From the author: This story came to
me as I was playing bingo, and I wondered how many of you readers were bingo
freaks and how many of you get ticked off at all the little quirks that happen
in a bingo parlor. Anyways---I hope you enjoy the story----Sasquaw
Ranger Cordell Walker is staring back at the blonde, blue-eyed district attorney, his brow arches.
"What did you just ask me, Alex?"
The blonde stammers as she repeats her question. "I asked you---if you would like to go and play bingo with me tonight?"
Walker grins, "Is this some kind of
joke?--Because if it is--it's not funny!"
Alex grimaces as Walker walks past her to the coffee pot, and pours himself a cup. "It's no joke, Walker--- I'm on the level---I need you to go to the Super Bingo Palace with me----tonight."
Walker shakes his head as he looks at his watch, "No way, Alex----I don't know what kind of case you're working on, but it's got all of the makings of another bingo bust from last year----and a woman that put me through hell---Eileen---what's her name?"
"Yes, I remember Eileen and the Ricky Rickets case---this has nothing to do with them---and this is not an official case--so to speak."
Walker sips his coffee as he leans back in his chair and looks back at the woman, in her two-piece peach colored suit. She was wearing her hair in curls, the 'little orphan Annie’ look. Ordinarily, the Ranger would think the look was not very sexy, but with Alex Cahill--she looked sexy no matter how she wore her hair.
He continues to watch her as she paces, he knows that she's ready to spring something on him, he just doesn't know what. Walker lets his lips linger on the rim of his coffee cup, imagining his lips elsewhere--and they might have been if those two old ladies hadn't interrupted.
They had been to a movie, another 'tearjerker’! But, lately things had been heating up between them, and as much as the Ranger hated those kinds of movies, he wasn't going to argue about it. They stopped at Mario's and had a light dinner and then she asked him to stay for coffee.
They both knew where the evening was heading, and neither of them needed much prompting once the door was closed. Walker took her quickly into his arms, his lips seeking her's as their hands continue to explore each other's body. His right hand was moving quickly to her blouse as he commenced to unbutton it. They were both breathing heavily as he pulled her gently to the couch, laying her back against the pillows
Alex's hands were reaching to unbuckle his belt, pulling his black western shirt up out of his pants and upwards, not even wanting to take the time to undo the snaps. Walker groans as he stands up quickly and pulls his shirt off, looking down at the blonde, her eyes pleading for his return.
Walker lays down gently on top of her his right hand going inside her blouse and finding her right breast, gently squeezing. His lips begin to bathe her quickly, going to her breast and encircling the nipple. Alex moans, as she moves slowly underneath him, returning his hungry kisses.
Walker is now pushing the blouse back and Alex is eagerly trying to get it off. She moans as he moves slowly down to her slacks and commences to pull them down. She rises up, so he can get his hands under her buttocks. She can feel the warmth in his hands and his lips through the material of the slacks, as he gently kisses the material covering the abdominal area. Her body shivers, anticipating what is to come.
Their eyes meet for only a second, as many times they had fought what was about to happen, they both knew there was no turning back for either of them. Alex's blue eyes look deep into the Rangers', as she reaches to take his hand, sliding out from under him, and pulling him towards her bedroom. The Rangers' eyes drink in her beauty, as he follows behind her.
Alex begins to shed her slacks quickly as Walker follows suit, his eyes watching her as every inch of her body begins to uncover. He can feel his whole body begin to harden at the sight of her body beckoning him. He groans, as he moves towards her.
"Ms Cahill---Ms Cahill---are you home?"
Walker stops and whispers to Alex, "Who the hell is that?"
Alex puts her finger up to her lip in a 'hushing' gesture, "Quiet---maybe--they will go away."
The Ranger keeps looking towards the hallway, then back to Alex. His body is starting to cool down as the pounding on the door continues.
"Ms Cahill---please---we have to talk to you!"
Alex groans, "They're not going to go away---let me see what they want."
Walker lets out a string of curse words as he reaches down for his jeans, sitting down on the edge of Alex's bed. Alex is hurriedly reaching for a robe a she looks back to the disappointed look on the Ranger’s face. She stammers as she keeps putting her hands up and motioning for him to stay put.
"I'll only be a moment---I'll see what they want---and then---tell them to leave."
Alex walks quickly to her door and looks out through the peep hole. She sees two of her elderly neighbors, staring back at her.
The two women burst inside, "Thank goodness, you're home Ms Cahill---we've been waiting all evening to talk to you."
"Yes" the other woman chides in, "you sure keep late hours---do you know what time it is?"
Alex is trying to speak as she keeps looking back towards her bedroom, the first lady hits her friend--" Oh be quiet, Lenore-----Ms Cahill is a grown woman----she can stay out late--if she wants to." The woman looks to Alex and shakes her head, and then adds--"Even if it is unfitting and unsafe for a beautiful woman like Ms Cahill to be out at all hours of the night!"
Lenore nods her head, "You're so right sister dear--- it's just unsafe---look what happened to dear old Ethel!"
Alex sighs, "Ladies---could this wait till morning-?--I'm tired---I got to get some sleep---"
"Oh my goodness, Lenore---we almost forgot what we came here for---Ms Cahill---you have to come with us!"
Lenore shakes her head, "No, sister dear---it would be best if we went straight to the hospital."
"Hospital?" Alex's eyes grow wide, "Are one of you hurt?"
The women stare back at Alex, "No--we're not hurt---it's Ethel---haven't you been listening to what we said?"
Alex starts to reply when the women’s eyes look past her and to the man coming out of her bedroom. Both of the women clear their throats and Alex sees Walker going slowly towards the couch to retrieve his boots.
"Oh my----sister dear we've interrupted something!"
Walker clears his throat as he walks up slowly to Alex, "Uhhhhh----I'm sorry---but my cell phone was ringing---I’ve got to go---- Trivette has a burglary in progress!”
Alex sighs as she looks to the ranger and back to the women, they are staring at Walker and shaking their heads, giving each other 'that look'.
The Ranger quickly exits, and Alex is left to face her two unexpected 'guests'.
"Walker---are you listening to me?"
Walker sits up quickly in his chair, looking back to Alex as she takes his cup of coffee and sips it. The Ranger watches as her lips cover the rim, imagining where he would like to see and feel those lips next.
