Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Wordzzle #12

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: florist, grave yard, sausage, magnificent, soap opera, linguist, columns, volume, French, canvas

Mini Challenge: suspension bridge, veracity, lunch, multi-faceted, house of ill repute

This week I got confused and did it backwards.

"French Eddie's Arizona Vacation"

The Glory Hole Bar and Grill was just a front for Jerome, AZ's oldest and fanciest house of ill repute. The Bar was the last remnant of Jerome's once vibrant and multi-faceted economy. Today it sported a sidewalk cafe and a tremulous air of respectability in spite of its reputation. When the copper mines had been running full bore James Douglas had built his famous mansion on the hill overlooking his mine. His guests would eat lunch while they watched the ore being brought to the surface from the shaft. Jerome in those days was the 4th largest city in Arizona. While the veracity of that statement seems doubtful when looking at modern day Jerome, it is true nevertheless.

The rumored plans to build a suspension bridge across the valley never materialized when the copper ran out and the town was deserted. Today its 450 full time residents of artists, craftspeople and new age hippies, played host to tourists escaping the heat of Phoenix. The old buildings of the town were a mere backdrop on a canvas featuring a mountain tourist trap.

That's why French Eddie knew he had to be careful. If he kept the pick pocketing to a reasonable amount, made his money on quality pulls and not volume, he would make enough to spend the summer among the columns of the Parthenon. While no linguist; his language skills were good enough to see him through a modern day grand tour. His somewhat hardy existence in Jerome could change to one more like a daytime soap opera amidst the magnificent cities of Europe.

The outdoor cafe of the Glory Hole was a good vantage point to scout for marks. From here he could see Zelda standing across the street waiting for his signal. She would be the "stall" and the distraction. He couldn't afford a full crew so he would carry the "poke" just long enough to strip the cash and any credit cards. The cards he would send to a broker in Phoenix by mail. If he could help it he never held the poke more than 5 or 10 minutes. His experience had taught him that wealthy marks raised a ruckus when they found out they'd been taken.

He finished the bit of sausage and egg left on his plate, left a tip for the waitress and walked away from Zelda towards the old grave yard off main. As he passed the florist shop he spotted his next take; a couple in their 50s sporting Rolex watches and expensive shoes. He walked past a poster for the coming musical play, “Glory Hole, Arizona’s Oldest House of Ill Repute” and dialed Zelda on her cell. “Looks like you’re another “take” closer to getting out of the business sweetie” he purred into the mouthpiece. “The marks will be coming out of Henry’s flower shop in just a second.” “Stall the man and I’ll make the pull.” “Sure thing sugar” she replied.

“Hang in there Darling; we’re almost out of here.” As French Eddie headed back down main to set up the stall with Zelda he pondered what it would be like when she could stop turning tricks. "Better" he said to himself, "Much Better." He had checked the street out of habit as he walked. What he hadn’t seen and wouldn’t know about till too late was the observer in the second story room over the flower shop.

At that exact moment agent Simmons was talking to his two person decoy team in the shop below. “I think he saw you” he told them. “Take another 3 minutes then head for the Bar down the street.”
Post Scriptum: with apologies to James Coburn and "Harry in Your Pocket"
Post Post Scriptum: for those reading it, the third episode of Murphy's Life is here


Raven said...

Just wonderful! Entertaining and educational both. Now I can go read about Jerome, AZ and send the information to my niece in Mesa.

Akelamalu said...

That was fabulous, you're ace at these!

Richard said...

Thanks Raven and Akelamalu; I enjoyed both your stories today as well.


Jay Simser said...

Watch out for French Eddie! I loved your story. j

Richard said...

Thanks Jay, I was happy to see the salamanders were out in full force at your blog today.


the teach said...

Rich it was a great story! Thank you for the story and thank sfor visiting my Wordzzle! :)

Richard said...

Thanks Mary, I appreciate your visit.