The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Nine

The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Nine

Friday 17th April 1925 – Aboard the Docked Beauregard:

03:30am – The Deep One Idol

We all jumped into the van ably driven by McNifey. We looked around with some trepidation but we were not followed. We also managed to avoid the cops. Possibly the whistle we had heard was just one lone beat cop. He was probably waiting for more of his guys to arrive before investigating the shooting any further. He’d only issued with a handgun after all. We had the Deep One Idol with us.

As we drove back to where The Beauregard was berthed with the protection offered by the star shape, Elder Sigh, on its hull we attended to Father Jericho.

Ed had given him a real thump which he would definitely on the following few days. However he stirred groggily in the back of the van as MaGee checks him out. He held his head, ran his hands through his thinning grey hair and took a rasping breath. He sipped some tequila then told us more of his story.

Having been run out of Innsmouth by The Esoteric Order of Dagon, a local kind of nastier Rotary Club, he did some research at the Historical society in nearby Newburyport. Some notes there directed him to some very obscure books held in the restricted collections of the library of Miscatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts.

These texts alluded to black magic attributed to evil cults of Innsmouth. However they had not mentioned the Coral embedded in the basalt, the Deep One Idol. This was a new development. It was also oddly impervious to damage. Coral is normally brittle so it should have snapped or shattered when it fell to the floor back at the basement of The Pink Feather. However instead it was unharmed.

Deep One Idol

Father Jericho said that it seemed to be absorbing the life-forces of the audience that Thelma Ickerson had sung to. Unfortunately he did not know how or for what reason Wiseacre’s confederates would do this.

While all this was very interesting it was not entirely pertinent to our current situation. We invited the priest to rest some more as we arrived at the Beauregard.

Thankfully it was unmolested. We spotted no watchers. Cautiously we got on board, put Jericho in a hammock then discussed further what we could do next.

Ed had a brainwave. If the symbol on the boat stopped those fish men or Deep Ones from molesting the boat then why not inscribe the same symbol on the Deep One Idol itself?

Elder Sign

If they couldn’t touch the Deep One Idol they would certainly have a much harder time making use of the thing.

It was a great idea but the investment of life-force is very great. Father Jericho stoically saw the value of the request. After resting up he performed the ritual empowering the symbol he had painted onto the front of the Deep One Idol with some of Ed’s whitewash kept on the boat.

It was clear to everyone that he was visibly weakened by the act so Farther Jericho went back to sleep. Could this magic actually be real?

The rest of us had taken turns to keep watch. We gave ourselves six hours sleep each so it wasn’t until close to noon that we left the Beauregard once again in search of news or a bite to eat or both. They will do anything to get this Deep One Idol back.

When we checked in to our hotel we discovered that Corey Willis, a journalist at “The Press of Atlantic City” with a soft spot for Elizabeth Prendergast, had called four times. Something had to be up.

Wow, what had got him in such a flap?

McGee called him right back. He sounded strange. He spoke like he had a lisp or something. It turned out Wiseacre’s goons had done a real number on him. They grabbed him as he went into his office just before 20:00pm. They had knocked him out, dragged him to a warehouse or garage where they had tortured him. Poor guy had a busted jaw. He couldn’t remember exactly what he told them because he had been hit in the head so often but he was most worried about Elizabeth Prendergast. They had wanted to know all about her new wop boyfriend. Where had he been staying in Atlantic City? What was his story?

Looked like our hotel wasn’t safe no more.

We would have to stay on “The Beauregard”.

The Beauregarde
The Beauregarde

Couldn’t blame Corey. He was just a college kid. He’d never been exposed to the rough and tumble of mobsters. Wiseacre wasn’t playing subtle either. Clearly his guys didn’t care about leaving marks or a trail of bodies. Sloppy. At some point cops would have had to look into it.

We told Corey to get himself back to hospital, to lay low once healed up, maybe even out of town. It had been a nasty introduction to Atlantic City’s true nature.

Picking up a paper we saw that the morning edition had reported last night’s events at “The Pink Feather” as a mob related issue. There was no mention of the Deep One Idol or any dead bodies or of the discovery of any fish men like the two we left in the basement and sewer.

By-line was under Bill Edwards. We might need to chat with him later but we had other priorities.

Wiseacre was clearly lashing out after his place had been turned over. We needed to draw him out. McGee came up with a plan. We would lure the fake Nawab to the second boat which we would mock up as “The Aurelias”, Jacob Prewitt’s boat.

Prewitt was the guy originally “hired” by Sloane to deliver the caged sea creature to Atlantic City.

