Part Three: The Lion's Den?
The flight down to Love Field in Dallas was uneventful. All I had to do was brood about the potential dangers waiting for me when I arrived. This happens when someone tries to ventilate your skull for ya. You get edgy until you learn something, anything, to your advantage. In the meantime, I did learn that Checketts only stocks Dewar's in the on-board bar, the cheap sonofabitch.
Once in Dallas I headed not for the downtown hotel I had made a reservation for, but instead had a cabbie drop me off at a Motel 6 off of I-35 in Fort Worth. I registered under the name David Backes. This being Texas I knew there was no chance any of the yokels would know the difference, neither would the guy from the Punjab working the desk.
I woke at 4 for my 9 o'clock appointment. I made it outside the Stars' offices before 6 and took up a position in the shadows across the street. I waited and watched.
Soon the staff began to arrive for their work day; First the stiffs came in via public transport, the janitors, the secretaries, the guy who gives Zubov his bikini waxes, etc. Next the suits began to arrive and pull into the corporate parking lot; the guys with tiny dicks arrived in expensive foreign sports cars, the better endowed in more tasteful sedans.
Hull finally made his appearance at 8:30 driving a black Lexus sedan. I waited another couple of minutes and was about to head across when a limousine pulled up.
"What have we got here?" I asked of myself. I looked at the man pulling himself out of the back and audibly said, "What the fuck?"
Wayne Gretzky? Wayne fucking Gretzky? What in the hell is he doing here in Dallas only a couple weeks before training camp opens? I know its only the Coyotes, but even they should attempt to put a team together. It was too odd not to be suspicious.
I let Wayne get just into the building before I, painfully, made my way across the street. With luck I would be able to find out who he was coming to see. As I entered the lobby I didn't see him right away, and I began to fear my knee had made me miss him. However, as I limped towards the bank of elevators I saw the reflection of him alone in the last car on the left. As the door to the car closed it almost seemed like he saw my reflection as well as a look of recognition came over his face. I waited to see what floor Gretzky got off on. The number 7 lit up. I made a mental note.
It was nearing that time so I grabbed an elevator and pressed 10. As the car pulled smoothly upward I made sure the safety on my .38 was switched off. I didn't really think I would need to use it here, but I wasn't going to take any chances.
The door opened and I found myself in the usual polished air-conditioned corporate sterility favored by hockey execs and high-priced hookers. Across from the elevators a wall of frosted glass with a mahogany door with a placard saying "Office of the General Manager" waited.
I open the door and entered the outer office.
"Well, hello there," I heard a smoky voice say as I stepped inside.
The woman behind the desk swiveled and uncrossed her long tan legs as she rose to greet me; that was strictly for my benefit, and, let me tell you, I was one lucky boy. True, she had hair the color of underwear skid marks, but she had more curves then a year’s supply of Marian Gaborik’s sticks.
"So," she purred, "is that a .38 in your pocket or have I already got your attention?"
"Can’t it be both?"
She gave me the kind of smile that told me she wasn’t thinking about any "Saturday Night Special," but before I could add anything more she grabbed a pile of files of her desk and made for the exit.
"Oh, you can go right in. You’re expected."
And she was gone.
I turned to face the inner office with the name plate "Mr. Hull." I walked up to it. I knocked once.
"Come," said a voice through the door.
With one hand on the door knob, and the other cradling my gat, I pushed my way in…