The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Two

The Fixer From Boston – Chapter Two

Sunday 29th March 1925 – Halifax, Nova Scotia:

16:00pm – Terminus Hotel

The boys head outside our Hotel, in Halifax, and look to follow Monsieur Sasquatch’s trail through the spring snow, but despite the size of the guy’s gunboats, they quickly lose the scent.

Instead we take a cup of Java in a nearby drug store and bang our heads together, like this case isn’t beginning to cause us enough of a headache!
Sasquatch will have to wait for our tete a tete, instead we put Raoul Demoulin, The King’s removal man on St Pierre, at the top of the list. I make our gram short and sweet and offer one up to Our Lady in the process.

• Client requires urgent conf of delivery -STOP-

Next up we finally get a call through to Ryan Cassidy, the lube in the King’s Portland hub. The great Harry Houdini would have been proud of a jink like finding Ryan Cassidy. I mean the guy is not only a part timer with the Harbour Master but….and I kid you not…he’s also a part time Customs Officer! Luck like that you just cannot buy….on second thoughts…Solomon always did know how to load those dice.

Bill McCoy - Arethusa
Bill McCoy – Arethusa

He’s expecting our call. William McCoy’s ship, “Arethusa” (with a crew of 5), arrived on morning of theThuraday 19th March and set sail late that same evening. So the Sable telegram looks like it’s hallmarked 24 carat. Ryan Cassidy reckons William McCoy wasn’t a happy bunny; apparently being leaned on by King Solomon must have upset his delicate disposition.

While I’m on the blower, Macnifey pumps our friendly neighbourhood concierge, who is only too happy to confirm that the photo we have of Amelia Ickerson is indeed a match for Amy Brown. The question now is whether she’s bona fide military and if so, how comes she knows King Solomon’s most trusted!?

Halifax Naval Base 1920s
Halifax Naval Base 1920s

With a couple of ends tied up, we look to head over to the French Quarter to see if we can’t find a lead on the hairy galoot who’s been sniffing around. The lift boy swears he had a French accent. Could just as easily be a Quebecois.

Just as we head out the door, Morello flags a tell-tale, a van opposite the hotel has its engine running but no one’s sat in the front and there’s no delivery monkey at the rear.

Next thing we see is this sap stumble from behind the van and drop to the pavement, a dollop of crimson oozing out of his cranium. I nearly swallow my half smoked lipstick when the perp steps out and pulls the body back out of view. It’s a tomato, a hot and fiery redheaded broad….it can’t be…can it?

My clock freezes, time ticks slow, I can hear my voice telling the doorman to get inside and call a medic. No witnesses required!

Berkely is already crossing the street, stooping low to avoid detection and hopping on to the step-up of the van, trying to get a peak via the wing mirror. In an instant he’s sat in the van, pointing behind him, vigorously.

Vinny and Billy have taken up covering positions behind a Ford on the Hotel side of the street, when Vincenzo shouts a warning. He’s eye-balled two hoodlums who have exited an unusual white saloon car further down the street, and are now running in our direction. He can make out at least one of these chumps is holding heat.

I pull my .38, and circle across the slushy tarmac, trying to outflank the dame and maybe take her by surprise. Through the windscreen I see Ed’s speaking to her.

Apparently the conversation is none too polite. The skirts got attitude.

Amelia Ickerson: “Screw you buster! Leave me alone, I’m not doing anything else for you guys! I’m finished with it!”

Ed masks his bemusement in the hope she’ll spill a bit more; clearly we’re not who she thinks we are.

She’s too busy looking out for the men running up the street and bad mouthing Berkeley to heed my approach, and I’m on her. The business end of my Smith & Wesson burrows through her silky hair, nestling gently in the nape of her neck. She jolts a shocked breath, and visibly trembles. She can smell the gun oil. A rush of euphoria swamps me. Silly bitch.

Berkely is still talking to her, like nothing’s gone down. I grab her hair and pull her round to face me. Her proud lips parted, mid word, unable to make it to the end of her curse. Vast, clear green eyes stare up at me. They silently finish what her tongue could not, as surprise turns to impotent fury.

She offers a too nonchalant shrug and I hoarse whisper into her ear to get into the van with Berkely. She complies.

Across the street a curious encounter unfolds, as one of the heavies spots Morello and does a double take.

Benny Gaston: “Hey Vincenzo, whatchyou doing here!? You bedda back off, or I’ll havta smoke yas”.

Benny Gustin, a full time Southside Boston torpedo, barks at Vinny. The Ghost, half raises his arms in mock surrender, but offers no threat, his pistol yet to be drawn. Accompanying Gaston is Sideline Jake Sidliagno.

As they begin to head over to the parked van, Vinny shouts out

Vincenzo Morello: “Hey it’s the Bulls, let’s hot foot…c’mon…let’s scram!”

