Tony slipped back down into the Drunk Irishman Tavern and into his favorite seat like if he hadn’t left town, foiled an assassination, and come back a little bit prouder. The bartender looked at Tony raising an eyebrow since Tony looked a bit different in a suit. Smirking Tony put his new derby on the counter smoothing the feather and nodded to the bartender.
“Boxcar.” Tony said threading his hands together in front of him and was all grins.
“You look like you’re about to start purring like a cat you’re so please Tony… and what’s with the get up” Mic inquired as he reached for a sours glass.
Wiping off his lapel Tony straightened up a bit in his chair, “Well you know me, can’t do anything except the hard way.” Tony admitted.
Still perplexed the bartender started to ask if he was working with the mafia but Tony quickly dismissed even the thought.
“You remember what I told you last time about that job I was on?” Tony began. Mic nodded and Tony explained on how he had just got back into town and what had happened since.
We had just told Mr. Sharpe what had been going on and were trying to figure out what to do when we noticed Doc was gone. Asking passersby if they had seen a chinaman with Doc’s clothing style on got odd looks to say the least. We had two leads, talking to the union worker leader for those who worked at the hotel that had a fire and the bar Constantine had found. I called to set something up later with the union work representative, something about finding work for hotel employees took precedence and I wasn’t one to argue it so we headed for the bar where the mobsters were at.
Now don’t get me wrong I like coming here for a drink but this place wasn’t like that, it was a real dive, I think they were even watering down their alcohol. In any event we got a table and we soon spotted five guys that somewhat stood out in their green or blue pinstripe suits. Yeah I can tell by your smirk you know where I got the suit but let me finish. Sharpe had looked around nonchilantly and mentioned he counted the five guys probably being related to the mob so we could question them. Constantine mentioned after a long drag on his cigarette that it shouldn’t be a problem for me considering my nature. A little color flushed to my face since I’m kind of more than a face smashing thug when I want to be but he was right. I mentioned I counted at least eleven guys to fight. They mentioned that I had counted everyone else in the bar to which I nodded and shrugged, we had no real way to know in truth, no one had on their ‘I Love Duffy’ badges. I suggested I get in a fight out back since three on five seemed like better odds than three versus eleven plus more maybe.
After they left I waited a bit mentally figuring how long it would take to casually walk around to the back alley and got up with my drink. Walking past one of them I steered myself towards him since he was looking away and had him bump into me. Getting exacerbated about the whole thing happening again took him for a loop. Not giving him time to recover I explained how a nut job like the guy had tried to steal my good jacket at the Marco Night Club the previous night before the guy accused me of sleeping with his girl ‘Susie’ tossed a drink on me and then he really flipped out. I said I had had enough and no punk was going to be doing that to me again. I told him to meet me out back and I show him I wasn’t no pushover.
He didn’t really have to come, could have just bought me another drink and wiped off his suit. But that would make him look bad. No one wants the average Joe, especially a drunk Joe making him look bad. I talked to myself mostly insulting the guy the whole way not looking back as I kept a couple paces ahead of him. Pushing open the back door I moved out quickly seeing no one on my right so I headed that way getting my back to the wall. The gang was here in the alley somewhere or I was going to have to hit and take off on a run all over again. Commenting that he brought his boys to come watch him get beat up was a good idea since someone was going to need to take him to the hospital anyway and maybe they should go get a stretcher now would be good for him.
They eyed Sharpe who smoked a cigarette and nodded at them before the guy I had spilt a drink on turned back to see a large fist inches from his face. The rest of the mobsters looked at me as they heard the surprised gurgling hiccup he made as he feel to the ground limp before he hit my arms up in a boxing stance. Constantine came up behind the guy next to him slamming a piece of something blunt against him. This slowed the guy since before he could turn around Sharpe had knocked him out. The three remaining guys pulled out weapons, switch blades and one pulled out a gun. Looking from them to Constantine and Sharpe I said I wasn’t looking for that kind of trouble and besides no one told me to bring a weapon unless pocket lint counted. The guy with the gun didn’t have enough time to say much as Sharpe was on the guy next to him. I took the opportunity since the guy with the gun had it pointed at me. I didn’t like that, so like any person with a little common sense and a lot of stupidity in his head I got out of the line of his gun and rushed him. His shot went off a little high where I had been but where I was now was quite safe, next to him my right hand lashed out and latched onto his hand with the gun slamming his hand hard into the wall several times which had the gun falling out in no time as he grunted in pain. Bill dodged a switchblade as it danced in front of the wielder trying vainly to dig into his side. Constantine was on the third remaining guy his wooden whatever it was hitting down atop the guy while he tried to fend off the beating with the wooden object. My left cross was the last thing the former gun toting mobster saw before he slammed against the wall hard slumping as he slipped into dreamland. Another fell unconscious until the sole conscious mobster had a good idea. We were dangerous. Three on five was in our favor, he had seen me launch myself at the guy with the gun already and disarmed him before knocking him out. Alone he didn’t like the odds he had so he ran. With his back to us Bill knocked him squarely on the back of the head, the guy didn’t even get to yelp.
