The Cinderella Caper is a fiction based on reality. As the lives of three people thrown together by circumstance progress, the main character decides to commit a never-before attempted million-dollar robbery of a major theme park. His plan is flawed and rejected by his lover who, in a turn of events, betrays him with her own plan, which succeeds in what can only be described as a misadventure with unexpected consequences that no one could possibly have foretold.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)|
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Randy stood 6'1" in his stocking feet and weighed in at about 225 lbs. of solid muscle. His brown hair and dark mustache was complimented by his deep brown eyes and athletic body. Randy was one of those good-looking kids when he graduated from high school who had no idea what he wanted to be when he grew up.
His search for jobs proved to be a burden due to his youthful age and lack of experience in any real form of employment. In an act of sheer desperation, he went to the local recruiting station to join the Coast Guard, thinking he would be protecting the shores of Miami Beach and free to play on the sun-drenched sands when he was off duty. It would be a job that would keep him interested and give him a steady supply of money so he could play and date all the different women who idolized men in uniform.
Like most young men fresh out of high school, he had lived with his parents and had no responsibilities other than washing the family car, emptying the garbage and keeping his room clean. His father had always worked twelve to sixteen hours each day and consequently, he spent most of his young childhood going to movies and watching television. As a result of this lifestyle during his early years, his role models were movie stars like Cary Grant, Dean Martin, Tony Curtis and of course, the 'Duke', John Wayne.
With only Hollywood movies to set examples for him, he mistakenly believed the Coast Guard would welcome him with open arms and his life would be a breeze.
He had developed a suave, sophisticated and generally speaking, smooth nature and demeanor, making him seem older than his years. The exception to his early sophistication was a tribute to his real hero, John Wayne. From the Duke, he developed an attitude of not taking bull from anyone and standing his ground even when he was out numbered or face to face with a man larger than he was, which was not very often. He was a polished gentleman and planned on being an officer someday.
As he entered the enlistment center, the first thing he saw were unmanned desks, recruiting posters for every branch of the service, and one man in a blue uniform with all sorts of ribbons on his chest, gold braid on his shoulder and a lot of stripes on both arms.
"May I help you, Sir?" the man in the uniform asked as he raised himself from his chair and stood straight as a board.
"Yes, I would like to join the Coast Guard" said Randy with certainty.
"Great!" said the man, "the Coast Guard recruiter is out to lunch but I can help you take care of that, no problem. We help each other all the time."
He motioned for Randy to take a seat in front of his desk and said "We just need to fill out a little paperwork first and you will be all set." Randy thought "wow, this is easy."
As the man in the blue uniform handed Randy page after page of contractual agreements to be signed at the bottom, visions of 'McHale's Navy' paraded through Randy's mind.
He saw himself at the helm of a patrol boat guiding it through the ocean waves in pursuit of some illegal immigrants or maybe even some villainous smugglers.
Shocked out of his fantasy, the man in the blue uniform rose from his chair, extended his hand to Randy and said "Congratulations son, you are now in the service of the United States of America!" Randy grinned, shook his hand and rushed out the door. He could not wait to tell his girlfriend the good news.
He rang her doorbell and after a moment or two, his girlfriend Judy opened the door. "Guess what?" Randy shouted, "I joined the Coast Guard today!" Judy said nothing but started to cry.
"Why did you do that?" she whimpered. "That is crazy!" Randy was stunned. He thought she would have been as excited as he was. She shook her head at him and slammed the door.
"Well, that went well" he thought. He lowered his head and returned to his car not knowing what to say or how to act. Regardless of her, he was still happy but not as much as he had been. He went home to tell his parents the good news and for the second time in less than an hour, he was met with disapproval.
"Who needs them?" he sputtered, "I am a man now and I am in control of my own life!"
Randy's reporting date was a week later and as he made his way to the induction center, he once again relived his fantasy of wind in his hair, medals on his chest and the blue waters of the ocean under his boat. He was ecstatic with anticipation. Once inside, his fantasy was shattered by a really big man who yelled at him in a very unfriendly way. "Get in line! Get out of your clothes, put them on the bench behind you and shut up!" Randy was one of about two hundred teenage men, barefooted, standing in a line in they're underwear. Men in white coats were moving down the line with pneumatic hypodermics injecting all sorts of things into the shoulders of the men. As the line began to move, more men in white coats said "drop your shorts and cough." They were rude and unsympathetic as they, in Randy's opinion, molested one person after another. "Bend over and spread 'em!"
After being injected, inspected and in some cases rejected, they were instructed to put their clothes back on and load the buses outside the recruitment center. It was the first time a notion of something being wrong struck Randy hard in the face. The buses were dark blue like the man's uniform at the recruiting center and in big letters on the side of the bus was written "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE".
