(Chapter One continued)

           When one forty-five a.m. came, Madam Tulley drove her shiny, black Marmon sedan to the two o’clock pick-up location at the back of the alley next to a funeral home on North Salina Street. She was early. The supplier was late. It felt like forever as she waited in her automobile alone in a shadowy spot. Agitated, impatient, her fingers drummed the steering wheel: Where is he? A pair of headlights turned into the alley. Her breathing quickened, her knees knocked, she gripped the wheel. The headlights turned off and an old, olive-green truck parked beside her. A bearded white man in overalls and a baseball cap got out and inquired, “Ma’am, are you lost?”

            “T-the . . . Yankees won y-yesterday . . . f-four to two,” stumbled out of her mouth. Her answer, what Freddy had told her to say, signaled that she was not undercover for the cops and that she was safe to transact business with.

            “Ok, ma’am. You got the dough?”

            Madam handed over the money. He leafed through it and signaled his partner. They placed two heavy cases of bootleg gin in her trunk and drove off. Madam lingered to catch her breath. Then, nice and slow, she drove away, too.

            While exiting the alley, a black sedan cut in front and made her brake hard. Another one drove in behind to prevent her from backing up. A tall man in a brown fedora and a suit jumped out of the sedan in front of her, slammed the door behind him, hurried toward her and thrust a detective’s badge in her face.

“Ma’am, my name is Detective Werner. Please step out of your automobile.”

“Officer, what’s the matter, what’s this about?” Madam was frightened. What went wrong, what went wrong? Her thoughts searched over and over again for an answer. From the beginning, her gut had lodged a series of muffled protests against this latest haughty do-it-yourself idea, but she hadn’t listened.

            “Your name, please?”

            “Bernice Tulley.” She thought: Get your lousy hands off me! She was offended when his hands groped her cleavage, charged underneath her arms, patted her sides, and in between her thighs, frisking her for a gun or knife. Three or four other cops looked on.

            “Now, open your trunk, ma’am.”

            This is it, I’m done for. She was helpless. She raised the trunk door and the cases of gin were revealed. Detective Werner arrested her on the charge of alcohol bootlegging.

            After she was fingerprinted and booked, he allowed Madam a telephone call to her stepmother. Werner stood by and heard only her side of the conversation.

            “Hello, Mama.


            “I’m here at the police station. I’ve been arrested.


            “I had to make Freddy’s run last night, but they’d been watchin’ him for weeks, and caught me instead.


            “It’s the Fourth. I gotta sit here until tomorrow when I go before the judge.


            “No, you stay with Jerry. Send Ernie. So sorry, Mama. I’ll be all right for now.


            “Thank you, Mama.


            “Mama, my time’s up, gotta go. Kiss Jerry and Gabe for me. All right, Mama, good-b . . .” Werner had stepped in and hung up the telephone for her.

            On the way to the lock-up, the jailer led Madam in handcuffs past an office with two men seated in conversation. The bearded one turned around to ogle her and she recalled the baseball cap he had on and realized that it was no Yankee cap, but one of some other team. She knew him as the man who sold her the gin. He was a cop working undercover as a booze runner. The revelation floored her and the jailer jostled her onward.

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