The Dirty Thirties
by John Brooke
station sat in the Chicago sticks on Highway 12.
No traffic in the twilight. The lone gas jockey,
fluttered about like a moth in the bright
lights of the station.
tires shattered the serenity as a brand new, 1933
Stutz town-car roared into the station. Several
fresh bullet holes marred the elegant
er up pops. Snapped the driver to the
Freeman ballooned out of the drivers door.
The attendant noted his chalk-striped dark suit,
gaudy tie, spectator shoes and the broad
brimmed fedora that shadowed his eyes.
the crapper? Fats said, noticed the
sign, and stalked off.
As he pumped,
the attendant saw a good-looking blond dame in
the back seat; she leaned forward, telegraphed
her message through wide fear stricken eyes.
Lifted her rope bound wrists to the window for
him to see. Then dropped back out of sight.
Hymie unfolded himself from the passenger side
and joined Fats as he returned from
the restroom. They were two bozos that
shared a bad fashion sense.
called to the attendant, Whats your
aint Pops; Im Archibald he answered
politely. Fats retorted, Okay,
Archie, well call you Asshole.
nice commented Sky-high with a
smiled outwardly; inwardly he felt the cold knot
of fear in his gut. Do you want me to check
the goddamned tank filled.
mind moved faster than a racecar at the
Indianapolis Speedway; he connected the dots, had
to save the kidnapped blond broad. A bank
heist, she was a teller taken hostage. These
gunsels were Outfit mobsters headed to Lake Como
to lay low. They had to be stopped. He felt
helpless, but then an idea formed in his old
The tank was
full, Thatll be $5:50.
peeled off a twenty from a wad of dough.
just closing up when you pulled in, Ill get
your change from the office.
hurry it up eh, Asshole.
shuffled fast, rang up the sale, got change. Then
he pocketed the sugar jar that sat with the
coffee percolator. Rushed back and handed
over the exact change. No tip but, he was
relieved they hadnt shot him yet.
As they got
back into the Stutz, Archibald slipped around to
the rear and poured sugar into the tank and
screwed on the cap. He called Want
your windshield cleaned.
couldnt make out their obscenities over the
screech of rubber and the roar of the engine as
they rocketed out into the fading light.
exhausted staggered into the office and called
the Highway Patrol reporting the situation, the
captive woman and all.
find the Stutz, stalled from sugar clogged fuel
filters five miles up the highway from the Flying
Horse Gas Station--