The Horror At Park Slope

Part VI

Dateline: Oct. 4th, 1923

As the sun rose over the S.S. Trinity, poor Moishe Abelman was forced to perform his religious ablutions from inside a metal cell. Back in A-66, his companions racked their brains for a way to free him from the brig.

Meanwhile, another passenger on the ship—Lawrence Nightengale, mechanic and ex-pilot—was approached on the promenade by a cologne-soaked man in a white suit. The man said his name was Felipe. Eventually, he asked Nightengale to keep an eye on the comings and goings of a motley group of New Yorkers aboard the ship. Nightengale might be able to follow them into places where he would be conspicuous, reasoned Felipe. Nightengale agreed… for a fee, of course.

After a solitary breakfast, Harrington made a quick tour of the upper-decks. He soon noticed he was being tailed by a slightly scruffy young man in a bomber jacket. Eventually the man approached to ask Harrington if he’d dropped a handkerchief. Harrington most certainly had not, and he asked a porter to keep an eye out for such riffraff in the future.

A plan was hatched to save Moishe. Harrington, who had befriended Inspector Nixon, the ship’s chief of security, made an appointment with the lawman for 4:30 PM.

At the appointed time, Harrington, Schwarze and Wells met with Inspector Nixon. The group ultimately managed to convince him that Abelman and Schwarze were the victims, not the aggressors, in the shootout (perhaps confirming Nixon’s underlying hunch all along).

Nixon informed them that Martin Molyneux, the Quebecois thug who was seriously wounded in the gunfight, had awakened from his coma. He was unwilling to answer any questions; much less press charges. Likewise, none of the other gangsters in custody were talking.

Abelman was free to go, but, Nixon was adamant about not having any more violence aboard the ship. He ordered Abelman to spend the rest of the voyage in his room, and demanded the group turn over their firearms. Specifically, he wanted two guns on his desk by 6 PM that same day.

Nightengale skulked in the hallway as the group returned to A-66. He noticed the door to A-44 was ajar and he entered to find a South American Indian tossing the room. There was a brief fight in which Nightengale pistol-whipped the Indian into unconsciousness. As he searched the man, he found that he had a strange stone amulet around his neck. Nightengale took the amulet (and a single dress shirt) and ran.

The crew turned in the guns and Wells and Abelman returned to find the unconscious Indian in their cabin. Wells raised holy hell with the staff over the incident. Eventually he browbeat the Purser into to allowing them to stay in his own, personal cabin (right next to Captain Ellerby’s) for the remainder of the voyage.

After dinner, Schwarze and Mars made a beeline for the Trito Room. There, in the casino, they found an ebullient Marcos Ratner losing wads of money at the roulette tables. Nightengale approached and bought a round of drinks and began to talk loudly about how much he enjoyed “David Copperfield’s” famous magic shows in New York City. Nightengale’s presence alarmed Mars and Schwarze (who knew “David Copperfield” was but a hastily-conceived pseudonym).

Nonetheless Ratner invited everyone above decks to partake in that rarefied pastime of the one percent: night skeet-shooting. Despite an almost complete lack of visibility over the dark ocean, Mars hit the first clay pigeon he fired at—thoroughly astounding and delighting Ratner. No one else, including Wells who joined later, was able to replicate the amazing shot.

The group split up. Wells took Nightengale to the ship’s bar to question his intentions. By offering him more money, Wells got Nightengale to reveal that he’d been hired to spy on the group. Thus, Wells (perhaps?) purchased Nightengale’s loyalty for $30, and sent him back to spy the Felipe…

After the shoot, Mars took Ratner to A-66 for an important “private” discussion. When they opened the door, they found that the room reeked of cheap cologne. A-66 had been searched.

Mars indicated to Ratner that he and his friends were in a vague sort of art-collecting trouble and that they needed help once they made it to Peru. Ratner promised that as soon as they docked, he would send a telegram to his good friend Umberto Vasquez, owner of Lima hotel called El Centro. Mars and his friends would find El Centro a safe haven once they arrived.

Nightengale returned to his berth in the lower decks. There, waiting for him in the shadows, were Felipe and two goons. Felipe pumped Nightengale for information (including any mention of an “artifact”) but ultimately got nothing. Grudgingly, Felipe peeled a $20 off of his roll. He gave it to Nightengale to continue his work, along with a promise of “very bad things” in the event of a double-cross…

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