“Let’s go get this money, and then we can party and go all out at the Harrah’s buffet,” Gabby said and started dancing, holding Jack over her head. Shane loosened up and moved his feet.

“Get this money. Get this money,” he said as they danced out of the front door.

There were five men standing around the Saturn. Shane recognized one as Jack’s owner, the grey-haired man he’d knocked over. They were going to kill them, and Shane barely stopped himself from crying.

“You got two seconds to put down Jack,” the owner said.

“Yep, here you go,” Gabby said and set him down gently. The cock ran to him, and he picked him up and baby-talked him.

“How’d you find us?” Gabby asked.

“You fucking idiots. We drove around until we found this piece of shit,” he said and pointed at the Saturn. “I would take a baseball bat to it, but it’s not even worth wrecking.”

Shane whimpered, “It’s actually pretty reliable and gets good…”

“Shut up. And tell your writer friend that we’ll kill him for real if he ever mentions us again.”


He handed Shane a copy of the newest Laughlin Gazette. The front page read: LAUGHLIN MAYOR ABDUCTED BY DOGFIGHTING RING, PROBABLY DEAD, and there was a picture of Gottlieb. “Oh my God,” Shane said, and Gabby snatched it from him.

“That right there? That has nothing to do with us,” the man said.

“Understood, sir,” Shane said, and the men got into their SUV and drove off. This benevolent kingpin had shown them mercy. He hates us, Shane thought.

“This is perfect for Community Eye. This is what we’ve needed, Shane!” Gabby said. She called Ed, but he said he was at a press conference at the Gottlieb home and couldn’t talk. She asked for directions but he hung up on her. “Screw Ed. We just had an exclusive with the bad guys. Guess he’ll never know that they want to kill him,” she said.

Shane was still thinking about the $1000 they wouldn’t get. He wondered how much he could get for his camera. “Shane?” Gabby said.

“You’re right. Let’s go to his house and try to talk to his wife.” He went and got his camera. The hill overlooking Casino Drive and the river was the only part of Laughlin with nice houses. For twenty minutes they drove around the rotting palm trees brought in from somewhere nicer.

They spotted a podium set up in a front yard. It was black, and Shane wondered if black podiums were standard for announcing deaths. All the local cops were standing around: Rob, Vince, and Harry, and there was some state trooper or sheriff guy he’d never seen. And Ed. No one else. Ed acted like he somehow didn’t see them. The sheriff-looking guy waited another 10 minutes, and a few neighbors worked their way out of their houses and into their patio furniture to watch. They were very old.

The Gottliebs’ house wasn’t much bigger than Shane and Gabby’s, a little one-story, but it looked a lot nicer, dark oak and white brick with trees and grass in the yard. The sheriff shrugged his shoulders and stepped to the podium. “Last night. The wife of Mayor Gottlieb. Gah-ta-leeb?” he looked to the mayor’s wife, but she was bawling. “Last evening Mrs. Gottlieb came home to find a troubling letter. Based on this letter we believe that the mayor has been abducted and likely murdered by a local mafia-like organization.” He paused and let it sink-in. Ed took pictures of the new widow.

Shane kept the camera steady on the sheriff. “Who do you…” Gabby started but the sheriff held out his hand.

“From what I’ve been told by Laughlin police, Mayor Gottlieb has been fearlessly spearheading a campaign against a criminal organization involved in cockfighting and…probably drugs and other stuff like that.”

An old couple drove by in a Cadillac and honked and gave them dirty looks for standing in the road. Ed turned around and flipped them off. The state trooper continued, “The letter leads us to believe that these are the individuals responsible for…”

The mayor came out of his front door. “Forget it! This whole goddamn town!”

“Tom?” His wife said and fell to his feet. “You escaped!”

“I’ve been in the attic the whole time. I wrote the goddamn letter. I’m sorry, Honey. I just…what’s wrong with this town? Why does nobody care about anything or anybody?” he cried.

His wife started punching him from the ground, hitting his legs. “You scoundrel!” she said, and Gabby barraged him with questions. Mrs. Gottlieb got up and swung for his head. The cops restrained her, and Ed laughed and took pictures. What a story this would be, a pathetic stunt.

But Shane felt bad for him. “Don’t take it personal, Mayor. It’s Laughlin. It was supposed to be called Casino.”