It was her second attempt when I realized my wife had tried to commit suicide.
The first time I merely thought that she had hurt herself in the kitchen, had cut her arm open with a knife. Thankfully I had come home in time to get her patched up, but I should have known by the despair in her eyes, the utter weariness that bespoke a loss of something deep within one’s soul. I should have seen it then and there; I was a officer of the law, it was my duty to notice these things.
But no, I thought my darling Crensha, a Red Oni, would never even consider something so terrible, but when I came home today to find her surrounded by bottles of rat poison, there was no doubting her intention.
Thankfully she was fine, her oni physique allowing her to merely feel a little ill instead of going to see the Lord in Heaven, but the fact she felt a need to even try something like this was the final straw. I had known for sometime she couldn’t live like this, but what was I supposed to do?
It was 1922, and Prohibition was in full swing in these United States of America.
The moral highground, pushed into congress to be ratified as the 18th amendment even, outlawed the sale and production of alcohol under penalty of fines or even jail time. As a proud, 32 year old, Irish as the hills of Dublin, lieutenant of the Chicago police force, it was my duty to uphold these laws, and make certain that alcohol was confiscated or destroyed, and those who sold or produced it, dealt proper justice.
However, one thing this law forgot to take into account was how much certain monsters needed alcohol to live full and proper lives, and none so much as the Onis like my poor, poor Crensha.
At first things were… okay, Crensha understanding my position as an officer of the law, and she did her best to try and find other things to occupy her cravings, such as frequent (and rather violent ) sex, however this could only entertain her for so long, and I began to notice that her famous sex drive had begun to diminish by the end of the first year of prohibition, to the point where she wouldn’t even mention it for over a week.
To see her so dejected and despondent broke my heart, and I did everything in my power as a husband and a law officer to help her, but it was no use. I remember spending many nights staring up at the ceiling, listening to her cry and unable to do anything to help her, each tear like a knife thrust into my guts.
When she tried to take the ultimate step to end her suffering, I knew that there was no longer any choice. I had to act, and act now, or I’d lose my love to the morals of society.
It was maybe 10pm down at the station, not exactly the busiest time, but not dead either. I’d spent many late nights working cases, or coming for various papers here and there, so no one found it odd to see me there at that time.
I wave at the receptionist, an indecent little succubus of average stature and above average curves accentuated with short, blond hair, named Marguerite. She once again gave me her characteristic flirty smile she gave every time I passed her, despite the fact that she knew I was married. Must be a trait of their kind I
suppose, and this whole, “Flapper girl” craze certainly didn’t help. I was afraid that they might even start to become bold enough to have illicit relations with men right there in the street!
I shake my head, ironically worried about morality despite what I was about to do. I thought more on this as I walk through the sparsely populated offices, down a corridor and stairs which lead to the evidence impound. Due to my rank, I had some privileges which allowed me access into such a place, and I had the trust of the
Commissioner to go into the room and check evidence without supervision.
And yet, here I was, about to break that trust I worked so hard to obtain.
With a sigh, I unlock the outer gate and pull on a chain to the electric light that flickered on, casting a circle of illumination along a row of shelves, piled with various pieces of evidence, from guns to clothing, to all sorts of other items. There was a pair of ladies’ unmentionables there from a homicide case involving a poor man who was raped to death by an ushi-oni. Truly, what odd times we live in.
I search to the right, and walk over to find another light to activate, this time illuminating shelves filled with row upon row of alcohol, confiscated from illegal distillers and “bootleggers.” Some of the stuff was good quality, others were just plain rotgut, and weren’t fit to be fed to pigs, let alone a man, but that was the nature of the beast. We, humans and monsters, craved this drink, and we’d take it in any form we could get it.
I look over a few more bottles, until I find something that looked fairly reputable, a large bottle of whiskey that looked like it was from a larger distillery before the law came into effect two years ago, hidden away for a special occasion until the owner committed some other crime and it was confiscated. And here it would sit, gathering up dust while someone could stand to enjoy it elsewhere.
