The Black Dragon, Chapter 34, part 3.

The confusion continues. What is Little Timmy up to and who does he shoot?

The Agent

Saturday July 30, 1932.

I met with the Dragon in the early morning. “Today is the day that we make the exchange. I could go to the ship and get the money.”

“Why don’t we return to the fish market this morning. There may be an opportunity for a more direct approach. Bring the lieutenant and we can perhaps make a plan.”
I went and brought the lieutenant back. The lieutentant had had the Yaoguai obtain some maps of the area around the market and the rest of downtown and he and I went over some places where he could put his people. I looked at things and said, “What if the young man goes into the water?”
“I’ll put some people in to chase him out again. We can set things up from this pier here near the bridge. I’ll put two men here in the fish market. I send them early so that the young man doesn’t pick up on them. Then the rest of us confront the young man. It shouldn’t be that hard. We can bring him back here and make arrangements to have him go with us to collect the treasures.”

The dragon was nodding as we laid out the set up and I asked, “How do we deal with the other boys?”

“I’ll arrange to have some Yaoguai with guns to handle them. The kids will back off when the Dragon shows up. We haven’t seen them wave any guns around.”
“What about the mobsters down the street?”
“We’ll keep an eye on them. They will be caught by surprise and we can keep their heads down. We only have to be able to get to the young man and get him in the car.”

“I like the plan,” The dragon said. “We will pursue things along those lines.”

With that, the Dragon mounted the truck again and we were off to the now familiar street under the shadows of the bridge. The lieutenant setup his people and I joined him after I arrived with the Dragon. “Has the young man been here?”

“He’s been in and out.”
“It is getting close to the noon hour, I think that we should speak with him the next time he leaves his space.”

The young man did and the lieutenant and I went to speak with him. He did not have the objects with him and the when I told the Dragon that, he said, “Tell the young man that I wish to inspect the objects before the exchange.”
I did, and the young man, in a rather annoyed tone of voice, made it clear that he did not have the objects where they were readily accessible. When I told the Dragon that, he said, “Then we must go as we planned,” and emerged from the truck.

That was when things became chaos and noise as some of the boys fired guns at the Dragon that looked like toys, but shot high powered water needles, there was rifle fire from windows across the street and the mobsters opened fire with pistols, a shotgun and a machine gun of some sort. The Dragon howled and tried to flame the windows. The Yaoguai that were with us pulled their guns, but were killed before they could even fire by the various people shooting. The Dragon started after the young man and Pulled at the pier in front of the young man, destroying a portion of it. As the Dragon started forward again, the white shape of another dragon slammed into him and the two dragons fought with each other until the Dragon managed to get a claw on the smaller dragon, tear across the white dragon’s neck and chest and toss the white dragon aside. Then he startedback to the truck as the lieutenant and one of his men dragged the unconscious young man to the car and we all left the the scene as quickly as we could.

After some evasive driving near the bridges to lose any pursuers we drove back to the the factory. The Dragon limped out of the truck toward his cave. His voice rang in my head, “Bring me a sheep, a hog as well and some drink, a lot of drink.”

As I was arranging for the drink and the rest with the Yaoguai we had on hand as servants the lieutenant returned. “We lost five of my people in the water and three Yaoguai were shot.”

“How did you lose the people in the water?”

“I’m not sure. I just saw them loading the bodies.”

“Who was loading the bodies?”
“Police, some Federal types and some navy people, some of whom must have been sea folk.”

“I will tell the Dragon. I need to finish readying his meal”

I returned to the Dragon’s cave with the Yaoguai and the Dragon’s meal. He tore the head off the terrified sheep and then turned to me, “So what did the lieutenant report?”

“He lost the people in the water to navy seafolk in some manner.”

“So we have lost almost half the strike team and we will have to be cautious with the rest. I must recover. Return in two hours and we will have a discussion with the young man.”

With that I left the Dragon to recover. With not much else to attend to, I went to the little store near our headquarters and bought a newspaper. Other than a story about the Troubleshooter dealing with a barn, there wasn’t much other than the usual things that filled a slow news day. The incident this morning would probably hit the papers on Sunday. After about two hours I sent the rather unhappy looking lieutenant to bring the young man to the Dragon and we had a discussion with him. One thing was clear from that discussion. If we still wanted the objects, we were probably going to give him the money he wanted. The fact that he had placed the objects in the White Building in a room he couldn’t even get into, let alone us getting into the building, were going to make things rather difficult, especially when the objects were probably scattered around the room in separate boxes. The lieutenant took the young man and the Dragon looked at me rather pensively, “I killed my brother today in pursuit my goals and after that and the pain from getting shot, we are still right where we were this morning. The young man plays an interesting game of Go. We have been underestimating him, badly. We have him prisoner and he still has all the advantages.”

