The Dead Goering Wore Yellow Garters - A Hollywood Land Adventure


Q: What is this?
A: A story set in 1939 Hollywood, in a world where Goering immigrated to United States in 1919.

Q: Is this a sequel to "The Goering Slaying - A Hollywood Land Adventure (link)?"
A: This is an indirect sequel to that work, set in the same TL and town, but with a new protagonist.

Q: Will I need to read the first Adventure to understand this one?
A: No. The two adventures are almost self-contained. I would prefer you read the first one, of course, as it will increase your enjoyment of this tale (I hope) because a few characters overlap the two stories, but you do not need to read the first adventure to understand what happens in this one, at all.

Q: Which Goering is the one in "yellow garters?" It's not the, uh, big fella, is it?
A: You will have to read the story to find out.

Q: Who did the cover art?
A: I have no idea. I found this in public domain and decided to use it. If it turns out that the image is not in the public domain, then I will remove it.
Chapter I
1939 was not a good year for a lot of people. Just ask Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians and Poles. Well, the Germans and the British now fighting Stalin's hordes in Poland probably have something to say about it as well, I suppose. And come to think of it, I am sure the poor bastards in those hordes might not have been all that keen on invading Europe either, but no one asked them. Closer to home, 1939 was the year the uncrowned princes of Los Angeles gangland fell one by one. Jack Dragna drowned in a shallow puddle. Mickey Cohen stabbed himself in the stomach seven times while shaving. "Big Willy" Goering got lead poisoning courtesy of three Chicago typewriters. And Bugsy Siegel jumped out of a perfectly good seaplane without a parachute while flying over the Hollywood Hills.

After Bugsy's skydive, there were no more princes, or even dukes and earls for that matter, just some barons holding patches of territories. Some were better than others. Some worse. And they feuded.

The morning of Saturday, December 2nd, 1939 found me standing over one of them. "Handsome Johnny" Roselli was an asshole. Now he was a dead asshole. He lay on a blood soaked once white Persian rug in the penthouse of the Imperial Hotel in West Hollywood and stared at me with his dumb guinea face with a bullet hole where his left eye should have been. He shared the room with five other corpses. Handsome still wore his suit. The other two dead men were half dressed. And the three women were half naked. A prelude to a good old fashioned orgy. Then came a gunman.

No witnesses, naturally. Nobody saw nothing. Nobody heard nothing. The maid found bodies when she went to change the sheets, at nine. My stomach told me it was now close to noon. A worried face attached to a black tux floated in the doorway. The no doubt assistant vice junior manager.

"Hey, mack. Get the kitchen to send up a burger and fries, would you?"

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department finest lounging in the plush armchair in a butternut shirt that had more wrinkles than my landlady's neck gave a grunt. He was the first man on the scene.

"And whatever Deputy Shaughnessy here wants as well."

The face atop the tux blinked and stared at me, then Shaughnessy.

I left Shaughnessy to deal with the details and concentrated on identifying the other bodies. The one closest to Handsome belonged to a square. Average height. Average weight. White, of course. If he wasn't, then he could not get into the hotel. The square got it twice in the chest, as he backpedaled from whomever came through the door, presumably after the gunman got Handsome. He was down to his shirt, slacks and socks when he was interrupted. All of the clothes seemed respectable, but nowhere near Handsome's flash. I went to a nearby chair where a man's jacket matching the slacks of the square hung. Inside was a wallet.

Shaughnessy made another grunt. I glanced back. The tux and its face were gone.

"How much cash did he have?"

Shaughnessy tried to do math. It was painful to watch.

"I won't ask for a cut, mack. But need to know if he was loaded, that's all."

"He wasn't loaded. Barely a sawbuck, and a dollar ticket to the UCLA-Berkley game. No license."

I looked into the wallet. It had two one-dollar bills left. The Berkeley game was today and a buck ticket could go for a fiver on game day, since Jackie Robinson was going to start for the Bruins.

"And what did Handsome have on him?"

Shaughnessy tried to do the math again.

"Mack, I need to know if he was robbed by the killer or you."

"246 dollars and a pair of car keys."

"How much did you leave him?"

Shaughnessy hesitated.

"Put 46 bucks back. And give me a C-note."

"I thought you said..."

"I wasn't going to ask for a cut with the square here, but never said anything about Handsome."

Shaughnessy gave a resigned grunt, eased his bulk out of the chair and carried out the operation.

"Did the square have car keys on him?"

"No. And no house keys."

Shaughnessy handed me five twenties. I slipped the money into my pocket and went to Handsome. He had a bundle of keys on him. One of them was for a Lincoln Zephyr Touring. A Lincoln because he was a gangster. A Zephyr because he was a baron. And a Touring because he was a flash asshole. I kept the keys and turned my attention to the youngest man among the dead.

The corpse was furthest from the other men and I had to walk past three dead women to get to it. There was something of an alfons about him. His fingernails were neatly cut and polished and his chest was shaved. He was down to his skivvies and was sitting on a futon when he got it, like Handsome Johnny, in the left eyeball. His clothes were in a pile on a chair. There was no cash in his wallet, thanks to Shaughnessy, but there was an active vehicle operator's license belonging to a "Vittorio Marchetti." He was listed as white and male and the height and weight generally matched the corpse, but there was no photograph to confirm. The Golden State, as all other states in our good nation, only requires photographs of those licensed to be chauffeurs and taxi drivers. Los Angeles city requires a residency permit to live in our fair town and it should come with a photograph, but he did not have a permit on him and per regulations he did not have to have it until January of next year. In his left pocket was a ring with three keys. One was for a Plymouth sedan of a slightly differing, if equally uninspiring, quality as the one issued to me and all the other LASD dicks.

The woman closest to the futon lay on her side, also with a bullet hole in her left eye. She still wore her skirt and stockings and had a bra that strained to contain the bounty with which she was blessed. There was a spilled open purse not far from where her right arm had landed. I walked up, squatted down and riffled through the purse. As always, a shiver of half-fear went up my spine. I was once again reduced to a four year old looking through the purses of one my aunts, set imperiously on the counter in the living room, while they and my mom sat in the kitchen and washed the bones of half the yentas in Santa Monica. In the purse before me now there was the usual debris of a female actress in Los Angeles living in the half lit corner of hope and reality, but there was no license or permit.

