel porters by the main door.
"Emilio!" shouted the man, yelling without regard to the passing visitors. "It's good to see you again. It's been too long."
"You too, Mario," Emilio responded while exiting the vehicle, his voice soft and restrained. "It's been what, ten years or somin'?"
"Like I said: too long. You hard-up Commission guys should come down here more often. Come see the Sun, away from all that damn rain." Mario grinned warmly; his expressive face was excessively friendly. "Blow off some of that cash you're all raking in!" he joked, laughing heartily.
"Yeah. Well I'm not seeing many Sindacco's in Liberty City too often, either."
Mario's grin remained but his chuckles stopped; his face momentarily strained as he tried to stay jovial. "Well, we know why that's so. So let's let be. Sh*t's good here though now." He turned and waved an arm towards the vast building behind him. "Since we got handling of this place, and got rid of that Jew, Rosenburg, the sh*t's been real nice to us."
"I'm happy for you. I had no problem with how the Sindacco's did business in Liberty City. And I know Maria has nothin' but admiration, too." Emilio's taxi driver approached him with the briefcase he had left behind in the car. "Oh, yeah. Thanks," he responded, slipping a fifty dollar bill to the cabbie as he handed it over.
"The f*ck's that for?" asked Mario. "Wanna put sh*t in writing?"
"Ha," laughed Emilio. "It's just easier going on a 'sales trip' if you actually look like a business-fella at the airport." They laughed together, both valuing the implicit irony. The door was held open by a porter as they entered the casino.
Walking through the halls and into the high rollers lounge, Emilio looked in astonishment at the lavish decorations and preposterous set-pieces. Catching himself in naive amazement, he shook his head at the silliness of it all. The high rollers lounge was empty apart from two guys at a single table, attended to by a lone card dealer.
"So you want to buy heroin from us?" asked Mario, bluntly.
Emilio stopped suddenly in his tracks. Shocked at his acquaintances openness, he concealed his association. "I don't know what you're talking about. Shouldn't do drugs; does horrible things, I hear."
Mario's cheekbones lifted gradually, his face turning into a cavernous grin again. "Relax! You think my casino is bugged?" He laughed heartily again. "You Liberty City guys are so paranoid. I'm glad we got out of there when we did. Meet two friends of mine. They're gonna set your mind at ease." Mario indicated to the men at the blackjack table. "Senator Lewis and Sheriff Bell."
"Great to meet you, buddy," said the Senator loudly, his portly form rising from his chair as he greeted Emilio. He wore a similar cream suit to Mario, albeit without his jacket, and appeared like a sweaty and fat businessman in the humid casino. "You've got my word that you're safe in this town. Mario Sindacco was a very generous supporter during the campaign and his friendship means a lot to me."He stood next to Mario and placed a beefy arm across his shoulders. The two large men: a bulbous double act. "We got ourselves a bit of an arrangement goin' on. We're comrades, except that we're not f*cking commies." He guffawed arrogantly. "You got any concerns you can talk to my dawg here." His slurred identifier indicated to Sheriff Bell, who span around on his chair to nod at Emilio; his khaki shorts and striped and collared t-shirt were out of character in the swanky casino.
The Sheriff grinned with a wide and toothy smile. His neck was long and his features goofy. When he spoke, his accent was drawn-out and grating, blending a Southern drawl with the banality of a civil servant. "You Eye-talians ain't no trouble for us, now." His misplaced vocal stresses were a foul wrench, sullying the spoken language. "So long as them Negroes keep out o' Venturas, your tradering ain't none o' my concern. Wouldn't wanna end up like Los Santos."
"So," said Mario. "You still wanna buy some sh*t? Or do you want a drink first?" Emilio's concerned expression gave way to a shrewd grin.
While the Senator and Mario Sindacco polished off bottles of wine, Emilio Costa supped just the one, large bourbon. The Sheriff, another whiskey drinker, sat, with his head in his arms, bowed over the table.
Emilio grew impatient. What had been a business deal had turned into a drunken gambling session for his new partners. He picked up his briefcase and sat it heavily on the table. As the latches clunked open, the others stirred to attention.
"What the f*ck, Emilio?" shouted Mario. "We're playing a f*cking game here. First you don't wanna drink with us. Now you wanna f*ck our game up?"
"I didn't come here to get wasted with a bunch of rednecks," said Emilio, rising from the stool with a fiery stare. For the first time, his voice lost its restraint and echoed with menace. "Now are we gonna do a deal, or not?"
Mario glared back, uncertain of the open affront. Bell lifted his head and tried to talk. "I ain't no redneck, you piece of sh*t." His unfocussed eyes and confused expression gave no doubt that he was very drunk.
"Shut your trap, Bell," the Senator said, then paused to look at Emilio. "The reason you come to us," he started, addressing Emilio, "is 'cos you can't trust them f*cking spics in Vice City no more. Right?" The question was rhetorical; he continued without anyone speaking the known answer. "Now, here with us, the state ain't no problem." He straightened his back, sitting firm and upright with Senatorial grandeur. He spoke again with a proud boom, "'Cos I am the f*cking state!"
"Guys, guys." Mario attempted to be diplomatic in the tense stand-off. "Emilio's here to do a deal. He's right; we ought 'a get to business."
Emilio reached into his briefcase and drew out a stack of papers. The letterhead read, in large red letters, 'Auto Eroticar'. He flicked through the papers until pulling one out and laying it on the cards table. Tapping his finger on the picture of a blue Sentinel, he spoke, calm and softly again, to Mario. "Get one of these, same colour, same year, and get it legit; and we're on."
Mario took the sheet, studying the car closely. "Do you know how much these cost?" he asked, taken aback.
"Course I f*cking do," Emilio responded, frankly. "Besides, as the Pavanos are buying half a million dollars of heroin from you, the least you can do is buy your own f*cking tools."
Mario carefully nodded a faint sign of agreement. "And what do we do when we get our flash performance car?"
"You put the package here." Emilio showed Mario another picture, this one of the car interior, and pointed at the rear upholstery. "Then you drive to the meet, where our guys will be." He had another picture, this one a map of Iowa, and a small note with an Iowa address. "All you then need to swap are the car keys and the plates. No one touches no drugs or no cash. Everyone drives home."
"Then, next month, we swap the same cars again?"
"You got it."
The pair sat in silence for a moment while Mario contemplated the deal. "Sounds like you're the man with the plan, Emilio. Now, I hope you're more willing to drink to business." He waved to for another round of drinks, then stuck a hand out towards Emilio.
"Gladly," Emilio cordially responded as he grasped Mario's cream-cuffed hand. As they shook, Senator Lewis grinned, chugging the last ends of his glass down.
Edited by Maverick24, 26 July 2010 - 03:02 AM.