An Evening At The Club Loreli

Started by Michael O'Rourke at Jul 15, 2020 12:01 PM
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Michael O'Rourke

Racketee, smugler, gun runner
144
?Years Young
108 Posts

"Do not mistake my friendly demeanor for weakness."


“Do tell, Baxter, or do you prefer “Bull”?” Michael responded to the flatfoot's greeting.

The police detective didn't even give this question the time of day.

“Why Snub and I were discussing the fight game and upcoming bout aboard this tub, there some law against that? Besides, what would he write about me? I mean I done nothing, well, won the dance contest at the “Tropics” last month.”

“Is that so?” replied Baxter sarcastically, thumbing his spare hand into the top of his vest. “Maybe you should take up taxi-ing* at night clubs. Might not pay so good, but at least it ain’t illegal.”

He smiled up at the detective, “So Bull, anything I can do for you, or is this just general harassment of a private citizen?” O’Rourke asked, momentarily grateful his pistol was in his car, the last moment decision that just might prove fortuitous, depending on the copper’s intentions.

“Just a warning shot across your bows, Cap'n Ahab.” The Lieutenant frowned, referring to Mike’s nautical activities “Some people have been getting away with murder around here just lately, but this is an election year, D.A., Chief of Police, County Sheriff, they’re all gonna want arrests a-plenty to make ‘em look like they’ve been doing a swell job before the masses go to the polls. O’Brien there is just the thin end of the wedge.” He glowered, clearly pleased that his corrupt or diffident bosses were finally having to be seen to act against the organised gangs that were the bane of the fast growing city.

Michael smiled, true it was elections, and true the local law would be on the prod to produce for the community with arrests and crack downs. But then, he lived in Key West and played in Miami. Yes they knew him. Suspected what he was and would certainly like to arrest him. Other than the problem with the Jewish fellows, he was clean in town.

“So, don’t be surprised if my next little social call ain’t quite so … social!” he would have grinned, if he’d known how.

“Oh far from it detective. Listen, I come here to dine an maybe dance some. What you suspect, what you think I might have done, you’re wrong. But it’s a free country Bull, you think and do what you want. Yeah, I gotta a boat, big luxurious fast one. That don’t mean nothin’. But you keep your nose to the grindstone and maybe I get a parking ticket.” Came the response.
 
*A taxi was paid, male dancing partner.


Lt. Baxter

Police Detective
290
?Years Young
4 Posts

“So, don’t be surprised if my next little social call ain’t quite so … social!” he would have grinned, if he’d known how.

“Oh far from it detective. Listen, I come here to dine an maybe dance some. What you suspect, what you think I might have done, you’re wrong. But it’s a free country Bull, you think and do what you want. Yeah, I gotta a boat, big luxurious fast one. That don’t mean nothin’. But you keep your nose to the grindstone and maybe I get a parking ticket.” Came the response.

The Detective grunted. “Huh, Roland Curry* might be scared to touch ya, but I ain’t.” he informed the seated drug smuggler. “And when I get something on ya, it’ll be more than a lousy parkin’ ticket!”

He seemed about to go, but then stopped and looked carefully, almost studiously, at the dapper criminal from beneath those dark, forbidding beetle brows. His face almost writhed with disgust.

“You know, most decent people would count a person like O’Brien as the lowest kind of criminal, the worst scum of humanity. A white slaver, trafficking girls; most of ‘em under the age of consent, selling them into a life of prostitution: and keeping them there with fear of violence and dependence on dope. Sure he’s scum, and I wish I could put him in the electric chair, never mind the pen’.”

He drew himself up to his full height and looked down at O’Rourke.

“But do you know who I hate more? It’s the guy that brings that dope into the country. The guy that rides around in fancy motor vehicles, and wears fancy clothes, and dines in fancy restaurants, but never has to look at the misery and the filth he’s creating. At least O’Brien has to look at what he’s done; people like…” he nearly said ‘you’ “people like that dope smuggler, he thinks he’s innocent, just supplying a little business demand. I’d like to take him down the morgue and show him the corpse of the fourteen year-old-girl, somebody’s daughter, broken and ruined, that we pulled out of the sea yesterday. She’d been doped, used, doped and used again. And who got that dope into Florida?”

He took a big puff of the cigar.

“Goodbye for now, Mr O’Rourke. I hope you enjoy your Evening.”

 

*Monroe County Sheriff.


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Michael O'Rourke

Racketee, smugler, gun runner
144
?Years Young
108 Posts

"Do not mistake my friendly demeanor for weakness."


The Detective grunted. “Huh, Roland Curry* might be scared to touch ya, but I ain’t.” he informed the seated drug smuggler. “And when I get something on ya, it’ll be more than a lousy parkin’ ticket!”

“Sure, sure, you do that, Baxter. But don’t be surprised when you find out you got nothin’ and you ain’t about to get anything.” Michael replied, almost jovially. He was clean in Dade County and planned to keep it that way. Well, almost.