The second dead woman was a small thing wedged in the corner. She had squatted there, knees to chest, arms around her head, begging and praying. She was shot through both eyes. A departure. She was in stockings and a bra and I could tell she was a natural brunette despite having a blonde mop top. Her purse was splayed out between her corpse and the futon. Inside was a residency permit with a smiling blonde with blue eyes. Her name was Connie Keane and she was "white," "Protestant - Episcopalian," had her occupation listed as "Actress" and was alleged to have been a "Democrat." She was registered to live in the Beverly Hills. Her address put her in a nest of houses owned by slumming bankers from a previous era. A poor little rich girl gone awry. I needed a drink.

Luckily, there was only one more body left to paw. Her frame had a bigger heft to it than her sisters and was located much closer to Handsome and Square than Alfons, Mystery Girl and Connie. She lay on her face and had a chunk of her right shoulder blade missing. Part of it was on the carpet and some of it got on the nearby coffee table. She was naked, save for a pair of canary yellow garters. A toad sticker lay on the bloody carpet not far from where her right hand would have been had she been upright. I grabbed the left shoulder and gave a tug. A single blue eyed shone menace. The left eye was shot through. I took another gander at the shoulder blade. She charged the gunman and took him off his game. He did not have time to aim, and slowed her down with a chest wound that ripped out her shoulder blade on exit and then got her in the eye with his second shot.

The fighter's clutch lay on the bloody coffee table. Inside were a jangle of house and car keys, a pack of smokes and a flying permit issued by the Los Angeles Aviation Department. The permit had a photo of my blue-eyed blonde and attested she had right to fly a dozen types of aircraft. It was issued to one "Valkyrie Goering."

I stared at the corpse. Big Willy Goering and I went way back, back to when he was just a stunt flier for Howard Hughes in the picture business. One day, Hughes had trouble on his lot with union men getting crew hands organized and sent for some of his Okie trash to thrash them. Well, the Okies were the ones that got thumped that day, until Big Willy, zonked out on greenies and still in his stunt flier togs jumped atop a flatbed truck and lit into the German extras on hand that day with a speech so full of fire, they rallied to him and beat ten kinds of crap out of the union organizers, anyone who stood with them and a few more besides. The next day, Hughes gave him a raise and put him in charge of busting unions, and a star was born. Also, that same day, a greener than leprechaun vomit deputy stopped by the lot and questioned folks about what went on the previous day. Big Willy was all smiles and charmed that deputy pretty well. And when that deputy got his shield, Big Willy - union-buster-for-hire and dope peddler - sent him a crate of whiskey. And when that Deputy-Detective made Homicide, Big Willy - whore-runner, dope king and union killer - sent him a stunner in high heels, a fur coat and nothing else. So, yeah, you could say I knew Big Willy. And I knew that he had no kids.

His dipshit director brother, Albie, spread his seed among the starlets as best he could, but hadn't managed to harpoon an ovary just yet. I vaguely recalled there were other brothers and sisters back in Germany and there was also a Mormon gardener, of all things, in Utah, with the same last name, whose annoying snot nosed kid came out here to be in the pictures and was sent home. But I never heard of this here "Valkyrie Goering."

I disregarded the dead Goering in yellow garters for a time, took three steps back and took in the whole scene. Three men and three women come up to play horizontal games. The three men are a square, a wop gangster and a wop pretty boy. The women are two B-girls and an aviatrix. The female trio's white crow was obvious. But with the men, it was more difficult. At first glance, it was the Square was the odd man, being likely Midwestern and Presbyterian, unlike his eye-tie gangster papist companions, and he was shot in the chest, twice, not through his left eye. But the locations of the corpses relative to each other argued against making that assumption too strongly. The alfons was on the futon with the two actresses near him and the square was close to Handsome. Then again, the square could have been dressing in the corner by himself, with Handsome and the alfons entertaining the actresses when the bell rang and Handsome, being such a good host, walked up, opened the door and met his fate.

As I stood there pondering, the assistant vice junior manager reappeared, sweaty and sans food.

"A reporter is downstairs, asking about the, uh, incident in the penthouse."

"Kindly remind them that his Honner deemed Los Angeles the safest city in America and the world and if he tries to write up about these murders, he'll get his dick broke and lose a job."

"I... It's Dorothy Parker."

At this even Shaughnessy sat up straight and I felt a link of my lower intestine suddenly go cold. But I managed to put on a smug look and peeled back my lips to feign a smile:

"Is she drunk?"

The assistant vice junior manager blinked in terror.

"I'll talk to her, mack. But not here. At the bar. She should be at home there. Be there in five minutes."

The floating above the tux blinked and the tux skittered off.

"Shaughnessy, call Dispatch and have them run the names of the stiffs for any jackets and known addresses. Also, have them put out a line to stations regarding this eye stuff. You don't just wake up one day and start shooting people in their eyeballs. This fella might have done this sort of thing before. Oh, and when the guy comes back with our food, get him to find out where the stiffs parked their cars."

Shaughnessy nodded, studying me with a new fascination.

"You really gonna talk to Dorothy Parker?"

I gave a casual nod and walked off.
Welcome back! Didn't know LA issued pilot licenses. Thought back then the Department of Commerce/CAA took care of that.

So glad to be returning to this strange alternate 1939.
Glad you're liking it. Thanks.

Welcome back! Didn't know LA issued pilot licenses. Thought back then the Department of Commerce/CAA took care of that.
This Los Angeles has taken liberties with certain powers and prerogatives, which further updates will expand upon (a bit).

So the first story opened with four corpses, this one with six, next one with eight?
Well, as a child of Hollywood I was always taught that sequels have to be bigger. Though I am taking it one story at a time and am not planning on a third story until I finish the second one and see what is the response and how I am doing on time allocation and etc.
Chapter II
I made my way to the elevator slowly, bracing for my conversation with Mrs. Parker about the six dead bodies in the penthouse, one of whom was a confirmed baron and one who was an alleged Goering.

Those of you living on the Wrong Coast, or someplace worse, probably think of Dorothy Parker, if you think of her at all, as the lady writer cracking wise around some table in New York who then went out West with her swish husband and got cracked. We in Los Angeles knew better. Mrs. Parker was more vicious than Westbrook Pegler, but just never had his circulation. She also had something old Pegler never had, besides literary talent - firsthand knowledge of the Reds. To Pegler, the Reds were distant aliens to denounce and demonize. To Mrs. Parker, they were best friends turned better enemies.

