Falling Beneath the Magnolia

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A Night Out...

Chapter 14: A night out…

14A, Bruce Point of View:

Cool winter breezes offer an escape from the usual sweltering Fall heat of New Orleans. The day is bright and apart from the wind, the crisp air does not reach above 59.

Along the sidewalk two men towering six feet walk side by side with a third trailing after. The men wear amused looks and seem to be sharing a jest. Bruce walks with his chubby curly haired friend Chuck. Bruce wears a denim jacket, jeans and cowboy boots. Chuck is sporting a leather jacket, corduroys and brown leather shoes.

The man trailing behind Bruce wears a leather jacket that is worn brown leather as opposed to Chucks black jacket. Bruce and Chuck make their way to the end of Breeze Street. Their destination is the French Market.

Everywhere Bruce looks people are out enjoying the late Friday morning. Woman walk with their children as the purchase items for their dinner. Salesmen move from one booth to another selling their wares.

When Bruce and company enter French Market even though it is packed elbow to elbow, the locals recognized Bruce. Avoiding eye contact and hope to spare themselves of his wrath. They clear enough space for Bruce and his companions to pass.

Bruce moves to the edge of the French Market and wades through the crowd. They slip into a small café; he stops his man at the door and says.

“Curtis wait outside.”

Before Bruce was offered Curtis as his bodyguard he never had really gotten a good look at him before. Curtis is a Louisiana native, originally from Mandeville, located across the river from New Orleans.

Curtis is five feet, six inches, he is short but stocky, his hair is brown it always remained uncombed.

“A man named Chase will be meeting us here he will be wearing a red tie, let no one else in…”

They enter the small café; the café is one room with five tables. Bruce and Chuck have the room to themselves apart from the clerk at the counter. Bruce walks to the counter to order.

“Hello Mr. McKean” Greets the middle-aged woman behind the counter.

She offers a friendly smile, but he can tell there is some apprehension. It had been two weeks since the heist and five weeks since the Purdue Street massacre. Word of the massacre had spread throughout the city, without bodies law enforcement had no evidence to charge anyone, that said, the fear the locals felt is apparent.

“Hello Mrs. Peterson, may I have two croissants and two coffee’s?” Bruce takes the two cups over to a table where Chuck sits. Bruce lifts his cup to his lips the hot nectar tastes wonderful and offers an instant perk up. While waiting for the food Bruce asks Chuck.

“So how is your cousin Bill getting along?” Chuck lifts his cup to his lips and his eyes light up at the taste.

“He will be fine, his injuries during the collision weren’t as bad as he first made them out to be, few broken ribs and fingers. The investigators seem to rule his part in collision an accident.”

The responders had not been able to get to the transport ship under the water right away. It took two weeks to safely get divers inside the ship to pull the corpses out, by the time that happened any blunt force trauma the victims suffered was indistinguishable from the flesh that he begun to rot away.

In addition to the crew members deaths from the Starbright, the crew member Chuck tossed from the deck of the casino ship had drowned. Chuck continued speaking to Bruce.

“Looks like we got away with it!” Chuck raises his cup of coffee several inches off the table, Bruce clinks their cups together. After the small celebration, Chuck continues.

“This is the best cup of coffee I have had in a while; but I am sure we didn’t come all the way here to have a cup?” Bruce nods his head.

“Yeah you’re right, I wanted a chance to talk to you without the rest of the crew around. All the units have been sold, the guy dropping off our cut will be here soon. Dellara doesn’t want me to receive such a large amount on Breeze Street. You never know if the law is watching.” Bruce pauses as Mrs. Peterson walks over with their breakfast. Thanking the woman Bruce waits for her to walk away before he continued.

“I never really got a chance to celebrate my promotion to Lieutenant, we did something small at the Cat House, but with the heist paying off I think there is no better night than tonight. I got us a couple of broads.”

“How do they look?” Asks Chuck.

