As I Like It!

Mike Lomax P.I.—Final Episode


To review episode 11, click here:





Bessie licked her finger, patted the white powder, and placed it on her tongue. She grinned at Mike.

“Yeah, we know what Billy Ray was looking for, and I’m willing to bet he ain’t the only one.”

“I count 24 boxes,” Mike said, “and each has 12 of these packages. There’s probably a kilo in each package, so we’re talking about nearly 300 kilos. Even if it’s been cut to street level, that’s close to $7,000,000.”

“Mike, this stuff is nearly pure,” Bessie said after she tasted another sample. “It could be cut at least four times for street level. There’s more like $30,000,000 here.”

“Yeah, $30,000,000 and it’s all here in your old root cellar. Ain’t that a hoot?”

“That’s for sure! What made you look for it?”

“Simple my dear Watson, Billy Ray wasn’t here to get pictures of you and Junior. There had to be something even bigger than Junior’s joint.”

“We could debate that I suppose, but $30,000,000 in coke probably qualifies. Now, what are we going to do about it?”

“Well, let’s take a look at our options. I guess we could call Willard and tell him it’s here.”

“Yeah, we could, but he’s going to want to know how we found it and who stashed it here. Guess who will be the prime suspects? You and me.

“Bingo. Another option is we can take it and try to move it into the market. I could use half of $30,000,000! How ‘bout you?”

“I can see how that might be tempting,” Bessie said, but hell, all I could so is stack it on top of the rest of my cash, and I suspect some very unpleasant people would take umbrage.”

“Yep, there’s that. Maybe we oughta just give the owners a call and offer to return their stuff?”

“That would probably make them happy, but I guess I overlooked their name on the packages.”

“Oh, I know who to call, if you think we should.”

“Oh, really, and who might that be?”

”C’mon Bessie. Who can cut and move $30,000,000 of coke and have someone hit?

“Outside of the mob, I can’t think of anyone.”

“Neither can I, and if you had to guess which part of the mob runs things in Mississippi, where would you look?”

“New Orleans would be my first stab at it.”

“Mine too, so let’s give the boys in the fedoras a call.”

“I don’t have them on speed dial, Mike. Whatta we do, Google Gumba?”

“That’d probably work, but I do know a connected guy, and I trust him.”

“I’m glad you do because it’s gonna be a perfect opportunity for them to remove all loose ends.”

“I don’t think that’s a problem if we don’t represent a threat to them. They don’t like to snuff civilians if it can be avoided,” Mike replied as they pulled into the hunting club.

Bessie opened the kitchen door and flipped on the lights. She glanced at the clock on the wall and said,

“Mike, it’s after midnight. Why don’t you spend the night here and call your guy first thing tomorrow?”

“I doubt he’s asleep. He’s probably playing gin with his wife. If he didn’t play gin with Bonnie, he’d own Boardwalk, Park Place, and all the railroads. She cleans his clock.”

Mike walked to the kitchen phone and dialed a number in Tupelo. He punched the speaker button, and a male voice came on,

“Emery Oxford.”

“Hey Em, it’s Lomax, and I need your help.”

“I hope it doesn’t involve gin rummy. Bonnie’s ruining me.”

“That ought to feel familiar enough, but that’s not what I need. I need to get a message to your contacts in New Orleans.”

“What kind of message and which contacts?”

“I’m in possession of some of their property, and I’d like to see them get it back. I’ll let you decide who to tell.”

There was a pause, and finally, Emery said,

“Lomax, it’s almost midnight. Can’t this wait until morning?”

“Let me give you the details, and you can decide.”

He told Emery the short version, and when he was done, there was silence on the phone. Finally, Emery came back on.

“Lomax, please tell me you’re screwing with my head.”

“Nope. Them’s the sad facts.”

“Oh shit! Mike, this is so far above my pay grade I’ll have to make some phone calls.”

“Okay, and I guess it can wait till morning if you want.”

“Morning my ass! Stay right by that frigging phone! I’ll be right back to you!”

