KING TOUEY, EPISODE ONE: Heroine, Hero & Villain

Copy of BayonneStrike


“I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.”

— Carl Sandburg



At first Olive remained vigilant and took sensible precautions. After experiencing something like that—after that monkey face she’d met just twice, neither time a proper date, suddenly demanded, not asked, mind you, demanded, her hand in holy matrimony, she most certainly did. I love you, Olive, marry me tomorrow! And all the rest of it. The big cake had some crust! And when Olive, naturally, said, “Go on, get lost, you must be off your nut,” he threatened to hang a bust in her teeth and swore he’d get even, see if he didn’t. “You’ll be sorry, Miss High and Mighty Olive Ince!” Well, of course, following a melodrama like that, any young girl with brains would look both ways henceforward and hook the occasional glance over a shoulder, stay on the alert, and Olive Ince was a young girl with more than her fair share of brains. On those evenings when she worked late, she would ask a boy clerk, but never the same boy twice in a row, she didn’t want any of them getting ideas, to please escort her home, and she keyed the lock and slotted the chain as soon as she closed her door.

But after two weeks went past, then another week, with still no sign of that lovesick fool? Even a girl as smart and careful as Olive Ince could get complacent. And so she did, she got complacent, and so naturally what happened next, and on the same clammy morning in late July when trouble was breaking out over at the Standard Oil and the Tidewater on Constable Hook, when the first stones were flying, around eight-thirty, nine o’clock that morning, Olive’s still-embittered former suitor, a barber from Jersey City named Dell’Appa, Joseph Dell’Appa, disembarked from the interurban jitney he’d ridden south into Bayonne and stepped onto the pavement at 30th Street and Avenue C. Perspiring and nervously tapping the grip of the cheap revolver that he’d stuck into his waistband and which was concealed by his buttoned jacket, he strode stiffly, like a mechanical man, one long street west to the Hudson County Boulevard. He entered a clapboard apartment house on the corner and climbed the stairs, which were covered with well-worn fiber matting, to the gloomy second floor, where he pounded his fist on Olive’s door. He was disguised—we nearly forgot to say!—in a wig and false whiskers and dressed in a short-brimmed cap and an official-looking but innominate blue uniform. “Open up!” he demanded. “Health Department!”

It so happened that Olive Ince was not home alone. She lived alone–Olive was  independent-minded–but she was not alone that morning. She was being visited by her older-by-three-years and unhappily married sister Mary Margaret, Mary Margaret Cudhy with her two-month-old swaddling baby. It was still pitch dark out when she’d arrived with him at four in the morning, and Olive had crept to her door armed with a brick she’d taken in from the garden expressly for self-defense. Now, many hours later, Olive was still listening to the same matrimonial complaints. Then leave him. Leave him! Just leave the wretched man! Was what Olive wished to say. But didn’t. It would be too cruel.

There were teacups in saucers on the kitchen table, a small pitcher of milk, a plug of white butter on a small plate, scattered bread crumbs, a jam pot, a bread knife, the end of a loaf of dark-black rye. When the knock and the announcement came at the door, Mary Margaret had just finished nursing again and was trying to rebutton her shirtwaist without waking the baby. Glad for the opportunity that the Health Department inspector gave her to escape Mary Margaret’s wearying drone (and besides, she had nothing to worry about from any inspector from any Health Department), Olive jumped up from the table and hurried down the long hall. She rapidly, and thoughtlessly, unlocked and opened the door and recognized who it was at once, Dell’Appa’s disguise didn’t fool Olive. The laughably phony whiskers seemed more appropriate for a grammar-school patriotic pageant.

But then the terrible danger registered—Joe Dell’Appa had just pushed his way into her flat—and she bolted in panic up the hall. Where was that booger of a brick? “Mary Margaret–hide!” Dell’Appa clumsily pulled his revolver free of his pants, didn’t aim, just fired, and a bullet passed through Olive’s left shoulder. She felt a poking sensation, then a fiery pain that spread quickly through her left side. Her vision blurred, recovered, then was all a big smear again. Dell’Appa’s second shot hit Mary Margaret in the calf; she was standing by then, standing and holding the baby, so down they both crashed, baby Tim spilling out of his blanket and striking his head on the foot of the icebox.