“Most beautiful woman in the Quarter. They are upper class woman so your manners will need to be on point if you expect to get laid. We are going to take them to dinner then a show, perhaps we will hit some tables. Then tomorrow I want you to make some arrangements to get out of town.” Chuck sets his half-eaten croissant on his plate and with an amused smile on his face says.

“Are you tired of me already?” Bruce can hear the hint of amusement in Chuck’s voice. In the corner of his mouth Bruce feels a half smile form.

“Yeah I am, two weeks of me waking up to the sound and foul stench of your wet shits has me ready to give you the boot.” Chuck now has a smile ear to ear like a man recounting a fond memory.

“It’s not my fault that you’re bedroom and bathroom occupy the same room; I blame all this damn Cajun seasoning the food has been burning apart my insides.”

“I have seen the way you have been inhaling the food around here no one is telling you to get fourth servings of Gumbo.”

“Fare enough but understand, I planned to be back up north at some point, and I won’t get another chance to eat like this for a while.”

“Well then you will enjoy tonight we will be feasting like kings, then it is best if you sleep off the hangover tomorrow and then catch a train back north. I would hate for a member of my crew to suspect you for a liability.” The door to the café opens the man nods to Bruce.

He does not utter a word as he drops a messenger bag on the ground at Bruce’s feet. Then the man leaves the café as Bruce digs in the bag. The money is wrapped in two envelopes. One is sizably smaller. Bruce hands the money in the smaller envelope to Chuck. “I had an extra eight grand added”

“Thank you this should be enough to put the shit that happened in Chicago to rest.” Chuck tucks the envelope into his tube sock. They finish their coffee and reminisce a few fond memories and sometime later the two men leave the French Market.

“What do you have planned for the rest of the day? Want to get a drink?” asks Chuck.

“It’s 11 in the morning” Laughs Bruce before continuing. “I can’t I have to visit my banker, I am not going to leave this kind of cash in my shanty. I have to go to the other side of the town. A tux is going to be dropped off for you at my apartment. Meet me at the Cat House at 4:00 come to the bar dressed and we will leave for dinner at 5:30.”

Bruce leaves Chuck at the entrance to Breeze Street and hops on a streetcar heading down Decatur. He and Curtis hold onto the handrail as the Street Car speeds up. The other passengers avoid eye contact with him and Curtis. Locals can spot a wise guys from a hundred paces. When Bruce first got to New Orleans this being kept at arm’s length by the local population felt uncomfortable. As time went on the feeling of being able to intimidate, soon became a feeling of enjoyment, the rush of power felt better than any drink, drug, or heist ever could.

When the Street Car enters the business district Bruce pulls on the stop cord. Walking two blocks Bruce approaches a small single-story building. It is dwarfed by many other buildings. They walk around the back of the building.

“I am going to need you to wait outside” Says Bruce to Curtis. Bruce approaches a heavy iron door with an eye flap. Bruce rings the buzzer next to the door, his hand barley leaves the button before the eye flap is sharply rapped open. A pair of cold eyes stare at him waiting for Bruce to utter the password.

“I am here to feed the ferrets” Mutters Bruce uncomfortably. The man does not do anything after a moment of silence the guard says.

“The phrase changed last week who are you boy?” Asks a man with a Cajun accent.

“I am from Breeze Street; my name is Bruce McKean. I am here to see Barney.” Bruce holds up the messenger bag of money to the eye flap. Another set of eyes fill the gap, a voice on the other side says.

“That’s him move aside you lug.” The rusty hinges from the iron door moan as the door is opened. Bruce ushers himself into the building and the door closes tightly behind him. The person who let him into the building, Bruce recognizes as his banker, well banker is a stretch more like money launderer.

They walk into the main room, which is small, it has a hallway leading to bathrooms and another entrance. There is a single desk in the center of the room. A large safe is kept near the desk.

“What do you have for me today Bruce?”

