Chicago Lightning

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III

It is early morning as Smitty’s hack pulls up at the main entrance to The Ambassador East, around 3 AM. Nonetheless, the Hotel is staffed and ready to receive the cab and its occupants. Recognizing Mugsy, Azog, and Jamison, the desk clerk simply nods towards them and pays them no further attention, except to be ready to meet any of their needs should they be voiced.

As Jamison exits the cab, Smitty rolls the window down, “I’ll get the work done and then let you know how much next time I seeya. And you’re gonna owe me a favor to, Jamison, getting me shot at like that.” He flashes a mock scowl, then drives off into the morning.

Comments

Azog walks into the lobby with one arm in a sling and eyes the place. There’s no sign anything unusual went down this evening, and the gala seems to have ended early.

Azog is eager to return to his room, but not so eager that he won’t call over a bellhop and order a Coke and a box of Mallomars [i.e. moon pies] from the drugstore be sent up to the room via dumbwaiter.

On a whim he eschews the elevator and begins climbing the staircase to their room.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison sees Mugsy and Maeve into the lobby, and walks into the banquet hall. After taking a look around, and satisfying his curiosity, he makes his way over to the pair.

“Maeve? Sorry for all that.” With that, he makes his way over to the elevator, and stabs the button with his finger.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Upon seeing Jamison call the elevator, Azog turns around and joins him in waiting.

The door opens and the operator, a handsome Dwarf standing on a milking stool, greets them with a nod.

“You boys look like you had quite an outing,” says the operator. “Here’s your stop. Have a good night.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Brother, have we ever. I’m about to drop into a coma. Take care.” With that, and a pat on Azog’s back, Jamison walks into the bathroom and runs a bath as hot as he can stand.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog flops on the couch, lowers the brim of his hat, and passes out without even removing his shoes.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Alright, Maeve. You take the bed. We need to get some shut eye and then figure out where those kids are and how to peg your boss for the crook he is.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve doesn’t need to be told twice, she’s had a rough night too. She gives Mr. Peck a peck on the cheek, then heads to the bedroom. By the time Jamison comes out of the bath, he finds Maeve wrapped up in the blankets of the master bed, sound asleep.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison answers a knock at the door, to find a coke, and a box of moon-pies. He tips the kid at the door a dollar, and brings the junk food in. He sits at the table, going over the remnants of the paper, sipping the Coke and cutting through a few of the moon-pies before waking Azog and sending him off to bed. With that, Jamison corrects the thermostat, lies down on the couch, and drops off.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

The night passes uneventfully, and you all sleep heavily and late, eventually Jamison is awakened at 11am by a knock at the door. He looks around to find everyone else asleep, at the door stands the tailor, with the first round of goods to deliver.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison invites the tailor in. “I’m begging your pardon, sir, but last night was quite eventful, and my company and I are still in repose. Allow me to wake them.”

With that, Jamison unwraps another Moon-pie, inhales half on it, and walks into the room where Azog’s slumbering.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

After waking Azog as best he can, he moves on Mugsy’s room, walking in without knocking, and snapping him too, as well. “Our man’s here, Mug. Up and at ‘em! And see to breakfast for us and the dame, if you’d be so kind.”

Wit that, he walked back into the front room, still clad in his robe.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog rubs his eyes and rolls over to work the push-buttons of the automated dumbwaiter. About eight minutes later, a silver tray freighted with eggs poached and scrambled, rye toast and jam, sausage links, bacon, potatoes, butter, coffee and orange juice arrives.

There is a newspaper in the pneumatic tube receiving carriage, but Azog cracks open the Gideon Bible instead and begins to read while dipping the corners of his toast into the runny egg yolks.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

The noise of people waking is enough to stir Maeve, and very quickly you three are all locked out of the Master Bedroom while she freshens up.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison cracks the paper while waiting for the sausage and biscuits to cool. Sitting at the table, he looks over the paper at the sound of Maeve locking the door, makes a clicking with his tongue, and pointedly winks at Azog.

Then, snapping the paper back into order, and starting with some black coffee, Jamison perused the first few pages.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Miss Maeve ain’t got much appetite. I wonder where Miss Felicia is now? Probably having breakfast with G. Clef. I can’t figure what she said about the sixth seal.” He thumbs the volume. “Is it somewhere in the back? I ain’t read the whole thing yet.”