It dug at me fierce to reach out and touch the bottle, but as I did, memories of Crensha’s smiling face as she and I spent many a evening downing bottles like this, just talking and having a gay old time. Sure, it would often lead to sex after that, but that wasn’t the point. This made Crensha happy, it allowed her to function normally, to have the drive to live.
Whatever the price, it was worth it.
I take the bottle and place it into a bag I had brought with me, looking around to make certain no one had seen me. It was unlikely that one bottle would be noticed to be missing, especially since the cases for these usually led to mass destruction or redistribution elsewhere of the liquor, so I felt I’d be fine.
I close the bag and turn out the lights, closing the door to the locker behind me, and turing the lock when I felt the presence of someone behind me, and I whirl about to see in the dim light of the stair case, the form of Marguerite, smiling with a grin I’d only seen on the face of those gosh darn cats of the homosexual persuasion.
“Lieutenant McGinnis, my my, whatever could you be doing with that bag coming out of the evidence locker?”
I felt myself start to sweat some. Damn, how could I have been so careless? The jig was up before it had every truly started, and every policeman’s instinct in my screamed to give it up and accept my fate here.
But the image of Crensha and rat bait drove all those thoughts away, and I clench my jaw, looking her straight in the eye as I said,
“I don’t be believing it’s the business of a receptionist who ought be at her desk instead of down here, now do I?”
She wrinkles her nose in as if sniffing something distasteful, perhaps on account of my heavily Irish accent, before she chuckles softly.
“Are you certain Lieutenant? If there happens to be any contraband in that bag of yours, it couldcost you your job…”
I narrow my eyes. “Blackmail, is it?”
She smiles again before shaking her head. “Of course not, I wouldn’t dream of ruining the career of one of the most promising officers on the force. No, Lieutenant McGinnis, I won’t turn you in, but merely give you something to think about.”
She produces a piece of paper from somewhere in her dress suit, and hands it out to me, which I take gingerly, looking her in the eyes the whole time. I open it slowly and read a simple phone number, no name, no anything else.
I frown and look up at Marguerite who responds simply. “I might not be able to keep quiet forever you see, but if you need more of the devil’s drink, then give that number a ring.”
She gives me a little wave with her fingers before tittering and heading up the stairs. I could swear she waggled her hips at me just to give me a rise, in more ways than one, but all I felt was a simple moral contempt, by the lord in heaven.
I look down at the bag I cradled in one arm, and the paper I had in the other hand, gritting my teeth before I shake my head. This was blackmail, no matter how she spun it, but it was something I’d have to worry about later. I had more important things to worry about now.
With that in mind, I head out of the station, into the cool Chicago night.
When I arrive home, Crensha was asleep in bed, her face puffy from crying. Some people couldn’t tell, what with their red skin, but I knew, how could I not?
I walk over to her and gently open the bag, staring at the bottle of Whisky in the dimness of our bedroom before I sigh and pop open the bottle.
Her reaction was instant, her eyes snapping open as she looked about feverishly for the source of the noise. Her eyes immediately locked upon me, or perhaps the bottle in my hands thanks to her oni vision, and I watch her visibly leap from the bed, exposing her tall, red skinned body made of strong muscle with a beautiful face and twin horns protruding amidst long, lightblue hair, before somehow restraining herself.
“Is… is that?” She asks in a whisper, which was more of a deep rumble for her, as if afraid speaking loud would somehow make the liquor vanish.
I smile, and turn the little light in the room on, yet she does not flinch from the sudden change in illumination, merely staring still at the bottle. I nod my head gently before walking over to her and gently sitting her down on the edge of the bed, her muscular body tense and rigid, but she follows my lead after a moment of hesitation.
“Crensha, I know the times be hard for you me wife, and after tonight… I could bear it no longer. I know the Doctors said you couldn’t get this before, but I managed to get an exception. Don’t you be worryin about any of this, you hear?”
I hand her the bottle, a heavy feeling in my heart. “Drink, and let me see that smile of yours again.”
She gently takes the bottle from my hands, her large, beautiful oni fingers shaking slightly as she brings the liquor to her lips and then takes a big swig before closing her eyes, her body trembling as the fire water trickled down her throat. She then lowers the bottle, and when she opens her eyes again, they were full of a vigor and
sparkle that I had long since thought gone from the world.
