Speak Easy
1920s America...where the gin joints were underground, the liquor was fine, women enjoyed life, and organized crime was born.
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J.A. Fletcher

Walter Fox walked amiably up the stairs of Boston's City Hall in the Government Center. He entered the great building and took the elevator to the mayor's office. Upon the door of his office was a window set with frosted glass, the lettering on the glass reading, "JAMES M. CURLEY, MAYOR". He knocked upon the window, and heard a "come in".

He entered and saw Mayor Curley reclined at his desk with a National Geographic.

"Oh." Curley said, sitting up straight in his chair. "It's you, Fox."

"Sure."

"Well, have you got any good news?"

"Indeed I have."

Curley bolted even further forward. "What is it? I can use good news."

"Jim, I plan to start a War on Crime in Boston. By the end of this decade, I will have all major gangs eradicated. Behind bars, or - otherwise."

Curley sighed. "Fox, you've killed more gangsters in the past year than you can count, yet we've had plenty of places hit badly in the last month. Things have only gotten worse. What are you gonna do, just go out and have an open season on gangsters?"

7/1/2011 #1
J.A. Fletcher

"In a way." Walter replied. "The public simply doesn't respect us, Jim. They know we're more crooked than a hooker's legs, because they know what we do behind closed doors."

"What?" Curley asked. "Make hookers' legs crooked?"

Walter laughed. "I insist that we stop taking bribes - let's go straight. That means give up the Post Office thing."

"What?" Curley replied. "That was twenty years ago."

"I don't mean that." Walter replied. "The public respected you for that. Nobody cares if you break the law to give people jobs - hell, most people in Boston wouldn't care if you broke the law just to see if you could. No, what I mean is the fact that you have the mail of known mobsters forwarded to your personal office. The U.S. Postal Service is bad, but not that bad."

Curley looked disturbed at Walter's knowledge of his doings. "Well, I gotta find out what they're doing. I repackage the mail and send it on it's way - I don't see what the issue is."

"The issue is that you take money, Jim. You put all that dough that comes through the mail into your pocket. Now tell me I'm lying. And that's on top of the cash they're greasing you with."

7/1/2011 #2
J.A. Fletcher

"You're not lying. But what does it matter? It's dirty money. It may as well go back into the hands of the city." Curley replied. "In any case, what are the gangs going to do? Sue me? Call the police?"

"I don't know if you quite understand the concept, Jim." Walter replied. "The citizens love the mobs. The mobs bring them booze. They bring them hookers, dope, pornography and every other vice under the sun. If the mobs are not happy, the public is not happy. And when the public is not happy, Jim, that means no re-election."

"What is the difference, Walter?" Curley replied. "I've been doing this for a long time yet."

"And how happy is the public with you?"

"Well, they're -"

"They're upset with you. They're seeing Boston become a warzone. You'll be out of this office before they can take the name off the window. And I'll be in your place."

"I don't quite understand." Curley said. "What is your ultimate goal? To get me out of office?"

"I dare say not!" Walter said. "I've got bigger things to go on to. If you think for one moment that I would get caught in the snare that is the mayoral office, then you've got another thing coming."

8/1/2011 . Edited 8/1/2011 #3
J.A. Fletcher

"Well, damn it, man! What is your point? Do you think the city council, the police, my office - do you believe that everyone is going to go straight on the command of Walter Fox?"

"Sure."

Curley's blood pressure rose and a vein popped out of his forehead. "WHAT?!"

"Keep your shirt on, Jim." Walter said. "If you want to serve another term, it will happen. You can make it happen."

"Walter -" Curley replied. "If you wish to pursue this, then one of us is sure to be shot!"

"Then I suppose we must take that risk."

"But why? You've never - never spewed this sort of talk before."

"Perhaps I was biding my time."

"Mm, yes, perhaps." Curley said sarcastically. He reached down into his watch pocket on his vest and checked his time piece. "I have a meeting in a little while, and I must prepare for it."

