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A Conversation Between Enemies

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While Harold Floyd normally didn’t visit his singers, he needed to talk to Samuel. Or, if he was being completely accurate, he needed to talk to Samuel’s roommate and pretend girlfriend, Miss Miriam Blum. The apartment building they lived in was made of dirty red brick that looked like it could and would weather the worst the world could throw at it. The wallpaper on the inside of the building was faded and the floor creaked loudly as Harold walked across it. Yet, in the hallways’ dim lighting, it contained a strange kind of charm. Like an old, half-forgotten memory of more innocent days.

 

He found Miss Blum sitting in the hallway outside their apartment, scribbling in a notebook. The first thing he noted about her was her fingers. They were stained with black ink and, if Harold squinted a little, he could see just the slightest imprint of the key of a typewriter.

“Good afternoon, Miss Blum.” He said politely, “May I ask what you’re doing out here?”

“Sammy and Barry are… well, they wanted some privacy and I offered to vacate the area. Problem is, I left my purse in the bedroom.” She explained, shifting so her legs weren’t spread out across the hallway.

“Ah. You forgot your purse, but remembered a notebook and a pen?” Harold commented, sitting down beside her.

“A good reporter never goes anywhere without the tools of their trade. Just like you don’t go anywhere without your gun.” She replied, nodding to his overcoat.

“How’d you know it was there?” He asked

“The outline is more visible against the floor.”

“Yes, well, I’d normally be sitting in a chair.”

“It wasn’t a criticism, just a comment.” Miriam said, “But you didn’t come here for a conversation with me.”

“I did actually. And you can stop writing down everything I’m saying, this isn’t an interview.”

“Why, do you have a problem with me writing everything down?”

“No, but you might.”

“Why?”

“I came here to discuss your recent crusade against the crime syndicates.”

“It’s far from recent, Floyd.” Miriam informed him, “The only reason you lot know about it now is because my co-workers are idiots who think I’m in over my head.”

“You are in over your head. While I appreciate you trying to eliminate my competition, I’m also concerned about whether I will end up in the calaboose. Not to mention how sad Samuel will be if anything happens to his friend.”

“Of course you are.” Miriam chuckled, resting her head against the wall and staring up at the ceiling, “First of all, if you get arrested, it won’t be my doing. I don’t want Sammy out of a job, not to mention how many homosexual speakeasies would be closed, which would anger my boss and put me out of a job. Second of all, I’m a female Jewish reporter who is pretending to date a gay black singer who works for one of the most liberal mobsters in the city. Any one of those things could get me killed, or worse, so you should believe me when I say that I am more than capable of taking care of myself.”

 

“I see.” Harold replied, inclining his head slightly and getting up to leave, “Well, tell Samuel I said hello and if you need anything for your exposé, please, let me know.”

“Thanks, Mr Floyd. Have fun ruling from the shadows. Oh, and do me a favour and try not to get shot.”