Blast from the Past

Started by Grace (Gracie) Stroud at May 25, 2020 11:26 AM
February 9, 1924
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9 Posts

Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
364
?Years Young
163 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


Saturday Evening

Ship's Dining Room

 

It was another good crowd that had set sail from Miami for one of the Chanteuse's weekend cruises. So naturally enough the dining room was pretty much filled that evening. People paid good money to go on this excursion and expected to have good food and drink alcoholic beverages and not that cheap rotgut stuff in some speakeasies. So for Gracie and the rest of the dining room staff it was another busy evening. Which was fine with her, she made good money on tips. She took her job seriously and knew how to please folks, they liked her. And that translated to appropriate tips.

She had just turned in an order to the kitchen for one of her tables when Joanie, another waitress, was at her side.

"Hey...Gracie. There's a table over by....umm, yeah table 16. The man says he doesn't want me to wait on him. He wants you," Joanie informed her, looking less than thrilled.

Gracie frowned, that was kind of rude of the man. She also felt badly for Joanie who would lose out on a tip. Still the customer was always right. She nodded.

"Oh, alrighty. Well, tell you what. Next table I get I will fob it off on you so we're even, huh?" she smiled at her co-worker.

"Fair enough," Joanie nodded, "Good luck with this one. He's been drinking at the bar before he ever got to the table, I can tell that much."

"Oh, I'm not worried, I can handle 'im," Gracie wasn't too concerned.

Gracie approached with menus in hand, it there were three people at the table, two men and a woman. She thought nothing of it and stopped once there, turning on that bright customer service smile. Until one man looked up.

"Well, I goddamn well thought so. If it ain't you, Gracie," he leered, it was a smile but definitely not a warm one.

Gracie went cold, her smile vaporized in an instant, her eyes narrowed.

"You," was all she said, tensing up.

"Yeah.... me. Oh how the mighty have fallen, from Johnnie's little princess to this?" he smirked.

"Go ta hell," she snarled.

(to be continued)

 

 

 

 


Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
364
?Years Young
163 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


That brought looks of shock on the faces of the man and woman with Gracie's old 'acquaintance' but he only laughed.

"Is that any way to speak ta customers now, Dora," he chuckled.

"But then you always were a dumb bitch, I knew that the first time I laid eyes on you hanging all over Johnnie. You two made a perfect match though. Not one brain between ya," he just kept on rubbing it in, enjoying he had already got the girl's goat.

"Yet who was the one who fucked it all up then, huh? You!" Gracie snapped back.

"How would you know? Oh yeah, you always believed every word Johnnie said, stupid bitch," he snarled.

"And Lenny and Smiley too, they were there, all of 'em knew you screwed up," Gracie came right back at him.

By now their animated conversation had drawn stares and whispered comments from all the tables within earshot. The other man sitting at the table put a hand out onto the speaker's arm but he angrily pulled it away.

"You know what? It doesn't matter anymore, none of it does. Cuz all I care is that Johnnie is dead and you're a nothin'. And if I ever have the ambition, I am gonna visit his grave and piss over it," he gave her a cocky sneer.

It just so happened another waitress was passing close by carrying a tray of drinks. Gracie glanced at that tray, hastily reached for the biggest glass then hurled the contents of it straight into the man's face. The woman at the table actually yelped. The man jumped up in fury and slapped Gracie as hard as he could.

"You goddamn bitch!"

It hurt but no more than the mere presence of this man and his vile talk about Johnnie. Gracie ignored the momentary pain and went right at him with fists. All hell broke loose. Everyone was gawking now at this sudden confrontation. Gracie might have the fight in her but she was completely outmatched. The man ignored her attacks, grabbed for one arm then clamped onto a fistful of her blonde hair. With a bellow he proceeded to hurl her to one side right into another table as the desperate diners abandoned their seats in unseemly haste. The table with all its dishes went over on one side as Gracie hit the floor.

The place was in chaos.

 


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Lucian MacLeod

Club Owner, Coffee Importer
52
?Years Young
30 Posts

Here among my thoughts of you, I find a gentle longing to be free...


Lucian was in his office going over Friday night's receipts when trouble erupted in the club's dining room. The Chanteuse was docked in Havana so somewhat less crowded than it would have been normally. Still, quite a few of the ship's passengers preferred to dine and drink onboard instead of prowling Havana's nightclubs. Even with his office door closed, the increased volume and a woman's scream alerted him to trouble. He was on his feet in an instant, just as his door opened, and Gustav stuck his head in, "Trouble, boss."

"Alert security," Lucian replied, "please tell them to be discreet and to keep breakage to a minimum." Truthfully, Lucian planned on getting out there and putting down the trouble before the ship's security personnel could wade in, causing more havoc.