Maybe it was that, the squalling bleeding infant, but a switch suddenly flipped inside of Dell’Appa, and he changed from being murderously enraged to being piercingly appalled at his mayhem and by the charges and jail time and ruin that he was surely facing now. What had he done? Why the stupid disguise? What made him even come here? Pride! Foolish pride. Another life destroyed by it! He considered shooting himself in the head—but no! He couldn’t! He was a Catholic. Maybe there was still hope, still was a chance—

Gripping the revolver in his right hand, but holding his arm stiffly at his side, he turned around and stumbled downstairs to the street. He would just run, and keep running, he’d leave Bayonne, he’d hide in New York till he made some plans. But suddenly he found his escape route blocked by a city patrolmen named Charles Gillick, Charlie Gillick, who sized up the situation—armed man fleeing, left-open front door, weeping and wailing from…someplace inside the apartment house—and he automatically swung the varnished yellow riot stick he’d been requisitioned earlier that day; a brand-new stick and Charlie Gillick christened it on Joseph Dell’Appa’s sorry head.

A crowd was collecting around Charlie, everyone’s attention riveted to the pool of dark-red blood spreading on the pavement, and with an incurl of his first finger, he picked out someone and beckoned him over, a strapping young man in a white smock, and deputized him, told him not to take his eyes off the prisoner, and if the prisoner regained his senses to not let him escape. Did he understand? Good! Then Charlie Gillick handed the stock clerk Dell’Appa’s revolver, giving him permission to fire it if he felt he had to, and dashed into Olive’s apartment house. Tenants crowded the foyer, all of them looking up, some pointing, as Charlie took the stairs.

He found two wounded and angry young women, both of them more angry than terrified, and he started tearing fabric from both women’s dresses to bind their wounds and stop the bleeding.

“Olive,” he said, “what happened? Who is that guy outside? Why’d he shoot you?”

“Did you see his crummy disguise! Ha! I’m going to sue him, Charlie! That clown! Can I sue him for this?”

“Good lord, I don’t know. Worry about that later.”

Charlie saw to both mother and child as best he could, but paid considerably more attention to Olive. Well, he had gone to grammar school with her for nine years, St. Mary’s, so there was a strong childhood bond, and besides that—well, put it this way: there was a reason why Joseph Dell’Appa had become so smitten with Olive May Ince. She was preternaturally pretty—not even close to being beautiful but in her prettiness she was without peer, at least in Bayonne, or at least among Bayonne girls in her neighborhood and parish. Boys her own age had started having terrible crushes on Olive, even to fall in love with her, when she was nine, as she’d known for years they would. Older boys began to notice her “that way” when she was 14, and so did older men. That summer she was 19, almost 20, and at the apex of her prettiness, her eyes were at their sparklingest. Imagine the prettiest girl you knew as a child, even if it was yourself, and then multiply it by ten degrees. That was Olive Ince. But so much more than a pretty face! Now let’s move on.

Even with her face white as marble and streaked, stippled, with fresh blood, and her usually sun-bright blonde kielbasa curls matted with the stuff, Olive Ince could remain pretty and lissome, and so she remained while Charlie Gillick carefully applied strips of adhesive tape to a torn dress hem he’d folded into a square and pressed over her wound. But once she’d ascertained from him what had happened to Joe Dell’Appa, and despite the throbbing pain in her shoulder, she went directly down the front stairs and out to the street where Charlie’s deputized stock clerk stood solemn guard over the groaning but still unconscious madman curled up on the short front lawn. Somehow he’d moved or been moved from the pavement. The side of his head was a wet oozing mess, terribly damaged. Well, it served him right! But Charlie Gillick had really whacked him one! He’d be headachy for the next couple of years, and probably screwy.

Olive glared down at the pathetic barber. In the meantime, Charley’s deputy could not tear his gaze away from her face. It was such a sweet, agreeable, pretty face, despite being splashed with blood! Olive recognized that dumb puppy-dog-look and was filled with contempt. What a curse it was, being a girl with the kind of wholesome good looks every man in the world, single or married, becomes enchanted by. Gets a crush on. She was sick of it. Crushes. Olive Ince was not interested in puppy dog crushes. “Joe,” she said, sticking the toe of one of her shoes into his ear. Or mad dog crushes, either. “Wake up, you bastard!”

“Olive,” said the deputized stock clerk with a quick frown.  “Leave him alone, he’s—he’s my prisoner.”

“Oh, get along with you, Dwight! ‘Your prisoner.’ Well, this dub is my assailant! And he could’ve been my assassin! He shot me, the cretin! What do you think about that, Dwight? ‘Your prisoner.'”

