Chicago Lightning

The Ambassador East Hotel

Sunday, November 14, 1926 9.30 AM

Smitty remains taciturn as our stalwart would-be do-gooders make their way from Wolf Point Warrens to the Ambassador East Hotel on the Gold Coast, stopping briefly at a pawn shop to pick up some suitcases. The Yellow Packard pulls up at the front entrance, and the doorman casually eyes over the trio making exit. Stepping smartly, he retrieves the three suitcases from the rear of the taxi and places them on a cart and wheels them inside, motioning for you to precede him.

Shortly you find yourselves at the front desk.

Comments

As the three followed the suitcases to the front desk, Jamison stopped short of the desk. “Okay, Azog, here’s how we do things. The word is, calm. If you have money, and are used to it, you have a sort of blessed indifference to the negative things going on around you. If someone accosts you, then clearly, they are the ones who don’t belong. Got it? Because, see, you have money. So you belong. Get it?” With that, his face slides into a sort of bemused smirk, and he ambles over to the desk.

He looks at the bell, chuckles, and studiously ignores it. Why call for attention, when they are there to serve you, after all? After a moment, a very attractive young woman makes her way to the desk, and asks what she can do for them.

“Why, thank you, miss,” Jamison starts. “My friends and I have been away from our fair city for some time, and we’ve a few needs we know you can attend to. First, we’ll need a room that can accommodate the three of us. One night, two days should about do it. Secondly, we’ll need a hot shave, my associate here will need his horns polished, we’ll need to have our nail done, and we’ll be wanting to see a tailor. We will also need to see a list of the local showtimes. I’ll trust you to make the appropriate accommodations, shall I, dear?”

With that, he slides a $20 bill over to her side of the desk.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Lake view, if you please,” Azog tells the girl simply, tugging at his hat. He tries not to look out of place.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Mugsy sees no need to interrupt.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM: The girl smiles as she accepts the $20 note and pockets it as if such a thing is common, “We have a lake view suite available, sirs, under what name shall I book the room?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Azog looks across the lobby into the ballroom. It is being prepared for a formal affair.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Templeton Peck.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM: The young woman produces an ornate guest register and passes it across the counter to Mugsy to sign, “Very well, Mr. Peck, it will be $45 for the first night, and we will bill you on checkout for any additional expenses. Please sign here.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Azog catches his breath. $45 is what he might spend in a month on a room, supposing it wasn’t a squat or a flop!

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Jamison takes a few steps away from the desk, leaving Mugsy to handle the particulars. With the same bemused smirk, he motions for Azog. When he walks over, Jamison smiles beatifically. “I know. I know. You don’t have to explain. But do me this one favor, if you could. It really will help us blend in. First, laugh. Act like I told a particularly racy joke.”

With that, he slapped Azog on the chest, expectant look on his face. After a moment, Azog laughed. Jamison leans back in to speak to him a bit more. Remember, Troll, that before this morning, we didn’t have this money. This money didn’t exist. So, we have to spend some of it, quite a bit, in fact, in order to avoid drawing attention. We don’t have to be extravagant, but we do need to look the part. The trick is, stop thinking about it like money. Divorce the idea of what the money could buy for other people, what it could buy for you, what you get paid for a week’s work, everything; remove all of that from the money. Assign no value to those pieces of paper, my good man, because if we don’t pull this off, we may very well draw the wrong type of attention, and we might die."

He cleared his throat. “Now, then, we’re going to go upstairs, laughing the entire way. Then, you’ll get to sleep in the softest bed you’ve ever felt. Then, it’s nails, hair, horns, and high fashion. After that? Dinner, and a show. Maybe some time in a hot tub. Sounds good right? Of course it does.” With that, he patted his Troll friend on his sizable back, and headed back over to the desk.