We had his half Dollar calling card so we could send that to the people in the Gentleman Loser with a message to meet them at the boat which was berthed just off shore.

We booby trapped the boat by filling the hold full of petrol. This would mean that the cabins would ignite as they would be full of petrol fumes. It was a simple task to set a match to strike ignition paper as the cabin door opened. This would ignite all the gasoline on the boat hopefully taking all of Wiseacre’s goons with it.

Morello and McNifey did an excellent job of setting that trap. Then it was time to reel in the goons.

We arranged to send the note at 8pm to the Gentleman Loser. It would instruct them to be on the Aurelias no later than 22:00pm. That way the goons would have no time to properly plan or gather men together for a counter attack. They would have to rush to make the meet.

McNifey set the trap using a messenger to deliver the note at exactly 20:00pm.

By that time we were all in place watching from our van across the street from “The Gentleman Loser”. McNifey had brought with him a bottle of Chloroform in case we needed prisoners as well as his Tommy gun. The rest of us had Trench guns and silenced pistols.

Our plan was to raid the Nawab’s suites at the Gentleman Loser while they were away chasing up our false lead on the false “Aurelias”.

We left Father Jericho with a .45 aboard “The Beauregard” with the Deep One Idol. He was still a little weak so best he stayed away from any gunplay.

Just after 20.30pm we watched as the Nawab together with his two security men, the South American and the Englishman left the Gentleman Loser via the front entrance. They were all carrying large holdalls or carpet bags. They drove off at speed towards the docks in a fine looking sedan.

Then a second group of figures left the Gentleman Loser. Morello couldn’t help but gasp as he saw a nasty looking Indian guy, maybe the mysterious cook we’d heard about, leading a distressed Elizabeth Prendergast. She was in a very bad way. Tears streaked down her face messing up her normally immaculate make up. She had a fat lip together with a swollen eye which would turn into a huge shiner in the next few days. Her left arm hung limply at her side while she also dragged her left leg. This wasn’t torture, this was a punishment beating.

Elizabeth was half pulled half dragged to a two seater roadster. As the Indian got her in the car he roughly handcuffed her, broken left arm and all, to the car door.

Morello tensed but McGee correctly read the situation.

Ed: “Easy Cherry, don’t bite”.

Ed: “Why d’ya think they’re parading her out of the main door in fronta everybody? They wanna provoke a reaction, right? Take the bait. Draw us out when we’re emotional. But we ain’t Mooks. We do things right. He’ll get his, we’ll make damn sure of that, but stand down soljer!”

Ed: “She may be beat up plenty but she’s a tough gal. We’ll get her back for ya. But for now we play it smart. Let ‘em go, then we’ll follow a good few yards back. We’ll check where they go so we can figure out a rescue plan. Capiche?”

They drove off in what was roughly the right direction for Wiseacre’s mansion at Longport in the Western edge of the city.

For around an hour we followed at a distance. Thankfully we were on the main road so there was still a bit of traffic around allowing us to blend in.

As they drove closer to Longport, a large Sedan pulled out of an innocuous side road. Hard to see exactly but the sedan looks to be packed full of heavies. Too coincidental just to be a random car, it must have been an escort.

We reluctantly decided that discretion was the better part of valour and took the next turn to head back round the block to get back to town. McGee thought to himself that it looked real bad for Elizabeth but the hope would have to be that she’d be kept alive to be used as bait. McGee just worried that when we didn’t bite she might be surplus to Wiseacre’s needs.

Wiseacre seemed to have a real temper. Look at his sudden unsubtle reaction to attack Elizabeth and Corey. No finesse, that was all rage. He’d been way too emotional to be a real wise guy. Lots of outfits would use that to eat him alive. King especially. Maybe that’s why he’s stayed out of sight.

Morello was very worried. He wanted to call the police. McGee had to agree. So he called Sergeant Mulholland, the cop investigating the seven “drownings”.

Speakeasy Peep Hole
Speakeasy Peep Hole

McGee told him about “The Pink Feather”. McGee also said that Wiseacre had kidnapped Elizabeth Prendergast. A cagey Mulholland asked him to stay on the line but McGee was wise to being traced and hung up. He hoped Mulholland would bite. Prendergast was known around Atlantic City, he might just get pushed to check it out.

Friday 17th April 1925.

Friday 17th April 1925 – The Gentleman Loser:

12:00pm – The Rooms of the Nawab

Not wanting to lose the initiative we returned to “The Gentleman Loser”. In the back of the van McNifey and Morello changed into waiters uniforms. Ed and McGee remained dressed just as they were, sharply appointed in good suits. Good enough to fit right in inside an uptown joint like this.

