Azog “Nicely-nicely” O’Reilly was having breakfast in the Chicago and North Western Terminal while hiding his Bible behind a racing sheet. He was trying hard but couldn’t make heads nor tails of it and sighed. At last he gave up and set the books on the table to sip his coffee and watch the crowd. Turning over a new leaf, so to speak, was going to be tough if he couldn’t break the old habits. He used to come here to look for easy marks; lots of out-of-towners here.
The etherphone buzzed in his breast pocket, nearly causing him to spill dark liquid on his immaculate white wool suit. “Damnation!” he uttered, forgetting his resolution not to curse. The call was from a gambler who owed him five dollars; O’Reilly let the line dump his caller to voice imprint. Reform was already getting expensive. His last ten cents had bought breakfast.
What O’Reilly needed right then was a miracle: a stranger had to come out of the crowd and hand him an opportunity to do good for a change before the tug of easy money and loose morality drew him back into the pit. The gal who rang bells for the Salvation Army wouldn’t give the time of day to a common criminal, but a reformed star of the underworld, a lost sheep just waiting to be saved, would be irresistible to the pious, wide-eyed frail.
But he needed the right man to appear and show him the way.