"I'm sorry Alex---what were you saying?"
Alex sighs as she looks at the cup, "Your coffee is cold, what were you thinking about so hard?"
The Ranger smiles, speaking softly so no one can hear, "You know exactly what I was thinking so hard about----I love taking cold showers!"
Alex smiles as she walks back to freshen Walker's cup of coffee, handing it back to him, letting her hand touch his gently. "I'm sorry about that---I'll make it up to you."
Walker lets his brow dance up and down, "You better believe it."
"Walker, could we please discuss the matter?"
"You haven't heard a word I've said, have you?"
"Alex, all I heard was something about bingo---and then my mind went elsewhere! And, for the record---who were those old ladies?"
Alex sighs, "That's what I'm trying to tell you---they are the Meredith sisters------I had to go to the hospital with them last night---one of their friends was assaulted."
Walker takes a long sip of his coffee, "Alex---if this has anything to do with bingo---I'm not listening."
Alex pulls a chair from one of the other desks and sits down, "Walker--this is important---and yes---it does concern bingo---would you please just give me 10 minutes of your time?"
Walker sighs, getting up to go get another cup of coffee, "I know I'm going to regret this--but o.k. Alex---you got 10 minutes---then I'm out of here--I have more important things to do than listen to a sad story about bingo."
"O.k.---the Meredith sisters came to me because their friend had been assaulted and robbed in the parking lot of the Super Bingo Palace last night."
"Did she file a complaint with the police?"
Alex stammers, "Uuuuuhhhh no---she couldn't."
Walker sits up quickly in his chair, "I'm sorry---how bad was she hurt?"
Alex continues to hesitate, then replies softly, "UUUhhh, she was treated and released---she couldn't make out a report to the police."
Walker stares back at her, "Why? Was she threatened?"
"No, Walker. She couldn't make out a report because---because---she's been 'playing for the house."
"Playing for the house?" Walker repeats the words and then he nods his head, "Oh, I get it--she was in on the 'scam'--playing for the house, getting a share of the winnings--so what went wrong? Did someone get greedy?"
Alex reaches for the Ranger's coffee cup and sips it slowly. "This is not the first time that she's been assaulted---and other senior citizens have been assaulted too.. Walker, something has got to be done about this, before someone gets seriously hurt---or killed!"
Walker gets an empty cup back and again he's heading for the coffee pot. He looks back to Alex, and asks, "And, just what are you planning on doing about this? If your friend doesn't file charges and identify her attacker---there's nothing that the police can do, you know that!"
"That's where you and I come in. We go to the bingo parlor and observe the 'hawk' as he picks his victims. And, believe me--there are others that are working the scam. If we can catch the 'hawk' in action--the senior citizens won't have to testify."
"If I remember right, Alex--that bingo parlor has had several robberies occur in the parking lot, and the place has been having some financial problems because of the bigger gambling halls that have the 8 liners and the other slots. You were saying just last week, that the city was threatening to close them down. You said they were losing a lot of money, maybe closing this place is the best thing."
"No, Walker---a lot of senior citizens go to play there---and for some--their only entertainment.! What is there for the senior citizens to do anymore, the movies are geared to the young, with all the sex, violence, and bad language. The city closed two more bowling alleys in the past year, there are no places for the senior citizens on that part of town to go out for any kind of nightlife, like dancing and stuff."
"Yeah I know, Alex. I got a taste of what was coming down when we raided those bingo halls that Ricky Rickets was involved in. I also observed how most of the older people pay for their bingo---by using their social security checks, SSI, even welfare! In the parking lot I saw patrons arriving in Taxi cabs---- of all things!"
"That's just it, Walker---some of these people can't drive---taxis are their only transportation."
"O.k., Alex--I understand what you're saying about their only form of entertainment---but Alex---are you forgetting something? Just say that we do catch the people behind these scams and they're prosecuted, the news reaches the newspapers, and a 'stink' is raised about how dangerous it is to be on that side of town in that bingo hall? What do you think will happen then? The place will end up losing even more business---and the city will have to close them down"!
Alex nods her head slowly, "It's like a 'catch 22', isn't it? If we don't do something, someone is going to get killed, if we do catch the 'hawks'---another bingo place will close, and the senior citizens on that part of town will have no entertainment at all!"
"I'm sorry, Alex. But, catching these 'so called hawks' is not that easy, you remember how long we 'cased' Rickets' Place, and how long it took the DA's office to give us the red light to go in there? And that was 'money laundering' and tax evasion---much more serious than a mere assault case"?
"Yes, I remember all the red tape we had to cut. We have to do something, Walker---please just go with me tonight and let's check things out."
"I'd like to, Alex, but I'm suppose to be on stakeout with Trivette----and some new training officers."
Alex purses her lips and lowers her eyes, running her hand slowly over the front of Walker's desk. "Well ---o.k. Then I guess I'll have to ask someone else to go with me---'undercover'---so to speak. Ummmmm, I wonder if officer Olsen is available?"
Walker's face becomes rigid as he repeats the officers' name, "Olsen? Of all people---you're going to ask him---the self declared Romeo?"
Alex smiles as she reaches for Walker's phone, "Why not, he likes 'undercover work'?---Now, what is his extension number-----""""
Walker puts his hand over Alex's, shaking his head, "You are not asking Gary Olsen, the man thinks he's God's gift to women! He has made moves on you before, have you forgotten?"
Alex bites her bottom lip gently, and emits a 'purring' sound, "Just an innocent little flirtation on his part."
The Ranger grunts, whispering to himself, "Innocent my eye----he was coming on to you--and you were almost ready to knee the poor man."
Alex continues to look at the Ranger with those eyes, "Well, then I'll just have to go alone----I guess."
Walker breathes a sigh, "This is blackmail and you know it, Counselor!"
"Is it working?" She asks softly.
Walker swears softly, "When does this charade start?"
Walker and Alex listen intently to the Meredith sisters and their friend Ethel, explain what has been happening at the bingo parlor. Walker takes a deep sigh as Ethel explains her part of 'playing for the house'.
Alex feels the Ranger's impatience as she tries to calm the atmosphere. She looks to Ethel and replies softly.
"You do know that you have committed a crime---a misdemeanor?"
The old woman is in her mid-seventies; she tries to smile, "Is that serious? Will they send me to the 'pokey'?"