After a time he gives up reading and concentrates on breakfast. Half a dozen poached eggs later he is dabbing the corners of his mouth and working on a second cup of coffee. To no one in particular he says at last: “Sister Mary would know…”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Mugsy scans the papers for news from last nights events.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Today is Monday, November 15, 1926.

Interestingly, there is scant news on the event. Just a brief note on page A13 indicating that a small coal fire shut down the Venetian Room last night, and that the blaze was quickly contained. The Southmoor expects to have the Venetian Room open once more by this coming Friday.

Additionally, there is no news at all pertaining to the Ambassador East.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Looks like the Feds are trying to button this one up. I expect them to be after us, boys. Jamison, if you were at your old job and had access to Maeve here for the purposes of nailing Big Boots, what would you do?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Okay. If I were a G-man… Deedle-didle-deedle-dum…” Jamison strokes his chin.

“If I were still at the Metro, that’s easy. Not many cases come through there you can’t shake up, if they’re important enough. Her ties with Bugs Moran and Boots would make her a high priority. She’d spill. She’s got fire, that one. She wouldn’t break easy, but she’d break.” With that, he takes a poached egg in a spoon and slides it into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully.

“They usually do, you know. Anyway, I’d take down what she said, and lose it so that we don’t have to have the Feds butting heads with us. That way, if we make the collar, and we would, we get the credit. Now, if I were with the treasury, I’d sweep in, throw her in the back of a cruiser, and take her to a diner. It’s a sure bet the Metro wouldn’t have fed her, if they’re trying to break her, and she’d be hungry. Get her to explain any bruises, limping, or broken fingers…”

Jamison looks up as Maeve walks into the room.

“…All of those are signs they tried to break her. Half the Metro is on someone’s payroll, so that means you can’t count on anyone not knowing what you’re about to find out. That means you treat whatever they have to say as an open secret. People will spill after a decent meal,” Jamison grinned. “I’ve seen them spill just because you took them away from the Metro.”

“But our lady, here, has real incentive not to talk, and she’s been through the wringer already. I’ll give her credit, and say the Metro doesn’t break her. That’s good, but it might leave her with a broken finger, a black eye. Now, in her case this might actually be better, except in this case, the Treasury was after her, in particular. That means they swing in, have a bag team ready, and get whatever they can from her, however they can. It’s not pretty, and some of the time, you don’t see ‘em again afterwards. They use magicks on those poor guys like you don’t wanna hear about.”

Jmaison nods. “When we saved you, doll, we really saved you. As for what I’d do, personally? Well, if I were a G-man, and I had her in custody? And she had info on Moran, and O’Hanlon? Yeah, the interrogation would be quick, and brutal, and on the spot. In that case, the information could be worth more than the informant. You’d have walked in on a mind-rape, Azog. The bag-team would have been mages. The information would need to be confidential, and fresh, if we were to be able to move.”

Jamison started to tuck into his eggs. “Now, though, there’s another question. The Feds are on us, small to no doubt, because we ruined their party. But, they’re going to think we’re with either Moran or Boots. They’re going to think we killed her, because of what she knows. As far as they know, she’s off the table, and unless they’re the most secretive bunch of Feds to ever draw breath, Boots’ll find out. So, what happens now? Boots knows that she was picked up by the Feds, and then kidnapped. Who is he gonna blame? Most likely? The only other guy who benefits from her death. Bugs goddamned Moran. She was into his numbers, too, right? And a bunch of off-the-radar folks show up and go nose-to-nose with Carlysle’s boys to get her before she can squeal. Now, he might have done it himself, if Boots knew she was captured. But, we have to assume he didn’t, because it’s her organization that built his organization. Bugs, of course, won’t know what’s going on. But, even assuming Boots gives him a call to ask about this, Boots won’t believe him. Why would he? Of course he’s gonna say he’s innocent. All cons do.”

Jamison shoves some eggs and sausage down his maw, and shakes his head. “Guys, if we keep her under wraps, and we push Moran just right, we could start a gang war between Bugs and Boots that’ll cover our next move, easy. And if we make that next move getting this fine lady her kids back? Well, who knows. We might just kick up enough dust to hide until the shooting stops.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve stops upon entering as she realizes that she is the subject of the current conversation. She visibly blanches at Jamison’s description of what might’ve happened to her, but steels herself against it. Shaking her head she spits Jamison with another glare, “You missed somethin’. If Boots thinks I’m dead or broken, then he’s got no reason t’ keep my kids alive. If you wait for this thing to do whatever it’s gonna do, my kids’ll be dead before you finish your breakfast.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog listens intently all the while, sipping his coffee. At last he says, “I don’t feel right leaving them kids in Boots’ hands any longer than we have to. With Miss Maeve out of his hands, they’re no more use to him. He may aim to get rid of them as early as possible. I think we have to move today.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison nods. “She’s right, of course. If we’re gonna save the dollface’s kids, we move straight away…” With that, Jamison drifts off, clearly trying to run some sort of scenario.