Bill commented wondering aloud was we should do next. I quickly stripped them of their weapons while Constantine searched them for clues. Constantine said he found nothing and was going to ask Bill what we should do when Bill made the comment I was pretty thorough in my search. The guys Constantine noticed when he looked back had been lined up on the wall sitting prone in their underwear. Their clothes and weapons neatly piled up next to me. We all turned when a metal door opened and someone looked out and saw five guys in their boxers and three guys standing over them. “Don’t” was the only word I could get out before the door quickly slammed shut and locked before I could add “mind us, we’re the good guys.” The three of us looked at each other and before panic could set in I stated bluntly. “Dump four of the guys we only needed to question one of them.” Constantine explained the one who had the gun was likely their boss. Bill went and got his car while I tossed four of the flunkies into a dumpster and dragged the fifth to the car in a garbage can. Bill had pulled everything out of his trunk as I pulled the guy out of the can and he tossed me rope. As Constantine and I quickly tied the guy up Bill started the car. “Shotgun” Constantine called getting into the front seat. “I don’t have one…” Bill began to explain before looking in his rear view mirror, “Don’t touch any of…” he began before noticing I was checking the mobsters suits out size wise on myself to see how they’d fit. “Kinda wished he was looking at my stuff instead…” he mumbled before shaking his head and pulling out into traffic. We all agreed we needed a quite place to talk to the guy where a random person opening the door and seeing us would not happen. Constantine said he knew a place.
Strung up by his feet from a rafter our lone mobster was still out of it. Bill made the comment he really should buy smelling salts if we were going to be doing this a lot. I shrugged and answered by showing him the free solution, I slapped the guy gently on the cheek and when that didn’t work I slapped him hard across the cheek waking him and sending him spinning. When he stopped screaming from the initial shock and he stopped spinning he started to spin in the opposite way and eventually became still staring at the three of us.
“Our boss asked us to find some things out. If we don’t get good answers you’re probably not going to like what we do to you. Don’t worry about the rest of the guys that were with you… We already dumped off that garbage someplace. Not a lot of use for limp bodies.” I stated. The other two looked at me wondering what I was talking about ‘Sammie the Hat’ I mouthed and winked which made Bill shrug. “So you going to cooperate or do we have to get rough with you.” He asked plainly. “I call the machete, the meat hook always gets stuck on some dangly bits or innards” I stated matter of factually while smiling. Constantine shook his head and said he’d be outside since he didn’t want to see this. When he was gone I sighed and muttered about once some people have a guy’s stomach explode on them during a torture session they get all ‘weird’ on you and don’t want to do this part of the job. I stated to the guy almost warmly that as a reminder if he wet himself or defecated on himself due to his position of being upside down it would go all over him and we’d have to back up to talk to him and interrogate him at a distance.
He quickly ratted out a guy named Gus the Ghost a guy who supposedly came back from the dead and killed everyone that had been a part of his murder. Supposedly he was a really good assassin that Duffy, the guy’s boss, had hired. He knew nothing of who started the fire which later when told Constantine thought useless to ask the guy, I pointed out it meant the gangs were working against the Senator but not necessarily together. We didn’t find out much more except that Duffy was in Chicago. Not getting much more out of the guy I told him if we’d let him go he’d probably rat us out so and I patted his head and smiled at him sympathetically. Bill gave him no time to try and bargain since he had nothing else probably and knocked him unconscious.
I asked if we should call the police and turn them in but Bill shook his head stating without probable cause and evidence at most we’d be giving them a chance to file for assault and kidnapping on ourselves. After thinking about it for a bit this was probably the better solution. What five low ranked mobsters wanted to tell someone that a crazy loud mouthed guy and two guys with broken furniture pieces had beaten them up, took their guns and knives, stripped them of their money and clothes and left them unconscious and shamed.