"The courts will take into consideration your age and the fact that you do not have any previous record. However, you could do community service and maybe put on some kind of probation. But, that is not the worse that could happen."
The three women stare back at Alex and then to the bearded ranger, "Oh no---" exclaims Lenore"--they won't take her bingo away from her, will they?"
Walker's eyes roll upwards as he shakes his head, looking back to Alex. He tries to keep his voice calm as he answers.
"Look ladies, this can be very serious------"
"What could be more serious than losing our bingo?" Asks the first lady.
"Yeah---then--what do we do on Tuesday and Friday nights?" Asks Lenore.
Ethel starts to cry, "I've really messed up, haven't I, girls? I've sure put a crimp in everything, as my Daddy would have said, "You've really messed up this time, and the razor strap will be getting a workout!"
"Ladies----no one is going to harm you---what my friend is trying to say is--that not only could one of you been hurt bad-----you may come under investigation for the way your government checks are being spent."
"I don't understand, Ms Cahill----half of the players there are spending a big portion of their government checks to try and win enough money to compensate what the government is lacking. If it wasn't for our widow benefits and occasionally winning once in awhile, we would have a hard time meeting our bills."
Alex nods her head slowly, "I understand that---and I know that you are allowed so much of your government checks to spend on entertainment, are you staying within your means?"
The women all become silent as Ethel reaches for more tissue, "Sometimes----I do go overboard---especially when I fail to see the winning number coming up---and I don't yell out in plenty of time."
"Then what happens?” Asks Walker.
The old lady blows her nose and then looks to the Ranger, "Well---you have to have the last number called, and you can't yell out till it's posted--but---sometimes-----I make a mistake and daub the wrong number--then the game continues--and someone else wins.-----Then----the "hawk" gets mad."
Alex puts her arm around Ethel's shoulder, "And, if you fail to win---someone else takes the whole pot---someone else that isn't playing for the house, right?"
The old woman nods her head, "Yes, Ms Cahill----and sometimes---sometimes---the 'hawk' will demand that the money be reimbursed."
Walker and Alex exchange looks, "That's extortion---" replies Walker.
"Wait a minute," Alex shakes her head slowly and looks to Ethel, "are you saying that you have to pay this person---this ‘Hawk’ money back---out of your own pocket?"
The three women nod their heads, "Yes, Ms Cahill---Ethel has had to pay the 'hawk' more than once."
Walker sighs, "How much of a winning do you get when 'the house’ wins?"
Lenore replies softly, "Ten percent---but sometimes the pot goes up as high as a $1,000---that's a whole $100 that Ethel wins!"
"But, how often do you win---and how often do you have to reimburse the 'hawk’?"
The room gets very quiet as the Meredith sisters exchange looks, "Sister, dear---maybe we should tell Ms Cahill and her friend—everything?"
"But, Hessie----Ethel will be in deep trouble if we do that!"
"She's already in deep trouble, sister dear---I would say that the manure is rising as we speak!"
Alex takes a deep sigh as she looks to Walker, "I think we all need to sit down and talk about this. And yes, if you want my professional help---then you're going to have to tell me everything!”
The Meredith sisters nod their heads, "I think that's best---and Hessie and I will make some tea."
Walker smacks his lips, anticipating the taste of hot tea, he would much prefer his coffee. He sighs and sits down on the sofa next to Alex.
Ethel is still pacing as she twists the tissue in between her hands. "I feel so stupid-----you're going to be so ashamed of me, Ms Cahill---and you, too, Mr.-----".
Walker smiles, "Just call me Walker---and please---try not to be embarrassed about this."
Alex looks to the Ranger and smiles, reaching out and touching his arm lightly. She looks back to Ethel and replies, "Just take your time and tell us everything."
It's an hour later and Walker and Alex have listened to Ethel's story. As Alex tries to console the three old ladies, Walker calls Trivette and relays the story to him.
Trivette exhales slowly, "I can see it happening, partner--my Aunt Bessie was the same way---she played bingo 6 nights a week, but never on Sundays--that was her day to make amends with the man upstairs! Come Monday---she was right back in the bingo hall!"
"Did you check out that Ricky Rickets informer, like I asked?"
"Yeah----he's willing to help---but as usual--he wants something in return. I told him he would have to work with the DA on that, maybe get some time cut from his sentence? He's still sitting in county jail!"
Walker nods, "I'm sure Alex can arrange that---and if anyone knows how the system works inside and out on those gambling halls---Wally, the Weasel knows all about it."
"O.k. Walker--I'll get the ball rolling from this end---and relay the info to you---are you heading for the bingo place now?"
Walker frowns, "Yeah---first of all---Alex and I have got to don a disguise---I sure hope no one recognizes me!"
Trivette is laughing, "I wish I could see this---Cordell Walker playing bingo! One thing is in your favor, it's Halloween---everyone will be wearing costumes!"
"Stop laughing, Trivette---this is embarrassing enough!"
Trivette laughs louder, "Hey Walker---don't forget to yell bingo out loud enough so that the caller can hear you!! Remember, you got to have the last number called---and if the caller doesn't hear you---you won't get paid. Your neighbors at the table might hear you, but they're not going to pay you."
Walker says nothing as he slams the phone down. He looks up to see Alex looking back at him, her bottom lip pouting, those blue eyes looking into his. He sighs and gives her 'that look'.
SUPER BINGO PALACE:
Walker and Alex arrive at the bingo palace, along with Lenore. Hessie has agreed to stay behind with Ethel, so as not to bring too much attention to the couple who are nervously going over last instructions with each other.
Walker looks to Alex and shakes his head. She's dressed in leotards that are like a second skin, a tight fitting top that is tucked down inside the leotards and a wide spandex belt. She's wearing entirely too much makeup, with a bright red wig, that puts him in mind of the old 'beehive' style that was popular in the '60's. She's wearing horn-rimmed glasses and popping chewing gum.
"Who the hell are you suppose to be, Peg Bundy?"
Alex smiles and slaps his face lightly---"You don't have any room to talk, you look like you just stepped off a pirate ship. I'm surprised you're not wearing a patch over one of your eyes."
The Ranger stammers as he holds up a black patch, "I was going to wear a patch, but I can't see too good with it on."
Alex giggles and then she looks to Lenore, who is dressed as a witch. "O.k.---are we ready? Maybe you should go in first Lenore and get us a table, we're still waiting on Trivette to tell us how the bingo balls are 'rigged’."