“…Either way, we need to keep her under wraps, and safe,” Jamison looks at Maeve. “You wouldn’t happen to know where your kids are being kept, would you?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

“Up until two days ago, we had a penthouse at The Labrador. There was some sorta accident, and Boots had ‘em moved out. I haven’t seen ’em since…”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog groans.

He pours another cup of coffee and then asks, “Could a seer help? Maybe that witch in Ork-town?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison sipped his coffee. “Do you have any runs that you have to do? Are you running late for anything just now? And if so, do we want to have you run them, or do we want to spread the idea that you’ve been …removed from play?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog stands and wipes away breadcrumbs with his napkin as he clears his place at the table.

“Miss Maeve, please eat. We never know when our next meal is coming. Matter o’ fact, it might be smart to quit the Ambassador altogether. Staying in one place too long is just begging for Carlyle or Trask or Boots or somebody else to catch us napping.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Yeah.” Jamison stands until Maeve takes a seat, then sits and resumes his breakfast. “Truth be told, I’m getting tired of the lap of luxury. I mean, they don’t tell you about how you might be the target of a Treasury raid, or you could wind up punching a lady full in the mouth… Fun story, there, miss Maeve. That lady who hooked you for the Treasury? She got a surprise mouth of my fist while we were trying to pick up Mugsy and you. I didn’t mean it to be her, you understand. i was just trying to blow into the room before they could train their guns on me. No idea who would be at the door. But, I figure, you’d like to hear about it, seeing as how she’s the source of all of your misery.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog’s countenance is distant with the effort of concentration.

“Hooked… Mugsy…”

He looks alarmed.

“Mugsy, remember how alarmed you was about a magical tracer on the cash? Whatever they threw at you to make you glow, maybe it’s still on you. An ethereal beacon or something else they can track.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Yeah, the problem with that is my ethereal contact was trashed by some sort of Satan book last time we visited her, remember? I’m gonna have a heap of work to do to fix that one. Speaking of which, if that was Lovecraft’s book, you should burn it.” Mugsy sips his orange juice with a distant look in his eye. “We definitely need to spread the rumor that someone working for Bugs sprung Maeve. Those two working against each other is just what we need. Maeve, who else would know the whereabouts of your kids?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog folds his arms and looks sheepish, but says nothing (and doesn’t burn anything).

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve looks back and forth between Azog and Mugsy, “Wait…..who’s Mugsy? An’ what’s wit a Satan book?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I don’t know, ask him.” Mugsy points to Azog.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Miss Maeve, we don’t have time to get into that. Who is it that would know where you kids are? Somebody we can ask, or follow, or squeeze.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve narrows her eyes and looks between the two, “Say, what is this, some sort of confidence racket? He just called you Mugsy, an’ then you act like you don’t know who Mugsy is? You’d better come clean, Mr. Peck.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison winces, and cracks his neck in a particularly cold fashion. Through gritted teeth, he asks, “Lady, do you think I look like a con man? What percentage is there in getting shot up rescuing someone you don’t even know? If we weren’t on the side of the angels, here, we’d be running seriously in the red, right? Here’s a few questions. My man here, who we call Mugsy, how much did he get paid for getting holes poked through him? How much did he get for trying to play off the ugliest mug in the entire goddamned US Treasury? What did he make for going through that window?” With that, he thumbed out Azog. “And him? Those were bullets he was stopping for you, doll, not bad language. And we’re out of pocket getting patched up. In fact, now we’re on the short list of people it never pays to be on the short list of. All for trying to help you. We got the goddamned US Treasury on us like ink on the morning paper now, because we’re trying to help you. We ain’t seen dime one, and it’s looking to me like we won’t either. I’m doing my damnedest to stay on the side of the angels, here, and I’ve never had to try so hard…”

“…And here you are, calling us cons, because we go by nick-names. Lady, you are a goddamned peach. Do me the favor of answering me one question, doll-face. If we’re running a con, where in God’s name is our percentage? We’re about to turn a fragile fucking peace on the streets into a goddamned shooting war, between two of the worst men to ever draw breath! Hundreds of bodies. All so you can get your kids back.”