The poor kid, Dwight, turned beet red. “Are you okay, Olive? Does your shoulder hurt?”

Irritably, she waved him off, showed him the back of her right hand.

Someone must have telephoned the city hospital because just as Olive started directing unhesitant and merciless boot kicks to Joseph Dell’Appa’s ribs and kidneys, an ambulance from there noisily arrived, a motorized one. It took not only Dwight but all three of the ambulance attendants, plus the driver, to pull Olive away from the weeping and vomiting prisoner, who was miserably conscious now and struggling to crawl…

Charlie Gillick watched the entire ridiculous spectacle from the doorway of Olive’s apartment building. He felt a little bit guilty. He probably should’ve joined the fray, but they were handling it. They had it under control. Finally, when it was over and Olive had calmed down, Charlie hailed one of the medics and sent him up to Mary Margaret and the baby. Who hadn’t looked too good, the last time Charlie checked on him. That baby could die. Jesus Mary and St. Joseph, it might. And he knew, Charlie knew the moment he’d done it that he’d brought his stick down much too hard on that poor slob’s head—thank God the guy was wearing a cap and a dyed cotton wool hairpiece, maybe they absorbed some of the blow. Probably not too much. No, Charlie had given that feller a bad concussion. And he felt sick about it. And that blood in Olive’s hallway, all of that blood, and in the kitchen. Two women gunshot. What just happened? Why do these crazy things happen? He had a paper package of ready-mades in his pocket and he took it out and shook up a cigarette. He’d struck the match on the doorjamb and come down the front steps lighting up when Olive wandered over and touched his wrist.

“Offer me one of those, would you?”

“Sure,” said Charlie, and he did, and got her smoking it. “You need to go to the hospital, Olive.”

“Walk me?”

“You don’t want to ride in the ambulance?”

“If I wanted to ride would I ask you to walk me?”

“No, I guess you’re right.” He smiled and she laughed. My God!  Looking at Olive was delightful. “Sure, I’d be happy to walk you and I’ll take your statement on the way.”

“Don’t you have to write it down?”

“I’ll write it down after.”

Dell’Appa had been put on a stretcher and was being passed into the ambulance. As Olive and Charlie were going back into the apartment house to check on Mary Margaret and her baby, a motorcycle patrolman swung his machine to the curb and stopped to see what was going on and to tell Charlie that every officer had been ordered down to the foot of East 22nd Street. The whole force of seventy-five men was supposed to assemble immediately outside the fence and gates of the Standard plant. And so while Charlie was apologizing to Olive, saying why he couldn’t walk her to the hospital, because he had orders—while he was doing that and simultaneously beckoning the strapping young deputized stock clerk to come over, intending to give him new instructions, tell him to take Olive to the hospital, right at that moment, the medic who’d gone upstairs stepped outside, pushing between them, carrying in his arms Mary Margaret’s wrapped-up-in-a-blanket and very plainly dead infant son.

“Oh Jesus mothering Christ,” said Olive.


Two covered barges, each crowded with a hundred or more men, had just come across the bay from New York City and were tying up at the company piers behind the Standard Oil plant. On the trip over they’d passed six oil tank steamships anchored in the upper bay near the Statue of Liberty. Earlier today those same tankers had been tied up where the two barges were now, but they’d been moved to prevent any possibility of sabotage.

Standing on one of those company piers, a tall and bulky man with thick reddish-brown hair wiped a coat sleeve across his face, then pointed, jabbing impatiently with two fingers, directing a continuously moving line of men—unsavory, disreputable-looking men—from one of the barges, down the planky length of the pier, and into a large flat-roofed single-story masonry building. A makeshift barracks. The red-brick stable next door to it had been converted into an armory; a barge carrying handguns, shotguns, repeating rifles, and boxes of ammunition had come over last night. The company’s mangers had anticipated this walk-out. Bergoff and Waddell of Manhattan, the labor-adjustment bureau retained by Standard Oil, had had a renegade union man, a spy, inside the works for over a year. There definitely would be a walkout, he’d  reported last Tuesday or Wednesday. And last Thursday the still cleaners quit, yesterday it was the coopers. Today, everyone else.

