If you want to land rum in the pebbly coves or labyrinthine salt marshes where the Miskatonic River empties into the Atlantic, you do so for Mike Aveline. On the dark of the moon, you pray that the fog isn’t too bad and the swell isn’t running and you run out over Jersey Reef into the open Atlantic, where Aveline’s mothership, the Bucephalus, is slowly circling in international waters just beyond the 12-mile Rum Line. You load booze – Canadian whiskey, Bermudan rum, whatever Mike’s got – until your gunwales are just inches above the oily swells.
You come back in, repeating the same prayers at the shoals, and in recent months you add a new prayer: that the fog be a little thicker, to hide your boat from the eyes of Carl Elliott and his revenue cutters. Aveline had bought off the old Coast Guard crews, but Elliott has brought in his own team, so virtuous they’re called the “Unsinkables.” They’ll confiscate your cargo, take your boat, throw you in jail, and when you get out Aveline’s men will greet you at the prison gate, telling you how it is that you’re going to pay Aveline for the cost of that lost cargo. Iron Mike doesn’t care that your boat and livelihood are lost.
But Fall is a time of change. “Diamond Jake” Jefferson, the playboy gangster whose parties are the toast and the scandal of Newport, is moving North and he’s doing it in the most ostentatious way possible: literally cruising into Miskatonic Harbor.
The docks at Beverly smell of tar, fish, and seagull shit. A week of hoses and deck brushes have reduced the stink, but not even Diamond Jake’s money can buy away the smell of a New England fishing town, a homely reek that testifies to traditions of honest, back-breaking, dangerous work. He can only distract the marks with gilt and flash, a brass band playing, and more bunting than the Fourth of July.
The distraction works. The Miranda, Diamond Jake’s floating mansion, sits alongside the docks, her brightwork sparkling in the perfect light of an Indian Summer afternoon. Velvet ropes close the two gangways while monstrous tuxedoed bouncers – spectacles in their own right – scan the crowd. The dock is packed with party-goers unwise enough to have arrived at the long-past time specified for boarding. Crew, workers, and late-arriving supplies have no chance of making it through the throng and are being ferried over from other docks, scrambling up onto the fandeck and being hurried to their stations.
Of course, if the Miranda looks out of place in the afternoon sun of Beverly, just imagine the scene when she ties up on Water Street in Arkham tonight, some time long after midnight. And before that? A hell of a party.
At least the first act of this story will take place at an extravagant party on board the Miranda as it makes its leisurely way from Beverly to Arkham. Diamond Jake Jefferson is making his entrance to the Miskatonic Valley in the most extravagant way possible. Of course, he’s been laying the groundwork for this move for months and the guest list includes the political and society elite – judges and aldermen, intellectuals and artists, ministers and Masons. (Well, not “Masons,” so much. Apparently there are some other fraternal societies that hold more sway in Essex County.)
Diamond Jake’s parties are famously scandalous and there will also be athletes, famous actors (probably from the stages of Boston or New York, but who knows?), and notorious flappers. There will be young and beautiful people, some dissipated, some ambitious, but all with the intention of making the night memorable. Mixed among the swells and the sparkling will be some working-class folk from the Miskatonic Valley: the rum runners whose fishing boats and delivery trucks are crucial to Diamond Jake’s takeover.
And, although the Miranda‘s core crew is tightly controlled by Diamond Jake, the party will be worked by local servers and hired entertainers. The main act is the best jazz band north of New Orleans, but until they go on there will be other singers, magicians, and vaudevillians.
The first challenge of the story will simply be being on board the Miranda when she casts off: Who are you and why are you here?
Hosted and narrated by:
Larry O'Brien (lobrien)
Scenes played: 7
License: Community License