Randy looked for someone, anyone, who appeared to be in charge and finding only the bus driver said "Hey, this isn't right. I joined the Coast Guard, not the Air Force." "Sure you did, kid. Sit down and shut up, you're going to Lackland Air Force Base for the next couple of months!" The bus rumbled down the road to Miami International Airport where Randy and all the other guys were handed a manila envelope and hustled aboard a jet plane bound for Texas.
It was almost three in the morning when they arrived at Lackland Air Force Base. A giant of a man greeted them, called them 'rainbows' because of all the different colors of clothing, loaded them onto another bus which took them to some barracks and told them to hit the racks. Randy's life in the Air Force had begun. Randy tried to tell anyone who would listen that a mistake had been made and he was in the wrong branch of the service. Nobody cared. He tried the Chaplin, his immediate superior, the giant man who had met them in the beginning, Sergeant Bugg, and even one of the galley cooks. ... nobody cared.
It was weeks of repetitious marching, exercising, yes sir, no sir and being forced to wear boxer shorts, a tee shirt and flip flops whenever inside the barracks.
Revelry was at 4:45 in the morning and taps was at 9:00 in the evening. Phone calls were not allowed and mail from his girlfriend was slow in coming. All these things ate away at him but what really put the icing on the cake was when he failed to salute a car with a little flag on the front bumper. The car screeched to a stop and the driver got out and proceeded to chew his butt for not saluting him. Randy said "I do not know what you mean. It's a Ford. ... so what?" he was informed that it was the flag he was supposed to salute, not the Ford. "How do I get out of this chicken outfit" he thought? Now he was supposed to salute general motors! His attitude was changing from bad to worse.
Sgt. Bugg threatened to beat him up from time to time for minor infractions of some obscure rule or another, to which Randy responded with "You have to sleep sometime Sergeant, and when you do, I will be there." It was that remark that got Randy Kitchen Patrol for a full week, or for you civilians out there, KP. He reported to the kitchens where he peeled mountains of potatoes, cleaned pans and pots that had been burned beyond belief, and developed a rash as a result of the boxer shorts required by the U.S. Government; why he could not imagine.
Marching along with other men from KP, he passed a flyer posted on the galley bulletin board that promised an early out and an honorable discharge for any man who volunteered and completed the special training groups being formed. Randy volunteered the very next morning. Grouping of men in the Air Force consisted of 50 men referred to as 'flights'. He was assigned to "Cobra Flight", loaded onto another jet, given one stripe for his dress blue uniform and shuffled off to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.
It was here on the Gulf Coast that training began for real. He learned all the dirty tricks of black ops and sabotage. After completion of the training, he was debriefed by a 'full bird colonel' and informed that any and all information about his training was hereby considered to be deemed "CLASSIFIED" and "A STATES SECRET". Following this debriefing, he was given another manila envelope containing paperwork certifying his position and training as being satisfactory and honorably discharged, a Defense Department form commonly known as a DD 214 stating his completion of training and right to wear a ribbon announcing to the world his participation in National Defense, his distinction as a marksman and two more, one indicating he had been stationed at Lackland Air Force based in San Antonio, Texas, and the other for being stationed at Keesler Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and lastly, a ticket for Delta airlines sending him back to civilian life in Miami Beach, Florida.
The one catch no-one had told him about when he volunteered, was that he would, under threat of imprisonment for defaulting, make himself available and 'on call' until he was 35 years of age. Little did he know at the time that not being able to explain to potential employers why he had an honorable discharge at such a young age and with so little time in the military, would be detrimental to his potential success at finding a good job to say the least. Most of the people he applied too just gave him the 'fish eye' and said "We'll keep your application on file"; it was a polite way of telling him to 'buzz off'.
It was this situation that forced him to take short time jobs such as a valet car parker at the Seacoast Towers South in Miami Beach. It paid and tipped well but was only a temporary job. After only six or seven months, the job ended and he ventured down Collins Avenue eventually ending up at a resort called the Hawaiian Gardens where he took a job as a dark tanned cabana boy catering to women much older than himself who flirted, touched and tipped him generously for bringing them fresh towels and adjusting their chaise lounges, usually with them still in it.
His charm and good looks were working overtime for him and it seemed to eliminate the problem he was facing as a result of his special training and early release from the military. His dreams of the Coast Guard were soon forgotten and he was not worried about his future or even really aware that his future could possibly be in danger. He was having a great time and no-one told him he would need to save money so that in later years he would have what he needed just to survive, much less prosper.
