The Continuing Adventures of Minnesota Smith
Episode I - When in Rome
By Christopher K. Brennan
"After those words from our proud sponsors we return to the amazing Adventures of Minnesota Smith," the Radio Man said on a night that just happened to be stormy. He said this to the children huddled around their radio in their bunny and airplane pajamas. Now the children were hardcore Minnesota Smith fans and listened to it on their radio because their small television did not have it, and they enjoyed imagining the adventures in their own way. "Let us now re-air the very first Minnesota Smith episode for those who haven't followed from the beginning," Radio Man declared. "Here follows the Continuing Adventures of Minnesota Smith Episode I 'When in Rome," said Radio Man as his voice faded to the back of the children's heads while the story unfurled before as well as engulfed them.
Minnesota Smith was in his office on a gloomy alley between two very "un-gloomy" resorts, during summer tourist season on the Las Vegas strip. Before a couple of days had passed, he will have completed the most difficult case in his life. It was a Monday. Smith hated Mondays. A rugged man he was, from his head to his toes-always dirty. He liked it that way because it made him feel tuff(allusion). A week's beard was growing on his chin. He liked that, too. Smith liked himself and his situation. Eventually, in a groggy self-satisfied manner, he started towards the fridge for his half-eaten sandwich made of pastrami, pepperocini, sliced turkey breast, and green peppers. Then it happened.
"BANG," shouted the Magnum revolver from the alley down below Mr. Smith's dingy flat. Minnesota rushed downstairs into the one quiet nook in all of Las Vegas to find a crowd already congregating around a corpse being held by a dazzling young woman weeping uncontrollably. Presently, a young damsel walked up to our hero and explained what she had seen as if Minnesota had asked. Minnesota, still in shock, was startled when the she said, "I'm Miss Veronica DaStress, and I saw by the sign on your door that you're a private eye. I suggest you find who's responsible for this tragedy before Las Vegas is thought of as a wild and dangerous place."
"Well, umm…" mumbled Mr. Smith before Veronica added,
"Oh, yeah, I'm a reporter. Mind if we shoot you taking the case?" as a fine photographer shot his picture for a headline tomorrow which would read "Strange Las Vegas Homicide, Minnesota Smith Investigates." Meanwhile, in the alley, Minnesota was talking with the victim's (whose name was Guy Us) sister Julie Us who had explained simply that they were tourists on their first day in town. When asked where they were staying Julie reported that they had been lodging at Caesar's Palace, which was conveniently located a few blocks down the strip. While this was happening, Minnesota immediately concluded this was a premeditated murder because of the absolute perfection with which it was carried out. Smith knew who normally took part in these activities. The people who built this city knew what they were in for when they made a city of wildness. Minnesota was surprised it had taken as long as to 1953 for the mafia to come to town and start pulling off their treachery.
Still a little bewildered, Minnesota Smith and Julie Us went into his grimy apartment where she was going to be asked a few questions about her brother. She told Minnesota that Guy had been dealing with a man identified by the code name Fuzzy Slippers. Upon hearing this name, Smith gave a little jump for that was his arch-nemesis and the leader of many of the cases Smith worked so hard to figure out. This man was named Brutus G. Ilty. Smith knew Brutus normally did a job like this by himself. He liked the crazy feelings of cold steel in his hands while his temples pulsed with anxiousness, giving a warm feel around his body. "Julie," Minnesota exclaimed in a hurried voice, "you must check out of the Caesar's Palace with everything you have. Brutus will be back to try and finish the job he started by killing you," Minnesota said swiftly.
After taking the nearest taxi to go down the street, they resumed their conversation. It was here where Minnesota actually noticed Julie as a woman. At first, he had thought of her as an aphrodisiac that had come to Las Vegas with a lot of makeup on. He saw now her petite figure with classic ebony hair, sparkling greenish-blue eyes, along with a pale, frightened, and vulnerable face. More striking however, was the large obsidian that dangled from her delicate neck. This girl was not voluptuous but shown with something almost angel like. They both began to discuss what they were going to do since they were in this together now. The thing was that neither of them knew what the plan was besides the inclination that the mafia might break into the Venetian's vault and steal the myriad of treasure inside the vault. Suddenly, the cabbie slammed on the brakes and Minnesota, used to the jerk of Las Vegas cabs, rushed out of the car while Julie stood there saying, "Car….pay…diem(which means today in Latin, which is a language spoken in the Us's native Finland-Julie uses Latin when stressed-but little used in any other part of the world)."
Minnesota arrived at the concierge lobby just in time to here the young naïve concierge say, "E 2 Brutus." By the way, Julie ended up paying for the taxi, which is the risk one takes when traveling with Smith. After waiting awhile and seeing Brutus come down, Julie and Minnesota rushed up to the room to see it in a scene of complete disarray but nothing besides a couple bucks which were sitting on the bed before-Brutus is a thief and couldn't resist- had been taken. "I think it would be best if you stayed at my flat for protection tonight," Minnesota said to the shocked and frazzled girl who stared in amazement at the ravaged room. The strange thing was that Julie looked beautiful and strong as if she were a hero born out of Chaos herself. Only able to oblige and nod, she packed her bags and headed over to her newfound dwelling place.
