The Aftermath of a Warzone
Late spring in 1937, at half past 3 a.m., several hours after the brutal shootout with notorious Chicago mobster Gino Mariucci and his men at the Ponderosa Club & Casino, a badly wounded Hattie Harris collapses at a hotel near Ft. Wayne, IN. The front desk clerk (a Dominican gentlemen) calls for an ambulance upon finding her in the room laying in a pool of blood, his concerns that Hattie may be dying. Medics arrive at the hotel and Hattie is taken to a nearby hospital. Oddly enough, Al Capone, while incarcerated, heard about the incident from his organization. He was so pleased with Hattie’s work, he sent her a large bouquet of roses to the club with a note saying, ‘fly high little blackbird!’ Capone also paid for Sly Robinson’s (Hattie’s husband) burial. Mariucci was a nemesis and competitor of Al Capone.
Meanwhile, back in Chicago, federal agents arrive at the Ponderosa Club to investigate Mariucci’s sudden death. The feds close the club and casino permanently! Carlo Santino mysteriously disappears. Delbert Patterson (Big Deezy) and his security team is taken into federal custody. Tuna never returns to Chicago, he disappears. Tangela LaFleur (Tangie) disappears. The entire club staff is taken into federal custody. Lucio Mariucci and Vincent Franchino are unsuccessful in locating Hattie’s whereabouts. They try to evade the feds by crossing the Canadian border.
During this time, Agent Ted Sparks, who’s the chief agent in charge and his partner Jack McGowan arrive on the scene as they are being briefed about the situation. Agent Sparks says, “Ok Gents! What we got here another mob war? Did one of Capone’s people finally get to Mariucci?” Agent 1 replies, “Well sir, it looks like someone pulled a heist on the casino level. Made off with over $100,000 grand.” Agent Sparks replies, “You sure it was just one man?” Agent 1 replies, “From the looks of it, only one person at a time could come up the elevator, according to the chief of security. The elevator guard got it right in face with a large caliber weapon before the perpetrator nailed the machine gun shooter twice in the chest. It would be safe to assume that the perpetrator also fired a round into this poor bastard’s head causing the mess you see here.” Agent McGowan asks, “What kind of gun did he use?” Agent 2 replies, “The bullets match an old Colt 45 revolver. Ballistics is checking right now.” Agent McGowan says, “So I guess the same guy nailed the casino guard as well.” Agent 2 earnestly replies, “Oh yes sir! Whoever he was, is a hell of a good shot!” Agent Sparks curiously asks, “So who killed Mariucci? This wasn’t done with a revolver!” Agent 3 replies laughingly, “Sir, he was accidently shot by his own man. Bullet casings found from ‘Machine Gun Kelly’ who lays dead in the hallway!” All the agents begin to laugh! Agent Sparks is not amused! Agent 1 says, “Sir, we have a witness downstairs who wants to give a statement.”
Agents Sparks and McGowan take the stairs to the club level to meet with the witness. Agent Sparks says to his partner, “This wasn’t random! You don’t just rob a man like Mariucci out of the clear blue sky. This was very, very personal. And who ever did it, planned it to a T!” Agent McGowan replies, “Although Capone is locked up, he still has resources. Him and Mariucci been at each other for years. Maybe it was a hit job made to look like a robbery Ted.” Agent Sparks replies, “I kind of doubt it! Besides, he was mistakenly shot by his own man trying to nab the robber. There’s always a motive Jack!” Sparks opens the door to the club level.
Sparks, McGowan and other agents interview the witness, a bar patron who seen the person getting into the freight elevator before the shooting occurs. The witness (a White jewelry store owner) says to the agents, “I had been drinking most of the evening. Sadden by the tragic news about Sly, ya know?” The agents look at each other with some confusion. The witness then says with frustration, “What are you stupid? Sly Robinson and the Chi-Namics, the music group.” The agents then reply, “Oh yeah, of course, sure, yeah, yeah!” The witness then says, “I couldn’t believe my eyes at first, but then I kept wondering why she would be here. It just didn’t make sense to me at the time. But there she was, Little Blackbird.” Agent McGowan sternly asks, “HEY, WHO THE HELL IS LITTLE BLACKBIRD? AND DON’T WATSE OUR FUCKING TIME! THIS IS A MURDER INVESTINGATION!” The witness declares, “Little Blackbird, the singer of the Chi-Namics. I’m not kidding you! I saw her go up the elevator before the shooting started. I didn’t see her after that. For Pete’s sake, everyone in the club ran out in the street.” Agent 2 has an album cover of the group, shows it to Agent Sparks and says, “Sir!” Agent Sparks says to the witness, “Is this her?” The witness shamefully replies, “Yes, that’s her! Such a beautiful voice!” Agent Sparks replies, “Ok, you can go now. Thanks for your help!” McGowan says to Sparks, “Come on Ted! You’re not really entertaining this bullshit, are you? Sparks asks, “What are you implying Jack?” McGowan angrily replies, “Negro women don’t do things like this! Are you crazy?” Sparks with disappointment looks at his partner and says, “I guess you’re an expert on that, right Jack?” McGowan replies, “I’m just saying most Colored folks would kill they own kind before killing a White man, that’s all.” Sparks pays no attention to McGowan, looks curiously at the album cover and asks him team, “Has anybody heard this album yet?” A few agents responded by replying, “Oh yeah! It’s good album! Yeah, great fucking album! Very impressive!” Sparks then says, “Let’s find this Little Blackbird! I want to know who she is, where she comes from. I want to know her last known whereabouts. Her family history. Everything, understood?”
