Valet Underground

"Hey, dude, check that out. Looks like an '09 Jeep Wrangler, gray with a hard top. Think it'll come for a visit?"

"I dunno, bro. We'll just have to see."

The two brothers, Joey and Johnny Tompkins, had set up their valet stand outside of the Ross Barnett Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi. They watched as as the Jeep pulled to a halt beside them. Joey and Johnny glanced at each other. The driver's side door opened, and a tall, gaunt man stepped out. His boots clicked loudly on the sidewalk.

Calmly, like a snake preparing to strike, Joey walked over to the man and said, "Hello, sir, would you like us to park your vehicle for you?"

The large man tipped his cowboy hat. "Yeah, if you don't mind." He tossed Joey the Jeep keys and walked into the hotel. For an instant they could see the man's rippling muscles bulge beneath his plaid button-up.

As the man disappeared into the hotel behind them, Joey flashed a grin at Johnny but quickly hid it and regained his composure. They had to keep it cool. Acting out the parts in this carjacking play required nerves of steel and amazing poker faces. It would not pay one bit for the whole operation to be busted by a loud snigger. People got suspicious real quick in this day and age.

They packed up their gear, loaded it into the Jeep, and calmly sped off.

Johnny watched the Jackson skyline zoom by for a couple of minutes. Neon lights of all colors washed over them, dazzling him. Passers-by walked down the sidewalks, and the early night traffic was a steady flow, like a small creek.

"Whatcha think we can get off of this, Joey?" Johnny asked.

Joey shrugged. "Beats me. It could go either way, really. We could sell it whole or chop it down for scrap parts. Jeeps always make decent coinage for us. Everybody wants one."


Joey took a sharp right onto Marie Anne Street and headed south for a few blocks. Next he joked and jived down some back alleys and shortcuts, just in case they were being tailed. Soon, they were deep within the dark, seedy underbelly of Jackson, Mississippi. The Jeep came to a halt in front of a massive warehouse at the end of Andreas end street. There were no windows, just one giant roll-up door. Joey honked three times, then two times, then three times again. The door rolled up, and they drove in.

Once inside, it was like stepping into a whole nother world. Cars of all makes and models were stowed away neatly against the walls or were being worked on by the small contingent of mechanics and repairmen. Joey parked the Jeep into an empty spot.

A short, balding man in a greasy blue jumpsuit greeted the brothers with a wave and a thin-lipped smile. "'Ey! Joey and Johnny Tompkins! Wassup, hermanos? Y'all just score another ride for us?"

"Sure did, Arman," replied Johnny, patting the Jeep's warm hood. "The poor chump didn't even ask any questions 'bout it, either."

Arman's smile grew even wider, threatening to split his face from ear to ear. He stuck a pair of glasses on his bulbous nose and said, "Sounds like a good snag to me. Maybe some of these fellas here should learn from y'all's example. It's make the whole job easier." He popped open the hood. "Lemme just see what kinda shape this beauty's in. Then I'll pay y'all for y'all's services."

Joey and Johnny patiently waited as the mechanic ran a quick check on the Jeep. A few minutes later, Arman wiped grease off of his hands and placed his glasses into a breast pocket. "Appears to me that y'all made a right choice in picking this one. My professional opinion tells me that y'all should sell it whole, with a different paint job, of course. The bossman'll be happy. Y'all'll be makin' money; he'll be makin' money; I'll be makin' money. Everyone's happy. Good job, fellas."

The two brothers shared a happy, triumphant smile and fist bumped.