The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Three

The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Three

Sunday 29th March 1925 – Halifax, Nova Scotia:

22:30pm – On board The Beauregarde

Halifax, we sit aboard Berkeley’s fishing sloop “The Beauregard”, trying to run Pythagoras over all the angles of this case, and waiting for first light before we set sail for Sable Island.

Suddenly, there’s a shout from Morello and Berkely, together….

Ed & Vincenzo: “Bible code”

I jump involuntarily,

Magee: “What the hell?”

Ed: “It’s a common coding system that uses a couple of the bible as a reference point.”

Berkely explains.

Vincenzo: “Yeah, and I remember that the good book in room 19 wasn’t a standard Gideon.”

Exclaims Morello, who has a penchant for making notes on just about everything, a good habit he picked up in the joint.

Bingo! So that’s why rusty top risked going back to the Hotel Terminus, despite knowing that Benny Gustin and co were keeping dog on the place. Not for any goddam piece of heat.

I take Vinny, and the stolen van and rush back to collect the book. We head past the front entrance and take a looky-peak at who’s about and catch a glimpse of the same women who McNifey described as being at the Dulac.

Halifax Storm 1926
Halifax Storm 1926

Forewarned, we park up at the rear and sneak up to our room via the back stairs.

Vincenzo hears a man’s voice speaking Italian, coming from room 19. Sounds like he’s on the blower. Could this be their man on the roof?

After a pause and what sounds like the whirr of a telephone dial, our guys mood and language takes a turn:

Stranger: “Hey angel, it’s Easy, dunno how to tell you but the broad has gone. Benny G is spitting feathers. I’m worried, I wanna split. Someone’s going to get it!”

We cautiously enter room 18 and try the interconnecting door, but it’s locked. But hey, this is bread and butter for the Ghost and he picks open the door with an almost inaudible click!

Our gats are unpacked and I’m taking sight along the snub barrel, as Morello slowly pushes the door inwards. I move in, but trip over on a chair leg. Dammit!

He spins towards us pulling heat from beneath his jacket. Too late. Eyes stretched wide with fear and surprise. He’s waiting for muzzle flash and death.

I motion for him to drop his silenced .45. Ed Wallace – leader of the Gustin Gang – hasn’t spared the horses on outfitting his boys. Silencers don’t get bought with wooden nickels!

He sees sense and complies.

Ed Zepperelli aka EZ Money, a piece of Southside meat, may be young but he’s no hot head.

Steel presses firmly into his ear, just enough to make him wince. I pat him down and find our little night owl’s tool kit: a nicely made, bone handled stiletto knife, strapped in an ankle sheath, a blackjack and a set of brass dental rearrangersm that still have some bozo’s vein juice drying on them
Vincenzo checks his wallet and sneaks EZ’s drivers license into his pocket.

I press home our advantage and appraise him of his parlous state. This guy reads easy.

We’re his very best pals, but if he refuses to help us or gives us any baloney, then his fair Angel had better grow some wings, because she already knows way too much for any boss to stomach.

Ed Zepperelli: But she’s the only good thing in my life! Please, I’ll do anything to help you guys. I know your rep, they say you keep your word.”

It’s what I keep telling my boys….

“Never trust a dame”

I promise Ed Zepperelli the moon and all the blue cheese he and his dame can eat. The walking ball of yarn unravels.

So Ed Wallace really does have something over Amelia iIkerson’s dumb fuck brother. A great big handcuff in the shape of unpaid bookies slips.
Wallace figures she can get into Linsey quicker than Mati Hari can polish French brass. But so far she’s delivered a big fat squat and now Ed Wallace is demanding answers. This doesn’t sound good for her deadbeat brother.

Ed Zepperelli had been speaking to The Gustin Gang’s no.2 accountant, in Italian, with an update of proceedings.

I shake Ez’ hand and he knows he owes us and we own him now. We give him back his tools and his cover story – Looks like Amelia iIkerson has headed back to Boston!

Amelia IIkerson
Amelia IIkerson

Vinny and I head out back and split. We’ll pincer the pigeon waiting out front and see if she don’t coo for us.

She’s a little feisty and uncooperative to start with so we strong arm her round to van.

She’s still a little slow on the uptaking , but the back of Vinny’s hand helps to loosen her memory. This one’s playing peepers for Benny G and finally spills that Ez is upstairs.