“True. At least he cannot escape. I ‘fixed’ the lock on the door so that it can’tbe opened using his abilities and the lieutentant has a guard posted outside the door.”

“I want to know who his family is. He seemed to imply that the Troubleshooter was connected and that the gangster at the fishmarket knew who the young man’s father is. We need more information about what we are dealing with. I made a mistake in insisting that we take the young man this morning even when the objects were not present. We need to correct our ignorance. Contact the spy in the morning. Also, ask about that hunter the young man was talking about and how he is connected to the Bentons. For that matter, make the attempt to discover why he is down here. If he is in the habit of collecting bounties, the Red Dragon’s father could offer him a very large sum to collect my head. He certainly has wanted it for some time now. If the man could deal with the Colonel, he must be formidable indeed.”

With that I went to find a meal and bed.

Olivia

Sunday July 31, 1932.

After the noise and what must have been a lot of frustration the previous day, ‘Jean” sent me a message asking me to find out more about the Tim’s family and Bill. When I joined Ray for breakfast, I said, “Tim must have been making noises about his family yesterday. The family and Bill. They should know about Bill already since the Yaoguai have been upstate already.”
“I don’t think that they encountered Bill. The Yaoguai were mostly in Lake Placid playing with us and Stephie. They showed up at the shoot and Xing scared them away. As for Tim’s family, why don’t we talk to Eli and Theresa about that? We want to keep Little Timmy and Tim Thomas separate in the Yaoguai’s minds.”

“We’ve managed to do that. Let’s call Sarah and see if Eli and Theresa are there.”

We went to Ray’s place and called Sarah, who said when I called, “Eli and Theresa haven’t left yet, let me put Eli on the line.”

“Hi, Olivia, We’re on our way to May’s and to look into where they are keeping Tim, what do you want to talk about?”

“The other side wants to know more about Little Timmy. Ray and I want to make sure that Little Timmy and Tim Thomas are separate people. They also want information on Bill, but we can talk to Hilda about that.”

“That’s more Theresa’s style than mine, so let me put her on.”

“Hi, Olivia. So ‘Jean’ wants to know more about Little Timmy’s family. Why don’t Ray, you and I get together with Joe and come up with something?”

“At your office?”

“Joe’s. We can go down there and hide behind Bennie’s. I’ll send Sarah to pick you up at the station. Did ‘Jean” say where he wanted to meet?”

“The park again, tomorrow afternoon.”

“That gives us time to work things out. I’ll meet you at Joe’s office. We can also talk to Alex and get the update. I understand that yesterday was rather exciting.”

“We’ll tell you when we get there.”

I hung up the phone and turned to Ray. “She wants to meet us at Joe’s office behind Bennie’s”

“That makes sense. We probably want to talk with Joe and Maria about this anyway.”

With that we headed to the subway and Coney Island where Sarah was waiting with a car. As we got in she said, “So what happened yesterday and why isn’t Tim back out.”

“We were waiting to play some fun and games at the festival and Tim never showed up,” Ray answered. “By the time we arrived at Tim’s shack, everything was over and the mermaids and Tim’s people were running the map and the rest were on their way to Bennie’s. As for Tim being out, we haven’t checked in yet, so I’m not sure why Tim didn’t leave. You will have to ask Alex, Xing or Suzy. They were all there.”

“Xing and her parents are making arrangements for her grandfather and Alex is with Bill, Hilda and the boys doing a sweep of the area around the Dragon’s hideout.”

We parked in front of the building that Joe and Bennie had behind Bennie’s and went inside. Joe was there with Eli, Theresa and Maria already. He grinned and said, “So we have to make a family for Little Timmy.”
“That character and his boss asked for one,” Ray said. “I’m guessing that Tim used his family as a bit of a threat.”

“We can start with me, but using the cover name that I use for the business, since Tim already used the Thomas name already. So we can go with Tomassio for the family name since that is what it originally was anyway. The immigration people changed it to Thomas when I came in just like they did with dad’s didn’t they?”

“We sort of went with that deliberately,” Eli said. “We were trying to cover our tracks a bit and for fae, a name change when you move around isn’t a bad thing in any case. So we can go with Tomassio for the last name. Theresa and I can still be Tim’s grandaparents up top and you and Maria will be his parents. Since Maria is Brian’s niece we can take advantage of that. We can also use the fact that Mike and Maria are second cousins. I suspect that if the keystone had not been desperate Suzy and Tim would never have bonded. In any case, we can say that Tim is connected to the royals of the Rockaway bower, you and the Cape. He also is connected to Dom through Tara and Mike but we can simplify it to being the Rockaway royal potentially. We can make the point that the shark killings and the rest of it raised him and that is why the family is putting up with his slightly criminal antics while having Sal keep an eye on him. We can use you, Joe, for clout and money and Dom for the criminal connection that we, the family do not approve of.”

