Chapter Sixteen (Part Two)
“He’s got ten minutes,” Trip reminds him, looking pointedly at her watch. “Chill, Mowgli. I’m going to check on our friend next door.” She slips out of the room and enters next door where she left O’Reilly. He is apparently sleeping or resting or dead. “Hey, Caleb,” Trip says, poking O’Reilly’s bloodied temple with her finger. “You still with us?” His eyes fly open and dilate in terror. There is a strong smell of urine and shit, and the skin around the makeshift gag in his mouth is chafed. “Still with us, I see.” Trip prods his temple again, and he flinches away from her. “I’ll be back, big guy.” Trip salutes O’Reilly, turns off the lights, and leave the room. She isn’t worried about him being found because she’s left explicit instructions that the room not be entered during her stay. A crisp hundred dollar bill had ensured that her request would be honored. She goes back into the room where she’s to meet the mayor.
“Well?” Mowgli is puffing on a cigarette, even though it’s a non-smoking room. He ashes on the floor, not seeming to notice or care.
“He’s still with us,” Trip says, holding out her hand. Mowgli hands over the cigarettes with reluctance. “You don’t smoke,” Trip states, sliding a Camel out of the pack.
“I do now,” Mowgli says simply, sucking on his cigarette as if it were an oxygen tube. Five minutes later, there is a knock on the door.
“Show time,” Trip says, stubbing out her cigarette in a glass. She opens the door cautiously, making sure it’s just the mayor and Andretti; it is. “Welcome, Mr. Mayor,” Trip says, gesturing the mayor to enter. “DiCalvo,” she adds, staring hard at the man who is the cause of her misery.
“Andretti,” he corrects her nervously, his face already sweating. “Lucien Andretti.”
“I believe you have something of mine,” Davies says coolly, looking at her in disdain. He is taller and skinnier than he appears on television, well over six-feet with no spare fat to be seen. His skin is the color of mahogany, and his black hair is streaked with gray, but neatly clipped. It’s hard to see his eyes behind the Ray-Bans he’s wearing, but the best bet would be that they’re not smiling. He is wearing a suit, and he looks around him in contempt as he steps into the room.