Black Books and Blacker Hearts

I stepped from the car, the hills behind the flophouse rolling like the gentle curves of a sleeping frail, the pretty sight a stark contrast to my increasingly desperate situation.

Rolling Mickey the Bee had turned up zilch. The man was a bunco artist of the first stripe, and I had known I was off my noodle to hope for anything more useful than five minutes worth of hot air. Sure enough, I had nothing to show for my trouble but a furrowed brow and a couple split knuckles.

What to do next? Where to find the dame?

The sorry business had started a few months back, when I got in dutch with Stuyvesant, a tough as friendly as a hungry lion and six times as dangerous. In a monumental boof, I had agreed to run a box job to nab myself a one-way ticket outta the big man’s black book. A library, a cabin, a dame, and too much bourbon, and the gig had gone to hell. It was assumed I was to blame.

I wasn’t. But I had a few new holes, just scarring over, to show me exactly how much Stuyvesant cared about that.

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