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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Nil-The-Frogg

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#11b



In front of Good Hope Hospital, Thursday at dusk


Hitchgins grumbled and re tightened his coat. Rain had ceased while he was in the hospital, but a cold wind from the North was strengthening. It was quickly drying the wet town but was absolutely chilling. The sergeant decided not to follow the river to get back home and turned his steps toward Deep Italy. The narrow streets would hopefully offer protection against those cold gusts.

He had put a feet on the opposite side walk when a dirty boy wearing a worn baseball cap grabbed his sleeve.

“Hey, mister, would you buy me a paper?”

Hitchgins raised an eyebrow.

“Depends. Which one d'ya sell kid?”

“The Daily Tribune sir.”

“Sorry, but I've already me amount of garbage. Thanx very much.”

He was departing, but the boy firmly grabbed his sleeve again.

“Sir, I think you do want it actually!”

Hitchgins looked at the boy again. He held the newspaper between his arm and ribcage, but the first page was now partly visible. There were microscopic handwritten words intertwined in the title. No one else than Hitchgins would have noticed them. Well, almost no one.

“Okay, okay...”

He searched his pocket, found old croutons, tobacco, torn papers, a bullet collected on a crime scene months ago, a masticated licorice butt and finally stumbled upon a few coins.

“Here, take'at kid.”

“Thanks, Sir, here's your newspaper.”

The boy went, trying to intercept a hurried man who kept a hand on his hat to prevent it from flying away. Hitchgins casually resumed his walk. He waited to be in an alley to examine his new acquisition. The words were neat and perfectly regular, just as he had expected: “Luigi and Mario's tagliatelle”. Hitchgins knew this restaurant although he had never eaten there. Since it was just a bloc away, the Sergeant supposed that he was already expected.

The streets were relatively quiet, which means they were only crowded thanks to the people usually overcrowding the place who were now sheltering from cold in their homes. Hitchgins had no difficulty finding the little restaurant. It was badly lit, poorly warmed and rather ratty, just as the boisterous blinking red sign suggested. The restaurateur had a lot in common with Hitchgins, although he bore more fat, a darker moustache, less hair and more grease on the head. He was sweating with the only heat source sitting behind him in the form of a furnace made of brown bricks. The Sergeant saluted:

Buona sera.

The restaurateur widely smiled:

Italiano?”

No, ma mi districo.”

The other one looked disappointed. Hitchgins pursued in English:

“W'd ya serve me a big plate o'pappardelle ?”

“Certainly, sir. Sit anywhere you want, you're the first customer tonight.”

“Are ya sure o'that ? I'd have said sumone was already there actually.”

The fat man hesitated, staring at the Sergeant.

“You mean...”

“That I've a rendezvous in yar establishment. Da kind where I wanna be timely, see?”

“Oh, yes, I see... Please go to the table in the back room, there. I'll bring your dinner in a minute. Do you want a bottle of wine with that?”

“No, I n'ver drink 'co'ol : bad for proper thinkin' if ya'sk me. Thanx. Water'll fit very well.”

Hitchgins hesitated to hop by the restrooms in order to drink a gulp from his precious little flask. This would hide any hint of his current state of withdrawal. But did he really hope to fool the Judge? No, actually. Better save up his shrinking stock. The sergeant pushed a worn red curtain aside and stepped in the small back room lit up by a bare light bulb. The judge was sitting on an unsteady wooden chair in front of a rare steak without garnish and a glass of deep red wine. Hitchgins nodded:

“Good evening Mister Peter.”

“Good evening Oliver. Pray, sit down.”
 
Last edited:

Storey

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Hmm, speaking of a "unique choice of words" I’ve got to ask what is
‘co’ol?

Joe
 

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Joe, I'm thinking it's a contraction of 'alcohol'.

Speaking of that line:
“No, I n'ver drink 'co'ol : bad for proper thinkin' if ya'sk me. Thanx. Water'll fit very well.”
Now there's a blatant lie if I ever saw one! :)

Interesting, interesting. Why does the Judge have a need to meet with Hitchgins, and why is he so secretive about it? Why not simply meet at the judge's office? It can't be that unusual for a judge to meet police officers... This clandestine rendez-vous suggests there's more going on here.
 

coz1

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I'm enjoying the Judge's tactics of finding and calling for Hitchgins. The old sly fox, that Judge.