“And miss?” Jamison said to the lady handing Mugsy the keys. “Do tell the barber to bring a steel file; he will be polishing some troll plates and horns.” He winked at Azog. “Can’t have your natural ruggedness poking holes in your new jacket, can we?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Azog gulps as another twenty disappears into the young lady’s uniform. “Double or nothing,” he murmurs as he follows Jamison up.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

The bellboy arrives to push a wheeled cart with your luggage into an elevator which, after you enter, he closes and takes you to the 17th floor at the top of the building. Deftly he leads you down a short hallway and into the most oppulent room that Azog has ever experienced.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Low whistle. “Say my boy, here’s a quarter. Go fetch me the morning paper, will you?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Goodness, gents. Its nice to be home.” Mugsy sets himself on the couch, grabs some grapes and eases back into the cushions.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

[Scratch that. Azog doesn’t know about the spyglass. Correction below.]

With the bellboy gone and the door closed, Azog goes to the window.

“I see smoke, but it looks like they got the fire out. Wish I had Elf eyes. Let’s see if we made the late edition.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Jamison doffs his hat and greatcoat over a nearby chair, removes his vest, and drops his suspenders. Slowly, gingerly, he eases himself into an overstuffed chair as if he’s settling into a hot bath. After a second, he sighs.

“It’s been years, gentlemen. Years, since I’ve seen money at all. One day with you two, and we get this. Now, it’s not ours, not yet. But don’t you think, gentlemen, that we can’t get here. Don’t you think that at all. We watch our step, plan our moves right? Wellsir, we might just be back again.”

He looks at Azog. “Go on, you old teddy bear. I’m going to order up some food. Nothing extravagant, understand, because we haven’t eaten. But you? You were sawing logs in the taxi. Take one of the beds. The one that fits. You might never sleep like this in all your days. I’ll wake you for the barber, or the tailor, or whoever shows first. You should find a robe in the bathroom.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Mugsy almost nods into his bubbly. “I can use a rest and a clean up myself. After a night in the sewers fighting undead, I feel like our first arrival in Cantigny. The boys had just finished kicking out the Kaiser after a hard day of fighting. Then they had to repel counter attacks all night. Once the smoke cleared, we were tasked with finding a field depot in the village. After crawling through just about every little hut in their town we finally found a respectable dwelling. Unfortunately it had been shattered by a German mortar shell earlier in the day. On a whim, I crawled up inside it and found the second story completely untouched. One of the German officers must have used it as an office as well because it had nice chairs and couches like in here.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Jesus, you saw action in the War, huh?” Jamison looked at Mugsy, a new respect building for the man. “What must that have been like? I mean, crawling out of the mud and blood, into a perfectly situated bedroom on that second floor? I can’t even begin to imagine. I wanted to serve, but my parents wouldn’t have any part of it…”

Jamison took a perfectly ripe apple from the bowl of fruit on the dining room table. “Both of you, go ahead and shower, and hit the rack. Unlike you guys, I’ve slept. Catch some Zs, and I’ll get you once the help starts to show. Go on. There’s a paper on the way back up, so, no need to stand on ceremony. I won’t be bored.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“I’m ready for lunch myself. Could you have them send up a 50 oz. steak with boiled potatos?”

When the paper arrives, Azog turns the pages and anounces, “Nothing about the barge fire yet. The Labrador’s on page four, but nothing helpful, nears I can tell. But then I ain’t much of a reader.” Azog separates the Sports and Comic pages for further perusal and waits for his Herculean meal to arrive.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Then I’m off to the bath.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 
  • * *

After a few hours of napping, Azog wakes and dresses in his suit.

“I’m going to the mezzanine for a shave,” he announces.

The barber’s is tasteful and well-lit, decorated with signed photos of famous patrons. Business is slow at early afternoon, but there is a supine gentleman in a chair with his face enshrouded in warm towels. Only a smouldering cigar pokes out of the wrapping.

Two Dwarfs in smocks are chatting and one of them beckons Azog to a chair and begins stropping a blade.

“Did you see the story about the missing swells that turned up at the Salvation Army?” the Barber asks. “Quite a mystery. They’d been missing for weeks, and nobody knows where they’ve been!”

“Has something to do with the monster they found near that wrecked barge, I’ll bet,” says the other.

A third barber, tending the supine gentleman, calls over, “Nonsense. It’s in the stars, boys. The end times are upon us. That void beast that hit the Labrador is only the beginning. Before year’s end we’ll all be neck-deep in fiery brimstone, mark my words.” He begins happily to shave his customer, who might have fallen asleep under the towels.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Ah, no. See I been outta town a while and just got back,” says Azog as he settles into a chair. “Just a trim and a polish, please,” he says. “What more are they saying?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM: As Azog sits down, one of the dwarves leans him back deftly and drapes a steaming towel over his face.