With that, Jamison takes a deep breath, exhales slowly, and turns his attention to the paper again. “And because I’m the bigger man, I’m not even going to ask you to apologize. If you want your kids back before the shooting starts, it would fucking behoove you to let us know any names of people who might know where your kids are, because we are officially on the clock even now. Once we get you guys back together, I might have a place you can stay until the wind changes.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Lady, as far as you’re concerned, I’m Jolly Old Saint Nick. And I’m two seconds from walking out that door never looking back. You can find your own kids if you can. Otherwise we do the asking, and you do the answering. But by all means, if you want us to disappear for good, ask us another question about who we are and what we’ve been up to.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Like the boys said, this bullet wound and these bruises are a bit of an aggravation, so if you wouldn’t mind, a little help here?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve glances between the three of you, suspicion clearly written on her face. “I spent mosta th’ car ride here last night tellin’ you my story. You fellas haven’t told me nothin’ about who you is, an’ then you start callin’ each other names and then one a youse acts like you don’ know who that is, an’ then your pals insist it’s you, but you ain’t got time to explain to me nothin?.”

She stands, “You’re askin’ me to put myself in a bad spot, and you’re givin’ me nothin but more demands, that don’t fly. If you can’t shoot straight with me, I’ll just go back to Boots – at least I know what I’ve got wit him.” Her eyes flash irritation, and she makes for the door.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog laughs loudly. “Miss, you try that and we’ll be reading about you in tomorrow’s paper. Boots don’t take nobody back. Not once they’ve put a toe out the door. You’re in with Boots it’s for life. You know how I know? Cause I tried to get out on account of I’s goin’ straight, see? But he sicced a killer on me and I’s livin’ in the shadows ever since. Until we knock him off his block that’s my life. Yours too, Miss. As long as it lasts.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison cleared his throat.

“My name, if you recognize it, is Jamison Chambers. I used to make the papers, until someone took money to say that I was on the take. They did this because I wasn’t going to back off of a banking associate of one Miles O’Banion. he used to run the Irish action in town before Capone ruined his shot at the big time with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. They tried to talk to me, tried to buy me, and, in the end, wound up settling for costing me everything in my life. Family, love, and money, all gone. They even took my nose, to spite my face.

I wound up being cast out by family and friends for the disgrace of it all. To top it all off, I have reason to suspect O’Banion in the death of my father. No proof, and no resources to find that proof. I wound up being paid in change and chili for bouncing at a Dinge joint in the armpit of Chicago. The guys at the diner called me Black Bag, but I’m no killer. I used to be a cop. Then, I was about to transition to the Treasury…

From what I understand, that Carlyle cat got the job I was supposed to have. And you know they got my face with a pair of scissors, but I can’t figure how you know that, doll, so I’m ill at ease with you. You’re drop-dead gorgeous, but you’re loaded with problems, and I don’t know how hard you’re willing to push to see them solved. Also, there’s no percentage in helping you, but I’m still here. Take that for whatever you like.

There, now. No more secrets." Jamison shoved another egg into his mouth.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison cleared his throat.

“My name, if you recognize it, is Jamison Chambers. I used to make the papers, until someone took money to say that I was on the take. They did this because I wasn’t going to back off of a banking associate of one Miles O’Banion. he used to run the Irish action in town before Capone ruined his shot at the big time with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. They tried to talk to me, tried to buy me, and, in the end, wound up settling for costing me everything in my life. Family, love, and money, all gone. They even took my nose, to spite my face.

I wound up being cast out by family and friends for the disgrace of it all. To top it all off, I have reason to suspect O’Banion in the death of my father. No proof, and no resources to find that proof. I wound up being paid in change and chili for bouncing at a Dinge joint in the armpit of Chicago. The guys at the diner called me Black Bag, but I’m no killer. I used to be a cop. Then, I was about to transition to the Treasury…

From what I understand, that Carlyle cat got the job I was supposed to have. And you know they got my face with a pair of scissors, but I can’t figure how you know that, doll, so I’m ill at ease with you. You’re drop-dead gorgeous, but you’re loaded with problems, and I don’t know how hard you’re willing to push to see them solved. Also, there’s no percentage in helping you, but I’m still here. Take that for whatever you like.