In the seconds bought by Morello’s distraction, there really is the not too distant sound of a police whistle and the two thugs stop mechanically in their tracks. ‘Rhatz’ Sideline announces to no one in particular. They look at each other, then turn and head back to their vehicle. Post haste.
The police whistle draws closer.

Macnifey runs over and helps to throw the unconscious body in to the rear of the van, and jumps in behind.. Berkely pulls away and his ungrateful passenger begs to be let out. She has picked the most unfertile of ground upon which to lay her plea.

Macnifey searches the unresponsive body for clues and finds a diy serrated Bowie knife, a Garrot, a Blackjack and a Photo of Emilia Ickerson.

Someone really wanted to go dancing and five’ll get you twenty she was the intended for the last waltz. But by the look of the tough guy laid out in the back, lil’ miss Rusty, prefers a tango!

Billy digs a bit deeper and unearths a matchbook from LaBelles and then hits pay dirt with a hotel key. So these thrill seekers are staying at the Hotel Du Lac (Room 12). Then with the luck of us Irish (great roll) he finds a secret pocket and a driving license, the guy shandle is Tony Daytona.
Up front in the wagon, Amelia and Ed, strike up some happy talk. Reckons she came back to get the .45 that’d been left there for her. Ms Ickerson takes a moment to look deep into Edward Berkeley’s eyes and sees only cold blooded killer. She’s got 20/20 on that call.

Outside the Hotel, I call over the copper and give him some good old fashioned Blarney and sell him a bum steer on our mutual acquaintances. I’ve never been one to shirk my responsibilities.

Halifax Nova Scotia 1920s
Halifax Nova Scotia 1920s

A few blocks later, Berkely slides the van into a juddering halt, casts a menacing glance at Amelia and strides to the rear, pops open the doors and jumps in, face taut and emotionless.

He knows Tony Daytona by sight and clearly it’s not love that comes first. He grabs the garotte from Macnifey and with a vicious tenderness and deft hand work, he loops it around Daytona’s neck and pulls and throttles until ragged breathes cease and life has been extinguished. He draws a silk mop from his inside pocket and dries his brow.

The Accountant is mesmerised by this turn of events, only shaken back to reality by the sound of running feet.

Billy Macnifey: ‘Shit, the dame!’

He squeals, bursting out of the van with all the poise of a bucking bronco. He sprints after her like his life depends on it…and maybe it does. She starts screaming for help, he plays the old beleaguered boyfriend routine like Valentino.

Billy Macnifey: Honey, baby, I’m sorry, just give me a last chance!’

It’s a class performance and eventually he wins back his woman. Whatta guy!

Eventually thye bundle the bearcat into the back of the van where, hidden beneath some blankets Berkeley discovers two full 100 round drums and the chopper to go with them. A bit of compensation for the screw up with the dame.

Ed and Billy drop the female cargo back to the Hotel and up in room 19, after a heady mix of threats and promises Amelia Ickerson starts to unfurl.

She’s says she’s sweet on Joseph Linsey, The King’s missing right hand, but was working for The Gustin Mob looking to get info on Solomon’s racket. Amelia Ickerson said that Joseph Linsey revealed the shipment details to her. Joseph Linsey has been in the organisation for 6 years. He just wouldn’t be that unprofessional, would he?


But oddly Brendan Magee just can’t read Amelia Ickerson at all.

Apparently, she owed Frank wallace a favour for saving her brother – a dead-beat dewdropper. The Gustin Mob wants to set up his own network in homage to the King! A mobster called Frank Wallace heads The Gustin Mob. So called because there are 5 Gustin Brothers in the gang.

The Gustin Mob
The Gustin Mob

So she found out about the hooch delivery from Lyndsey and was already playing a long game to get to Sable using her bona fide radiographer credentials.

Sable Island is the actual drop off point and everyone there is in on a piece of the action.

Looks like The Gustin Mob had clocked her change of allegiance and were watching the hotel in case she resurfaced.

Sailing out in the “Black Cat” in the middle of that storm was all a smokescreen, Capt McTavish works for Billy McCoy and only sailed up to the next port, where they rode out the rest of the storm. They then sailed to Sable, where they cabled DeMoulin who then sailed from St Pierre to meet Lyndsey and Abrahams nearby.

Bill McCoy - Arethusa
Bill McCoy – Arethusa

McCoy got delayed having diverted course and is due to arrive about now.

Amelia Ickerson, then got flown back by sea plane so that she could undertake her radiographers role and take the 4th of April supply boat back to Sable.

Frank Wallace has sent four men to Halifax. The hairy thing is Claude (Redbeard) Barberrouge, a local fixer with strong Quebec lineage. The south Boston outfit who hired Barberouge being the Gustin Mob, So called because of the 5 Gustin brothers in the gang and led by Frank Wallace.