It was the Spain thing that did it. Oh Mrs. Parker was fine with the nun killings and the other Commie massacres of the "reactionaries" by the Republicans during the Civil War. But then, after Madrid fell, Stalin's goons went and started going after the anarchists and fellow travelers on the left side of the fence. Men and women who made the mistake of not worshiping at the altar of Moscow started disappearing from the streets of Barcelona and Madrid, only to show up months later blinking before the bright lights of the cameras in the Kremlin and confessing to crimes only an idiot would believe they could have committed. But nearly all the New York and Jersey Reds were useful idiots enough. They fell in line and agreed with everything, because to do anything otherwise would endanger the fragile but somehow wonderful world of tomorrow being built out in the Soviet Union. The argument ran that anything that hurt Stalin helped the fascists. Trouble was, by close of '37, the only fascists with any juice were the ones running things in Italy. Yeah, there were Blackshirts in Britain, Germany and even here, but none of those guys mattered. And Mussolini by himself was not a big enough of a threat to the world of tomorrow to make everyone fall into line. Mrs. Parker fell out.

Mrs. Parker's first dissenting opinion in the papers was weak sauce, but it was still enough to get the red rags to out her husband, with color photos to boot, and to denounce her drinking habit. They meant to break her. They failed. She crawled into the bottle, after her husband offed himself, but afterwards, when she crawled out, she painted the town red with the bloody tears of Commie newspapermen. She knew where to hit and she hit where it hurts. The reactionaries fell in love. At least the ones out here. The (barely) crypto-fascist Federation for a Better California had by then bought some papers out in nearby town of Oxnard from ailing Hearst and made sure it carried her columns, even if the Los Angeles proper papers stayed away from her blood boiling words.

Then, one day, his Honner the King Tsar Sultan Mayor of Los Angeles Frank Shaw visited the training camp of the Los Angeles Spartans out in Oxnard and read one of her columns. And lo he made her his speech writer. She insisted on some autonomy, and she still wrote for one of the Oxnard rags, when she could manage it. But for the better and worst part of last year, her primary job was to be the Rottweiler his Honner sicced on those he could not corrupt, cripple or coerce.

She was too smart not to notice and started to drink again, but she did not turn on his Honner. Stalin she could denounce and walk away from, with only a bad liver, no friends and a dead husband to show for it. But nobody walked away from his Honner. Nobody.

And there was nobody in the hotel bar exempt me and an overripe canary perched on bar stool. She was a sturdy brunette in her thirties with a broad face and the worsening skin of an amateur alcoholic dying to turn pro. Her shoes were two years out of date. Her stockings were all wrong for Southern California climate. And her jacket combined the sins of stockings and the shoes. She glanced over her shoulder when I strolled inside and her hazy gaze lingered. I wasn't much tempted and did not want to be caught by his Honner's Rottweiler off-guard and mid-conversation with another dame.

The canary hopped off her perch, gimlet in hand and came over. I noticed a class ring on her finger.


I gave a nod. "Università" and "Firenze" were engraved around the class ring's bezel. The shoulder of the ring nearest to me had "34" atop a stylized open book. Even I knew "Firenze" was wop for "Florence." But the canary looked more torn lace Irish than eye-tie to my untrained eye.

"I'm not Dorothy Parker," she said with a conflicting shy look and a brave thrust out chin.

I did not understand. Then I did. The frozen link of lower my lower intestine went room temperature from relief, even as my fists curled. The canary blinked and stumbled back, almost spilling her drink.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm... Please, I'm desperate. I didn't mean to..."

"Start talking."

"You're not angry at me, are you? Are you? I'm sorry. I don't... I didn't... I'm sorry."

"Stop blubbering and start making sense, sister."

But she kept on blubbering and apologizing, so I put my left paw on the bar part just to the right of her right elbow, stepped up and in, slapped my right palm on the bar by to her left elbow and snarled:

"Spill it."

And spill she did. First the drink on my sleeve and then her eyes began a waterfall. Heads turned and people popped in to watch a heel wall in a helpless gal. I figured I had less than a minute before some Sir Galahad came a dragon charging.

I grabbed the warbling canary and took her down the hall into where I suspected I could find a janitor's closet. One did not readily appear, but I saw an empty room with a nameplate of some jamoke whose title ended in "manager." Before I closed the door and threw the canary into a leather chair I caught a glimpse of the assistant vice junior manager, his wife and three potato faced kids in a frame on the desk.

"Dry your tears, stop wailing and start making sense."

That took far longer than I hoped. Eventually the tale was told, in dribs and drabs, much repeated and sometimes contradicted, like all witness statements. Seems one of the dead upstairs was one Charity Connelly - a dues paying member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Loyal American Fascists. As was Lizzie Blunt - the warbling canary now sitting before me. But Charity was not always a decent Blackshirt gal. When she first fell off the back of the Missouri hay wagon in Hollywood she fell in with a cell of Commie actors. They warped poor Charity and made her sign all sorts of blood oaths in return for getting bit parts in their Red infected films.

Charity began to have her doubts about the wisdom of all things Red due to the awful stories coming out of Spain. Enter our Not Quite Thin Lizzie, who ran into her at a dance and gave her an ear and a number. They chatted more over the phone and coffee and then Lizzie took her to some meetings and Charity saw the light and went from Red to Black.

"Those Red bastards found out and threatened her for it."

I had a dead gangster and five other corpses upstairs and the canary was sitting here and telling me the murders were done by a Red kill squad and the target was some no name actress. I sighed, because it was either that or slap around a delusional drunk for wasting my time. Still, some questions lingered:

"Describe what Charity looks like."

She gave an almost good thumbnail sketch of the gal upstairs without a permit or a license.

"How'd you find out that she's dead?"

"She called me last night and said she would call me the next morning, at nine. And if she didn't I should go to the cops. I asked her for details. She only said she was with people that made her nervous. Bad people. And that they would be going to the Imperial in West Hollywood."

"She do this sort of thing often?"

"She's... She's a good girl. Decent. But... When she broke with the Reds, they spread the word around to their 'comrades' not to hire her in any of their productions. She was being starved out. Same as me. She... She did what she had to do to survive."

"I meant, had she called you with that sort of warning before?"

"Once or twice. Ever since she told this husky girl she wasn't interested in her, or any other women, and the husky girl would not take the hint. She feared her and her gang."

"What husky girl and what gang?"

"Corinne Luchaire and her band of Reds."