“What if they ask about the connection to the Director?” I asked.

“We go with the truth. Eli and I sold information to the Director and when Tim was pissed at his dad, we encouraged him to do little favors for the Director,” Theresa said. “If we could have actually done that, it might have been interesting, but you, Joe, didn’t want Tim involved for royal fae issues. Considering the incident with the vampire that you didn’t tell me about, Joe, you were correct about that.”

“I wasn’t listening to Tim and didn’t know about the vampire until things were over.” Joe grimaced. “There were a lot of business issues going on at the same time. I owe Alex, Sal and Bill.”

I wrote up some notes detailing Little Timmy’s family and then said, “So how do we handle Bill?”
“How do we handle me, that is, if you are talking about me?” He had just walked in from the front with Hilda.

“Unless there is another Bill that Tim would use as boogeyman, we’re talking about you,” I said.

He smiled. “I doubt it. As far as being a boogeyman for the dark fae, I think that other than Josh, I am the scariest thing around. Since the Colonel, the monster population, if any, has gone deep underground. Between Josh, Hilda, Stephie, Tom and me, along with Director’s operations being destroyed, the monsters all just sort of died and the dark fae are hiding. So what did ‘Jean’ ask about me?”

“He wanted to know about you and the Colonel.”

“That was Tom and Eric, mostly. The Colonel was careful to keep moving when he was in my neighborhood, because of Ed as well as me. If Ed had picked up on the Colonel, chances are that he would have told Bill Jacobs, who would have called Boris and me and we would have started up a hunt. But the Colonel was cagy and used nonfae to do his set up and only brought the werewolves in at the end as a distraction. Up until Christmas and Chrissie’s party, the Colonel had the the major handling looking into us. Eric and I only dealt with the Colonel when he showed up at the farm and he wasn’t that much of a challenge since we knew that he was coming.”

“How are you planning to handle these characters?” Ray asked.

“Xing’s dad has offered to make a substantial donation to the school if I should collect the dragon’s head. So if Xing misses her shot, I will take one. I’m hoping that if the Dragon runs, he is discreet and if he comes after Alex, Xing or me, we’re going to lead him down to that old vampire nest on Barren Island, shoot him there and if he goes into the factory, burn him out with the thermite leftover from the chemist. If he uses the truck again, we have road blocks that we are setting up. Of course if he stays in the factory until tomorrow, things are going to be rather unpleasant for him.”

“Why?”

“Mary is coming down and bringing some things that she hasn’t had a chance to try out. She’s also making a stop at her favorite company in Connecticut on the way down and they will more than likely give her some new toys to play with.”
“They will give her things?”

“She’ll send reports on how the booms went and any issues she finds. She is one of their favorite new product testers. So they give her things to play with. She also sent them a detailed report on the various things that people put together during the Manager and the Colonel along with details aboutTom’s stuff.

We also had a lot of leftovers from the Academy and the werewolves and Stephie doesn’t have room for it, so we want to give some more noisemakers and whatnot to Steve and the bureau in any case.”

I was taking notes as Bill was explaining different things. I looked at Bill and asked, “I know what Theresa does, and Hilda and Stephie, what about Diana?”

“She does traps. She likes nice coats for her leather things and rigs traps so that the animal dies quickly, without damaging the coat. She’ll trap anything from rabbits to a moose. Of course she is a master at getting leather to do what she wants.”

“Does she do people traps?”

“I don’t think that I will answer that. Ask Boris. I like to run in the woods with Hilda and if I piss Diana off, it can get messy, at least for me.”

We laughed at that.

Alex and Xing came in with Bob and Scott and Alex said, “What are you all cooking up?”

“Little Timmy’s background and scary things about Bill” I replied with a grin. “‘Jean’ asked for information about Tim’s family.”

“Tim has been talking about connections and family right along as part of his con. I guess they finally decided to see what he was talking about. He has been mentioning his connections, hasn’t he, Xing?”

“Yes he has. ‘Jean’ should have asked Olivia about them before.” Xing grinned. “I can’t blame him about that, too much because he’s been with the Black Dragon and the Yaoguai have been supposed to do the work while the Black Dragon kept in the background. The Yaoguai have been rather out of their depth.”

“Were they this bad in China?”

“No, but we were still able to get ahead of them since the treasures did not make their carriers comfortable and they had a hard time hiding them in their domain when they could.”

As we put things together for ‘Jean’ the biggest problem was not to make things too scary. When we were done, Alex and Xing took us by the old factory that the Black Dragon was using as a headquarters. We went by the woods and field across the street and Alex said, “Andy and some of the other kids are going to be kids in the woods with Tony watching them.”
“I’m surprised that there aren’t any kids out here already.” I looked around and I would have expected kids to be hanging around at the general store up the street from the factory and there wasn’t a kid to be seen.

