Brother John Lazia was waiting for Trey when he walked into the bar that Saturday evening after having spent the entire day with Marina, Gio, and Dot at a Monarchs game, teaching the girls how to watch baseball. It was more fun to watch and easier to teach when the Monarchs were winning, which they were doing a whole lot of this year. If Trey and Gio—both inveterate baseball fans—wanted to hit any ballgames, they were going to have to make their girls like it.
What he didn't like was coming home to see Kansas City coppers hanging around across the street and Lazia making himself at home in Trey's bar by sitting at his table in his fucking chair!
"Going out back for a delivery, Boss," Gio said as he walked past. "Let me know if you need help."
"You betcha," Trey said calmly, never taking his eyes off Lazia. "You disrespect me in my own house?"
Lazia looked up at him and ground the tip of his cigarette in the ashtray. "It's not yours."
"Yet. Boss Tom know you're here stickin' your nose in my business?"
"I am not sticking my nose in your business. I'm here asking you why you're undercutting my business."
Trey was about to get a little more forceful when Lazia decided to vacate Trey's chair. Trey snapped his fingers before settling himself into his throne, at which time a cigar and glass of whiskey was put in front of him. He took his time with his cigar, clipping the end, lighting it, puffing on it a few times, blowing smoke rings.
"I'm a businessman, Lazia," Trey said finally. "If I can get good quality hooch at a better price, I'm gonna get it. Furthermore, I'm retail, not wholesale, so the only way I'm cuttin' into your business is just 'cuz I ain't buyin' from you."
"Lessee, you got Rieger and McCormick and Remus, but not mine. I know how you're getting your Rieger and McCormick. Who supplies your Remus?"
"Why would I tell you that? You been spyin' on me for the last two months, bustin' up my office, tearin' my divan apart—an' I loved that divan—an' you ain't come up with a name? Your people are so incompetent, you gotta come crawlin' to me to get my business personally and drag the KCPD along with you to scare me into it?"
Lazia's eyes narrowed. "I don't know what you're talking about, busting up your office and your fucking divan, but don't make the mistake of insulting my people."
Trey took another puff off his cigar. "An' what are you gonna do?"
"What can I do?" Lazia stood and tapped out another cigarette on the heel of his palm. "You're in control here, right?" He smoothly situated his fedora on his head. "A businessman. Low-price whiskey ... "
"Good whiskey," Trey pointed out. "Which I sell by the glass or bottle or case, retail, not by wholesale truckload."
"Mm hm. I had some of the Remus. It is fine."
"An' now you know why I don't buy yours."
Lazia looked at him funny. "What?"
"I don't like yours. Simple as that. I'm the only cat in town who sells something different that's as high-end as yours but ain't yours. Why'd people go elsewhere if they like what I'm servin' an' I serve it 'cuz I like it? They can get yours anywhere. They can't get mine anywhere but here. So they ain't no point servin' yours too."
"That's it," Lazia said flatly. "You don't like it."
Trey nodded. "That's it. It ain't nothin' 'bout you personally. Hell, most everybody likes yours better. It pays for me not to wholesale it, see? They come here for my whiskey and end up spendin' a whole lot more money. But if you do want the Remus, I'd be happy to serve as your supplier. Retail."
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Kansas City, Missouri, 1929 Trey Dunham, a mid-level cog in the Pendergast Machine during Prohibition, runs 1520 Main, Boss Tom's most prized speakeasy featuring good booze, hot jazz, and beautiful women. Trey wants to buy the join...