Bootleggers


Cain's got a rumrunner - Editor

by Dale Phillips

The line of bums looked like scarecrows in the rain, and I had to laugh. Here I was, smoking a cigarette, warm and dry in my car, while they waited for a handout bowl of soup. Since the stock market crash, a lot of guys couldn't find work or enough to eat. But not me, I was smart and doing better than ever. Because I was a bootlegger, running illegal hooch to anybody who could pay. And the tougher the times, the more people drank to forget their troubles.

Business was so good, in fact, that I needed some extra help with a new job. I'd picked Davy Donaldson to be my new sucker. He had a good strong back and he could run a boat. He'd been fishing these coastal Maine waters for over ten years, before the bank foreclosed on him. That was why he was out here with the other bums.

The First National Bank in Rockport had sent Sheriff Powell and his deputy to throw Donaldson off his own boat, but Donaldson had thrown them off instead, right into the harbor. Then he went down to Rockport and slugged that banker, so they gave him six months in jail, and took everything he had. I'd have been smarter, and sapped the guy in an alley, with no witnesses. Since Prohibition created competitors, I also needed someone who wouldn't go all to pieces if we got shot at. You couldn't be too careful in this business, and I always carried a pistol, just in case. Donaldson had served with Black Jack Pershing in the Argonne Forest, so I knew he had some guts.

I adjusted my cap, got out, and went up to him in the line.

"Take a walk with me Donaldson. Got something to talk to you about."

His shoulders were hunched, his head down against the weather. He couldn't look at me.

"I'm kind of hungry, Billy."





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