Wednesday, November 7, 2007

September 21, 1931

When I came to, I found myself in a small room. Mick or Rick was sitting at a table playing cards with himself; presumably solitaire. I was laying on a old, moldy sofa. Mick or Rick immediately heard me rustle then moan as my cottony mouthed sounded for water.

"How ya feelin'?" He said not looking up from his game.

"Thirsty," I said.

"Ya went down like a tonna bricks Dottie says." No offer of water.

"I felt like a ton of bricks," I assured.

He looked at me while I struggled to pick my body up off the sofa. "I'm Rick by the way. I know you was thinkin' it. Our own mudda couldn't tell us apart."

"Where am I?" I asked.

"You're in the kitchen. Well, the side room off the kitchen. This is a bakery see."

"Yes, I got that." I was irritable I admit.

"We always gotta clear out of here by 4 bells so they can start bakin'."

That made me think of it. "What time is it?"

He looked at his watch. "'Bout midnight. I was asked to watcha till you came to."

"By whom," I asked.

"The boss," he said.

Then I remembered my whole reason for coming to this Godforsaken place. "Who's your boss?" The reinstatement of my mission gave me energy.

"He says he knows you."

My heart began racing. "How?"

"He's a professor at your fancy pants school."


"Das his square name. Round here we call him Mr. Look, cause he sees all."

"Really?" Now I started feeling slightly ridiculous for this poor soul. Obviously he was conned by a criminal into thinking he was more powerful than he really was.

"Yeah I don't know how he does it."

It could easily be explained that Look was easier for his thug cronies to say than Loockersmans.

"Maybe it's cause he's from anudder country."

I rolled my eyes at his pathetic comment. "Can I see him?"

"He just left. Had business elsewhere," he said.

I felt my shoulders slump. I wasn't sure if I was disappointed or relieved in not having to face him. "Will he be back tonight?"

"I dink he left the country. Took an aeroplane or something," he said.

"Impossible, I have class with him tomorrow," I said sternly.

He threw down his cards in a huff, "Hey, dollface, I only know what I hear outta da horse's mouth and now that you're up, I gotta go back to the door." He stood up leaving the cards strewn on the table which I found terribly irresponsible. "Let's go."

I followed him out into the kitchen past the ovens and into a slim dark stairwell. I heard the noises of people as we descended. He pushed open what seemed to be a wall and out we came into the speakeasy. I was still woozy from the drink and the combination of smoke and heat hit me once again. "I need to leave," I said to Rick.

"Then follow me," he said.

I looked over and saw Dottie shooting pool with Howie behind her counting a stack of bills.

Rick said, "Shame ya gonna miss Dottie beat the pants off those fellas."

I'm sure I'll hear all about," I said.

Rick was right. The class I was supposed to have yesterday with Professor Loockersmans was led by his assistant, a mousy young man by the name of Henry. Rest assured when he returns I will find him... during his office hours.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The past two entries have been dialogue heavy and what I have transcribed is exactly what is written on the pages of her journal. I have in no way altered the dialogue phonetically. Velma, fascinated by spoken and written language, tried her best to capture the vernacular of the Broadway speakeasy culture. For a period it almost became an obsession. Also, since Velma fancied herself more of writer than a diarist, some of her entries read almost like narrative. She assured me that her memory is phonographic and the dialogue was true almost to the word.

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