Chapter 2: Nick
We got in to Vegas last night at midnight. I had fallen asleep in the c- ah, 'Katie', as we're supposed to call her. When I woke up, we were pulling up to the hotel. As soon as we were out of 'Katie', valet hopped in and swept her away. I took note of the licenses plate, in case the event it was going to come up later. Like if there was another, identical orange Avanti there. Anyway, the number was VB-636, which is weird, I think that's a bit short for a licenses plate...
I went back to sleep almost immediately, and didn't wake up until eight. Matthias had eaten, and Smith (Jones? Smithnjones? Seriously, what is his name?) was still sleeping so I went down to see what types of restaurants there were in the hotel. Eventually I settled on a nice cafe called "Sugar & Ice". I ate a breakfast pastry while sitting in an outdoor dining area next to a very impressive artificial waterfall.
Jonesmith woke up around ten, inhaled breakfast, and dashed off saying something about some scruffy man he had met last night. This probably should have worried me more than it did at the time. A half hour later, he shows up with Renard. Let me just say, Renard is my new personal hero. He's scruffy, gray-hairs, wears a brown trench coat and jeans, and can make bank whenever he wants to. What he does is totally mind-boggling, but he just sums it up by saying he's lucky. When you call an elevator by dropping an apple on the opposite end of the hall, that's not luck, that is the divine intervention of GOD.
Matthias and Renard talked for a while, I could see the gears turning in Matthias's eyes. I don't know how to read that guy, I mean, he seems nice, accepting, all that fluff... But, I know he's got a lot that he's hiding. I've met a happy medium between depressed cynicism and blind joy, and that has granted me exceptional perception. Matthias is part of something, you can see it. Him and Natasha.
And speaking of him and Natasha, as soon as Matthias was done talking to Renard, he kicked the three of us out to call her up. We're ripping off casinos tom morrow. I shouldn't say we, in fact, I shouldn't have brought it up in the first place, that kind of incriminating evidence is not what I want in my personal journal.
Anyway, Renard, Jones, and I spent the rest of the day shopping at the Bellagio. Not the most masculine of activities, but hey, if you cut out gambling there aren't a lot of, ah... wholesome activities that one can take part in in Vegas. I noticed that every store we went into had sale signs up, at first I didn't pay too much attention to that, but then, as soon as Renard passed through the threshold of a store, the cashier brought out a sale sign and stuck it in the window.
"Alright, Renard," I said, "I have to ask you... What's up?"
"Pardon?" he asked.
"The cards, the gambling, the thing in the hallway... Every store we've been in today has put up a sale sign. That's not luck. That's crazy, that's like... witchcraft."
"I dunno," he shrugged, "It's just always been like this since I was a kid. I'm lucky, I can't explain it beyond that..."
"There's a limit though, I mean, you pretty much radiate a Twilight Zone vibe that you can feel a mile away. Seriously, it's supernatural." Again, no answer, just a shrug.
"Did you notice how Matthias just took it in stride?" Smith asked out of the blue.
"Now that you mention it, he did. He didn't even raise an eyebrow when he saw that whole thing in the hallway," I replied.
"You mean you guys don't get this kinda thing a lot?" Renard asked.
"'Course not, the stuff you pull is bizarre," me speaking.
"Well, I think you all took it pretty well. I mean, I've had people flip their lids when I show them some of the things I can do. I was accused of selling my soul to the devil once..."
"Did you?" Smith asked.
"Yes, I sold my soul so that I could play a good game of poker," Renard responded with sarcasm so audacious it was almost tangible. "How do you think this looks on me?" he said, trying on a ridiculous purple hat. The day went on basically the same. Smi- sorry, Jones, bought an assortment of outfits that he apparently intends for us to wear tomorrow while we are out... doing... legitimate things.
I woke up today and lay in bed for about a half hour. My conscious was eating away at me because of all the... legitimate things that I was going to do today. See, the predicament was that the legitimate things were, in fact, legitimate, but it was legitimately balanced in our favor because Renard was just so good at being legitimate. It was legitimately worrying. Legitimate, legitimate, legitimate.
Anyway, eventually I decided to get up, and go spend some time at the pool, seeing as I didn't have anything until eight. Smith joined me, and we stopped at Sugar & Ice before heading down. We spent a good hour or so there, before I noticed Natasha, alone, across the pool.
"Think we should like... say something to her?" Jones asked.
"I don't know, it seems like we should but... I don't trust her you know," I said. It took me a moment to realize she wasn't wearing a bathing suit. She was wearing the same trench coat she wore every day. I guess, since I hadn't seen her in anything else, I didn't really notice. I also realized she was reading, "Is that Das Kapital?"
"It's the Da Vinci Code, racist," Smith replied, "You can tell from the cover art. Hey, you know what's been getting to me?" he asked, in what has to be the most poorly executed topic change I've ever heard.
"The trunk. Katie's trunk."
"It's funny you should mention that..."
"Have you been wondering that too? At first I thought it was like, drugs or guns or something. But if it was, then this whole thing doesn't make sense. A bright orange, vintage car streaking down the highways packed with four people? That's not a great way to get noticed. But there's something else... the way Matthias seemed so... he wasn't even fazed by Renard. And then Natasha always one his own. And the guy who is employing us is named Midas? Who's named that?"
"And I highly doubt someone named Midas makes pencils for a living. So what are you saying?"
"I'm saying it's all just a bit too sketchy for my liking."
"Well yeah, that's what we expected when we signed on, right?"
"I expected meth, or bodies, or pistols. I didn't expect... Well I dunno, just not this. This is different than your ordinary illegal run. I think there is something about the car specifically that Midas wants. I mean, it even has a name, you know? Katie? But, Matthias seems pretty insistent that we call it that. He heard me refer to it as 'the car' when we were leaving that cafe in L.A. the other day, and he growled at me 'you mean Katie'. What's that even about?"
"So, what exactly are you suggesting?"
"I'm suggesting, Nick, that we take a look at the trunk."
"I'd like to hear the logic behind that."
"Look, okay. What are we getting paid to go across country here? Two hundred thousand each? Whoo, I earned half of that last night with Renard. Now here's the thing, Katie is clearly... special? There's something important about her, and whatever it is it's hidden in the trunk. So we take a look and... if we feel like we aren't being paid quite enough as we should be... Or if we decide we like whatever is in the trunk more than two hundred thousand..."
"We take the car for ourselves? Never make it to Midas?"
"Exactly. But we can't commit to that until we know what's in the trunk."
Smith and I spent the rest of the day trying to plot a way to get the car alone the entire day. It seems like it'd be an easy feat, but there really wouldn't be a way to do it without making Matthias or Natasha suspicious, since we had all agreed to only use cabs or walk while we were in Vegas. Plus, we needed it later tonight to make a getaway from the wholesome activities that we were all doing. However, towards the end of the day, Natasha had already picked up me and Jones, and she had left us alone with the car for a few minutes while she picked up Matthias and Renard.
"So now's out chance, right?" said Smith, and as soon as Natasha had passed out of sight, he hopped out and went around back. After about a minute of fumbling with the trunk, he looked at me and frowned. "The lock for the trunk is different than the doors. I've never even heard of that... Is there a button up front to-" Smith trailed off, as he noticed a commotion in the alley across the street. Natasha had just had a little power trip playing hero, and she was walking back across the street with Renard and Matthias. So Jones and I didn't manage to get into the trunk, but we do know we're going to need a key now. We just need to figure out who has and how we're going to get it.