"Then I will speak with you again."

Curley grumbled something in reply. Walter left the office, grinning.

8/1/2011 #4
J.A. Fletcher

Walter Fox took the elevator to the ballroom. He straighted his white bowtie. He was clad in a tuxedo with tails, a white shirt and arrowed collar, and shoes like a mirror.

"How do I look?" He asked the negro operator.

"Swell, sir." The operator replied. "You're gonna be the finest man at the ball."

"Thank you." Walt replied. The elevator stopped.

"We here." The operator said, then pulled open the gate. Walt stepped out into the ballroom that looked as though it were made of porcelin. There were large French windows at both ends of the room, one side that looked out toward Boston, and another that had a view obscured by buildings that sloped downward from a hill near Chinatown.

A string quartet played "Glo-Worm", and Walt looked around for familiar faces.

8/29/2011 #5
J.A. Fletcher

Eddie pulled at his tails. He had torn one of the buttons from above one of the tails, and he knew he would catch hell for it. He had taken this waiter job happily, ready to do something that wasn't carrying lumber or skywalking. But he didn't know he would be wearing this monkey suit. It was okay, though, except the part of carrying a silver platter for people who already had enough silver in their mouths.

8/29/2011 . Edited 8/29/2011 #6
Phoebe Powers

((How can Russ be here when he is at the Jazz Club?))

8/29/2011 #7
J.A. Fletcher

((Oops. I meant Eddie.))

8/29/2011 #8
J.A. Fletcher

Tony sat in the City Hall courthouse, waiting for the verdict to be brought in by the jury. The jury reentered the jury box, and the foreman with a serious expression on his face, started walking toward the judge. They had only been in the jury room for seven minutes and fifteen seconds. Tony had counted. He was jumpy. He had asked for Steve, but couldn't find him anywhere. No one could find him. Steve was going to get it real bad for this. He was going to be dumped in the foundation of the next building to be constructed. His eyes darted back and forth from the jury to the jury foreman.

The judge took the piece of paper from the jury foreman, and read it with the same idiotic fucking expression on his face. If it was an undesireable verdict, he was going to have the foreman murdered and the eleven other men with him.

"...guilty in the first degree on all counts."

Tony's eyes opened wide and he bolted forward. His lawyer, hired after they could not find Steve, nervously adjusted his tie and took a few steps away from Tony. Tony saw the movement and jumped on him, pummeling him with his fists. A bailiff vaulted over the aisle rail and tacked Tony, punching him in the process. Two more bailiffs grabbed him and they held him down in the chair.

"I sentence the defendent, Tony Enrico Moreno, to one hundred and ninety-nine years in a state prison." The judge said with a sudden sneer on his face.

"ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE YEARS?!" Tony shouted at the top of his lungs. "BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!"

"Bailiffs -- remove this rabble from my courtroom."

The bailiffs dragged Tony out of the courtroom. Steve was going to get it.

9/12/2011 #9
J.A. Fletcher

((From Train Station))

It was ten minutes to five o' clock, and Joe parked his car, now in his tuxedo that he had changed at the train station locker room, and entered the City Hall to wait for Alice.

9/15/2011 #10
Phoebe Powers

((From Morgan House Second Floor))

Alice had changed into her wedding dress and curled her hair, though she left it down. She took a cab to City Hall and smiled as it pulled to a stop. For a moment she almost couldn't believe this was happening. In just a short time she would be Mrs. Whalen. Just the thought of it filled her with such a feeling of pure bliss and contentment. She paid the cabbie and stepped out of the car before walking into City Hall.

9/15/2011 #11
J.A. Fletcher

A man dressed in a spiffy porter uniform saw her wedding dress and figured she was Alice.

"Mrs. Whalen?"

9/15/2011 #12
Phoebe Powers

Alice smiled and looked at the man. "I'm not Mrs. Whalen just yet," she answered. "But I will be soon enough."

