Please Note: Links to the previous episodes are in the top left panel. However, a few weeks ago, I published a slightly edited version called "The Story So Far" which makes the first episode's relationship to the Past Lives series invisible. The link lies between the Fourth and Fifth links on the left. So you can choose. Follow the Cardinal links on the left to see it with the unmodified First Episode, or click on the Story So Far link and then the higher ones to read it just focused on The Kid.
And now ... Episode 9 - The Kid ... One year later ... Chicago ...
"Hey, Sarge, remember, a little over a year ago, when we was chasin' Joey the Hat all over the city?"
"Yeah, so, what about it?"
"Well, I was just goin' through these morgue shots, lookin' at the John Does, and guess who I find in the morgue, while we was playin' cops and robbers?"
"You were doin' WHAT?"
"Goin' though the morgue shots. I always do that on lunch."
"Are you kiddin"?"
"No, sir, I'm not. Look. That's Joey on that slab. I know that face - I took him in on a numbers charge once. I never ferget a face, Sarge. And the date on that marker says that while we were runnin' all over hell and creation after Joey, he was in the morgue."
"So who was it, then? We thought it was Joey. I mean, people saw the guy running away. They said it was Joey."
"I don't know, Sarge. But that's Joey - right as rain. Lemme get the case file. People saw him with somebody else, remember? Maybe that's the guy we should be lookin' fer."
"Get the file later. You still tight with that bookie at Lake and Western? What's the name of that place ... Larry's? .. Larry's Diner, right?"
"Bookie? What bookie? I don't know no bookie, Sarge."
"Kelly, do ya think I'm stupid? Why would you go all the way from here to Lake and Western two days a week for lunch? Because on Monday you have your money the old lady gave ya fer the week and on Wednesday ya go to collect yer winnin's. When ya have 'em. And ya haven't had many lately. Am I right or am I right?"
"Well, I want you to go up there an' tell yer bookie friend that if he'd like to stay in business, he'd better come up with some information for ye."
"Well, how 'bout if I call him, then? Official business, ain't it?"
"Alright, Kelly, you go ahead and call him. But don't be placin' no bets on the City's nickel."
Fifteen minutes later ....
"Sarge! It's the funniest thing, but the mob guys seem ta think that Joey bought the farm in Kansas City - the same night he gave us the slip .. well, whoever that was, anyway. Seems the syndicate was lookin' fer him, too. There was a hit out on him and he took off. My guy says he took 'em fer forty grand. Anyway, somebody saw him buy a ticket at Midway and there was a reception committee at the airport in K. C. I called the Kansas City Coroner and asked them to wire the morgue shot. Oh, and do ya want to hear the good part?"
"What? There's more, is there?"
"The guy they sent to the airport, ta meet his plane? Took the money. He did. They figure he run off to Vegas with the bleedin' money. Some guy they called Billy Goat. Where do they get these names? Ya know, ya couldn't write this stuff."
Two months later, in Vegas. The Baxter Building ...
"I dunno Boss - there's somethin' about that Kid that just worries me."
"What are you talking about Sully? He's a good boy. He does what he's told and he's fearless, absolutely fearless."
"I dunno Boss. It just somethin'. I can't put my finger on it - but that Kid ain't normal."
"Of course he's not normal, Sully. Of course he's not. If he was normal he'd be off in college somewhere, or out having a good time with the girls - nailing everything and anything that moves. But he's with us, Sully, and what we do is not normal - definitely not normal."
"Yeah, but Boss, he enjoys this shit. In the last year he's done eight 'Reminder' jobs for us and each one of them seems just a little bit more .. I dunno - what's the word I'm lookin' for - messy? - than the job before. He REALLY gets off on cuttin' people up. And the papers have picked up on the last couple of jobs .. I dunno. He just worries me."
"I've seen the papers, Sully. So have our clients. Have you not noticed that collections are up in the last couple of months? Have you not found it just a bit easier to make your collections? Our clients read, Sully. They read - and they understand. No, I think our boy is doing a marvelous job for us, Sully. Couldn't be better ... just couldn't be better."
"Yeah, but Boss, the cops are startin' to take notice here. What if our contacts can't hold 'em off?"
"Don't worry, Sully. That's what you've got me for. Don't I take good care of you and the boys? Haven't I seen to providing the best in care and safety for you and your men? I know a few things about our boy, Sully. I'm hearing things from Chicago. From my contacts there. I believe the police are looking for our boy, Sully. They just don't know who he is, or where he is and they have no idea just what he has done - but they're going to find out. When they do ... well, we'll see what happens when they do, Sully. But, for now, he's one of us. Just keep a close eye on him, Sully. Keep him close. Where you have a bit of control, eh? Just a bit of control. We wouldn't want to have him stirring the pot too soon, now would we?"
"Too soon, Boss? Too soon for what?"
"Too soon for the trouble that's sure to come, Sully. And it is that ... sure to come."