He seemed about to go, but then stopped and looked carefully, almost studiously, at the dapper criminal from beneath those dark, forbidding beetle brows. His face almost writhed with disgust.

“You know, most decent people would count a person like O’Brien as the lowest kind of criminal, the worst scum of humanity. A white slaver, trafficking girls; most of ‘em under the age of consent, selling them into a life of prostitution: and keeping them there with fear of violence and dependence on dope. Sure he’s scum, and I wish I could put him in the electric chair, never mind the pen’.”

He drew himself up to his full height and looked down at O’Rourke.

“But do you know who I hate more? It’s the guy that brings that dope into the country. The guy that rides around in fancy motor vehicles, and wears fancy clothes, and dines in fancy restaurants, but never has to look at the misery and the filth he’s creating. At least O’Brien has to look at what he’s done; people like…” he nearly said ‘you’ “people like that dope smuggler, he thinks he’s innocent, just supplying a little business demand. I’d like to take him down the morgue and show him the corpse of the fourteen year-old-girl, somebody’s daughter, broken and ruined, that we pulled out of the sea yesterday. She’d been doped, used, doped and used again. And who got that dope into Florida?”

Michael looked at the Lieutenant, looked him straight in the eye, neither challenging him, nor showing any emotion at all, but a rage seethed under the calm exterior. This mug talking about smugglers when half his department was either on the take or dealing drugs to anybody that had the price. But none of those drugs were delivered by him, Dix or Jimmy. He couldn’t say what anybody else did. The copper was talking heroin, and that was where he drew the line.

He took a big puff of the cigar.

“Goodbye for now, Mr O’Rourke. I hope you enjoy your Evening.”

“Yeah, well that was what I was doin’ before you slithered in.” Came the venomous response. He sat back for a moment, then took the last swallow of the now cold coffee. It was time to head south. 


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Lt. Baxter

Police Detective
290
?Years Young
4 Posts

“Goodbye for now, Mr O’Rourke. I hope you enjoy your Evening.”

“Yeah, well that was what I was doin’ before you slithered in.” Came the venomous response. He sat back for a moment, then took the last swallow of the now cold coffee. It was time to head south.

Lieutenant Baxter almost cracked a smile at the notion that he had ruined O’Rourke’s night, it certainly gave him a warm glow. Instead he turned wordlessly and moved his ominous form and the dark aura that surrounded it away and out of the swish shipboard eatery.

From an objective point of view, the copper had made a mistake – warning the smuggler, letting him know just how much the authorities suspected him and how powerless the local police in the Key West area were to stop him. But these were desperate times for those who actually wanted to apply the law and clean up the God-forsaken mess that prohibition had caused: truly it was said that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions.

Ordinary methods were failing against organised crime: law enforcers – the ones with any backbone, and morals and energy that was – were having to try new tactics. Eventually the biggest gangland leader of them all, Al Capone, would be brought down, not by cops and Bureau Agents, but by an undercover IRS man. Citizens of Miami, the silent majority who approved of prohibition, and white hoods for that matter, had clubbed together and raised $2,500 to pay out to those who informed on bootleggers and rumrunners (or corrupt cops accepting graft for that matter). The Bureau of Investigation had more and more agents out in the State, attempting to liaise between forces and tackle crime that straddled State or even County borders.

At first, Baxter was one of the old guard of dyed-in-the wool cops who resisted these innovations and original ideas. But eventually he found that ‘if you can’t beat ‘em – join ‘em’, and now he’d try anything. O’Rourke was a cool customer, and turning the heat on him probably wouldn’t make him crack, or make mistakes, but it was worth a try. On his way off the boat and on to the quay, Baxter detailed two uniformed officers to follow O’Rourke a few blocks in their automobile: not to try and trail him or find out where he was headed, just to spook him. He wanted the suave smuggler to know that he was watching him.


Michael O'Rourke

Racketee, smugler, gun runner
144
?Years Young
108 Posts

"Do not mistake my friendly demeanor for weakness."


So, the heat, or what passed for the heat, was on. Michael had no delusions that he was free of surveillance or that he was in the clear. But what he was confident in was, Baxter had nothing on him or his operation.  He smiled.

Time to lay low, out of the public eye so to say. There were far too many rats out there eager to spill what they knew for a pass from law enforcement. And what did they know? That was the question. Was it solid information, or was it guesswork based on rumors and innuendo? Questions that he would need the answers to.

He rose from the table and dropped a dollar tip on the table as he turned to leave. Undoubtedly Baxter would use the tried and true tail, even though the little Dodge, with Jimmy's innovations and improvements, could shake the cops easily enough, but why bother? Perhaps a little tour of the area, no stops at speakeasies, but he did need fuel before his trip south, and out of Dade county.

He left the ship and went directly to his car. First, fuel, second, the hotel, and the things that he would take back to Key West with him. He decided that instead of giving the tail a joy ride through the city, he would just head south, where he would make a call to Dixon Steele and warn him off. Jimmy, he would deal with when he got home. Maybe a trip to Cuba, maybe someplace in the Bahamas for a while.

 


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