She smiles, and hands the bottle to me, which I take, a confused look upon my face.
“Don’t give me that love, you know I hate to drink alone.”
I too smile broadly, and take a swig of the liquor, reveling as the fire burns down my throat, taking all my doubts and concerns with it.
That evening, we made love. It wasn’t the rough sex of desperation, of trying to fill a void within her, in more ways than one, but instead the tender and loving passion which was the definition of our marriage. Oh, true, I had first found her during my less pious days in university, when I had turned to hard drink and raucous
behavior, but as we progressed in our relationship, we began to not merely drink to become drunk and have sex, but to enjoy ourselves and make love. We had even talked about the pitter patter of little oni feet, before the Prohibition anyway.
To see Crensha like this again made me feel a wave of emotions inside the next day as she kissed me lightly on the cheek to awaken me, the soft touch of her lips upon my rough skin waking me more surely than any cock in the barnyard could. We shared a breakfast together, before I bid her farewell, and headed off to police this
wonderful city, knowing that the good Lord would surely forgive me for what I had done.
My good spirits, however, were dashed as soon as I entered the building, and saw Marguerite at her desk, somehow still on shift despite her working overnight. The small bags under her eyes seemed to be at odds with the smile on her lips, and I knew that she had stayed here merely for the reason to see me when I arrived at
“Good morning Lieutenant, it seems as if you have a nice evening.” She said, all traces of weariness gone from her demeanor.
“It was a fine night, aye.”
She chuckles before straightening a sheaf of papers, “Of course it was. Have a good day sir.”
I narrow my eyes at her before going on my way, the paper with the phone number seeming to burn hot in the pocket of my trousers.
I had waited a few days before trying to take another bottle, my excuse that the good Doctor Adams allowed a small prescription on account of my wife’s condition, but again, Marguerite was there. She didn’t stop me of course, but merely made a little pantomime of a telephone before walking away, shaking those godless hips of hers. What was I to do, however? It made Crensha so happy, so once more full of life? I couldn’t stop, no, I wouldn’t stop.
The third time I went for a bottle, I made sure it was an evening where the lusty lass wouldn’t be present, going later than I would normally have done so, giving my dear Crensha the excuse that Dr. Adams didn’t feel comfortable dispensing such items during the light of day. She didn’t seem to complain, only give me a kiss and tell me to be careful. Whatever would I do without her?
When I arrived at the station this time, she was blissfully absent from her station, another girl, a flaxen haired human lass named Bertha sat, idly looking at her nails. She barely paid me any mind as I went on my merry way to delve into sin. As I pass by the desks, I feel my heart stop when I am accosted by a policeman named Jenkins. He was a lean thing with a mop of black hair and wide eyes, not quite suited for the field, but beyond a few blunders, he was a good sort of man.
“Good evening sir, what brings you to the office this time of night?” He asks in his dear, sweet little voice.
“Going to check some evidence.” I say, nodding to the door, figuring it would be enough for him, but as I turn to go, he coughs into his hands.
“I’m afraid the commissioner’s doing an inspection you see, seems some evidence has been going missing sir.”
It’s only thanks to my years of training as an officer of the law that I was able to keep my composure then as I turn to the lad and smile, all the while my heart hammering in my chest, my head screaming in frustration and
“Is that so? Well, I guess I better come back in the morning then.”
He smiles back, nodding his head in respect, “You do that sir. Have a good evening.”
He turns back to his work, and I walk back the way I came before stopping at Bertha’s desk and looking at the lass. It takes her a few minutes to realize I’m there before she grunts, “What do you want… sir?”
I keep my temper in check, for I am a man of the lord and I have such sensibilities even when faced with adversity, and I smile at the lass gently.
“I have a need for a telephone lass, might I use the one in the next room over?”
I didn’t return home that evening, instead I found myself in one of the ritzier areas of the city, surrounded by the very sort I spent the day sending to the jailhouse. Of course, I wasn’t in my uniform, that was dangerous these days as crime began to be organized, headed by those who knew that things were more profitable when everything was done under their rules.