“That is one effect that the Black Dragon’s taint has on things,” Xing said. “He was fortunate that at the time that the treasures were taken, our family did not have any children and there were no others close enough to feel the taint, at least not fae children.”

“We talked to May this morning and Karl’s son Adam and Adam told us that his younger brother said that something bad was at the factory and the kids were staying away” Alex said. “The kids didn’t want to say something to May because they thought that they would get in trouble. They told May about the factory when they heard about Tim.”

We headed back to Joes office and there was quite a crowd of people there between bower types, the bureau, the outfit and now Alex’s family, when they started to show up. Xing’s parents and Alex’s Aunt Barbara were introducing the family to everybody else and Mike and Nera were in a corner with Joe going over the old factory, since Joe had lived in the area for a long time. Bill was talking to Jim and his father in law, along Hilda and her sister in laws, Mary and Stephie. Stephie saw us come in and said, “Alex! How did you let that thing get Tim?”

“We had a plan and they slipped somebody into the fish market. Steve had a Puppet Tim waiting and we were going to make the switch, but the Dragon knocked the pier down and Tim couldn’t get to Steve. Then when he came back, they sapped him and he must not have sensed the other two characters with the Dragon on the rampage. I never had a shot.”

“How come nobody shot the Dragon?”

“Just about everybody else did. Tim had the Academy boys with rifles at upper floor windows, some more boys with water tube guns and Socks Lanza had a guy with a Thompson, but none of the shots did fatal damage. The Black Dragon is fast, big and tough. Also, he was essentially playing the diversion.”

“I can see why Hilda had me come. Has the Black Dragon been bothering Tom?”

“He’s been smart enough to stay away from your brother, at least after Tom walked all over the Yaoguai.”

“He does do that.”

“Tom doesn’t have the treasures that the Black Dragon wants,” Xing said. “The Tiger wants what Tom and that is going to be interesting. The Black dragon knew that Tim had all the treasures and went directly after him, which was stupid, because Tim did not have any of the treasures with him when he was taken. Of course Tim has taken advantage of the skills his grandparents taught him.”
“Why isn’t he here?”

“He was afraid that the Dragon would go on a rampage in his old neighborhood and kill some children.”

 

 

“Ok, he’s doing the same thing, more or less that Chrissie did. I imagine that Suzy will keep him straight.”

“I certainly will.” She had just rolled in. “I made sure that he had his gun after he called last night and he’s not to take any unnecessary risks. As for the Black Dragon, he wants to give him to Xing for an engagement present, the poor thing. So we need to arrange for the Black Dragon to have a bad time. Why don’t we go to lunch and get to work.”

We went to lunch and then started in on making the Black Dragon’s life miserable.

Noro

Sunday July 31, 1932.

Joel and I had decided to make the Tiger our focus. At least until he had left the scene so abruptly. On the other hand much of the family was leaving soon for Steve’s wedding, including Tom, who was going on to Japan at the insistance of Suki, who was not taking no for an answer this time. Suki also had leverage that she hadn’t had before, namely Chrissie. Lou and I also wanted Tom to go the Orient since he was so well connected. So that took Tom out of the picture. On the other hand, Altris and Ilutra were not going to Hawaii, because they both had weddings of granddaughters coming up and wives with tails which made the distances and travel times rather inconvenient.

If the Tiger took advantage of so many of us being gone, I imagined that he would not be happy with what my two sons did with him, especially since they had all the stories about my first encounter and all the information that I had collected since.

Joel looked at me. “I’m surprised that you didn’t go to Bennie’s with the rest of them. Why not?”

“I didn’t want to put my fingers in Joe’s business. Especially since he is working on his relationship with Alex’s family. Tim is his son and this is his responsibility. Things aren’t going to be happening until Tuesday in any case. That is when George gets fired.”

“Why would you fire George? It seems to me that he runs a tight ship.”

“He let Little Timmy put things in the shielded room and that caused a rather public scandal when John Rockefeller found that I had inadvertently obtained some of his property.”

Joel grinned. “So where do I come in?”

“We have a character in Chinatown who has given people a lot of grief. I tink it’s time that Mr. Li gets some real grief himself. He’s been Troubleshot once and didn’t pay attention, so I think that Mr. P. and his associates should give him an education on how business is done.”

“How much do we skin him for?”

“That’s what we need to find out. Why don’t we talk to Jim and see how much he has.”

Finding Jim was as easy as calling his apartment and getting invited to lunch once Adelle found out what we wanted to talk about. Joel and I took the car down to Jim’s apartment, got out of the car and went upstairs into what appeared to be chaos as George had Jim’s and Tochi’s kids playing some sort of war game with toy soldiers, maps and little wooden houses. Jim looked at me and said, “George is conquering New York City and the boys are fighting him.”

