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Saturnday No. 10

Death on the Docks by Scott Story - Part II - Copyright 2008 Story Studios LLC.  All rights reserved.


Manny and his twelve men stood at ease but vigilant as the ugly, black, lake freighter docked.  This ship, stained with tar and crusted with barnacles, was built to ship dry goods around the Great Lakes, and it had no name and had never known the wonders of paint. Newer vessels than this one had been sent on their final voyages to the docks of Bombay, there to be decommissioned by the acetylene torch.  The ship’s wench lowered the last of the crates onto the docks, and its silent crew pulled in their lines and cast off.  The ship’s twin diesels had never powered down, nor had its ragged crew disembarked.  No manifests were signed, no words were exchanged.


Manny stationed his men around the three, unmarked crates that were stacked atop a wooden palette reinforced with iron bars.  All the Charlie Blockers had to do now was wait for Synn’s men to arrive and collect their goods.


Or, they would have waited, if Johnny Saturn had not shown up. 


Manny grimaced.  You would think thirteen men, all armed with handguns and an assortment of brass knuckles, pipes, chains, and truncheons easily could have dispatched one man.  Most other men, sure, no problem—but not Johnny Saturn.


The old mystery man appeared as if from nowhere, and he plowed into the Charlie Blockers like a bulldozer through a flower bed.  Thugs flew right and left, and none of the Charlie Blockers could get their bearings or mount a decent defense.  Thugs were tossed about, and they littered the ground with head wounds and broken bones.  Johnny’s massive, gauntleted fists dealt out a lighting array of jabs, cuts, crosses, and uppercuts that would have dazzled most pro boxers, let alone the outmatched Charlie Blockers.


If Manny had been anyone else–preferably someone at a safe distance!–he might have admired Johnny Saturn.  Six foot four, as wide as a house and as beefy as a porterhouse, Johnny had spent over a decade dispensing his brand of justice on Spire City’s benighted streets.  Some people grew feeble as they got older, but some few grew meaner and harder, and Johnny Saturn had decades of grizzled mean and stringy hard saved up and earning compound interest.  Dressed in dark blues and blue greens, masked and cowled, the old mystery man’s gauntlets incorporated cruel, brass knuckles into their design, and his boots seemed big enough to stomp city blocks.


Manny, not one for fisticuffs, was the first Charlie Blocker with the presence of mind to pull his gun, a .38 special with its serial numbers filed off and its grip wrapped in black electricians tape.  He had wanted to plug Johnny Saturn for years, and Manny owed the old vigilante for a wealth of dental work the thug had undergone.  Manny fired, yet the old warhorse had turned sideways against the shot, barely dodging the slug, and Manny’s bullet hit Ol’ Dickey in the arm.  Oops!


“You sonavabitch!” yelped Dickey, “You shot me!”


Bam!  Manny was out of the world, out of his head, and gone to some “other” place.  He’d seen a huge fist flying at his jaw, then nothing.  Nothing lasted forever, though, and then the world came back—a world of hurt!


Manny saw his feet loosely flopping beyond nerveless legs, and he realized that he was being dragged along the docks.  He tried to get his bearings, but all he could see were Johnny Saturn’s churning legs.  No one was coming to Manny’s rescue, because all his men were laid out on the dock, unconscious!


Thud—thud—thud!  Manny tried to wriggle free as Johnny dragged him up a flight of iron stairs by the collar.

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