Once she starts, her loud nagging racket doesn’t let up, that and the speed with which she devours cigarettes makes me think we’ve got a machine gun in the back here….belching smoke and loud noise!

I play at furious and storm out threatening to ‘kill that little punk.’ Ten minutes later I return empty handed.

I explain that our feelings have been hurt and that if Benny G forgets his manners again, he will be answering to both us and The King. I’m certain she buys our red herring.

Back on “The Beauregards”, while Ed heads out to buy beers, McNifey questions Amelia.

He rips off her hood and pulls up a stool.

Billy: “Listen, I gotta tell ya, Linsey’s been in an incident. I’ve just heard he got shot during the booze exchange.”

She cocks her head to one side and blows hair from her face; then fixes McNifey with a fish eye stare that’s dead enough to qualify for the Last Rites.

Billy “So you’re saying that Carmichael, Ackford, Pulsifer, Rays, Turner and Eisenbaum, would do the shooting!? I don’t think so!! They’ve been bought off and it’s just not in their interests. I’m just not buying it.”

She fires back.

Amelia iIkerson “Irish, you need to come up with better than that if wanna play that parlour game with me!”

McNifey keeps probing and digging, but the six names is as much as he gets. She just don’t read like a normal dumb Dora.

What he does notice is a momentary wince as she twists in the chair. He finds a nasty contusion on her side, she’s not saying who dealt it, but McNifey is pretty sure Daytona was at the table.

Berkely returns to the boat with a case of chilled Molson, whistling “Semper Fi” and clinking the bottles in time. This is as fizzy as The Accountant has ever seen Ed, who offers their hostage a level of compassion unheard of amongst the boys. ‘He ain’t falling for the dame, is he?’

Ed: “Hey Billy, you hear that? She’s trying to drive a little doubt between us…she really is a piece of work. Chapeau, my dear.”

Drawls Ed with a soupcon of the velvety South in the delivery.

We return to the boat with the Bible.

So, McNifey and Magee look to decipher the code using the holy book as our cipher. It’s a non-standard printing so is unique and not readily shared, in fact it would be almost impossible to do so. No chances being dished out.

Eventually we get the hang of it:

Transcripts of Telegrams sent in 1925 via West UnionTtelegraph Office Portland, Maine.

- McCoy to The King You got me Im coming
- Arrived Portland
- Arrangements made, Sister left out of this, right?
- D ready to receive
- Patrol spotted, delays necessary. RD requested to put to sea.

[Assumed to be in chronological order but curiously, no dates given]

Diary Note

– Lyndsey jittery, Abrahams hostile. Accident required? We proceed anyway.

Diary Note 2

– Abrahams now on board. RD proceeds with merchandise.
– All set to Sable. Solomon informed

In Invisible Ink

– In event of my death locker number 1621 Boston Central Station. 
- Envelopes to be delivered to Chief of Police and Joseph Linsey, if not deceased. 
- Do what though will with my $100K.

We mull on these details. Especially the $100K. The Accountant estimates all the booze only adds up to $200K…so what beach did she dig all them clams out of?

We all grab some shut eye and set sail at first light. Taking turns to check on Amelia Ickerson, help Berkely the Beauregarde and grab some more shut eye.

Once out into the deep blue, Berkely decides to do some game fishing using some very special bait.

This time poor old Tony D isn’t one of the sharks, he just gets to dine with them.

Within hours though, conditions take a slide. Heavy leaden clouds bank up, higher and higher, a great dark wall seems to entomb us. The boat heaves and throes, as deeper and deeper swells seem to hold us up and push us back. The wind squalls and rain slaps at us. I am in a foreign land.
Berekely retreats below to grab some zeds.. McNifey feeds and waters her. Vincenzo listens to the radio. I take the helm.

McNifey, staring into the darkening horizon, spots whisps of black Engine smoke on the very edge of his field. Someone we know, perhaps?

Down below decks, Morello, checks in on our guest, and notices she’s been busy; those ropes have slackened off.

Vincenzo: “You looking to go for a swim lady…? Huh? MaGee ain’t gonna like this caper you’re planning!’

He finds some wrought iron anchor chain, uses on of his padlocks that he carries and wraps her up nice and snug.