9/15/2011 #13
J.A. Fletcher

"Well, this way," the porter said, walking her toward the ballroom. He stopped in front of an older couple who he had been told were Alice's mother and father, whom the groom had picked up from the train station and brought to the wedding so that Mrs. Whalen would have someone to walk her down the aisle.

9/15/2011 #14
Phoebe Powers

Alice froze when she saw her parents standing there. "Mother? Father? What are you doing here?"

"A lovely gentleman contacted us and told us you were getting married and he requested our presence," her mother said.

It was obvious that Joe had done this. She didn't even know what to think. She hadn't even seen her parents in over two years, though they had been trying to get her to move up to Connecticut to get away from all the mob violence in Boston. "In that case I am glad you are here."

"We wouldn't have missed this. It is an important day in a young woman's life," her father commented.

"And yet you had no problem missing out on every other day of my life," Alice answered. Then she let out a deep breath. "No, I am not going to get into this today. Let us just leave it at thank you for coming."

9/15/2011 #15
J.A. Fletcher

((From Harris Apartment))

Arnold, Joe's best man stood at the end of the ballroom with Joe and the priest. He looked down the rows and rows of people, most of whom were unfamiliar with Joe and Alice, but wanted to show their support. There were almost 150 people in attendance, and less than five were personally acquainted with Joe or Alice. Even Walter Fox and Mayor Curley were sitting in attendance, in the front row of the folding chairs. It was a grand affair, and Joe hoped Alice would like it.

Joe looked over at the string band, one of the most well known in town. He knew it wasn't the best, but it was the best he and Arnold could do with one day to plan.

9/15/2011 #16
Phoebe Powers

Alice looked back at her parents. Why would Joe have invited them to a civil ceremony? Unless...was it possible that he had actually put together a full wedding? "Did Joe bring you here so you could give me away?" she asked. When her father nodded Alice knew that her thoughts were right so she looked at her mother. "Mother, would you be my matron of honor then?" There was no chance that Sammy would be there and the only other person who could have filled the position was Rosie and she worked every day.

"I would be honored."

"Thank you," Alice replied. "I guess that's everything then."

9/15/2011 #17
J.A. Fletcher

"Here she is." Arnold whispered to Joe. Joe peered through the large doors and hoped Alice would like what he did.

"They're ready for you." The porter said to Alice and her parents.

9/15/2011 #18
Phoebe Powers

Alice's eyes widened as she got a look at the ballroom, and all of the people there. She had been expecting there to be no one but her, Joe, and an officer of the court to deal with the paperwork. Instead she could see Joe at the end of the aisle standing near a preacher. It didn't matter that she really didn't know anyone there (and it was likely Joe didn't either). What mattered was that he had put all of this together for her, just to make the day special.

She smiled as her gaze met Joe's, and she hoped he could see just how surprised she was by this and how much she loved it. It was really a perfect day. Alice watched her mother walk down the aisle and take the place reserved for the maid or matron of honor, and then Alice took her father's arm so he could walk her down the aisle.

9/15/2011 #19
J.A. Fletcher

The bandleader nodded to the members of the band and they started the "Wedding March". Joe watched as Alice walked down the aisle with her father, realizing that he would finally have someone to be with him through all his troubles, someone to speak to where there was no one before, and someone to hold his hand.

9/16/2011 #20
Phoebe Powers

Alice couldn't stop smiling as she walked down the aisle, though it did feel just a little odd to have her parents there. She definitely had not been expecting that. When they reached Joe and the priest, her father handed her off, and she had to bite down the thought that handing her off was what he was good at. This was supposed to be a happy day so she was going to try and let everything else go until a later time.

9/16/2011 #21
J.A. Fletcher

The ceremony went as planned, and before tying the knot, the priest looked at Joe.

"I believe the husband has something he wishes to say." He said.

