Nevada Lowball - Never fold

Across town Lee and Amber arrive in Pahrump, pulling up to a dark, rough-looking bar. The Oklahoma couple are here based on information they’d requested from the Professor. Lee’s approach to hunting is simple. To find a thief, one must go where thieves hang out. And through the Professor’s relationship with the local sheriff, this hole-in-the-wall dive bar is their starting point.

Lee and Amber enter the establishment and smile. Amber squeezes Lee’s hand with excitement. Lee says to her in a low tone, “Let’s try to behave ourselves now.”

“I know, sweetheart,” Amber says as the two stroll over to the bar. Patrons sitting at random tables eyeball the two.

“You’re already turning heads, honey,” Lee says. She smiles, throwing a little more hip into her stride. Amber loves this kind of attention. And Lee loves displaying his eye candy.

The bartender, a tough-looking man with a long gray beard and sleeve tattoos, stands up as the couple approaches. “What do you have on draft?” Lee asks.

“Coors and Coors Light,” the bartender says in a gravelly monotone voice.

A condescending chuckle escapes Lee. “That makes sense. A shitty beer served at a shitty place,” Lee says, intentionally speaking louder than usual. “We’ll have two glasses of your exquisite piss water, fine sir.”

The bartender’s brow furrows. “Do you have a fuckin’ problem?”

“I apologize for my husband, sir. We’ve been on the road all day, and he gets a little grumpy when he’s tired,” Amber says, smiling brightly. Holding up two fingers, she continues. “We’ll take two glasses of whatever beer you have.” The bartender gives Amber a look, fills two glass mugs, and roughly sets them in front of the couple. “Thank you,” Amber says sweetly.

The large bartender turns to walk away. Lee calls to him, “I was hoping you could help me. I’m looking for another tough guy, much like yourself, but younger.”

The bartender turns around and rushes toward Lee. Lee doesn’t flinch a muscle but only displays his toothy smile. Now leaning over the bar, the large man is nose-to-nose with the Oklahoma hit man. “Look, fucker, I don’t know what your problem is, but I suggest you drink your beer and shut the fuck up.”

Another rough-looking man approaches Lee from the rear. Lee’s posture doesn’t change.
“Do you want me to take care of this, Moby?”

Lee laughs while looking at the bartender straight into his eyes. “Is your name Moby? Like Moby Dick? I bet you a hundred dollars you’ve never even read the book. Hell, I bet you two hundred dollars you can’t even read.”

Immediately, the man standing behind Lee grabs him by the shoulder and swings him around.

Using the momentum, Lee smashes the man square on the jaw with the local piss water. Beer and broken glass fly in the air. The man drops straight to the floor like a bag of concrete.

Moby grabs Lee by the back of the collar and tries pulling him over the bar. But before Moby can get a good tug, Amber grabs him by his long beard.

Wrapping the long hairpiece once around her hand, she pulls the giant to the bar, pinning him. Moby howls in pain, letting go of Lee and grabbing his beard. As he struggles to loosen from Amber’s grip, his eyes flash with pain and anger. He raises his fist to her.

Lee catches Moby’s fist with one hand and stuffs a chrome revolver under his chin with the other. Lee drives the business end of the gun into thick meaty flesh. “Whoa, big boy. You wouldn’t hit a lady, now, would you?”

Moby lowers his fist. Amber takes a second coil of the beard around her hand. The once towering man sinks farther down to the bar surface. “Looks like you hooked yourself a big fish, sweetheart,” Lee says, laughing. He continues. “You get it, Moby, ‘big fish’?”

Lee lowers himself to Moby’s pain-infused face. He glances at the prison tattoos covering the man’s forearms. “Aren’t you dotted up nicely?”

Lee asks, using prison slang Moby would understand. Fighting the pain from his beard and the pressure on his back by being held in the bent-over position, Moby doesn’t reply. Lee continues, more serious now. “I’m looking for a couple of youngsters. The ones who killed that Russo character a few days back.”

Through gritted teeth, Moby says, “I don’t talk to cops.”

Lee laughs. “Now, what on God’s green earth makes you think we’re cops? No, Moby, we’re not cops. We’re concerned citizens who would like to talk to the young men who ripped off my employer.”

It takes only a moment before Moby connects Russo, the Professor, and the Oklahoma couple. “You work for the—” Moby starts to say before

Lee interrupts him.
“Yes, Moby, I do. But only on a contractual basis. Unfortunately for you, we’re on the clock.”
Moby shakes his head. “Look, man, I met the kid a few nights back.”

“And …,” Lee asks.

“He wanted some advice on how to rip a safe.”

“From you? That’s rich.” He looks at Amber.

“Going to someone for advice on how not to get caught by someone who, in fact, has been.”
Amber shakes her head in disappointment.

“These kids today.” Lee puts his attention back on Moby. “How do I find him?”

Moby struggles through the pain. “All I know is … he works for his old man who owns a cabinet shop. It’s on … the corner of Mesquite and Leslie Road.”

Lee nods in appreciation, standing up straight. Amber loosens her grip on his beard but doesn’t let go. “Well, thank you very much, Mr. Moby,” Lee says. “Amber, sweetheart, I think we can table this until tomorrow morning during regular business hours.”

“I believe so, my love.” She continues to loosen her grip on the beard, but stops. She asks Moby a question. “Do you know where we can get some local souvenirs? We usually like to get something from where we’ve been.”

Confused by the question and still in pain, Moby says, “No, lady, I don’t.”

Her lips pucker, disappointment registering on Amber’s face. She says, “Too bad.”
Like a snake adjusting its coils around its prey, Amber retightens her grip on Moby’s beard. Violently, she yanks a large handful of hair, leaving a bloody patch of flesh on the tip of his chin. Moby screams in pain as he collapses onto the bar.

Through a surprised chuckle, Lee says, “Holy shit, woman, I would have bought you a shot glass at one of the gas stations.”

Laughing and swinging the bloody, flesh-infused goatee over her shoulder like a high-end purse, Amber says. “You still can.”