Cylus and Vern took their time eating dinner and drinking coffee. Cylus tried calling Frank again, but still didn’t get through. They moseyed out to the truck and headed back to the Farm. The night was dark and quiet as they left town. Then headlights burst over the hill and car blazed down the road past them at top speed. Cylus had the lurch the truck to the side to avoid collision.

“They looked like they were trying to outrun the Devil!” Vern exclaimed. Cylus grumbled and pulled back onto the road. They continued on, but before he turned off the main road he stopped.

“What? What is it?” Vern asked. Cylus held a hand up.

“Can you hear that?” Cylus asked. Vern listened.

“Shouting?” he replied. Cylus nodded. He shifted back into gear and pulled past the turn off. He killed the engine and the headlights. Vern followed his lead and quietly got out of the truck. They climbed down into the ditch and crawled back up the crest of the hill. They poked their heads above the grass and looked down at the Farm.  Men were hauling crates out into the farmyard and cracking them open with an axe. They pulled the unbroken bottles out and smashed them on the ground.

“What d’ya think happened to Mick?” Vern growled.

“Who the fuck knows. We need to get back. Frank needs to know. I’ll try again at the diner, then we’ll drive to the coast through the night.” Cylus started to crawl back.

“But what about Micky O?” Vern asked. He couldn’t take his eyes off the Farm.

“Face it, Vern, they got him. Get moving before they find us too,” Cylus barked. He shuffled back through the ditch and to the car. Vern hesitated before he followed. They turned around and sped back to town.

Micky staggered from one field into another deeper and deeper. He stayed in one direction not sure of how far he had come or how far he would have to go to avoid being caught. He tripped and tumbled into a ditch he couldn’t see in the tall grass. He searched around madly for the satchel that had separated from his grip. His fingers raked through the grasses and dirt until one finally landed on leather. He clutched it to his chest and silently thanked God. The first time he had done that in a long time. He scrabbled up the other side of the ditch and kept running.

Cylus sat in the telephone booth as he waited to be connected. His leg bounced from anxiousness. The line rang on the other end. Each time he asked after Frank he wasn’t available. He tried Tino’s and Libellule, but it was wasting time. He slammed the door open and squeezed out. Vern looked up from his cup of coffee and Cylus shook his head. They stomped out of the diner and started the long drive back to the coast. They didn’t have a choice whether or not to break the bad news to the boss, but the sooner the better.

If they didn’t act fast, then they might as well disappear into the night of their own accord. Frank was known to rain down his anger even on a messenger. Hopefully they would make it in time as they sped off into the night before any of the Prohee’s reappeared in town.

Spiegel was sitting on the bed in the upstairs room of the farmhouse when Wilson finally tracked him down. He sat staring at an empty safe when Wilson pushed the door open.

“We confiscated twenty barrels, almost a hundred cases and several stills and you’re up here looking like someone canceled Christmas,” Wilson said.

“All the money is gone and with it Micky O,” Spiegel replied. The Thompson gun laid on the bed still jammed.

“He was here?” Wilson asked. He knelt down by the safe and looked inside.

“Yeah, I was gonna get him and the gun jammed.” Spiegel ran his hands over his face.

“Where? How long ago?” Wilson had sprung to his feet.

“Out back across the cornfield.”

Wilson ran back down the stairs and out of the farmhouse. He yelled at the first two agents he saw and told them to take a car towards town. Micky O. had escaped in that direction. Track him down at any cost.

The agents jumped in a car and took off down the road.

Delphia’s eyelids fluttered open. She heard a car drive by on the wet pavement. She wasn’t sure what had woken her, but she rolled over and kicked the covers away from her. She tried to go back to sleep.

A scratching sound echoed through the apartment. The scraping of a key in a lock. Her eyes flew open as she realized her front door was being opened. She jumped out of bed and glanced around for a weapon. She grabbed the lamp and pulled the cord out of the wall. There was a shuffling in the sitting room as she listened at the door. The bathroom door creaked open and the light spilled out. She peered around her door and heard water start to run from the tap. She jumped out into the hall and hurled the lamp over her head into the bathroom. She screamed as Micky turned, his eyes wide just before he ducked. The lamp flew over his head and smashed to pieces against the wall.