Turning the bag upside down the envelope with the money falls with a heavy thud onto the desk. Since Bruce’s money comes from illicit means it was impossible to keep accounts like a regular joe, men like Bruce turned to money launderers. They were a more expensive option, but Bruce argued that they were a safer bet than a bank anyhow. As luck would have it Bruce and Dellara used the same money launderer, as such Bruce was given the same rate as his boss.

“I have seventy-four thousand dollars to add.” Barney opens the envelope and begins counting the cash. While Bruce waits he makes small talk with his banker.

“So, what is the new password?” Barney opens his ledger to look at Bruce’s past balance. He scribbles the combination of the new amount plus the old balance to give a new account balance. Barney passes the piece of paper to Bruce who glances down. The amount now totaled $271,000.00. After a quick look Bruce uses his Zippo to burn the slip of paper in the ashtray on the desk.

“The new phrase is going to be… Oh that coffee is terrible. Sorry that we change it so sporadically never know when an undercover will poke around.

“Everything seems in order Barney if that’s all I have to be going.” Barney walks Bruce to the door. Outside Bruce sees Curtis having a cigarette.

“Curtis let’s get back to the Quarter I could use a drink.”

“Your speaking my language.” Replies Curtis.

Bruce feels relieved to not be carrying around a small fortune on his person. They use the Streetcar to return to the Quarter. When Bruce steps off the Streetcar onto Decatur, as he approaches Breeze Street Bruce and Curtis spy a large cluster of people grouped around the butcher shop. Curious they inch closer as he approaches the crowd, one of the local shopkeepers see Bruce walking towards the crowd. Instantly the throngs of people part like a path through the red sea.

Laying on the sidewalk with her arms spread eagle is a woman Bruce recognized as Sarah Pettigrew. Her lifeless eyes full of emptiness stare into the heavens, flies land on her open eyes, causing Bruce to look away in disgust.

When he looks away he spots Gary lingering in the crowd. Gary turns his head telling Bruce to meet him away from the crowd. Bruce and Gary meet at the entrance to Breeze Street twenty feet away. Curtis tails Bruce.

“What happened?”

“Someone tried to pop Mickey as he walked out of the butcher shop. He and Beans were making a collection, and Ted Deluca took several shots out of a car, he would have gotten him if Sarah hadn’t stepped in the way.” Bruce’s face went pale white, he knew that name. Worse he knew who Ted’s older brother is.

“Sal Deluca’s brother…” Before Bruce could ask more they heard sirens from down the block.

“Come on we don’t need them asking us questions…” Mutters Gary pulling Bruce away.

Bruce and Gary with Curtis flanking them proceed to the Cat House. At a high-top table Bruce notices Dom and Mickey. There is a bottle of Bourbon on the table, half the contents are gone. Mickey looks drunk. As they approach Bruce hears Dom lecturing Mickey.

“If you go over there you could spark a war!”

“Dom they already sparked it! I have had enough of these fake white people; these Italians are a scourge to the city! We should string them up in the streets, it ain’t like it hasn’t been done before.” Mickey is referencing the 1891 mob lynching of several Italian men acquitted for the suspected killing of the Irish Catholic Police Chief David Hennessy.

“You keep talking like that and Marcello will have your guts for garters. We need to wait for Dellara”

“Fuck that the next time I see Ted Deluca he’s a fucking corpse.” Dom pours Bruce a shot now when he approaches the table.

“Mickey what happened?” Asks Bruce setting the empty shot glass on the tabletop. It is Dom who answers.

“It was Marcello he ordered a hit on Mickey.”

Bruce felt like he could have seen a ghost, Gary’s facial expression expresses similar alarm to that of Bruce’s panic.

“This is a mess.” Says Gary. Dom nods his head in agreement.

“Mickey’s death was only meant to serve as a warning. Before the hit we got a note dropped off by one of the greasers. It was from Giambi, Marcello’s underboss. He demanded half of the money from the river heist. It seems they feel cheated, he put out the hit as a show of force. Dellara is going to sit down with them and I hope they come to an agreement, he and Lucifer left for their hideout about ten minutes ago.”

