Chicago’s Vice

The fog floods my lungs as I struggle to my feet. Cramped legs protest my subtle, silent movements. I wince with pain. 4:30. My watch tells me I’ve been hunched behind this stack of wood crates for an hour longer than I had hoped. Maybe my informant was wrong. Maybe she lied. Impossible. She owes me too much. Her information is solid. 

I shake out the damp locked beneath the collar of my canvas jacket in time with the fog horn blowing off the docks. Jesus, I can’t see a thing. Just a thick blanket of mist infiltrating every pore, every crevice; growing rust on every ship. I want to leave; to turn tail and go home to the warmth of my salon. Who am I compared to Giuseppe the Bottleneck: smuggler, businessman, mafioso? Me, some flapper tart from uptown who got a funny notion. 
I’ll wait just a few moments more. He has to be here, there’s no other way to get that poison into our town and I need it. I need the proof on his label, the evidence of his hands on the bottle. I’ve tracked him this far; from darkened stairwells, behind passwords and doors I have followed him, the king of this city. And I will bring him down. Just a few minutes more.
Waves lap the pylons that keep this wharf upright, the boards moan under the moisture in the air, under the booted footsteps of men. I crouch low, my auburn hair hidden beneath the black scarf I borrowed from the housekeeper. He won’t see me until I want him to, the woman who will end his reign. More boots, the muffled cough of age behind a limp cigarette. It’s embers marking the man’s pace. I can smell him. 
Their eyes stare into me, their breath mingling with the fog. They wait for the signal. Soon, I promise resolutely.
Where would they be without me? Treading water in an open case; never drawing nearer. The morning I threw open those brass doors they were saved. A little woman in white trousers had outdone them all. A little woman in white trousers had handed them a prize. My facts checked out, though they tried hard to poke holes in my theory. A girl can learn a lot more than a copper can in a lounge they aren’t supposed to know about. And I did. 
The crowbar wrapped in his gloved hands cracks open a wooden crate just off a gangplank. It’s silent, but for the fog horn – a sound I’ll hear for days after, imprinted in my mind. He takes a glove to his teeth and slides it off his hand. Each bottle is inspected. I step out from the shadows and I know he sees me. Then the men. This day would change him. This day he would remember his daughter, Francis Falcon: Investigative Reporter and snitch.

Posted by

Jaymee is the creative director and writing force behind Beaux Cooper Media. She loves to collaborate with other writers and journalists across the genres. Jaymee lives on the beautiful coast of Rhode Island with her cat, Ada, and dog, Bean.

Leave a Reply