It was Midnight as we headed up to third and top floor of the hotel.

We couldn’t hear anything so we checked the door of the Nawab’s suite then motioned to Morello to pick the lock. Always a pro, Morello soundlessly unlocked the door.

We rushed silently inside closing the door behind us. Ed stayed outside keeping watch while pretending to lounge on the rail of the top floor having a smoke.

The three in the room tensed as they heard a muffled cry from the bedroom leading off the opulent stateroom. Cautiously Morello knocks on the door, standing aside so any bullets shot through it would hit him.

Morello: “It’s Room Service. We have your Champagne Sir!”

A harsh voice, slightly accented shouted out

Nawab’s Staff: “Room Service? Leave the Champagne in the other room then take a hike, I have company and don’t want to be disturbed!”

We clumped around shutting the door trying to get him to think we had left. He bit. As the door opened we swiftly grabbed him.

He was dark skinned like a Mexican or an Indian. Oddly he was wearing a butcher’s apron. Not totally clean either. It appeared have seen plenty of use as it had lots of old bloodstains on it.

In the bedroom a gagged naked woman was tied spread eagled to all four corners of the bed. Thankfully he hadn’t started to torture her yet. She was quite terrified. We covered her with a large bath towel. If her eyes were covered she couldn’t identify us which is just how we liked it.

We called Ed in. He harshly bound up the Indian. He made sure the cords cut deep into the thugs wrists. But was the Indian enjoying the pain? Weird.

The Indian hissed

The Butcher: “They’ll find out who you are. You can’t do this. You’ll drown in your own blood!”

McGee had another great idea. He remembered that the first drowning victim was from New York. Why not impersonate a crew from the Big Apple.

MaGee: “Hey Joe Schmo! Ray Chapman was a buddy of ours! Ya think you can just whack one of our guys and not have no consequence! You’re gonna pay but good pal!

We gagged him before searching the room. We also calmed the girl saying we wouldn’t hurt her.

In the bedroom we found a couple of guide books to Bahawalpur confirming our suspicions that the Nawab was indeed a fake. We also found some fake jewellery, a ring with a glass eye very similar to the Nawab’s ring worn when we first saw him. Another drawer contained just over $200 in small bills.

Morello poked around a bit more thoroughly. A false bottom in a desk drawer yielded some id papers. Our butcher is actually an American of Mexican descent from Austin, Texas. The South American security guy is a member of the Navajo nation. There was also an English passport for a Mr Rodney Lewington of Lexington Green Newton Abbot. So he was English after all!

Thought Lexington Green was where our minutemen kicked ass in the revolution but seems it was named after some English dump. Enough with history lesson already Ed, we don’t care!

One interesting find was a Map of Wiseacre’s Longport Mansion but the best thing was a bag of Gold Dust. It was close to 64 ounces so a good $1,200 which would help make this caper even more profitable.

In the fireplace we saw a lot of ashes. As Elizabeth had described they burned all their telegrams.

We calmed the girl, while keeping her face covered up we untied her. We then handed her clothes to her. On being questioned she explained that she had been told to come to the hotel by her pimp. She didn’t know about the client as it seemed to be a rush job. We surmised that our butcher prisoner probably decided to have some “fun” when his roommates cleared out.

We couldn’t be bothered to hear more of his stupid threats so we chloroformed the butcher and dumped him in a laundry basket which Morello acquired just “round the corner”.

We then walked around the balcony to Prendergast’s suite of rooms. The lock was picked easily once again. The door opened onto a really bloody scene. It looked like Mr Prendergast had been stabbed or shot because there were several blood soaked towels in the room. We’d have noticed if Elizabeth had had a wound that bad so it must be her pop. He’d probably lost 3 or 4 pints of blood so could easily have bled out by now if he hadn’t got medical attention.

Not sure where he was. All the suite of rooms were deserted.

All this mayhem raised further questions about Wiseacres mental stability. It was all about rage. If he was our boss we’d think he’d lost it. It would be time to change employers. Maybe his association with his aquatic friends has affected his mind. Maybe he’d always been nuts. Or maybe the Deep One Idol has effected him.

We also found a bloodied crowbar next to a chair. A lady’s belt was draped over it suggesting that this was where they had gone to work on Elizabeth with such gusto. A couple of bloody earrings were on the floor. Looked like they’d been ripped off her. Just plain mean! Morello picked up the bloodied crowbar. I guessed he probably wanted to use it on whoever had beaten his girl.

Going back to the Nawab’s room we gave the still terrified girl the $200 from the drawer.

We let her leave after telling her in no uncertain terms not to mention us.

