Either Ore

Either Ore cover 6-16-16 copy

Either Ore and Casper Dupree, two of the best jewelry thieves to ever work the circuit, first meet during a chance encounter when they realize they’re inadvertently robbing the same house. They meet for the second time three years later after Either has been released from prison and Casper has launched a fledgling career as an author of romance novels. And now Either has come up with the perfect way for them to pull off the ultimate road trip caper, as well as help Casper sell a few books in the process.

Hitting the road in a leased Winnebago, Either and Casper embark on the next chapter in their career in crime as coconspirators of Casper Dupree’s Endless Book Tour. Along the way they partner with Coco, a femme fatale with a penchant for classic noir and creative crime. They also manage to attract the attention of an FBI agent who has a history with Either and is determined to do everything in his power to make sure that the bad guys don’t win.

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Chapter 1

Casper strolled out of the second floor master bathroom, drying his hands on a monogrammed towel, then saw the guy for the first time. Only ten minutes earlier, Casper had been cursing his inability to decipher the wall safe. But this guy already had it open, making Casper feel like a total amateur.
Casper had needed a break when his stomach, always touchy during B&E’s, began fighting back against the extra-spicy, mega bean burrito he’d scarfed down earlier in the car. His stomach now settled into a slow roil, Casper leaned against the door and studied the guy taking items from the safe and sliding them into a large cloth sack. Casper snapped on a fresh pair of work gloves, then reached into his jacket pocket.
Upon hearing the snap, the guy emptying the safe turned and the small flashlight in his left hand lit the gun extending from Casper’s right. Casper’s first impression was that he was impressed by how the guy managed to stay so cool. Here he was, caught red-handed with a Glock pointed at his chest from eight feet, and the fucking guy just smiled and tossed another piece of jewelry in the bag. The room was dark, but Casper had seen enough sparkling to know that whatever it was, it was made out of diamonds. The guy glanced down into the bag, then back at Casper. The smile never left his face.
“Find what you were looking for?”
The guy focused on the Glock, probably deciding at that exact moment if Casper was going to shoot him, he’d have already done it.
The guy flashed that smile again.
“I guess. I was hoping for a bit more cash since, every time I have to fence jewelry, I always end up getting screwed on the exchange. But, yeah, I can make this work.”
“I’m impressed,” Casper said, nodding at the safe. “How’d you get it open? I was starting to think I was going to have to blast my way in.”
“I can open anything.” He shrugged. “Don’t know why. It’s just always been that way. When I was a kid, the neighbors were always stopping by the house when they had a pickle jar or some shit they couldn’t open.” He nodded at Casper’s hand. “Triumph brand, right?”
Casper, still impressed by how in control the guy was, nodded and said, “You know, it’s funny. I’m holding a gun that can turn you into hamburger, but you want to talk about gloves.”
“Hey, every two bit thug out there carries a gun, but only a total pro would understand the importance of good gloves. Those the Triumph Micros?”
“Yeah, only ones I use,” Casper said, starting to warm up to the guy.
“Me too,” he said. “The Micros are super thin. And all the neurosurgeons and cardiologists swear by them. I’ve worn condoms that weren’t as sensitive as these things.”
“I’ll remember that the next time I want to practice safe wanking.” Casper pointed the Glock at the bag. “You want to put that down on the table next to the bed?”
“Not really,” he said. “Whatever happened to possession is nine tenths of the law?”
“Nothing. But you’re possessing a bag.” Casper waggled the gun. “I’m possessing this.”
“Is that the Glock 19?”
“Yeah.”
“Shit, man. I’ve got the same model, right here in my pocket.” The guy patted the right side of his jacket.
Casper fully extended the arm holding the gun. “You think you can get it out before I blow a hole the size of that safe in your chest?”
“Hey, relax, will ya? Don’t go losing your fucking mind. I was just trying to make a point.”
“And what would that be?”
“The point is that we got stuff in common. Same gloves, a smart business decision on both our parts that can’t be underestimated. Same gun, lightweight but powerful. And reliable. When you need it, you damn well want to be sure it’s gonna do the trick, right? Same kind of shoes, ones that are both quiet and comfortable. Shit, we even picked the same house to rob. Shows we have good taste and a sense of style.”