Back at the hotelwhere the speech was taking place after recapping what we learned to Constantine I moved into the area the speech was taking place. Constantine made a call to find out if it was really a supernatural undead assassin that we were up against. Originally we had been thinking the guy had been just a really good shot and while I was looking around I kept looking for someone who may have been a shooter. Constantine checking balconies doing the same until Bill came back with more news. Bill went to see if he could turn up a possible government name for Gus the Ghost. Augustus Moore, a small time gangster who had been gunned down by other mobsters fit the bill. Various people supposedly that had had a hand in his death turned up missing. Supposedly his old mistress was sleeping one night next to one of the men that had been part of his murder. A’s former old lady woke up next to a corpse. If it was a real story though it meant the guy was good. Damn good. Supposedly slitting the throat of people was his signature that it was him. His body in his grave was never found either. If he wasn’t supernatural was it all an elaborate hoax?
The speech went well enough, no dead senator so it went well enough is what I mean. There was a party afterwards that was in a smaller reception room. There was no way we were getting in so we figured there was no way an assassin was going to be getting in as well. As the night grew later we came to a conclusion, if he killed with a knife he wasn’t going to kill out in the open with a lot of people. The assassin would wait until the senator was alone, tired, vunerable, not conscious. It made sense as we rushed to the Senator’s room. His bodyguard, Paul Garrett, stopped us asking what was going on. We asked if he had checked the room before the Senator had turned in. He had plus checked the balcony out. Nodding I backed up and asked how far apart the balcony was to the other rooms. When he said no far we went down the elevator and filed each hotel employee full of the same frantic line of questioning they all stated not knowing and pointed to the night hotel manager. Busting into his office we started asking questions to which he asked what we were talking about and why he should tell us. Bill wiped out his badge flashing in to the man with seasoned practice. We asked about the rooms next to the Senator as well as below. Checking out the rooms revealed they were booked but they were all people who frequented the hotel as regulars. Constantine took the roof looking over the balcony to the senator’s room. Bill had the adjoining room occupant moved into a different room before sitting down in the room himself and waited. I had gone down to the kitchen and would a waiter’s uniform and a bottle of champagne. Two o’clock in the morning. Nothing. We waited but nothing came.
As the sun shine through the window of the hallway I knocked on the door to the senator’s room and got a response. When the senator answered I was almost disappointed, I stifled a groan and asked if he wanted anything for breakfast. With a chipper smile of a well rested man he replied no and that he would get something on the train. Going downstairs I swopped out the champagne for a pot of coffee and breakfast pastries. Going up to the roof a flask clattered as I opened the door seeing Constantine looking at me a gun pointed straight at my head. I yawned and let him know coffee and breakfast in Bill’s room. As he bounded down the stairs I was already knocking on Bill’s Room an eye and gun barrel peered out at me. Coffee and breakfast were had by us all. The other two although tired were awake. I was positively chipper after coffee. I didn’t want to tell the other two I had been slipping off to the bathroom for catnaps and falling asleep standing up just long enough until I’d stumble and catch myself.
We picked our brains trying to figure out what we missed, it wasn’t at the speech, party, or his hotel room. What had we missed? “He said the senator wasn’t going to be leaving New York alive…” I commented before we all looked at each other. “THE TRAIN!” we all exclaimed. I snatched my clothes from the undercarriage of the serving cart as we headed to the elevator. I changed as we went down and we discussed how it made sense. We were downstairs just in time to see the senator’s ride pull off. Bill quickly dove into his car with us close behind as he revved the engine to life and gunned it. Bill made his way into the train station getting us tickets by his official FBI business deal (free) while Constantine and I got to Paul. Seeing us frantically running towards him didn’t seem to faze him. Before he could ask what we exclaimed, “Train! It’s the train. Either there’s a bomb or he’ll get him when he’s on the train. They haven’t done anything yet but it’s going to have to be on the train. They said ‘he wouldn’t leave New York alive’. Plus you can’t call the police on the train and you can’t leave it and go someplace else easily besides jumping off. You have to-“ I stammered. He put up a hand a little more calmer than me, maybe he was jaded had seen more death threats, maybe he just thought we were just another bunch of nut cases. He placed the hand on my shoulder and smirked a little and said thanks and that he’d check it out.