Lenore nods, "O.k.--I always sit in the 'NO Smoking" section up against the south wall, will that be okay?"
"That will be fine, can we see the bingo caller from that section?"
"Oh yes, a real clear view---but don't wait too long to come in---the jackpot is up to $5,000 tonight!!! Also, they will be playing the 'speed' games first---to get everyone limbered up."
The old woman hurries off, Walker looks to Alex--"What is speed ball?"
Alex frowns, "I'm not too sure, honey--relax--we'll catch on---it can't be that hard."
Trivette arrives with Wally the "weasel". On seeing Walker and Alex's costumes, both men break out laughing.
Wally, saunters up to Alex and whispers seductively, "Hey baby---your place or mine?"
Alex lowers her glasses and looks to the little man, "Another crack like that, and I'll be adding' to your time instead of subtracting---get my drift----BABY?"
Walker sighs, "O.k., o.k. let's get this over with. All right Weasel----start explaining about how they 'rig' the balls."
"It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, Ranger. The balls are 'weighted' down---so that the air can't push them all up into the cylinder."
"Wait a minute, "interrupts Alex, "we asked our victim about that, she said that all 75 balls are clearly visible".
"Yeah, they are---when the game first starts, but the caller has a little control under his booth that he operates with his foot. He's been told ahead of time, what balls to drop---these are the ones that have been 'weighted' and of course, these are the balls that won't be called out."
"And, these are the numbers that are not on the cards of the 'pigeons'---right?"
"You got it, Ranger. The 'pigeon’ gets a certain pack of bingo cards when 'he or she' comes up to the desk. It's all arranged ahead of time by the serial numbers in the pack. The 'hawk' behind the desk knows who the pigeons are, by the way they ask for their cards."
Trivette is puzzled, "How so?"
The 'weasel' takes a deep sigh then shakes his head. "The 'pigeon' will always say something like "I'm going to be walking home if I don't win" meaning the 'pigeon can't fly----or something like "My husband or my old lady is going to clip my wings when I get home"!
"Sounds translucent to me," replies Alex. "And, this works?"
"You're here Counselor---so it must be working."
Walker scratches his chin, "O.k, that explains the paper, but what about the machines?"
The weasel leans up against the little Sebring of Alex's, "Now---the machines are a little more complicated---but they too can be 'rigged’ even more so than the paper----but they have to be dealt with a lot closer. Because after the bingo sessions are over, they are destroyed--the winning cards---that is. But, it's harder to dispose of the machines, because they have serial numbers."
"So does the paper," answers Alex.
"That's true, but paper can be copied, duplicated --so that the serial numbers match up at the end of the year when they do inventory---that is---if they do inventory. A lot of these places don't, and they can get by with it by 'doctoring' the books."
"Yeah, yeah, we know about all of that," interrupts Walker, "explain how the machines are rigged."
The 'weasel' looks to Trivette and smiles sarcastically, "He really does hate the computer age, doesn't he?"
Trivette clears his throat, "Walker, the machines have a magnetic force that stops certain numbers from being called out."
"Wait a minute, last year when you and I were on the Rickets' case, I saw what they call a 'flashboard' that shows the numbers that have been called out. Isn't that how the players know that number has been called? They can challenge the caller if they see it lit up."
– Part II
"That's just it, Ranger---if the flashboard doesn't show that it's been called out, there's no proving that it has been called. You've got to have a damn good memory to remember all the numbers---other than that, it's your word against the callers'---and guess who is going to win that argument?"
Walker takes a deep sigh, "And, there are people out there that actually enjoy this kind of entertainment as you call it? Getting ripped off--losing their paychecks over this?"
Alex nods her head slowly, "Unfortunately, yes! To some---it's a way of relaxation."
"Some relaxation!" Grumbles Trivette. "But, it's true, Walkman---my Aunt Bessie says it's therapeutic!"
"Ok --- we've established what some people think is relaxing," groans Walker as he looks to the blonde attorney, "---now--let's get back to the game itself. I assume that the 'pigeon' knows how many numbers are going to be called, and these are numbers that are on 'his or her' card---or machine?"
"Yep," replies Wally, "the pigeon has a code on how many numbers the game will go, and therefore they're ready to call out that magic word---BINGO!"
"But, sometimes the 'pigeon' doesn't see the number in time--like "our victim" and when this happens---someone else wins," replies Alex.
"Don't tell me! Your victim is a senior citizen."
Alex nods her head, "Yes, and that's another thing---if the other players see a lot of senior citizens winning---won't they be suspicious?"
Wally, the 'Weasel' looks back at Alex and smiles. Even with her outrageous costume on, and the gum popping--the man is feeling warm. He looks quickly to the bearded Ranger and clears his throat---he knows the Ranger is sweet on the assistant DA and he also knows that Cordell Walker is not to be messed with. He clears his throat again.
"Yeah, that's true--that's why they never use the same pigeon more than twice in a months' time---at least that's the normal 'scam'---but sometimes a 'hawk' can get very greedy. When this happens, suspicions will rise and the accusations will start."
Walker groans, "And, that's when the victims start getting attacked." He turns to Alex, "Alex---how sure is your friend that it's actually a 'hawk' that assaulted her"?
Alex begins to ponder the Ranger's suspicion, "I think I know where you're going with this--Ethel said it was a 'hawk'---but she could have been wrong. I mean after all, the one doing the attacking isn't going to confess to who he is--and if this person suspects that the victim is a 'pigeon'---he can be pretty sure that it won't get reported."
"Exactly," agrees Walker. "I think I smell a 'sting'---what do you think, Counselor?"
Alex looks to her wristwatch and then back to the men, she nods towards the front door, "I think you're right---and I also think we better get in there and find our table where Lenore is sitting. Jimmy, have you planted a 'pigeon' yet"?
"Yeah, officer Olsen---he's dressed as----a cop---a keystone cop
Alex smiles towards the Ranger, "Then,
I guess we're ready."
Walker exhales, as he mumbles under his breath, "Bingo---and on a Friday night---what could be more exciting?"
Trivette snickers as he nudges the weasel, "I sure can't think of anything more exciting. Who knows---maybe you'll win something. Maybe you'll win enough to put in for early Ranger Retirement."
