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Malachi Finn lifted the cigar to his lips and blew out a cloud of thick, gray smoke. He sat in a dark room in the center of an old abandoned house, awaiting news from his men.
Time passed and he heard a few familiar voices burst out on the other side of the closed door and a clatter of heavy footsteps. Relief spread through him. The door opened and a thick piece of light cut through Finn’s likeable darkness. A man’s tall frame stepped into the room.
“What do you have for me, Roy?” Finn asked him, pushing more smoke from his lips.
“It’s at Irving, Boss,” Roy Preston replied casually.
Finn smiled, “Good work. All the men back?”
“Did you have the fuzz after you?”
“No. Ran into some Simons though.”
“They didn’t know what you were up to, correct?” Finn questioned.
Preston sighed, “I think they were on the same job as us, Boss, but they ran off as soon as they saw us.”
“Are you positive they didn’t use that as a pretense and end up following you instead?”
“It was Rex and Hugh Gordon,” Preston stated.
“I wouldn’t put it past Gordon. He’s not a complete idiot,” Finn retorted.
“True, but I still do not believe they followed us. Phil and I both have a good eye for activity of that sort.”
Smiling, Finn stood and put out his cigar, “Let’s get out of this dump then, shall we?”
“What’d you find?” Mack Simon asked the two men standing in front of him.
“A group of them Finns,” one of the men, Hugh Gordon, replied.
Simon looked over his shoulder at his right hand man, Theodore Thomas, and rolled his eyes. Turning back to Gordon, he said, “Of course you did. Those Mugs are everywhere. What’d the two of you find out about the vault?”
“When you sent us out, Boss, you told us to come back if we ran into any Finns,” Gordon reminded him, glancing at his companion, Rex who was staring stupidly at the ceiling above him.
Simon growled angrily. Gordon flinched and Rex was pulled from his reverie.
“I swear, you saps have no wits at all. If those Finns found that vault today and completed what was supposed to have been your job, I’ll have you both in a Chicago overcoat.”
Finn exited the dark room which he had been waiting in for hours and came into larger, brighter room. It was cold, musty and certainly not well-kept, but, seeing as it had only been needed for a night, it was tolerable.
A group of six other men lounged on leftover cushions and looked up at Finn in unison.
“Glad to see your all back, boys,” Finn said to them, “Let’s hit the road.”
“Where are we going?” asked Howard Stone, standing up from the floor his muscular body forming a large shadow on the floor.
“I think we should go let Charlotte know that everything went smoothly,” Finn replied, the corners of his lips moved slightly upward.
The men erupted with cries of excitement.
“Alright, cut down the chatter. Preston and I will walk together. Gibs and Holden,” Finn gestured to Milo Gibs and Vince Holden, his two best fighters, “take the same road.”
“Doc and Phil do the same,” Finn continued. Cletus “Doc” Spinster was a medical genius and had saved countless members of Malachi Finn’s gang while Phil Jones was quick and athletic and could beat anyone at a ball game.
“That leaves Ned and Howie.” Ned Hall was the brains of the gang and Howard Stone was as laid back as one could be.
“Take a safe road, boys. Don’t look too suspicious,” ordered Finn.
“Yeah, we know, Boss,” Vince Holden rolled his hazel eyes.
“Don’t be getting lippy with me, Holden. Get moving.”
Placing the black fedora on his head, Malachi Finn left the shack alongside Preston.
Charlotte Cagney hummed softly to herself as she cleaned the dishes. As she had been doing that entire day, she attempted to push the pestering anxiety out of her thoughts. These feelings were not new to her. In fact, for a complete eight years now she had worried. Was he hurt? Had he been caught? Was he dead?
She cursed herself for falling for a man who was so dangerous and often times so problematic. Of all the men in New York City, she had gone for him. But she could not stay away from him, no matter how hard she tried to talk sense into herself. Her love for him always overcame her anger and annoyance and she knew her life would forever involve him.