And he should have accepted some wine...just a glass, really. It's a crime to eat Italian food without it, especially in Chicago or New York. ;)
 

Director

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Some interesting updates. In particular I'm wondering why Hitchgins is taking such pains with a subordinate. And why a fine coffee, unless there's something interesting in the blend?

I agree that Hitchgins shows a powerful ability when he convinces that nurse.

As far as this meeting goes I see two possible reasons for the setting: the Judge wants to conclude some business out of sight of other people at his office OR he was going to eat anyway and decided to combine business with food.

The real question is how did he know where Hitchgins was, and how could he give the newsboy such a description that no mistake could be made?


I could use some Italian food around now. :)
 

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Seems a little early for feedback, but since all my regular readers (I mean, posters, no offense intended to lurkers ;) ) have already replyed...

Duke:
Duke of Wellington said:
Certainly a very good eye for detail
Indeed :)
[EDIT]BTW, there's a reference regarding this restaurant, doesn't bring anything to the story, but still...[/EDIT]

Storey: Stuyvesant got it right.

Stuyvesant:
Stuyvesant said:
Now there's a blatant lie if I ever saw one!
Are you sure? I ain't. :rolleyes:

coz1:
coz1 said:
It's a crime to eat Italian food without it, especially in Chicago or New York.
I'm lucky not to live in those places, since I'm like Hitchgins in that I never drink alcohol (nothing to do with religion, just makes me ill, and I hate the taste of it) Wait a minute... Didn't I mention it a long time ago? And here's my girlfriend having the same phone conversation than back then, IIRC. This feeling of deja-vu is rather weird :wacko: .

Director: Perhaps he really likes him? May have something to do with his own superior so eager to sack him too...
Director said:
The real question is how did he know where Hitchgins was, and how could he give the newsboy such a description that no mistake could be made?
Well, you might have some hints in next update, due in the begining of next week, hopefully.
BTW, regarding your GC2 AAR, it's not to the writer to adapt, but to the reader... I'll try to catch up, and please, don't take it for yourself if I don't. :)

Now, to all: I'm a little surprised that no one commented on the last line... :D
 
Last edited:

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Still did not inspire you, eh? Bah, I intended to post an update this afternoon, but will not have time to finish it. Will be due tomorrow. This short post is just to let you know good news (for me, perhaps not so for you): I seem to have found a new job (as a VB.net developer). It looks very interesting and is significantly better paid than my previous one. The downside is that will eat up most of my time, of course... :rolleyes: Let's hope Director will be lucky too, all the more since we know that he can manage his AARs and a job at the same time. :D
 

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#11c



Mario and Luigi's tagliatelle, Thursday at dusk, continued

The Judge was meticulously cutting a regular strip of red meat as Hitchgins took a chair in front of him.

“Tell me, Oliver, what happened last night?”

He jabbed his fork in the piece of bleeding steak and brought it to his mouth where Hitchgins caught a glimpse of sharp canines chomping at it. Peter leisurely masticated with the regularity of a metronome.

“Well, Kallistos seems'ave been on rampage in his own house. Put fire to it and killed a bunch o'henchmen. And there's dat little accident too...”

The Judge swallowed and proceeded with a next piece of his steak.

“Oliver, do I have to remind you how I dislike to loose my time ?”

He bit the new strip of meat. The sergeant went straight to the point:

“Stragglio was in da attic. He'd been smoked'n roasted, but I still coulda see his tattoo on da forearm. That's when he distinguished da corpse dat Mr Bredin ran to check it...”

The Judge swallowed and patted his lips with the thick napkin provided by the restaurant.

“Did he see the tattoo ?”

“Not a chance, t'was way too dark in there.”

“Your take on the situation ?”

Hitchgins scratched his rough chin.