I looked at things again and said, “The boys are doing better than General Washington did. That was not one of his better months. But then he got better a bit later.”

“Were you involved in that?”

“A bit. John Adams wanted me down in Philadelphia keeping an eye out for the weird and strange in congress. The last thing we needed was some fae spy compelling delegates.”

“Did that happen?”

“Actually it did. The British had a vampire from Montreal who infiltrated and I staked for her trouble, The French sent fae as this was before they were persecuted during the revolution and there were others. Some of them are still here.”

“They must hide very well.”

“Most of them do. Or they move around with their families. Since they generally don’t have ties to keystones or communities they can do that.”

“So you want to strip the Yaoguai of funds. How do you plan to do that?”

“I have been betrayed and had to fire my chief of security. He will want to betray me for money.”

“I see. So he is going to approach the Yaoguai and offer them the goods. How did he obtain them?”

“The things were in the car when the Black Dragon messed things up yesterday. He just never put them back. But John Rockefeller found out about Little Timmy taking the knife, wanted it back and when I went into the shielded room to look for it, the fakes were the only thing there. I’m going to interrogate George and fire him tomorrow.”

“So George will only have the treasures to betray you with. Why don’t we discuss this over lunch? Then there is somebody that we should meet with. Afterwards I, at least need to go down to Bennie’s.”

“What for?”

“Bill wants to talk to me about how I shot the Black Dragon and what shots did the most damage. The Black Dragon and I had an encounter years ago and I managed to do quite a bit of damage before he finally ran and left Xing alone.”

Adelle called us all into lunch and we had a wonderful time as Jim told us about his adventures with the Black Dragon and the Yaoguai over the years, with the rest of them making their contributions to the story.

After lunch we went with Jim to meet his strange associates. We went to a rather bedraggled old building that was seemingly filled with poor Chinese immigrants, prostitutes and possibly criminals most of which seemed to be high fae. As we walked in, there was a man waiting and Jim said, “Noro, these are the Red

Foxes. They have come here to serve the lady and the treasures.”

The man, who must have been the leader said, “We are glad to meet the good friend of the old master who was taken from us by his brother. Jim has said that you wish destroy our taint and burden. We will assist you in that task.”

“I wasn’t planning to kill them. Killing tends to be one of those things that is irrevocable if you need somebody.”
“We could have killed them if we had wanted them dead. I imagine that your grandson in law and his family could make the lot of them disappear with no difficulties.”

“I don’t think that Tom considers them worth the effort. I would prefer not to bother him about his because my granddaughter would get annoyed and her father would like some peace and quiet this year after the circus we had last year.”

The man grinned. “We have heard some of the stories. I’m surprised that certain parties have not taken a stronger stance already.”

“I think that they are waiting to see what Xing, Alex and Tim do to the Yaoguai.”

“We can understand that. The Black Dragon is in rather a bad spot right now. He is here, without the resurces that he would have from his nephew and now he has lost all four of the treasures he has been seeking to a very strong young man and he’s managed to arouse a good portion of the local fae and earned the ire of most of the powerful fae families in the area by attempting to coerce Tim into giving up the treasures. I think that I wish to go and meet with my cousin and the rest.”

“They are all down at Bennie’s right now. I was planning to keep my part separate.”

“Considering that Jim, the Master and my cousin all have said good things about the food there and the food at the party the other evening was excellent, that is even better reason to meet.”

With that the four of us made our way down to Bennie’s or behind Bennie’s as the case may be. Actually we should have gone to Bennie’s to park the car as the street in front of Joe’s office was rather crowded with cars and trucks by this point, including some rather familiar trucks. We walked into the rather crowded office and George and Josh were there, as well as everybody else. I went up to them and said, “What are you two doing here?”

“I was talking to George about Tim’s fun and games up at the Cape last week and Mera wanted to bring George down here for lunch. Since Tim was involved, we wanted to help.”

“So you waste company resources and bring people down on Sunday.”

“We’re not wasting anything. There are some things we want to play with rather discreetly and this is a good opportunity. Also most of the people are here to see what Tim and Alex pull off.”

“Ok, I understand. By the way, George, I will have a talk with you on Monday. You’re fired.”

“What for?” Josh asked with a bit of a grin. “Actually if you fire George, I’ll just tell Tom to hire him. He’s been a bit stressed by mermaids wanting to know where their beds are.”

“I thought that Chrissie was handling that.”

“She is, but she could use some experienced help. Also, there are some other characters hanging around. A character and his friends that you are familiar with.”

“The Tiger.”

“Yup. So far it’s been proxies and I don’t think that the Tiger understands that most of the proxies he hires are reporting to me. So far the Tiger has been staying away from the Cape. The interesting thing is that the proxies seem to be concentrating on Roger.”

“Roger?”

