Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny (Mel does not appear in this chapter), Carter Baum, Doris Rogers, J. Edgar Hoover, Charles Winstead, Sam Cowley
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: Challenge, Drama, Holiday, Mystery, Romance
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: A fortuneteller predicts an unusual twist.
Chapter Summary: Johnny learns more about Mel’s work.
Date Of Completion: October 1, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 13, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1264
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2011 Guns_Fedoras Public Enemies Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. Option 1: (Elements of Halloween used set in or around Halloween: (The Twilight Zone, Candles, Tarot Cards, Crystals, Crystal Ball, Jack O’Lanterns/Pumpkins, Black-And-Orange, Witches, Ghosts (Paper Cut-Outs).
The entire series can be found here.
OF FORMS AND PAPER CLIPS
My mind’s a’yawnin’,
Bring me excitement,
O’Reilly’s was a classic diner of gleaming chrome and colorful booths. The Wurlitzer jukebox up against the wall glowed with neon brightness, jazz spilling out of its multicolored facade as pots and pans clanged in the kitchen. Nearly every booth and stool at the counter was filled, but Carter found an empty booth, he and Johnny sliding in. Johnny had expected an Irish pub with a name like this and was surprised.
He remembered Mel talking warmly about Carter, his second-in-command and confidante. Carter had a nice smile and his brown eyes were big and sparkling, his brown hair thick and a little unruly despite the pomade.
“We’re lucky to get a booth. This place is always packed.” Carter handed Johnny a plastic menu. “Not surprising, since the food’s so good and the prices are cheap.”
Johnny had to admit that the smells coming from the kitchen were mouth-watering. Mel said he appreciated food so much because of a lackluster prison diet. He really couldn’t argue with that. Prison food was usually starchy, gray and lumpy. He had eaten more to stave off hunger than to enjoy the food, which was far from enjoyable.
A red-haired waitress took their orders, Carter selecting an egg salad sandwich with pickles and chips, and Johnny chose a turkey club with cheese, pickles, and onions, chips on the side. He ordered a Coke, too, Carter seconding that.
“Nice to get out of the office” Carter took a sip of icewater.
“I’ll agree with you there.”
Carter put down his glass. “Hoover’s getting bolder?”
Johnny looked at his companion sharply. He was trying to get the lay of the land in this bizarre world he had awakened in. How much did Carter know?
“He’s…aggressive. All about catchin’ the bad guys.”
Carter sorted. “That’s for sure.”
“He’s especially obsessed with Melvin Purvis.”
Their waitress brought their orders and Carter ate a potato chip. “He’s certain that Melvin Purvis is the biggest threat to the American way of life.”
Johnny laughed. Somehow Mel as a desperado just didn’t quite fit.
Carter grinned, savoring his sandwich, which included bits of celery to sharpen the flavor. “Do we have any new leads?”
Johnny shook his head. “No.”
Carter ate part of his pickle spear. “Better be careful with your meeting tonight.”
Carter glanced around. “Yeah, you know.” His voice lowered. “With Public Enemy No. 1.”
A thrill went through Johnny. So he and Mel were on the same page even here? Excited, he asked, “Where and when?”
Carter looked at him in surprise. “You know.”
“Yeah, but I’ve been so, um, flustered after that call with Hoover, I’m all confused.”
“Oh.” Carter understood. “Boy, I can’t blame you for that.” He took a sip of Coke. “Six o’clock tonight at the safehouse.”
Johnny’s stomach dropped. He couldn’t ask Carter for the address on top of everything else. So much for that meeting.
“Oh, of course.”
“It’s genius, really, hiding out on North Halstead, just a few blocks from The Chocolate Shoppe and the Biograph.”
Johnny’s heart soared. He knew that safehouse! Anna Sage’s boarding house was in the perfect place. Pleased, he took a bite of his sandwich, relishing the fresh flavors.
Tonight, he would see his Mel and figure this thing out.
Unfortunately for Johnny, he still had an afternoon’s work ahead of him. Paperwork did not thrill him, but since he was not sure if he was dreaming or not, he had to make sure he played the part of good little Federal agent for Mel’s sake.
He was grateful that there were no further calls from either family or boss. He might be able to get out here this unscathed.
He sat back and stared at the wall. Why was he playing this part? He was in a dream and would wake up soon, right? He really needed to see Mel.
The phone rang and he reluctantly picked up the handset.
“Director Hoover, sir.”
Scowling, Johnny said, “Put him through.”
“John, I need o get some figures from you on the office supplies for last month.”
“Office supplies?” Johnny wondered if he had heard right. “Um, I’ll see what I can do.”
“Excellent. Now, John, what about coming to Washington this weekend?”
“Well, sir, I’m really busy here. I need to…” Get away “…stay in town for the moment. Let me get those figures for you and I’ll send them on.”
Hoover sounded aggrieved. “Very well.”
“Good afternoon, sir.”
Johnny quickly hung up, running a hand through his hair. How did Mel deal with all these petty details?
Sighing, Johnny stretched and rose from his chair, heading out to the squadroom. On his way to Doris’ desk, he noticed the white-haired man sitting at one of the desks. He had to be Charles Winstead from the description Mel that had given him. The man moved like a panther, Charles getting up and walking toward Carter’s desk. He glanced at Johnny, who felt a chill at the sight of the steel-blue eyes. They were the eyes of a hunter, relentless and ruthless.
Better keep my eyes open for this guy when I get back. He’s a dangerous one.
“Can I help you, Mr. Dillinger?” Doris asked.
“Um, yes, Doris. Director Hoover wants to get figures on last month’s office supplies.”
“Oh, then you should go see Sam in the file room.”
There were two corridors that branched off from the squadroom. Johnny hoped that he picked the right one as he started walking down one of the halls.
His luck held. Down at the end of the hall was a door marked File Room. He knocked and Sam called, “Come in!”
Johnny saw a handsome, square-jawed brunette sitting at a desk, the room crammed with steel file cabinets. He had an open file folder on the desk.
“Hi, Johnny. How can I help you?”
“Hoover wants figures on last month’s office supplies.”
Sam rose and opened a cabinet, pulling out a manila folder.
“Shouldn’t Doris have these figures? Doesn’t she order the supplies?”
“She does, but all statistics must be filed here.” Sam smiled. “Strict policy.”
“Hmm, seems kinda restrictive to me.”
“That’s our Director.”
Johnny smirked. He took the folder and said, “Thanks, Sam.”
“You’re welcome.” Sam sat down at his desk. “That’s an awful lot of data. He should really narrow it down.”
“Well, you know our Director.”
Sam grinned. “Yes.”
Johnny left with a wink, checking his watch. It was almost quitting time.
He disliked too much structure except when it came to bank robbery. Nine years in prison had just whetted his appetite for the freewheeling instead. In prison, the routine was stultifying and endless. One day was just like the next. Sometimes when you woke up, you forgot what day it was.
But is office routine just as bad, day after day? Though this place isn’t like most offices. My boys and I keep the G-Men hoppin’.
Johnny smirked as he approached Doris’ desk. “Doris, would you call Washington and pass on these figures, please?”
“Certainly, Mr. Dillinger.”
Johnny returned to his office. He grabbed his coat and fedora. He did not want to be around if Hoover wanted to talk to him about paper clips.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said to Doris as he breezed out, looking like he was following a hot tip but eager to get to North Halstead.
Time to meet my gangster lover.