We jumped back into the van. McNifey drove us cautiously to “The Beauregard”. We took the butcher, still unconscious in the laundry basket, with us.

As we approached the dockside area we saw workmen waving lanterns at a makeshift barrier.

We tensed, then reached for our weapons. McNifey leaned out to ask what happened.

The workmen explained that while they were responding to a call of an explosion on a small boat moored a little offshore at around 23:00pm a freak wave engulfed three boats at berths 432, 433 and 434.

“The Beauregard” was berthed at 433. We relaxed a little. The palms of the workmen are pitted with years of handling dock hooks. They were definitely not wise guys in disguise, they were the real deal.

The good news was that while “The Beauregard” was sunk it was only submerged in a few feet of water so a steam crane brought up in the morning could haul it out.

Even better news was that the one guy aboard the three boats had managed to get off the boat. He was being cared for in a makeshift shelter made of wooden stakes covered with tarpaulins.

The workmen had done their best but Farther Jericho was in a bad way. Despite his shivering he was still clutching the Deep One Idol between the hideous severed bestial hands. Good man. He might have been unstable but he understood what was important, the Deep One Idol.

However his mind was damaged. As he looked up McGee could see a wildness that hadn’t been there before.

Farther Jericho : “It was a Sea Witch. It had to be. It created the infernal Wave Of Oblivion to destroy the boat. Not even a 30 foot high wall of water can thwart me. Is not the sea all part of God’s creation? So therefore of his divinity? Righteousness will therefore prevail. The spell casting Deep Ones will not prevail. As there is Darkness so there is Light. Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil. For though art with me!”

Sheesh, was that prose biblical or Paradise Lost? If he’d forgotten scripture he was in a bad way.

McGee called over the foreman of the dock crew. He introduced himself as Mike Bienenfeld, Mikey B to his crew. McGee handed Mike $20, then arranged for them to make sure we were first to get aboard the boat when the steam crane was brought in. No cops. We’d be there first to unload the boat.

We carried Farther Jericho and the Deep One Idol to the van slightly confused as to what to do now.

We have to leave town. We know that. How the hell did they find our boat? Is anywhere safe now?

After about an hour of driving we pulled over just outside of town.

It was time to question the butcher. Smelling salts together with a few hard kidney punches brought back to the waking world.

He was a strange one. Very twisted. Actually bragged that he enjoyed pain. Certainly we could see several scars from deep gashes on his arms and legs that might just have been self inflicted. Not fazed by heaters either. Maybe he could Ed a run for his money. Didn’t like the way he treated dames though. He would definitely have to killed but not while he could still useful.

The Bully’s Tale

“So we were hired by this flash guy named Wiseacre. He’d heard about the grifter who had stayed in an LA hotel for 6 months by pretending to be a Maharajah so wanted some of the same. Said he enjoyed the sense of the dramatic. Said he moved to Atlantic City because it was a happening place. The casinos brought in lots of transients.”

“Strangely he paid us in gold dust for the job. What the hell did we want gold dust for? What’s happened to folding green?”

“He got our crew to hole up at this joint called the Gentleman Loser. All we had to do was put on an act as if we were the retinue of some Indian Prince. We were to parade about each evening in the same booth while waiting for a guy to present us with half a dollar bill.”

“This was the prelude to a delivery of some Carney exhibit in a cage. We were to accept delivery of the cage with a tarp over it , then we were to pour an entire bottle of Chloroform on the floor of the cage.”

“Once the thing slumped we were to move it to a truck and then drive it to Wiseacre’s mansion in Longport.”

“It seemed like he was having building work done when we visited him there. He looked to be keen on making his walls thicker or creating some new bunkhouse away from the main house.”

“There were a few sets of plans to the place around so I pinched one. I’d seen this large safe behind a portrait in his lounge so thought we could get at the contents. The plans might show me how.”

“He had around a dozen guys watching the place. But using the plans we figured that we could sneak in at night to have a pop at the safe.”

“Seems like you might have killed my old crew. Why don’t we work together? I could be useful.”

We all mentally gritted our teeth at the very idea of working with him but McGee leads him along.

MaGee: “Listen, we can do that. You help us get into the mansion, we’ll make sure the contents of that safe is all yours. Our beef with Wiseacre is personal, we don’t care about cash.”

We laugh inwardly at this but the delivery is perfect. Butcher Boy is falling for it.

We were unsure what to do next.

Do we head back to the Gentleman Loser so that Butcher Boy can call Wiseacre to tell him the rest of the crew are dead? Could be an in that gets us through the gate of the mansion grounds.

We needed to chat more. Away from Butcher Boy. Refine our plans.

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