Joe nodded. He looked at Alice. "I prepared a little something. Had a hell of a -" He looked nervously toward the priest who gave him a deeply reproving look, and Joe cleared his throat and looked at Alice. "Quitea time memorizing it." He cleared his throat and began:

"Alice, well, I'm not much of a writer, or a speech-maker for that matter, but I wrote what's in my heart. I, Joseph Monroe Whalen, take you, Alice Marie Stevens to be my wife for as long as I live. Our legal union means absolutely nothing, compared to the endurance of my love for you. Alice, I wish for you to become an indelible part of me. I know that I have my faults. More so than most other fellows, but I hope that even though you are aware of my faults, that you'll love me still.

Alice, I promise to give you a kiss every morning when I wake up next to you. Then I'll wrap you in my arms and will never want to let you go. Perhaps I may even cook your breakfast, and carry it up to you just to show that I'll always try for you. And when I have to leave you to go to work, I will long for the hour that I'll see you again so I can kiss you and tell you just how much you mean to me.

In the evening, even though you'll be right there next to me, it'll break my heart knowing that I'll have to spend even a few more hours without seeing you. All the same, you'll be in my dreams, and I'll be the happiest man in the world when I wake up and see your face next to mine.

I suppose I'm rambling, but this is perhaps the best time to get what's out of my heart in the open. Alice, my love for you will never diminish. In fact, each day that I'm with you, each morning I awake next to you, I'll find myself falling in love with you even more. I'm not expecting you to feel quite the same, considering I'm nowhere near the person that you are. But I hope that I stir something in your heart, even if it's only an ounce of what you've stirred in mine.

I suppose I've said what I wanted to say. So now I say this – Alice – take my hand, and allow me what I've always wanted – someone to hold in my heart and leave me lonely no more."

9/16/2011 . Edited 9/16/2011 #22
Phoebe Powers

Alice felt herself tearing up as she listened to Joe's absolutely beautiful speech. She took his hand and squeezed it gently. "I have been yours since you asked me to have a drink with you months ago. I look forward to every moment I spend with you and every time we part I am counting down the seconds until we are together again. I love you and will continue to love you for the remainder of my days and even beyond."

9/16/2011 #23
J.A. Fletcher

The priest smiled and continued their vows.

"Do you, Joseph Monroe Whalen take Alice Marie Stevens to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

"I do." Joe said.

"And do you, Alice Marie Stevens take Joseph Whalen as your husband?"

9/16/2011 #24
Phoebe Powers

Alice smiled. It almost seemed a silly question to ask. What person would get this far into the wedding and then decide they didn't want to go through with it? She meant what she said. She wanted to be with Joe for the rest of her life. "I do."

9/16/2011 #25
J.A. Fletcher

Joe put the ring on Alice's finger, and emotions ran through him so that he ignored what the priest was saying, and heard only,

"...you husband and wife."

Joe couldn't wait. He wrapped Alice in his arms and kissed her passionately as the crowed clapped and cheered.

9/16/2011 #26
Phoebe Powers

The moment Joe kissed her nothing else mattered. Alice couldn't even hear the crowd. She was so focused on what she was feeling as she kissed her husband for the first time of their married life together. It was absolutely perfect and she didn't want to stop kissing him.

9/16/2011 #27
J.A. Fletcher

The priest dismissed the crowd and Joe and Alice left together, Joe recieving multiple claps on the back as he left. They were nearly blinded by the flashbulbs as they left the ballroom.

9/16/2011 #28
Phoebe Powers

Alice walked out of the ballroom with Joe, not even trying to find her parents in the crowd. Right now the only family she cared about was the one just formed by marrying Joe. She blinked several times as the flashbulbs went off; she had not expected a lot of cameras to be present. It was official; she was married and they left for their honeymoon the next day. Alice honestly could not wait to get away from all of these people so she could just be alone with Joe.

9/16/2011 #29
J.A. Fletcher

Joe pulled Alice out of the courthouse and around to his car. He helped her inside and started driving toward the hotel. It was going on six-thirty.

9/16/2011 #30
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