Hey look, everyone! It's Mickey! I told you he'd be back this week. And unless my muse is deceiving me, which she probably is, there might be a show down next week. Moo haha!
In the meantime, let's have a look at what Mickey and the gang have been doing while we've had our eye on Mimi.
Part Ten: Johnny on the Spot
Despite the chill in the air that evening, the tunnels were hot and stuffy. Lulu was cursing softly under her breath as each step shook loose years of dust and dirt. Mickey and Ianto were leading the way with lighters in hand.
No one spoke. Mickey was feeling guilty for his outburst earlier and neither Ianto nor Lulu wanted a repeat performance. Mostly, though, the low ceilings of the tunnels were oppressive and each was lost in their own thoughts. Lulu stumbled in the dim light and let out another mumbled chain of obscenities that Mickey considered entirely inappropriate for such a young lady.
“Do you know where this thing leads?” Mickey asked just to break the silence and to keep Lulu from cursing more.
“No clue, but I would think it would end up near the docks. These were rum-runner’s tunnels, back during prohibition.” Ianto sounded calm but underneath the cool and unflappable exterior he was busy plotting, his mind working each scenario to suit his advantage.
“Sweet Lord, who cares where it comes out,” Lulu sighed behind them. “Rudy will already be there and he’ll think we’re trying to make off with those blasted shoes.” A little whimper escaped her. “And just look at my dress!”
“Who is Rudy?” Mickey was getting slightly anxious, the already low ceilings were getting lower and he had to stoop to walk through the tunnels. “And what does he want with my shoes?”
“First things first.” Ianto stopped and turned to look Mickey in the eyes, as best he could. “I got you out of there, so you’d better hold up you’re end of the deal. I want those shoes.” Mickey nodded wearily. “I don’t know why Rudy’s all het up for those shoes. All I know is they were his brothers and he wants them back.”
Lulu began to take an interest in the conversation. “I heard some of the girls saying that Rudy’s brother was trying to make a break from the gang and that he stashed some secret in those shoes. Then he got busted before he could make his getaway.” Both Lulu and Ianto began to eye the shoes again.
“Look, you two can fight over them once we are out of here. I don’t even like the damn things.” Mickey shuffled down the cramped corridor toward what he hoped was an end to a horrible evening. “And you can tell this Rudy guy whatever you like. I just want to go home.”
In his hurry to leave the bar, Mickey had forgotten about the mysterious paper that had been concealed in the false heel of one of the shoes. He could feel the paper slide around beneath his watch band and wondered if he should tell the others about it. He figured it was a safe bet that Rudy was looking for whatever was written on the paper. Would this shady character let Mickey off the hook if he just turned everything over to him?
Not likely. Mickey had a limited knowledge of organized crime, but he couldn’t imagine that mercy and understanding had any place in that world. He began to fret about the outcome of the evening and didn’t notice that the tunnel came to an abrupt stop until he bounced off a small cobweb encrusted door.
Mickey handed his lighter to Ianto and put his considerably strength against the door and was rewarded with the ear splitting sound of rusted metal grinding against itself. A final push had the door open to the pungent smell of the river and docks.
Ianto bolted out first, grateful to be under the pale moonlight and clear air. Mickey, being a gentleman, helped Lulu over the high threshold and started out after her. While trying to fold and unfold himself to get out of the door, his sleeve caught on the corroded latch. It was Mickey’s turn to curse now; this was his favorite jacket. He tried to pull at it gently, wanting to avoid a large tear.
Lulu and Ianto watched him impatiently; both of them waiting for him to hand over the shoes but neither of them wanting to actually try and take them from him. Mickey fiddled with the latch and with his jacket, but it was good and stuck. Even as he grew more and more frustrated, it struck him as odd that the one thing about this whole evening that broke his patience was the thought of ruining his best coat.
The proverbial good man pushed too far, Mickey let out a loud and angry scream and twisted violently, freeing his sleeve from the door with a great rip. The momentum of his action carried his arm around in a great arc; Ianto and Lulu ducked as it swung right over them and winced as they heard the sound of that large fist hitting soft flesh.
Mickey was as surprised as they were to see the prostrate figure of a lovely, dark woman just beyond the door. A wave of guilt washed over Mickey at the thought that he had, inadvertently, struck a woman. He knelt beside her and the guilt threatened to consume him. That is, until he spied the bright blade of a knife lying next to her hand.
And then he couldn’t help but be annoyed.