“I'd say dat Kallistos knew sum o'his men were traitors and prob'ly specific'lly knew dat Stragglio was one of yar agents. Stragglio'd've been smarter'n quicker than the others and would've entrenched in da attic. So Kallistos decided to burn him rather dan to try an assault.”

“You surely know that Pinelvy has asked me to allow disciplinary sanctions against you...”

The Judge had finished to cut his next piece of meat and let Hitchgins wait in silence while he chewed it up. He finally swallowed, drank a sip of wine, patted his lips again and resumed his sentence just where he had left it:

“... for your last night's blunder.”

He paused a few seconds.

“I will accept. He will do as he wishes, saving for your lay-off.”

The Sergeant went pale. He quickly followed the implications and mumbled:

“I'm gettin' too old for dat sort o'things sir.”

“No Oliver. You merely get too sniveling.”

The restaurateur came in with Hitchgins' plate:

“Signore , here's your meal. Beware it's very hot. I thought that a bottle of sparkling-water would be best with it.” He turned toward the Judge “Is everything as you wish, Sir?”

“Indeed. Oh, and Mr Hitchgins is my guest.”

“Of course Sir, no problem. Call me if you need anything.”

He bowed slightly and walked backwards, which Hitchgins found ridiculous and the Judge did not even seem to notice.

“Will we have to find another team-mate or do you think that this Mr Bredin will keep working with you without asking too much questions?”

“Think dat things should be sort'd out rather well. He fits da job if ya'sk me. Nice but dim, eh ?”

“Excellent.”

Hitchgins began to eat his pasta, sucking them in with big “shlrp”. Droplets of tomato sausage were flying around. Peter wiped a red dot off his left glove.

“I'm lucky that black clothes are not easily stained by red... Which of course partly explains why I wear them.”

Hitchgins chuckled.

“And what'bout this Dass guy ? D'you think dat Voltshead killed him ?”

“No, but that's none of your business. Michaels managed to arrest the man as he was about to flee the city. I don't give a damn about him. I want you to work on something more serious.”

The Sergeant shrugged.

“Da Kamilet...”

“Precisely. I want to know who pulls the strings of this gang. At all costs.”

Hitchgins emitted a resigned sigh.

“I guess dat I'll manage to get shot at, again...”

“It may be part of the job, yes. But don't act stupidly. If you have reasons to think you're about to face something big, then give me a call, or ask Michaels.”

Hitchgins had a joyless smile:

“Don't worry. I'm not kinda forget dat advice.”

“You look tired, Oliver. I need you to be fully operational you know.”

“Yeah, I'll trya sleep more, if Pinelvy allows.”

The Judge rose.

“That would be a good idea. An even better one would be to visit Lady Marianne's henchmen and tell them that big daddy sent you. They might have some useful stuff for you.”

“I guess dat 'thanx' is da word.”

“If you want. Good night and good luck, Oliver.”

“D'night sir.”
 
Last edited:

coz1

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The Judge really does have Hitchgins wrapped around his finger. Sounds as though he keeps him in "the good stuff." It must explain why Hitchgins accepts his fate of disciplinary action even while continuing to do the Judge's work. His is a difficult situation, I suspect. Addiction can do that to a man.

And by Gas Water - did you mean something like Perrier? We usually call that soda water or sparkling water...or just Perrier. ;)
 

Nil-The-Frogg

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coz1: Thanks for the tip. "Sparkling" sounds better to me. I must rely on the dictionary sometimes and its content does not seem to always hit the nail on the head... :p It's rarely clear if the words are British or American either, the latter obviously fitting this story better. Oh, and thx for this one too: 'wrapped around his finger' ;) I'll try to remember this, just in case.

To both: Yes, Hitch is pretty much bound to the Judge, in more than one way. I try to slip sneaking clues, but I fear that they're not obvious enough for this format of storytelling. There's a couple of hints in several posts, including the last one, pointing at some relationship between several characters...

Duke : The Judge doesn't need to be impressed, he knows the man. Besides, we still have to meet the characters of the story who can impress Peter :D .
 