“What the fuck, Doll?” Micky exclaimed.

“Well, what the hell are you doing here! What am I supposed to think when the front door of my apartment opens when I’m asleep!” Delphia’s nerves were on fire, her voice rising in pitch like the steam from a teakettle. She took a deep, shaky breath and looked Micky up and down. He was covered in dirt and mud. His hair was a mess and his collar soaked in sweat. “What happened to you?” she asked concern overcoming her panic. Micky splashed water on his face and grabbed a towel.

“The prohee’s raided the Farm. I ran, stole a car, now I’m lucky I’m here and I get a lamp chucked at my head?” Micky shook his head as he wiped it dry. “I have to get in touch with Sicero.” He dropped the towel on the floor and pushed past her. He pulled a chair over to the telephone and sat down. He waited for the operator. Delphia followed him out to the sitting room. She saw the satchel on the table. Errant bills stuck out of the clasp.

“Can I get you something to eat?” she asked quietly as he waited to be connected. She tentatively reached out and combed the hair out of his eyes. He nodded, but the operator spoke and asked for his connection. Delphia wandered into the kitchen and started making a sandwich. She didn’t know how else to help. Micky leaned his head on his fist as he waited. He was exhausted and had probably run the furthest he had run in years.

Cylus burst into the Cabaret with Vern on his heels.

“I need to see Frank. Is he here?” he barked at the manager as he rushed over.

“Mr. Sicero doesn’t wish to be disturbed.” Bennie said. Cylus shoved him out of the way and stalked through the club to the private lounge. He heard Moira laughing and pushed aside the curtain. She was sprawled across the table and leaning over Frank as he sat in a chair with a big grin on his face. The smile instantly fell away when he saw Cylus.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded. Frank set his glass back on the table. Moira hurried to her feet and covered herself.

“The Farm has been raided. They got Micky,” Cylus reported.

“They what?!” Frank got to his feet. The table shook and knocked the glasses to the floor. In a second, Frank had crossed the room and out of the lounge. He stomped with Cylus and Vern trailing behind him towards the back office. The manager was just stepping out.

“Mr. Sicero, we have an urgent telephone call,” Bennie was barely able to finish his sentence before Frank rushed past him. He walked behind the desk and picked up the ear piece.

“Sicero, here.” As he listened a grin spread on his face. “Good, good. Do you need a room at the Cormorant? No? Stay put, get some sleep, I’ll take it from here. I’ll send a car over in the morning.” He hung up and looked at Cylus. “Micky O. is alive and in town and he has the cash, safe and sound.”

“I’m…I’m shocked. I thought for sure they nabbed him.” Cylus was shocked. Micky O. was supposed to be caught. That was the arrangement. He turned to Vern. “Can I have a word alone with Frank?” Vern nodded and stepped out of the room.

“What is it, Cylus?”

“It’s not my place to say…” Cylus began, “but I’ve had my concerns about Vern. He made a few calls here and there, but he doesn’t have any family that I know of.” Cylus shrugged. “Could he be on the Prohee’s take?”

Frank stared at him blank faced. “Micky swears he vetted him last year after the dock incident.”

“Yeah, but that was almost a year ago. A lot could have happened since then.”

Frank sunk down into the desk chair as he mulled the idea over in his mind. He looked at Cylus in the eye.

“Keep this between us.” He pulled the telephone towards him and started a long line of calls.

Micky hung up and sighed. He picked up the last of the sandwich in front of him and finished it. Delphia perched patiently on the edge of her seat for him to speak first. He wiped his face with a napkin and tossed it down on the table. He was exhausted.

“There’s nothing else I can do until tomorrow,” he finally said. Delphia reached out and put a hand on top of his.

“You’ve dealt with enough today. Let me tuck you in.” She stood up and pulled on his arm until he got to his feet. She led him back to the bedroom, got him undressed and into bed. She walked back out to the sitting room with his muddy shoes and trousers. She pulled a brush out of the cabinet and set to work cleaning them.


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