Smoke Filled Room

January 27th, 2013 | Posted in Short Stories | Comments Off

Harry was nervous in spit of the fact that he’d been doing this for six months now. “what are you worried about?” he asked himself “you go in, make nice, get the goods and get out. Just like always.”

He looked at his watch, he was expected in five minutes and he’d been told that late arrivals would not be admitted under any circumstances. He headed into the hotel. It was one of the nicer hotels in the D.C. area, you didn’t have to be rich to stay there but it certainly helped.

He headed directly for the elevators and finding an empty car he entered and pressed the “close door” button right away and then pressed “8”. It was one of the faster modern elevators and less than a minute later he was stepping out onto the eighth floor.

Following his instructions he turned left and looked for suite 815. It wasn’t hard to spot with the two armed security guards outside. One asked for his name and checked a list while the other stood by, ready to reach for the obvious bulge under his jacket should the need arise.

The first guard looked up from the list and said “have a good evening sir.” and opened the door. Harry entered and looked around. It was an entryway, almost like a lobby, with two more security guards. Again he gave his name and waited while they checked the list and granted him admittance to the inner room.

This room was anything but empty. It was one of the larger suites that the hotel offered and there were at least three dozen people milling about and chatting idly. The air was thick with smoke, a blue haze extending down nearly two feet from the eight foot ceilings.

The chatter in the room stopped quickly when a man at one end of the room began tapping a gavel calling for everyone to take their seats. The man with the gavel waited for everyone to take a seat and said “Welcome to the North DC cigar auction“, we have a lot of excellent merchandise for you tonight.”

This was it. Harry had been working toward getting invited to this auction for over four months straight. He’d had to prove himself to no less than ten different people in the club’s hierarchy before finally being granted an invitation. His background had been checked all the way back to grade school, his neighbors and family had also been investigated thoroughly as well as discreetly questioned about him.

His orders were simple. He was to bid on the first item offered, offering up to ten thousand dollars for it. If he didn’t win that he was to do the same with each of the following items offered. Once he won any item he was to collect it, pay for it, and leave immediately.

The auctioneer announced the first item for bidding. An unopened box of King Edward cigars, made in 2004, with the original seals intact. The bidding was to start at %500. Immediately Harry raised his hand to bid. So did five other people. After several rounds of bidding and raising the bid, harry was pronounced the winner for a price of $8,700. The auctioneer congratulated him and said that he could collect his purchase at the table to the auctioneer’s left.

Harry quietly got up and made his way to the table. Without saying anything he opened his wallet and counted out the money in crisp $100 bills and paid the young lady sitting there as more security guards watched. She handed him a nondescript brown paper wrapped package. He thanked her and left.

Five minutes later he arrived at his car, got in, put the package on the passenger seat, started up and pulled into traffic. After driving for ten minutes he pulled into an underground garage downtown.

As he walked into the squad room he asked if the chief was in. He was. Harry went straight to his office and knocked twice as he opened the door and went in. Chief Roberts looked up from his paperwork and asked “How’d it go?” “Perfect” Harry replied and gave him the package.

The chief looked it over for a moment, turned on the video camera and began to open it. He broke the seal and opened the box revealing vintage King Edward cigars. “Get the D.A. in here, looks like we’re busting another smoke club.”

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