Corinne Luchaire was 18 years young and the biggest French thing to hit this town since syphilis. I saw her get her lip bitten and nailed against a door in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" five times and that flick had only come out last month. And now this drunk was telling me that Corinne Luchaire liked girls and liked 'em so much she hired a gunman to kill a no-name from Missouri for refusing to muff dive on her and took out five others in the bargain. Perhaps a bit of slapping around of the drunk aught be done. Just as I geared up for it, canary warbled again:

"Don't let anyone tell you that it was her former boyfriend she was scared of, it was the Reds."

"What former boyfriend?"

"Charity's boy - Frankie, but everyone calls him 'Bomp'."

"As in Frank Bompensiero?"

The canary nodded, but hastened to add he was innocent. I was done listening. I was thinking. Frank Bompensiero, or "Bomp" as he was known to his friends and enemies alike, was a one-time button man for the Los Angeles mob, until then prince of crime Jack Dragna met him and liked the cut of his jib so much he gave him Santa Monica. Dragna fell, but Bomp stuck around and somehow survived with Santa Monica as his barony to this very day. And Handsome Johnny, no blood brother of his, was going to have Bomp's (former?) squeeze do quite a bit of knob gobbling last night with none of the said knobs belonging to the aforementioned Bomp. Sicilians have killed men for far less.

The canary did not have a permit or a license, but gave me a business card. She ran a broke down book shop in the Valley opposite the new college off Victory Boulevard. I strolled off, lost in troublesome thought. The trouble was Bomp, as most barons, was protected by the LAPD in exchange for a cut of profits. For the LASD to go after Bomp, even for a six corpse murder, would mean trouble. It might even involve the Sheriff getting his Honner's office to broker a sit down with the Chief of LAPD. Shit.
Chapter III
I ate my lunch in the penthouse perched on the drinks cabinet while looking through the Dispatch notes Shaughnessy managed to scrawl down in handwriting so illegible that even top Soviet spies would not crack it. Shaughnessy dribbled Thousand Island dressing on his butternut shirt and Sam Browne belt. If Big Willy could only see how his gift was being treated. I still remember that Christmas day when he bought everyone in LASD a uniform. I never saw some many men fighting back tears. LASD always wore plainclothes as there was "simply no room in the budget." After Big Willy solved that shortfall, he could have killed four priests and a bishop on Easter in front of a church full of people with a chainsaw and even the papist mick deputies would have make sure the evidence would get lost.

The meat wagon sawbones was walking about armed with what looked like a radio antenna, which he proceeded to insert into the wounds of the dead women and make noises that could be mistaken for intelligence by those that had none.

"Mack, what is this word?"


Valkyrie Goering's real name was "Fanny Burchard." She was born in Flensburg, Prussia, in the then German Empire. But when she became a US citizen about a year back, she picked the name of "Valkyrie Goering." Huh. Didn't realize that the US immigration worked like the French Foreign Legion. Her jacket was light. Just some speeding citations. She owned three exotic sounding cars and rented a house out in Beverly Hills.

Handsome's jacket I did not bother reading, since I knew it, but I skipped to the part about cars owned, since he had a pair of car keys. The Lincoln Zephyr Touring was listed, in Shaughnessy's terrible hand.

The alfons was, as I suspected, arrested for lewd behavior - half dozen counts - and keeping a disorderly house, two counts. Half-pimp, half-whore. In a word - alfons. His Plymouth was on the list as well.

Connie liked to drive while drunk since she was 16. Her license was. Her vehicle was a Ford.

The phone rang. I eased my ample rear end from the drinks cabinet and made my way to the receiver.

"Steinberg here."

"Deputy-Detective Steinberg of the North Division Homicide, by chance?" slurred a female voice.

"Sure, ma'am."

"I have had a most amusing series of phone calls from concerned friends saying you assaulted me in the bar of the Imperial in West Hollywood this morning. Heard you something of it, I wonder?"

"I, uh, was called downstairs by a woman pretending to be you, Mrs. Parker."

"Ah, that would explain some things. Did she make any threats against you and wild claims?"

"No threats, ma'am."

"But I bet some wild claims to make me look mad. Typical Red tactic. They do that you know. Cause an affray and then give the name of their enemy as their own to get the smears in the rags. Then when you make any claims of your own, they can cite you being crazy all those times before in the press."

"I don't think it was that, ma'am. She just thought pretending to be you would get my attention."

"I do hate to be a crashing bore, Deputy-Detective, but should some of my friends, if I have any left, reach out and call you about it, would you mind repeating the story you just told me?"

"Of course not, ma'am. Happy to help."

And the line went dead. I exhaled and put the receiver on the cradle. The phone rang again.

"What do you got for me, piano?"

Back when I was a mere deputy, a drunk old Hungarian whore (falsely) denounced me for forcing her to do unnatural acts in front of a whole station house. She kept calling me "Steinway" though instead of Steinberg, as in the grand piano, and thus a nickname was born. As for what I had, a woman who gets drunk at noon on Saturdays and spins yarns about famous frog Commie dykes killing girls who refuse to muff dive. Said drunk also inadvertently pointed the finger at a baron protected by the LAPD. That's some ways from a suspect. But:

"I have a lead."

"I don't want a lead, I want to read about a 'person of interest' questioned and detained by those brilliant detectives of the LASD, and I want to read it in today's evening papers."

"Cap'n, I..."

He hung up before I could agree and ask for a suggestion as to which innocent we were going to jam up.

I scanned the room and settled on Shaughnessy.

"Hey mack, we need a 'person of interest'."

Shaughnessy chewed slowly. Asking Shaughnessy to think is typically a three pipe problem, and I don't smoke, but it gets me out of fingering some poor sap. Passing the buck is not as bad as you might have heard. You should try it yourself once in a while. Your nutsack will have less wrinkles and you might live longer.

While Shaughnessy thought, I placed a phone call to Leon Silverstein, the crime beat man at the "Los Angeles Examiner," the paper of record on corruption in our fair town. The paper was tolerated by the powers that be because it allowed them to cast off the no longer useful former friends of his Honner and fling them to the wolves, and use the threat of such an act to keep the others in line.


"Oh good, Leon, you sound hungover. I was worried you'd still be drunk."

"What you want?"

"I got six dead in the Imperial. Want to come by and take some pictures?"

"Why? No rag around here can touch it or print it, and my pals in the out of town papers never heard of Handsome Johnny, so they won't give me a taste 'cause he won't sell."

"Five of the six were shot through their eyeballs."

"That'll sell. I'll be there in half an hour."

"Don't come down until you tell me some things about the other dead."

"I'm listening."

"Vittorio Marchetti."

"Can get you a boy, girl or a farm animal in under an hour anywhere in West Hollywood."

