Playing For Keeps

Started by Grace (Gracie) Stroud at Jul 22, 2020 6:01 PM
February 26, 1924
756 Views
37 Posts

Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
408
?Years Young
183 Posts

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


Miami Streets

Late Afternoon

 

Gracie had just left the Burdine's Department Store after purchasing two pairs of silk stockings, a necessary expense she felt given her job. Plus a gal wanted to look her best when she went out for a good time. She was in a good mood even if the weather looked threatening at the moment. Only then would she try for a cab, otherwise she was determined to walk back to her apartment. Sure it was a long jaunt but she was used to being on her feet given her waitress job plus she was young, fit, and full of energy.

Mostly she window shopped as she set a leisurely pace though once and awhile she would exchange nods of acknowledgement even quick smiles with passerbys. As for the constant traffic of cars and trucks on the street next to her, she basically ignored  the stream of vehicles. It was basically pure chance that a loud car horn tooted then drawing her eyes to the street. Just which car honked she wasn't sure as nothing seemed out of order, no near accident or screech of brakes. But that's when he caught her eye.

Heading the opposite direction she was walking was an evergreen colored car (Gracie didn't know enough about cars to tell what make or style, a car was a car) with none other than Turk Flagg at the wheel. Her glimpse only lasted mere seconds but she was positive that was him. He had been part of Johnnie's gang when they robbed that bank and then not that long ago she and him had gotten into an actual physical confrontation on the Chanteuse.

For just a moment she wondered if he had seen her? But then his head wasn't facing her way when he zipped past and so what, anyhow? Yeah, Miami was a big city but it still was possible for this to be none other than a coincidence. The common sense part of her thought it was no big deal, nothing to get nervous over. The man was a sonofabitch and thinking about him would only darken her mood. She told herself he wasn't worth it.

 

It was only about five minutes later when she approached yet another intersection coming up. To her left up against the curb almost was a local newsstand with a large display of current magazines and rows of newspapers, not just local Miami ones either. Her glance went straight to a full size photo of Bessie Love adorning the cover of some magazine. Gracie liked that actress a lot, only last year she had enjoyed her performance in The Purple Dawn. In no particular hurry she stopped then turned and reached for the magazine. She was really not much of a reader but still the magazine was 20 cents, she could pay that much. She had a moment to make her final decision though as the vendor was attending to another customer.

Little did she realize but that very same dark green car was now heading down her side of the street and would very soon go right past her. Probably not a coincidence at all then.

 

 

 


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Calixto

Barón y Tarazona
298
?Years Young
50 Posts

"There are even rumors that we are descended from Hatuey, an early Taíno chief of Cuba, but that, my dear lady, is an entirely ridiculous hypothesis."


Ho kept the engine running as the Baron sat in the back of the big, black, stationery car which had been hired by his brother-in-law’s organisation, under a false name, specifically for this job. He regretted having to take on such sordid work, but his researches, his obsession, as his sister called it, called for funds, and the income of a half-pay Captain in a crumbling Spanish regime was irregular and paltry, and the income from his meager estates in that country almost as poor.

The weapon of choice was a brand new, British made Webley Mark 1 .177 caliber air pistol: it was powerful, silent and, most importantly of all, unobtrusive. If Tennille followed his normal route, he would come close enough to the open window of the automobile to make the Calixto’s expensively bought marksmanship almost irrelevant. He was ready to abort or change today’s plan, if necessary, but by the end of the week Tennille would be dead. Why, he did not know: he just knew that he had been paid to make sure it happened, and in a way that could not be linked with Grimmelshausen und Epp AG International Import and Export Consortium.

The pneumatic pistol lay on his lap, covered by the newspaper he was pretending to read. He glanced out of the window at his marker, the newspaper-stand where the well known defense attorney bought the late edition of the Miami Herald every afternoon, before he would cross the road to place just in front of where they were parked. A sparkle of a girl's golden hair caught the sunlight, but he tried to ignore that particular fetish, and continue to try and pick out the urbane and less attractive figure of his target.


