Chapter Two: Everybody Loves Somebody

The shades were drawn so that barely a glimmer of expensive Beverly Hills sunshine made it into the den. In fact, the only illumination was coming from the large-screen television that was projecting "Wheel of Fortune" to the far corners of the room.

The sound was off, completing the spooky, crypt-like atmosphere. It didn't matter, as no one was paying much attention to the show anyway. Not that the room was empty. Not quite.

A large leather armchair was placed directly in front of the screen, in perfect position: the TV chair. In it, a man dozed. On the table next to him was a half-empty bottle of gin. On the floor was a completely empty glass. It was 10 a.m.

The door opened and the maid entered. As her eyes grew accustomed to the gloom, she shook her head sadly at the pathetic sight. She walked right over to the sleeping man and shook him.

"Mr. Martin! There's some people to see you," she nearly shouted. The man stirred.

"Jerry! I'm not working with that overgrown chimpanzee!" he slurred, fingers slicing the air for emphasis, eyes still closed.

The maid ducked the feeble attack and struggled to straighten him in the chair. Her efforts seemed to revive him somewhat.

"I'se gwine to de couch now," he said in an exaggerated drawl. "Yes, I'm a-definitely gwinna lay down." That his dialect was a broad parody of the actor Tim Moore, "Kingfish" on the old Amos and Andy program, didn't bother her as it might have under other circumstances. This old man was too besotted to realize what he was saying. Just another sad old white man wasting away in Beverly Hills, she thought as she lifted him to his feet and helped him across the room.

"I'll send them in, Mr. Martin," she said as she deposited him on the couch. "It's your friend, Mr. Sinatra and that English type fellow."

A moment after she left, Frank and Peter came striding into the room. Peter went right to the bar, grabbing the half-empty gin bottle on the way. Frank looked down at his old pal.

"This is it, Goombah! The big one! A heist!"

Frank's mouth was stretched all the way across his face in that grimacing smile of his. He waited for a response to his exciting news.

Dean sputtered twice then fell into a deep snore.

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