Still, I had a modicum of dress about me, and it was enough to pass through the streets without much notice, except for by some ladies of the monster, and human persuasion who’s eyes lingered upon me for a time enough to be declared indecent.
Who was I to judge? I had just spoken on the phone to a seedy sounding man with an italian accent telling me an address and nothing more. I had to repeat to myself that this was for Crensha, it was all for my wife.
The location I was looking for a nondescript building, standing among many others with it’s bricklaid appearance and stone accents. There were no lights on around the place, not even burning candles, and it looked merely as if some family had decided to sleep for the evening like all godfearing men and monsters should, but my experience told me that it was no such place. The fact that a man in a pinstripe suit put a gun to my back as I approached seemed to complete the story.
“Inside, no words.” He says, his words dripping with a sort of businesslike venom. I knew the sound of this man and I had a sinking feeling of what kind of trouble I had gotten myself into.
Still, I follow the man inside, who exchanged a simple passphrase with another man inside, who unbolts the door and let us in down a dark, unadorned hallway to a simple door with light beyond it. The man from inside knocks upon this door, and a slit opens up, where a pair of familiar eyes scans warily over the three of us, until they open wide with surprise and mirth, before another set of locks were undone, and the door opens to shower us in electric light, revealing the seductive form of Marguerite, hand on her hip and a tommy gun in the other, dressed in an indecent outfit that revealed far too much of her thigh.
She smiles in that unwholesome way before saying, “Officer McGinnis, so good of you to visit.”
She led me through a room which reeked of liquor, and I saw multiple men wearing various outfits in the process of distilling spirits, bottling finished products, and preparing them for distribution. There were many packed in this little place, and it was exactly like many other bootleg operations we had seen pop up around the
city since the reputable places were forced to shut their doors. These men had the look of professionals about them, and I had to wonder if these were the lads who lost their jobs and their livelihoods because of the law.
I had a feeling Marguerite wanted me to see this, for she took her time walking us through the rooms before we came before a set of doors where two men in suits were posted, both carrying the deadly Thompsons, or perhaps the “Chicago typewriter” as I hear the lads at the station call them. All I knew was that the weapons were deadly and if they wanted to shoot me here in front of the eyes of god and men, then there was nothing I could do but ready myself for St. Peter.
Fortunately, they didn’t shoot, and instead admitted us into another welllit room where many men in suits lined the walls around a large desk, where sat an imposing woman, no, I suppose she was more than that, she was infact, an angel.
And not any angel mind you, but an honest to goodness Valkyrie, an angel of the lord himself, hallowed be his name. They were a rare sight by most, but I had seen the pictures and books of the women, and she fit the bill, with a serious attitude, and feathered wings that flowed out from her muscular, but delicate body. They were said to be sent down in offical buisness to help raise men up to be great heroes Of course, after the Great War, this meant something a little more political usually. Only thing I couldn’t figure out was why she wore a pinstripe suit.
And why her wings were black.
As soon as I enter, Marguerite puts a hand to my back and pushes me forward, causing me to stumble. As I right myself, I look around for anyone laughing or giving me trouble, but I see nothing but a sea of serious faces, all of them having the look of a man who would kill without hesitation. None were familiar, except…
I look at the lad, incredulous, but he didn’t so much as look at me, his traces of bumbling and greenness gone as he wore his suit, staring forward at the angel behind her desk. As soon as I had spoke however, the man behind me jammed the barrel of his gun into my back, growling, “No one talks in front of the boss until she says so, got it ya mug?”
I nod my head, starting to become very worried, and I look back to the Angel who was now looking at me with an appraising look. She doesn’t say anything for a long time before she leans back in her chair, resting her hands under her breasts before speaking with a rich, flowing accent that was nevertheless touched with a hint of
“Lieutenant McGinnis, a pleasure to finally speak with you, my name is Allison Capone, and I run this operation.”
She lifts one eyebrow, “What do you think of it?”