“Right now it’s all hearsay, really. Word is none of them swells knows who they are, even. Some have been identified, but some haven’t.” He shrugs and sets to work on Azog’s horns, “Seems some raft drifted to shore this morning, smugglers probably. It caught fire, looks like there was a fight. No real clues as to who save a dead guy on the shore and some sort of monster died on ’im.”

One of the other Dwarves chimes in, "I talked to a detective earlier today, came in for a shave, said they found a silver cuff-link monogrammed “AO” on it, but no real way to track that down. He said he thought the fire was set to cover somebody’s tracks, but they didn’t have anything substantive."

The smell of the cigar continues to waft heavily through the room.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Dead?” Azog manages not to enjoy the shave. The better part of an hour later he is looking keen as he glumly charges the shave to his room and shuffles out to report to his confederates.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

“Dead. Well, yeh. Apparently there was a pretty big boom, too. Found him with a big shard of wood in his head. You sound surprised?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Just sorry to hear more bad news. Can we change the topic? Maybe boxing or the ponies?”

Azog says very little for the remainder of his shave.

[OK, tied off?]

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

[Oops, one more thing.]

On his way out, Azog casually brings up: “Say, that police detective who was in earlier with the cufflink… he wasn’t by any chance a fat troll with a dozen cigarettes in his mouth, was he?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

“Trask? Know him do ya? No, he doesn’t set foot in a swank place like this. Why ya wanna know?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

When Azog gets back upstairs, Jamison is standing, hands to his sides, in profile. He’s wearing a red smoking jacket, and is being measured by a tailor. “Well, high time you got back,” Jamison stated, a smirk playing across his face. “This fine gentleman is about finished taking my measurements, and he’ll be taking yours next. I was afraid I was gonna have to wake the mug in the other room, but since you’re here, he can keep sleeping.”

With that, he stepped down off of the tailor’s stoop. “Now, then, here’s the deal. We want to look good, but conservative. Tasteful. Black, you know, and charcoal. Ties that draw the eye and add color, but nothing that will draw too much attention. Give us each a day coat, maybe tan, or beige, and a night coat, black, or charcoal. Now, I’ve talked to tailors before, guys that had a hard time making a comfortable suit for a Troll. You’re better than they are, I trust. Be very careful taking my friends’ measurements. We need to be able to walk, or run, in these suits, but we’re not trying to look like we swim in them, if you follow. So, that’s two pairs of slacks, two shirts, a day coat, a night coat, a leather belt, and three ties. Each. Also, they will need an outer coat, a simple dusk greatcoat should do the job. Mine still fits, so we’re good. Oh, and a pair of dress shoes for each of us, stretched.”

Jamison turned back to Azog, “Well, I doubt you’ll need to be on the stoop, skyscraper that you are, but get over here and get measured. Wake the lumberjack in the other room when you’re done. I’m going to get my head and face cleaned up. They do a proper straight shave downstairs?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

With that, he doffs his smoking jacket over a chair, and grabs his shirt, buttoning it up as he heads for the door.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Before you go, a word in the next room?”

Azog takes Jamison aside and reports what he’s learned: that Jimmy died at the scene, that police are all over it.

“I mean, he was a bad egg, sure. Shot me with a Tommy. But now instead of saving him from ghouls it’s us that killed him, see? This is nasty business.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Cut Scene Back to the Barbers’
*
*For several minutes after Azog leaves, the room is quiet. The third barber continues his ministrations to the sole patron, until the man speaks, pausing to remove his cigar. “Who was that man, Mr. Racine?”

*
*The dwarf answers, “He didn’t give his name, Mr. Capone, but I can check with the front desk if you like.”

*
*A brief pause, then, “Good. Find out what room he’s in as well.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Jamison grimaces.