“Come on, fellers!” said the large sandy-haired man. He looked older than he was. He looked 35 but wasn’t yet 28. He’d been a ring boxer when he was younger, a good one too, and had the profile today of a pug dog. His name was King Touey. “Pick up the pace, you lousy shitbirds. Shitbirds!” He shoved one of the dawdling finks hard in the back and sent him flailing. He had a quick temper, this man King, but that wasn’t all. He had a meanness to him, as well.

And on this muggy Tuesday morning King Touey felt especially mean.

Because he hadn’t wanted this job; indeed, had specifically asked not to be sent here.

King had been adjusting serious labor situations, some of the situations very serious indeed, for over three years, in Wilmington and Pottsville, in Buffalo and Troy, and in a dozen mill towns in New England and the South. Gainesville. Louisville. Knoxville. Wisconsin. Roosevelt, New Jersey. King had nobled at strikes by traction workers, railroad men, printers, teamsters, cloak makers, you name it. Longshoremen. Hotel waiters and cooks. All of that faithful service, but when he asks for one small favor. One lousy little favor, one: don’t put him in charge of any labor adjustments in Bayonne, please. I have family there. People know me around Bayonne. So where was King Touey on that hot summer morning? Where was the pier located? In what city? Yes, yes, he could’ve said no. “Pick up the pace, you fucking bums!” So why hadn’t he? And they were fucking bums, most of these guys, worthless alky bums scooped off barroom floors up and down the Bowery; untrustworthy refugees from all the warring nations of Europe, murderers recently sprung from the pen; riffraff, lunatics and drug addicts. “And once you get inside, keep to your left. Your left.”  He could’ve refused the Bayonne job, sure, but…

But maybe it was time he came back for a visit. It had to happen some day. He had a right to visit his sister Liz, to see Our Patsy again, to be here, no matter that most people here felt otherwise. Well, fuck most people! Fuck all the fucking people in the whole fucking world. King Touey could come back home if he wanted to. “Move your slow asses, you worthless pieces of dogshit!” And he had a right to check up on Olive Ince, too, if he so chose. A right to go see how his best girl was doing. If she was as pretty as ever. See if anybody could stop him!


King was… uncomfortable. Coming back home had made him feel uncomfortable. Coming back here. He’d never call Bayonne his home. He had no fond memories, not really. Born a contrarian, he’d clashed with everyone, it seemed like just about everyone, and for as far back as he could remember. After Patsy, poor Patsy, King’s father had wanted another boy, but this time he wanted a real boy, a bright boy, an athletic boy—healthy, a rascal, a wild boy to remind him of himself and his own boyhood in Ireland. But like everyone else, even King’s own father had grown to loathe him. Those dead eyes! And that temper! King was expelled from 6th grade twice, first as a “dullard” in parochial school, then as a “chronic truant” in public school, both times at the age of 13. He never attended school again. He got into some trouble, but always talked his way out of it. Well, not always. He spent a year in the parental home when he was 17. Then, for a while, King did well for himself, boxing. He’d won some fair-sized purses fighting in bouts all over Hudson County. He’d done all right. Then that time was over, along came better boxers, younger better boxers, and King had to find another way to make a living.

Pearl Bergoff, a loudmouthed short fat derbied man who’d christened himself the King of the Strikebreakers, had seen King Touey fight in the ring, many times. Even though his strikebreaking business was based in New York City, the man himself lived with his respectable wife in a fancy three-story, many-roomed mansion that he’d had built on the Hudson County Boulevard in Bayonne. Three years earlier King wrote him a note seeking employment, and the rest was—well, employment, steady employment. Being a strikebreaker, especially a crumb boss like King, was not an admirable thing. Nobody admired the profession, including the people who paid you to practice it. It was a violent, heartless way to make a buck. King never would deny it. It’s what people thought, and what people thought, in this case, was absolutely true. Strikebreakers were the lowest of the low. The lowest form of life. The dregs. But here was the thing, the real gist of it: King Touey didn’t give a royal fuck what people thought. If they wanted to think he was the dregs, the lowest of the low, let them. But fuck them, too.

“What was your count?” said the guy who’d walked up beside King on the pier. “I got one-twenty-seven.”  He was one of Pearl’s regular nobles. King had seen him at other strikes. He specialized in being a go-between, and usually was the first Bergoff man on a new site. Jewish name. Something-stein. Milstein or something. King was terrible with names, just awful. You could be in desperate jams with him, you could save each other’s necks half a dozen times, and the first time you’re gone for a week and then come back, he’d have to rack his brains, trying to remember your name. No, it wasn’t stein. Was it Greene? Yonkers Philly Greene?  No, this guy wasn’t Phil Greene. Never mind, it didn’t matter—who cared what his name was. He had a huge drumhead belly, wore a sailor’s cap, and reeked of petroleum. “That what you got?  One-twenty-seven?”

