The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Four

The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Four

Monday 30th March 1925 – Sable Island:

03:30pm – On The Shore Of Sable Island

Sable Island, what little daylight we had to work with has been swallowed up and spat out like so much hokey baccy juice.

Impure blackness, billowing and rising…rising up, ravenous, sucking up everything in its path, even the filthy grey storm clouds seem to have been enveloped, swept up and lost to the empty ocean of nightfall.

Only the white spittle, viciously stolen from wave tops by jealous, green eyed winds catches the eye above the awful gloom.

For a terrible bleak instant I am winded by loneliness, desolate and lost; and without thinking, a prayer to our Lady makes it’s way through clenched teeth and my unwilling, numb lips. Like a hop head breathing out his last nugget of bliss.

This though is no time for self-pity. Instinct tells us that an enemy will soon be upon us and that we must be ready. I must lead my men and their faith in me must be certain.

Even bellowed instructions become meaningless in this ghastly storm. All sound has been abstracted. Breath punched back down throats by invisible hammer blows. Standing upright is becoming a job of work. Instead we signal with lamps and hand signals.

We’ll keep our little red temptress below decks, chained and helpless. She cannot be trusted – a doll with two faces – both of them bad as far as I’m concerned.

Bill McCoy Fishes
Bill McCoy Fishes

I talk to McCoy aboard his 80’ schooner – a boat that this Robin Hood of rum, built himself, in his own yard. He stands taller than I imagined, rugged and handsome with kindly but determined blue eyes. While his mostly negro crew scurry back and forth following unseen instruction, McCoy confirms that he did send a message to Solomon that he was en route.

So why the heck didn’t Solomon tell us?

Is he hiding something?

But hey, just ask McCoy, The King don’t need for making friends.

McCoy, still staring out into the angry mayhem, points out a washed-out plume of smoke from the mystery ship as it draws closer.

McCoy: “Hah”

He mutters wryly,

McCoy: “look forward to seeing them try and get that tied to a jetty.”

As he watcheds the unknown and apparently unmarked craft, toss and bounce like a cowpoke aboard an unbroken mustang.

Rum Runners
Rum Runners

We prepare ourselves in our foxholes.

I draw up my rifle to hand and sight it, a Shotgun across my back and a nickel plated .38 buried in a side holster. Vinny kneels beside Berkely in the other hole, armed with his shotgun, a rifle and a handful of good old Mollys. Berkely plays idly with his tommy gun, backed up with a trench gun and hand axes, not a care in the world. Beside me McNifey, Tommy Gun and a 30 round clip in hand, gets himself comfortable, a silenced 1907 Savage semi auto pocket pistol and Mondragon rifle within easy reach.

The storm is throwing up spray and sand into our faces and we squint hard to get a handle on developments.

Our plan runs like this:

  • Ltn Carmichael will talk to these new kids in town and distract them a little, giving us time to see what we’ve got on our hands, his boys only have three rifles between them so no heroics as they take up position on a raised dune about 100’ in from the jetty.
  • DeMoulin and his buddy, Claude, will hide in their boat ready to repel boarders. Likewise, I figure these boys ain’t no Marines. Just as long as they got our backs.
  • Meanwhile McCoy’s boys provide the real kick with a military issue Vickers twin mounted machine guns, now with a tarpaulin thrown over it and his boys well hidden. I even notice what looked like red tracer rounds in the belt – the full kit – Bravo Mr McCoy, you actually are the real deal!!

They start flashing some kind of an SOS via a hand held Aldis lamp, shorewards – I make out, ‘US vessel seeks safe harbour from storm.’ But no ensign, insignia or ident, spells something more like T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

Ltn Carmichael beckons them in and we order him out of our line of site and back to his position. He doesn’t baulk at taking orders.

McNifey sights his binoculars and spots seven heavily armed birds hiding under the rail of the prow armed to the eyeballs with rifles and at least two 30 drum choppers and he reckons on another eight mugs astern, also with choppers and what looks like…a…?

McNifey: ‘Goddam…hell and goddam they’ve got a Mortar!’

These guys really want to start throwing some lead about. But with all this military hardware, these torpedoes look more like war vet mercenaries than Boston trouble boys!

They’ve got the numbers but we’ve got the bulge on them. Way their boats flapping to and fro they got no chance of a straight shot. Just can’t let them make land or we might really end up stuck behind the eight ball!