Back at their newly found headquarters and war room, which happened to be Minnesota's card/dinner table they were discussing Guy. Julie said that he had been hired to crack some code for Brutus's group known as the infamous Ilty gang. "Other than that," Julie Us said, "I don't have a clue as to what they want me for."
"So," Minnesota blurted," you're in Vegas; what do you want to do?"
"I don't know, see the sights and have a good time or something along those lines," (half mumbled Julie somewhat half-heartedly.)
"Well you're talking to the guy who knows the town the best anyone can, so let's head out there," Minnesota said as he started towards the door. "But don't forget a jacket, its cold in some places," which were his last words to Julie as they left. Julie did not take a jacket. After deciding to head to the nearby Venetian, they started down the sidewalk. Seeing the gondolas, Julie and Minnesota got onto the boat with the gondolier.
"Boy, the Venetian is high," said Smith.
"Grazi, we take great pride in the structure which resembles the beautiful city of Venice," said the gondolier.
"It gives Caesar's Palace a run for its money," remarked Julie.
"Ah, it does, but they both have excellent hotels and casinos. Of course, I am partial to my work place," chuckled the gondolier.
"My brother told me my obsidian necklace was crafted in Venice, you know," said Julie very happily fingering her jewel.
my lady I will be needing to borrow that key card you have there,
the gondolier, who was actually Brutus, said as he leaped towards Julie, seized the obsidian, dived into the water, and escaped through the crowded casino in one brief fluid motion. Shocked and in awe, the only trace they found of the man, now identified as Brutus, was the note, which came out of the gondolier's hat when he splashed into the water. The note read
"We lost," said Julie. "He'll get the money from wherever he wants and then kill us so we do not tell anyone." Those were the last words either of them heard before going out from getting WHACKED on the head with gondola paddles by the gondoliers who were ALL paid mafia men.
This was not the first time Minnesota had woken up in a gutter and by God, he was determined that this would not be the last time, as he was still thinking about the threats on his life by the mafia. As he tried to get up but fell back down, he observed that Julie was obviously not there. "Uh oh," he exclaimed, "this is going to be a rough day." Now that he had had his daily dose of grief in the morning, he was wide-awake even though it was three o'clock, and all was dark. Feeling the call of duty pressing on him, Smith began his quest to find Julie where girls normally go, the mall. Minnesota went to Caesar's Forum, and when he was gazing around at pavilions and shops(note to reader: Yes mall's are open at three o'clock in the morning in Las Vegas because everything opens around five at night and closes around four in the morning) when he heard a hushed, eerie whisper to the back of his neck, "He's here." Whipping around as fast as he could, Minnesota not only see Julie in a ripped shirt and dirty pants that would make anyone look inconspicuous, but also Brutus sticking the obsidian into the socket of Minerva's eye. While Minnesota was achieving sensory overload, Minerva's eyes turned laser red and flashed the number 137492, which became permanently engraved into Smith's memory forever. Brutus slammed his foot in a specific place and ducked into the tunnel that was created.
Minnesota, seeing it as the heroic thing to do, rushed into the tunnel, but it was too late as "I'm coming too," came up as if being strangled by fear out of Julie's mouth. It was completely and very black.
"I hate not being able to see," Minnesota said darkly. The couple pushed forward in the dark through catacombs under the street. Minnesota knew what was happening; they were going to get front row seats to a robbery; and the ticket price would be their unheard of, unwept, and unsung funerals. Minnesota at this time was not thinking about death, but destiny, why he had been chosen, why he had seen all he had seen if it was all going to end. That, however, did not help Julie Us who was grappling with Brutus G. Ilty saying, "You're no more than a common thief, piggybacking off the work of the good common people; your kind disgust me, and you Brutus…" which was all she could say before the ever impending factor of death took its toll on a young woman who had never done anything but been there and wore a necklace. She was not even wearing a jacket. The woe that then pierced through Minnesota's heart was too unbearable for the author to write at this time causing him to recall the loss of someone special. Once Minnesota had been cold, calm, untouchable, nonchalant, and incapable of emotion. All that had changed. His glacier and his coldness, which had helped him in the past, melted and made his pain all the more excruciating. The end of the tunnel was near and as Minnesota surpassed all the stages of grief (He had already had his this morning)and was filled with love which burned with the passion and intensity of a thousand suns in unison. He ran as fast as he could in a race against time and a race against the world and all its evils. He won. As Brutus was about to enter the last digit Minnesota lunged and knocked him into the stairwell. Brutus ran for his life, and Minnesota darted after him in righteousness. No thought of punching in the two on the number pad came into his mind. No second of the thoughts of taking the treasures inside the vault went into his mind. No remnant of temptation entered his consciousness so filled with valor was he. Minnesota did not even notice the Venetian emblem on the vault door. When they reached the top of the hotel, Brutus struck back on the rooftop dizzying Minnesota. While Minnesota was still dazed, Brutus untied his bowtie and blindfolded Minnesota with it. A push from Brutus sent Minnesota off the edge where he was dangling and holding on with one hand. He knew the hotel was high, all of the hotels were. Hoping it was not the Venetian, he said a little prayer. The sound of a gunshot did not comfort him.