THE St. Louis Speakeasy
It is currently Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:34 am GMT

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message

Egad!
 Post subject: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:13 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am GMT
Posts: 18597
Location: Look for the furtive one.
Custom Title: Egad!
Max awoke from his stupor, as usual, when seized by a crazy idea. He roused himself from his latest slump in a fit of inspiration, took a cold shower for the first time in two weeks, and brushed his teeth until his gums bled. He was still in his underclothes when he made the call, but by the time he arrived at the meeting point that evening, he was dressed in a tweed three-piece suit. He was free of the miasma of alcohol fumes and cigarette smoke that had lately clung to his person. If anything, Max smelled faintly of menthol.

It was not his custom to arrive on time, but today he knew that he couldn't afford not to. And besides, Max was feeling about as good as he ever did. Enduring an episode was a bit like throwing up--dreadful in the moment, but you felt a hell of a lot better after you were done. Now the creeping darkness in his periphery was temporarily at bay, leaving him jittery and light-headed, dizzy when he stood up too fast.

Max had picked the Eads Bridge--magnificent in its sturdy steel spans, roaring with traffic, and a bit out of the way as far as staked territory (or so he hoped). He stood on the narrow sidewalk, his elbows on the rail as he faced the wide Mississippi and smoked a cigarette. The sun had set without fanfare--too few clouds to catch the last rays of sun--and now he watched the sky turn a deep indigo blue. Yellow lights blinked on, dotting the city and, just below, the passing barges. Headlights began to flicker past. But Max wasn't impatient. He smiled to himself like he was waiting to tell a joke.

_________________
Image
"Fotecp, that is indeed the stuff of nightmares." - Dvorak


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:11 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56525
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
He didn't walk like a man who had an appointment to keep.

Rather, he meandered, taking his time, weaving his way through the city on foot. It was a rare luxury. But then again, Elliot Bellemare was feeling self-indulgent.

He whiled away almost an hour at seedy little kiosks, thumbing through postcards and magazines of moderately ill repute. It wasn't too long before the novelty of this wore out, and so he bought himself some cigarettes and a chocolate bar and sauntered on his way. Say what you would about Bella; he was a businessman at heart. Deliberate idleness was not his forte. Instead, he merely walked at a very slow pace, checking his watch every few minutes to track his progress. But even this was a little too fast, so when he passed a pay phone, he counted his pocket change, ran through a mental list of his numerous relatives, ruled out the chattiest ones, and finally settled on a step-cousin in Brooklyn who had recently celebrated a birthday.

The following conversation, though mercifully brief, was precisely as torturous as one might expect. After hanging up, he wracked his brain for any further means of procrastination. Finding none, he ruefully allowed himself to arrive a mere twenty minutes after the appointed time.

After all, he knew the man in question. It occurred to him to wonder whether twenty minutes would even be late enough.

Surprisingly enough, it was. He caught sight of a vaguely familiar silhouette in the blue dusk. His own steps, however, remained measured and unhurried. After all, Max Avramescu had kept him waiting before. It seemed only fair to return the favor.

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:54 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am GMT
Posts: 18597
Location: Look for the furtive one.
Custom Title: Egad!
In the years since their paths had crossed, Max had finally shed the last of his baby fat, grown out his curls to a slightly disreputable length, and started wearing decent suits. The overall impression was quite different from the scruffy, chubby singer Bella had known in Indiana. On closer inspection, however, Max still wore the same expression, a faint shadow of a smirk that never left his lips. He made no sign of having noticed Bella's approach until the man was a few yards away. He flicked his cigarette stub over the bridge, watching it plummet toward the water, the orange glow of its ember extinguished by the wind. Then he turned to Bella with a grin.

"Bellemare," said Max, warmly, his hands palm-up in welcome as if the bridge were his. "I'll be damned if you haven't gotten handsomer. And so high up in the underworld, you've nearly reached the surface. Why, you even have a secretary!" He looked on with a dazzling smile, as if the strange turns of fate that had bestowed a secretary upon Bella were, to Max personally, of the utmost delight. He'd heard the female voice on the telephone when he called earlier that day. Max winked conspiratorially. "Is she cute? I bet she's cute."

_________________
Image
"Fotecp, that is indeed the stuff of nightmares." - Dvorak


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:51 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56525
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
"Avramescu," he replied, hands up, mirroring Max's posture. "Pardon my sayin' so, but you've scarcely changed a bit." Bella had never been a particularly easy man to read, but judging from the circumstances under which they'd met in Indiana, his remark didn't quite constitute a compliment. He ignored the reference to his secretary.