Currently, Agent 1 receives some information and relays to it Sparks and McGowan. Agent 1 says, “SIR, LITTLE BLACKBIRD’S REAL NAME IS HELENA HARRIS, SHE’S FROM OHIO! Sparks pauses for a moment and says, “Harris?” Agent 1 goes on to say, “SHE ARRIVED HERE IN CHICAGO ABOUT 3 YEARS AGO AFTER HER FAMILY WAS KILLED. SHE WAS WORKING HERE AT THE CLUB BEFORE JOINING THE CHI-NAMICS. SHE WAS ALSO MARRIED TO SLVESTER (SLY) ROBINSON. NOW HERE’S THE KICKER, MARIUCCI HAD HER HUSBAND KILLED JUST 24 HOURS EARLIER.” McGowan says to Sparks, “You wanted a motive, there it is!” Sparks looks at McGowan and replies, “Colored women don’t do things like this, remember?” Agent 2 receives information and says loudly, “SIR, WE JUST RECEIVED A TIP FROM A NURSE AT MERCY COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL IN FT WAYNE, INDIANA THAT A YOUNG COLORED WOMAN HAD BEEN BROUGHT IN FROM A GUNSHOT WOUND. SHE’S IN STABLE CONDITION.” Sparks says, “Ok, what the hell does that have to do with us?” Agent 2 says, “SIR, SHE HAD A COLT 45 REVOLVER IN HER POSSESSION. IT HAD BEEN FIRED RECENTLY SIR!” McGowan quietly says, “Well I be damned! Holy Sheep Shit!” Agent 3 says, “Sir, Lucio and Franchino have been detained at the Canadian border.” Sparks replies, “OK THAT’S GREAT NEWS! I WANT ARREST WARRARNTS FOR THEM AS WELL AS ALL OF MARIUCCI’S CREW. AS OF NOW ALL OF MARIUCCI’S PROPERTIES, BUSINESSES ARE UNDER GOVERNMENT SIEZE! WE CAN FINALLY ISSUE INDICTMENTS ON THESE SCUM BAGS AND CLOSE SHOP! IT ONLY TOOK US 6 YEARS, BUT WE GOT EM! LET’S MOVE ON IT GENTS!”
McGowan pulls Sparks to the side and asks, “What about the girl?” Sparks casually replies while lighting a cigarette, “What about her?” McGowan angrily says, “Ted, you gonna just let her go? She’s a killer! And she stole a whole bunch of money! What the fuck are you doing Ted?” Sparks earnestly replies, “Do you want justice for Mariucci? Who are you working for Jack? Helena Harris is not a threat to the United States Government.” McGowan replies, “Ted, if you think I’m gonna go along with this, then……….” Sparks abruptly interrupts McGowan by saying, “Jack, go work for another team if you don’t like it. I’m in charge of the Mariucci case, it’s my investigation. Do you realize that young woman broke this case wide open which would have taken us years to crack? Right now, she’s in a White’s only hospital, that’s a 30-day misdemeanor in Indiana county jail. When she’s well enough to recover, I want her to stay there until we indict all these assholes. If they think she’s dead, they won’t keep looking for her, you understand me Jack?” McGowan reluctantly goes along with Sparks, as they have worked together for years.
A week later, Hattie finally awakens in the hospital ICU (intensive care unit). She is dazed and confused. She is also handcuffed to the hospital bed. Three White nurses are standing overlooking down at her. Nurse 1 says, “Hi! I’m glad you finally woke up. We were all extremely worried about you. You lost quite a bit of blood. But, don’t worry, we got the bullet out. You had a real close call.” Nurse 2 smiling says, “Hey, aren’t you Little Blackbird from the Chi-Namics? I just adore y’alls new album. We listen to it daily. Don’t we?” Nurse 1 seconds that emotion, “Oh yes, we just love y’all so much around here!” Hattie then angrily replies, “Well, if y’all love me so much, then why you got me cuffed to this damn hospital bed like some wild animal? What, y’all, some kind of hypersexual super freaks or something?” Nurse 3 seriously replies, “The police are holding you here and the feds are coming to talk to you. So, you just cool you’re heals little gal.” Hattie just coldly stares at Nurse 3 as she walks away. Nurse 1 says to Hattie, “Oh don’t pay her no mind Little Blackbird, she just had a hysterectomy done and she’s still a little grumpy.” Nurse 2 says, “It’s such an honor and a privilege to have a celebrity grace our humble establishment. Can’t wait to tell my 3rd cousin in Baltimore.” Hattie just stares at the ceiling while saying a silent prayer, wondering what’s worse, getting shot at by Chicago gangsters or being confined to that hospital bed listening to these women gibberish all day.
After a month in recovery, Hattie Harris is released from the hospital and promptly arrested for being in a White’s only hospital to which none of her choosing. Hattie was taken in custody to a county jail in a township outside of Ft Wayne, IN. Agent Sparks only wanted to keep her out of sight and out of mind until the federal indictments went down for Mariucci’s organization. Hattie’s stay in the county jail was only supposed to be temporary but apparently Hattie never got that memo, as she would get into numerous brutal fights with female inmates. Hattie beat one inmate so bad that she had to have emergency brain surgery as her skull was fractured. Hattie is now facing an attempted murder charge. She was transferred to the Women’s Correctional Institution where she is now facing a multitude of felony charges and years in prison. This is just the beginning!