In their old haunt, a slum apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, Adam Callahan detailed his plan. “It’s a pretty simple con,” he said, eyes gleaming in the late afternoon sun from beneath a stolen–and filthy–porkpie hat. “We need to get into the Baker-Barrister department store, corner of Broadway and W. 13th St.”

His confederate, Sam Goldman, flashed the winning smile that had kept him alive despite having spent 11 of the 13 years since 1900 in the gutter. “I can use a version of my ‘Mr. Mayweather’ con if you can get me a fresh suit and a business card.”

“Already working on it. I called in a favor with my pal Israel at Shoenborne Printers; cards’ll be ready tomorrow.”

Sam spat on the floor. “And the suit?”

“Picked it up from the cleaner’s on the way out this morning.” Adam’s eyes twinkled as he thought about the cleaner’s turned back, his hand darting behind the desk, and the quick but nonchalant escape that followed.

“Fair enough,” Sam laughed, effecting the nasal upper-class twang that had allowed him to rob the upper crust blind on their own promenades. “What’s the item, and the angle?”

“There’s a Turkish rug in the showroom on the fifth floor,” said Adam. “Custom-made for Baker-Barrister by Caboblanco, their rugmaker on East 19th Street. It’s on the showroom, but has a ‘sold’ tag.”

“Sold to who?”

“G. Arnold Cooper III. He won’t be coming to collect it anytime soon.”

“You…took care of him?” Sam raised an eyebrow. It wasn’t like Adam to resort to violence when skullduggery was by far his strong suit.

“He was on the Titanic. Dead fourteen months, estate in disarray. Rug is bought and paid for but never collected.”

Sam tapped his chin. “In other words, someone who looks and sounds like they belong there can just walk in, have it delivered wherever he wants, and then hawk it for some easy cash?”

“That’s right. But that’s not what we’re going to do. It’s an expensive rug, but at ten cents on the dollar none of the usual fences. My source in Baker-Barrister says there’s something even better woven into the thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Freedom, Adam. Freedom from under Cobb’s thumb for you, freedom from that bitch Sally for me, and freedom from the gutter for both of us. Body and soul.”

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