One thing, however, was certain: whatever Bella thought of Max's mental acuity, he was here. And as he was, in essence, a man of actions rather than words, his comments didn't carry the bite they might otherwise have done. Besides, it wouldn't be the first time Bella had thrown in his lot with an unreliable lunatic. His present circumstances were testament enough to that.

The temperature was beginning to drop now that the sun had gone down. Bella turned up his collar against the slight wind, and adjusted the angle of his hat, tugging it lower over his face. "Seems ya been busy. Left the vaudeville circuit, have we?"

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:50 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am GMT
Posts: 18597
Location: Look for the furtive one.
Custom Title: Egad!
Bella's wry greeting didn't faze him in the least. Max wasn't proud of his days as an entertainer, but he wasn't ashamed either. It hadn't kept him from doing what he loved, which was tearing apart every vulnerable human institution in his path.

"We have left the stage," confirmed Max, with a lopsided grin. "And you wouldn't believe what we've been doing since. You may not know this, Bellemare, but I went to business college before the War. Got through a whole year before they kicked me out. I still remember a few of the tricks. Now I'm a bona fide accountant at a firm. My hand to God."

He didn't appear to be bothered by the descending chill, although he wore no overcoat. Max faced the cold wind, closing his eyes for a moment like a smug old tomcat in the sun. "The money's very good, but the hours are inflexible, and the work is as boring as church. I assume. Frankly, I think my creative flair is going to waste." He turned on Bella with a winning smile. "I'd rather help you realize your full potential, Bellemare."

_________________
Image
"Fotecp, that is indeed the stuff of nightmares." - Dvorak


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:59 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56525
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
He whistled appreciatively. "Well, well. Wouldn'ta figgured ya for a college boy. Now who's the practically respectable one?" Though the question had been rhetorical, the answer was, in fact, neither of them. But for Bella, who had never set foot in anything more advanced than a junior high--yet had managed to get himself expelled from most of the academic institutions in Lower Manhattan--a whole year was no small accomplishment.

On the other hand, if there was something artificial about his response, it was because he'd already known. In the hours since Max had phoned him, he had not been idle. After all, Bella made it his business to know all there was to know about his prospective business partners.

"I'm flattered, by the by. How'd I get lucky enough to be the object of yer rampant benevolence?"

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:49 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am GMT
Posts: 18597
Location: Look for the furtive one.
Custom Title: Egad!
"Nostalgia," replied Max, with an expansive wave. "I'm too young to have gone straight!"

Of course, Max didn't have a lick of nostalgia for Indiana, the War, or even his old homestead. Like almost everything he said, that answer was meaningless. But in the next moment his mocking cheer dropped in register, back to a conversational tone at once casual and intent. "As for why I chose you...Dautzenberg isn't quite the businessman he used to be, is he, Bellemare? You're smart, smarter than he is. And competition in the city is stiff."

Max paused for a moment to assess Bella's reaction, and in the absence of a beating, forged on. "Listen, if the Aggregate is anything like most gangs, you've got hundreds of thousands in capital sitting around. 'Specially before pay day, which I'm assuming is once a month. You're not investing, are you? Awful waste, really. With credit soaring like it is, you could do a lot, even in a couple of weeks."

_________________
Image
"Fotecp, that is indeed the stuff of nightmares." - Dvorak


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:04 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56525
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
"Careful," said Bella simply.

He did not feel the need to elaborate. Generally speaking, he would never have offered allegiance to the type of man liable to repay incautious words with bullets. When he'd signed on two years earlier, he would even had professed with confidence that Dautzenberg was not such a man. Lately, though, the list of people his boss had nearly shot in fits of temper had only been growing longer. The abrupt disappearance of a particular young Cuban had done nothing to reassure him. But as he knew better than most, in unstable times you could either hunker down with the rest, or press your advantage. Maybe lose your head for it, but all business is risk. And he was, at heart, a businessman.

He settled down against the railing of the bridge, tucking his hands deeper into the pockets over his overcoat.

Then, his warning duly issued, he smiled like a coquettish belle from the moving pictures. "Keep talking."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:32 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am GMT
Posts: 18597
Location: Look for the furtive one.
Custom Title: Egad!
At that obligatory word of warning, Max fell silent, watching Bella's face. The man had more to gain from an alliance with Max than blind loyalty to his boss, but gangsters were not always as predictable as he liked to believe. The fact was, this was a dangerous game. But Max had no bags to pack in St. Louis. If things went south, it wouldn't be the first time he'd skipped town with only the clothes on his back.

When Bella smiled, Max smiled back, a friendly display of teeth.

