The Kansas City Shuffle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Classic crime, with an unexpected twist. Give it a read.

Submitted: July 01, 2008

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Submitted: July 01, 2008

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The Kansas City Shuffle
A short story by Josh Fraga
 
The name of the street was Bekings Hill Avenue, but it became known as Purgatory. It was so named because if you were to walk down the center of the street, to one side you would have the evilest of the evil and right across the street was the greatest of the good. Once they were childhood friends, now they loathed the very thought of each other.
To the west lived George Fowler, a self-made mobster, who got to where he is by eliminating all of the competition. Fowler devoted himself to life he chose, he thrived on it, fed on it, like a parasite. He lived in a large mansion on Bekings Hill, and although he was lonely, he was never alone. He had a fondness for women, and sometime young girls. He would have they brought to him like room service, use them, abuse them, and send them on their way. He liked his prostitutes anywhere from 12-29 years of age. As far as anyone could tell, he had no conscience, no remorse, and no regrets. Perhaps that’s what made him a good lord of crime.
Now, directly across the street was the opposite polar end, his name was Frank Whellings. Whellings lived there with his beautiful daughter Paige. At this time, he was known as the city’s greatest philanthropist. He personally paid for two schools, a public library, and a hospital. He was a great man, but he wasn’t always. Early on, when Paige was 11 he had a gambling problem, it wasn’t that he lost all of his money, it was he became too lucky. He rarely lost a hand of cards or a roll of the dice. He would even have friends give him money to wager with as long as they saw a return, and they always did, without fail. Some say the stopped gambling after a single lucky game of roulette where he bet $500,000 on 23 black, and it hit. That’s where his money came from, he never earned it, he just came up lucky, so he decided to share his good fortune with the community. This is the present, the time before the catalyst changed everything. But to understand the present, you need to know about the past.
George and Frank were like brothers during their adolescent years, they grew up as neighbors on the far end of town, even back then they lived across the street from one another. They grew up thick as thieves, that is until Celeste. Celeste was Paige’s mom, and if she were alive today Paige would have looked just like her. Sadly there were complications with the pregnancy, and she died giving birth, never getting to lay her eyes on her daughter. Frank was with Celeste for two years before she died, and he spend the next two years in mourning. About now was the time he realized the lucky he had on the tables. It start small at first, he just made enough money to live comfortably with his daughter, but it wasn’t until Paige was 9 that George decided to use his friends luck to his advantage. Frank had some money, but with the cash George had with his new mobster ties, they could become truly affluent. So George would give Frank thousands of dollars and watch little Paige for the weekend, and Frank would return with hundreds of thousands of dollars and would give George his cut of the winnings. On this went every week, compulsively, for two years. That is, until George wanted a big score and loaned Frank $500,000 of his own money.
So Frank flew out to Atlantic City and won his first game of roulette he had ever played. He sat the table, and without a single thought going though his head he put all of George’s money on 23 black, and won. He called George to tell him the good news, he had just won 64 million dollars. George was ecstatic, that is until Frank came to pick up Paige. Frank had decided to give up gambling after the big score, so he gave George his share, 2 million dollars. That was a 4-1 return on his loan, but that wasn’t enough, and then began the threats. Frank took Paige and moved to the center of town to a large mansion that used to be a very nice hotel, until Frank bought it. But George followed him, right across the street he built his mansion, always watching, waiting for a chance to get even.
Nine years had passed, without any real incident, and Frank Whellings has become one of the richest men in the world. He kept some of his money in banks, but the bulk he kept with him in his mansion, in a large safe, to which he was the only one who knew the combination. He lived their with Paige, who was now 21 and probably the most stunningly beautiful young women in the city, and tonight was her birthday. He gave her Celeste’s wedding ring a present for her to wear to remember her. She told her dad goodbye and left with her body guards to meet her friends as Club Slave for drinks. This would be the last time Frank Whellings would ever lay eyes on his daughter again.
The time came and went by so fast he thought, it was just like yesterday with she was 11 years old, now she was old enough to drink. ‘They grow up so fast.’ He thought. It was midnight when Frank glanced outside on this 20th story balcony to the street below, he recognized his stretch limo, it was the one Paige took out for the night. Was she already back? He called her cell phone, it went straight to voicemail. ‘That’s strange.’, he thought, and he took the long elevator ride downstairs to the limo.