Mike hung up and grinned at Bessie.

“I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the French Quarter about now.”

Bessie returned the grin and said,

“I’ll just be happy to stay out of the Big Muddy another couple of hours. Hell of a lot of people have bought concrete overshoes for a lot less than $30,000,000.”

Before Mike could reply the phone rand and a deep male voice asked,

“May I speak to Mike Lomax?”

“This is Mike Lomax.”

“Mr. Lomax, I’m an associate of Mr. Anthony Carcello of New Orleans. I believe you are in possession of some of Mr. Carcello’s property.”

“I have made that assumption.”

“You have assumed correctly. I’d like to discuss its return.”

“Of course. It’s in the root cellar of a hunting club in Barksdale County Mississippi, just north of Tupelo, and I suggest you waste no time in recovering it. I’m not entirely certain who all knows about it.”

“Oh, I can assure you that we’ll be heading your way shortly. Is there a nearby airstrip that’s capable of handling a Cessna Citation?”

“Yes, the owner flies a jet.”

“Would you ask for the coordinates please?”

Mike put Bessie on the line, and she gave the Carcello’s pilot the coordinates. When Mike came back on, the man said.

“Mr. Lomax, my name is Roger Mandello, and I work with Mr. Carcello. I’ll be leaving New Orleans Lakeside airport in fifteen minutes, and the pilot tells me that the flight will take less than an hour. Can you and Mrs. Warren meet my plane?”

“Absolutely. We’ll be waiting.”

“Thank you. If in the meantime, you should have other visitors, they will not be our people, and I would suggest that you and Mrs. Warren just abandon our property and protect yourselves.”

“Mr. Mandello, you may rest easy. I’m a big boy, and your property will be waiting for you when you get here, or there will be bodies to dispose of.”

“Thank you; we can handle that if it becomes needed. See you in an hour.”

Mike and Bessie were sitting in the F-150, as they watched the landing lights descend to the airstrip. Mike drove out on the tarmac, and four men climbed into truck bed. Roger Mandello introduced himself and climbed into the cab. After thanking Mike and Bessie, he said,

“Two of the guys in the back are security, and the other two will load our property. This whole operation should take less than twenty minutes.”

“Great. The sooner you’re done, the better.”

When they reached Bessie’s house, Mandello spat out orders to the men, and two took up flanking positions, and two followed Mike into the root cellar and began loading the boxes. As Mike and Bessie watched Mike remarked,

“Mr. Mandello, I find it odd that you haven’t checked the purity of your product.”

“I don’treally see the need. We know honorable people when we meet them. While we’re on the subject of honor, I have a message for you from Mr. Carcello. Our family owns extensive business interests on the Gulf Coast and in Nevada. You and Mrs. Warren will find that your money will not ever be accepted in any of them. We also from time to time give one of our close friends what we call a ‘get-out-of-jail-free card.’ Of course, there is no card, as such, but here’s my private phone number. If you ever have a business or personal problem that you feel we might be able to help with, I expect a call.”

Mike looked at Bessie and said,

“You can rest assured, that we will never abuse either of these very generous offers.”

“I’m sure you won’t, but we’d like to include just one more thing. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out two envelopes and handed one to each of them.

“Remember, you have friends in New Orleans. Well, it seems that the guys have loaded our property, so we’ll be on our way. Keep in touch. Ciao!”

Mike and Bessie watched the lights of the Cessna blend into the rising sun, and Mike observed,

“I guess that went about as well as we could hope for.”

“Yeah, we’re still alive, and we seem to have made some new friends, and by the way, this is yours too.” Bessie handed Mike the envelope she’d just received.

Mike looked in and found a thick stack of $100 bills. He shook his head and protested.

“I don’t think so. They intended for you to have this.”

“Trust me, Mike, I’ve got more than you, and I’ll ever spend, and besides, I’ve got other plans for you.”

“Oh? What kind of plans?”

“I’m thinking of making a change in my playbook.”

“What you got in mind, coach?’

“How ’bout Lomax in for Junior?”

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