"You can keep all this under the table," he continued, once he had judged it safe. He made no effort to conceal the note of excitement in his voice; he was as pleased with the elegant simplicity of his plan as he was enticed by its risks. "It's a bunch of numerical mumbo-jumbo to anyone who doesn't know what they're looking for. With any luck, you could be skimming over fifty grand a month with nobody but us the wiser."

Max knew as well as Bella, of course, it wasn't the kind of secret that lasts forever. No matter how carefully they covered their tracks, someone would stumble across them eventually. It might be a year from now. It might be three months. In a way, that was the beauty of it--the longer they stayed in, the greater the profits. It was a high-stakes game of chicken.

Max let the idea sit for a moment. "You'll need someone to tell you how to invest, of course," he said, with an unassuming shrug. "I humbly advance my candidacy."

_________________
Image
"Fotecp, that is indeed the stuff of nightmares." - Dvorak


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 7:23 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56525
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
"Oh yeah?"

Bella knew as well as Max that this was the kind of recklessness that would end you up rich, or face-down in the gutter. The way things were heading with the Italians, he doubted they would last a year anyway. Bonello would put them all face-down in the gutter soon enough. It was only a matter of time. When that time came, Bella had no intention of going down with the ship.

Until now, he'd always been content to play second fiddle, to keep his head down and follow the money from one reasonably lucrative low-risk venture to the next. Now he stood at a crossroads, teetering on the verge of a deal with the devil--not that he would've honored Max with that comparison. Still, there was a very real possibility that the path stretching out before him would lead to ruinous death.

There was a very fine line between looking out for yourself and outright betrayal. He'd toed that line before, but never crossed it.

"And just what kinda cut does the humble accountant see himself taking?"

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:58 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am GMT
Posts: 18597
Location: Look for the furtive one.
Custom Title: Egad!
The deal had progressed quickly, the negotiations running even smoother than he had dared to expect. Now, however, Max took a moment to think. He had tested the waters. There were plenty of sharks. Before his departure that afternoon, he had promised himself he wouldn't ruin his chances by getting cocky, and there was a danger here, not only from the Aggregate but from Bellemare. The truth was, Max was useless in a fight. He didn't carry a gun. And like the Greek heroes, he'd been accused of hubris (though not precisely in those words).

"In the interests of equality and brotherhood, let's say fifty-fifty. It's my idea, after all, and I'll be doing all the work."

He knew it was an outrageous demand, but so was the plan at large. Better to start high. He extended a hand to Bella.

"What do you say? For old times' sake?"

_________________
Image
"Fotecp, that is indeed the stuff of nightmares." - Dvorak


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:39 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56525
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
"Ho ho, for old times' sake? Avramescu, if my old times were anythin' like yers I wouldn't be so keen to bring 'em up. Makes a man start wondering what the hell he's thinkin', doin' hazardous business with an ex-vaudeville crackpot can't so much as keep a proper job." Like most of Bella's insults, it was packaged in a dry and vaguely friendly tone of voice.

He drummed his fingers on the railing, sizing up the man opposite him. Max Avramescu was, in all probability, a lunatic. His plan was something between a get-rich-quick scheme and a swift ticket to the bottom of the river. Rumor had it Bella had been a gambler in another of his many lives, and a damn good one too. Now he asked himself: were these really odds he cared to play?

The wheels in his head were turning. His face, however, bore the same expression of passionless, sleepy disdain--right up until the moment he spoke.

"For old times' sake I'm inclined to offer you seventy-thirty... for the first two months. If you pull it off, after that I'll raise it to sixty-forty. And if we're still alive come year's end, you'll walk away with one hell of a Christmas bonus."

This time it was Bella's turn to extend a hand.

"Have we got a deal?"

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Return of the No-goodnik (Dvorak)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:25 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am GMT
Posts: 18597
Location: Look for the furtive one.
Custom Title: Egad!
Max withdrew the hand he had proffered for a shake. As Bella sized him up, he buttoned his coat up to his chin, turning the collar against the chill. The stars were coming out and there was a bite to the wind.

If he was bothered by the insult, he didn't show it. He glanced up at his old acquaintance, a crooked smile on his face. "You know, you're absolutely right. I'm mad as a hatter. But if we pull this off, who the hell cares?"

And in that respect, Max was right. His ability to hold down a proper job wouldn't count for shit if he managed to skim the gang's profits for a year. Seventy-thirty, graduating to sixty-forty. It was a good percentage. With a little luck, Max and Heinrich could retire in their thirties and live like kings until they died of excess.

He looked at Bella's hand as if it had sprouted a few extra fingers. Then he laughed, gripping it for a moment.

"We do, God help us," he said.

_________________
Image
"Fotecp, that is indeed the stuff of nightmares." - Dvorak


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group