Never a good day.
I’ve wanted to write a gangster fic for a very long time, ever since I first saw Pulp Fiction which spurned off my new craze. Add learning about the 1920s America in History and my little sister’s obsession for men in suits I thought I’d give this a try.
Lots of guns, lots of gore, all the good stuff. Please tell me what you think, I’d like to continue this but if no one reads it then there wouldn’t be much point.
When My Baby Shot Me Down
New York, 1924
It was a Friday night, same as it ever was.
Heels clattered across the scratched wooden floor, out of time with the blasting of the saxophone. Skirts and suits and cravats sashayed this way and that in a flurry of scarlets, blues and magentas as beads and sequins shone like a rich woman’s diamonds when they caught the light, occasionally falling to the floor with a clack-clack with an especially fast tune. A man’s laugh, the clink of glasses, an out of tune base. Just the foundations of another evening.
There was something about this particular place that people warmed to without quite knowing why. The jazz wasn’t particularly good, nor was the gin colder than at any other spot, yet still the place had an air; a comfort to it that melted away any doubts about where the week’s wages were headed. Glancing around the bar you could tell there would be a lot of hungry stomachs at home that night...and a lot of nagging wives and crying children to think about in the morning.
But it wasn’t morning yet.
Now was for unwinding. Now was for high heels and booze, legal or not it didn’t matter as long as it was ready and available as soon as someone began to drop a sweat. Now was for fun and family forgotten...and now was no time to be sitting alone in the corner, feet propped up atop one of the greasy tables, a shroud of cigarette smoke blocking your face.
In his high-collared coat, fedora pulled low over his eyes and shrouded in darkness, the man in the corner reached deep inside his coat pocket and withdrew a pocket watch, the gaudy gold contrasting radically with the rest of his attire. He couldn’t hear the ticking over the noise and it was that which disturbed him most.
“Can I get you anything, sir?”
He looked up to a waitress in a skimpy outfit watching him distrustfully. He flashed a smile and snapped the watch shut, tucking it out of sight. “I don’t know,” he replied pleasantly. “Can you get me anything?”
“Sir?” asked the girl, confusion evident on her painted face.
“Well, what do you recommend?” the man elaborated. “It’s a cold night and I’m thirsty. But anything a pretty one like you has to offer me has gotta be good.”
She flushed and looked down at her feet. Still, he could tell she was pleased. “Well sir, tell ya the truth we all runnin’ low on beverages at the moment with the goddamn prohibib...prohibition. We got Moonshine and we got whiskey but nothin’ fancy. I can do you a Canadian.”
“Yeah? Whassat like?”
She made a gesture that could have meant anything. He grinned. “I’ll have a whiskey.”
She nodded and hurried away. He watched her go, admiring the way the material was just flimsy enough to allow him a peak of where her stockings separated from her skin until movement by the doorway turned his gaze to where a man had just entered. Bald with a stomach as generous as his moustache and wearing a velvet waistcoat that strained at the seams. The man in the corner gave an involuntary twitch of his right hand.
He watched the new arrival as he was greeted by the owner of the speakeasy and shown to a table. He watched him order a drink and take an anxious look at his own pocket watch, shifting uncomfortably in his chair. The corners of his mouth twitched. This is gonna be too easy.
The waitress returned with his drink which he sipped at idly, keeping his eye fixed on Mr Fancy-ass. Suddenly his mark stood up, adjusted the waist line of his pinstripe pants and began to make his way across to the gentleman’s room. Without hesitation, the other pushed his chair out of the way abruptly and made to follow, keeping a steady distance behind.
He could still hear the bustle of the club inside the restroom amongst the noises of the city seeping through an open window. His hand drifted to his side, fingers closing around something sturdy and familiar, something that made the other man’s eyes widen in surprise.
“Gerard?” he murmured, face blanching instantly. “Oh God...it is you.”
“That it is,” the man with the gun acknowledged with a slight tilt of his head. “You have something for me.”
“Yes I...I do,” he fumbled in his pants’ pocket and withdrew a roll of slightly crumpled notes. He handed them to the man called Gerard who rifled through them with a frown.
“This isn’t the number we agreed on.”
“It’s all I have,” his bottom lip quivered. “But I can get the money. Soon. If you just tell Baylon to wait-”
“-Tell Baylon to wait?” Gerard repeated, raising a disapproving eyebrow. “I bet that’ll make a nice first.”
“Just a little while longer. Please...I can get the money, just...please.”
“You can’t get the money,” Gerard said boredly. “We’ve seen the plans, we know the score. You’re running away. Switzerland, right? Nice place, if you’re into that kinda thing.”