Bill McCoy's Stash
Bill McCoy’s Stash

Then, as if on cue McCoys’s Vickers unleashes a murderous hail of at least 40 shots at the chumps in the rear. They have not RSVP’d to this warm little invitation and despite ducking for cover, we’re sure there’s a couple showing a little daylight now.

We take the hint and between gaps in our sand bag defences we take aim. The first shot out of my Mondragon 7x57mm blows a man’s head clean off, despite the inclement conditions. A near headless body pitches into the frothing angry sea and claims the chump as it’s own.

Berkely grabs Vincenzo’s rifles. Takes several rounds to aim but misses a man with a trench gun trying to disembark.

I time my breathe to the rise and fall of the waves….oblivious to all distraction…fire and rupture another man’s skull! Arms spread wide in exultation, before knees crumple and slumps to the deck.

Another burst of Vickers kills one and injures another at the prow. The height advantage of McCoys vessel is proving critical.

Our next volley of shots miss and judging by the delay in fire rate, it looks like the Vickers has jammed. That pendulum looks to have started swinging the other way!

Their boat though looks to be out of control veering dangerously towards the prow of McCoys pride and joy….but with nothing to spare their skipper regains control and pulls her round and back towards the jetty.

Berkely seizes on the confusion and makes a run for higher ground to get a better shot at any of these cats taking cover on deck. We maintain our position behind our sand bagged refuge.

Shots ring out along with crackling bursts of semi auto fire, fierce muzzle flashes and the intoxicating aroma of gun smoke is all around.

Sable Island Main Station
Sable Island Main Station

Then a flare flashes above us in a low arc. Berkely, having aimed for the wheelhouse now fires a flare at the mortar and ammunition at the stern of the enemy craft. He hits his target but we don’t see no firework show go off….yet!

We pick targets zones. McNifey takes aim on anyone trying to moor up and Vincenzo takes aim for anyone looking to use their mortar.

I spot a goon making a jump for the jetty he lands, he lands good, but straight into a hot lump of lead, I hit him hard but not dead.

McNifey lets loose a 3 round burst and finished the job.

Three more attempt the jump onto the jetty. It’s a desperate move and two misjudge their jumps and land in the icy drink, and this sure ain’t no time of life for to go paddling.

The one mercenary that makes it onto the planks steadies himself and sets to charge our emplacement, as he rises up a shot catches him in the chest, flipping him backwards, and he lies flapping on the jetty for all the world like some fresh caught mackerel.

Morello shouts out,

Morello: “Harpoon!”

He spots a large whaling harpoon being leaned over side of their boat and aimed at the Vickers’ gunners, who are still desperately trying to unjam their weapon.

It’s a point blank shot, but to our astonishment the harpoon misses. That’s gotta be worth a 1000 Hail Marys.

McCoy takes his cue, steps out from cover and shoots the harpoonist with a glorious shot that knocks his target out cold.

On deck, Berkely’s flare fails to ignite its intended target as it’s extinguished by a rogue wave.

As the action on deck quietens down Berkely starts taking aim on the hatches. Anticipation is 9/10ths of war, as they say in Chicago.

Vincenzo makes the signal, ups from his position and runs for their boat, shotgun swinging. He takes a plug at one of the swimmers climbing out of the sea, misses, and the sodden sap sees sense and surrenders.

The Vickers finally gets unjammed and the aces are now firmly back in the hole.

The Ghost, still making his way along the jetty hears, in French, a countdown…dix…neuf…huit… takes the hint and jumps into the briny. I hope the boy can doggy paddle Italiano style!

McNifey spots, in barely legible lettering the name of their tub, The Falmouth.

The Falmouth
The Falmouth

Next thing at the rear of The Falmouth there is an almighty ‘Boom!’ as what seems to be their mortar ammo explodes in a terrifying geyser of heat, light and shrapnel.

The sickening, tragicomic screams of at least four men can be made out, screeching for one awful moment even more shrilly than the keening wind, as they are blown to pieces.

The Falmouth is now very seriously damaged and it doesn’t take a grease monkey to know that their engines are undoubtedly fucked.
Maybe these dunderheads outta have lit a peace pipe instead.

Almost immediately a hatch cautiously opens, but Ed’s shot misses. We can’t see the sniper, dressed in black, who emerges. But those on the hillock can. Lewis Pulsipher, hits by a miracle and blows a nice chunk of daylight through the barely visible head.

