I made it down and into the lobby without a word to my elevator traveling companion. I find it hard to trust anyone who has ever pulled a gun on me. I kept him in my peripheral vision to avoid a stare down. Something here didn’t seem right. Hell, it wasn’t right. It crept in like a whisper and intensified as the floor numbers got lower.
By the time the elevator stopped, it was an inescapable clamor. I had to lose this asshole and get back to the room. How was that going to work? We walked through the empty lobby and out onto the sidewalk. Mr. Mercedes made me nervous enough not to pay any specific attention at first to the fact we were the only people in the hotel. The concierge and clerk who were always at their post were gone. Not a soul in the typically bustling lobby.
This whole thing is wrong and getting wronger. I need to get back up there now.
I tried, “I will meet up with you later, there is something I have to take care of.”
Mr. Mercedes stared back with a scowl, I was surprised when he answered, “How long do you need?”
“Not sure.” I knew he could tell I was bullshitting, I bit my lip to attain some focus. “Give me an hour, I’ll meet you…” The nag of suspicion was blown away by the tsunami of realization. “Fuck me! Everything I have in this country is in that room…my money… my passport…” I knew I was cooked.
Mr. Mercedes showed more surprise than I would have expected but he blurted out “casino, one hour” under his breath before he bolted himself. I considered my options carefully over the next one and half seconds. As the second hand drifted in slow motion in the direction of two, I turned back toward the hotel doors. I walked the fifteen or so steps re-weighing my options.
Out of habit I thanked the door man and stepped into the lobby. It didn’t even strike me as odd until I heard the noise from the lobby which was bustling like an entry gate at the super bowl. “What the ffff….” I said it out loud. A large man bumped into me in the commotion and looked me up and down as if I said it to him. I ducked my head down and tried to press through the crowd toward the elevator.