Bill joined us with official business tickets at the ready. They each found empty cabins in the sleeping car next to the last car which was the Senator’s. Since it was day time the sleeper car had been converted already to the daytime configuration, bench seats. Constantine decided to try and get some rest in his cabin and Bill took the cabin across and one farther away from the back to him. I found some thread and opened the back door finding a nice place to put a piece of thread and threaded it into his room and around his pinky. I explained I was going to the lounge car for a drink. If it felt like his pinky was being wrenched off someone was probably trying to do worse to the Senator. He nodded pulling down the shutter to his cabin and flicked his trench coat’s lapels up and grunted trying to get to sleep.
As I moved to the dining car I looked at people. A little cautious that one of them was Gus, and for the record I did not see anyone with a white sheet over them with a knife in hand. What I did see were people, all with expressions. I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, a few people looked happy probably excited to get to their destination or they had had a nice visit in New York. Others seem angry or sad. What I was looking for was a blank facial expression of someone ready to commit murder. I made my way up and back a few times through the cars before settling in the dining car.
Gladius the female reporter that had been covering the senator came into the dining car and sat at a table alone and tapped a finger. She was so out of it she didn’t have time to ask me not to sit with her before I was sitting across from her sliding a duplicate drink to the one she had just finished. “So why are you up here instead of in the back with the Senator?” I asked bluntly a little inquisitive. “I’m meeting someone.” She explained. “What? Like a boyfriend?” I asked smirking slightly before someone walked up to the table. Marty, the senator’s publicist and campaign manager stomped up, “What is the meaning of this?” he blurted. “I don’t know I’d say it was two people having a drink.” I stated but my words were lost on him as he slammed a note on the table in front of Gladius. “It’s not from me.” She stated before he huffed and countered, “Well it’s in your hand writing.” Craning my neck and stabbed at the note with a finger dragged it closer turned it towards me and I read it, Gladius was supposedly leaving the senator on this trip, would not associate with him, or write any more stories about him. Only Gladius said she hadn’t written it, plus she was here to meet someone. As they argued I bluntly grabbed Gladius by the shoulders, “Do you know who you’re here to see from the note you got?” I asked and as she thought for a second wondering if she should talk I lost it. I didn’t have time. A bad feeling crept into my stomach. Unintentially I shook her and she stammered she didn’t know, “Who gave it to you.” I barked getting to my feet. She stammered the waiter her voice drifting off startled and a little frightening. Snatching the note off the table from ‘fake Gladius’ I looked at Marty, “You.” I barked. He stammered out the waiter or at least started to before I shoved past him and sprinted to the back of the car. “Pull the emergency brake, get the conductor’s help, or someone to help you anybody. I think you just left the Senator alone with the waiter who’s going to kill him.” I yelled over my shoulder and I danced around tables and shoved people out of my way. My bad feeling had finished its tour of my stomach and had climbed up to my throat. That’s when I heard the shots fired and I dove to the ground. Hello full on bad gut feeling, meet hair on the back of my neck that’s standing up and making my skin crawl.
While I was up front Bill and Constantine had been taking turns taking short naps. Bill noticed even with his naps that a waiter or waiters had been going back an awful lot of times to the Senator’s car. When he finally did poke his head out the waiter was already gone, in the opposite direction two very solid guys were making their way to the back door as well with purpose. It seemed. Bill pulled his gun out and flashed his badge. He began to say Federal Agent but only got to “Fe” before the two guys looked at his badge and then each other and dove sideways into cabins. The sound of the two men readying pistols had Bill shot a warning shot down the aisle. Of all the ways that Constantine thought Bill would wake him up the sound of gunfire would not have been high on his list. Pulling his gun out as well and sliding across the floor low towards his door Constantine peaked out straight across, no one there. Seeing Bill kneeling with his gun out in his cabin he shot him a question.
“Bill? Anything you want to tell me about?” Constantine shouted. “Two guys. Guns, possible assassin killing senator right now.” Bill shot back. Constantine thought that pretty much covered all the immediate and peaked out. Two barrels a way down could be seen but not much else. Constantine wasn’t a sharpshooter type to shoot at the tips of guns so he dove across to the cabin across from him. At least he’s have an easier shot if he did try something dumb. “You uh… going to check on the Senator?” Constantine inquired. “Sure…” Bill said before firing down the hallway and then bolting for a small alcove by the back door. “You going to be okay?” Bill asked fumbling with the lock from his position while peaking towards the thugs and to see if someone with a gun or knife was on the other side of the door he was about to open. Clear he opened it, shut it snaking around a corner to catch his breath before scouting further in.
