With a Knick-Knack Paddy Whack | Ian Harrison

Will it be war or peace when doves and gats come together with a bit of Irish Charm.

With A Knick Knack Paddy Whack

Ian Harrison

To The Nines Award: Part 4

Dead of night. Water laps.

Lighthouse on the point arcs brightness through fog. Freighter’s docked outside the warehouse, intermingling animal smells with salt. Ship’s name matches the Blacksmith’s tea-chests; based outta Europe.


Port : Sicily.

They ain’t even trying. Can’t be the big boys. Shame.

Ink-blot shadows provide cover. Snub-nosed .38’s, ready. Jimmy and me wait ‘round back for the signal, ready to raise hell. Sergeant Kieron Parnell, our pal, controls the operation; front-side with his hand-picked team. Two accompany us, with several more stationed beside all other entrances.

Barefoot cat-burglar creeps past closed upper-storey windows. Fifth one opens a crack. Wider. The shadow feeds a writhing burlap sack inside. Nimble fingers untie the neck. Gentle shake.


Mysterio the Magnificent’s doves, loosed by an acrobat. A screeching cockatoo and macaw all soar through the warehouse. Cooing, swooping, pooping up a storm. Panicked shouts. Gunshots.

Glass shatters. Lights extinguish.

Doors burst open. Goon after goon stare down a bunch of Dublin’s finest, re-homed in New York. I can only imagine the bug-eyes on the thug that sees we brung the lion-tamer along.
A massive brute busts the back door down. Shaped like circus strongman Jorgen, but wearing the racetrack’s blacksmith’s face. The inside man. He’s been sandwiching golden horse-shoes inside iron sleeves.

Kicks the gat outta my hand, desperate, forcing my shot wide. Shrugs off two roundhouses to the chops. Gives ‘em back. With seasoning.

Knuckles glint.

Takes me a split-second to comprehend and react, but a second’s too long. Brutal rib-tickler; I’m crippled down my left-hand side. Breathing’s tough. Shirt’s torn. Spreading wetness – not sweat. Fabric’s stuck tight.

Fend. Dodge. Wear another hit. I mentally add a Wolfman mask, remembering our last tango. My advantage.

Block. Jab. He does likewise. Wearing me down.

Jimmy shouts a distraction; opportunity arises. The blacksmith’s belly’s exposed, then he’s down. Hands and knees, retching and heaving.


He kisses the pier, out cold. I give my snubby a once-over.

Jimmy has the blacksmith’s apprentice hollering uncle. Tears merging with bloody spittle. Nice work. Parnell’s boys can take it from here.

Through the missing doorway, I spy a couple more thugs making their break through the side doors – freezing when they clap peepers on the roaring lion. Mysterio, Fellini’s and Jorgen handle things.

Police snap cuffs on unresisting goons.

Parnell enters through the front door; Jimmy ‘n’ me creep inside too. Eyes adjust fast.
Hubbub sounds like a Springtime morning in the park. Yet gloom engulfs the warehouse whole, like a snake.

Office in the far corner has its light on. Naked bulb. That’s where I’d hold a couple hostages. I raise my piece; Jimmy reaches.

“Drop your weapons, gentlemen. That’s close enough.” The deeply accented voice is comfortable in darkness.

A chunk-click echoes above the bird’s rabble.

Brief light. Lingering darkness.

Two hooded figures, tied to chairs. Woman’s untouched, sorta kinda. Man’s gotta remove his socks to count past six, poor sap. He sobs.

Young scuzzball. Sneer and gat. Swaying the business end around. At me. Then Parnell, Jimmy, and his hostages.

“Tony Vicario.”

Sergeant Parnell’s checked around, appearing alongside us. Police-issue colt .38’s challenging Vicario.

“Forget these two hostages. Race fixin’ and kidnappin’s above your pay grade – you shoulda stuck to extortion. And what’s this I hear ‘bout gold smuggling?” He clucks his tongue. “Your boss ain’t diggin’ you out. Not this toime. Wants you learnin’ your lesson.”

This is Parnell’s collar. By the book.

“Your gang came the hard way. Easy does it, Tony.”

Vicario thinks.
It’s a long moment. Three pistols aimed square at his heart. Lighthouse beam sweeps though again.
Nobody moves.

Slowly, Vicario drops his gat, raises empty hands. Cops swarm. Cuffing him, whipping hoods off of Garry and Gabriella. Teary re-union with her circus family.

“That’s grand, lad. You’re under arrest, now. And once the doctor’s finished examining you, you’re under arrest too, Garry the Mac MacHeath.”