Dom takes one last shot before leaving the men at the table with some parting words. “Listen it is best if y’all stay close tonight. I need to get to the collection office to see if Sammy has any orders.”

Bruce, Gary and Mickey drank in silence, after a few minutes Mickey stands up and walks up the staircase to his apartment. He was going to sleep off his drunkenness. After Mickey had left, Bruce silently speculated to himself. He hoped they weren’t going to enter into a turf war with Carlos Marcello. The New Orleans Crime Family had nearly 300 soldiers. Bruce knew that his crew wasn’t to be taken lightly but facing three to one odds he had understood that they could be facing extinction.

After the liquid courage of the alcohol, Bruce decided he had to get the rest of his day finished, he had one more stop to make. It took him ten minutes to reach the Tailor on Breeze Street, Walker Trimmings and Dry cleaning, it is a great shop, and Davie the owner relished that the men of Breeze Street often wore his wears. Bruce’s tux is a huntsman and was purchased at a trunk show, but he kept it at Davie’s because Bruce needed it cleaned and altered.

Inside the shop he finds Davie at his workstation, when the doorbell chimes he looks up from his work and greets Bruce.

“Mr. McKean, my apprentice is dropping off the tux for your friend as we speak. I also have your tux and a suit for your associate near the register.”

“Davie I won’t have time to get back home can I use your shower?” This isn’t an odd request Bruce had done this for big nights out. Davie had been expecting him to ask and gestures Bruce towards the staircase.

“Not at all, Linda will be out for a few hours. The towels are in the small closet by the door, you can leave your clothes on the floor, I still have a load or two of your clothes to finish, I also left cream and a razor out for you.” Bruce smiles at him and hands him three twenty-dollar bills.

“Davie you’re a damn good man, if you will excuse me I don’t have much time, Curtis put your suit on over in the corner and wait outside I won’t be long.” Bruce walked into the bedroom, before he does he lays his tux and clean underwear on a chair near the entrance to the bathroom and removes his pistol from his ankle holster he carried a revolver today.

Bruce first shaves before the mirror gets foggy, after his close shave Bruce jumps into the shower, he gives himself a thorough cleaning, he bathes with cold water to avoid sweating. After the shower Bruce leaves his clothes on the floor and dresses in the next room. He dresses slowly to avoid sweating in his tux, he would like to remain unsoiled if possible. Rolling down the leg of his slacks he covers his ankle holster. Bruce stops to admire himself in the mirror, he adjusts his black bowtie. Soon after he departs for the Cat House.

Entering the Cat House sometime later Bruce finds the tavern to be packed, in addition to the usual after work crowd, the bar is filled with forty or so members of the gang. At his usual booth he spots one of his two companions for the evening. Chuck looks smart in his new tux, Chuck has three empty glasses in front of him with a fourth glass in his hand.

When Bruce walks through the building, at the bar he spots Gary with his back turned. Chuck looks up as Bruce walks towards him. The room is oddly quiet, the women shot earlier on Breeze Street is most likely the cause of the eerie silence.

Taking his seat, Bruce waits for a passing server to order from. Chuck knocks back the remaining liquor in his glass and says.

“I see what you mean about me leaving New Orleans, your men have been staring at me since I walked in.”

“There was a woman killed near the butcher shop she was shot by mistake, Mickey was the intended target. Don’t worry they are just projecting on someone that’s in front of them, luckily the day after tomorrow you will be on your way up north.”

“I know I was busting your balls about leaving, but I can’t wait to leave. Looking around this room I have seen more cheer in a cemetery.”

Gary had made his way from the bar holding three glasses of whiskey, Bruce chuckled when he caught a glimpse of Gary in his tux. If only he had a red cummerbund, than he would look like the help rather than a participant. His signature Adam’s Apple didn’t help matters.