"What about the rest of LA?"

"Not his patch. He's LASD approved, not LAPD."

Properly speaking, Hollywood was its own town with its own aldermen and everything, and was merely part of the Greater Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. In theory it meant all of Hollywood was LASD patch, since it wasn't part of the City of Los Angeles. But Hollywood was too rich a prize, and so his Honner made the Solomon-like decision that West Hollywood was LASD territory and the old eastern part was to be run by the LAPD. Nobody disagreed with his Honner.

"Give me a name."

"Lieutenant McIntyre of your Division was his rabbi."

"Ain't being a pig stop you from being a rabbi?"

"And here I thought all you Sheriff's boys were one big happy family."

"I'm joking, but not kidding. Did this pimp have any enemies?"

"He has - uh, had - sticky fingers. Lifted from the envelope of every boy, girl and farm animal he ever handled. Surprised he didn't get it sooner."

"Got another name for you: Valkyrie Goering?"

"Ah, the fearless flying female fascist."

"You know she's about as much of a Goering as you and me, right?"

"Says who?"

"Her real name is Fanny Burchard."

"Yeah, but her mother's maiden name was Goering. She's Big Willy's step-niece."

"How come I never heard of her?"

"She hasn't been around Hollywood for long. Spent time in Spain, flying around and fighting the Reds. Then went to Florida to holiday once that was over. Made it out here only when Big Willy bought it."

"She have any enemies?"

"Too many to count. She was right of Mussolini."

"That's Europe, I'm talking..."

"How about Lucky Lindy and Father Coughlin? Those American enough for you? She put them both to shame and kept her Blackshirt ironed and her brass knucks filed. Not two months back, at UCLA, she and a merry band of Loyal American Fascists waded into a Commie march, where she personally beat ten kinds of crap out of a pair of red rag newspapermen - both of 'em male, by the way."

That sounded serious. But we were talking six dead from a professional gunman. The Commies out here were a nuisance. This required skill, money and motivation. I just didn't see it. Look, I get that Reds are a threat, and they are, in Europe. But out here in Los Angeles, the Reds were just annoying and ridiculous. If a Red had pulled this off, well, it would change a lot. But right now, I just could not see it. And I weighed the Handsome Johnny and the alfons as bigger targets than Little Fascist Fanny.

"You said six. You only gave three names."

"One dead man has no license on him. One is a no-name actress by the name of Connie Keane..."

"Oh I know her. Saw her in a play once. A fetching little trick, with eyes as clear as a blue lake."

I did not bring up that those eyes were both shot through.

"... and the other broad is alleged to be Charity Connelly."

"The hick who keeps Bomp warm at night? Oh. Oh, once he finds out... You fitting him for this?"

"I don't suppose you know where Bomp was last night?"

"Probably playing poker with six LAPD lieutenants."

"Any chance you have heard of this sort of thing before? Eyes shot through?"

"Not that I can remember. But I'll put the word out among the boys, for a favor down the line."

"Thanks, you know I'm good for it. One last question: Corinne Luchaire."

There was silence.

"Leon, you there?"

"Yeah. She is not a phone conversation."

"Well then, come on down."

We hung up and I puzzled. For Leon to talk freely about all but Corinne Luchaire made for odd hearing.
It was the Spain thing that did it. Oh Mrs. Parker was fine with the nun killings and the other Commie massacres of the "reactionaries" by the Republicans during the Civil War. But then, after Madrid fell, Stalin's goons went and started going after the anarchists and fellow travelers on the left side of the fence.
An awful lot of the people I've known on the far (and indeed not so far) left have always been quite comfortable, to say the least, with anyone outside the left being murdered, but are really upset when the Leaders of the Proletariat turn on each other.
Mrs. Parker's first dissenting opinion in the papers was weak sauce, but it was still enough to get the red rags to out her husband, with color photos to boot
I presume the husband was Alan Campbell? Really interesting take on Parker.
"She's... She's a good girl. Decent. But... When she broke with the Reds, they spread the word around to their 'comrades' not to hire her in any of their productions. She was being starved out. Same as me. She... She did what she had to do to survive."
Lol - the Blacklist in reverse.
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it's often forgotten, in the light of his baseball career, what a fine back Robinson was. IOTL he played for the Bulldogs: ITTL I can see the Spartans drafting him.

Albert had about the most credible life he could, in the circumstances - he did his best, and saved lives.
Oh I'm not knocking Albert. He was a good guy. But Deputy-Detective Steinberg is more than a bit of an a-hole. He has a unique take on some things, such as his mixed feelings Albert's big brother, who he saw as the shaker and mover, and Steinberg's biases and prejudices are there as well.

An awful lot of the people I've known on the far (and indeed not so far) left have always been quite comfortable, to say the least, with anyone outside the left being murdered, but are really upset when the Leaders of the Proletariat turn on each other.

I presume the husband was Alan Campbell? really interesting take on Parker.

Lol - the Blacklist in reverse.
Thanks. Yes, indeed Alan Campbell is the one who gets the nod here. I wanted to show that in this world, without Hitler being The Hitler of OTL, the far-right threat is pretty much Mussolini and a few hangers-on. As such, the predominant threat to Western Civ as seen by most is Moscow, not Berlin and that changes things for a lot of people.

As for the Blacklist, more is coming with that. Stay tuned.
Chapter IV
Shaughnessy suddenly came alive:

"Maybe a SAG man would be good for the patsy?"


"Screen Actors Guild."

"You gonna ask me to chase tooth-fairies next, mack?"

"The Guild is real."

"Was real. For about a red-hot minute in '33. Then the studios sicced Big Willy on them, James Cagney got a broken leg, Boris Karloff decided to move back to England and Bela Lugosi was found with a needle in his arm and took six months to walk again. LA ain't a union town no more. The Guild is dead."

"The boys at the Red Squad thinks..."

"They don't, mack. That's the trouble."

"Just saying. If you want a 'person,' then we can grab a SAG man."

"You got someone in mind?"

He did not. Then he brightened:

"How about we nab a swish?"

I could see where Shaughnessy was heading. Last night was Friday. Odds are, a queer would go out to have a good time with his kind. And odds are that he did not want anyone to know he was a queer and so he could not admit who he was with and where he was during the murders. No alibi. But things out here are a bit stranger than most places. Swish-shaking may work in Cleveland, but in our town a lot of queers worked in the picture business and if they were talented their bosses protected them.

"Can you find one who isn't involved with the studios and lives on our patch?"

