The Lieutenant – Chapter 27 A Perfect Day for Racing


The Lieutenant – Chapter 27 A Perfect Day for Racing

To read previous chapters of “Death by Parking,” click on “Death by Parking


Paul came within seconds of blowing the entire con. They told him to stay in L

A, but he felt they needed his help. He could stay out of the way and give them support. Well…


Josh and Veronica took Cosner and Smith to a London Landmark for dinner, Simpson’s on the Strand. It was also Paul’s favorite. Then it happened.


As they were just beginning to discuss Ascot, Veronica looked up to see Paul Manning walk in the door. Although Cosner had his back to the door, all Smith had to do was raise his head and the scam would be lost.


Veronica leaned over to Smith and gently turned his head so she could whisper in his ear. Josh, who realized the problem, excused himself and walked over to Paul. He turned him around and asked where he was staying; once he got that information, he told Paul to go back to his hotel and he would call him later.


He turned back to the table to see Smith turn a bright shade of red; Cosner give a horse laugh. Veronica had run her tongue around Smith’s ear. How were they going to unwind this fiasco?


The last thing Veronica wanted was to have an affair with Smith. But it was certainly on his mind after the tongue episode. He reached over and put his hand on Veronica’s thigh. She smiled at him and then whispered:


“We have to be a bit circumspect. Josh will report anything back to St. John Smythe and my cover will be blown. I suggest we plan a party, just the two of us, when the deal closes.”


Smith glanced around, gave her thigh a squeeze, and nodded. Sex would be great, but money trumps.


After returning Cosner and Smith to their hotel, they called Rickie, the magician who was running this part of the con, and told him to meet at Paul’s hotel, and bring St. John Smythe. Veronica and Josh were sitting in Paul’s room when Rickie and St. John Smythe walked in. They were fuming. 


“You know, of course, that you almost cost us the entire con,” St. John Smythe said. He was so angry he dropped his public school accent and reverted to the cockney he was born with. 


“Now, everyone calm down,” Rickie said. “It forced Veronica to move on Smith, and that may not be bad.” If he keeps looking at her legs and dreaming of the rest, he might not be looking so closely at what we are trying to do back at the bank.


“Everything is set. Veronica and Josh will keep our friends occupied with the Queen at Ascot tomorrow, and then the day after, we will show them a working bank on a non-bank holiday. Then it’s back to LA and we can close this deal.”


“I’m really sorry. It never occurred to me that you would be taking them to Simpsons,” said Paul. “I just felt left out back in LA and needed to be a part of the action.”


“It was a bush league move, but it’s over now and contained. Now, if we can just keep Smith’s hands off Veronica ‘til this deal is closed, we are home free and clear,” said Rickie.


That brought an ‘hurrumph’ from St. John Smythe.


The next day dawned warm and clear. A perfect day for racing. As penned by Learner and Lowe, 


Every duke and earl, and peer is here,

Everyone who should be here is here.

What a dashing absolutely smashing spectacle,

Ascot Opening Day


Cosner and Smith were blown away. They were particularly taken with the bookies who had their booths near the grand pavilion. The only bookies they knew operated out of a dark room and over the phone. These guys had it down. 


You gave the bookie the name of the horse you wanted to bet on and your money. He gave you a ticket with a number on it and said “Number 234, Easy Money, 50 pounds, 10-1.” He then threw the money into a briefcase at his feet. The “turf accountant” sitting behind him entered the bet in the “book.” The odds stayed at 10-1. If you bet through the tote machines run by the track, the odds changed as the betting went on. It seemed to Cosner that this was a much better system. 


What he didn’t see were the hawkers who worked for the bookies. They stood back where they could see all the booths and read the signals sent by hand to them from the other bookies. This system allowed them to lay off bets that were too large for individual bookmakers to handle. The bookies and their turf accountants were world class mathematicians and could compute the odds and their liabilities instantly. It was amazing to watch.


Josh and Veronica plied the boys with champagne and by the time the day drew to a close, they were well oiled. They poured them out of the Daimler at their hotel and agreed to pick them up the next day at 11 am to take them to the bank. 


The crew met at the bank at 10 am and were coordinating the ‘real’ bankers and moving them into coaches at the side door. The ‘con’ bankers were moving into place. Veronica looked out the window and saw Cosner and Smith getting out of a taxi. And they weren’t ready.


Josh and Veronica ran to the front door, took a deep breath and walked out to meet the two. 


“Oh, I thought we were picking you up at 11,” said Josh. 


“That’s OK, we thought we would come a few minutes earlier and get the full feel for British Banking. You don’t have any objection, do you?” Cosner had a smile on his face.


At that moment, shots rang out and the four hit the sidewalk. 


Watching the drama unfold below, Rickie just shook his head. What next?

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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