“So?”
“So the point is, maybe it’s a sign.”
“A sign.”
“Yeah, a sign that maybe the two of us should be working together. At a minimum, we could probably get a discount on gloves. You know, buying in bulk and all.”
Casper laughed. Definitely the coolest crook he’d ever met. Guy staring down the barrel of a Glock but still able to find the funny and improvise on the fly. Casper shook his head.
“Sorry, I work alone.”
“I got a ton of ideas, man. Really good ideas, but I’d need a partner to make some of them work. What do they say? Many hands make light work, or some shit like that.”
“No, you got it right. So why don’t you just hand it over and I’ll be on my way. But feel free to help yourself to what’s in the fridge before you go. That way your night won’t be a total loss.”
“Real funny. It ain’t fair. Wasn’t for me, you’d still be scratching your balls, wondering how to open that safe without waking up the whole neighborhood. Aren’t you the least bit interested in what I’ve got to say? Or learning about my skill set?”
“Actually, what I’m interested in is what’s in that bag.” Casper wagged the gun at the small table next to the bed.”
The guy held one hand up as a sign for Casper not to shoot him and inched his way toward he table. He slowly emptied the bag and trained the flashlight on the contents. “Earrings, necklaces, couple of bracelets…all diamond. Six Rolexes; three men’s, three women’s, if you can believe that. All those watches, and these rich pricks are probably so out of touch they don’t even know what month it is, much less the time. Couple bundles of cash, looks like twenty K each. Not bad for fifteen minutes work…would have been less than that, if you hadn’t felt the need to threaten me with a gun and slow down my progress.” He stopped and cocked his head. “What the hell was that?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
“Car door. Two of them…but soft, like somebody didn’t want anybody to hear them close.”
The guy crossed to the window and peered out through the side of the curtain. “Damn.” He stepped back from the window, the smile gone.
“What is it?” Casper said, approaching the window. “Cops?”
“Worse. Security company. At least cops will give you a chance to give yourself up. The rent-a-cops the security companies hire are so bored most of the time, they’ll shoot you just for something to do.” He peered back through the curtain. “Goddamn it.”
“What?”
“They’re coming up the driveway. Two of them. A silent alarm must have gone off.”
“That’s not possible,” Casper said. “I turned the security system off before I came in.”
“Yeah, me too,” he said. He paused and stared at Casper. “Shit.”
“You must have turned it back on.”
“Son of a bitch. How the hell did I do that?”
“Nice going, Mr. I Can Open Anything.”
“I can,” he said. “But I have a problem with computer shit.”
“Ya think?”
They heard the front door click open and muffled voices downstairs in the foyer.
The guy turned the flashlight off.
“Well, how do you want to play it?” Casper whispered.
“Well, I sure don’t want to stick around here and shoot it out with a couple of nine dollar an hour cowboys. I guess we’ll need to go out the window.”
The guy snuck another peek through the curtain then slowly slid the window open. He stuck his head out and looked both ways along the edge of the roofline. “There’s a small ledge I think we can get to. We can climb out and work our way over to the garage. We should be able to jump down from there.”
Casper poked his head through the window and did a quick assessment. “Okay, let’s do it.” Casper put his gun back in his pocket and started to climb through the window. The guy grabbed his shoulder.
“Hang on. One more thing,” he whispered.
“What’s that?”
“The stuff. How we gonna divide it up?”
Casper glanced at the table, then back at the guy. “Focused little prick, aren’t you?”
“Hey, man,” he said. “I’m trying to make a living here. This is business, not personal.” He crossed to the table and refilled the bag. “Tell you what…you take the forty thousand in cash, I’ll take the jewelry. By the time I get it fenced, I’ll be lucky if I get anywhere near forty for all of it.”
“Bullshit,” Casper whispered. “My three-year-old nephew could get forty for all that.”
“Be that as it may,” the guy said. “I’m still getting the short end of the stick, but it ain’t like either one of us is in much of a position to stand here and haggle.”
Casper thought for a moment, then nodded and stuffed the two bundles of cash into his pocket. “Okay, let’s go.”
