1927. George checked out of the Cottonwood Hotel. He tossed his suitcase into the back of the roadster and turned toward the town of Jerome. As he ascended the dusty road, it left a film on his linen suit which aggravated him. Though the search for Sally the other day was unproductive, it was not a total waste of his time. He had whiffed the smell of opium permeating around corners and alleyways like an incense, and it triggered a jolt of desire. As he shifted the coupe that belonged to Connie Vandenberg and drove up to the copper mining town carved into the Black Hills, his mind journeyed around his strange way of thinking to where feelings fought for control of the shell that was his body.
It had been five years since his return passage from Hamburg to Chicago. In the beginning, he had imagined a prison. He was the warden and his emotions banged the iron bars. He rattled the skeleton keys on a ring. Anger transformed into a blob of heat, rolling, a fist stretching the inside of an orangy balloon. His shame, a bruise for the loss of Mitzi, flipped and squeezed through the bars, and reached for the keys to open the cell door. However, it was the gray absence of feeling that George chose to release most days. There was freedom in numbness. Time flew. He forgot about his missing hand. His habit of killing Private Cox was a common motion like picking up the telephone or signing his name but lacked the satisfaction it once had after the war. In his mind, he pulled out the weapon from Private Cox and pointed it at Shame behind the bars. He could see her hazel eyes and auburn streaks and imagined squeezing the life out of her. There was a pleasurable fizz that stirred and rooted inside him. He tried to walk down the center of the prison cell away from the outstretched hands. The warden decides who to let out. At the back of the cell, hidden in the blackness, his addiction had whiffed the fog of opium the other day. It was roused and whispered to George to come closer to the cell.
George maneuvered the roadster up the zigzagged, dirty road to Jerome.
“Inside the Gold Plated Pistol” is my current attempt at historical fiction. It’s second in a series where I create the historical climate of the 20th Century. My goal is to complete the rough draft by the end of summer. Hmm. Seems like I said that last summer. Slowly I trudge along!
In case you missed them, here are some previous posts regarding the time period of the Roaring 20s.