She dropped the pan she was scrubbing into the sink and groaned. Brushing her fingers through her long dark hair, she wished for him to hurry back to her.
Two men in dark trench coats approached the back door of the house. One of them knocked three times. They could hear footsteps on the other side of the door before it quickly swung open.
Charlotte Cagney stood in the doorway. As she looked at the men’s familiar faces she smiled and the lively color came back into her face.
“Vince, Milo, come inside,” she stepped aside and the smiling men walked in and sat on one of Charlotte’s couches.
“Are the rest okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, we didn’t have any trouble,” Milo Gibs replied.
“Did you find Horace Fairbanks’ vault?”
“Sure did,” Gibs informed.
“It’s at Irving,” Holden added, smiling and nodding his head.
Another set of knocking came from the back door.
“Come in!” Charlotte shouted.
Ned and Howie stepped inside.
“Hey there, Charlotte,” Ned greeted.
“Charlotte,” Howard gave a stiff nod.
“I am glad that you both could make it,” she replied.
Doc Spinster and Phil Jones arrived next.
“Where are Malachi and Roy?” Charlotte asked.
“Oh, you know, they always tend to take the long route,” Howie stated.
Once again, the back door swung open and two men walked in.
“Speak of the devil,” Jones mumbled.
Charlotte looked in Finn’s direction, taking in his slim image. He wore his usual black suit with pinstripes, a red silk shirt underneath, with a white tie. He removed the fedora from his head revealing his dark, combed back hair. His blue eyes stared lovingly at her and a smile spread across his face. Taking long strides, he moved toward her and embraced her.
“Hello doll,” he whispered.
Finn let go and smiled at her once more.
“Sit down, boys. We need to get planning,” he said to his gang.
The men did as they were told.
“What are you thinking, Ned?” Finn asked the man seated across from him.
“Well,” Ned began, “We’ve done this plenty of times, we’ll do the usual. Gibs and Holden, you two stand outside the bank and keep watch for anyone that might cause trouble. Jones, you-”
“I roam the streets and keep my eyes peeled for any fuzz or Simons,” Phil finished.
“Good. Howie and I will keep watch inside the bank while the Boss and Preston find our multi-billionaire’s vault and take the dough. Doc Spinster will be ready to tend to anyone who might get injured.”
“How are we going to get in?” Holden asked.
Ned smiled and looked into every one of the men’s faces, “Someone is going to volunteer to sneak inside Irving’s before it closes and the doors are locked.”
“I’ll do it since I won’t be needed till later,” Doc Spinster volunteered.
“Good, Doc,” Ned grinned, “After we’ve got our dough, we’ll all meet back here. Understood?”
The men nodded.
“When’s this going to happen, Neddy?” Preston asked.
Ned caught Finn’s eye, “Tonight?”
“The sooner the better. I’d rather not have to outrun the Simons,” Finn confirmed.
“Tonight,” Ned said to Preston.
Nine men sat around a table in a room closed off from the rest of Burney Baylor’s bar. Baylor had made this room especially for the Simon gang as a secret meeting place. The room was down the hall from the main part of the bar and remained locked at all times.
“Chances are they found it,” Mack Simon said angrily, “And no one even did anything to try and stop them.” His brown eyes penetrated Hugh Gordon and Rex. Gordon stared into his lap attempting to avoid Simon’s livid gaze.
Clancy Stuartt who was about the only intelligent man in the Simon gang spoke next, “If the Finns did find it, they are likely to act as quick as possible, like they always do. I would expect them to act upon it tonight. When dusk begins to set in, we’ll all move out around the city and wait to see if they make their move. If they don’t do anything tonight, we’ll do the same tomorrow. That’s the only thing we can possibly do.”
“That’s logical,” Simon stated.
“If a fight breaks out, which is highly likely, and things start getting rough, we’ll have Harvey bring in the police. But that’ll have to be a last resort. If it has to happen then we’ll all have to split fast and leave the Finns to the fuzz.”