There, now. No more secrets." Jamison shoved another egg into his mouth.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“You want to walk? Go right ahead. I’ll phone the treasury on your way down the elevator. If taking a bullet and saving you from being magically violated by the feds ain’t enough, don’t let the door hit you in the kiester on the way out. What exactly have we done that has not been on the up and up? We’ve delivered an every promise we made to you and even stuck our neck out above and beyond that.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison jogs over to Maeve.

“We’re rough, doll, but we’re your best shot at this going right. If you walk out now, you’re gonna go back to Boots, because you have no choice. Then, you’re gonna tell him about us, because you’ll think it’ll save you and your kids. It won’t. He’ll have you guys take lunch with the Kaiser, and the lot of you wind up as part of the foundation in some new building.

I’m not telling you this to scare you. I’m not trying to stop you if you go. But you’re on someone else’s team the moment you leave, and there’s no coming back from that. I’ve dealt with these people my entire life.

Also, you haven’t yet eaten."

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

((Roll(2d6)2 (repartee):
6,5,
2
Total:13

BOOM.))

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

….and boom goes the dynamite.

Maeve looks up at Jamison and blinks several times, and Jamison can clearly see the tears she is fighting to keep back. She lays a hand gently on his shoulder and shakes her head, “I’m so scared, Mr.Chambers. I go back now, I haven’t given anything up an’ Boots will at least keep my kids alive, even if he feeds me to th’….well, nevermind. But if I squawk, an’ if you guys turn out t’ be someone wit a hidden agenda…it’s the end of not just me, but my kids too!” She turns to look over her shoulder at Mugsy, “I’d thought I’d found my Knight in Shinin’ Armor las’ night…heh, literally. But then he’s all gruff an pushy this mornin, and obviously hidin’ somethin.” she shakes her head, “I can’t do that, Mr. Chambers. It’s all or nothin’ wit me, so it’s all or nothin’ wit youse.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

While he speaks, Jamison guides Maeve back to the table. "Well, doll, I’m with these guys. If you appreciated their help, and you want more of it, then sit down and have breakfast. I’m not about to tell them what to do, as I just met them a few days ago. But, they’re upstanding young gentlemen, if I’m any judge of character. Now, I’ve given you my story, and you’ve given me yours. So, there’s that.

What you have to understand is, our street names ARE our names. The only reason to have someone’s SIN number or a true name is to get leverage on them. So, it’s not the best way to make an introduction. He’s Mugsy. He’s Nicely-Nicely. I’m Black Bag, but I’m thinking of going by Scissorface after last night. It’s how we’re known.

And Mr. Templeton Peck? He’s the name on the room. That’s all. Just the name on the room."

And Jamison pulls out a chair, and lights up a smoke.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve sits down at the table and looks down at the plate before her. Everyone can see that she’s shaking slightly, terrified.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog approaches her and holds out a small shiny thing.

“Miss Maeve, I don’t know if you’re a believing woman or not. But I’d like you to hold onto this. It’s Saint Jude, Miss. Children and Lost Causes. Don’t cry, Miss. We’ll get your kids back. Only tell us what you can about the organization: who were your handlers? What properties does Boots control that could be used to store babies? Who’s on the payroll that might be put in charge of your kin? You handled books, Miss. There’s a lot you know you ain’t told yet. ‘All or nothing,’ as you said. Help us help you. There’s no going back.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Miss Maeve, if you want us to help your kids, we’re ready yet again to prove our intentions.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve reaches out and takes the medalion, clutching it to herself and nods once both in response to Azog and Mugsy. She continues to tremble for a few moments, eyes darting between the three of you, then nods once more to herself and lets out a big breath. “Boots has a few folk up top that he trusts with the sensitive stuff. Fella named Jimmy who’s one of his main enforcers, an’ a dame named Rose who he keeps with him almost always. He’s gotta few other fellas who he calls on from time to time, but generally wit me it was a face-to-face thing.” She shakes her head and scowls, “He’s talks to my boys an’ calls himself Uncle Boots, gets all friendly wit ‘em. I think he’s got plans fuh them already. But it’s usually him wit me, an’ then some mooks he keeps around at beck an’ call to stand by th’ doors an’ look scary.”

She pauses, clearly thinking.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog’s face stiffens at the mention of Jimmy.

“This Rose, is she a bit of a modern gal, stand about yea high, face like a winter storm, eyes like a dark alley? That her?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve nods, then cocks her head, “You’ve had dealins wit her?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Unconsciously, Azog balls a fist.

