A Sinful Angel
The year was 1924 and New York city was taking the new wholesome rule of prohibition in stride. As long as that stride is over an open subway grate. On the surface the city was sleeping and business ran as usual, but looks as they say can be deceiving. The raw underbelly of the city was its own living, breathing creature. A creature that lives in the shadows and is never seen in the daylight.
I’m Roy Dobbins, detective for the NYPD with the organized crime unit. My target is Ralph Marconny, the head of the Marconny crime family. The problem with crime families is that everyone knows who they are and what they do, but no one knows anything about it. The only way I am going to catch him is to catch him in the act. I know a place that people say he hangs out, the 21 club up on 52nd. So that is where I am headed tonight.
I walk into the club dressed in civies with my badge put away. I still had my sidearm of course, I’m not stupid. A cop walking into a known speakeasy and den of organized crime, should always have a bit of insurance. I hoped I wouldn’t need it but as I said, not stupid. The place is packed, music is playing and the girls are dancing.
I take a seat at the bar and order a whiskey, American of course, and look around the room and there he is sitting in the corner surrounded by women and a few of his men. All I need now is for him to do something I can get him on. Some proof of what everyone knows he does. I will find something if I have to sit her all night on this stool.
Then I see her, the most beautiful dame I have ever seen. Her short blond hair cut in bob held back by a headband with a peacock feather on one side. Her dress clung to her feminine form, showing off her curves. She stands on the stage and sings like an angel in front of the club.
“Who is she?” I ask the bartender.
He glances up before shaking his head “Stay away from that one. She’s trouble. That is Ralph’s girl Lottie.”
I order another whiskey and continue to watch my quarry. Ralph is watching Lottie sing, but at the same time his arm was around another dame. How can a girl put up with that treatment? Men these days just don’t know how to treat a real dame.
Once she is done singing Lottie saunters over to the bar and orders and gin and tonic.
She looks me up and down as I sat on my bar stool. “Haven’t seen you around fella, you new in these parts?”
I light up a cig and think about what to tell this blond angel of beauty. “Normally go to a club over on 32nd. Thought I would try something new tonight. What about you? You always sing here?”
She turns to me and smiles showing those pearly whites. “Four nights a week.” She says sweetly..
“Should be seven, you sing like an angel.” I reply.
She lets out a giggle that sounded like the chiming of bells. “Careful there doll, I might think you are giving me a compliment.”
I chuckled at her assessment of my comment “Well we don’t want that now. You might think I like ya.”
She sipped her drink and scanned the room. “You looking for someone?” She asks.
“No one specific.” I answer.
She takes my hand and smiles at me “Come dance with me.”
I know I should stay on my stool and continue to watch my quarry, but this innocent angel standing in front of me brakes down my resolve and I go against my better judgment. I follow her to the dance floor and take her in my arms. I can feel the soft skin of her back as we moved around the dance floor. She looks up at me with those brilliant blue eyes and I know I am lost. Drowning in those deep pools of innocence as I hold the vibrate woman in my arms.
As we continue to move around the dance floor I look down at this angel of a woman and ask “What is an innocent angel like you doing with a man like that?” nodding towards Ralph sitting at his table.
She again lets out the innocent giggle “Ralphy is not that bad, and it is not like I have much choice. Don’t see any other men taking care of me.”she admits. “You going to promise to take me away from all this, sugar?”
My mistake is that I take my attention off my target. As the song ends I look up and Ralph is not at his table any more.
I have heard that he has an office in the back of this club, of course I also heard that he owns this club. I excuse myself from the lovely lady stating I need to use the restroom. As I make my way towards the back of the club I hear voices, angry voices. It sounds like someone has pissed Ralph off. I walk down the hall as quietly as I can until I came to a door that is slightly open. The voices inside were arguing among themselves and took no notice of my presence outside the room.
It seems that this man had borrowed money from Ralph and was not able to pay it back. I listen to their argument as the man begs for more time to get the money and Ralph continues to tell him that he has had enough time and Ralph is tired of waiting. All I needed was him to admit something that was not on the up and up. Ralph then gives me exactly what I want. I reason to arrest him.
Ralph tells the man that he is out of time and either he has the money now or pay the price for stealing from the Marconny family. The man admits that he doesn’t have the money right then and begs one more time to give him a little more time to get the money together. The man pulls out all the bills in his pocket and places them on the desk and promises to get the rest. Ralph laughs at the man before pulling out a pistol and shooting the man in the head, stating that no one steals from the Marconny family.
I can’t stand in the hall anymore , I have my man! I just witnessed him commit murder. I push open the door and pull my side arm. “Ralph Marconny You are under arrest for murder.” I say.
Ralph looks at me and laughs “I am not going to jail.”
“I think you are mistaken. I just saw you shoot and kill that man over money. You are going to jail.” I tell him confidently.
Ralph gave out a cruel laugh “You just want what’s mine.”
Now I am confused “I want nothing of yours. I only want you in jail.” I tell him.
“I go to jail, you think you will get Lottie, but really you know nothing.” he says. “She is my girl and will always be my girl.”
As he makes this proclamation I hear a gunshot from behind me and pain explodes across my back. As I fall to the floor next to the dead man I look up and see Lottie standing over me with a gun in her hand. I hear Ralph’s voice one last time “No one steals what is mine.”