She was looking for a new vehicle with John absently leaning on her to steady himself. The docks were an empty place this time of night, only the flames from the distant burning car moved. They had stayed in the alley just long enough for the McLaughlin men to drive away. They were still in Gioelli territory, and the ruckus they had caused was likely to bring curious eyes.
She wasn’t wrong, before long the sirens could be heard making their way to docks, coming closer. She knew they were not moving fast enough, soon they would be picked up by some of the corrupt officers that passed as city police. If they didn’t belong to the Gioelli’s then they would belong to the McLaughlin’s. A man stepped from the shadows in front of her. Johns gun came up. The man was dressed in a very expensive suit. He gestured for John to lower his weapon and pointed to a black car that pulled up beside them. Mrs Gioelli would like to have a word he told them.
She sat with John in a large antechamber, the Gioellis’ it seems stood on a little theatrics. They were kept waiting for what seemed like an age, all the while John would whisper to her to keep her gun close. They had searched and taken Johns revolver, but they had not searched her. Being a lady had its perks it seemed. Eventually they were led into a long library. At the far end she saw a small woman with a severe expression sat behind a large polished desk. The woman had her hair scraped back into a tight bun and on either side of her stood two hulking men in similar suits to their guides. Mrs Gioelli she presumed, head of the Gioelli family.
She watched as John greeted Mrs Gioelli with a big smile and how she told him in no uncertain terms to shut his face. She was beginning to like Mrs Gioelli. The old woman demanded to know what they were doing on her property, why they were found near a happily burning car and why there were McLaughlin men on her turf. John was remarkably candid in his response.
John had been asked to look into a child smuggling ring being run out of the Mourning Owl Cabaret Club. The club belonged to Jimmy McLaughlin. So he had gone to the clubs leading lady, to see if she could help. Together they had cracked his smuggling ring with enough evidence that even the corrupt police could not ignore. Jimmy was to be arrested, but in the resulting stand-off Lily Boardman, one of the children kidnapped, had been shot and killed. They don’t know which side was responsible, though they pinned it on Jimmy. That little girl had paid the price. Now McLaughlin was pulling strings from inside the joint, trying to get them both taken out. At this Mrs Gioelli began to laugh, a full bodied laugh that belied her frail appearance. Jimmy wasn’t trying to kill them from inside. Jimmy got out.
She sat there in silence. Jimmy got out. The words rang around the inside of her head like a bell, a death knell. She demanded to know how that could be true, Jimmy had gone down for murder. Mrs Gioelli explained to her, as though she were a stupid child, that this meant nothing. Jimmy was close with the corrupt high and mighties that ran this city. He had good behaviour and money. A lot of money. He had greased palms before he had even set foot inside a cell. Being sent down for murder wasn’t the kind of thing someone forgave easily. A narrow smile graced the old hags lips. She was playing them. Gioelli looked John dead in the eye and told him he was a dead man, her too. That is unless they do something. Something ultimately for themselves, and for every Lily Boardman out there, but something that would of course benefit the Gioelli family. Mrs Gioelli knew where Jimmy was this very night. They could end this once and for all. If they didn’t, well Gioelli would have no choice but to finish this conversation in a very unpleasant manner. It wasn’t much of a choice, but then again what in this city ever was.