The sawbones stopped plunging his antenna into wounds, made eye contact and cleared his throat.

"What do you got?"

"There's a man who lives next door to my sister out in the Valley. Brings men in all the time. Plays Sinatra at all hours of the night. Let's his half dozen cats run around and mess in her yard. Maybe...?"

"Where up in the Valley, doc?"


I was looking at an idiot or an out of towner. Moorpark was in Simi Valley. "The Valley" is what you called the San Fernando Valley. Period. The rest of the valleys north of Los Angeles had proper names. Still even idiots and out of towners can be useful. Sawbones threw us a bone, but I had to clarify:

"He have a roof?"

The idiot stared.

"Protection. Does he have any protection from the local coppers or his baron?"

"Well, it's Moorpark..."

The idiot had a point. Being the baron of Moorpark was like being the nicest guy in prison. It meant nothing and nobody would own up to it if they were. As for the local cops... Moorpark was once part of Ventura County, but it got swallowed up by his Honner three years back, along with Thousand Oaks and the rest of Simi, and made Los Angeles County abut Oxnard. Most of the current crop of Moorpark deputies were Los Angeles men exiled north or Ventura deputies who switched allegiances. Neither troubled me, in the least.

"Call your sister and ask her if he's still there and whether he entertained last night. I'd sure hate for Deputy Shaughnessy drive what, forty-fifty miles out there and stick a thumb up his ass."

Shaughnessy blinked and opened his maw to argue.

"You can pick up something nice at his place and shake him down for names of his friends. Also, not for nothing, but you got a C-note just for taking this call, right? Time to earn your keep, mack."

Shaughnessy grunted in annoyance, but did not argue.

Sawbones went to the phone and confirmed the would-be patsy was still in residence and brought three men with him last night. The three had already left this morning. Per the sister, via sawbones, the swish was a late riser and would be there for a while. I bade reluctant Shaughnessy to go do his duty and jam up an innocent man, told sawbones to wait up for Leon and went downstairs to look over the cars in the four lots Handsome Johnny requested for last night.

There were only three cars present in the four spots. Which meant the killer drove off in the car of one of the victims, or plans changed and Handsome helped some of his tragic little orgy participants arrive in three cars. The Zephyr is a big ride after all and can accommodate many.

The first car was an Alfa Romeo. I recognized it from news reels as the car that Mussolini drove. The plate matched those of the three rigs the aviatrix owned. I tossed it and found nothing.

The second car was the broke down Plymouth sedan of the alfons. The trunk held a cardboard suitcase with some secondhand flashy shirts, a suit that had more wrinkles in it than my landlady's neck and a 9 millimeter. I picked it up and looked it over. It had not been fired, oiled, used or even handled much for a long, long time. I pocketed it. You never know when you might need a good drop piece.

The Lincoln Zephyr Touring I had saved for last, because I knew there would be a lot more garbage to be found in there. Handsome Johnny was not a man prone to good organizational skills.

The Lincoln had room temperature half-empty bottle of champagne, a woman's purse, men's spats, a tube with broken in half lipstick and a packet of the Devil's dandruff. All in all, what I had expected to find in the car of a git who one day woke up and decided to call himself "Handsome Johnny."

When I came back up, Leon was still not there, but sawbones was and he had turned on the radio to hear the news coming out of Poland. Due to them being half the world away, their evening was our morning, and so their end-of-day recap was our not quite mid-day catch-up. When I walked in, the new limey Air Minister Winston something was declaiming in almost iambic pentameter the successes of the limey-kraut counter-offensive in Poland in the outskirts of Poznan. It all sounded fine, until you looked at the map, and saw that Poznan was halfway to Berlin from Warsaw and recalled that not three months back, when Halifax was in charge, the then Air Minister (whose name I already forgot) proclaimed the great successes of the limey-kraut offensive in the capital of the Polish republic.

This announcement was followed by a joint resolution by the foreign ministries of fascist Austria and Italy espousing their total support for the Allied war effort. Though the totality of said support seemed to fall short of actually sending troops to the Polish front or giving aid to the Polish refugees.

Leon Silverstein chose to make his appearance just as Ribbentrop told us all that victory for the allies was in sight. The world might be going down to Hell on an express elevator, but the never yielding idiotic optimism of the German Ambassador always made our mornings. Even sawbones cracked a smile at that. Which was just as good, because the serious look on Leon's unshaven mug was a downer even for me, and I was about to have six names under my name on the chalkboard at the stationhouse.

"Hey, Leon, what do you call two Jews meeting in Los Angeles?"

"A Communist cell or a movie deal. Yeah, heard that one before. Look, let me take some pictures?"

I nodded. Leon dug out his Leica and did his thing. When he was done, he walked up and whispered:

"Corinne Luchaire? Stay away. She's a project of Howard Hughes."

The richest strange man in Los Angeles still kept doing movies, in between running an aviation empire.

"I thought his latest project was Big Willy's old lady?"

"You ever hear her do Shakespeare?"

I cracked up. A lot of things could be said about Big Willy's lawful widow Liddy Barrow. Stunner. Redhead. Fiery. Wild eyes. Exotic. Czech. But nuanced grasp of the English language? Not so much. I'd have cast her as a mute slave girl who seduces a handsome hero by dancing and she then learns how to say his name at the very end of the film after he rescues her and kisses her good, but that's just me.

"She's the one who wants to do it. Got Hughes convinced to do a swapped 'Hamlet,' where all the guy roles are played by dames and all the broad parts are played by men. She's gonna play the title role."

"Well, so much for Barrow. But hang on, I thought 'the Postman' was Bruno's picture?"

Bruno Loerzer once saved Big Willy's life in the Great War when both flew crates for the Kaiser. Big Willy brought him over to Hollywood and made him his deputy by way of saying, "Thanks." Anyone who ever dealt with Bruno and Big Willy together always said that Bruno had brains made of straw and once Big Willy got lead poisoning, Bruno couldn't hold on to Goering's stable of knee-breakers, dope-peddlers and killers. But then a dope fiend movie producer welshed on his debt to Big Willy and Bruno collected the company. Nobody expected much out of Bruno, but the jug headed lug developed a sixth sense for what the public likes to see in the pictures: good looking girls getting nailed. I know, I'm as shocked as you. Bruno made four flicks so far, and every single one of them got banned in Boston, and many other places besides, but made money for everyone involved in the process, even the actors.

"Howard Hughes saw the flick and wanted her, and what Hughes wants, he gets."

"And you could not say this over the phone...?"

"Hughes taps phone lines."