The 'weasel' starts to laugh out loud, then he looks to Alex and replies softly, " I'll be more than glad to take the Ranger's place, pretty lady---at least I know how to play the game. The game of bingo--I mean?"
Walker reaches out and shoves the man gently towards Trivette, "Go get yourself locked up again---I'm not planning on playing this stupid game--I'll just watch."
Trivette and the 'weasel' head back to the Ranger's car. Walker and Alex look to the front door of the bingo hall. The blonde turns to the ranger, popping her gum and smiling flirtatiously, "Ya ready, cowboy/"
The Ranger shakes his head back and forth, "Lead the way, flossy."
Alex blows a big bubble and pops it loudly, she throws her handbag over her shoulder and starts walking away, twisting her hips back and forth. Walker takes one look at her tight fitting leotards doing a number on her derriere, and reaches out and grabs her arm.
"On second thought, walk beside me. My mind is already doing overtime and those pants sure aren't helping my condition any."
Alex giggles as she slips her arm around the Rangers' waist, "Relax, honey---this might turn out to be a 'fun evening'."
The Ranger smirks, "If we don't hurry and get inside, our 'fun evening' is going to start right here in the parking lot."
Walker and Alex enter the bingo hall and start looking around for Lenore, they spot her against the south wall, she's waving frantically to them.
"I guess we better get over there, I told her to act normal---not to bring any attention to herself---or us!"
Walker is looking around at his surroundings, he observes the caller's booth and the front desk where the cards and machines are purchased. He sees officer Olsen walking slowly up to the front desk, he purchases his cards and then sits down close to the caller's booth. Walker then turns to Alex.
"Go ahead and sit down, I want to look around--check out that booth."
"O.k.--don't take too long, I think the games are about to start."
Alex joins her friend, she's sitting at a long table, with about 4 other players. The blonde looks at all the space in between each player and nods to Lenore.
"Looks like a slow night at this table," she whispers.
Almost before Alex can finish her sentence, another old lady that has joined them is nudging her. "Move it sweetie---you're sitting in my place!"
Lenore motions for Alex to sit across from her, "You can sit there Ms Ca---I mean, Ms Kay----and your friend can sit by you. Be sure and keep a lot of space between you and the players next to you. This takes a lot of elbow room!!”
The old lady looks at Alex suspiciously and back to Lenore---"Who's the broad, Lenore?----Sounds like she doesn't even know how to play the game?"
"You just mind your own business, Neva Jo---my friend knows how to play---it's just been a while."
The old woman snorts and reaches for her purse, taking out a small flask and pouring the liquor into a coke cup. She takes a long wig, smacking her lips.
"The only thing missing is a 'cig'!”
"This is the NO SMOKING section, Neva Jo--you know you can't smoke here!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep your support hoses on----I was just thinking out loud."
Alex is watching the scene between Lenore and her 'friend'. Lenore nods towards the desk.
"Ahhhhh, Ms Kay--you need to purchase your cards, the games are about to start."
Alex looks around and sees Walker making his way towards their table. "Yeah," she answers, popping her gum and trying to act nonchalant. "I'll just get my old man to buy them."
Walker sits down beside Alex, the old woman stares back at him and replies angrily, "Don't crowd me---I have to have room for all of my cards!"
Walker mumbles a apology as he looks to Alex, "I looked around the best I could, I'll continue to observe, while you play."
Alex starts to reply when the old lady screams at Walker. "You can't just sit here and not play a card, it's against the rules!"
Lenore clears her throat, "She's right---I forgot to tell you---everyone has to play at least one card."
The Ranger moans as he whispers to Alex under his breath, "How am I going to observe the booth and play a stupid card at the same time?"
`Alex lays her hand on Walker's arm, "It will be o.k., honey---I will help you. Right now, these pants are so tight on me, I have to go to the little girls' room and get some relief---will you go buy the cards?"
Walker stares back at her, "Buy the cards?--I don't know what to ask for."
"If you don't know how to play, then what the hell are you doing here---and taking up space?"
The old woman's voice booms as everyone at their table and within the next two are staring back at them. Walker puts his hands up in 'time out gesture'---"O.k.---I will buy the stupid cards and I will play one---does this make you happy?"
The old woman snorts and goes back to her coke, mumbling. "Of all the imbeciles that I have to sit by and this jerk doesn't know how to play bingo---even a 2 year old knows how to play bingo."
The Ranger stands up and heads for the front desk, Alex is walking very quickly to the ladies' room. Walker sighs as he takes out his wallet and lays a dollar down on the counter, the young woman stares back at him.
"What's this for?” She asks.
"A card," answers the Ranger.
"A card? Is this some kind of joke---you can't buy just one card---only single cards are sold on the floor---it's best to buy the pack."
Walker hesitates as he looks into his wallet and then back to the young lady--"How much are they?"
Before the young lady can answer, voices are yelling out behind the Ranger.
"Hey buddy---would you hurry up?"
"Yeah, just buy the damn cards and move."
"Yeah, hurry up---the first game is about to start."
The young lady is getting impatient, "Look, mister, hurry up and make up your mind, I have paying customers waiting--do you want a pack or not?"
More voices are yelling as Walker reaches in and takes several bills out, laying them on the counter, "O.k., o.k.---what will this buy me?"
The young lady begins to smile, "Heyyyy---you're kind of cute. A little old for me---but---I like older men--I don't have to break them in."
More voices are shouting as Walker stares back at the young lady, who can't be more than 16. He sighs, "Look, just give me the pack---o.k?"
The young lady continues smiling, " Sure handsome, whatever you say". She lays two machines and two huge sheets of paper in front of the confused ranger. "That will be $105.00—please!"
Walker almost chokes as he repeats the figure---"WHAT? Are you serious? I'm not paying that much to -----play bingo!"
The crowd behind Walker is getting even more impatient, and the shoving has started. The young lady is getting angry as she starts looking around for the manager. Walker knows he can't blow his 'cover' by having a nosy manager asking questions, he grabs the machines and lays the remaining amount of money down on the counter.
"O.k.!! O.k.--I'll take them!" He replies angrily and a cheer goes up from the crowd standing behind him. He walks slowly back to his table, trying to maneuver the machines and cards while trying to put his wallet away. By the time he gets to his table, he's fuming.
