Cylus and Micky made their way up to the lounge of Libellule. The bootlegger kept glancing around to see if Delphia was working. He wasn’t sure how she’d react to him showing up without notice. Cylus shot him a look.
“Pay attention,” he growled as they walked past the bar. A footman opened the door of the lounge and they entered. Frank sat in an overstuffed chair facing a man that took up most of the davenport.
“Hello boys, it’s good of you to join us,” Frank greeted. He turned to the man, “Fredo Marchesi, I’d like you to meet Micky O. and Cylus Connolly.” Micky stepped forward, shook the fat man’s hand and sat down with the satchel at his feet. Cylus hesitated. He didn’t know if he was a part of this sit down or not. Frank waved him over. Cylus reached over and shook Fats Marchesi’s sweaty hand.
“So you are the man that makes for Mr. Sicero?” Marchesi asked Cylus as he sat down. He flinched at the question.
“No, I’m an odd jobber for Micky O.” Cylus saw Marchesi cast a questioning glance to Sicero. “And an old friend of Frank’s,” he added. Frank nodded and Marchesi sat back more relaxed.
“I have to safeguard my investment Don Marchesi. I’d only entrust Micky O’s protection to someone I trust. Cylus is being humble saying he’s an odd jobber,” Frank explained. Marchesi’s eyes combed over the three of them. His eyes settled on Micky.
“I manage all the alcohol manufacturing for Mr. Sicero,” Micky said.
“You have brought me something?” Marchesi asked. Micky reached down and opened the satchel. He set the bottles out on the coffee table.
“Right now we mostly produce a basic whiskey and alternate smaller batches of rye and bourbon. On rarer occasions we make some vodka and gin.”
Marchesi looked over the wares without moving his large frame. His eyes lingered over the bottles.
“The gin,” he finally said. Frank went to the bar and retrieved a clean glass that he handed to Micky. He poured a sample in the glass. Marchesi put out his hand, but Micky still had to lean over and place it in his meaty hand. He gulped it down and held out the glass for more.
Micky poured out another helping. He was already getting annoyed with the fat man. He had heard of Fats Marchesi years ago and he doubted that the man had climbed very far up in the world. He didn’t understand why Sicero would entertain him. It was beneath them in Micky’s opinion. Sicero was a business man. Marchesi was a peddler of stolen goods and pussy. He didn’t even get his hands dirty. He skimmed the cream off the top from every other crook’s hard work. What interest would Sicero have in him?
“Yes, I like this,” Marchesi commented. “We can’t get enough of this at home…and the girls prefer it.”
“If you take my problem child, I’ll send you hundred cases of gin. How does that sound?” Frank offered. Micky’s eyes darted to Sicero. He did not have that amount on hand. His stills were all currently occupied by other brews.
“Maybe for two hundred?” Marchesi said. Micky rubbed his forehead and tried to hide his expression with his hand.
“Don Marchesi, I guarantee you this star is going to make you a heap of money with proper handling. Let’s set the offers aside until you see her. For now, we’ll have a bite to eat. I’ll tell you more about her talents, then I invite you over to the Cabaret to see for yourself. I’m sure after a private meeting you’ll realize how much I’m already losing on this.” Frank smoothed down Marchesi’s greed. The fat man’s eyes glistened with every form of hunger a man could feel.
“Good, we eat.” He managed to heave himself to his feet. Frank rose and opened the door to the private dining room. Waiters sprung to action in the room. Micky repacked his satchel and held the gin bottle in his hand. Frank put a hand out and stopped him from entering the dining room.
“That’s all I need, Micky,” he spoke quietly as he took the gin bottle.
“What the fuck is this about?” Micky whispered back.
“Not now, Micky,” Frank replied more firmly, “How much gin do we have?”
“Only perhaps thirty to forty cases on hand. My stills are full. I won’t be able to switch over to anything new for two weeks.”
“I will see what I can do, but you better head back and figure it out.” At the news, Micky’s shoulders slumped.
“Can we at least get something to eat before we leave?” he asked. Frank considered it. He glanced at Cylus standing in wait on the other side of the room.
“I suppose it is a long drive,” Frank said, “But make it quick, no lollygagging. Cylus?” Cylus started to lumber over. Frank clapped Micky on the shoulder as he turned away.
“You did good, Micky.” The bootlegger shook off the hand and walked out the door. He was steamed, but he had to hold his tongue. He didn’t need to be kicked to the curb, but he was sick of the ‘do this, do that, come here’ bullshit. He wasn’t a dog. He left Cylus behind and went downstairs. He rushed along the back corridor to avoid the crowd. The kitchen door swung open and he pressed himself to the wall to avoid collision. A waitress darted out carrying a laden tray and startled when she laid eyes on him. The tray flew out of her grasp and Micky dropped his satchel to catch it.
“Micky! What are you doing here?” Delphia cried in surprise.