As he left his office, Lucian checked to make sure he had a couple of dull-edged karambits on his person. He would use them to help control the troublemakers. Stopping by the next door, he rapped sharply and opened it, "J.D.," he greeted his brother, "trouble on the floor."


Jameson MacLeod

Ship Captain, Cruise Ship Chanteuse, Miami
20
?Years Young
10 Posts

J.D. had already been moving to his feet when Lucian knocked on the door. He had left his jacket on the back of his chair along with his sidearms. J.D. had some brass knuckles in each pocket and he snagged a truncheon from the shelf near the door of his office as he rounded the corner and broke into a jog to keep pace with Lucian as they ran toward the noise rolling toward them from the dining room. He wrapped his fingers around the truncheon lanyard as they reached the dining room. Some members of ship's Security were arriving from other doors and J.D. raised his hands to wave them to a stop. They paused and began working on directing people out of the area and forming a perimeter as the two MacLeods kept moving toward the disturbance.

J.D. looked at the people involved and he inhaled when he saw Gracie. The only thing that kept him from erupting at her being involved was getting a good look at her expression. He understood that kind of anger so his eyes immediately turned to focus on the man who had just manhandled her. J.D. swung to a stop between where Gracie lay and the man. He brought the truncheon up and the hardwood tip bounced against the man's chest and stopped him in mid-stride. "Pretty good toss of that girl...care to try that with me?"

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Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
364
?Years Young
163 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


Gracie lay there for a moment, stunned but still full of fight. She glared up at the man for an instant then looked down amongst the spilled table silverware. There was a knife, granted a dull butter knife but she wasn't exactly thinking rationally.

The man saw her reach for it and pointed down at her, "Don't you even think about it! Stay down cuz if you get up again, I will knock you right down again."

That was when JD showed up with Lucian following right after, the security were standing back to let their bosses handle it. And the rest of the diners had cleared a wide space to stay out of this unseemly brawl but all eyes were on the combatants and now the brothers.

JD brought the truncheon up and the hardwood tip bounced against the man's chest and stopped him in mid-stride. "Pretty good toss of that girl...care to try that with me?"

The man eyed up JD, no doubt sizing up his chances and this one looked far too menacing. He took a step back.

"That little bitch started it, she threw a drink in my face. I didn't come here to be insulted and then have to take on the whole goddamn staff," he snapped back, taking note of the second grim looking man now facing him. Two against one were not the sort of odds he wanted to risk.

J.D. glanced over at his brother, then back at the man as he was still obviously seething. "Oh, you're upset because there's two of us?..." He gave a slow smile. "Tell you what....I will check on our employee since I do care about her a lot more than I care about you. If you like, I'm sure my brother would be willing to close his eyes or turn his back if that would make you happy." J.D. turned his back pointedly on the man and stepped over to Gracie. "You okay, kid?" J.D. paid no more attention to her assailant because he knew Lucian was giving that man his full attention.

Since J.D. was now seeing to Gracie, Lucian focused his gaze on the man that had caused the trouble. True, he was claiming that Grace had started it and they would have to talk to her...privately. For now, all that mattered to him was that a guest of the club, a man, had accosted and struck one of their female employees. Lucian's voice was deceptively mild when he spoke, "Sir, there is never a good reason to strike a woman. You have three options... you may voluntarily retire to your stateroom and remain there, food and drink will be brought to you; we can remand you to our brig until we dock in Miami or you may exit the ship, find lodging in Havana, and seek other transportation back to Miami."

 


Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
364
?Years Young
163 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


"I'm not stupid, I'm not fighting one or both of you. On your ship in the middle of the ocean," the man snapped back.

Then spoke quite loudly to the watching crowd, "If I disappear, you folks remember what just happened here. Be sure to tell the cops. You all can see I don't want no trouble."

Meanwhile, JD saw to Gracie, "You okay, kid?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I coulda taken him," Gracie answered, the last part rather a dubious assertion, "But thanks."

Lucian was dealing with their unruly customer, "Sir, there is never a good reason to strike a woman. You have three options... you may voluntarily retire to your stateroom and remain there, food and drink will be brought to you; we can remand you to our brig until we dock in Miami or you may exit the ship, find lodging in Havana, and seek other transportation back to Miami."

"Exit the ship? Aren't we in the middle of the trip?" the man's first thought was they were looking for an excuse to hurl him into the sea.

"When you dock in Cuba, I will get off. I can take care of myself then. Oh, and I am with those two friends of mine," he pointed to the couple who had been at the table with him prior to the dustup.

