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When Angus O’Sonnell says jump, Cavanaugh doesn’t ask how high. He’s the one responsible for figuring out lift and acceleration and the effects of the gravitational field on the jumping body. So when Angus gives him a task on the night of February 22, Cavanaugh just nods and gets it done. And he gets it done in Vegas, because if you are going to be spending an… an… obscene is really the word for it, but Cavanaugh also thinks this is a blasphemous amount of money. An abomination of money. If you’re going to do that, you might as well do it in the cesspit of corruption and wealth that is Las Vegas, Nevada.

He asked Angus, once – and only once – why they spend so much time and effort seeing to the needs and comforts of what Angus calls “my people” and Cavanaugh privately calls “the Chicago commune.”

“Because we can,” the big man had replied absently, turning a boot over before putting it on. Cavanaugh knows from personal experience that’s a habit you pick up when you expect rat droppings. Ratshit in your clothes is not a problem for Angus’ “people.”

In the decade and a half that Cavanaugh has been Angus’ second in command, he’s approved building plans and budgets, sat on committees and on a yak-hair cushion to negotiate with obscure tribesmen. But it’s nights like these that are his secret favorite: when he gets to put aside his majordomo’s coat and pull on the tailored tuxedo of a secret agent.

Vegas is the worst-kept secret. Or the best, Cavanaugh guesses. He won’t speculate on how many Chosen take their newfound powers here to convert small fortunes into moderate or even large ones, but it’s a frequent enough occurrence that one Tobin Smith of Optimal Solutions supplies Chosen bouncers to ‘encourage’ overwhelmed newcomers to remain subtle and discreet or risk being evicted in extremely nonsubtle ways. Even immortals find cement shoes an inconvenience.

But Cavanaugh has no such worries, and with a borrowed “lucky charm” in his pocket he has a reasonable run of fortune at the blackjack table. Counting cards is almost second nature to him after all these years of doing Angus’ books, and he has to remind himself to stop before his run gets too obvious. From the tables to the true games of chance he goes, pulling the handle on a $50 slot machine to pocket tens of thousands here, putting all his chips on the red 10 there to increase his winnings by an order of magnitude.

Finally he has enough cash to implement the second half of Angus’ plan. People are woken up for this. Brokers broken. Sellers sold. 24-hour establishments closed to the public. A cleaning crew is dispatched to touch up a house uninhabited since Carter took office. Cars that don’t exist yet are shipped on matte-black military transports to an address no-one’s heard of. It’s a grand gesture, and a generous one, and Cavanaugh hopes that it will be enough to impress Angus’ wayward son. Jack isn’t the first of the Boss’ strays but he’s the most damaged. If he lights these cars on fire like he torched the Jag, he’ll be blowing up a lot more than a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of automotive investment.

Still, Cavanaugh goes to bed with a small, satisfied smile on his face at nine a.m., just as Angus is reading the first of his work emails, reclining in bed with a laptop. For his part, Angus just nods. It is, after all, no less and no more than he expects of Cavanaugh.

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