“I suspect that there is more to Roger than it seems. I talked to Eric and Miss Vicky, who recognized Roger from when he had been in Washington and bit of a pet at the Commerce Department until he up and disappeared. A bit later he showed up at the farm and became more or less Andy’s dog.”

“So he follows the Dragon and is probably a guardian. That explains some things.”

“You still haven’t explained why you are firing me,” George said.

“You allowed stolen property into the shielded room and John Rockefeller found out that you had it and raised a stink about it to me.”
“The stolen property that I was handling for Little Timmy, probably, after he managed to get that blackmailing character off my back.”

“I see that you and Tim have been thinking about this already.”

“We did talk about it, yes. We needed a reason for somebody like me to be helping somebody like Little Timmy, especially since he was bothering my bosses.”

“He was pestering me. Did he pester Lou, or you, Josh?”

Josh grinned. “Other than the usual, no he hasn’t. You seem to have been the target. That’s what you get for relying on a poor security man like George. At least I was smart enough to tell Little Timmy that Mera and I were sitting the Chase out.”

“I was helping Alex.”

“Once you were involved, that left Tim free to play his games. You should have known that that was an opportunity for some of the rest of us.”

‘I wondered about some of Tim’s family rules picks. Apparently there was more than one game going on.”

“Noro, once you were involved in the Chase, you must have realized that the family would see it as an opportunity to make it as fun as possible for you. So what did you come up with?”

Joel and I went over the plan with George, Mera and Josh, along with Mike, Nera, Al and Eltra when they spotted us. George said, “At some point we have to kill Little Timmy.”

“Why?”

“We don’t want that Puppet to go to waste. So Little Timmy should run, get caught by me and Sal and set up for some nice backstabbing. We can make the switch when Tim comes out tomorrow.”

“I think that we should arrange for Little Timmy to kill you, George, after he escapes from the factory, that is, on Tuesday. After all you did stab him in the back and get in contact with the Yaoguai about handing the goods over. You are meeting them at the same pier that Sal Troubleshot them on.”

By the time we laid out the plans it was dinner and afterwards, Alex took Suzy to check out Tim and tell him what we were up to. With everything set up for the next couple of days, we all went to our apartments or hotel rooms.

 

 

The Agent

Sunday July 31 – Monday August 1, 1932.

Sunday morning the Lieutenant and I went to the subway and took the train to the White Building. The building took up half the block facing Park Avenue and there were just three entrances that led directly into the building. There were shops and a reataurant on the sides of the buildings facing the two cross streets. There also seemed to be people whatching the entrances and two of them were locked and the main entrance had two people at the front desk even though most of the businesses inside would be closed. As we walked away the Lieutenant said, “With only seven of us it wouldn’t work. We don’t know where the stairs are and I suspect that the elevators have armed operators. There’s also the fact that we would be walking into mob headquarters and they might get annoyed. That’s what happened when Jídiànjí grabbed Mr. Benton.”

“So no hope here?”

“Not without a lot more resources and time we don’t have. We need to get the ship loaded and leave before we attract more attention. That is if we haven’t attracted that attention already.”

“I will tell the Dragon.”

After looking into the ship and talking to the captain, I did some paperwork before returning to the factory and the Dragon. He looked at me. “Well?”

“The lieutenant and I looked at the White building. Without knowing where the treasures are and with the resources we have at hand, it is unlikely that an attack would succeed.”

“Then we must come up with another plan.”

“Should we release the young man? At this point, holding him could cause difficulties.”
“Let us keep him until the call on Tuesday. You should have more information on his family after the report from out spy.”

With that, I did some more work for the ship until bed. The next morning the Lieutenant drove me over to the subway station and we took the subway down to the battery to meet with our spy. She smiled as we walked up. “You pick easy people for me to look into. All this took was a phone call to Sarah.”

“What did you find?”

“Ok, let’s start with your friend Little Timmy, that is Timothy Tomassio. He just turned eighteen and has been on the streets for the last three years. As you already know, he has that little information service he runs out of that building on South Street.”

“What about his family?”

“This is where things get interesting. You know about the Sharks killing most of the royal family of the Rockaway bower. Well, Brian had two sisters who bonded with people that came from overseas. They each had two daughters and two sons, one of which bonded with Joe Tomassio and has two children, Timothy and Katherine. One of the others bonded with Vincent Caliabierti and has a son, Dominic Caliabierti among other children. Joeseph Tomassio runs the bower up top legitimate businesses and Dominic Caliabierti you probably already know about.”

“So the young man wasn’t kidding when he mentioned his connections. Why did they let him do what he is doing?”

