(these weapons of crass destruction will do… in a pinch)
I suggest that Russ Shor was nuts to pay his cable bill, having read his prologue and seen the story arc. (And please notice that the title is Solly–not Sully—and the Rebels)
Russ has been a lifelong journalist and a gem(ologist) of guy; he was one of the original patrons of A Word with You Press when its clubhouse was in Oceanside, before it migrated to Moscow, in Heming-by-the-way country, the Land of the Double Entundra. Russ has not submitted a contest entry in a while, and it is good to see he has not lost his spark. His deep voice gives me cause to believe his story is not auto-biographical.
You still have time to enter our contest, and a chance to win enough money to pay your own cable bill. Here is where to sign up: http://www.awordwithyoupress.com/2014/03/20/once-upon-a-time-our-new-contest/
And here is the prologue to
Solly and the Rebels
By Russell Shor
The burly Prohibition cop shoved the hot ends of car battery cables in front of Jack Kramer’s face. “How d’you think your balls will feel when we clamp these on ’em?”
Jack’s gaze shifted from the cauliflower mole on the cop’s nose to the electric arc snapping and buzzing just in front of him. Imagining the pain, he tried hard to push back but the chair was lodged tight against the wall.
The cop’s voice rumbled in his ear. “Kid, you better tell us who you’re working for or you’ll be singing in the girls’ choir.”
Jack wished he COULD tell this cop something. The electric arc snapped and buzzed again. This time about a half- inch from his nose. But he was only the inside guy. His cousin Nate was the guy running with the bootleggers, selling them the counterfeit liquor labels that Jack printed. That bastard. He’s the one who should be sitting here waiting for his nuts to sizzle.
Until this moment, Jack had been one hundred percent in favor of Prohibition. The money he and Nate had made printing and selling booze labels allowed him and his parents and sister to move from that two-room Bronx tenement to a nice apartment on the Grand Concourse—all before he’d turned twenty. He figured that by the time he turned twenty-one, he’d be able to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. Without Prohibition, Jack would still be that eight- dollar a week printer’s devil who had to venture eleven blocks into Irish gang territory to get to work.
Jack was never much for the Synagogue but damn if he didn’t thank God for those Irish boys who chased him into that alley one night. He dove hard into a wooden trash bin, holding his breath as long as he could, until they gave up and walked on. They weren’t that determined, he guessed, because it was a lousy hiding place. After his heart stopped pounding, he went to hoist himself out but discovered he’d been crouching between dozens of metal printing plates. He recognized the names: Jack Daniels, Old Grand Dad, Four Roses, Gordons. Every liquor brand he’d ever heard of. The shop must have gone bust courtesy of Mr. Volstead. These plates would get him a nickel a piece, maybe more, from a scrap dealer, so he bundled as many as he could carry in his arms and noted the spot so he and Nate could come back for the rest.
The next night, the two of them pulled the rest of the plates from the bin. While Jack kept an eye out for the Irish, Nate strapped the plates to an old bicycle.
“Bet we can get ten bucks for all this stuff down at the scrap yard,” Jack whispered as they led the wobbly bike back to the tenement where their families lived. Nate stopped him with a shove. “Scrap, hell. I know people who can use this stuff. Real bootleggers. They’ll pay us a lot more—”
Jack was thinking what he would buy with his half of the money when the idea hit him. “We’re gonna keep these plates and print up the labels ourselves. I run the press after my boss goes home. You sell to them bootleggers you’re pals with. We can make steady money. ”
Two months later Jack was feeling like a genius. He and Nate were taking in a hundred a week each, making all this money from bootleggers but doing nothing against the law. The perfect set-up. Who would bother him? Who? Nobody until that damn Prohibition cop who was still threatening his manhood with those battery cables.
“For the tenth—and last time—who are you working for?”
Again, Jack protested that he was just a printer.
“Yeah? Your weaselly cousin says otherwise.”
“Cousin? Nate? What’d he tell you ?”
“He told us YOU are the brains of this outfit and we didn’t even have to cook his nuts to make him say that.”
The man snapped those battery cables in Jack’s face again. This last time was once too often. Fifty-fifty, he’s trying to bluff me out of business. Close down? Move back to that tenement? Fat chance of that. No, he’d run his printing press tomorrow, then go out and buy a car to take his girl, Nora, around in style. And later, he could deal with that snitch, Nate. Right now, he needed him. There was still good money to be made.
Can’t read Russ’s piece without thinking of “The Untouchables”…