DOUBLE MINT

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Authors: Gretchen Archer
all, but several factors came into play. For one, four thousand
     people, including us, would lose their jobs for the old sins of a few. For another,
     it was history. No one was minting or printing money in here now. And lastly, both
     Salvatore Casimiro and Ty Thibodeaux were out of commission. Casimiro had spent the
     past year getting out of the casino game, and when he wasn’t busy doing that he was
     in the hospital, and from what I’d heard, Thibodeaux had gotten his Bellissimo gold
     watch, then went straight to his sick bed, where he remained. Both men were in their
     late eighties, sick, and what good would it do?
    My last question, and the one weighing heaviest on my heart. “Bradley, did Mr. Sanders
     sanction this?”
    “Richard didn’t know anything about any of this until Thibodeaux retired six months
     ago and not a minute before.”
    Three of us knew.
    “Let me get this straight,” I whispered. “Cash was printed in this room.”
    “Yes.”
    “And coins were minted right here.”
    “Yes.”
    “But the refrigerator doesn’t work.”
    “Weird.”
    We went back to being married and the vaults, vault operations, counterfeiting, The
     Money Room, Salvatore Casimiro, and Ty Thibodeaux were all subjects Bradley and I
     hadn’t discussed one time since that night. The Thibodeauxs we discussed, but not
     in this context. And here we were, nine months later, and it was the only subject
     in town. Holder Darby walked away from a good job, which I’m now suspecting might
     not have had a thing to do with Hello Kitty. Next, the vault was inventoried, only
     to discover millions in platinum gone, replaced with fakes, and now, a guest had disappeared
     and left us with a bathtub full of counterfeit money. Counterfeit money I suspected
     came from a secret vault room down the hall. Of our home.
    Time for me to have a little chat with Magnolia Thibodeaux.

Six

      
    “What are we going to do with this?” Fantasy and I were waiting on elevators with
     a suitcase full of counterfeit money. It’s exactly one-half of our work day, waiting
     on elevators.
    “I’ll take it upstairs to the Bayou Barn. Grab Baylor, if you can find him, and we’ll
     meet at my place and try to track down Mr. Funny Money.” I adjusted the stiff stacks
     of bills in my bra to itch a little less.
    “I’m wondering if I should book a room here tonight.” Fantasy couldn’t stop staring
     at the suitcase. “It looks like it’s going to be a long one.”
    “You can stay with us.”
    “No way in hell I’m staying at your place, Davis. I don’t have time for all that bad
     juju.”
    Everyone hated where we lived. Everyone. Except my grandmother.
    While Fantasy took a public elevator to the mezzanine level on her way to our 3B offices
     to (book herself a room in the hotel) locate Baylor, I took a staff elevator to the
     lobby, rolled the money around two corners, then caught the private elevator to the
     Ya Ya Haunted House. Actually, it’s a semi-private elevator. When Jay Leno’s place
     is occupied, those guests have access to it too. It didn’t happen often that I was
     in the elevator with anyone else, but of course it happened today. I was dressed
     as Olivia Abbott, Special Events Woman, so it wasn’t a security problem running into
     anyone, just an annoyance. I was against the mirrored back wall, my hand on the extended
     suitcase handle, when someone stuck an arm out, caught the doors as they were closing,
     and rushed in.
    I was about to ask to see his passkey for this elevator when he, a tall dark man,
     looked up from his phone, got an eyeful of me, then slammed himself against the elevator
     wall, doing his very best to climb it. The whites of his eyes were so very white.
    The doors opened on twenty-nine and the guy bolted out and ran for his life, turning
     the corner to Jay Leno’s place. Which meant he must be on Dionne Warwick’s front team.
     Someone always arrived days before the superstars, or, in

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