I look at her, a little overwhelmed at everything, before Marguerite needles me in the side, and the cough out a reply.
“It’s… very professional.”
She smirks at the corner of her lips before continuing. “How kind of you to say. You seem to know your way around fine spirits. Of course, this is unsurprising, given how you are married to a Red Oni.” She leans forward, a knowing look on her face,
“Tell me Lieutenant, how is your dear Crensha these days?”
So she had done her homework, which doesn’t surprise me, given the scale of her organization. The disturbing part was, this was also a threat upon my wife. I had supposed I would be blackmailed since the start, but had known I would be wrapped in this, I would found another way.
Or would I have? The memory of Crensha’s smile flashed in my head and I take a deep breath before speaking quite plainly to the Valkyrie.
“Not well, as I am sure you know, so why don’t we cut the chatter and talk about what you want from me.”
Marguerite gasps and the man behind me cocks his gun, when Capone raises a hand, and the two fall back to neutral positions. The Valkyrie gives me a good, long appraisal before smiling.
“A blunt man, I like that. Very well, I have need of an inside man in the Police department, someone who can help me in exchange for certain… favors.”
I nod my head, figuring that this was obviously her game. “I see. What kind of favors we talking about here?”
“Oh there are many things you can have from a working relationship with me, Lieutenant McGinnis, but I think for now you’ll find that I am quite generous when it comes to providing my associates with all the alcohol they desire.”
“And if I refuse?”
She smiles back, a very dangerous expression upon her face. “Oh, I believe this is one offer you cannot refuse.”
She was right, of course, I was in too deep, and they would never let me live if I had turned her down, and if I blew the whistle, I or my wife, would be killed in a way that could be made to look like an “accident.” So I agreed to the terms of our agreement, and took home a few bottles of well made whisky to my wife, and we drank, then became passionate with each other, but the whole while I felt as if I had just made a deal with the Devil.
The details of our agreement had me leak information back to Capone via other plants in the office, as the less I knew, the less they could get out of me if I was caught, as well as make things downstairs in evidence seem to
It was distasteful as jobs go, but as well as liquor, I was paid quite well, enough where I could afford a few nice things for Crensha, and she was overjoyed at the news of my “promotion” and her increased stipend of liquor.
Seemed that Dr. Adams had relented and allowed her a larger supply for medical reasons, or so my story went, but I was content to lie to her to see her laugh and act in the same, boisterous manner she had before the law
went into effect.
She even began to talk again about having children, and of course this led to many more drunken escapades in the bedroom, to which I hadn’t complained one bit. Time were good, and I had almost been able to convince myself that I had done a good deed, for how can turning a life around be bad in the eyes of the lord, when I was asked to do something a little more serious.
Marguerite slipped by my desk, dropping a small note, one of the means of communication, and I read it quickly before eating it, the taste not the only thing bitter in my mouth.
Seems that one of the higher ups in the organization, Johnny “Crab Claws” Scazali had ratted out some others in the organization, and had taken himself into custody of the police for protection. Now, Capone didn’t like that much, and the man needed to be taught a lesson, but while he was in custody, he couldn’t be touched on the
That was where I came in. I could view the man and slip him a little something that could make it seem like he had died a rather painful death, and no one could do much to stop it. A little poison in his meal if you would. It was dangerous, very dangerous, but I had more access to such things than Marguerite, Jenkins, or any other plants in the office.
The angel, who I had learned had fallen quite some time ago when she realized that she could get a better deal making liquor than forcing temperance upon others, had decided I needed to kill a man to keep in her good favors. She was asking me to spit in the eye of God, the same as she had done, in order to keep the devil’s drinkand the money that went along with it, flowing in the household.
God help my soul, but I had no choice to do it.
It was a simple thing, really, I had but to take the provided poison and gently add it to his meal of mashed potatoes, green beans, and hamburger meat. A tad plain of a last meal, but it was what he had deserved, or so I tried to convince myself. I’m sure no one could think that straightlace, godfearing Lieutenant McGinnis, could
have done such a thing.
And to my disgust, I was right.
