The man’s gaze darted between the two of us. The color drained from his face. His lip quivered, as if he were on the verge of bursting into tears.
“Please, guys, I–”
Michael jammed the barrel of the revolver into the man’s mouth and shook his head. “Don’t talk. Don’t make any noise. Don’t do anything stupid, and you might just get to go home tonight, you hear me?”
The man nodded, tears forming in the corner of his eyes. A cold lead weight sunk into the bottom of my stomach. This wasn’t fun anymore. This wasn’t a game. Bonnie and Clyde and the Dillingers weren’t heroes. They were cold-blooded killers, and if this went wrong, I’d be one too by the end of the night.
“Who else is here?” Michael asked, his voice a low whisper. He pulled the revolver back, but he still kept it trained on the man’s face.
“There’s three of us. Me, and then Tom and Harry.”
“Where are they?”
The man shook his head. “I don’t know.” Not good. I started looking around, looking for angles where they might come from or where we would be watched from.
“Guess,” Michael hissed.
“Uh, outside? I don’t know! I don’t know!”
“Where’s your piece?
“I don’t have one!”
Michael nodded in my direction. “Pat him down.”
“On your feet, pal,” I said, grabbing the man by his arm and pulling him up. After a few seconds, I announced, “He’s clean,” and drew my gun again.
“Good. I don’t like liars.” Michael grabbed the man, pulled him away and back towards the crates. “Where’s the new stuff?”
“Listen. I hate liars. You get me? I. Hate. Them.”
The man gulped, pointed weakly at some cardboard boxes. “I-i-it’s all in there.”
Michael glanced at the boxes and snorted. “No, it ain’t. Where’s the big one?”
Michael didn’t even say anything at that point. After a few seconds, the fat man just mumbled that it was in the back behind the crates, whatever it was.
“There’s a good boy. Now, get on the ground on your stomach and put your hands behind your back.” The fat man did so as quickly as his girth would allow. Michael pulled a length of rope out of his coat and tied the man’s hands up. Then he dragged him up from the floor and pushed him over towards the door. He opened it just the tiniest bit and whispered into the man’s ears. “Now, call out to your friends. Don’t sound scared. We don’t want them to get suspicious.”
The man opened his mouth, closed it, ran his tongue over his lips, and called it in what I guess could pass off as excitement if you were bored and irritated because you were stuck on guard duty. “Guys! Guys, come here! You got to see this! Guys!”
I could hear an exasperated sigh from somewhere off in the darkness. “Yeah, yeah,” someone said. “We’re on our way,” called out another voice.
“Good work, boyo.” There was a heavy thunk, like someone tapping their fist on a melon, and then the thud of a body hitting the concrete floor of the warehouse. I glanced over to see Michael bouncing from one foot to the other. The fat man was unconscious and bleeding about ten feet away from the door, like a discarded toy. “Get ready, flatfoot. We want to do this as quiet as we can.”
We stood on either side of the doorway, backs flattened against the wall. Michael had his revolver out, fingers wrapped around the barrel so he could swing the thing and bludgeon these two unlucky bastards with the grip. Well, let him use brute force. I’d settle for grabbing one of them and sticking my .45 in his face.
Two men walked in, missing us completely as they stepped into the room. “Alright, Rich! What’s so important? What have you–”
Another meaty thunk. I grabbed the one closest to me by the coat, intending to spin him around. Instead I threw him face first into the brick wall, and he dropped. I stared dumbfounded at the motionless body. “Nice work, flatfoot,” Michael said behind me, but I paid him no mind. “Our man’s going to be here in ten minutes with a delivery, so let’s get these jokers tied up and get the boxes ready to load. Once everything’s in the Ford, we’re going to part ways.”
We tied up the three men, and I found that the other two, Tom and Harry, were just as unimpressive as the fat one. One of them was an older fellow, strong once, perhaps, but starting to age and slowly wither. The other was a kid, not even old enough to be rid of his gangly limbs and his pimples. Definitely not the kind of muscle I would want guarding my stash of illegally gotten goods.
“Hey, Michael,” I said. “Who the hell are these guys?” When I didn’t get a response, I called out a little bit louder. “Michael?”
“Over here, flatfoot! Keep it down!”
I followed the sound of his voice, winding through the wooden crates that seemed so much like sentries watching our every move. Michael was standing in front of something nearly as big and as wide as he was , but covered with a drop cloth. Michael had pulled his handkerchief down so it rested around his neck, and he gave me a grin. And then he pulled the drop cloth from the thing, and I gasped. “Ain’t that something?” he asked.
It was. It was ornate and garish and beautiful, like something out of a fairy tale.
Henry Rourke’s golden mirror.