File13

 

Regulators

            Rosie stepped out of the dressing room wearing a white tank top, a black leather skirt, and fuck-me-boots. Smooth's and God's jaws dropped.
            "Damn, girl," said Thor. "You're gonna have to beat them off with a stick tonight."
            "That's the idea, isn't it?" Rosie lifted the edge of her skirt to reveal a knife strapped to her leg. "And I won't need a stick," she added with a pointed look at Smooth and God. Their jaws snapped shut and both visibly swallowed.
            "Everyone set?" Each member of the Regulators nodded at Thor, faces set and sober.
"Then let's get going."
            The group hefted their black duffels and walked out to the Suburban waiting by the door.
Eros was sitting in the driver's seat, tapping his fingers to the beat of a Jackson 5 song. The team threw their bags in the back of the truck and crawled in.
            "It's about damn time," Eros told Thor as soon as he opened the passenger-side door.
"Starting to wonder whether this mission was going to happen." Thor grunted, got in the vehicle, and slammed his door.
            "Thirty minutes to the hotel from here. Try not to make it in fifteen this time."
            "Yes, sir," said Eros. He lit a fresh cigarette, cracked his window, and turned up the radio before setting off for the hotel.
            The streets had little traffic at this time of the day, so the drive took only twenty minutes.
Eros was a little disappointed. "But the man said not fifteen," he told himself.
            "Welcome to the Alexandria," said the valet. He started to get into the truck, but Eros grabbed his arm. "Park it out of the sun so the paint doesn't fade. And if you get a scratch on it, I'll rip your heart out." The valet, looking indifferent, got in the truck. He squealed the tires a bit just to annoy Eros, who was about to go after the valet. Thor stepped in front of him.
            "We don't have the time for this."
            The lobby of the resort hotel was expensive-looking, almost to the point of gaudy. Marble floors shone with a mirror finish. Potted plants on small tables dotted the room. Plushy leather couches and chairs created a small social area. Thor ended up behind a group of frat boys
looking for a good time and a family looking for a vacation as he waited in line at the front desk. The team took over the couches, sending out misanthropic vibes to those who looked as if they might approach.
            Smooth grabbed a newspaper from a side-table. A bold-print headline read "SPRING BREAK VIOLENCE EXPECTED." He chuckled and scanned the article about violent events in the past and safety tips on how to avoid getting hurt. The Alexandria was mentioned several times.
            "'We do not endorse violence,'” Smooth read aloud, "'but neither do we search our guests' belongings,” stated the hotel's Vice-President. Perhaps this is why, year after year, the Alexandria has more than its share of beatings, stabbings, and shootings--events none take notice of.
            "The Alexandria is case-in-point of what tourist money does to a city. Not to sound like a socialist, but this reporter thinks .... "
            Ten minutes, a wishy-washy clerk, and a screaming child later, their reservations were confirmed, and the team rode the elevator up to the eighth floor. They were placed two to a room, leaving Thor the odd-man-out, but as soon as they had dropped off their duffels, everyone gathered in Thor's room.
            Thor stood for a moment, hands clasped behind his back, gazing out the window. The resort area behind the hotel was already full of partiers. Most had probably been at the bars all day, engaging in a stereotypical Spring Break vacation. Along the California beach, bonfires flared up to ward off the chill of the Pacific Ocean water. Thor brought his attention back to his
room.
            "All right, Regulators, here's how it works. God, you have room 1017. Rosie, set up at the bar. Play it cool until you get our guy on the hook. And try not to break anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. I'll be on the dance floor. Eros and Smooth, you're our scouts. Questions? No? Then let's go party."
            God grabbed the suitcase containing his rifle and walked to the stairwell. An older couple came down the hallway. The woman smiled at God. He bowed to her and tipped an imaginary hat. The couple chuckled and moved on.
            God took the stairs up two floors. He found room 1017 without any trouble, but could not get the key card to work.
            "Whatever happened to keys?" he muttered while jiggling both the card and the doorknob. Finally, he hit upon the right combination of jiggles and the door opened.
            God tossed his suitcase on the bed and opened it, pausing for a moment to adore his baby.
He took the parts of the Heckler & Koch MSG90 A 1 precision rifle out of the molded foam interior and started to assemble them. Reticular scope locked onto stock, stock attached to
barrel, firing pin inserted into stock, silencer screwed onto barrel. God slid a magazine of .50 caliber hollow-points into the rifle and chambered a round.
            Out on the balcony, God took up position beside a knockoff of Michelangelo's David.
He rested the rifle against the crenelations of the balcony and used a pair of binoculars to survey the resort.
            "God's in place."