This catch is no dumb Dora and she’s trying to keep us hooked with some tall fisherman’s tales. But I just can’t make the angle on her and how she got into the snake charming business. Gonna need more than an abacus to make all this add up!

After an intimate search she offers up her left luggage ticket, which, being the gentlemen we are, we offer to collect.

Berkely and Vincenzo head up to the roof for another of Ed’s famous perimeter checks, but this time they come up trumps. They spot clod hopping Claude Barberouge, loitering around outside the Hotel. But before the boys can give chase, he fades away into the dark, cold night air.

Which is all the cue we need to send Mr Berkely and Mr Macnifey straight over to the Hotel DuLac to engage our admirers in a little old fashioned small talk. I need Gustin’s Mob to spill their guts about Amelia Ickerson and if she’s on the level about being on their payroll and I’m hoping Billy can pull the right strings…once a Harp always a Harp!

En route they pick up her valise from the left property office over at the rail terminus.

Over at Hotel DuLac, their distinctive white saloon is parked up outside.

As they pull up in the borrowed box van a figure on the roof ducks back behind the parapet. Looks like we share the same MO!

Ed calls up to Benny Gustin from the lobby and organises a meet in the neutral surroundings of the hotel bar. Within minutes the performing chumps slope in, No surprises when Barberouge joins them.

The Gustin Boys
The Gustin Boys

Billy Macnifey: “She’s hot right but what makes her so hot?”

Angles Macnifey.

Benny Gaskin: “So why you guys up here? Thought you was all one big happy family!? You must want that frail pretty bad, dontcha?”

The verbal cat and mouse, bluff and counter and tough guy baloney pops back and forth.

Berkely, adds nothing to the verbals, but his mere foreboding presence and looming menace are admirable tools in unsettling their adversaries.

Ed barely conceals a smirk as Macnifey starts to dig deeper.

They’re on the back foot holding deuces to our aces!

Benny Gaskin: “So, where’s our boy Daytona, you seen him?”

Billy Macnifey: “No, but we know where that sweet calico is…but hey, you never know where he might wash up in this Burg!”

Billy Macnifey: “…anyway, what’s with the grizzly bear? Does he dance?”

Claude pushes back his chair and begins to raise himself, crushing the tumbler grasped in his hand, spriaying blood and sparkling shards across the table top. Berkely rises as if to greet him.

Frenzied peace making ensues.

The boss is upset with her…why…? How long you been here…it’s a nice place…eh!?

The impasse continues. Until finally, Benny Gustin, stubs out his Cohiba, exhales with all the drama of a cake eater working a dame and proceeds to offer up a slap –in-the- face, courtesy of a $500 buck offer.

Macnifey, unfazed:

Billy Macnifey: “I’m The Accountant, been cooking books for years some good some bad. Your figures simply don’t add up. We have certain obligations that you aren’t complying with…therefore this meeting is now over.”

Benny Gaskin: “Okay, ok. We just want a piece of the action…just a piece.”

Billy Macnifey: “That is not a possibility. Your boss needs to talk to the King. In the right place….which ain’t here. Capisce?…and if you want that kid Daytona, we suggest you pay his medical bill.”

Back at The Terminus Hotel, Vincenzo searches her valise but finds nothing until the light bulb clicks on and he rips open her purse where, hidden in the lining, is a pawn ticket.

Pawn Shop
Pawn Shop

We’ve gotta stay one step ahead so I grab our can opener, Signor Morello, and we set off for the pawn shop, on foot.

We try to get through the back way, but the good lock foils him. We try again at the front and the lock pops with ease. We’re in.

Pulses racing we draw the blinds, flick the light and begin to look up her ticket number in register. Looks like she checked in today. Vinny, comes across her package. Inside is a Diamond ring looks like a handcuff from her Beau, Lyndsey. Inscribed is

“To my beautiful Amelia Love always JL.”

Jesus, he’s got it bad….but is she mutual?

He passes me a notebook, pages and pages of coded notations and numbers – navigation co-ordinates?

I just can’t get a handle on it, what in hell does it mean? I’ve got get to the bottom of this. Ms Amelia Ickerson is going to sing for her supper.

At The Terminus Hotelwe catch a glimpse of one of the flappers over at LaBelles, but she scurries away before we can get to her. Macnifey, looks to get us all over to The Beauregard”, with the minimum of fuss, and sets out in search of another boiler. But the amount of time he takes I swear he must have been wearing baseball mitts to do the business.

I pay the desk guy a week in advance and we sneak out the back. Ms Amelia Ickerson thinks we’re taking her to the army base, but how would she know with a hood on her head?

Finally on The Beauregard”, we give the notebook a better go. But just can’t make head nor tail of it.

Sable Island 1900
Sable Island 1900

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