The man offered, "My sister and I will stick with him if you don't mind."

Lucian's focus was still on the man, his dark eyes unfathomable, "We docked in Havana quite some time ago. A porter will accompany you and your friends and help you take your things into port."


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Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
364
?Years Young
163 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


Gracie's combative customer was hustled off the ship along with his two friends. The man was maybe surprisingly quiet probably because being stranded temporarily in Havana was a whole lot better than being tossed into the sea. Internally though he was seething, this wasn't over by any means. Oh how he hated that bitch.

Meanwhile Gracie was quietly told by the floor manager to report to the MacLeod's ship board office. She was not surprised but complied with a simple nod. She did take a few minutes though to review with the other waitresses on duty the situations of those tables that had been assigned her. They were sympathetic and wished her best of luck.

****

It was only minutes later that Gracie entered the plush office and was told to take a seat. She had by now recovered her composure even if her waitress uniform was stained with food and drinks from being hurled into a table. She was fully prepared to hear that she was fired but if they expected her to be contrite about what had just occurred that wasn't going to happen. Instead she cleared her throat and then spoke calmly and softly.

"You wanted to see me, boss?"

Lucian barely waited for Grace to get settled before speaking, "What happened out there, Grace? More to the point, why did it happen?"

Her boss didn't waste any time but got right to the point. That was fine with her.

"That ....man wouldn't accept any other waitress but said he wanted me to serve his table. So I traded tables and took his. I only saw who he was when I got there. He's somebody from my past. An enemy. I was still willing to just go ahead and do my job but he started right up with bringing up the past and throwing insults. I can take name calling but he knew how to get me riled up when he brought up my boyfriend. My dead boyfriend. Well,  I lost my temper."

"Before you know we both were yelling and I saw a drink on a tray and I threw it in his face. Well, he slapped me a good one, so I tried to hit back. Boxin' ain't my strongpoint  though. He grabbed me and flung me onto the closest table. That's when J.D., I'm sorry, Captain MacLeod got there and stopped the fight. Leave it to Turk, that coward wasn't going to mess with anyone who could give him a fair fight."

She took a deep breath, "That's about the gist of it. Sometimes our past catches up with us. I wish it hadn't happened here, boss. But it did."

Lucian pointed at a chair, "Have a seat. I think, considering the fact that our pasts do have a nasty way of catching up with us, you need to tell us a bit more about yours. I cannot defend our employees if I do not know what might come up." He glanced over at his brother, but quickly turned his gaze back to the young woman. "Please, Grace. You are an asset to the Lorelei. I do not want to have to terminate your employment."

 


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Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
364
?Years Young
163 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


 He had been more than fair with her so far and - let's face it - this operation was illegal, they dealt with bootleg liquor and ran a speakeasy. Rumors had it they dabbled in other shady operations too. So Gracie decided to level with the man, he would hardly be shocked to hear her past was less than squeaky clean, putting it mildly. She nodded and took a seat, glancing at the captain too for just an instant.

"Alright, since you put it that way. Now first off lemme say that in the job interview I didn't lie about anything. You just didn't ask certain questions so I didn't include certain facts is all," she wanted that out front first off.

"You might have heard of Johnnie O'Doul some time back? He was a ....oh hell, no sense sugar coating it. He was a gangster. Up north mostly but he had come down here to get involved in the bootleg business. He was murdered by unknown parties as the cops put it. Not that they looked very hard for the killers," she shrugged.

"Well, here's the thing.... I was his gal ... moll .... girlfriend ...whatever name you wanna use. I've had my share of run ins with the coppers, because of Johnnie. I never claimed to be a saint. But - even though he's dead and buried, I have remained faithful to his name, his memory, I still love the guy just like he loved me."

She had her reasons for mentioning that part which set up her next part, "The man I had the fight with was once a business associate with Johnnie. His name is Turk Flagg. He was part of a bank robbery we pulled off but Turk.... he botched it all up and it didn't go like Johnnie planned. When it came time for the split, Johnnie kicked him out of the gang, the other guys agreed. Everyone had enough of Turk. Trust me, I was there. I drove the getaway car."

It was a lot to take in, she knew that so she paused to allow them to react, to ask questions, or - if she had miscalculated, to fire her outright.


Jameson MacLeod

Ship Captain, Cruise Ship Chanteuse, Miami
20
?Years Young
10 Posts

J.D. just sort of...stared...at her. "Hang on...you were a getaway driver?...In a Gang??" The blinking, dumbfounded look he gave his brother showed how he was trying to process what she was telling the two men.

"Well, obviously he's not setting foot on my ship again...so there's that, but does that mean you can't set foot Off the ship?"