The guy folded the bag and placed it inside his jacket, then zipped it tight. He watched Casper swing his legs out the window, then heard a soft thud as he landed on the ledge below. He looked down. Casper, through the moonlight, gave him a thumbs up. He swung his legs out the window and joined Casper on the ledge. Facing the house, they inched along the ledge shuffling sideways.
“By the way,” Casper said. “I’m Casper Dupree.”
“Good to meet you. I’m Either Ore.”
“Either or what?”
“Either or fucking nothing. That’s my name.”
Casper continued to shuffle along the ledge heading towards the garage roof. “Either? Your name is Either?”
“Yeah. Either Ore. That’s O.R.E. You got a problem with that, Casper?”
“No. No problem. Your parents must have a sense of humor.”
“They liked to think so.”
“Pretty unusual. Be a hard name to forget,” Casper said, slowing a bit as they approached the garage.
“Yeah, well, if you end up getting pulled in by the cops, just make sure it manages to slip your mind.”
“No problem. I’ve never divulged anything to the cops in my life, and I’m not about to start. And I’m safe assuming you’ll extend me the same courtesy?”
“Man, do you ever listen to yourself? Sometimes you sound like you’re trying to come across as some kind of professor.”
“Fine. How’s this…can you keep your fucking mouth shut if you get arrested?”
“No worries there. I already forgot your name, Casper.”
They reached the point where the ledge met the garage roof, jumped, and each landed with a soft thud. They walked to the edge of the garage roof and looked down.
“It’s only about ten feet,” Casper said, staring down at the concrete driveway. “If we tuck and roll, we shouldn’t break anything.”
“That’s very comforting,” Either said, looking down for a landing spot.
Casper checked that the two bundles of cash were secure, then inched his way to the edge of the garage room. “See you on the other side.”
Either came to a stop.
“Wait, I heard something.”
“Man, you got good ears,” Casper said. “What is it?”
“Sounded like a growl.”
Casper peered down through the darkness.
“Shit, you’re right. Dog.”
“Dog? Fuck.”
“Big dog…cop dog.”
“Rottweiler?”
“No. German Shepherd. Where’d you ever see a Rottweiler that was a cop dog?”
“I’m telling you, I’ve seen it.” Either started walking in small circles. “Damn. I hate dogs. Especially cop dogs.”
“How can anybody hate dogs? What the hell is the matter with you?”
“Let’s just say I’m scared of them and leave it at that.”
“Well, suck it up,” Casper said. “Let’s go.”
“Not with that dog down there.”
“You’d rather stay here and get shot?”
“Hey, I raise my arms up here, I don’t get shot. I raise my arms down there, the only thing I do is make it easier for that dog to bite my balls off.”
Casper glanced back towards the house. Lights were coming on one room at a time as the security guards conducted their search. Casper reached down and removed his shoes. He whistled softly, then threw one into a large shrub off to one side of the garage. He heard a growl and the sound of the dog’s nails scratching on the concrete. Silence. Then they both heard a throaty growl directly underneath them on the ground below.
“Jesus Christ,” Casper said. “Listen to that.”
“I’m trying not to,” Either said.
Casper threw his second shoe deeper into the shrub. The dog barked and scrambled off towards the bush.
“Okay, it’s now or never,” Casper said.
Either, paralyzed with fear, shook his head. “Never.”
“You’re joking, right? You’d rather get arrested than take your chances with a dog?”
“You ever see how much damage a pissed off cop dog can do?”
“Okay, it’s your funeral.” Casper jumped off the garage, landed and tumbled, managing to only bang his knee and roll an ankle. He scrambled to his feet and looked up. “You coming or not?”
“Where’s the dog?” Either said.
“He’s in the bushes, but I’m sure he’ll be back soon. C’mon.”
“No. I can’t do it.”
“Don’t be such a pussy,” Casper said, shaking his head.
Either stayed right where he was.
“Well, at least toss down the bag.”
“Are you out of your fucking mind?”
“You want to give it back? Or get arrested holding it?”
“Shit.” Either unzipped his jacket and tossed the bag down to Casper, who caught it, then started running up the driveway with a limping gait.
“And I want it back. You hear me?”
Either’s voice, well above a whisper, caught the dog’s attention. It returned to the driveway and sat growling directly below the fear-stricken Either. Casper paused halfway up the driveway and watched the two security guards climb out a bedroom window onto the garage roof.
“Freeze, asshole!”
Either slowly raised his hands and turned to face them as they slowly worked their way across the roof.
“Don’t fucking move!”
“Relax cowboy,” Casper heard Either say. “I know the drill.”

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Either Ore cover 6-16-16 copy