“Yeah, she got the better o’ me the other day. Next time it’ll turn out different.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve shakes her head, as if in disbelief, “You had a run in wit dat one, you’re either better’n you act, or really lucky, mistah. I seen her turn men to mush wit no more’n a wave of her finger.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I have too,” Azog mutters under his breath, “if my hunch is right.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Well, well. Looks like we’ve already had run ins with some of his confidants. Who would be next in line after Jimmy?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve scrunches her face in thought, “Nex in line? Hmmmm. I guess that’d be Alexander. He’s a different sort. Where Jimmy’s all brute force an such, Alexander’s….well….mysterious. I dunno. He’s just different. Quiet, really scare eyes, not a meta or anything – but just has a sense about him, y’know? Come to think of it, he might be BEFORE Jimmy, ‘cept I never seen Boots tell him t’ do anything…” she trails off.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Who would be best to grill for the information on where your kids are at currently?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

“Well, Boots.” she flashes a look of irritation, “Mr. Mugsy Peck, I’m sorry. I’m really tryin’ ta help you, here. Believe me, I’m more motivated than you is, but Boots always keeps me in the dark about my kids. I either show up and they’re there, or they’re not. If he’s happy wit what I got for him, they’re usually there. He don’t let me interact much wit his other folk, an’ I’m rarely interested anyhow. Before we had ta move outta that penthouse, I spent all my time not workin’ in there wit my boys, an’ usually no visitors.” she pauses, “I can name some folks, most of them I already have. You show me someone, I can probably tellya who they answer to, an’ I can tell you just about EVERYTHING about Boots’s liquor sales an’ distribution. But ya gotta see, he uses my kids to CONTROL me, so I got no clue who, apart from Boots, makes those calls or has much of anything to do wit ’em.”

She thinks for a moment, “Assumin’ they’re still in the Labrador, which is a good bet but no guarantee, they’re likely in one of the upper stories – maybe another penthouse. I can prolly get you inside the building from the back entrance, might even be able to get you past some of his mooks – depending – but that may be it.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“People on the operations side of things at the Labrador will be up for a little slap-and-tickle. Grease them with some cash, and they might say what they know. Plus, I can get the word out that she got snapped up by Moran, or whomever we need Boots to aim at.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog hasn’t heard Jamison. He is already changing into his new charcoal suit and gathering things into his luggage.

“See, Miss Maeve, why didn’ ya jus’ say so? Door in the back. Kids are at the top. Nutin’ to it. Plus we’ve already seen the place. We’ll be in, out, and gone in time for me to make my date with Mary.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve shakes her head in reply to Jamison, “I don’t think yer slap-and-tickle is gonna work wit these folk, Mr. Chambers. Boots personally vets everyone who works in that building.” She smiles in response to Azog’s enthusiasm.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Well, then, miss Maeve, we’re just going to have to abandon my usual methods, and move right over to the more direct manners and methods of my compatriot, here.” With that, Jamison thumbs out Azog.

“Now, then, how hard do we want to press the two sides? It’s been my understanding that the harder you press a crew, the faster and harder they react. We send word up the police grapevine that Boots is spoiling for a fight because Moran grabbed his lady, here. Then, that same night, we send one of our crews at Ruby’s to go shoot up a joint of Moran’s in the dead of night. Moran makes a move against Boots, and we send a word that a crew of Moran’s have miss Maeve under wraps. They get an echo chamber, see? They hear the same story, no matter who they talk to. Plus, it’ll help button up the Treasury; they’re gonna assume that we were a crew of Moran’s who were going to do a smash and grab for miss Maeve, here. They’ll be squeezing Moran, and Boots, too, when they get to it. Maeve, doll, I’m willing to bet that if we fill the man’s plate, he’s going to be too busy putting out fires to even think about your kids…” All of a sudden, Jamison’s eyes go unfocused. His sight drifts into a corner of the room, and he seems to be drawing something in the air with his hands.

He strokes his chin.

