At last. A challenger.
The famed Eliot Ness was coming after him. It was flattering, really. A compliment. Cleveland was sending the best it had to offer.
A voice came to him through the bedroom door. “Sir? We have breakfast ready.”
“Thank you, ma’am. I believe I will be going out this morning.”
There was a brief silence. Her disapproval was impossible to miss. “Will you be gone long?”
“I really don’t know.”
“You know, I’m charged with the responsibility of keeping an eye on you. Making sure you don’t have any… bad actions.”
“I assure you I will do nothing to bring shame on this lovely home, Mrs. McGovern.”
“And the drinking…?”
“I will avoid strong spirits. I have work to do.”
“Sir, I know you still drink.”
“Not to excess.”
“I’ve seen it in your room.”
“Why have you been in my room?”
“It is my charge here, sir.”
“Just a little sip now and again. Just enough to get me through the night.”
“But if you leave-”
“I will behave myself.”
A longer pause ensued. “Just as you say, sir.”
“Thank you, ma’am. You are a kind and generous woman.”
The radio report had ended, but the words still lingered in his brain even as he walked outside and headed toward Shantytown. He would have to show them that he was unafraid. And after only a few minutes in Shantytown, he believed he had spotted someone who could help him do that.
“I just thought you might need a place to spend the night, my dear.”
“ Harvey said-”
“Do you want to sleep in a cardboard box?”
“No, but the choices-”
“That man will be pawing at you. Trying to compromise your virtue.”
Her head hung low. “I know.”
“I’m offering you something better.”
“Because I care about you.”
She laughed, much too loudly. Too boisterously. “You don’t even know me.”
“I know more than you can imagine. I think I know everything that matters. Did you know my girl Flo?”
“Flo Polillo? Course I did. Everyone knew Flo.”
“She was a friend.”
“Did you hear what happened to her?”
“Being all cut up like that.”
“Disgraceful. Now come along, dear. I’ll take you somewhere safe.”
How much time before he would be missed? How much time to indulge himself? Was it possible to give too much time to his soul?
She was so numbed by the cold and the booze that she barely even noticed when he tied her up. She had not felt anything-until he swung the axe.
It left him feeling strangely unsatisfied.
He definitely needed a new challenge. A challenger. And now he knew who that would be.