“Yeah, it’s bad news. It’s certainly not what we were pushing for. What’s more, it doesn’t do much to Boots’ ability to parse what happened. But you need to forget him, kid. As my old man would say, he’s either got one big problem, now, or else none at all. We didn’t want him dead, and, if fact, lest it slip your mind, your man was pushing for a quick dip for the guy, and you said no. You saved his life. You remember this, okay? It’s soft, right now, but remember that the greatest sum of this money was set to start a war.

The only way out, my good man, is through. If we do nothing, Boots will be in position to do what he was doing, in a Chicago minute. I didn’t see it, but it seemed to be pretty bad news. If we do well, we get greater control over how many people get hurt. Make no mistake, though; we may do everything we can to stop people from getting hurt, and it’ll still happen. But, as long as I’m here, I’ll do what I can to keep it as minimal as I can. I’m no monster, brother. I’m just a man."

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Wow, Mr. Black Bag, that’s the smartest thing I ever heard! I’m going to take your advice on the tailor, too.

“Now, were we going to see a show tonight? I ain’t seen a talkie in ages. Or did you mean one of the stage shows where the fat Ogress sings all weepy-like?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“I’ll tell you what, kid. You go on and surprise me, huh? The listing for tonight is right over there. We’re about halfway through the gauntlet on this one, So, you know, we stick to the plan and this time tomorrow what happened will be old news. We’ll be free to move, again. I’ll be able to help my friends, you’ll be able to do likewise, and then, we hold our first war council.

Hey, son, don’t forget to wake your man when it’s his turn to get shaped up. I’m gonna get my ears lowered."

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“I gotta say, I don’t understand this plan at all, but you make a convincing case, sir! Let’s see here, they have tickets for…”

[Suggestions?]

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

Entertainment Options for Sunday Night November 14, 1926:

  • Benny Goodman playing at the Venetian Room in the Southmoor Hotel
  • Louis Armstrong Sunset Stompers at the Sunset Cafe
  • The Vagabond King playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (Azog has 2 tickets to tomorrow’s showing)
  • There are a large number of Movie houses playing a vast array of different movies. They are smaller, however, and not really “fancy”.
  • There are two really fancy movie theatres: The Oriental (What Price Glory?), the Majestic (Aloma of the South Seas).
The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“You know, I wouldn’t mind seeing Benny Goodman or Louis Armstrong. Guaranteed, there’ll be a swinging crowd at those shows. Might be nice to meet some of the night-life. It’s been a while.”

With that, Jamison snaps his fingers into a point at Azog, and heads out to the elevator. Moments later, he’s crossing the lobby to the barber, flashing a grin at the desk as he passes by.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The barber’s is tasteful and well-lit, decorated with signed photos of famous patrons. Business is slow at early afternoon, but there is a supine gentleman in a chair with his face enshrouded in warm towels. Only a smouldering cigar pokes out of the wrapping. There are two Dwarves, one attending to the supine gentleman, and the other motions for you to sit, “What can we do for ya sir?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Nothing unusual, sir. Just a straight shave, and a haircut. A nice fade on the sides and the back. I’m tired of looking like a Berkeley student, you know. Time to strive for a bit of respectability. A hot towel would be heaven.” With that, he pulls his new Fedora off, and sets it on the hat rack.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The dwarf chuckles at the Berkeley comment and sets to work, on Jamison’s hair first off, “So where ya in from…..mac? An’ what brings you to the Ambassador?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Wellsir, the Ambassador’s new, you know, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. I have to tell you, this is quite the snazzy place. Haven’t gotten to the fitness suite, yet, but I mean to go before I check out. The name’s Jay. And yours?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The Dwarf seems to nod absentmindedly, likely not really hearing you. He snips away on Jamison’s head, “Don’t mean ta pry, by how’d you come by that nasty scar, Jami?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Jamie, huh?” Jamison chuckled. “I haven’t been called that since I was a kid. My old man called me that. Anyway, You know how it is. When you’re young, you’re all full of piss and vinegar. Sometimes, you wind up crossing the wrong guy. But it’s Jay. Has been for years.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The dwarf grunts, “You hear about dat mess on the waterfront? Big explosion this morning, found a couple bodies, one didn’t even look……right. Ya know? Somethin’ off about that fella. But then, I says it coulda just been the big boom dat killed him, stripped the skin off and all. Poor other fella, tho, big splinter in his head. Musta killed him but quick.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Yeah, I read something about that in the papers. Way I see it, something’s off. Someone’s gonna take a barge, run it aground, and set it on fire? Those things aren’t cheap. Whoever’s got the deed to that boat’s gonna be upset.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The dwarf nods as he clips, “That’s a good line of thot, there, money. I say that’s what’s really up. Somebody probably offloaded that barge already and then set fire to it. Ya know? Dat’s what I’m thinkin’.” He wraps up the trim job and leans Jamison back, stropping a razor as he does so. Setting it down, he drapes a steaming hot towel around Jamison’s face, and as he does so, takes another hard look at the scar. He whistles low, “Whoooo, I don’t care what they say, you didn’t deserve that mark.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Mighty nice of you to say, there. Mighty nice, indeed.” Jamison sighs as the hot towel drops over his face.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The Dwarf steps back away from Jamison and pats him on the shoulder, “Been three years, right? One minute you was ridin’ high an’ mighty, an’ next thing you dropped off. You probably don’ even remember me…”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Jamison leaps off of the chair without even pulling the hot towel off his face, trusting the landing to clear his line of sight. He spins around, taken aback, his hands clenching into fists.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The dwarf’s eyes are wide as dinner plates, he stammers wordlessly in response. From the nearby chair, the supine man does not even move, but a deep chuckle eases out from under the hot towel.

