Quick note: If you're rereading any part of the book and you find sections where words are repeated, I haven't lost my mind - your device is just trying to show you both the old version and the new one! To fix this, try uninstalling and reinstalling Wattpad and that usually sorts everything out!
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The short man removed his felt hat as he looked about the empty cafe. It was dark and gloomy. His tall friend closed the door behind them, eager to shut out the cold wind that had followed them in.
"This place is dead," the tall man said.
"Good," the short one replied. "That means we'll get served quicker."
They approached the bar where nobody waited to serve them. A chalkboard sign hung on the back wall:
THE STRONGEST DRINK WE SERVE IS BLACK COFFEE
"Guess we'd better go somewhere else," the little one joked. He slapped the bar. "Anybody here?"
"Maybe they're closed," his companion offered, but just then a slender woman with red hair emerged from a doorway holding a broom. The two men immediately straightened up, pulled their shoulders back and flashed their uneven smiles.
"We weren't sure you were open," the short one said.
"I'm just closing up," the woman replied. "If you were wanting something to eat, you should try Jack's around the corner."
"Oh, we're not hungry, but we wouldn't mind two of those strong coffees you're offering."
"I'm locking the door in three minutes."
"We'll drink fast."
The woman hesitated. She looked from one man to the other, perhaps trying to think of an excuse not to serve them, but instead, she propped her broom against the bar and sauntered back through the doorway. She reemerged seconds later holding two cups of black coffee and placed them on the counter. They weren't steaming.
"Twenty cents," she said.
The tall man reached into his jacket, retrieved a slip of paper, then pinned it to the counter with one finger. A ten dollar bill.
"That sign you've got back there about not having anything stronger than coffee," he said. "That true?"
"So that's what you're after," the woman replied. "Then you're wasting your time. We obey the law here."
"Come on," the short man grinned. He leaned in and lowered his voice. "Everybody knows New York's as dry as Niagara Falls. If you ain't selling booze, you ain't in business."
The tall man pushed the ten dollar bill towards her and left it there for her to take.
"We're not fussy," he said. "We've had a long journey. Just give us a couple of shots of whatever you've got and you can keep the change. Then we'll be on our way."
YOU ARE READING
* Next chapter this weekend * Manhattan, 1929. The City is on its knees following a devastating crash in the stock market. Thanks to the Prohibition, criminals are making a killing off illegal bars while thousands of honest labourers can't find a si...