I had ducked down again sliding down the aisle and people screamed from their seats. “Stay down!” I told them while I got up and muttered mostly to myself, only heroes and idiots run to the back where the gunfire is taking place. Constantine alone with the two armed thugs yelled out, “Don’t shoot! I’m unarmed and I’m coming out. I just want to leave!” Putting his hat on the end of a pillow he shoved his hat out gingerly and jiggled it a little at his normal height. A bullet shot through the pillow and his hat and the man cursed realizing he fell for a trick after the other guy yelled at him for shooting a pillow. Outside the car I ducked again hearing gun shots and snuck in reaching for the Colt I pulled off the gangster the day before. The door and my movements in weren’t heard over the banter, gun shots, and curses. The two thugs moved up closer to the back, I watched them as they shambled up slightly akward. They may not have been assassins but they knew how to handle a gun. Maybe not on a train, but this meant at least someone was alive back there that they wanted dead and they hadn’t gotten that far in their plan. As they edged out I timed the rhythmatic jingling of the train and got into the cabin right next to the shooter closest to me. I figured where he was in the cabin next to me and waited. When I think I knew where he was I did what I do. Sometimes it doesn’t sound all that smart or well thought out but, usually, it works. I aimed at the wall between our cabins mentally picturing where he was and listened taking in my breath and let it out slow as I pulled the trigger. I heard a grunt afterwards and an arm slumped out a gun falling out and clattering to the ground.
Meanwhile Bill had caught his breath and was up and turned the corner. The waiter pulled out a gun and shot at him. Turning he pointed the gun at the Senator and shot at close range, the shot had gone wild it seemed since the Senator had enough time to see the gun pointed at him and dive over and then under the table he was next to and out of the way. Garette’s shot missed the shooter as did Bill’s from several yards down the hallway. The senator though popped up from under the table and slammed a slug from his own pistol right into the man taking him off his feet from the impact. Bill came up and kicked the man’s gun free and searched him for concealed weapons before hand cuffing him and racing back out front.
He came back to a game us, me and Constantine, playing looking loo with the lone gunman. Seeing Bill was okay and not with a look of horror or dread I did something only I would do. Tony Logic… I bluffed.
I know the guy pulled his head back into the room when I spoke but Bill did since I pointed at him.
“This is the FBI, we have you surrounded, I’d really like to not kill you since that’s always good so throw out your weapon and come out with your hands up and empty where we can see them.” I barked trying to sound official. Bill looked at me giving me a “What the hell are you thinking? Do you really think that’s going to work? It never works for me.” Look. A gun was flung out of the cabin and a man stepped out with his hands up. Only surprised for a second Bill walked up searched the guy and cuffed him reading him his rights.
“The other one?” Bill asked looking at me, I pointed and Bill took a look. The other guy had a large blue knot on the side of his head, a bullet wound in his shoulder and Bill noticed a bullet hole through the cabin wall. “You shot him through the wall?” he asked trying to figure my logic. I shrugged, “He didn’t poke anything out really besides the tip of his gun so I had to shot somewhere. “You know you can’t impersonate an FBI Agent, it’s illegal.” He reminded me. I smiled a big toothy grin, “That’s why I pointed at you when I said this is the FBI. That part was true. The rest was a regular joe trying to make sure the guy didn’t get himself killed. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like being dead that much.” Bill shook his head wondering how many gears had been shook loose in my brain.
Gladius and Marty showed up with the train equivalent of a police officer, Gladius wanted a story.
We moved back in to check on Gus, no knife. Was it him? We didn’t know how we had saved the Senator’s life or rather he had saved himself really. Odd how he did. It just raised more questions. Supposedly pointing from five feet the shooter had missed a clear shot at the senator. The senator had time to move out of the way, slide under a table, pull a gun pop up and drop the shooter with one shot before the killer could get off a second shot. The bullet from the shooter wasn’t slightly off, it was way off, like he hadn’t even aimed in the direction of the senator.
By evening the Senator was a news time sensation, fighting crime at his door personally staring life threats and assassins guns down the barrel and not stepping back not blinking. Fearless.