Finally, the Dwarf recovers himself, “C’mon Jamison, sit back down, you gots nothin’ ta fear from me. Name’s Peterson, an’ I used to cut your hair back at the courthouse.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Jamison shakes his head. “My man, you have my apologies. These last few years have made me a bit jumpy. They’ve been… …interesting. Never a dull moment, you know? But listen to me go on,” Jamison says, shaking off the adrenaline. “How have these days found you, Peterson, apart from lunatics leaping from your seat while you’re trying to shave them?”

Jamison sits down. “You know what? I think I’ll settle for a lather, just now, thank you.” He sits back down, and shakes his head, drawing a deep breath.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

The rest of the shave goes fairly uneventfully. Peterson keeps up a steady, yet relaxing, patter, catching Jamison up on the gossip he’s heard this place or that along the way, nothing of substance. When he finishes, he flashes Jamison a toothy grin and shakes his hand vigorously, “I always liked you, Jamie, now you know where to find me so don’t be a stranger.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Jamison chuckles. “It’s good to know I have a friend. Good to see you again, Peterson.” With that, he shakes the man’s hand, leaves him a dollar and walks out, grabbing his hat. He heads to the front desk, purchases two tickets to a local movie theater, charges them to the room, tells the front desk to send them to Peterson, and heads back to the room.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

Back at the room, Jamison will find Azog dozing on the couch while Mugsy is being measured by the tailor.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Jamison walks into the room, looks about, and tosses his hat on the rack. He’s still ill at ease, and seems to be working through a case of the shakes. He draws a few deep breaths. “You just wouldn’t believe it. The barber? The one downstairs? He knew me way back when. He was a friend of mine.”

He crosses the room. “So, I went with black or charcoal for the evening jackets.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Once the tailor leaves, Mugsy checks the place for mics and bugs. Someone might be listening in on their conversations.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM: Gimme a P.I. roll for Mugsy?

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Oh no, I rolled a 13 again. 6+5+2=13 I worry for combat…

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

GM:

Mugsy takes his time and does an impressively thorough sweep. Years of experience have taught him how to look both for mundane and magical snooping devices, and by the time he’s finished, he’s quite certain that, short of some sort of scrying, the room is clean and safe.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Now that I’m sure we aren’t at a risk of peeping, I wonder about this hotel. I can’t look at something like this without wondering who set it up, who paid for it and who they are paying.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

Azog: “Zzzzzzzzz.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Not that it’s ever this easy, but don’t discount free enterprise. Money buys a lot of things. Favors, influence, even freedom from all those things you wish you’d done differently. Ask a man on the street with kids to feed what he’d do for money, and you might be surprised. For all we know, this place could just be a cover for rum-money laundering.

