Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Jim Collins (OC Narrator), Mel/Johnny, Charles Makley, Harry ‘Pete’ Pierpont, Red Hamilton, George ‘Baby Face’ Nelson
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: Angst, Challenge, Drama
Rating (this chapter): G
Claim: For the 12_stories Challenge (Mel/Johnny)
Prompt: T 7; P 7: Loyalty
Prompt Count: (11/12)
General Summary: A newcomer to the Dillinger Gang learns the secrets of their success.
Chapter Summary: Things run smoothly until Baby Face Nelson shows up.
Date Of Completion: April 23, 2012
Date Of Posting: March 30, 2019
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1276
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: All chapters can be found here.
STEAK AND CHAMPAGNE
April 16, 1934
I walked into the Shawmut Bank with Johnny and Charles. Pete was the outside man. He had tripped and fallen yesterday and Johnny decided that it would be better for him to have a stationary post.
I watched as Pete slugged the guard and Johnny jumped over a railing, startling the bank manager, a mousy little man with glasses and brown hair parted in the middle. I yelled for everyone to raise their hands. The bank’s staff and customers seemed to know the drill, probably from reading about so many robberies.
Pete was the best lobby man in the business and I regretted not seeing him in action, but Charles and I had everything under control. After taking care of the guard, Pete was now stationed outside.
Johnny forced the manager to open the vault. Charles had the lobby well in hand as I joined Johnny at the vault.
It was great seein’ Johnny in action. He was cool and collected, just the right kind of guy for this kind of operation. I scooped up the cash while Johnny kept his gun trained on the manager.
The tension was thick in the bank but it came from the customers and staff. Even excitable Pete was cool as he stood guard outside. Everything was goin’ like clockwork.
We took hostages as we marched out. The cops fired but started to hold back when they saw the hostages. Good, because I didn’t want any grandma or father of four getting’ popped.
Red was waitin’ for us and we hopped up on the running boards of the car with the hostages and bombed outta town. The cops tried to follow but our V-8 engine was too fast and powerful. All they had was old, outdated cars and no stomach for goin’ up against our tommyguns. Can’t say as I blame ‘em.
Once we were outside of town, we let most of the hostages go. We kept the bank manager and a pretty female teller just in case. We whooped and laughed in the car and the hostages didn’t seem too nervous.
“Boy, it’s like takin’ candy from a baby,” Pete said, waving his fedora around.
“You got that right,” Johnny snickered.
I chalked it up to the afterglow of a job well done. I doubted that either one really believed that.
“It was a good haul,” said Charles. “Ya did good, kid.”
I smiled. “Thanks.”
“I’ll second that.” Johnny threw me a smile over his shoulder.
I puffed up my chest and my new friends laughed.
Once we dropped the hostages out on the highway, we headed for our safe house. Mel was waiting for us and eagerly welcomed Johnny back with a kiss, which Johnny returned enthusiastically.
It didn’t look as if Mel was interested in the loot. He seemed way more interested in Johnny bein’ safe, and the rest of us, too. He told Red, “Homer’s fine. He’s asleep right now.”
“Thanks for taking care of him, Mel.”
“All right, boys, let’s divvy up,” Johnny said.
“Right.” Charles set the bags on the coffee table. The gang sat on the couch and chairs around the table. Charles emptied the bags and started a division of the loot.
Mel sat on the arm of Johnny’s chair, nuzzling his neck. Johnny smiled as he watched Charles count.
The take was impressive. I saw steaks and champagne in my future, at least for a coupla nights. Gotta live it up while you can!
After the split, Johnny said, “See you guys in awhile.” He winked as he went upstairs with Mel.
Money in my pocket was always a pick-me-up. There was a nice little run of eating out at swanky joints and pickin’ up a doll or two. It had been awhile so it was nice to have a date. The first doll had a place of her own, so that was convenient. The second had two roommates so we went to a hotel. Hey, I was flush, so it was no problem.
It made me think of Johnny and Mel. They were crazy in love while I was enjoyin’ the high life. It was good for all of us, but I wondered about love. What was it like to be head-over-heels like those two were?
It was a few days after our successful job when Baby Face Nelson showed up. It wasn’t a pleasant surprise from the gang’s reaction. Johnny greeted Nelson with a charmin’ smile but I could tell that he was tense.
Not really surprisin’. Nelson was known as a loose cannon. Dangerous like a mad dog, I heard. I wasn’t thrilled by him bein’ here.
Nelson strutted around the parlor. He smirked, “Heard you knocked over the Shawmut.”
Johnny was sittin’ in an overstuffed chair while I was on the couch next to Charles. Pete lolled in the doorway and Red was standing by the window, calmly smoking a Lucky Strike. When Nelson had approached the house, Johnny had spoken quietly to Mel, who had nodded and disappeared.
“So, ya got room for another man?”
“Why, you got a job?” Johnny asked.
Nelson smirked. “Don’t I always?” He twirled a .38, cocky as hell.
“How about the Third National Bank?”
“The bank’s goin’ through renovations but is still open for business.” Nelson’s spats squeaked on the floor. “The back door is where we can get in. There’s a stash of $26,000 in the vault right now.”
I was puzzled by Johnny entertainin’ any suggestions from Baby Face Nelson. After a disastrous robbery in Sioux Falls with Nelson on board, word was that Johnny wasn’t all that keen on ol’ Baby Face. Then again, I didn’t hear Johnny invite Nelson over. The mook had just showed up on our doorstep.
When Nelson finished his pitch, he swung his gaze to me. “Who’s this?”
“Jimmy Collins.” Johnny answered for me, which suited me just fine. Baby Face made me nervous.
“Same name as me.” Nelson pushed his fedora back. “How’s Homer?”
“So you’re the replacement,” Nelson said to me.
“Yep, that’s me.”
Nelson glared. “Pretty flip, ain’t ya, kid?”
“Oh, he’s all right, George,” Charles said, smilin’ as he picked up the newspaper from the coffee table.
I relaxed a little as Nelson turned his attention back to Johnny. “Mind if I go up and see Homer?”
Red blew out a ring of smoke. “He’s sleeping right now, but I’ll let him know you asked after him.”
“That’s mighty neighborly of ya, Red,” Nelson drawled. “Where’s your bedwarmer, Johnny? Is he sick, too?”
Johnny tensed, though Nelson didn’t notice. The was gettin’ real interestin’
“You sure about havin’ a Fed around, Johnny?”
“That’s my business, George.”
“What’s your gang think?”
“That’s really none of your concern,” Red said mildly.
“Oh?” Nelson snapped. “And why shouldn’t it be? He’s a stinkin’ Fed!”
“Ex-Fed,” Johnny said.
Nelson snorted. “Ain’t no such thing.”
“Well, that’s my business, George.”
“Loyalty is like gold in this business, Johnny.” Nelson gripped his gun tighter. “Don’t forget that.”
I could tell that Johnny was put out by this lecture but probably decided it was wise not to get into a big thing.
I also understood Johnny’s nervousness about Nelson been’ around his beau. It was no secret that Nelson hated cops and Feds. Any copper or one of Hoover’s boys who had the bad luck to run into Baby Face usually ended up riddled with bullets.
Even I was nervous for Mel when it came to Nelson.
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