Bruce waves his hand mockingly at Gary, He shouts.

“Waiter hurry up with that whiskey I am thirsty.” Gary shakes his head at the insult, placing the drinks down on the tabletop Gary stands not wanting to sit on the inside of the booth.

“Eat shit McKean” Responds Gary sheepishly, making small talk he asks. “Is Marie bringing Lucy tonight?”

“She is, Lucy got in from Memphis a few nights ago.” The girls they were meeting tonight were at one time southern debutante’s, high class girls who lived lives of leisure. They had no jobs, in their mid-twenties these women used their looks and their trust funds to provide entertainment. Moving from one city to another, staying in fancy hotels and attending the finest plays, restaurants and clubs.

Just as Gary is about to engage further into discussing the women the main door to the bar opens. In walks Dellara, flanked by his new guard Billy and Lucifer. The locals look as if they could shit themselves here and now.

Dellara pays the sheep no mind, he walks table to table where his men are scattered about the bar. The crew must be wondering what their situation is, war or peace, and at what cost, blood or money?

“I wonder what he is saying to all of them?” Mutters Bruce to Chuck and Gary.

“Looks like we are gonna find out he is coming this way.” Lucifer trails behind Dellara, Lucifer wears his usual grey suit, covering the suit is a long trench coat that flaps in the air with his long strides. Chuck scooted over as Gary took a seat to make room for Dellara.

“Listen up fellas, I am not gonna beat around the bush you heard what happened to that woman earlier. I met with Giambi, Marcello’s underboss, I am going to see if he will take a pay off. That said we need to be careful; they might not know who in the crew planned the heist, but the attempt on Mickey shows they are willing to spill anyone’s blood…. I want y’all to be careful at the opera tonight, in addition to Curtis, I want Lucifer to tag along on this little group date of yours.” Gary groans to show his annoyance. Dellara remains firm despite Gary’s objections.

“Now I don’t want to hear it!” Gary ignores the fact that Lucifer is right next to him and snipes back.

“Lucifer is the anti-poon; I am trying to get laid tonight it’s going to be made that much harder with that undertaker skulking around.” Lucifer shoots Gary a look that could cut diamonds.

“He is going… I am not risking my golden goose getting popped, and you are not as valuable but still worth a bit. If Marcello finds out who robbed that ship in the crew he will no doubt make an example of them therefore Lucifer’s going, he should be enough to scare off anyone looking to make a name for himself.”

Out of his pocket Dellara withdraws a stack of cash he places a few hundred dollars on the table. “Here buy your gals some champagne on me, if you have any trouble you get on the horn.” Dellara turns around and walks past the bar with Billy trailing.

Bruce drains his glass of whiskey not long after Dellara’s departure. “Curtis, I want you to pull your car around. While he’s getting the car, we have time for one more, the girls are going to meet us at Antonine’s within the hour.”

The drive through the Quarter to Antonine’s is uneventful, the four of them made good time. Antonine’s is a fine dining establishment, dating all the way back to the 1840s. When they enter, Bruce sees many couples sitting down to dinner, like he and his companions, they are dressed in tuxedos, their dates wear original, one of a kind jewelry and evening dresses.

“Mr. McKean it has been a few months” Says the hostess who recognized him. “We had an overbooking” Bruce looks at the girl in the eyes. He could see her beginning to panic. “But don’t worry we put your party inside the Rex Room, it may be a little spacious for your needs.”

Bruce and his men are led to a large dining room, on the wall there is an oil large painting of a queen. In glass display cases on the walls there are pictures of the past Mardi Gras’s, many feature the royal court chosen throughout the years. The room has emerald green painted walls and the carpet is a lush red, spotless of stains.

Bruce’s eyes are not drawn to the neatly arranged table but to the creepy unsettling painting on the wall. Her eyes appear to follow him around the room, the way she is looking at him it is as if she is trying to speak to him. Looking at it, Bruce laughs under his breath and sits with his back to the painting, the last thing he needed is that fucking face staring at him during the entire meal.

