JUST LIKE THAT
The sun dips below the skyline, bathing Las Vegas in yet another spectacular display of the color, starting to silhouette the buildings of the Strip. Inside the parking garage a white Audi’s engine cuts, and black dress shoes and slacks step out onto the concrete.
“Event Horizon” Hayes Hanlon takes a breath through his nose, reaching back into his car to retrieve his duffel bag and tossing it over shoulder. Closing the door and locking it with a couple beeps, his steps echo through the garage. Stone-faced and mentally preparing for the night.
Rounding a corner, he’s met with the mightiest of trios.
He lifts an eyebrow and slows his gait, re-adjusting his bag and approaching the Queen and her Heads of Security. The Lady of the Hour stands poker-faced, as do Dam and the Bad Dog.
Hayes Hanlon: Am I, uh…am I in trouble?
Dametreyus: Guilty conscience, Boss?
Hayes Hanlon: (rubbing the back of his neck) Listen, whatever they said about me at the Velvet Rabbit, I promise it’s not true. Not that I really remember anything…
Wade Elliott: Th’hell’s a Velvet Rab–
Lindsay Troy holds up her hand and shakes her head.
Lindsay Troy: You really don’t want to know.
The Queen sighs and lets her arm drop to her side.
Lindsay Troy: Listen, Hayes, there’s no great way to say this, and I’m sorry to have to break the news, but Knox is gone from PRIME.
A long pause. And Hayes blinks.
Hayes Hanlon: …why?
Lindsay Troy: Breach of contract. Cally’s gone too; she wasn’t going to stay without him. And on the advice of counsel, I’m not going to say any more than that.
Hayes Hanlon: Just like that? After the last two and half months? After everything?
Lindsay Troy: (nodding) Just like that. Believe me when I say this is not what I wanted to do, but it’s something that needed to be done.
He looks down and to his left, digesting, then turns back to the PRIME CEO.
Hayes Hanlon: So…what happens at UltraViolence?
A slow smile appears on Lindsay’s face.
Lindsay Troy: I’m working on it. You’ll still have a match; it won’t be the one you’ve been prepping for, but you’ll still be competing.
Hayes stands quiet, still dumbstruck. Wade takes a step forward and claps him on the shoulder.
Wade Elliott: Good luck, kid. Yer gonna need it.
Lindsay Troy: You’ve got a big match tonight in the meantime. I’d put my focus on that if I were you.
On that note, the three staffers head back inside and leave Hayes alone with his thoughts. He watches them disappear behind the entrance, then drops his bag to the ground, pushing both hands through his dark hair.
Hayes Hanlon: Damn.