The room was bathed in a soft, dingy light, offered by the wall lights that surrounded the cream-wallpapered and woodpanelled wall at regular intervals, and all was shrouded in smoke. The bar was short, made of dark oak and littered were dirty glasses. There were several chairs and tables. One held a bottle of whisky and a decanter full of the amber liquid with several crystal glasses surrounding it that stood beside a small dull lamp with a frilly lampshade. Next to this was a poker table. There were a few decorative columns within the room and between a few was a snooker table, the balls haphazardly littering the smooth green surface. Finally, at one end of the room was a large mirror that reflected the fore and a brass bust of an old man that stood on a marble plinth. It was a 30s bar and all around were suited men, casually supping some brandy and smoking cigars whilst the waiters and waitresses offered drinks. Many had brought women dressed in furs with their faces all dolled up and their hair in extravagent curls. It was the only time they had a reason to get dressed up so they went all out.
It was Shady's Place and most knew, though never admitted it or spoke of it to others, that it was a mob bar.
Yet there I sat, on my third glass and ready for another double.
The barman walked over, he was getting on, clearly on the wrong side of the 40s and had alot of experience under his belt which was clear through his pockmarked face and weatherworn appearance. That skin had seen too many suns.
"So what wrong?" he wondered, rubbing a glass with a cloth.
"Can't tell you that sorry bud, or you'll be at my throat about it," I dropped my hand and slammed the glass onto the counter.
"Pal, I deal with all sorts of characters, trust me, I bet I've heard your story several times... besides, I'm good at keeping secrets," he winked and smiled, the placed the cup down and poured some whiskey into it.
"Well, would you believe me if I told you I were a Super?" he slid it over to me and I took it, hastily throwing the contents down my throat. I cringed a little.
"I already knew, I'm good at judging people," I laughed at the irony and slid the drink back over.
"And what would you say about that?" I asked. He bent down and pulled out another glass.
"I'd say as long as you behave yourself and keep buying drinks, I've no problem..." he filled it up and slid it over again, "...so I can see your problem."
"And what would that be?" I asked, before necking another drink.
"I know what's been going on, it's no wonder then that your drowning your sorrows in my pub... I bet you were one of those heros too... how the mighty fall-"
"-hard and fast," I put the glass down, then slid off my chair, almost falling.
"Easy now," he said, I smiled at him. Did he think this was my first drinking binge? I assume it would be easy to think that, being a hero and all. But that's why falling like this was so easy, cause I had done it before, "where you off?"
"Takin' a whizz," I muttered.
At that point, several men came in, they looked like they meant business too. One was fat, I mean massive, with several chins and hulking arms and legs. They sauntered in, women linked to their arms. Over they walked, to the largest table in the joint were a couple other men sat.
"'Bout time," the man at the end of the table muttered," he was quite old, yet he commanded a certain power. No Super, I could tell, but there was no doubting how formiddable this guy would be. I held off on the john and sat down in my seat again. I looked at the barman who slipped the towel from his shoulder and resumed cleaning the surface with surprising vigour.
"Who are they?" I questioned.
He coughed, "Fat Tony... he's a Super too, I think all his goons are," he began scrubbing at a tap, his back turned.
"What about the other guy?"
"Vincent Villano ahem the Underboss ahem," the barman looked at me wide eyed, occasionally flitting to the old guy and back.
I was intrigued, I had to listen to their conversation.
Before the barman could object, I moved to the pool table which was quite close to them, "who wants a game eh?" I called out, I managed to reel in a few patrons and soon had a little tournament going.
"I'm not liking your proposition Tony, I've heard this all before and I know where it leads. Besides, with the current position, it won't be good for us to deal with your type."
"Look Vince, I know, you know and your little boss knows that I own this city and therefore I own all the moolah, so you either take a share and we head 'em down or you walk away with your tail between your legs... your choice, but by my reckoning, you wont afford to keep going for long."
"There ain't no way we're gonna disgrace our names for a little extra cash, we have honour still and we intend to keep it-"
"Once we begin, there'll be no place for enemies, I'll destroy you just as I destroy them and then I'll tale the rest of it for myself!" his voice rose higher than he ought. For a moment there was silence before they resumed.
"You think we'll go down so easily? you and your pack of freaks may have a few weapons up your sleeves but we hold the big guns and we'll go all out... let's face it, this place is going to the dogs and nobody will object to the odd murder if the right amount of dosh is doled out."
"So that's your answer?" Tony asked. There was no noise and Matt assumed they were nodding. He had to know what was going on with them, what where they planning?