Peter Harvey worked for the police, hence making him extremely valuable to the Simon gang. He had slicked back brown hair and eyes the color of coal and was hardly ever seen without a cigar hanging out of the corner of his mouth. He was conceited and truly not as tough as he portrayed himself to be.
“Boys, we have to do everything to keep the Finns from getting to Fairbanks’ fortune. We can’t let this one slip away,” Stuartt said seriously.
It was now late afternoon and the excitement in Charlotte Cagney’s house soared higher and higher now that the plan was decided upon and the men had been fed. Now, everyone in the gang was surrounding Cletus Spinster. In a set of beige trousers with a matching sweater vest and overcoat on top along with a newsboy hat, he would look like any average man taking a stroll through the city.
Gibs and Holden could not contain their laughter.
“This is priceless,” Gibs chuckled.
“Nice lid, Doc,” Holden snickered.
Spinster frowned at them.
“At least he’s brave enough to do this, unlike either of you,” Charlotte said to them.
“We have to keep watch little lady,” Holden retorted, still laughing.
“Yeah,” Gibs added.
“Watch it,” Finn warned.
At this they stopped.
Finn patted Spinster on the shoulder, “Ready for this pal?”
“Yes,” he replied, though his answer did not coincide with the shakiness in his voice.
“You’ll be okay, Doc. We got you’re back,” Finn spoke reassuringly, “got your revolver?”
Spinster moved his overcoat to the side, revealing the revolver in its holster.
“Go get ‘em,” Finn smiled.
“Good luck,” the other members of Finn’s gang said to him.
Spinster nodded and walked out the back door.
The sun was beginning to go down and the Finns were getting ready to leave arming themselves with revolvers, machine guns, Tommy guns, and blades of various sorts.
Malachi Finn was preparing himself in front of the mirror in Charlotte’s bedroom. She sat on the bed, her eyes watching his every move.
“I don’t want you to go,” Charlotte said softly.
Finn smiled, “You never want me to go.”
“Let me come with you this time.”
He looked over at her. Her brown eyes begged him to listen to her plea.
His eyes returned to the mirror, “You know I won’t let you do that, Charlotte.”
Charlotte sighed, frustrated. She stared at the floor.
With a revolver and a long, slim blade in his left side holster, and a Tommy gun in the right, Finn was prepared for anything to hit him. He moved to the bed where Charlotte sat sadly and lifted her chin.
“I love you. I’ll be back soon,” he said, kissing her softly.
Without another word, Finn turned and walked out of the bedroom, leaving his love behind. He hated leaving her all the time, and especially despised the sadness in her eyes every time he did so. Yes, there were times he wished he was a normal man who could be with a normal woman and have a normal life. But he wasn’t normal. He had a group of men who counted on him to provide for them and he would never let them down.
Finn entered the living room where his men were waiting for him.
“Let’s go strike it rich, boys.”
Mack Simon and Theodore Thomas were leaning casually against a building in the center of the city, armed with machine guns and smoking cigars. The rest of his trouble boys were roaming the city, watching for any signs of activity from the Finns.
Doc Spinster had been hiding for hours now. The bank had closed a while ago and the sky was growing dark. His fellow gang members would be there any time now.
Finn and Preston advanced through the tangle of city streets. With every step, they got closer to the Irving Bank and Trust Company.
“This fog is putting a damper on my mood,” said Preston.
Finn had nothing to say to that.
“Man, I’m hoping this runs smoothly,” Preston proclaimed.
“You’re telling me, Preston. But I have a feeling we won’t be so lucky,” Finn answered, “It’s a real pity that Mack Simon’s gang isn’t completely filled with saps.”
“Yeah, pity,” Preston agreed.
They turned onto the street of their destination. As they grew closer, two masculine shapes formed out of the fog.
“Good deal. Ned and Howie have made it,” Preston commented as he studied the two figures.
They continued walking until they met up with Ned and Howie in front of the bank. Nonchalantly, Finn tapped his finger on the door. Many seconds passed and, finally, it was opened.