Frank Tennille [Deceased]

Attorney
298
?Years Young
10 Posts

"Mr. Tennille, will you please cease and desist from vamping mah Jury!!" - Judge Reynolds


Things were looking up at last.

Being hired by the rich old lady Arabella Wentworth to prosecute the Lang case had been the first bit of good news in a long, long time. Even the argument with Dr. Tillery the other day, heated though it had been at the time, had made him think long and hard about the way he was living his own life. Maybe he could get himself out of the dirty business of defending hardened criminals and gangsters who, in all truth needed to be locked away for the good of society.

He almost felt like a man with a new face, a whole new outlook on life. And yesterday, he’d done what he never thought he’d do: he got back in touch with Mary. They’d gone for a long drive, they even laughed and had fun. Who knew, maybe they could build on that. Probably too soon to say he would move back in, but maybe, one day, the kids would have their Daddy back home again.

So it was that Frank Tennille walked along the streets of Miami that day with a new spring in his step, as he headed toward the corner newspaper stand where, regular as clockwork, he picked up the Herald every afternoon. There was a beautiful, golden haired flapper sashaying along right in front of him, but he had turned over a new leaf. Tomorrow, maybe tonight even, he would ring Mary and discuss their future.

 

"They’d gone for a long drive" 


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Wayfarer

408
40Years Young
372 Posts

Turk Flagg happened to spot O'Doul's moll strolling down the street and he instantly saw red, thinking back to the incident on the Chanteuse that caused him to get kicked off the cruise. It had been humiliating and , coming after his feud with her boyfriend, all he could think of was revenge. Hadn't he warned her he would make her regret it? This was his chance. He turned to his passenger.

"Hey! I'm pullin' over," he declared even as he turning the steering wheel.

"What? Why?"

"Shuddup! You'll find out. You wanna work for me, just do what I say, we'll be fine," the car bumped against the curb and he put it into neutral.

"Ahh....sure."

"You slide over and drive. I'm gonna go around and get in the other side," Turk ordered as he opened the driver's side door.

Once they were switched, the man executed a U-turn and caused a few upset drivers honking their horns at his manuver. Meanwhile, Turk pulled a revolver out of the glove compartment and then yanked out another from the shoulder holster under his suitcoat.

"Jesus! What you doin'?" the driver was still totally confused by what exactly was happening.

"You will see when I do it! Now drive slowly .......be ready ta stop if I tell ya. I'm gonna square things with somebody. And then be ready to drive like mad to get us outta here," Turk gave the other man at least some details.

"Alright," what else could the driver say, he'd been looking to land a job and only last week Flagg had agreed to take him on.

Turk kept his eyes on the sidewalk pedestrians, looking for that one individual in particular, hoping fervently that she hadn't ducked into a shop or store. He was almost ready to let out a curse, thinking he'd missed his chance when....

"There! That's her! Come to a stop right in front of that newstand on yer right," he commanded, readying both pistols. He'd already decided he would not leave the vehicle but open up with a volley from where he was, the window had been rolled down due to the heat of the day. Little bitch would never even know what hit her.

*****

As the car slowed so it could halt, the truck behind it hadn't expected that and the driver leaned on the horn. The loud honk startled everyone. Gracie looked up from browsing that magazine and there was Turk again - he had two guns!

*****

His target spun about to flee as Turk opened up, pulling both triggers and spraying eventually twelve rounds at the object of his hatred.

*****

Gracie bumped into a startled woman, with a girl at her side holding half eaten corndog.There was the newstand vendor nearby also, facing the wrong way and totally oblivious. And then some other gentleman just to one side of the woman and girl. Bullets don't differentiate targets and a spray of them traced deadly trajectories amongst this knot of unlucky individuals.

Gracie heard the shots of course, heard high pitched screaming as one bullet took her hat right off and almostly instantly after she felt a sharp pain in her right leg. With a cry of her own, she careened forward plowing into the other side of the newstand, toppling assorted newspapers and magazines.