I headed home that day after the official aftermath of a protected prisoner dying in his cell with a sick feeling in my stomach. Oh I would drink tonight, but not out of pleasure, and when I open door to my house, I expected to be able to kick off my shoes and rest upon my comfortable chair, trying not to think about what I had done.
When I enter though, I instead noticed an odd silence, where I would normally hear the sound of my dear Crensha making a meal for us. I walk carefully to the dining room and find her sitting at the table, her hands in her lap, unopened bottles of whiskey in front of her.
“Crensha? What’s wrong?” I ask, a slow fear settling inside of me.
“Where did you get these?” She asks in that low, rumbling voice.
“Dr. Adams, I told you before…”
“I went to see Dr. Adams today, and he said he had done no such thing.”
I stare at my wife, that fear magnifying inside of me. “Why did you see the Doctor today?”
“I’m pregnant,” was her only reply.
I sat down slowly at the table and put a hand to my head, shaking, as the emotions ran over me. My wife was pregnant with my child… I was going to be a father… This… this should have been a happy occasion, one worthy of a celebration.
But I had just killed a man, and my wife found out I was lying to her.
I look down at my hand, to see myself pale and shaking, and I instinctively reach for a bottle of the liquor, only to have my wife knock the bottles aside with contemptuous ease, the glass shattering against the wall, spraying the tablecloth and my trousers with the spirits within.
“Don’t you dare drink from these bottles of lies!” She says, tears forming in her eyes. “I thought you were a good man Patrick, a good, honest man, but you lied to me about something as important as this?!”
She began to weep openly now, clear droplets of moisture raining down her red cheeks as she pounded at the table, and I swear I could hear a cracking sound as wood splintered underneath the tablecloth.
“I wanted to believe so badly that you were upholding the law, that you weren’t lying to me about how you got these. But I always knew inside that you had to have been doing something wrong.”
“I did it for you!” I protest, raising my voice as I ball my hands into fists. “I couldn’t stand to see you hurt anymore.”
“I’d rather be dead than see you compromise your morals! If I’d known I was drinking dirty liquor, I’d have spit out every last bit and prayed to God for forgiveness!” Her voice shakes the room as she wails, her oni strength coming out in force.
“It’s too late for that! I can’t take back what I’ve done for this, for you!” I look down, tears of frustration forming in my own eyes. “I have done things that God cannot forgive, but if it means you’re happy, then may the Devil take this soul of mine.”
“You don’t mean that.” She rumbles, staring me in the eyes.
“I wish I didn’t.” I reply back, looking at the broken bottles, their amber contents staining the pure white linen of the tablecloth. “But how could I rest in Heaven knowing that I had abandoned my wife? Abandoned our soon to be children for the sake of a law passed by men who know nothing?”
Crensha places a hand over her belly and she looks a little sick as she bites her lip, her large teeth making it a little difficult, but she manages.
“I… I don’t know.” She replies.
I sigh, standing up and walking over to her, dripping whiskey onto the floor as I take her into an embrace, her warm body shaking in fits as I hold her.
“I can’t stop what I’ve been doing for this, but trust me my wife, I do it all because I love you, and I love this unborn child of ours. I’ll do right by the two of you, and as God as my witness, I’ll do the best I can do hold onto what is left of my morals.”
She closes her eyes and rumbles, when while softly crying, “You’re a good man, Patrick McGinnis.”
So it was that I, an Officer of the Law, committed heinous crimes in the name of my wife and daughter. As Capone grew to trust me more, she asked me to do even more despicable things, and I did them, earning me more and more acclaim, rewards, and disgust for myself. But in time I learned how to keep a part of me separate, the good part of me, as I came home with my illgotten goods to the smiling faces of my wife and child, a darling girl with horns just like her mother’s and eyes too pure for this rotten city.
When I look upon her face however, I see a hope for something brighter, a future without the constant lies and crime, where she could drink without wondering what soul paid for the bottle. It would be a better place, and even if I had to sink to the level of Allison Capone, even if I had to shoulder the name of Patty “Whiskey-
fingers” McGinnis, I would do it all for her and her mother, and God take pity on me for doing so.