There was no one in lobby, which was strange because he had 24 hour security he was paying good money for. His footsteps echoed as he crossed to lobby to the spinning door. He walk up to the limo, and he could clearly see there was no one in the driver or passenger seat, so he walked to the cab door and pulled the handle, it was unlocked. He opened the door only to find his daughters body guards, throats slit, their blood stained all across the interior of the limo. One if the guards had a folded piece of paper taped to him jacket, with a shaking hand, Frank took the paper. It was a note, typed on what looked like a typewriter. A mixture of fear and rage tore though his as he read the words to himself:
I HAVE PAIGE, IF YOU WISH TO SEE HER AGAIN, I WANT TO PERSONALLY BRING ME 10 MILLION DOLLARS BY 1AM, OR ELSE SHE’S GONE.
G.
Ten million, that was just a drop in the bucket for Frank, why was he asking for so little? ‘No matter,’ he thought, ‘I’ll get him his damn money.’ And with that, he went directly to his safe in his bedroom and to his safe. He opened it up as fast as he could, the door squeaked as to open to reveal an obscene amount of money, it would have been in the hundreds of millions. Frank quick grabbed one of his luggage bags and filled it with 10 million dollars in hundred dollar bills. He left his face with the money and went to his night stand, he had to get something, a gun. He pulled out a .357 Magnum out of his drawer and stuck it in the back of his pants. He grabbed the bag and left the room. Now this whole floor was for him and his daughter, and they were the only ones who could unlock the combination keypad to enter the floor, so he set his ridiculously expensive alarm to their code. The keypad mad a beeping noise as it locked down the doors to the whole floor, then Frank got into the elevator. He took the long ride down to the lobby, he looked at his watch, it was 12:34 am, he still had time.
He ran out of the elevator doors to lobby door, and exited the mansion. He stopped for a second, and looked up at the large building across the street. He began to walk across the street when he noticed, there were no guards posted at the entrance, he began to get a sick feeling the pit of his stomach and stopped in the middle of the street. Seconds ticked by as he thought, ‘Was this just a trap for me?’ and for the first time in a decade, Frank Whelling was truly worried. Then, for a split-second he contemplated leaving Paige, to save himself, and he turned to walk back to his own fortress across the street. Just as he turned his back HE was thrown off his feet by a massive explosion. George’s mansion erupted in towering inferno, every floor of the building was ablaze, and Frank lay their, hypnotized by the flames, and what he had done. He turned his back on his own daughter, now she paid the price. He was supposed to care for her, but instead he put his life in front of hers. Frank could hear the sirens in the distance.
When the police got there, Frank sobbingly explained what had happened. He showed them the note, the bodies in the limo, and the 10 million in cash. It was hours till the fire was out and they began to search. Frank stayed with the police in their van until they would uncover something. At about 6 am they uncovered the remnants of two bodies. The coroner said one was a middle aged man and the other was of a young woman. The coroner found something on her hand, the remains of a diamond ring. At the news of this Frank collapsed and held his head with both hands as he rocked back and forth, weeping uncontrollably. “Mr. Whelling,” on of the officers said, “maybe you should get home.” Frank nodded, and slowly made his way out of the van, and across the street. He came to his revolving door and entered, his lobby was still empty and his steps made the same loud echo they did before. He pressed the ‘up’ button on the elevator’s panel, and it dinged as the doors slid open. Frank stepped in.
The ride to the 20th floor seemed extra long this time. ‘How can I sleep?’ he thought to himself as he passed the 18th floor. The elevator dinged again as it opened to the top floor. Frank stepped out and collapsed again on the carpet in front of the keypad that locked the whole floor. He sobbed uncontrollably, crying all the time, “What did I do? What did I Do?” but his crying abruptly ceased when he looked up. The door to the 20th floor was open, the alarm, disarmed. Then his heart stopped when he realized, he had left the safe open.
He ran to his bedroom, his door already open, he then ran directly to his safe, the door wide open, it’s contents empty, all except one piece of paper, a note. So the entire time he was looking left, someone went right, and he knew exactly who it was, the only other person who could get on that floor besides him, Paige. His hand began to shake again as he read the note, typed with what looked like the same typewriter:
FRANK,
FOR WHAT I DID I AM NOT SORRY. YOU HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME BUT YOURSELF. YOU NEVER EARNED THIS MONEY, BORROWED IT FROM A MOBSTER AND LEFT ME WITH HIM FOR WEEKS AT A TIME WHILE YOU GAMBLED TO GET YOUR FORTUNE. ALL THE TIME I WAS BEING RAPED AND MOLESTED, YOU DIDN’T CARE, YOU TURNED A DEAF EAR AND A COLD HEART TO ME. I TOLD YOU, I ALWAYS TOLD YOU, BUT THE MONEY WAS ALWAYS MORE IMPORTANT. NOTHING YOU COULD EVER DO MAKE ME FORGIVE YOU FOR THAT, SO I AM LEAVING, BUT NOT BEFORE I MAKE THE MAN PAY WHOLE STOLE ME INNOCENCE, AND TAKING THE MONEY I DESERVE FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING, 168 MILLION DOLLARS. SO ENJOY WHAT’S LEFT OF YOU MEANINGLESS, EMPTY LIFE, BUT TAKE SOLICE IN THE FACT YOU HAVE FINALLY MADE YOU DAUGHTER HAPPY.
P.
All this time Frank Whelling thought the most important thing in life is to be rich. He left terrible things happen to his own daughter to get his hands on his money. Still Frank learned a lesson that day from his daughter, to be truly rich, all you need to be…is happy.


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