Alex has returned from the ladies' room, she stares at all of the cards before her. Lenore groans, "Oh, my God--did you buy the super pack?"
Walker whispers back to Alex, "I don't know what the hell I bought--I just said "pack" and this is what the young lady sold me."
The old lady next to Walker snickers, "Serves you right---You rookies come in here, not knowing what you're doing and you get stuck with more cards than you can play.--I'm going to enjoy this night."
Walker's temper is starting to rise as he turns to the old lady. Alex grabs his arm and turns him back to her. "Honey--calm down--she's just trying to rile you."
"She's succeeding," he mumbles.
The first game has started and it's 'speed ball'. Both Alex and Walker are trying to get the machine set up, they look to Lenore, their eyes are pleading for help.
"It's o.k.---this is just speedball---you don't play these games, they were bought off the floor and they're not in your pack."
"Thank God," Murmurs Alex.
Lenore hands Alex some daubers, "Here--you have to use these on the paper--the first game for the regular session will start in about 15 minutes--I will show you how to set up the machines."
Walker is watching as the old lady next to him daubs the numbers feverishly, he turns to Alex and sighs.
"I gotta have a cup of coffee--you find out to play these stupid machines" he starts to stand up, and Alex grabs his hand.
"Honey---I'm hungry--can you grab me a hot dog?"
Walker nods and starts to walk off, "I don't have any money left--can I borrow a couple of dollars?"
As Alex is reaching for her purse, the old woman next to Walker screams out---"BINGO" -- causing the Ranger to jump.
The old woman is laughing and pointing her finger at the Ranger, "See there---that's how you play the game."
Lenore and Alex tell the woman "congratulations" and Walker whispers to himself.
"Good, maybe winning will keep you quiet for the rest of the evening."
He turns back to Alex, "O.k. a hot dog--anything to drink?"
"Yes please---a diet cola---and would you get some nachos---with lots of cheese---and napkins?"
Walker is nodding and trying to remember the order, the old woman snorts.
"I thought you people came here to play bingo----not feed your faces."
Lenore can see the look on the Ranger's face, she waves him away---"Don't pay any attention to this motor-mouth---she's always spouting off? Would you mind getting me a diet drink too, young man---and a Frito-chili pie---lots of Jalapeno peppers?"
Walker's brow arches, "How am I suppose to carry all of this?"
The old woman is trying to hush everyone so she hear the caller, "They have serving trays up there, you dumb bunny!---And, while you're at it--bring me back another coke."
Walker's face is getting red, Alex knows he's about ready to explode, she starts to say something--the Ranger stops her. " Alex, I have to step outside and cool off for a minute or Dallas is going to be short one senior citizen."
The Ranger walks off in a huff, the old lady snorts--"Hope the 'ninny' doesn't forget my coke."
Walker has returned with the refreshments. He cautiously sits the old woman's coke down in front of her, she mumbles a quick 'thank you'.
He sighs as Alex explains to him on how to operate the C2-Gametech machines. "Alex--how am I going to play this stupid game and watch the booth at the same time?"
Alex lowers her voice, "Walker--I will help you--I will try to play all the paper cards--you play the machines."
"What do I do?"
"All you have to do is punch in the number, then press 'enter'--the machine plays all the cards for you—automatically."
Walker sips his coffee and takes a small bite of Alex's hot dog, "Are you sure that's all I do?"
"Yes honey---the machine plays all 66 cards--automatically---it's called a computer---and this is the computer age."
Walker almost chokes on the hot dog, "66 cards---in this little bitty machine?"
"Would you two stop chattering, some people came here to play bingo---not listen to you chatter?"
Walker turns to the old lady, gritting his teeth--"How's your coke?"
"It's fine, why?"
Walker groans as he watches the old lady pour more whiskey into the cup and slosh it around, he mumbles---"I should have put salt in it."
Alex punches Walker gently, "Be nice---we're halfway through this night----are you sure you got the instructions down right for the machines?"
Walker stares back at her and answers sarcastically, "I'm only sure--- of ONE thing!"
Alex's brow arches as she takes another bite of her hot dog, the Ranger watches her lips surround the meat and the bun, "And, what's that?" She asks.
He reaches out and squeezes her left thigh gently, but firm---"That ---you, counselor--are going to pay for this---big time."
She purrs back at him, "I'm looking forward to it, cowboy."
"Stop looking at me that way Alex------or we will leave right now."
The regular session is in it's 3rd game now, Walker is not having any trouble on keeping up with the machines. Unfortunately, Alex is--as Lenore is reaching over and daubing the numbers that the DA is missing. Neva Jo is watching in disgust.
Walker is observing the booth and watching the caller as he moves his feet. The first two winners seem pretty legit, as Walker watches them. Officer Olsen is tipping his derby hat back and forth, the 'sign' for --all is well."
All of a sudden Alex grabs Walker's arm and she's whispering, "I'm one number away---Walker---I'm one number away from winning a $1,000!!!!"
Walker tries to quiet her, he whispers back, "Alex---calm down, remember this is not legitimate--you can't win!"
Alex nods her head to the old woman sitting next to Walker, "I have to make it sound 'legit'--if she sees that I'm not getting excited about being one number away---she really will get nosey."
The Ranger sighs as Alex pops her gum again and speaks in a raised voice for the old woman's benefit, "So, baby----if I win this thousand bucks---you and I can 'p-a-r-t-y'---right?"
The old woman snorts and takes another swig of her coke and whiskey, "You're not suppose to be splitting packs--if you win---you won't get paid!"
Lenore emits a small sigh, "Would you please lay off, Neva Jo---they are not splitting packs."
"Yes, they are." The old woman replies, "Each one of them is suppose to be playing one machine and one sheet---you know the rules, Lenore---the rules apply to everyone--and that includes your friends."
Finally someone yells out bingo as Walker and Alex stare back at Lenore, "Is this true?" Asks Alex.
Lenore stammers, "I'm afraid so---most people would keep their mouths shut---but not Neva Jo---she has to spoil everything."
Walker groans, "I didn't realize there could be so damn many rules for a game of bingo."
Alex tries to calm him as she reaches for one of the machines, then hands Walker the huge sheet of paper. "Here honey---just do the best you can."
Lenore growls back at Neva Jo--"Concentrate on the machine first, it has more cards----then daub as many as you can on the paper---the next game up is the letter "X".”
