Tony Perelli was not yellow, either by his own code or judged by standards more exacting. It was yellow, to squeal to futile police, but not yellow to squeal to one's own crowd, and squeal loudly, about injustices suffered. It was yellow ...
Tony Perelli was not yellow, either by his own code or judged by
standards more exacting. It was yellow, to squeal to futile police, but
not yellow to squeal to one's own crowd, and squeal loudly, about
injustices suffered. It was yellow to betray a pal, but not yellow if the
pal had not acted square or if he himself was yellow; even then it was
yellow to tip off the police about his delinquencies. The honourable
thing was to take him to some lone place and "give him the works".
Horrified farmers who in the grey of morning found stark things sprawled
on the edge of their lands might grow hysterical about the brutality of
it, but there it was; justice in a sense, the sort of justice that the
west and the middle west understood and countenanced too frequently.
For instance, "Red" Gallway.
Red bad been most things that were wrong and done most things that were
indictable, He had been Peterman (which is a euphemism for
safe--breaker), con man, hold--up man and keeper of questionable
establishments. He came from this strenuous and not too affluent stew of
professions into the business of booze running, which gave him wealth
beyond his dreams, a comfortable existence, immunity from arrest, and the
comradeship of square shooters. Success made him big in the head; he
became talkative, a little quarrelsome; crowning offence, he began to
sniff the white stuff.
Angelo Verona, the sleek chief of staff, expostulated.
"Say, Red, I'd cut out that stuff. Tony won't stand for coke in this
Red's ugly face twisted in a sneer. "Is that so?"
Angelo nodded, his grave, brown eyes on the weakling.
"Cocaine never did any good to anybody," he said. "Yeh! It makes you feel
bigger than the Wrigley Building for a while, but when the effect passes
you're just a hole in the ground. And the first time they get a guy down
at Headquarters to quiz him, why, he falls apart."
"Is that so?" said Red offensively.
"That--is--so," nodded Angelo.
Red ran around with a friend--Mose Leeson, sometime machinist from Gary.
The men had mean appetites in common, felt more at home in the squalor
and dinginess of certain poor areas than in the splendour of lakeside
To Leeson was due the credit of a discovery which had an important
bearing upon the life of Tony Perelli.
Mose was poor and a sycophant. To him Red was the biggest of Big Shots, a
man in the automobile and silk shirt class. He gave to his more fortunate
friend the reverence of subject to monarch. It was over a drink at the
firm's speakeasy that Mose, gross of mind and body, offered information
and a proposal.
Red shook his head.
"Chink girls don't mean nothing to me, Mose," he said. "Listen! There's a
girl up town who's nuts about me! Joe Enrico's daughter, but I don't look
at her twice. That's me, Mose."
"Sure," said Mose. He looked twice at Minn Lee, and then more. He used
to meet her on the stairs of the shabby apartment house where he had his
home. She was Chinese and lovely. Small of stature, slim of body, with
tiny, white hands that fascinated him. She was lovely, with slanting
brown eyes and a rosebud of a mouth. Skin--like satin. When you saw it,
you felt it. Her hair, not the blue--black of the Oriental but a sheeny