You ask me, it’s the banks. It’s always the banks. Hell, half of America’s waiting on a soup line, but Wall Street’s still open for business." Jamison gives Mugsy a forlorn shrug. “Last I heard, the downtown postal office was being used to ship and receive booze for Dion O’Banion. That was a few years ago. Seems like nobody’s clean any more.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Ain’t that the truth.” Mugsy sighs heavily. “Whats your stake in all this? I might even have asked you before but this ain’t the smartest lot to throw in with. I took a low paying job to investigate something for a little poor old lady. Its not the smartest thing in the world but you don’t seem to have a part in this at all. Why hang around with us sewer urchins?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Welp…” Jamison drifts off, thinking to himself for a second.

“You know what I used to do for a living? Nothing. I mean it. I had everything I ever wanted on a platter. I had no idea how good it all was; how good I had it. Parents paid for my college buy building the college a medicine bowl. That’s an operating room, set up so that students can watch the surgeon work from overhead. Those aren’t cheap.

I decided I needed to strike out and make something of myself. Needed to give back, you understand. Wanted to join up with the Army. Mom and Dad wouldn’t have it. Wanted to establish a branch of the Salvation Army, not very far away from where we found your friend, the witch. They said it was too dangerous. Besides, they said, how would it look to the uptown crowd? Finally, I joined Chicago’s Finest. Figured my law degree would help.

Not long after, because I had the looks, and the mouth, for the job, so I got groomed for moving up the ranks. Well, I crossed the wrong people, and paid for it with my livelihood, my friends, my fame, and my face, and maybe my father, too. What you’re looking at is what they left of me. See this scar on my nose? That was done with a pair of scissors. But, see, all I ever wanted to do is help. They made it so I couldn’t. No one would trust me now. Nobody.

Now, cut to what you were doing when you ran in to Ruby’s. You were leading a bunch of brain-addled sops out of the snow, out of the sewer. I’d never seen a sorrier crowd of stiffs in my life. And I was about to spray rock-salt all over you, and Troll, there, too, until you guys made it clear that all you wanted was to get those poor bastards somewhere safe.

Then, of course, there’s the money. I haven’t had any money to speak of in years. And the guns, which buy a lot of security in that part of town. But you’re probably doing God’s work, as far as I can tell, and doing what I was doing wasn’t doing anything at all."

Jamison cut the end from a cigar, and lit it. “That answer your question?”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“What my troll brother and I did back there in the sewers is kid gloves compared to what’s about to go down. You seem useful, a good enough sort. That troll over there bled for me. He put himself in harm’s way so that I wouldn’t get hurt. I stared down undead and tommy guns for him. Going through a battle with someone like that shows you what they are made of on a visceral level. I learned that over there as well. If things go south in this caper, the only people we’re gonna have is each other.

“I wanna like you. Azog is a good fellow but has a tendency to derail things a bit. You’re good company and a welcome addition. I just wanted to make sure we were all in.

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“I know. I got a few questions, though. Why do you keep it up? it isn’t the investigation. Can’t be. Some old woman asks you where her man got to, and you’re facing down heavy artillery? And the undead? And where does Azog come in? And what the hell happened at your witch’s place? She looked like she was calling down the hand of God after he asked about that book…

…Have you called her, yet? Is she okay? And what is so special about that book?"

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“That hocus pocus was the perview of our erstwhile colleague. He didn’t survive our time in the sewer. I didn’t like his methods much. I have as much idea about what went on with that book as you. I don’t like to see defenseless people get pushed around by those that think they bigger than everyone else. Call it a by product of the war. Besides, like you said, the pay grade on this one has increased significantly.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Yeah, okay.” Jamison scratched his chin.

He chuckled. "If you hadn’t mentioned a personal motivation, I couldn’t have trusted you. No one sane goes into the breech just for walking-around money. If you hadn’t mentioned the money, I couldn’t have trusted you, either; it woulda meant that you were already getting the money from somewhere else. You, Mugsy, are a good man, and never let anyone but me tell you otherwise.

I’m in, and we’ll see where it takes us. Did you hear what Azog scheduled for later…?"

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

[Azog told no one his preference before nodding off.]

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“I still need to see that barber.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“His name’s Peterson. He does a right and proper straight shave.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
 

“Alright then, down to the barber I go.”

The Ambassador East Hotel
MadDogMaddux

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