*****

Turk had the most manical grin on his face; it was an unbelievable rush of power to blaze away sowing terror and death. Sadly it was over in but a few seconds, both pistols empty. And now they needed to get the hell out of there before shocked bystanders recovered enough to try and catch glimpses of faces. He turned his head back to the front, still seated in the passenger seat and roared a simple order.

"Get the fuck out of here!"

The driver, heart pounding from what just happened, tromped on the gas pedal as he shifted gears to match and took off with squealing tires. He almost clipped a lady carrying a bulging grocery bag attempting to cross the street. While the woman narrowly missed being plowed over, her groceries tumbled onto the street as she fell backward. Behind them they left chaos.

Turk gulped air as the tension released. He got her!  He was ...well ....pretty sure he got her? Damn, it felt good!

****


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Calixto

Barón y Tarazona
298
?Years Young
50 Posts

"There are even rumors that we are descended from Hatuey, an early Taíno chief of Cuba, but that, my dear lady, is an entirely ridiculous hypothesis."


He was about to reach inside his vest for his sun cheaters, but then a meager Miami cloud passed over the face of the Sun and diminished the harsh brightness of the light bouncing off the scene which they were so carefully observing. He could see that Tennille was nearly at the newsstand when a new looking, dark green Franklin Tourer, with its distinctively smooth, barrel shaped engine hood, rolled up and abruptly parked beside the stand on the corner. So sudden was the stop that a truck behind the car had to slam on its brakes to avoid a smash.

The Baron was on the wrong side of the rear passenger seat to see clearly, he was waiting to shoot the lawyer on the sidewalk once he’d crossed the road and was walking along their side of the street. Ramon Ho in the driver’s seat at the front, however, had a totally clear view and called out to the Baron, excitedly in Spanish, the warning that “Someone else is going to hit him!” even before the first of the dozen loud cracks of Flagg’s twin revolvers sang out to the ragged accompaniment of people screaming and automobiles, suddenly stuck behind the truck, honking their horns.

It was all over so quickly that, by the time the Baron had shuffled over to the other side and peered out of the right hand side of the car, he wasn’t looking at the scene of the massacre, he was eyeballing the horrified looking driver of the Franklin as it sped past. “Tennille’s down but moving” reported Ho and released his own handbrake in anticipation of the Baron ordering him to get them out of there but, instead, the frustrated assassin swore in Catalan and then, again in Spanish, ordered Ho to try and get their vehicle to the other side of the road, against the traffic.

Now it was the Chinese Cuban’s turn to swear as he pulled the vehicle out and across the road, mounting the sidewalk in front of the truck at a crazy angle, the Baron jumping out of the passenger door even before the vehicle had come to a complete halt and almost falling on top of the prone Tennille, who was staring, quite dead, into some great beyond. The reason he was moving was because there was a little girl trapped beneath his newly slain cadaver, not screaming or even crying, even with her mother lying dead beside her and her own dress soaked with blood, but just tying desperately to get out from under the literally dead weight of the man who had jumped forward to shield her from a madman’s bullets.

As Calixto used main force to pull the corpse up and off the girl, satisfying himself that he really was dead, she scrabbled out from underneath and unsteadily gained her feet, staggering toward her prone mother in a daze while standers by and the occupants of the stymied cars started to move warily towards the dead and injured on the deck. The dapperly dressed man was about to leave it at that, when he noticed the wounded blonde and recognized her at once.

“Miss Stroud!” he shouted, running to her fallen form and staring at dark red liquid starting to pool about her. “You have been shot, I am going to take you to a hospital.” As if winged there by prescience, suddenly Ho was hovering on the other side of her, and the Baron ordered him to lift the girl into the car.