“That’s what I got,” said King, who’d lost count of the disembarking men right around the time he’d shoved that fink to hurry him along.

“Anybody know how we’re supposed to feed all these guys later? If so, I wish they’d tell me,” said the big man after he jotted the number on a printed form and made his signature.

“I just got here myself, all right? Let me see what I can find out. I got to check in anyhow, with somebody.” King shrugged off his coat and folded it over an arm. “I just got here myself, all right? Fuck!”

“All right, King, calm down, I only asked.”

After leaving the fat man in the sailor’s cap, King asked around after Big Spanish, and was taken for a ride in a Ford car past the farm of gray and red storage tanks, and around the refinery buildings, the firehouse, and the cooperage, and finally to the city side of the works. The driver told him Big Spanish was up on the parapet behind the wall at the front entrance. He was introducing some of the new marksmen to the regular company guards. “Prolly you should keep your head down if you go up there,” the driver added and King thought he detected the faintest inkling of an insult in the caution—as if the driver might be implying, despite the comradely gallows jest, that King Touey was “prolly” unused to being in situations where the discharge of firearms was likely. For one blazing red moment he considered ending that fucking joker’s intimate connection to his front teeth, but it wasn’t worth the rumpus it would cause.

He climbed a ladder to the parapet, where he found about a dozen uniformed and ununiformed men, everyone with a Winchester in hand, all of them—some through the scopes of their rifles—keeping tabs on the crowd on the other side of the whitewashed stockade wall, in the street out beyond the new breastworks and the dead line and the armed Bayonne policemen stationed along it. At least a thousand men and women, almost all of them aliens, Eastern Europeans, mostly Polish, had gathered there for their picketing. Many in the crowd turned suddenly and faced a newspaper photographer after he’d planted his camera and tripod on a dirt embankment and loudly asked them to. Some doffed their caps playfully, most of them smiled. Well, thought King, it’s only the first day. It’s only day one. The only one that feels like a holiday, almost. Give it time, boys, give it some time.

Big Spanish, who was wide-big, not tall-big, trundled along the parapet and shook hands with King, and told him about a meeting they both should be getting along to—actually a couple of meetings. The first was with the general manager of the plant, an icy and smug middle-aged little company man named Gifford, George C. Gifford, and George Gifford just wanted to let them both know that he’d been in contact by telephone with the home office in New York City and that the company would not budge so much as a fraction of an inch, the company would not be extorted, and the company expected its labor adjustors to behave with identical determination and ruthlessness. King said, “That’s how we do it all the time, mister,” then he and Big Spanish went out and met up almost right away in a borrowed office with the other two guardsman working this job, and the divvying-up was decided upon. Red Casey took liquor, and Big Spanish took girls, Billy Carroll got the graft for blankets, and King took the same for cigarettes. He’d been prepared to challenge Billy for the cigarette concession, even prepared to fight him for it, so he was pleased when it didn’t come to that. Red was selected as Captain of the Guard and given command over all of the nobles. Big Spanish was made chief slugger, and Billy Carroll was put in charge of the finks. “That all okay with everyone?” Red asked.

“It’s all right by me,” said King but it was clear to everyone in the room that it wasn’t.  “I’ll just sit around and sell my fucking cigarettes.”

“Don’t start,” said Billy Carroll.

“What?” said King, right up in Billy’s face, it didn’t take him more than two seconds to get there. “Start what? Start what?” He was ready to throw punches.

“Lay off,” said Red Casey. “You hear me, King? I mean it! You want to be put in charge of making sure none of the finks changes his mind, I’m sure Billy would be happy to oblige. We just thought you’d want some time to see the folks at home.”

“Fuck you.”

“Look,” said Red. “You got a sore on for the General, you take it up with him.” The “General” was Pearl Bergoff, of course. “And don’t look surprised. We all know you asked for a pass this time. You didn’t think he’d tell us?”

King had no answer, so he merely sulked. He scowled around the table at everyone.

“We must all learn from our mistakes, asshole. Don’t ever ask him for anything,” said Red Casey. “You should’ve just said you were sick.”

