Showdown At the Prickly Cactus V

“The police have been called,” Hunter said to Falcone. “You okay?"

Freddy sighed at that, it wasn't a surprise given he and the hitman had had a shootout in a bar, but the last thing he needed right now was to deal with cops. Still, he was glad to have the bartender's help, even if he didn't know what the hell he was getting into.

Sawyer saw the man behind the opened door of a 2018 Caddy, the rear window of which was shattered. He rose just enough to fire the shotgun. The shot hit the door with a great force.

Adrenaline was flowing through Hunter. He hadn’t realized the power of the gun hidden under the counter until now.

Looking at Falcone, Hunter whispered. “I didn’t bring anymore shells.” He had thought that Simon would have been gone by now, not putting up a fight.

Simon had scampered behind the front of the Cadillac after Hunter put a slug into the door. Simon was glad he'd sprung for armor for his car, but he was still at a disadvantage. And he was certain the police had already been called. He needed to get out of here, fast. As was typical of his nature, he had a plan should he ever be trapped at the hotel. Simon's paranoia knew no bounds.

So he produced a detonator from his jacket pocket and pressed the button. A car not too far from where Freddy and Hunter were hiding exploded, causing them both to take cover as shards of metal and glass rained down on them. Simon took advantage of the distraction to bolt from his hiding spot and away from the parking lot until he got around the corner and made a bee-line towards the back lot where a beat up old Dodge Neon was waiting for him. He hopped in and took off.

Freddy's ears were ringing from the explosion and he was a little disoriented. He felt some sharp stings in his back from where some pieces of shrapnel had no doubt hit him. But as far as he could tell he wasn't seriously wounded. He figured the explosion was a diversion, the bastard was getting away. However, he felt a pang of conscience as he looked to Hunter and he couldn't bring himself to just leave the man who had helped him out. So he went to his side and made sure the bartender wasn't seriously wounded.

"Hey, buddy. You alright?"

Once it was clear Hunter wasn't in danger of dying Freddy pulled out some hundreds from his wallet and stuffed them into the man's pocket. "Here, for the whiskey and a little something extra for your trouble, my man. Sorry I gotta leave you here, but I've got a killer to catch."

Freddy raced over to the Prickly Cactus parking lot and hopped into his car to give chase.

----

By the time Sheriff Miles Daniels arrived at the Jackalope Inn firefighters had put out the burning car and medics were seeing to the bartender who had apparently chased off the shooter who had wreaked havoc at the bar. Daniels frowned and stared at the destruction in the parking lot. Vegas folk once again up to no good. His shoulder ached, almost as if in response to memory of the last time something like this happened.

Daniels went into the hotel to interrogate the clerk at the desk, some goth chick who looked rather shaken. The interview provided little info. The guy with the red vest and tie had ordered a room here, left, then came back before going into the bar.

"You got a spare key to his room?" Daniels asked. "We need to see if this guy left anything in there."

The girl nodded and grabbed the spare from the wall of keys. "Here."

Daniels took it and handed it to one of the other officers. "Check it out, will ya? Come find me if you find anything."

The officer nodded and Daniels thanked the girl for her time before heading to the ambulance where a medic was looking over Hunter Sawyer, the bartender.

"Mr. Sawyer." Daniels said with a tip of his hat. "I hope you don't mind me asking you a few questions..."

However, before Hunter could even speak there was an explosion from one of the hotel rooms. Daniels produced his glock and rushed towards the room and found that the door had been blown apart. The officer he had sent to check out the perp's room, along with two other uniformed officers, now lay dead. From what Daniels could tell, the door had been rigged with a mine.

"Officers down!" Daniels shouted to the paramedics on the scene. "We need help!"

Daniels knew that this had to be some sort of Vegas issue, he had heard about Castagnacci's assassination, this must've been some sort of fallout from it. It just had to be. He went back over to Hunter and glared at the man with renewed determination.

"Alright. Tell me everything that happened..."

----

Freddy Falcone gunned his car down the lonely stretch of road as he pursued the ratty Neon that was the hitman's getaway car. He wasn't gonna let this guy get away, not by a long shot. He floored the gas pedal and was able to catch up to the Neon. He twisted the wheel and sent the nose of his car slamming into the side of the Neon. Wheels screeched and the Neon fishtailed and careened into the nearby ditch.

Freddy slammed on the brakes and came to a stop a few feet ahead of where the Neon crashed. He checked to make sure his .38 was loaded before stepping out and marching towards the Neon. As he reached it the hitman was in the process of opening the door. Blood gushed from a gash in his forehead, and he was still nursing the bullet wound in his arm. The guy was in bad shape.

"Your gun, drop it." Freddy ordered.

Simon spat out some blood and coughed. "Dropped it on the floor."

"Hands." Freddy said, motioning for Simon to get out.

Simon raised his hands and got out. "This just isn't my day."

"Damn right it isn't." Freddy kept his gun on him as he crawled out of the wreck and fell to his knees. "You killed my friend."

"No offense, but it's just my job." Simon said. "Hate the gunman, not the gun."

"You pulled the trigger." Freddy said.

"Ortiz signed off on the hit." Simon pointed out.

"So it was Ortiz?"

"Yeah, guy's making his move on your whole crew. With your boss out of the picture the other groups will fall under his control and he'll be running Vegas." Simon said.

Freddy glowered at Simon. "Not if I get to Ortiz."

"You can try, but he's always with his gang. You'd need to lure him out."

Freddy nodded. "And I take it you have an idea as to how to do that?"

Simon shrugged. "I may. But it'll cost you."

"Why should I trust you?"

"Way I see it, Ortiz payed me already for your friend, you were just extra credit. And I say if you decide not to off me I'll take it as payment for me helping you get Ortiz. We part ways, no bad feelings. What do you say?"

Freddy thought for a moment, unsure what to do...

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