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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: House of Ghosts

Chapter 9 (v.1) - Edwin - Mover of the Earth

Submitted: December 25, 2015

Reads: 532

Comments: 4

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Submitted: December 25, 2015

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Edwin

 

My name is Edwin Gable, but if anyone asks my name is Whiskey. I’ve been a bootlegger since I was twenty years old, and a musician since I was a baby. At least that’s what Rex told me. I never knew my parents and Rex Goldstein was the closest thing to a father I ever knew. He pretty much ran all of Harlem, so there were definitely no questions as to why a Jewish man would take care of an orphaned black child. 

Anyways, the year was 1934. The place, Harlem. And jazz ruled. Me and my band the Brass Lipped Boys played in every speakeasy royalty. We had to. How else would Rex be able to ship and import all his liquor?

There was a loud beat on the door “BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!” 

“Hurry the hell up in there dammit! We go on in fifteen minutes!”

“Relax! Some of us actually have a face to admire.” I opened the door to see best friend Herbst, a short man with dark hair, and skin as pale as the moon. “Well am I not just the prettiest and meanest thing on the scene,” I exclaimed to an impatient face.

“Yeah maybe the darkest thing on the scene. Come on the guys want to warm up before we do our set.” 

“That’s cold. We all know Blueberry is at least three shades darker than I am.”

“Yeah, yeah, hurry the hell up Buckwheat. The club manager wants to talk to you about the shipment.” Herbst was like the manager and I was the personality on these business trips. Sometimes the guys would give him a hard time about being the only Jew in a band fool of black people, but he held his own. Once we had a Brass Lipped Boy that wanted to test Herbst’s patience and said he was tired of some Kike giving him orders. The Brass Lipped Boy challenged Herbst to a fist fight and left a fat lipped boy. Herbst beat the man with everything he could grab, including the Brass Lipped Boy’s kick drum. Needless to say we need a new drummer, no one in the band ever questioned when Herbst called for a meeting, and you never call a Jewish man a Kike.

I headed down the dim lit hall to Mr. Halgrove’s office. The thing about speakeasies is that they had to be small to avoid attention from cops. You get busted in a speakeasy joint and you lose credibility. The magical thing about a speakeasy is that you never knew who you were going to run into. Of course you’ll run into your everyday grocery clerk, but imagine rubbing elbows with governors, boxers, baseball players, hell even preachers. Once in the Midwest we even met a guy from Russia, he was a philosophical character. Spoke in a bunch of babble about sharing and rationalizing, sounded dumb to me but then again I’ve never been to Russia in November.

I approached the door with the name Storage on it and opened the door. When I opened it a man in overalls that screamed at his gut sat on a stack of wooden crates with a sheet of paper. 
“Whiskey, glad you’re here. I’m sending your father these twenty cases I got from a local farmer in town. While you’re playing we’ll be loading the truck up, so you can get out as quick as possible. Here’s the pay for tonight’s show, and if the crowd likes ya, I’ll pay double the next time you’re in town.” He stood there as if he had rehearsed this was the part I was supposed to say something. 

“Okay, is that all,” I asked. 

“Nope, that’s about it. Tell your father I said hello!”

Mr. Halgrove was an odd man. He would never make it in New York mainly for the fact that he was a coward. Rex, who wasn’t my father but always told me he was the next best thing, had recently decided to go with a new partner in Chicago that could score for a cheaper price. It was no secret that Rex and Mr. Halgrove would soon no longer be partners, but maybe Halgrove was being more gracious than we had expected.

Whenever that happens boys and girls, your instinct is telling you something. Mine was an aching feeling in my hands and head that said “don’t trust this mother fucker”. 

I walked back down the narrow hall ways seeing rooms filled with crates and racks of liquor, girls with men in suits, and a room full of tiny children singing hymnals. Funny even the dirtiest places needed a little bit of God in them.

I went to the backstage and saw that Herbst already had the boys ready to do good show. I walked over to my best friend, looked him in the eye and declared, “we’re cutting the act two numbers short. Something smells like shit around here, and I don’t want to stick around and see it on our boots.”

Herbst and I had been in the bootlegging game long enough to know when someone was trying to put one on us. My surrogate father and Herbst’s father had been business partners since the dawn of time. Herbst’s father was the books man and Rex was the negotiator. Others would call Rex a violent and ferocious man, others would call him passionate. Either way he never lost. The older dogs sent their young out to collect and entertain. Rex thought if we’re going to dick these southern dusters around we might as well entertain their lowly life. So we played music, which we loved to do, and we collected for our fathers which had even greater benefits. Girls, grass, and gold. 

