Chicago, grand and glorious Chicago. Nowhere on earth could be more wonderful with its speakeasies, gangsters, boot legged liquor, and women—beautiful women. Some prim and proper and others, well, let’s just say they enjoyed the nightlife. Chicago was also full of crime. Crime committed of passion, desperation and sheer meanness.
Things happened regularly in Chicago—the town I loved. It was being split apart by gangland killers; due to prohibition and a desire to control the seemingly never ending quantities of bootleg whiskey and beer. Elliot Ness and prohibition sent killers on a rampage to divide and conquer Chicago—made up of Little Italy and Little Sicily. Al Capone ruled the west and captured the title of King, George “Bugs” Moran to the north, and Dion O’Banion came through in the southeast. St. Valentines Day Massacre in February of 1929—a message sent by Al Capone to Bugs Moran—delivered a vicious premeditated warning to those who would try to interfere with transactions of illegal money, garnered by the sale of precious white lightening. These murders squeezed Chicago into a giant, massive killing field—known worldwide—forever infamy. Some things, however, apart from famous renowned characters, get buried and are never told.
Enter this old man…a retired detective with a story to tell; about Samantha Willis, a naïve young woman caught up in the catacombs of the spirit world, lust, and a web of senseless murders. It would take several months for our paths to cross—but cross they would—in more ways than one.
Say, is my name—pure and simple Say! Yeah, it’s a stupid moniker but it’s better than both my first and middle names. Why? Because my middle name is Hey. Don’t laugh! Would you like to go around all your life with the name, Say Hey? My father was so excited when I was born, all he could say was, “Say Hey.” It stuck. I would prefer all the crew at the police district station to call me Say, but somehow, their tongues hang up with my last name, Taylor. I swear, I
don’t think they know a person has a first name. The way they yelled Taylor, a body almost expected to find a mannequin standing at attention having a suit fitted. Such is life!
My job, as detective at the Chicago Police Department, required burning the midnight oil, as well as getting up with the roosters on any day, regardless of the weather. It didn’t matter if there was ten feet of snow on the ground, hail the size of a goose egg banging the top of the car, or damn frigging heat making sweat pour down the inside of pant legs. However, I chose to be a detective and whatever happened, I was going to solve this particular case if it killed me.
This was one of the most baffling cases. You know the old saying, “I should’ve stayed in bed?” Well, it is exactly what I wish I’d done. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but the circumstances surrounding this case seemed to capture my entire being, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. It was bazaar, very unexpected, and beyond my wildest imagination. If it wasn’t for a major fact—I was in the hellish nightmare—I wouldn’t be able to relate the unfolding mystery and circumstances. I always knew my life was a bit off kilter, strange and imposing at times, but was it fate or dark shadows closing upon me ruling my life?
Getting back to my story. Around two o’clock in the morning, on one of the most insidious down pours of February 1933, the phone rang. The sound of the ringing phone jolted me from a peaceful slumber, and I almost answered with ‘Jake’s Pool Hall’ but as usual, my reply was, “What?”
“This is Jacobs. You’d better get down here in a hurry. It looks like another murder. Got us a young woman in the hospital with a massive knife wound to the head, and a victim in the morgue.”
I hung up the phone, flung off the covers, and quickly threw on my
clothes. It’s good I wasn’t married, cause no woman alive could put up with the way I flung things around. Stumbling down the apartment stairs, I soon awakened with a cold February rain pounding against my face. Before I could place my hat upon my head, I was drenched to the bone. I fumbled with the keys trying to unlock the blasted car door. The rain was so cold my teeth chattered. I said out loud for the world to hear, “This is the pits, gosh damn it, I gotta get a house with a garage. I smell just like dirty old wet rags! Where’s my deodorant when I need it?”
It took all of ten minutes to reach the police department. Before I could get inside, the pesky, nosy, in your face, sort of tireless workaholic Calvin Glass, an investigative reporter with the Daily Tribune, grabbed my arm and said, “I want this scoop. Looks like we have a good case. What do you know about it so far?”
I stopped in my tracks, wheeled around, got eyeball to eyeball with him and snapped, “Don’t be sneaking up on me again, you son-of-a-bitch. I’m just liable to give you a mouth full of fist. Hells’ bells, I just got here myself. Don’t you ever sleep?”
“Well, you know me. If there’s a story out there, I’m going to be Johnny on the spot. Ye Gods, Taylor, you smell worse than Limburger cheese. You'd better stay downwind of me. You're ripe! Come on, let's get the low down on this murder."