“Lucifer why don’t you take a lap, I would rather my date not have a heart attack!” Orders Gary, Lucifer shoots him a look and then leaves the room.

“Curtis why don’t you wait outside the room, only staff and the women through!” Curtis nods and takes an extra chair from the wall and brings it outside with him.

The service staff begins filling the wine and champagne glasses on the table. Following shortly behind are the men’s dates for the evening. All three by modern standards are comely, none more so than the center girl. Tall nearly five feet- ten inches, her legs were longer than her torso, her long black hair is curled and the ringlets flow below her pale yet symmetrical shoulders. Her eyes were a Smokey green, her lips were bright red and cheeks naturally rosy.

“Marie” Calls Bruce as he scoops the women in the center up into a light hug, his date Marie places a warm kiss on his cheek leaving a thin red smear from her lips stick, she wipes it off with her thumb, Bruce places his hand on her lower back steering her to the table.

Marie’s full name is Marie Rushall, the Rushall’s were a powerful southern family, she was an heiress to dozens of holdings, coming from an upper-class family, Marie reminds Bruce of a woman he used to date. Even Marie’s uncommon beauty couldn’t hold a candle to Callie Bee. Bruce knew he was being ridiculous in this comparison, he hadn’t seen Callie Bee in years, in his mind he built her up as the unmatched beauty. In reality Bruce was sure if the two women were in the same room he would think that they are both striking.

“Marie you look stunning tonight, here let me get that for you!” Exclaims Bruce as he pulls her chair out to sit, holding the chair the woman takes a seat. The other men with lust on their forefronts follow his lead.

“Thank you Bruce you are looking,” Her voice trailed off as she admired him and then continues a few seconds later whispers in his ear. “You are looking very edible, if they weren’t here I would have you down to your skivvies… you will just have to wait until later tonight.” Once he is seated she places her hand on his leg and her gentle fingers creep across the line.

Just then the doors to the hall open and the serving staff is ushered in. Bruce raises a glass of champagne in the air, he holds the glass by the stem between his index finger and thumb, the other five follow suit. Standing Bruce waves his glass around in a small semi-circle, with their attention on him he clears his throat and says.

“I would like to offer a toast to our lovely dates, you three most be the most beautiful dates in the Quarter, thank you for being with us tonight we are made better by your presence, to beauty”

The others clink their glasses and return his cheers.

As they sip their drinks the Oysters Rockefeller arrive, the staff ushers them into the Rex Room, the smell of parsley and butter fill the large room. As the staff places the oysters on their plates, Marie playfully nudges Bruce in his ribs with her elbow.

“What are we seeing tonight?” Asks Marie, Bruce doesn’t have a chance to answer, when Marie spoke she spoke loud enough that everyone at the table can hear. Chuck answers first, he had his serviette childishly tucked into his dress shirt. The white front of the serviette or napkin as the item is commonly known, is stained with oyster and butter shrapnel. He chews with his mouth open, spitting out the food as he spoke.

“Carmen” he picks several more oysters off a passing trey, his plate full, Chuck uses his fingers to pull one off the plate. Marie, and Lucy look away ignoring him. Chucks date is not so lucky, Danelle’s looks on in revulsion.

As soon as Chuck wipes his mouth on the front of the serviette, he places his hand on Danelle’s thigh, Danelle moves his hand off. Chuck not caring takes a large swig of wine and continues to inhale oysters.

Marie had gracefully turned away from Chuck and with a large smile on her face she says to Bruce.

“I loved that play, I have never seen it all the way through, Daddy took me to New York a few years ago we saw it at the Met. My father felt ill and we had to leave during the last act. Who’s headlining?”

Bruce lifts his tux pocket and produces a playbill Gary had gave him during the ride over.

He places it on the table, Marie huddles closer, the ends of her hair tickles his knuckles. Bruce flips to the page that list the cast and runs his finger along the names as Marie reads…

“Peter Reining? I have never heard of him… Lucy!”

