To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Polish Gang: Detroit 1929 Paperback – November 17, 2011
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
A must have in any library.
Introducing THE POLISH GANG
Don't miss this one.
The Polish Gang takes you deep into the heart of the Roaring Twenties. It violently shakes your emotions with both good and evil characters. Often lighthearted, yet tenderly thoughtful, Karl J. Niemiec clearly captures a Runyonesque sense of humor.
From the Inside Flap
"So?" Anthony asked after Bartolommeo had finally squeaked and groaned himself into the booth.
Bartolommeo motioned the worker to beat it. The old-timer sauntered off into the shadows of the stage with his push broom. Bartolommeo kept an eye on the worker to be sure what he was about to say was not over-heard. "It's done. Carlo Axler, ten thousand."
"This is a Polish boy, not the Pope."
"Perhaps you prefer to have your son do it."
"The price of blood money, these men are vampires. I don't think we should go through with this, Bartolo." Anthony's face became so distraught he appeared to be a pale-skinned Englishman.
"This is my daughter found naked and your, soon to be, daughter-in-law."
Anthony retrieved a tattered telegram from his pocket and began to read aloud. "Nicole is mine, she was never yours. Your families' blood will never run pure." He studied the expression on Bartolommeo's face. It read nothing but trouble. "What kind of hogwash is this, Bartolo? Any bum could've sent it. It happens all the time for Christ's sake."
Bartolommeo took the telegram and crumpled it in his stubby hand. "Not to me. Don't you see, Anthony, they've fallen in love. They met at your God forsaken lake and now they're spending nights together. I say this Polish boy sent Nicole this telegram."
"We don't know that for sure. I say we hire a real detective."
"I say we end the problem right now and pay Carlo the money."
"I'd say you've gone mad."
"Then mad I've gone. But this Polack won't run off with my only daughter and destroy my family's name."
Anthony let the hard truth sink in. Nicole running off with this Polish boy, embarrassing his only son was hard venom to swallow. Reluctantly, "I don't trust reporters so don't get this in the papers. I can't afford a public scandal."
A broad, tough smile broke across Bartolommeo's face. "Relax, Mr. Big Shot District Attorney, no one will point their pencil-worn finger at us."
"What about O'Garrity? The fool, I don't like him. He couldn't find his way home from a daydream."
"That's why he's perfect for this. We've taken every legal step we can take. O'Garrity keeps the boy on the run. His family is, or perhaps could be, involved with illegal running of rum across the Detroit River. If the boy disappears or is brutally murdered, who would be the wiser? Certainly not O'Garrity."
"Still, this kind of thing makes me nervous. We're not little boys playing in Palermo any longer."
At this, Bartolommeo held up his glass. "Yes, we were troubled young men. To when days were different and we were different men."
Bartolommeo took a mouthful and swished it about his hippo teeth. "Salute," Anthony said and did the same, but with a lot more grace. "Not bad for a couple of old Guineas like you and I."
"You and your public life are old, Anthony. I am merely fermenting in the shade like fine wine waiting for my time to be cherished by others." Bartolommeo pulled two hand rolled cigars from his coat pocket. He rolled one between two of his stubby fingers and waited. He knew Anthony had tried to quit so he didn't offer. He merely clipped their ends. He knew Anthony well. Inevitably, Anthony extended his hand and Bartolommeo placed the cigar in it. The other one he threw at his own face and it lodged firmly in place between his stained teeth. He sucked on it like a newborn child. Anthony held up his lighter. Its flame leapt in front of Bartolommeo's face. Bartolommeo's eyes shifted away, hiding something as unfathomable as sinister from his best friend.
"What is it, Bartolommeo?"
"Nothing." Bartolommeo fought to hide any thought of his deep dark secret that was buried beyond the glow in his calculating eyes. As far as he knew, only two other people alive that night knew how much truth that telegram contained. And one of them was a poet.
"Are you sure?"
Anthony smoked a moment and dropped the mental strip search and sank into a familiar reflective mood. It was part of the reason why he tried to quit smoking. It reminded him of his dear departed wife. "Women," he said and sighed as he lit his own cigar again, "love them and they perish to the beyond, despise them, and they live to haunt you forever."
"Political power has made you cynical, my dear friend."
"Thank you. It has also made me a lonely man. I look forward to the pounding of little feet again."
"Perhaps you should remarry."
"Digamy? Never. A promise is a promise." Anthony swirled his cognac and held it up so that the work light from the stage shone through it. "How much of this have we brought across this month?"
Bartolommeo chuckled at his childhood friend and reached for the bottle that lay between them. He splashed another ounce in both glasses. "You, Anthony, would make love to the most beautiful woman in the world then ask yourself how much. I, on the other hand, would have to kill for such an opportunity and laugh at how little it cost me."
"I am a public figure. It's my nature to worry. I do worry, I promise you, Bartolo, I worry."
"Nature! The wind is the force of nature. The wind billows the sails of innocent men and launches the ships of reason. Nature doesn't worry where it blows our ship, and neither should you. So, relax, let the wind introduce us to whole new worlds."
"Screw Columbus, I don't want new worlds. I want money and power and a family to pass it onto. You understand me, don't you? Now, how much?"
"Trust me, my friend, we want the same things, me and you. Two more truck loads arrive at the lake tomorrow. For a total of just eight this month. I'll move it to Florida on the sixth and we'll be done for thirty days. Fast and simple." With this he drew contently on his cigar and blew out a cloud of boastful smoke, following it with his eyes toward the old darky who now somberly roamed further out onto the dance floor, locked in a silent romance with his mop. Bartolommeo leaned across the table, keeping his hands underneath, "Don't worry. I've got Albert and Johnny tracking the Niemiec family to see if they're stocking a warehouse. If Michal is running rum and is as careless as his boy, and we tip O'Garrity at the right moment, perhaps with a little luck, The Polish Gang will be out of the bootlegging business forever, maybe even deported on charges by my dear friend the DA. Charming enough?"
Anthony had to smile at the way his fat little friend's devious mind worked. "You always were a cruel bastard."
"True, I am to blame that bad things happen to those who wrong me. That is not being cruel in my eyes. That is just playing the game."
"And I'm fully aware I wouldn't be where I am today politically without a good man like you making things happen the way they're supposed to happen in this town." They toasted in agreement. "To Prohibition."
"May it, and all our generations live forever."
They drank deeply then smoked philosophically. A cloud formed above them before Bartolommeo continued, "You and I, Anthony, we should've been brothers."
"And now we shall be grandparents together, instead."
"God bless America."
So the solution to the unfortunate circumstances that life had bestowed upon Bartolommeo and Anthony was simple -- ten thousand dollars. The outcome, the Polish boy must die.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 80%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now