Both Walker and Alex stare back, their eyes get big, "What the heck is a letter ‘X’?”
Lenore grabs one of Alex's sheets and outlines the numbers that will be called, "Don't worry about daubing the other numbers----they don't count."
Walker looks out at officer Olsen, the Ranger can almost swear the young officer is laughing as the young man keeps looking in their direction. Walker is shaking his head, Alex's cell phone rings, and Neva Jo slams her fist down on the table in disgust.
"Oh great---now the bimbo is gonna be flapping her yap---on the telephone!"
Alex answers a quick hello as the caller starts calling out numbers and she starts daubing them as quick as she can. "Hello---what? Daddy?"
Walker and Lenore shoot Alex a quick glance as the blonde is trying to answer back, "Daddy---I can't talk right now---I'll call you later---no, I'm not at home----I'm -------I'm playing bingo."
Neva Jo is shaking her head as she looks around Walker to observe Alex's wardrobe again, then she whispers low---"Daddy? Oh sure--probably her pimp---or her sugar daddy."
Walker's temper is again rising as he takes a deep breath. His machine starts making a squawking noise back at him and an old crow flashes on the screen and makes a crowing noise. Walker stares back at it, "What did I do wrong, did I break it?"
Lenore starts clapping her hands and grinning from ear to ear---"You won----you won!"
Alex grabs Walker's arm, "Honey---you won---holler out bingo!"
Walker starts shaking his head, "No way---no way---I'm hollering out that stupid word---you holler."
`Both Alex and Lenore scream out "BINGO" and Neva Jo stares back at the Ranger in disgust, mumbling "Damn rookie!"
Walker grins back at the old woman as the floor sponsor counts out the money to the ranger. Alex's mouth drops open as the $100 bills are being counted out and looks back at him in shock.
"Honey---there's close to $2,000 there!"
Lenore is all smiles, "It would be $2,000 if Uncle Sam didn't declare his 5%."
Walker smiles as he fold up the bills and puts them in his wallet, he grins back at Neva Jo--"Just for curiosity’s sake, how much did you win?"
The old woman snorts and goes back to her flask, Lenore is grinning, "Why don't you tell him how much you won, Neva Jo?"
"It's none of his business, you old prune-face."
"Well, I'll be more than glad to tell him. Neva Jo won $95.00 after Uncle Sam got his share."
Walker smirks, "I'll make you a deal, Neva Jo---if you will be quiet for the rest of the evening--I'll buy you another coke--how does that sound?"
Alex is pulling on Walker's arm and trying to stifle her laugh, "Honey---people are watching you----you're calling attention to this table."
The caller has announced there will be a 10 minute intermission:
The old woman smiles back at the Ranger, showing her yellowing false teeth, she tries to turn on her best charm, "Would you buy me a bottle too?"
"How are you getting home, Neva Jo?"
The old woman grins as she pushes her hair back, "I came in a taxi---but if you want to take me home---that will be okay,” She then looks over at Alex and Lenore, "Can you leave them here?"
Walker smiles back as he feels Alex's nails digging into his right thigh, "I can't do that----you know--the 'old ball and chain' has to follow me everywhere! But, I will make sure that the taxi driver stops on the way back home so you can buy your bottle. But, you have to promise me that you're going straight home---promise?”
"I promise, " the old woman giggles. "And, if you change your mind about going home with me, that will be fine and dandy."
The old woman continues to look at Walker, and swoons. He feels another set of eyes boring into him as he looks back to Alex. She's tapping her long nails on the table and nodding her head up and down, she hisses.
"The old ball and chain?" She asks quietly.
Walker grins and takes her hand away from his thigh and kisses it gently, "Relax, sweetheart," he tries to imitate his best Humphrey Bogart voice "be nice and I might you a buy coke too."
Alex punches him in the chest playfully as she looks to Neva Jo, who is staring back at the Ranger with the eyes of a sick cow. The blonde giggles, "Walker, you have opened Pandora's Box--now the woman has a crush on you."
Walker nods towards Olsen, "I think something is coming down" he replies softly. Alex looks out towards the officer and then back at the Ranger. She observes the young officer rubbing his nose back and forth.
"Is that the sign for the 'sting'?” She asks quietly.
Walker sighs, "Either that or he's got a runny nose. I'm going to walk back to the concession stand while we're taking an intermission--- keep watching the caller's feet."
Alex nods as she watches officer Olsen stand up and walk back to the concession stand, the blonde continues to watch the caller.
Lenore is watching the look on Alex's face, she whispers to her, "Is everything o.k.---is your friend on to something?"
Alex lowers her voice, "I think our 'pigeon' is about to land, and the 'hawk' is circling."
Neva Jo is looking at the two women suspiciously, she replies softly--- “And, there's a fox in the henhouse.”
Alex's brow wrinkles as she stares back at the old woman, "Excuse me---did you say something?"
Neva Jo goes back to her bottle, she replies sarcastically--"And a rolling stone gathers no moss---you know I can spout those old adages as well as you fancy people can."
Alex looks to Lenore as she watches Walker and officer Olsen heading for the side door, she whispers to herself, "What is going on, it's only halftime?"
Lenore watches her friend, "What's happening, Ms Kay?"
The blonde gets up from her seat and says softly, "Stay here---I'm going to check this out."
Neva Jo is observing the whispering, "What the hell is going on, and where is that young man that said he would buy me a bottle?"
"Ssssssh, Neva Jo---be quiet."
Alex exits through the side door to see Walker and Olsen wrestling with an old man. They have him leaning against a car and Olsen is patting him down.
"Walker---what's going on?"
Walker is calling for a patrol car as he nods to the old man, "We just caught one of our 'hawks'------," Walker walks over to the old man and starts pulling the disguise off of him, "---but our 'hawk' is not who he's suppose to be----or rather "her!"
The disguise comes off and the young girl that sold Walker his pack of bingo cards stares back at them. She stares at Walker and starts making excuses.
"I didn't want to do it----but my boss made me."
Alex walks over to the young girl, "Who is your boss?"
"He's calling the numbers tonight-----he got word that there were some cops in the bingo hall and he sent me out as a decoy---the real winner should be taking the next game."
Walker nods to Olsen, "Put the young girl in the back of the squad car, I'll talk to her later---Alex---we better get back inside."
