Jim’s disappoinment dragged his face down. He had a much easier time when he explained his device and its potential to Cindy and Hope. He stopped short of resigning himself to treating Angel as a hired hand. He wanted more than that, he wanted Angel to care. “Damn it, Angel. You’re thinking too small. Think bigger. Bigger!”
Angel’s wheels started to spin. “You want to build a bigger one.”
“You need the parts.”
“Okay.” Angel nodded.
Leaving the laser behind they got back into the elevator, heading back to the bar in the basement.
“We can take my bird to a hanger at Midway and wait out the storm. Then we can refuel and go fetch your parts.” Angel said.
Midway Airport was once Chicago’s second largest airport. It was never going to rival the luxury of O’Hare, the largest airport in the area, but it had built itself up over the decades to service frugally minded passengers. It was located near the southwest edge of the city and was once accessible by the elevated train system.
“We need to bring the other two with us.” Jim said.
Angel’s face soured and he sighed audibly. “Those women… they are bad for business.”
You know them?” Jim’s shock raised his face back into a more cordial position.
Never one to talk about his trading between customers, Angel had never shared his story about Cindy and Hope. What benefit could come of it. “Yes, we met once,” was all he said.
“Loweerringg Levoo-oo-oo-l ohm,” said the elevator as the doors opened at the bar.
From inside the elevator the bar appeared empty. Jim was perplexed as he expected Cindy and Hope to be sitting at their stools enjoying some liquid hydration.
“Damn it, Jim.” Angel thought.
An arm reached into the elevator from one side and attached itself to the strap of Angel’s backpack. He was yanked out and found himself slammed against the wall with a two inch blade at his neck.
Hope, at Cindy’s behest, stopped short of shoving her blade through his carotid artery, but not short of the skin. A trickle of blood found its way down his neck, and down the edge of the blade to Hope’s steady fist. It dripped from her pinky at a regular cadence.
“This man cannot be trusted.” The source of Cindy’s voice was difficult to pinpoint.
Jim stepped slowly out of the elevator. He scanned the room looking for the source of Cindy’s voice, but turning his head slightly to the right to acknowledge Angel’s predicament with a tilted raise of his brow. His eyes slid back and forth across the room, like a slow clock pendulum.
Hope split her gaze between Angel and Jim, her eyes resting mostly on Angel. She knew there wasn’t a lot he could do to retaliate without making some preliminary moves. But she also didn’t trust Jim enough to not do something stupid. “Nobody’s moving, Mom. You can probably come out now.”
Emerging from behind the bar, Cindy held the handle of a smashed bottle. An empty threat, given her disposition on the lives of others, but she knew sometimes a threat was all she needed. “This man you have chosen as your courier is a human trafficker. This man has no moral compass. He is among the worst of humanity and he will betray you, Jim.”