The Accountant and I, piggy back the chaos and head out along the jetty. Vinny is hauling himself out and we shout him to heads back to the Eiranne and get warmed up…or die of hypothermia. He don’t look like no happy salami but takes the hint.

Mcnifey, meanwhile, offers the equally damp hostage, some lessons in Irish etiquette, courtesy of the toe of his boot and sends him up to the hillock for a debriefing.

Then a Shot rings out from somewhere on The Falmouth and we see McCoy’s bosun, who was on machine gun duty, drop injured. Must have been some hell of a shot!

First Mate Lewis Gun
First Mate Lewis Gun

Berkely returns fire into the hatch he’d been aiming at and hits. Kapppow!. A phenomenal shot!

Vinny helps to heal the negroe’s wound, before heading below to change.

Billy McNifey covers me as I shoulder my shotgun and stealthily arm over arm up their mooring rope, before dropping onto deck.

What greets me is a scene worthy of Paschendale…diesel puddles, thick choking black smoke and body parts and corpses everywhere, strewn over every surface. This boat aint going I turn and motion to McNifey who follows me up.

We gather either side of an open hatch where a swinging light rocks back and fro below. We don’t hear anything, but scope the hatch. Waiting. Mouth dry with murderous anticipation.

McNifey takes out his flare pistol and fires down into the hatch, clearly upsetting someone who was lying in wait. We hear them scurry away, towards the front of the boat.

A hatch begins to open behind us and another mercenary, also dressed in snipers black holding a shiny .45 begins to emerge. McNifey, torpedo now back in hand, greets our new playmate with a burst of leaden savagery.

I shout down into the hatch and offer what I think to be the last man, a very Christian opportunity to surrender or an alternative one off opportunity to meet Our Lord and be judged. He refuses my kindness, and spouts something in Spanish…but with a decidely English accent!?

Out of site to Port, one of the tars tries to escape via a porthole, Berkely spots the jail break, shoots him good and clean and the fishes have more company.

I look to descend the ladder that runs down from the hatch, when no sooner has my foot hit the first rung, from out at bottom of ladder steps a cat in black wielding a big drum tommy gun. I shoot him point blank with my shotgun. He drops in a, shapeless, bloody heap.

I signal McNifey to go down the other hatch that he’s guarding and fire my piece to cover him.

The bitter sweet and all too familiar stench of charred flesh assaults our senses.

I then follow suit and climb down as McNifey covers me with his Tommy Gun. …And praise be to Holy Mary that he does as another sniper in black steps out behind the stairs looking to ice me…instead the hunter becomes hunted and is ripped apart in a hail of hellfire.

Thompson Submachine Gun
Thompson Submachine Gun

We warily move forward and both hear muffled noises coming from the fore…a prisoner?

Above decks, Vincenzo ties off the harpoon’s rope to a cleat and hand over hands over to The Falmouth, looking to get back in on the action.

Below the Irish proceed to a door at end of the corridor. Taking no chances I blow lock off with my Shotgun.

Inside there’s a tarp covered oblong shaped box that, judging by the size of it, had to be built in situ.

The Accountant calls out to whoever is hiding under it, to surrender. I’m closer and sure I hear the rasping, panting noise of some sort of a creature. It seems to utter a strange guttural gurgling in an unknown foreign language – Turkish perhaps? McNifey doesn’t catch it. I’m perplexed and curious.

Outside, Berkely moves down towards The Falmouth to help mop up.

Deep Ones
Deep Ones

McNifey, torpedo firmly in hand, covers while I pull back the tarp…revealing a green luminescent thing half frog half fish thing.

“I think its predominant colour was a greyish-green, though it had a white belly. It was mostly shiny and slippery,  but the ridges of its back were scaly. Its form vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while its head was the head of a fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of its neck were palpitating gills and its long paws were webbed.”

It hasn’t moved or made any noise.

It is truly hideous, blowing up one hell of a reek in our tender beaks….the bottom of it’s cage drips with fishy slime.

MaGee: “Hey Mcnifeys, I though you divorced this one!”

I’m laughing on the outside but this is not your standard Model T Freak show material. We need to find some answers on this floating mortuary.
I take a draw of good Irish from my flask and hand it on to McNifey. We sure as hell have earned it.

Sable Light House
Sable Light House

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