“This could go wrong. If we make that case where Moran grabbed you, Maeve, it can only be because he covets Big Boots’ edge. The one you give him. Now, if you were kidnapped, and someone wanted you to work for them, or against him, or whatever, what would be the first thing you demand of your new employer? The safety of your kids. If Boots is thinking along those lines, the Labrador will be a fortress. If we sell them the idea that Moran’s crews are working on their own, without the proper clearances, Boots won’t be able to listen to Moran at all, which makes the turf war even uglier, since the heads won’t be talking at all. Also, we open the door for other independent operators to step in, remove Moran, and take over. At any rate, we need to move. Tonight, we get her kids, or die trying. Today, we order the hit on a few of Moran’s places, and false-flag Boots for it. Mugsy, we need you to make sure word is on the street that bad things are coming; Moran stole Boots’ girl, the one responsible for running his numbers. I’ll do the same with the cops, saying that maybe it was a crew working without Moran’s say. That should pull enough people off the street to make the hit against Moran clear.”

With that, his eyes slid back into focus. He sat, slate-faced, a cigarette burning unattended in the corner of his mouth.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog slides the Gideon Bible into his luggage and looks up.

“Mr. Black Bag, you do what you need to do, but I ain’t looking to start more violence. I’s looking to get out of the business and go straight. More mob hits don’t do this city any good. So maybe Boots is the worst Boss because he’s moving flesh-eaters into the sewers, but Bugs is no picnic either.

“We’re looking to save two kids, but suppose three bystanders get shot in crossfire? Don’t we come out behind in the ledger?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“You see, though, this isn’t about starting violence where there is none. This is about getting it all over with. Nicely, it isn’t as if any of these gangs are non-violent. The only real concern is, do we try to grind their people faster than they can replace, and thereby limit their ability to affect those people who are caught in the middle, or do we leave them to be on the top of things, occasionally dumping rounds and bombs into their associates, and controlling the law in this city? Do we do God’s work by pointing these gangs at each other, and hurting their ability to sustain themselves, or do we do better by continuing to allow Boots to keep kidnapping children?

And nicely, how many people are we going to have to kill to get Maeve’s children back? Is there a magic number where we stop, decide it’s all just too much, and turn around? I’m honestly not asking these questions because I’m trying to embarrass you. I’m in it to win it. I just want you to know that since people have walked upright, men have struggled with this type of new math, and no one’s yet come up with a really good answer. So, what are your thoughts?"

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“No innocents,” Azog says firmly. "And if we do it right, we won’t be taking all comers in the building neither.

“No matter what we do, it’s still Chicago. You touch off a fight ‘tween Bugs and Boots and somebody else will just move in to mop up—Capone, maybe. See, you can fix the table, but you can’t stop the game.

“If you want a distraction to get their attention off the Labrador, it doesn’t have to be a hit. How about a rumble with the Feds instead? Town’s lousy with them lately. Get them to raid a few of Boots’ speakeasies. Miss Maeve will know the addresses.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Or we could do it with minimal violence. We play like we’re Moran or the Feds and strike a deal with Boots to get the kids and Maeve to safety. Feds are probably out, we’d have to play it like Moran wants Maeve back and set up the sting to make the exchange.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog furrows his brow in strenuous thought.

“OK. You guys handle the details. I’ll just play hired muscle—that’s something I’ve done before, and anybody that recognizes me will think it’s legit.

“But mind the body count. It’s weighing on my conscience what happened to—ah, what’s already happened.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Fair enough. We play it your way, Mugsy. What is it you need me to do?” Jamison’s eyes slide over to look at him.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I’m just thinking out loud at this point. My troll-kin has a point, starting a gang war is good cover but it also can get out of hand real quick. I don’t like the idea of endangering people on the street. What if we say we’re building inspectors and have to inspect the whole building because of the nuttiness that went on a few days ago. That’d give us an excuse to get in there and look over anything we wanted. We could move a bribe in to the city safety office and make it look like it was one of Moran’s guys what started it.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I get that you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Speakin’ o’ wich…” Azog makes a plate for Maeve and pours her coffee and orange juice—a rare delicacy in winter, no doubt imported from Brazil.

“So we go in as badges? That’s a twist! We’ll need a change of clothes of course—count on another trip to the pawn shop. In that case I could go in as a hard hat or a union rep. I know the type well enough: hard-working honest Joes who gamble away their wages at my dice game.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

GM:

Maeve nods her thanks, clearly absorbed in the conversation.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Well, all right. I’m in. What do you guys need me to do?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“So we’re inspectors? Inspecting for what? Fire code? Cracked beams? Tax avoision? Ha ha, I bet you could do a number on these guys with a look at their books. Probably why that Fed wanted you so bad, Miss. I bet Boots ain’t paid his taxes on the guns and flesh-eaters he’s running in the sewers.