Gus Simon, who was Mack Simon’s younger brother was only nineteen years of age and still boyish in his face, walked past Irving Bank just in time to see Malachi Finn and three of his men disappear inside. His jaw dropped and his lips formed an O shape. He turned and ran down the many streets, finding his brother and Theodore Thomas smoking.
“What?” the elder Simon asked the younger impatiently.
The latter tried to catch his breath, “Finn…Irving Bank…”
Mack Simon stood up straight, “What?” he repeated.
“Crap! Alert the others…” Simon ordered, “I’ve got something I need to do,”
The younger Simon nodded and took off running in the opposite direction.
“What are you going to do, Boss?” Thomas asked.
“Malachi Finn has only one weakness,” he responded.
“What’s that?” Thomas was curious.
Simon smiled an evil smile.
Lying on her bed, Charlotte stared up at the ceiling. Another sleepless night was on its way.
She was disturbed by an impatient knock on the door. She jumped up from her bed and made her way into the main part of the house. Another set of knocks rang through the house.
It was then that she noticed something was wrong.
The knocking was coming from the front door, rather than the back. The boys always came in through the back door, no matter what. That was how they let her know it was them.
As the intruder outside continued to knock, Charlotte moved toward the back door grabbing a jacket from a hook next to the door and slipping a blade into one of the inside pockets. Cautiously, she opened the door and stepped into the darkness. No more than two steps out the door, she felt a pair of large, hard hands grab her from behind. Before she could scream, one of them sealed over her mouth.
“Good work, Thomas.”
“I got these keys from one of the bankers I pick-pocketed, Boss. This one is to that gate right there. This one is to get into the vaults. And this one is to Horace Fairbanks’ dough,” Spinster dropped the pieces of fine metal into Finn’s palm.
“Thank you, Doc,” he turned to Preston, “Let’s go get this job done.”
He used the key Spinster had shown him to unlock the gate behind the desk walked inside. He used the next to get through the door leading to the vaults.
“Which number was it?” Finn asked Preston.
“I got a feeling it’s that one, Boss,” Preston pointed to the biggest vault in the entire room, “I heard around that he had one made special for him.”
“I could have figured that one out,” Finn rushed to the large vault, stuck the key inside the lock, and turned it slowly. When he pulled it open, he very nearly cried with joy, for right in front of his very eyes were piles of hundred dollar bills.
“Yeah, I like that,” Finn said happily, “Give me the sack, Roy.”
Smiling, Preston handed him a huge potato sack, “You think it’ll all fit?”
Finn laughed humorously and shoved the bills into the sack. When he had finished fitting all of the bills into the sack, he left one bill inside of the vault, as was his signature every time he robbed a bank, and locked it.
“Poor old Fairbanks won’t lose all his fortune,” Finn said, tying the top of the sack closed.
“Let’s get out of here,” Preston helped Finn to his feet.
At a jogging speed, Preston and Finn locked the door leading to the vaults and then the gate behind the desk, leaving the bank just how it had looked when he got there.
Howie, Ned, and Doc were still waiting in the lobby.
“Did you get it all?” Howie asked excitedly.
Finn held up the filled potato sack.
The three others chuckled happily.
“Lock it up, Doc,” Preston said as they exited Irving Bank and Trust Company.
Gibs and Holden were keeping watch outside. They looked up as their five companions came safely out of the bank.
“Yeah!” Gibs and Holden said in unison, slapping high fives.
“Let’s go find Jones and get back,” Preston said.
Giddy and smiling, the five of them walked through the streets on the hunt for Jones when suddenly they came across a group of men who were blocking their path.
“Oh heck no,” Howie moaned.
“Didn’t think we’d let you get it that easy, did you Finn?” Mack Simon, who was standing in front of the other men asked menacingly.
“Wipe the obnoxious grin off your face, Simon. You know you’ll never win. Don’t you think it’s time you give up already?” Finn retorted.