Walker and Alex are making their way back to their table. Lenore looks up at them, her brows arched.
The games continue as Walker looks around, he nudges Alex. "I think our 'pigeon' is sitting near the caller's box---an elderly looking woman, dressed as Little Bo Peep."
Alex nods, "Any sign of the 'hawk'?”
Bingo – Chapter 3
"I think he's the one sitting at that far table---dressed like Darth Vader."
Neva Jo's eye are darting back and forth as she watches Walker and then out to the floor. She shakes her head and goes back to her flask mumbling---"Darth Vader--Little Bo Peep---who's next---the big bad wolf?"
The last game is now being played and 53 numbers have been called, Alex is watching as officer Olsen takes off his derby and rubs his head, she looks quickly to Walker. He nods and stands up, whispering, "This is it."
The 54th number is called and both the woman dressed as Little Bo Peep and Neva Jo scream out----‘BINGO’!”
Walker stops and turns to look back at his table, Alex urges him to go ahead and get ready to grab the ‘hawk’.”
Neva Jo is bouncing up and down and pointing at her pack of cards---"I won----I won!!"
Alex looks to Lenore and whispers, "I don't think it was suppose to go this many numbers."
The caller looks back to the table that the second call came from, he shakes his head to the man dressed as Darth Vader. The man quickly gets up and heads for the side door, Walker follows behind.
Miss Bo Peep is collecting her money and the caller says there is only one number that Neva Jo's card does not have all the numbers called. The woman is steaming as she shouts back to the caller that her card is a winner too. Alex scoots over to Neva Jo and starts checking her cards, she looks to Lenore.
"As far as I can tell, her card has all the numbers."
Alex starts yelling at the sponsor to check Neva Jo's card again, he refuses to do so---saying there is only one winner. The bingo hall is erupting and Alex grabs the arm of the sponsor.
"I think you better check her card again---or you---are going to be in a lot of trouble"!
Miss Bo Peep has already started towards the exit and officer Olsen follows her. The sponsor is still arguing with Alex as Lenore pulls the attorney away.
"Don't blow your cover, Ms Cahill-----not now."
Alex looks back at Neva Jo and then to the sponsor, he smiles and walks away. Neva Jo grabs her purse and runs after the sponsor, hitting him in the back of the head.
"Where's my money---you s.o.b. I won it fair and square!"
Alex and Lenore are trying to pull Neva Jo off the man and then a 'free for all' breaks out. Chairs are being thrown and tables are overturned as the innocent bystanders try to find a safe place to hide.
Neva Jo is still throwing punches as someone grabs Alex's wig and yanks it off. Alex is left standing with her blonde hair tucked up under a stocking, as another brawler lunges towards her. Alex pops her gum and then hits the person with her purse.
The caller is making a mad dash for the other exit, Ranger Trivette cuts him off. The melee is going full force as the rest of the police show up and order is being restored. Walker comes in with the 'hawk' and turns him over to an officer.
It's now an hour later and the bingo hall has been cleared out. Walker and Trivette are questioning the caller and the 'hawk'.
"You can't prove anything Rangers----there's no proof that the games were rigged."
Trivette smiles as he nods to a man standing in the shadows, the man steps forward---it's Wally the Weasel. The caller looks to him then back to the Rangers.
"What's he doing here?"
Wally grins, "It's nice to see you again too, Sammy----I told you I would get even with you for that little job you pulled on me a couple of years ago--you cost me almost a million---now I'm taking you down!"
Sammy laughs, "And, how do you plan to do that?"
Wally grins as Alex and Lenore walk up to them, he looks to Alex---"The DA here has offered to cut some time off my sentence in turn for testifying against you."
"Testifying against me---for what?"
Alex replies, "How about fraud for starters, theft, assault, and I'm sure I can even come up with some embezzling, if I look at your paper work close enough."
The Rangers watch the man squirm, "You can't prove any of that, I haven't done anything wrong."
"How about rigging the machines and making sure certain cards are given to certain---pigeons?" Asks Walker.
"No way---I haven't messed with any machines---I don't know what you're talking about."
A police officer walks up with Miss Bo Peep, the woman removes her wig, she's an undercover policewoman. She smiles back at Sammy.
"It's all over, Sammy---I have it all on tape how you explained to me on what number would be the winning one---and after the "Weasel" explains to the judge about how the machines were tampered with----you'll be singing like a canary."
Trivette laughs, "Yeah---your wings have just been clipped."
Walker and Alex watch as the patrol cars pull away, they see Neva Jo and Lenore standing by a taxi.
Walker takes the money out of his wallet and hands it to Lenore, "You take this---and divide it between you and your friends."
He then walks over to Neva Jo, "I'm sorry you couldn't collect on that last game---but Alex is going to try and get you some kind of a compensation share."
Neva Jo tries to smile, "Do I still get my bottle?"
Walker nods his head and hands the taxi driver a $20---"You make sure that she gets home safely----and get her something to drink on the way home."
The old woman is almost in tears as she hugs Walker, "Thank you----I didn't mean to say all of those mean things to you earlier----I just get angry sometimes-----because----I have no one----to talk to."
Alex watches as Walker leans over and kisses the woman's cheek, "You can talk to me anytime you want, Neva Jo---here's my number----call me."
The woman prisses back and forth, looking to Alex and then back to the Ranger "I don't suppose you would consider-----taking me home?"
Walker remains silent and the woman hits him playfully in the chest, "Oh--- go on-!!----I was just fooling you----I would wear you out----you wouldn't be able to keep up with me!"
Neva Jo is laughing and walking towards the taxi, she looks at the driver, "Well---don't just stand there---the liquor store will be closing soon!"
The taxi pulls away and Walker and Alex walk slowly towards her little convertible. He stops and pulls her to him, looking down at her Peg Bundy wardrobe of tight fitting Capri slacks.
"You know------I'm starting to like this look---- How did you get into those pants---they're like a second skin."
Alex smiles as her arms go around the Ranger's neck, "Isn't it more important to know---how I get out of them?"
He kisses her softly as her bubble gum ends up in his mouth, he blows a bubble and pops it.
"I know how you're going to get out of them---the question is---how soon?"
"You'll never find out---if we continue to stand here and discuss it".
Walker laughs as he guides her into the little car, "Your carriage awaits----flossy."
THE END April 13, 2004