The Tampa Job: Ep. 2 "Fiddle Game"

Sawyer felt the intense heat of the sun as he slowly opened his eyes and sat up in the passenger seat of Hibbs’ Camaro. Hibbs turned to Sawyer and slowly uttered, “Well it’s ‘bout time you woke up, been out for the last six hours.”

Sawyer lazily ran his hand across his eyes and asked, “Where are we?”

“We’re heading south on the I-75 about three hours from Tampa. But we’re running a little low on cash so I’m stoppin’ in Gainesville.”

“Gainesville? What the hell is in-”

Hibbs abruptly interrupted, “Grab that box in the backseat.”

Sawyer annoyed yet curious at the same time seized the misshapen box and placed it in his lap. He slowly opened the box to find a slightly worn simple violin.

Hibbs dressed in weathered attire enters a restaurant and is seated by the hostess. He casually reads the menu as the waiter approaches, “Hi, what can I get for you?”

Hibbs smiles and answers, “I think I’m gonna go with the barbecue chicken sandwich with a side of fries.”

The waiter scribbles in his pad and asks, “Anything to drink?”

Hibbs replies, “Just water.”

After receiving his food he takes his time with the meal then suddenly receives a call. Answering his phone he is silent for a moment then exclaims, “Ok, ok, I’ll be there as soon as I can…aright bye.”

He hangs-up the phone and reaches for a wallet that isn’t there. He stands up and looks around as the waiter asks, “All finished here?”

Hibbs flustered replies, “Yeah, but I don’t know were my wallet is.”

The waiter confused and unsure what to do, “Ok, umm, hold on just one second and let me get my manager.”

The waiter returns with the manager and the manager addresses Hibbs, “So I understand you can’t seem to find your wallet.”

Hibbs starting to sweat replies, “Yeah, I can’t find it and I really have to go.”

“Well we can’t just let you go without paying.”

Hibbs nods and pauses for a moment then continues, “What if I let you hold on to my violin ‘till I come back to pay the bill?” Hibbs withdraws the worn violin from its box on the chair next to his own.

The manager skeptically eyes the violin and looks up at Hibbs. Hibbs continues, “I know it doesn’t look like much but it’s very important to me. See, I’m in town to audition for the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra and this violin was a gift from my father who passed away last year.” The manager reluctantly nods and allows Hibbs to leave the restaurant.

Fifteen minutes latter Sawyer dressed in a suit finished with his meal prepares to leave the restaurant. As he passes the hostess’ stand the violin catches his eye and he approaches the hostess, “Hey…”

The hostess smiles and replies, “Hey yourself, what can I do for you?”

Sawyer with a half smile continues, “Well, that there violin…you wouldn’t happen to know who it belongs to? Would ya?”

“Well, maybe I do, maybe I don’t.”

Sawyer with a light laugh replies, “Well, if you help me find out I can thank you by taking you out to dinner.”

The hostess now giggling quickly says, “Oh, well my manager knows who it belongs to. Just let me go get him, I’ll be right back.”

She shortly returned with the manager and the manager smiles and looks at Sawyer, “Hi, what can I do for you?”

“Well, like I was askin’ your beautiful hostess here…” at this the hostess turned a bright shade of red and starting giggling once again.

She lightly slapped Sawyer on the arm as she said, “Oh, stop it!”

Smiling Sawyer continues, “…that violin, I was wonderin’ if you could tell me who the proud owner of that fine piece is?”

“Well it belongs to a customer who misplaced his wallet and promised to return with some money shortly, why?”

Sawyer examined the violin and slowly answers, “You see, unless I’m mistaken, this here violin is very valuable…it’s a lost masterpiece. I’d be willin’ to pay a lot of money to the owner for it.”

The manager intrigued slowly asks, “How much exactly?”

“I’d pay the owner $50,000 for a piece as rare as this one. But I have an appointment and I can’t wait for this owner to come back.” Sawyer pauses and reaches into his pocket, “You know what, here’s my card. When the owner comes back to pay his bill tell ‘em to give me a call.” The manager nods and Sawyer shakes his hand then turns to the hostess, “Looks like I own ya a dinner.” Then quickly leaves.

Later that evening Hibbs returns to the restaurant with his found wallet. The manager immediately seeing him rushes over, “Good evening sir.”

Hibbs startled replies, “Evenin’, told ya I’d be back.”

“Yes of course, why wouldn’t you return?”

Hibbs confused by the manager’s behavior asks, “What’s goin’ on?”

The manager laughs and continues, “While you were away I was admiring your violin and decided that I must have it so I went to the ATM.”

Hibbs defensively exclaimed, “The violin isn’t for sale!”

The manager slightly taken aback continues, “I’ll pay you $2,000 for it.”

Hibbs shakes his head and says, “No”

The manager continues, “$3,000?”




The manager refusing to quit slowly says, “I’ll pay you $8,000, that’s my final offer.”

Hibbs looking conflicted finally agrees and takes the managers money. He leaves the restaurant, money in hand and turns the corner. Sawyer sitting on the hood of the Camaro causally asks, “So how much did we take that greedy son of a bitch for?”

Hibbs smiles and slowly said, “That fool paid $8,000 for a $48 piece of junk.”

Sawyer laughs, “Well come on, what are ya waitin’ for? Let’s get down to Tampa and start makin’ some serious cash!”

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