“What? Switzerland? No. My wife...she has family there...we were going to visit. That’s all, I swear.”
Christ, thought Gerard disappointedly. If you’re gonna make shit up at least make it original. “I don’t have time for this. You don’t have the money. You were planning on running away which in my book makes you a coward and a dirty scumbag and a phony. And I don’t waste my time with scumbag phonies. Good bye, Mr Andrews.”
He pulled the trigger and shot once, twice, sending the contents off Andrews’ skull splattering across the tiled walls. Blood and brain, sickly smooth, sliding into the dead man’s eyes which had stretched open stupidly. Then, without a second thought he slipped the revolver back into its holster and used the bathroom stall to haul himself out of the little window, landing clumsily on the cobbled stone sidewalk outside.
“Attaboy Gerard,” came a sniggering voice. “Grace itself, as always.”
“Fuck you Bob,” Gerard snapped, scrambling to his feet. “I don’t see you risking your ass for pocket money.”
“Nah,” he shook his head. “Just another goddamn phony. Shit, I got crap on my new shirt.”
Bob watched thoughtfully as Gerard tutted furiously at the violent red dotting the previously pure cotton. “A drop of bleach will sort that out,” he said knowledgeably.
“Yeah, cos we’re all goddamn loaded with bleach,” Gerard growled. “Come on, let’s get outta here.”
Bob nodded and strode towards the car while Gerard dusted his hands on his pants, scowling at the back of his blond head. It was all very well for Bob to talk like he was living the life when it was a well known fact that all he did was drive a shitty-piece Ford. He was one of those knuckle-headed guys, drawn to a mobster’s life for the fast cars, the skirts and the glamour but without the necessary sense to advance him above getaway driver. Gerard regarded it as his personal mission to educate him...but the bastard was so damn stubborn.
“How much we get anyways?” he tossed over his shoulder.
“Couple of thou,” Gerard answered, just as the ear-splitting crack of a pistol sounded through the empty streets.
With lightening reflexes, Gerard hurled himself behind a wall, revolver back in hand as another gunshot sounded and dark figures could be made out at the other end of the alley. He fired a shot in their direction, cursing as Bob followed up with half a dozen, each one missing by a little more.
“Who the heck are these fellas?” he yelled from behind the car bumper.
“Couldn’t tell ya,” Gerard shouted back. “Obviously the sonofabitch had a few friends in high places.”
Another shot went splitting through the air, just where his hand had been moments before. A fluke shot, Gerard could tell these guys were amateurs, probably a few thugs hired by Andrews should things turn frosty and desperate to redeem themselves for letting their employee die. One of them was stupid enough to sprint towards them; Gerard only had to fire once and the man collapsed, dead.
The sound of shattering glass from one of the speakeasy windows. A woman screamed and some faces appeared, eager to see what was going on, too drunk to remember the risk to their own lives. Gerard ignored them, noticing only a man speaking hurried words into a telephone receiver.
“Let’s finish these guys quickly,” he called to Bob. “Some bastard’s calling the police.”
“Baylon said no police!” Bob answered, face stricken.
Baylon will have to just keep his panties on, Gerard thought but didn’t say. Instead he fired another well aimed shot and the second guy clutched at his throat as blood spurted out in a miniature fountain. With a roar the third mobster began to run down the street, over to where Gerard crouched out of bullets with raised fists. He made to raise the gun, pointing it in his direction when Bob pulled the trigger and the mobster’s hand burst into a mass of blood and tissue.
With a shriek of pain he dropped the gun, allowing Gerard to pick it up and fire into his chest. He fell to the floor, breathing laboured, trying to hold on to life a little longer. A fruitless attempt for a bullet to the head shut him instantly.
Gerard and Bob stood over the three for a moment, contemplating. “These Sobrante’s?” Bob spoke first.
“Nah,” Gerard shook his head. “Too stupid for Sobrante’s.”
“We should probably scram.”
He nodded and slipped inside the front seat of the Ford. The smell of leather was reassuringly familiar as was the heavy wait of the gun at his waistband. Shaking his sweaty, dark hair out of his eyes he leant back so that his head rested against the seat. Beside him, Bob looked at him pityingly.
“They never let you have a good day, do they?” he smiled wryly.
Gerard gave a short, hollow laugh and gestured for Bob to get driving. And with a scream of tyres on sidewalk they shot down the alley, leaving the trail of the dead behind them.
This chapter was kinda more of a prologue, an insight to Gerard’s character and the general background etc. If I update I’ll be focusing on Frank as yes, this is an eventual Frerard. Thanks for reading, just click on the little buttons below and be on your merry way!