For a week I drank like a king and ate like a pauper, and kept a low profile in my shithole room. It was getting to be brutally hot in the daytime and I had no air conditioning, so I spent most afternoons in the cool darkness of the bar. I had bought enough drinks for the locals that they had warmed up to me, and I was even putting the lean on a couple loose broads that frequented the place.
But despite my modest living I was burning through Vanessa's money fast. I was down to just over a grand, which was less than half of what I pinched from her purse, and there was no pot of gold on my horizon. I was going to have to get a job or start some sort of hustle. But I wasn't the type to put that kind of effort in unless my dick was on the chopping block, and I had at least a couple weeks if I slowed down on the booze consumption, so I started throwing dice against the bricks out front. I was laying down my dollars with the two black guys that seemed to never leave. The skinny one was called Bucky, since he had some serious dental problems that come with generational poverty, and the big guy with the afro was called Diggs. They never told me how he got his nickname, but I suspected it had something to do with filling holes in the local cemetery. He was hard but we got along fine since my money was good. I lost more games than I won, but I managed to lay bigger bets when I was winning. In two days of playing I was up by over four hundred bucks.
I was getting a bit paranoid about keeping all that money around so I rarely left my room. And I didn't like to drive that much for fear that somehow Vanessa would somehow hunt me down and sic her crazy on me, so I got most of my food from the gas station or from the local food carts and I was starting to get sick of it. So I drove my car a couple blocks out and picked up some fresh bread and vegetables, some cans of chili and soup, and hit up the liquor store for a few gallons of cheap whiskey. I was preparing for lean times, especially if I ended up dropping a lot of cash on the dice in the next few days.
When I pulled back into the lot at the Burgess I could tell that something was up because Bucky and Diggs weren't out front. I left my bags in the car and walked up to my door to see it had been booted open, then carefully closed again. I ran inside and immediately went for my dirty clothes hamper where I left my cash, and found my wad securely nestled in a pair of shit-stained underwear, right where I left it. The room was normally so fucking trashed that no one would be able to tell it had been tossed, but the rat that lived in the filth knew it well, and I could see that my garbage was well out of order.
I ran over to the managers offices but no one was there. It seemed like the property owners were never anywhere to be found except on Sundays when they expected to get paid. So I went back to my car to get my bags and grabbed the magnum from under the seat. It was getting dark and if I was going to sleep without a locking door then I was going to sleep with a gun in my hand.