Run Rum Run

By E. Kokkila Schumacher

Night enveloped Irving City as all of the honest working people left their jobs and went home to their loving families. At the same time, the police hit the streets to catch what they could of those trying to get away with breaking the law. Some of the best lawbreakers in the city spent these kind of evenings at Seedy Pete’s, a known speakeasy and distillery.

But no matter how many times the police raided the joint, there was never any evidence, even though every cop in the precinct knew it to be dirty. It also didn’t help that half the precinct helped keep it dirty. In 1922, even the cops needed a drink or two to take the edge off.

The inside of Seedy Pete’s was…let’s just say the name said it all. But the joint attracted all types: everybody from notorious politicians to the down and out. But the second they stepped into Seedy Pete’s, everybody was just a person with a drink in their hand.

One person in particular was James Washington. The boys at Seedy Pete’s dubbed him Somersault thanks to his failure in the 1920 Summer Olympics. And before you ask, no, he wasn’t a gymnast. He took a tumble as the final leg in the 4x400 leg and lost the race for the Americans. He took that nickname to his grave, but that could be a different story.

James sat at his usual stool in Seedy Pete’s, sipping his favorite: a Gatling Whiskey on the rocks. He had thrown out a drunkard who called him “Somersault” an hour previous, so he was being left well enough alone. But alone never lasts forever.

“Hey, handsome,” came a voice from his left. James laughed. He didn’t even need to look up from his drink to know who that was.

“Luscious Lucia,” James said. “How ya been, Lucy?”

James felt a finger on his chin and before he knew it, he was looking deep into Lucia’s brown eyes.

“I’m okay, baby,” she said, her lips dangerously close to his. “I’d be better with a drink.”