“I don’t lie, like some people I know.”

Billy Carroll started shaking his head. “What is this, King, are you seven years old?”

“Step outside, motherfucker.”

“King!” That got everyone’s attention, Red Casey bellowing out like that, and what else got everyone’s attention was the gun suddenly in Red’s hand and pointing at King. “Go pick up your cigarettes from the firehouse where I set them aside. Say thank you.”

“Thank you,” said King. “Now put away that gun, it’s not funny. Put away the gun!”

“You know, I think I’ll just keep it out for a while. You other guys? You mind this gun?”  No, Big Spanish and Billy Carroll did not mind it at all. In fact, they were both in favor of Red maintaining the drop on that fucking hotheaded maniac King Touey—so that was settled. “You keep blowing your stack all the time like this, King, somebody is gonna come along one day and unthrone your crazy ass. How’d you ever get such a dumb name anyhow?  ‘King.'” Red Casey grinned so much, so mockingly, but so good-naturedly too, over the cocked hammer of his gun that even King finally had to smile.

“As a matter of fact, there is a story there.”

“And we don’t want to hear it.”

“Still and all, there’s a good story. How come I’m called King. And it’s my legal name and my baptismal name.”

“We don’t want to hear your story, I’m sorry I brought it up. But you want extra duties, you’re so bored, go take a rifle up to the wall tonight.”

He’d already been thinking he would do just that, and as soon as the meeting broke up and everybody went their separate way, King thought he might as well go on up to the front gates right now. Why wait? He had nothing better to do. His arrival on the parapet coincided with the arrival of a police department buggy over at the foot of Twenty-second Street and with its passage to the breastworks, thirty yards away, being hampered by the mob of strikers. One of the two uniformed policemen in the buggy got to his feet and began telling two men in the crowd to leave that horse alone–he said leave it alone! Stop that! When he started to draw his pistol, he was struck squarely in the chest with a cobblestone. The air was knocked out of him, he lost his balance, and toppled to the street. The other policeman was going to his comrade’s assistance when he was struck in the neck by a chunk of a brick and knocked senseless.

King aimed at the boys and the man who had actually stoned the two officers—he’d had no trouble picking them out in the crowd from where he was–but then he turned the rifle sight on the second policeman who was sprawled in the street, still out cold. For a moment, just before all the tumult had erupted, the second policeman in the buggy reminded King of Charlie Gillick. More than a little, too. And he could easily see Charlie joining the cops. He was such a rat.

Suddenly there was a series of loud pops, and when King put aside his rifle, braced it against the wall and looked to the street below, he could see a bulge of  blue uniformed Bayonne policemen pushing through the mob, shooting and clubbing, cutting a swath, driving a wedge, through the strikers to get to their fallen brethren and their departmental horse and buggy. It was sheer chaos down there now, and there was no way for King to verify his earlier suspicion that one of those cops in the buggy was Charlie Gillick. But if there’d been no chaos, and if it was definitely Charlie Gillick, and if he had a clean shot? Absolutely. King would absolutely put a bullet through the man’s heart. With the greatest pleasure.

So maybe it wasn’t so bad coming back to Bayonne, not so bad after all–maybe the General had done him a big favor, and maybe King would have himself a proper homecoming. Why not? It had been two years since the last time he was back. First he’d see his sister and his brother, then he’d go see the prettiest girl in Hudson Country (probably not an exaggeration). And then he’d go look up his old pal Charlie Gillick, and they could finally get square. So this was an opportunity after all! He leaned his arms on the top of the wall and looked out over the rising blue gun smoke and smiled for the first time that day—but then he ducked when a bullet whizzed past his head!

(It was not Charlie Gillick in that buggy. That officer’s name was Alfred Clark. Charlie was still on his way there when the riot broke out. But Al Clark did bear a strong resemblance to Charlie, especially in uniform, and besides it really didn’t matter that it wasn’t Charlie who got hit with the brick; what mattered was that King Touey had thought it was, and then dredged up his old grievances against Charlie, that he would subsequently act upon those grievances, and that his actions would have consequences, a chain of serious consequences.)

“Any of you lousy shitbirds feel like wading in out there and getting your feet wet?” said King with a hike of his thumb toward the riot. Then he clambered down the ladder, and after a brief hesitation three of the sluggers on the parapet followed him down.

Continue to EPISODE TWO: Cat of Ashes →