I stared into Leon's unshaven mug and resisted the urge to laugh. I had already dealt with one loon today, but she was female and drunk. Leon did not reek of liquor and still had a pair of balls, I thought.

"I'm serious, piano. He's paranoid and watches people."

"All right..."

It wasn't, but sometimes you must humor folks and Leon was a good egg.

The Cap'n rang soon after. I could hear him grinning. Shaughnessy dragged in the queer and, on top of it, the queer did not deny being at the Imperial last night. I tried not to picture the beating it took to get that confession. And I did not argue. Not yet. If it was Bomp who did the killings, I was about to kick a hornet's nest and dance around it in my underwear. But before I did, I needed more info. So far what I knew of Charity came from a drunk loon and a newspaperman. I finished it up with the Captain and called in to get her jacket. She had no car registered, but her current address was on file and I decided to drop by, ring the bell and talk to a roommate or canvass the neighbors for gossip.

Charity lived in Wilshire, a once grand neighborhood full of old mansions now gone to Hell thanks to immigrants fleeing war-torn Europe and the Okie trash fleeing the Midwest. Chunks of the mansions were rented out as if they were apartment housing and this created problems, for everyone. The Okies were all uneducated trash. By contrast those Europeans who could make their way across an ocean and the whole of the expanse of our great nation had to have a bit of skill and pluck. One set was born in a swamp and would bring that swamp with them anywhere they went, the other clawed its way out of the swamp and wanted to do better. They feuded, and there were stories of Polish gangs and Okie toughs rumbling. Still, there were parts of Wilshire that were still grand and it is there that our sweet Charity lay her head, when it was not in the lap of a button man turned baron.

I parked the car in front of a mansion gone to seed but lacking any hayseeds, walked up and rang. A sleepy eyed coal miner's daughter on a fast track to obesity appeared in the doorway, yawning.

"LASD, Homicide. Deputy-Detective Steinberg. I need to speak to you about Charity Connelly."

"What about?"

"How well do you know her, miss?"

"Pretty well, I should say. I am her, Detective."

As background, Thousand Oaks, California was originally known as Jungleland because of Goebel's African Lion Farm. (Fact) Could this have been Joe, emigrated ? Routinely travel from Thousand Oaks, where I live, thru Moorpark to Santa Paula Airport. Never encountered a rainbow gentleman or his several cats, but wish them well.

Thanks for your pulp magazine reprise!

Thank you, everyone for your likes and comments. Helps to know the story is plugging along in a way you enjoy.

A story to offend virtually everyone...I like it!
I aim to please, but I do not try to offend folks. It's just that if I have a detective operating in the '30s investigating a six body homicide, he will speak as a man of his time and place and though I have changed the place a bit, the prejudices of the era remain.


As background, Thousand Oaks, California was originally known as Jungleland because of Goebel's African Lion Farm. (Fact) Could this have been Joe, emigrated ? Routinely travel from Thousand Oaks, where I live, thru Moorpark to Santa Paula Airport. Never encountered a rainbow gentleman or his several cats, but wish them well.

Thanks for your pulp magazine reprise!

Glad you're liking, but Joey the Cripp is not involved with Thousand Oaks, as he was previously allocated to my first Hollywood Land tale. I originally was going to spend more time with the unfortunate gentleman who was going to be picked up by the police and framed for the murders (temporarily, in the mind of our protagonist), but did not want to wallow in the misery there, as there are more opportunities for the unpleasentries down the line.
Chapter V
Anger, relief and confusion should not happen to a man at the same time, but they did to me standing there on a porch of an alleged dead woman talking with the said certified corpse.

"You got a license or a permit on you, miss?"

"Sure. Bomp got me one. You heard of him, have you?"

I nodded.

"If you know who he is, then why you here, Sheriff's man?"

"Someone identified a dead woman as you this morning."

The coal miner's daughter was discontented by such a development and stared.

"Guessing whoever said you were the dead woman was lying to me. But if you show me your permit, I can know that for sure, miss."

"This girl... how'd she die?"

"Got shot through her left eye."

The coal miner's daughter stumbled at that one, and her hand flew to her mouth.

"That permit then, miss?"

She went into the mansion to look for it as I thought of different ways I'd hurt Lizzie Blunt. I'm not a fan of rough stuff and being a good Jewish mama's boy, I was taught to respect and fear crazy women, but for Lizzie I would make an exception. Oh yes I would.

The coal miner's daughter returned not with just her permit but a vehicle operator's license and her eight and a half by eleven with four flattering shots of her in different costumes for an agent to marvel. All three documents were in raging agreement that the woman in them was one Charity Connelly and she looked very much like the woman standing before and not at all like the woman shot in the early hours at the Imperial hotel penthouse.

"Do you know a woman named Lizzie Blunt?"

The coal miner's daughter shook her unwashed thick mane.

I dug out Blunt's business card and showed the address and was likewise met with confusion.

"You ever been a Red?"

"What? Me? No. I'm a Christian."

I described the canary and mentioned the ring. That got me more confusion. I bade farewell and left.

I didn't know if the canary was dumb enough to give me her real workplace number and address for that book shop in the Valley, but I wanted to take a drive on the off chance. I called Dispatch to look up Lizzie Blunt and asked the medical examiner to get a man to take more pictures of the dead woman I now knew to not be Charity. It would take a bit to get them developed and pass out to the stations, and if she lived alone, no one would report her missing. Still, it might help.

The book store was quiet and deserted. The doorbell jangle stirred a moon faced kid with a mustache that had taken him months to cultivate and still looked like a starving caterpillar.

"LASD, Homicide. I need to speak with Lizzie Blunt."

"She's part time and is off today," said the Sad Mustache with the studied indifference of a boy who was trying too hard to act as if a Homicide dick showing up at his shop was a daily occurrence.

My knuckles started itching. Lizzie gave her real workplace.

"You got her home address?"

"Sure. Here somewhere. But if you want to meet her now, she's on campus - holding a meeting."

"Get the address for me, anyway. And whereabouts on campus?"

"There's only one building. Can't miss it. She's on the third floor."

"And what's the meeting called?"

"I try to stay away from politics."

"How long is that meeting set to last?"

"Well, it got started about three hours. So about two hours more. Those people love sure love to talk. Should I get the address?"

I nodded. Sad Mustache soon returned with the home address. Not wishing to tempt fate, I walked back to my car and confirmed with Dispatch that the address matched what they had on Lizzie.

