2 – The Revelation at O’Malley’s
Jon stumbled through the door of his apartment. The doorknob fitted perfectly into the hole in the drywall from all the other times he had come home forcibly. He tossed his coat over the couch and took off his tie on the way to the kitchen. There wasn’t much blood on the tie, but his shirt was a different matter altogether. Realizing it was ruined with blood stains, he ripped his shirt from his torso, shooting the buttons across the room.
After dropping the shirt in the trash can, he grabbed the scotch from above the fridge and opened a small bottle of pills. He took a handful, tossing them into his mouth, and washed them down with a few big gulps of scotch. Today, he really needed his opiates, his face felt like a ringing bell and his body, as if it had been stepped on by a horse. Normally, he would take a couple of his opiates at the end of the day to just relax, but knowing he had a reason to take them, made taking more of them a pleasure.
All he could think about was how he could make Big Tommy and his boys, pay for they had done, not only to him, but to Angel City. The more he thought of it, the more his heart raced and fists shook. He opened the refrigerator, hoping to find a nice, thick, raw steak that he could put on his eye, but it seemed that he hadn’t been to the butcher in over a week. He sighed, then looked at his watch. He just had enough time to change into a new suit and run out the door if he wanted to meet Joe Grant at O’Malley’s for that drink…
It was as loud as ever in O’Malley’s that night; packed to the rafters with the boys in blue, shouting and being unruly. A room full of beer soaked mustaches and tarnished badges. The only person in the bar that didn’t look like they were celebrating was Commissioner Joe Grant.
“Whatdaya know, Joe?” Jon said, as he sat down on the stool next to him.
“Ah,” Grant said. “I didn’t think you would show?”
“Why’s that?” Jon asked.
“Take a look around,” Grant said. “You’re not the most popular person around here.”
Jon scanned the room and noticed that it was much quieter than when he had walked in. The boys in blue were giving him death glares, all through O’Malley’s. “I knew I wasn’t popular, but I didn’t realize I was on a hit list.”
“Well, that’s what happens when you try to take down a guy who pays this room more than the city does,” Grant said.
Jon shrugged it off. “I know that some of these guys might be on the take but…”
“No,” Grant said, slamming down his empty glass. “Try all of them. You and me, kid, we are the only ones not on that bastard’s payroll.” Grant’s eyes were pulled to the door. “Speaking of…”
Jon looked to the door and saw Judge Erickson walking in. “That jerk has to be on the take, too,” he said.
“Oh, he is,” Grant confirmed. “That old fart is as crooked as they come.”
Judge Erickson rolled his eyes at the sight of Jon and kept walking to the back, finally sitting at a table in the corner. “That guy is just as big a problem as Big Tommy. He’s the reason why we have Big Tommy, and guys like him, in the first place.”
Grant threw his hands in the air. “Whatcha gonna do?” he said.
“I’m gonna do something all right,” Jon said, as he rose from his stool.
Grant’s giant hand grabbed Jon by the arm. He kept looking forward, to not arouse suspicion. “You’re not gonna do a goddamn thing in here, boy.” He pulled him back down on the stool. “These degenerates are just looking for a reason to plug you. Tommy would probably give them a cash bonus.”
“I can’t just sit here and do nothing,” Jon said.
“You better,” Grant said. “Or, you’ll be dead.” He flagged the bartender down and pointed to his empty glass. “Live to fight another day. That’s my motto.”
“Well, it’s a hoot, that is!” Jon said. “Something needs to be done, by any means necessary.”
“I’m gonna pretend that I didn’t hear that,” Grant said.
Suddenly, the boys in blue, all started to cheer and applaud. Jon and Grant, turned their attention to the door to see what the ruckus was about. Steam was almost coming out of Jon’s ears as he watched the mighty coppers cheering the entrance of Billy Boom Boom Brown.
The men were shouting things like, “You guys did it!” and “You beat the system!” They were making a mockery of the law that they had sworn to uphold. Boom Boom stopped when he saw Jon sitting at the bar.
“Hey! Jonny-Boy! How’s the face?” Boom Boom said. “Bartender, get this little fighter anything he wants and put it on my tab.” Boom Boom patted him on the back and kept walking. It took everything in Jon to not explode in pure rage.
Grant took a look at his face. “Holy crap! I didn’t notice those shiners,” Grant said. “You should put a thick, raw steak on those.”
Through gritted teeth, Jon said, “I know. I need to see the Butcher!”
The icing on the cake was when Jon saw Judge Erickson stand up from his table and greet Boom Boom with a hug. Boom Boom then joined him at his table. Jon’s blood boiled. He had to come up with something! There was no way he could stand idly by any longer and let Angel City turn into a deeper, thicker cesspool.
“I’m outta here, kid,” Grant said. “There’s gonna be a prize fight on the radio in about an hour. Gotta get home before then. Listen to the wife talk at me for a few.”
Jon’s interest was piqued. “Did you say, a fight?”
“Yeah, boxing,” Grant said. “Have you heard of it? It’s very popular.”
“Yes, I know what boxing is,” Jon said. “Where is it? The fight?”
“It’s over at the Angel City Boxing Club,” Grant said. “But, I’m sure it’s sold out. Take it easy. Good job again today.” He patted Jon on the back and headed towards the door. “I’d get out of here, too, if I were you.”
Jon realized that the only reason he wasn’t being accosted, was that he was sitting with the boss of the boys in blue. Jon pounded his drink and left the bar.
He lit a smoke and said to himself, “I gotta go see a fight.”