“That has to do with his grandparents, Joe’s parents. They came over a bit later than Joe did with a keystone and had Twisted issues and a baby. So they were separated from the rest of the community and in order to support themselves, sold information to the Director. When Little Timmy had a tiff with his parents over some issues, Tim’s grandparents suggested that he work for the Director providing gofer and spying services. When the family found out about it when the Director collapsed, they were not happy. So Tim is still on the outs with his family.”
“How does that Troubleshooter fit in?” the lieutenant asked.

“That’s Sal DelVechio. His father bonded with a tail in Virginia while he was in the navy and they have four kids. Sal’s father and Dominic are second cousins. Sal wanted to be a cop, but was forced out of the police force when his relationship with Dominic’s son Vinnie was discovered. So he does house cleaning for the mob and others, including the bower.”

“So the Troubleshooter is high fae and does the family’s dirty work, other family members run the mob and have a lot of businesses that might be rather shady and the young man is more or less left alone. Why?”

“He is the probable heir to the Rockaway keystone or his grandparents’ keystone. The Manager and the Director injured or killed the Rockaway royals and Joe would have been a logical candidate, but he was injured in the war. Tim also turned over everything he had about the Director and how he operated to his great aunt. So it isn’t worth the trouble to try to contain him. The Troubleshooter does keep an eye on him.”

The Lieutenant must have had the same pit in his stomach that I had when he asked, “So what will the family’s response be if Little Timmy gets in too deep trouble?”

“For the most part, watch unless it becomes apparent that you are seriously threatening him. Tim is fairly strong on own and can deal with a lot of things. But if the threat gets significant or they feel that Tim can’t handle it then the word goes out and bad things can happen.”

“Would they hire Bill from the Bentons?”

“He doesn’t actually work for hire that way as far as I know. On the other hand, the word on the fae grapevine is that he’s always looking for a challenging monster, the Twisted and the rest of them have been sort of thin on the ground for this year and he’s been in town. Your friend making such a public show of himself will probably get his attention. So he will want to hunt your friend.”

“The young man mentioned that Bill shot the Colonel.”

“The Colonel was a direct threat and the Bentons tend to deal with threats like that in the same way. One of my former associates spent quite a bit of time making trips to Vermont to track down dead things. The Colonel had also been responsible for Turning Eric’s son and the attempts on another one. Neither Eric nor Bill was going to let that pass when the Colonel started to play in Eric’s neighborhood. All of this was in my report.”

We ended the meeting and she handed me a report. She didn’t offer to take us to lunch, but I, at least, had lost any appetite. The trip back to the factory seemed to take a very long time. Neither the Lieutenant nor I said anything for the whole trip back.

When we arrived at the factory we had another problem. From time to time there were random bangs around the factory. The lieutenant and I gathered his people to together to figure out was happening. The various members of the strike team had already started to collect the debris of what they found. The lieutenant and I looked into the box and it was filled with the remains of what appeared to be rockets, things that were attached to trip wires or little cars that would up and went bang when they stopped, among other things. I looked at the ensemble and said, “Tom’s things.”

“He isn’t in town as far as we know,” the lieutenant replied. “On the other hand, he doesn’t have to be. I never did buy a copy of that book of his. So who do you think is doing this. Dmitri, have you seen anybody?”

“No we haven’t but since Alesandro and the others were killed, we’re short handed.”

“I bet that the fence has holes in it,” the lieutenant said. “This place was empty for a long time and there were lots of kids around. You can bet that they were breaking into the place. Catching them is going to be difficult because they probably know the place better than we do. Then there is the problem of what we do with a kid if we do catch them. Before we took Little Timmy we could just throw them out and if some nosey looked around, there wasn’t much to attract attention. Now we have both the Dragon and Little Timmy.”

“I think I need to report and then write a telegram for the Masters. I do not think that they will be pleased with developments.”

“I expect not.”

That statement was punctuated by yet another bang. There were several more as I made my way to the Dragon’s lair. He saw me come in. “At least some of the children have come back, even if they only want to make nuisances of themselves.”

“They have done that. We’re trying to track down the source of the noise, but the factory is too large and I suspect that the kids know it better than we do.”

“What has our young man said?”
“I have not yet discussed this with him.”

“What did the spy say about his family?”

“He wasn’t exaggerating. He is the heir to one keystone and related to another royal family. His father runs the Rockaway bower’s up top businesses, the legitimate ones and an uncle runs the local mob and the illegitimate businesses.”

“What about that hunter?”

“He doesn’t hunt for money and since he was responsible for the Colonel, he doesn’t have to. On the other hand he doesn’t like monsters and likes to hunt them when he gets a chance. He likes sneaky and clever monsters and was rather disappointed with the Colonel.”

“You have worked with the Colonel in the past. Do you think that this is braggadocio of some sort?”

“The Colonel is dead. Just how he died is a bit of a mystery, but I do know that the Colonel was very hard to kill. There are also other stories about the hunter going back many years. He is very dangerous and has the record to prove it.”

“Your advice?”

