We begin in march of 1921 in lakefront city. Our main character is Jack Burns, a WWI vet who arrives in Lakefront city to seek a fresh start.
Tim, his room mate helps him land a job at Hannigans speakeasy. After a couple of weeks on the job he observes a member of the Tolino mob casing the place. He roughs up the man and removes him from the place.
This gets him the attention of Rita. She and Jack become inseparable. It also gets him a meeting with Fingers O’Malley. A week or two later Fingers Has him go to smash up all the windows on a house next door to a police lieutenant in what is later revealed to be a diversion to draw the police away from the first lakefront city bank. Still working as a bouncer he is asked to go collect from a gambler that hasn’t paid back what he owed. With a bit of coercion he manages to get the money paid.
Not long after this jack is promoted to work with Jerry “Spoons” O’Neil. Jerry handles bookie work and along with a couple of other guys reports to “The book” a man yet to be introduced to Jack Burns.
Spoons despises being called spoons so everybody calls him that when he is not around. There are a number of reasons to call him that. None are flattering. They summarise as
1 He likes to eat. Especially stuff with gravy.
2 He likes to cuddle.
3 He once accepted a set of silver ware as payment for a loan and it turned out to be a set of tin spoons when the box was opened.
Jack is careful to call him Jerry or Mr O’Neil or sir whenever speaking with him. Jack has by this point armed himself with a .45 auto just in case. After a bit over a month working for Spoons Rita his Jack with a suprise. She wants him to come and meet her parents.
Jack works it with Spoons to get a couple of days off and makes the trip down state to go meet her family. Things go extremely well. Jack returns with Rita’s fathers blessing to court her. He of course uses this as an excuse to set up housekeeping. A few weeks in a row after that Jack is not getting paid any real bonus money as the gambling business is having an off time.
Fingers O’Malley decides that this is a good time to try to expand their lending operations and they want to have jack manage it. To make sure the pot is sweet enough he assigns Jack to collect the debts from all the gamblers that were a little short on paying back what they lost to the 3 bookies. Each has on average 1000 in money lent out at the rate of 5% a week. Jack gets to keep the 5% as his pay but is made financially responsible for whatever he does not collect.
In addition Jack is directed to find borrowers another 2000 in cash at the rate of 10% a week. Half of this goes to Jack and half gets kicked up to Fingers. Last but not least Jack is given blessing to lend out his own money so long as all of Fingers money is already invested. He is to pay 10% of his profits up to fingers.
To assist with this he has his good friend Tim helping by making the rounds and doing the collections. Tim is such an easy guy to get along with the a week later he gets a tip that there is a man named Al Green. His birth name was Alfonso Grenucci. It seems he is making a huge bet on a horse race this week. Since he normally wouldn’t have 700 buck to bet and he is known to talk to the Tolino mob as well there is a chance that this is a setup to cause the O’Connor gang a bit loss.
A series of meetings and a couple of investigations later Jack determines that the Tolinos are not taking any bets on this race because they believe it to be fixed. The Tolino loanshark Johnny Voltara has lent Al Green 650 bucks at 15% to bet on the race.
The result is that the O’Connor gang decides to refuse bets on the race in question and give people who already bet their money a refund.
Jack takes pity on Al Green and lends him 47.50 at no interest to repay the Tolino’s. This is beginning to get him a reputation as a private lender you actually want to go to.