We cut the number three songs act, due to an engrossing sense of trouble and malice.

“Well ladies and gentleman, and I do mean gentlemen,” Herbst smoky voice called, “we’re going to get out of here, but we want to thank you and remind you be kind to the girls. You know they don’t work for free and have mouths to feed.” Herbst, was deceivingly smooth. “So as we finish out this here number remember she might have another, and don’t fall in love with her.”
“Herbie, you’re so smooth,” screamed a girl with a short and flashy dress on. 

“I love you too baby. Fellas!” We then began to play our closing song which always almost brought the crowd into a damn riot, but during this number I could see Mr. Halgrove with a look on his face. Not necessarily a look of satisfaction, but a look that sent me into an urge of hostility and anger.

Suddenly during the group number my head and hands felt a pain that was all too familiar. lt was an uncontrollable feeling that always brought me on the verge of vomiting and blacking out. The pain was always accompanied by a voice. 

“Nyx...NYx…” the voice increasing with a louder and powerful register, “FIGHT NYX…”

I pulled myself backstage and looked for a corner to vomit. Everybody had their fun when I would vomit and would claim that I either had too much booze or got too caught up in the music to breathe right. I knew it was something.

I began to vomit as I could hear the closing bits of our song “One Last Kiss Please”. 

I sat in the truck as the last of Rex’s liquor was being loaded into the truck. The long trip to Harlem was going to be hell, the headache hadn’t let up by any means was growing more painful by the minute but Rex only trusted me and Herbst to drive the loads. Sadly this trip was a two truck load. 1,500 lbs in musicians and 2,000 lbs in hooch. Me and Herbst were professionals at transporting the liquid heaven back home, but I had never felt a pain this much. I would probably ask one of the Brass Lipped Boys to drive for a little if the pains in my hands didn’t let up. 

We hadn’t gotten forty miles into the journey until my truck had to pull over. Herbst’s truck went ahead as long as I had promised him that I would meet up with him in Jersey at our normal rendezvous. Herbst perfect. He looked out for me emotionally and physically, and I loved him for it. He also knew that we had our father’s business to run and they were dependent on us. 

I had been vomiting for twenty minutes and knew something was wrong. Did that fucker Halgrove poison me. Suddenly at the peak of my headache, I could hear a faint noise of sirens approaching. This was a sound all too familiar and uncomfortable in my line of work. Suddenly, my headache disappeared. 

“Get your asses back in the fucking truck you’s guys! Blueberry you drive, I’m going to sit in the back with the cargo.” All the men began to assemble into the truck, but there stood Blueberry shaking like a shitting dog.

“But Whiskey, you know Mr. Goldstein don’t like for no one to be driving the truck that ain’t you or Herbst.” The fear in Blueberry’s eyes were of no relevance to me.

“Blueberry, Rex is King. Right,” I claimed.

“Right!” Blueberry answered.

“So, that makes me the fucking Prince. Now, get your big black dumb ass behind that wheel before I leave a body to distract these coppers.”

With a second of deliberation Blueberry made up his mind and got his big black dumb ass behind the wheel of the truck and began to haul ass up North. As I sat in the back of the truck my hands ached the familiar pain, this time without the nausea and headache. 

I could see the 4 lines of enforcement and G Men approaching faster. Blueberry was a pussy driver and that’s why me and Herbst always drove. Rex Goldstein was a popular name on the East Coast. You’d have to be a Bible gobbler to not know that name. This new agency really had it out for Rex, and I wasn’t going to let that happen.

I looked at the ground that was slowly disappearing between me and the approaching enemy and held out my hands. 

“NXY! NYX! FIGHT NYX!” 

The mountains began to rumble loudly. Rocks began to fall, knocking trees and land into the way, creating blockage. Then I vomited. Blueberry must have not seen what had happened behind us because he kept driving his natural and slow pace that could’ve gotten us caught. I began to yell but a sudden thump threw me out of the truck bed. Too weak to yell I laid in a nauseated daze.and laid on my back. There I thought of Rex and how I wish he was my father, and Herbst. The feeling of death began to surround me as I thought of how I would never kiss the closest friend I ever knew.

FLASH! CRACK! 

A Yellowish-white swirl began to hover around me. 

‘Is this the light they speak of,’ I thought when three men in white suits dropped down by my body as I began to cry. Rex would never forgive me for leaving the world like this, but Herbst would never forgive me.

“Will you tell him I love him, please,” I begged the angels in white suits. 

“What’s he talking about,” one angel asked another.

“Just zap the faggot!”

ZAP.

 


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