“Anyhow, let’s settle on a story and get going. It’s almost noon already, and nobody would buy a building inspection that starts after 3 PM!”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Port Authority,” Jamison grumbled, after looking up from the table. “They’re the ones that cover tall buildings. Enough cover to get us in, and move us around, but not big enough to draw attention. Gives us freedom to scope the place, and see what we need to do next.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I like it. Maybe make Boots nervous about all the barges he’s running as well.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“That works too. Port Authority it is. We’ll need some report looking documents and some dock working clothes for out big man here. Black Bag are you coming with us or playing look out? Too many people might recognize that face.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I’m okay with whatever you have me do. Might be better to have me along, since I can actually spout legitimate civil code numbers and such to any flunkies that look too closely. Also, with what happened a bit ago, there should be tons of PA folks coming and going. You’re right, though. My face could be a liability. I’ve often found it was.” With that, he winked at Maeve.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“You can stand in my shadow,” grunts Azog. “I’ll be a step and a half back and wearing a stern look. Mugsy can do most of the talking.” Azog is clearly amused at the idea.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I think I found some wigs and makeup in that suitcase we pick up to get in here. You guys might check yours to see if they contain anything useful for our next sting.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog rummages a moment and turns around wearing old-fashioned eyeglasses. He looks ridiculous, but as with Clark Kent he is magically transformed, at least upon cursory inspection.

He then goes to the mirror and uses the horn polish to slick his hair in a manner that a government employee might.

“How do I look?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Believable.”

Jamison roots around in his case finding a classy-looking hat. Not a Fedora, mind you, but smooth, nonetheless. “There’s a feather boa here, in case we need to hide in the red-lights,” he says, sardonically.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Mr. Bag, you still might be able to use your influence on your patrons to our advantage. Extra muscle never hurts.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Fair enough. I’m gonna want to wear my older jacket and slacks for this job. One the one hand, no one at the Port Authority would be able to throw away enough on their looks to be seen in the new stuff, and, on the other, I don’t want to see it poked full of holes when we’re found out.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Hm.” Azog looks thoughtful a moment. Then he wordlessly busies himself in an inexplicable series of activities.

First he removes $500 from the briefcase and rolls it tightly. Then he finds a fountain pen and writes a few words on a piece of hotel stationery. Lastly he finds two tickets to tonight’s showing of The Vagabond King and wraps the whole bundle in a sheet of newspaper.

The package is then dropped into a capsule for delivery by United States Pneumatic Parcel Service.

As he addresses the capsule for delivery to the Salvation Army, he says aloud: “Just in case we don’t come back, I still want Sister Mary to get some of that cash. Maybe see a show. See, I done a lot of bad things in my life. Maybe if she buys soup for some orphans with this it’ll balance out.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“The other question is, where are we going to hole up now?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“I suppose we have my digs. I should warn you, they’re not nearly this posh.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Fine for us, but what about Miss Maeve and her babies? Do you have a place to go where Boots can’t reach you?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Jamison’s eyes slide over to rest on Azog. “My digs are in Chicago, if that’s what you’re asking. And they’re a hell of a lot more incognito than this place. If we need to hide, that’s one way to do it. I took the liberty of arming some of my associates in the area, and while I doubt they’ll throw themselves on their swords at my suggestion, They do mob up when needed, and they owe me.”

He cleared his throat. "At this point, there’s no place Boots can’t get at her and the kids. At least my place offers quiet…

…And windows facing the major avenues." He glances at Mugsy, just to see if he was catching what Jamison was saying, and nodded slightly.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 
“No sense to borrow trouble. It’s a probable twelve-to-seven we don’t make it out alive anyway.”

Azog pushes a button and a hiss fills the room. With a thunk the capsule disappears into the intake tube.

“So next we need to borrow a vehicle to make it look good. Are we thinking steal, scam or bribe?”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Bribe. This is why we have the money, after all.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog nods. “Off to the government motorpool, then. We’ll divvy the rest of the cash and hire a cab at the curb.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“We might wanna see the lady posted somewhere quiet, first,” Jamison said.

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“No problem. My gal can hide her at the Salvation Army. I can take her over while you guys get the car ready. You don’t need my talents to bribe a guy, after all.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

“Oh, your kind of persuasion is steel gauntlet that our velvet glove conceals. It goes really well as an unspoken incentive to accept our peaceful negotiations.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
 

Azog nods understanding.

“Okay. So we all go together.”

The Ambassador East Hotel pt.III
MadDogMaddux

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.