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Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
408
?Years Young
183 Posts

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


Wincing thru the pain, God she never felt anything like it before, Gracie was still conscious of her surroundings. There was a lot of people talking, shouting, it was all  babble. Yeah, she was definitely shot though she neither saw nor was aware of the other victims of Turk's brutal fusillade. As for herself, she only knew she had to see if she could get up and get the hell away from here, before the cops showed up. For those fleeting seconds, she managed to prop herself up on her elbows, glancing down toward the right side of her dress, there was a bloody hole in the material. She was shot in the thigh.

“Miss Stroud!” someone was standing over shouting  “You have been shot, I am going to take you to a hospital.”

The pain, the shock of it all, even the sun when she looked up all combined to prevent her from even recognizing the man. Well, at least it wasn't Turk, that much she was certain. She knew how gangland hits worked, the shooter opened up for all they were worth then fled the scene of the crime as fast as possible.

She then felt herself being picked up bodily by someone, not the man who spoke to her Wait! He had said 'hospital'? God no!

"No...no hospital! I ain't goin' to no hospital," she replied, it sounded more like a plea.

She was being loaded into a car - couldn't be an ambulance, they couldn't have possibly gotten there that fast. They weren't exactly being gentle with her. SHIT, it hurt!

"Just get me outta here. No hospital....please," she repeated her heartfelt desire.

 

 

 

 


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Calixto

Barón y Tarazona
298
?Years Young
50 Posts

"There are even rumors that we are descended from Hatuey, an early Taíno chief of Cuba, but that, my dear lady, is an entirely ridiculous hypothesis."


"No...no hospital! I ain't goin' to no hospital," she replied, it sounded more like a plea.

As a person who had actually been taught English as a foreign language, and taught it to an extremely high standard, the Baron deplored the girl’s use of the double negative. However, as for her horror of hospitals, he could well understand it, having quite recently spent two months in one with a Rif bullet wound in his backside.

The immensely strong Ho lifted her into the rear of the car with all the gentle care of a mother laying a newborn baby into a crib, but the girl was clearly in pain and shock, and judging by her reaction to the ordeal, he might just as well have been laying her down on a bed of nails. The Baron had thrown off his jacket and steadied Gracie with his hand as the chauffeur ran back to the front on set the vehicle in motion.

"Just get me outta here. No hospital....please," she repeated her heartfelt desire.

The Baron gave some orders to Ramon in Spanish which included an anglophonic word: Steele.

“I am taking you to a private clinic. Miss Stroud. Grace! Look at me and try to stay awake.” The Baron said firmly and calmly, before adding “I am sorry, but this is necessary.”

He reached down and firmly grabbing the hem of her skirt with both hands, gave a first short tug, which ruptured the seams, and then a longer, wider one which completely ripped away the material covering her legs. The sight revealed was a combination of the erotic and the ghastly that would have delighted any sadist.. or masochist. Her silk stockings and undergarments were a pure white, where they weren’t red with her blood, and a large dark circle on her thigh pumped out blood in time with the steadily falling rhythm of her heart.

“Open your legs!” he ordered, for the girl had naturally closed them tight in some primeval response to this assault on her lower garments, and he needed to get the clean white handkerchief which he had drawn from his breast pocket around the punctured thigh, above the wound. In the end he had to quite roughly force them apart at the knees before he could slide a hand under the creamy flesh and push the makeshift tourniquet round the upper leg.

“This will hurt.” He announced, and to make the binding tight he tied a square knot and inserted the best thing he could find to hand, a rather exquisite monogrammed fountain pen, to make a makeshift windlass. With this in place, he was able to tighten the band of material above the bullet hole to such a pitch that, while it produced almost as much pain as the wound, stopped the blood flow reaching it, and acted as a dam to the the flow that was bleeding her to death like an animal at the slaughterhouse.

By the time they reached the drive up to Grayson Steele’s anonymous looking clinic, the Baron was more or less lying on top of Gracie, holding the tourniquet tight for all his worth, now covered in almost as much slick and slippy blood as she was. She had stopped fighting him and now seemed to be fading. He gave her face a sharp slap with his free hand. "Grace, stay awake! Look at me. We are almost there." he panted.