“I’ll never win, eh?”
Finn was not sure why but he feared the grin that was spread across Mack Simon’s face. He had done something that would not make this night easier.
“Give me the money.”
“Hand it over, or I’ll have to do something that’ll make you regret ever being born, Finn. Make it easier on yourself.”
“What are you talking about?” Finn was feeling more uneasy.
“Show him what you have, Rex,” Simon stepped aside and Rex, the dumb, high school drop out, muscle head came into view.
When Finn saw what he was holding, he felt like taking the revolver out of the holster on his left side and shooting himself.
Finn’s men gasped and their eyes widened.
In the restriction of Rex’s arms was Charlotte Cagney with a blade pressed against her throat. Her eyes were wide with fear, her long hair tangled from her struggle.
Finn turned to look at his men.
Their expressions explained that they knew exactly what had to be done.
Finn set the sack full of hundred dollar bills on the street.
Mack Simon’s gang was all smiles as they watched the money become theirs.
Jones had taken in the entire occurrence. He smiled, knowing exactly what he was about to do.
“Go get it, Stevenson,” Simon told one of his men.
Marcus Stevenson approached the potato sack lying in the middle of the street cautiously, as if not completely sure if he should be the one to retrieve it. Slowly, he lifted it into his arms and returned to his group.
Finn continued to watch Rex, begging him silently not to hurt her.
Suddenly, Rex’s stupid grin faded. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and he stumbled. Taking Charlotte with him, he fell to the ground and lost consciousness. Behind him stood Phil Jones who looked to have hit Rex with the butt of his machine gun. Hugh Gordon, who was standing next to Rex, looked down at his limp body in disbelief. Charlotte pushed Rex’s arms off of her and, with Jones’ help, stood up.
The Finns took out their weapons and began attacking the stunned Simon gang.
“You alright?” Jones asked Charlotte.
The Simons split off in various directions, dodging bullets from the Finns.
Malachi Finn halted next to Rex’s body and sent a bullet through his head.
“Jones, come with me to get Stevenson. He still has the money,” Finn said, “Charlotte, stay here. I’ll come back for you.”
“No, you will not leave me here, Finn,” she hissed through gritted teeth, “Look at what happened the last time you left me.” She gestured to Rex, who lay dead in the center of the street, his blood spreading across the pavement.
Finn glanced down at him and grabbed Charlotte’s hand.
The three of them rushed down the street after Stevenson.
Sirens erupted from the depths of the city.
Finn cursed under his breath.
“Look!” Jones pointed, “He turned there.”
They sprinted a few more steps and turned down the street that Stevenson had gone down.
“Good thing he’s pretty soggy around the midsection,” Finn said as they continued to catch up to Stevenson.
Soon they were within yards of him. Knowing this, Stevenson stopped and turned around, pulling out his Tommy gun and aiming it at Finn, the sack of bills caressed in his other arm.
“I’ll kill you right here, Finn,” Stevenson breathed.
The sirens grew louder and Finn began to feel uneasy.
“I swear I’ll do it. Or should I just kill her?” he pointed the gun at Charlotte.
In a swift movement, Jones took his revolver out of his holster and shot a bullet through Marcus Stevenson’s chest. He crumbled to the ground.
Jones approached Stevenson’s broken figure, took the sack from his hands, and handed it back to Finn.
“Would you like to do the honors?” Jones offered his revolver to Charlotte.
A bit hesitantly, she took the weapon from his hand sent Stevenson to his end.
“The fuzz is getting closer. We have to move,” Jones said.
Once again, the three set off running into the fog, the sirens howling behind them.
Finn prayed that all his men were safe. He was desperate to see all of their faces back at Charlotte’s house.
By the following morning, the entire Finn gang had made it safely back to their meeting place. They split the money and took pleasure in the headlines on the top of every newspaper.
There was celebration now, but it was widely known by all of Finn’s men that the Simons would soon be craving their revenge.