I had three pairs of brass knuckles in my glove box. The ones I selected were not too heavy and had the knuckles wrapped in tape. It would do less pointed damage and spread out the hurt and also made your hand sting less, which meant you could pound someone with them longer and bruise, not puncture. I slipped them into my pocket and whistling a tune my zaide taught me strolled across the street.

The new college was meant to be an agricultural learning center, teaching the good farmers of the Valley and their up-skill yearning field hands the latest in animal husbandry and crop cultivation. It was conceived by a less obviously evil friend of a friend of his Honner. It was an ugly squat little thing with fields of nothingness stretching out in all directions. Rumor had it, it held half dozen teachers and less than a hundred students. But on paper it had thirty professors and over two thousand undergrads, and received state grants as such.

Outside, on the grass, three longhairs giggled and setup a gramophone with a horn the size of a baby elephant about to stand. Their eyes were glazed and they spoke rapid fashion. Your tax dollars at work.

Still whistling tunes, I walked inside the building whose façade was of a brick that smelled as if a wet fart after some bad tacos and walked up the staircase to third floor. Only one room was occupied.

There were two dozen true believers sitting in a room designed to hold a dozen. Half were girls and half could be described as angry young men even if they did not look as if they could take a hit on a football field or throw a baseball. The speaker at the soapbox was a fiery redhead of an indeterminate age who railed against the Bolsheviks as the real enemies of true social democracy. Lizzie Blunt was not here.

Suddenly there came forth a wall shaking trumpet blare. For a moment I feared an earthquake, but then I heard loud music and a booming male voice singing out "WHIRLWINDS OF DANGER...!"

It took me a moment to realize this room had a small window and that it faced the lawn where the three longhairs had setup their gramophone which they were now playing loud and into the room.

The Redhead appealed for calm. Her audience covered their ears. I marched out of the room. The song kept on screeching about the "Red flag of liberty that yet shall prevail."

The longhairs stood in a semicircle around the gramophone, wearing earplugs and still giggling, but now also holding baseball bats. The song kept playing at ear splitting decibels. And the leader of the trio kept shouting obscenities into the window, along with calling the Redhead "a fascist loving Lizzie."

And all at once my tension headache got worse. The canary gave a false name. That was disappointing.

I squared my jaw and marched on them, brass knucks in hand. The longhairs saw me. Two backed up. The leader reared up to swing for the fences. I buried my knucks in his liver. He threw up wonderfully on himself midair as he fell. The other two longhairs threw down their bats and ran.

I jerked off the record and turned off the ancient musical machine.

Silence followed, then came applause. I saw half dozen girls looking on approvingly at me through a tiny window. I tipped my fedora to them and restrained myself from any further assault on the downed gramophone.

The Redhead appeared in the window and eyed me with cold suspicion. Then took charge of her audience and resumed her lecture.

I eyed the window and thought. Perhaps real Lizzie up there knew Not Lizzie, for the canary knew where Lizzie worked and had her card. And Not Lizzie knew one of the dead girls in the penthouse had no license or permit on her, else she would not have tried to send me down the wild goose chase with Charity. After all, if the dead girl upstairs had her papers, I wouldn't buy what Not Lizzie was selling.

The longhair groaned. I cuffed and dragged him back to my car. He cried and pissed himself with fright. I propped him up against the wheel well, patted myself down for gloves and found none. There were some, however, in the trunk. I slipped them on and fished out license from the urine soaked Red.

"Well then, young Harold Harper. I have some questions. Who sent you here?"

The story dripped out. He was a high school kid in Simi Valley until he dropped out. He tried his hand at acting and was found like a little lost lamb by some shepherds who taught him the meaning of life and Stalin. His principal teacher was some Hollywood writer with a pencil thin mustache and glasses. Young Harper did not know the writer's real name, but only his Party name: "Robespierre." Makes sense. If you were an utter asshole with delusions of grandeur that would be a name you'd pick.

It was Robespierre who bade Harper to come here and terrorize Blunt. Harper knew no canaries with University of Florence rings on their fingers, but he named names. Two dozen Reds whom he had met during his meetings. None of the names meant anything to me, except the stalwart Stalinist apologist Lillian Hellman. The fact this child was taken to meetings with such big birds showed a lack of foresight on the part of his handlers. As I said, the Reds out here were a joke, but they played one on me and so...

"Kid, look at me. I'm taking you in for 'Causing a Disturbance.' Doing you a favor, as I could take you in for assaulting an officer of the peace. Relax. I'll tell them to put you in solitary to make sure no one wears your face like a rubber. You'll spend two-three days there, then I'll come get you with a bird and you'll tell me she committed every crime I will tell you ahead of time. Savvy?"

He did.

When I called in the locals to pick up Harper, I got a message from Dispatch. The ballistics tests were finished on the six stiffs. I checked my watch. For the LASD Lab to be done this quick, and on a Saturday was a miracle. But one does not look into the mouths of gift horses, unless they come from Troy. I had Dispatch read the conclusions - the weapon of choice of the killer was a Nagant revolver. The Hell?

For those of you who have never heard of that Belgian waffle, just close your eyes and picture a Red Commissar from any Hollywood flick of last ten years. The gun the Red psycho is waving about as he menaces our hero's girl? Nagant - a right proper bastard of a revolver. For starters, its caliber is 7.62 mill, that's .30 inches for those of you who don't fool around with the metric. Point three inches. Pathetic. Barely enough to break a bone in a real firefight. Then there was the other drawback - reload. Once you fired off all seven shots in the drum, you have to crack it open and use a special tool to push out the spent cartridges, chamber by chamber, one by one, and then insert the bullets into it, also one by one. And if there was a single gunman, then the killer had to reload, and on the scene of his crime to finish it. As I said, Nagant carried seven in the drum. There were nine shots. If he was alone, then...

A grizzly motion picture floated into my head and started playing. The gunman entered, killed Handsome Johnny with a single shot, then the square with a double tap to the chest, then the alfons in the eye, then Charity got one in the eye as well, for five total, and then it went wrong. Valkyrie charged him and spoiled his aim. The sixth shot nailed Valkyrie's shoulder. And the seventh got her in the eye to kill. That left him with a spent drum and Connie, spooked and huddling. And the cold blooded son of a bitch reloaded there and then, while Connie pleaded. Then after he had a new drum in the Nagant, he put two bullets in her eyes. Somehow these murders just became even worse.

Forgot about the unfortunate Voorman, but the Lion Farm coincidence seemed too good to pass up.

Hoping for some airplane stuff.