Marie speaks louder than she had when speaking to Bruce as her friend is across the table from her.

“What?”

“Cali Knowles is playing the lead!!”

“We saw her last year in DC, she was mesmerizing, her voice is something out of a fairy tale.” States Lucy.

The girls continued speaking of this actresses accolades. Another wine bottle is brought in by the staff, entrees are soon placed in front of the group.

Bruce had thoroughly enjoyed himself. Laughing with his friends and making conversation with the women, being upper-class they had been well traveled.

The women regaled them on their adventures to Paris and Rome. Bruce feels nice and tipsy, he had just finished roaring in laugher at the punchline to Chucks joke, even Gary erupted in a fit of laughter.

The former tension that had been with Chuck and Gary since the start seemed to melt away within the Emerald walls of this room.

Everything went along smoothly; it wasn’t until they were finishing desert that things turned for the worse. Lucy had stood up to use the restroom, she had left her seat next to Gary and crossed the room. When she was five feet from the door, the door opens from the other side.

Bruce had expected the staff with the bill instead looming in the frame of the door is the sickly appearance of Lucifer. Lucifer enters the room, Lucy had her head to turned towards the table and hadn’t noticed him, Lucy is a local. She knew exactly who the Pale Death is…

When her eyes rest on him, she turns almost as white as he, she bellows out a shrill of a scream. Marie lazily held a glass of wine, upon hearing her friend scream she spills it all over the table. Before Bruce can speak to calm Lucy, her eyes roll into the back of her head and she faints. Gary had barely gotten there in time to brace her fall, with Lucy’s head cradling in his lap he snipes at the ghoul.

“You better have a good fucking reason for bothering us, I told you to wait outside dog”

Lucifer ignores Gary’s tone and sweeps into the room as if nothing had happened. He speaks to Bruce.

“You need to come with me”

Bruce follows Lucifer out into the hallway, Curious at what causes this interruption, Gary trails after them.

“I found someone rooting around where they shouldn’t have been” Says Lucifer.

He leads him to the courtyard outside the restaurant.

Beaten to a pulp they find a man Bruce recognized from the casino. His name was Dustin, he had been at the casino the day Bruce had made bones.

Lucifer had tuned Dustin up, his hands were not bound, but he wouldn’t be able to get loose as every finger is bent in an unnatural position, with all his fingers broken he would not be able to undo the rope that is tied tightly, it bind him to an iron fence post.

“I snatched him in the alley, he had a partner, but the little shit slipped away.”

“Who’s he work for?”

It was Bruce who answered Gary.

“He is one of Marcello’s men from the Casino” Lucifer speaks up again.

“McKean he has been following you since the French market this morning.”

Bruce turns to Curtis who lingered in the shadows. Bruce frowns at his man’s incompetence to catch sight of this stalker.

“He knew where you and Gary were going tonight.”

Bruce wasn’t going to be intimidated by this, he had five armed men counting himself.

“They sent one-man big deal.”

Lucifer walks over to the man.

“Tell him who you answer to!”

Bruce leans in to hear Dustin speak. He mutters one word.

“Sal”

Lucifer pulls on Bruce’s elbow

“See Marcello is sending one of his best button men after you, we need to tread lightly perhaps we should head back to Breeze Street.”

“No, we will not let these punks scare us! Gary get on the horn, call to the collection office and see if they can send some more bodies to meet us at the opera house. Lucifer what are we going to do with him?”

“Go back inside have some desert, I’ll dispose of him”

Bruce follows Gary into the restaurant and looks back at Lucifer, still in earshot Bruce can hear him.

“Take this”

Lucifer holds something small between his fingers. Dustin is hesitant, Lucifer helps him along by putting his stainless steel 1911 against Dustin’s temple.

Dustin takes the pill, Bruce and Gary continues inside Bruce wasn’t going to let someone ruin his good time.

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