The generous tips offset the minimum wage he was making as a cabana boy and the two combined was not only enough to get him through the warm tropical nights, but enough for him to buy a 1957 Jaguar coupe that ran like a top and was most definitely a magnet for women of all ages. It was an incredible looking car and as they say in Las Vegas, he 'was on a roll'. Life was good for him but his threshold for the mundane was low and he was getting tired of dodging the old women's touches, verbal passes and sexual innuendo's.
He felt it was time for a change and what could be better than a long drive in his newly purchased sorts car and a new location for job hunting, not to mention the many new and different women he was sure to meet. Randy was well on his way to becoming known as a 'player' and he was loving it. Unfortunately for Randy, his life was about to change again.
The Sunshine Parkway that stretches from Miami to Tallahassee twisted and turned, passing Palm Beach, Lake Okeechobee, Orlando and Daytona Beach.
Palm Beach was too expensive. Lake Okeechobee was just that, a lake and not much of a town. Orlando was a good size town but relatively boring and that left Daytona Beach, one of the playgrounds of Florida, a mecca for women and more tipping situations than he could imagine. It was only sixty miles from Orlando and apartments in Orlando, unlike Daytona Beach, were plentiful and a two bedroom was less than $400.00 per month. It was obvious the best solution would be for Randy to rent an apartment in Orlando, get a job and seek better employment in Daytona Beach on his days off from work.
It was here that he found a job as bartender for Castlerock Corporation, commonly known as "Big Momma's", a three story 'bubble gum' bar, so-called due to the enormous number of young people who frequented the establishment where high-balls were only .48 cents with .02 cents tax. A good portion of them were underage but had fake driver's licenses and that was all that was required to gain entry. It was a zoo! The bar had six bartenders, two per floor, nine bouncers, a couple of cocktail waitresses, a manager and his assistant.
Big Mamma's offered a juke box on the first floor, a country western band on the second floor and a hard rock band on the third floor. It sat on the very edge of the seawall and had thick glass walls that during daylight hours, allowed patrons to look out over the Atlantic Ocean as the waves came crashing in on the sand.
This was a job Randy felt he could sink his teeth into. Music, booze and hundreds of people partying and tipping. Sometimes it got a little rowdy but what the heck, it was a bar and bars can sometimes be rowdy.
Randy had always made friends easily and with so many people to choose from and so many employee's, it was only natural he would find a few people who would stand out of the crowd and become close friends almost immediately after only three weeks. Two of the people he met were Susan Richards, a bartender, and a funny little guy with a big nose and an even bigger name, Aristotle Ponopolus, who Randy quickly renamed 'Ari' for the sake of simplicity.
Susan and Randy worked the third-floor bar with Ari as the bouncer. Ari got into more fights and got hit in the face more often than most of the other employees due to being the smallest of the bouncers on staff.
Friday and Saturday nights were the rowdiest of the week and even though the bouncers had the majority of the problems, bartenders had their share of problems also in spite of the three feet of bar that separated them from the customers.
"Ari duck!" yelled Susan, but the warning came too late and Ari got 'cold cocked' by a man twice his size and at least fifty pounds heavier. As Ari hit the floor, Randy bounded over the bar and raced to Ari's aid, pushing dancing couples left and right and tackling the big man in an effort to bring him down.
The big man fell square on top of Randy knocking the air out of him and rendering him temporarily useless. As he lay on the floor almost unconscious, through half closed eyes he could see Ari struggling to stand up and regain control of the situation which had been lost by the surprise attack. Susan yelled "Randy, get off your ass and help him!" Randy staggered to his feet, took a deep breath to try and clear his head and swung a round house punch with all the strength he could muster. He missed the big man completely and landed the hay maker on Ari's chin instantly dislodging him from the big man's back.
A voice from somewhere in the room rang out "get him" and a couple of the bars customers piled on top of the big man giving Ari and Randy the edge they so desperately needed to subdue Ari's attacker.
They wrestled him to the employee stairwell in the back of the bar, opened the door and literally threw the big man down the stairs. As he tumbled head over heels down the first flight of stairs, Randy followed him down taking the steps two at a time and taking him by his shirt and the waistband of his jeans, threw him down the second flight of stairs towards the front door. The big man lay in a heap at the bottom of the stairs and was promptly 'escorted' out the door by the manager who gave Randy a 'thumbs up' for a good job well done. For some unknown reason, it was always considered fun and even though there were bruises and blood, it was all part of the job and they were used to it. Closing time was 2 a.m. The bouncers would search the floor for dropped money, then sweep the assorted trash into piles for the janitorial crew while the bartenders counted their drawers and ran register tapes.
Excerpted from "The Cinderella Caper"
Copyright © 2017 K. A. Calusi.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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