The static is playing havoc with the radio and Morello is franticly scanning the dial. Finally a disembodied voice echoes into the cabin.

Shipping Announcer: “Warning, Warning to all shipping. This is a gale warning. All shipping within Nova Scotia region should seek safe harbour with immediate effect.”

She seems happier on deck. Sea…she…belongs there.

We’re 16 hours in, and with the wind and currents against us it could be another 12 to get to Sable, but we aren’t built to go back.

Berkely stands stoic to the ensuing storm, laughing and happier than I’ve ever seen him.

It’s time for a heart to heart with our resident femme fatale.

We’ve got her number and she’s about to know all about it.

Magee: “No more trying to fuck with our heads, lady! Please do not underestimate us.”

I’m playing towards the reveal and when the number 1621 is laid down, she finally spooks.

Amelia iIkerson: “How…how!? But you haven’t got the key…you’ll never…”

Her voice trails away into infinity, like it’s run out of gas.

She’s got nowhere to run. Affirming what Ez said about her brother being the noose round her neck that the Gustin Gang are busy yanking.

Linsey was the easy mark, she tracked his grams and put the Western Union guy into a spin. He spilled easy to her full charms and empty promises.
She was trained Canadian military intelligence, but post war they left her and hundreds of others wander off to unknown pastures. More fool they.

The letter waiting for the cops in locker 1621 was set to sink the Gustin boys, long, good and proper. A real 52 card pickup.

Magee: …and the $100k?…”

I raise my eyebrows in best Vaudeville. She shoots me an embarrassed goofball grin.

Amelia iIkerson: “I took his gold, robbed his safe…with a little help from his accountant!’

Whatta girl, it’s enough to make a guy love a dame – almost!

Amelia iIkerson: “Hey guys, one last thing, Wallace is going to send a heap more guys to Halifax. They are not going to take this lying down.”

The wind is getting bloated and angry. Foaming wave tops and whipping spray.

Sable Island
Sable Island

The gale has been upgraded to storm force 5 increasing to 7. Through Mcnifey’sbinoculars he can make out that column of black smoke is being followed or persued by another.

Finally, nearly ten hours behind schedule we make Sable. There on a wooden jetty is a schooner flying the French ensign. It is DeMoulin and his crew. Cargo unloaded and shifted up the beach into the rescue mission stores for safety.

I make a swift assessment of MrDeMoulin; he is pliable and plausible and offers us no threat. Linsey and Abrahams are present on the island, though the Black Cat has departed. For reasons unknown, they have taken up residence in the lighthouse at the Eastern end of the Island, some 10 miles away.

We briefly introduce ourselves to Liuetenant Carmichael, head of the mission and his 2ic, Ackford. Accompanying them is resident meteorologist, Pulsifer. Apparently a lightning strike has taken out their radio antennae, hence the lack of contact in recent days. Sadly, they do not have the skills to repair until specialist help arrives.

The roll call for the island includes:

  • 4 Lighthouse Crew
  • 8 Rescue Mission Staff,
  • 3 Naval Military.

Currently dispersed across this narrow spit of sand, seaweed and horse shit.

Bill McCoy - Arethusa
Bill McCoy – Arethusa

The first boat to pull up to the jetty flies a Floridean ensign which can only be the eagerly awaited and legendary Capt McCoy. The sleek lines and powerful double engines of “Arethusa” pulls up to the jetty with accomplished ease. McCoy disembarks and greets us with little charm.
But of course business is just business, and the business at hand is whom has been following him in a smaller, but faster boat that lacks the civility to show an ensign?

We might well consider this an act of war from a marauding pirate.

Let us unleash those hungry dogs!

We quickly find shovels and begin to fill hessian sacks with sand. Making up two defensible foxholes either side of the jetty.

McCoy sets up a double Vickers Machine Gun on the bow of the on the bow of the Spirit, protected by barrels and coils of rope.

Bill McCoy's Machine Gun
Bill McCoy’s Machine Gun

Berkely and I unload a small arsenal of weapons from a locked chest – Army issue shotgun, tommy gun, a sawn off repeating rifle! And his signature tool, hickory handled axes.

Morello sets off a distress flare in the hope that Linsey and Abrahams take the hint. But by the time they get here, this little duck shoot should all be said and done.

Bill McCoy - Arethusa
Bill McCoy – Arethusa

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