“That depends on how much you value your life. If we return to the ship, there is a chance that we can leave and live. Our opposition will not expect us to do that.”

“If we do not? If we leave, I doubt that I will ever achieve my goals. With the Red Dragon bonded and here, the treasures will never return to China and the family here will only get stronger. For me at this point, there is only the slim chance that something might change and we recover the treasures. I know that things look dim at this point. Take what precautions you think necessary for you and the ship’s crew. Your assistance has been invaluable and to a degree our failure has been because I did not listen to you. I and the Yaoguai will seek to find new opportunities. Why don’t you talk with the young man and see what he says.”

“I will do that.”

I went to the room where we were holding Little Timmy. When I opened the door, somebody must have brought him a paper and a pad, because he was reading it and taking notes about some things. He looked up and said, “So what do yuh want now?”

“I wish to discuss your family.”

“So yuh had somebody look into dat? Who was it, de spy lady?”

“I don’t think that I will say. How did you know about her?”

“De Directawh thought dat somebody was snoopin’ on his business and had me look into it. We found huh and de guy she was sleepin’ wit’. De directawh let de guy know dat he was spillin’ de beans and he agreed tuh only spill de beans we wanted spilled, okay? Lately she’s been hangin’ wit’ my grandparents’ secretary. Apparently dey have been snoopin’ on me fawh my dad.”

“You and your dad don’t get along.”

“Dat’s between him and me, ya’ dig? We had an argument. I wanted him tuh tawhk tuh some people and he wouldn’t, so I left. I do ok.”

“The lady said that you are the heir.”

“Of my grandparents’ keystone. When de managuh bumped off my great uncle and his boys, somebody needed tuh replace dem. Of cawhse dad didn’t tell me about dem until aftuh it was ovuh and I wasn’t involved on de othuh side, so I didn’t know what was goin’ on, okay?”

“So what did you do for the Director?”

“Lookin’ into tings where an adult would get noticed. Like pokin’ around de Managuh’s house and lookin’ tuh see if de indentured didn’t have any snoops chasin’ aftuh dem. Dealin’ wit’ de snoops and deir boys. Findin’ stuff dat de Directawh wanted. Dat sawht of ting. Helpin’ my grandparents wit’ deir stuff.”

“Why didn’t the family punish you?”

“Becawze when everythin’ was ovuh, I coughed up de goods on de Directawh dat I had and it was enough tuh get me off, ya’ dig? Not on de scale dat Tom Benton collected, but enough. I could also prove dat I had nuttin’ tuh do wit’ de attack on de bowuh, mostly becawze I was still alive aftuh de Troubleshootuh raided dat warehouse.”

“Why would being alive prove that you had nothing to do with that?”

“Becawze everybody involved died in de fire or was a Shark. I wasn’t a membuh of de Sharks and I wasn’t in de warehouse when it went up. De Directawh kept his operashuns separate and I was doin’ othuh tings fawh him. So I wasn’t involved wit’ dat until de Directawh got wawhried about de Managuh and him goin’ aftuh Mr. Benton again. Den I was watchin’ de Managuh.”

“What will your father do now?”

“I have no idea. He didn’t help my friend Billy and Billy was taken by a vampire. Dat was why I’m so pissed at him. He nevuh told me about vampires and he wouldn’t tawhk tuh his cousin about callin’ in de Troubleshootuh tuh deal wit’ dat. I tawhked tuh de local papuh guy and he had a connecshun and de Troubleshootuh and his guys came down and staked de vampire. Den I tawhked tuh my grandparents about wawhkin’ fawh dem and de Directawh. But what my fadder will do if I’m still alive, I have no clue. If I’m dead, it’s a different stawhy.”

“Maybe we should talk with your grandparents.”

“Are yuh sure yuh wanna do dat? Dat can get expensive, okay? Dey sell what dey know fawh big dough. Dat is if dey tawhk tuh yuh at all. De best way is tuh tawhk tuh deir secretary and make an appointment.”

“What were you doing when I came in?”

“Lookin’ fawh stawhies dat might lead tuh some business. In my business keepin’ on top of tings is whatcha do tuh stay in business. Yuh got me so fahr?”

“Do you know why the kids are setting those things off?”

“Those noises and bangs? Somebody put a book out and sold some kits tuh make it easy. Den dere is your boss and de fact dat he scares de kids and dey wanna return de favawh. So dey are tryin’ tuh scare yuh.”

“Well I will take my leave and let you get back to what you were doing.”

“I will be here, fawh a while.”

I wondered what that meant as I left. After leaving the room, I made sure that the door was locked. After I led the lieutenant and the others on a rather fruitless pursuit of the sources of the noises, I started my report to send to the Masters. Once that was finished, I went to find a Western Union office and sent the report. Then I returned to the factory and had a long talk with the Lieutenant about our options.

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