The Atavist Magazine
By the ambient glow of the instrument panel, Rowley read the second letter from the extortionists whose giant bomb currently sat in the second-floor offices of Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino, 20 miles away, back in Stateline, Nevada. The bomb was silently counting down to an explosion that the nation’s best technicians still had no idea how to prevent. The author of the letters was given to grandiose turns of phrase and idiosyncratic language and had provided complex instructions for the ransom drop: a helicopter, a lone pilot, a flight along Highway 50 into the mountains, a signal from a strobe light, a clearing for a landing zone, the $3 million in used bills. No weapons, no one riding shotgun. The first note had concluded with an ironic flourish. “Happy landing,” it read, a subtly misaligned row of letters banged out on an electric typewriter.