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Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
408
?Years Young
183 Posts

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


She was lying down then....in a car. This man was above her and talking to her so she tried to focus. He was taking her to...a clinic? Wait...he was calling her by her name? How did he know who she was anyhow? If only it would stop hurting so much so she could concentrate and figure this all out.

"Not a hospital," Gracie repeated her express desire.

He was pawing at her now, her nice dress, he was ruining it! She resisted ...well, she wanted to resist but the more rational part of her realized he was just trying to tend to the wound. Though she did not know it at the time, if the man was observant enough he would realize that the bullet had gone clear thru. The entry wound was actually quite small but it was the exit wound which was causing the higher blood flow. Fortunately despite the blood loss her artery had not been hit. If that had happened the odds were highly unlikely she would have even survived to reach proper medical care.

"This will hurt!"

"Huh, it already does," she blinked thru the pain, but then soon grimaced as the man applied his makeshift tourniquet. She couldn't help it, a loud moan escaped from her. Wanting to tough it out didn't mean one could actually accomplish it. It goddamn well hurt and she was miserable.

Gracie lost all track of time really from the instant that bullet had ripped into her, she had no idea how long it took for them to arrive at ....wherever the hell they were going. Again all she could think about was that this better not be a hospital! She was becoming more light headed now. Things were fuzzy. Suddenly the man slapped her across the face! Well, that got her attention!

"Grace, stay awake! Look at me. We are almost there."

"Oww! I am awake.... and.... who....who are you?" her eyes fought to focus thru the haze. There was something about the man that did look familiar?

The vehicle lurched to a sudden halt though she didn't even notice. They had arrived.


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Calixto

Barón y Tarazona
298
?Years Young
50 Posts

"There are even rumors that we are descended from Hatuey, an early Taíno chief of Cuba, but that, my dear lady, is an entirely ridiculous hypothesis."


"Grace, stay awake! Look at me. We are almost there."

"Oww! I am awake.... and.... who....who are you?" her eyes fought to focus thru the haze. There was something about the man that did look familiar?

Tarazona pretended to look hurt. “You met me once before, last month. You gave me a lift.” he reminded her. Why should she remember such an inconsequential meeting?

The vehicle lurched to a sudden halt though she didn't even notice. They had arrived.

“We are going to carry you in. My chauffeur will carry you, and I will keep this tourniquet tight. We will find a doctor to make you better.” He hoped that telling her exactly what was going to happen next, as one might explain a visit to the doctor to a child, would help her to calm down a little.

Seconds after the car stopped, Ho was at Grace’s door; he opened it carefully and surveyed the situation. Somehow he didn’t think the company would get the deposit back on the hire care, there was blood everywhere. The two men spoke in Spanish and then the Baron, getting himself into a better position to move with her out of the car, warned her “Brace yourself, Grace, we are going to move you on the count of three.” He fixed her baby blues with his brown eyes and gave her a reassuring nod, then “One, Two, Three!”

It might have hurt, but at least it was quick, thanks to Ho’s strength and Tarazona’s swiftness. Ho carried Grace, her arms, legs and ripped, bloodstained clothes dangling limply, firmly in his iron arms and the Baron kept deftly close, keeping the band tight above her wound. The two of them, with their burden, crashed into the clinic reception area and the Baron demanded a doctor in a loud, commanding voice.


Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
408
?Years Young
183 Posts

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


She was lifted then out of the back seat of the car and carried into some indoor place, Gracie had no idea where they were. For now, it was just enough that she was still barely aware of her situation. The man who had talked to her, said that she had met him previously, was still right by her side. Suddenly he shouted very loudly, calling for a doctor to help them.

It was all out of her hands now, beyond her control. Besides the pain, she felt regret too. If she did die and that seemed to be what was going on - Flagg will have won. But maybe not, if she just hung on and did not give up, Gracie might get her chance yet to get her revenge.