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Hitchgins is far deeper in Judge Peter's pocket than I had thought. I assumed they were on more or less equal footing, but clearly the Judge is the one giving orders and Hitchgins can do little but follow them.

I noticed the Judge's comment about red not showing up on his black gloves: does that mean he gets his own hands dirty? I expected him to have henchmen for that. Either way, it adds to the menacing air around the Judge.

A nice scene. I hope Hitchgins will make it through his disciplinary action without too much of a hassle. :)
 

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Stuyvesant: I can't answer your two last comments yet. Regarding the first, I think it's pretty much correct.

Here's an update comming now (just let me time to insert images, do the editing...).

Two notes about it:

- most of the names aren't chosen randomly :rolleyes:
- you may benefit from reporting to chapter 9b before reading this, unless you're confident enough in your memory. ;)

Enjoy! (My hope... :eek:o )

Oh, and then again, please tell me if you have problems reading it (characters size and such...)
 
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Nil-The-Frogg

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#11d



 

Duke of Wellington

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Hmmm, a big blow to the Clean Streets Party. Mr von Skappe Gott? Interesting name there :D Once again the Judge proves himself not a man to be crossed.

Mr vanDamme too sounds like an interesting character, choosing to do the splits between furniture is an odd way to emphasise ones point.

As for the music well suffice to say that true art is never appreciated in its time. Very enjoyable update Nil :).
 

coz1

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Another great edition, Nil. I too caught the captured man's name. Very interesting way to give us that clue. And if I understood it correctly, we have two Judges walking around...Peters and Caryotte. Is that correct and is it possible we are mistaking one for the other? Point me in the right direction here.

As for the rest of the edition, don't blame the Duke for stretching his musical muscles. I mean, with a musical director like Mr. Hopson so engrossed in little green men, what can you expect?

And good to hear Mr. Coz was freed from jail. Awful mess, that.

Now that Vesant/VanDamme story was a real doozy. On the whole, an exciting edition all the way round.
 

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I'm not familiar with all of the background to this story (I just started reading it from the beginning a couple of days ago). However, this new post is certainly exciting. I do love a good defenestration! In any event, I might have some comments on older posts as I move through this wonderful yarn.
 

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Duke of Wellington: Yep, a big blow with multiple possible outcomes.
Mr vanDamme too sounds like an interesting character, choosing to do the splits between furniture is an odd way to emphasise ones point.
Well, check Wikipedia for Jean-Claude van Damme, and particularly the "abstract thinker" paragraph :cool: I remember that Stuyvesant was well aware of that, from his comments after the last newspaper.
As for the music well suffice to say that true art is never appreciated in its time.
True. There's a movie reference too.


coz1: Yes, Caryotte and Peter are two Judges. Peter is the highest in the hierarchy, but Caryotte can theoretically act independently. As I said, more details are in chapter 9b. I notice that I've forgotten this Judge Caryotte in the characters list though. Will add him tomorrow (it's too late right now, must go get some sleep).

Oh, and no one would dare to keep Mr Coz in jail ever. Be assured that I've signed the petition, of course. :D


Quintilian: Wellcome! It's always a pleasure to greet new readers
03.gif
As I wrote in my welcoming first post, feel free to ask/comment, I'll be glad to answer. As for the background, the last post does not only refer to the background of this story, but also to the other readers backgrounds, to some extend... ;)
 

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I see that Mr. Vesant is rescued by a vinyl-clad Storey! That's a frightening image: Joe Storey as a geriatric masked superhero. I'm imagining this really old, frail, thin-as-sticks man wearing a spandex suit and cape... <shudders> :D

Storywise, I'm wondering if Judge Caryotte, will prove to be any better for Mr. Voltshead than Judge Peter. Even if he is not corrupt and not under Judge Peter's thumb, I doubt he could keep Mr. Voltshead safe, if the Judge wanted any harm to come to him.

Or he could ask Hitchgins to 'discover' some highly incriminating evidence. I'm not so sure any more that Hitchgins would be able to resist such a suggestion.

Finally, I noticed you even put the Judge's scribble on the paper, the directions for Hitchgins to come to the restaurant. Nice touch. :)