Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, June 15, 1888
The bobbies arrived and kept everybody as they were until Detective O’Connor showed up. After discussions with him about your being attacked because of your involvement in the restaurant shooting investigation, he was ready to dismiss you. Adoline insisted on changing before going to the theater to take in the Amazing Anthony’s show at the Starlight Theater. So, they dropped her at the suite and went to freshen up themselves before the show.
They arrived an hour early and asked about seeing the Amazing Anthony before the show. They were told that he doesn’t accept visitors before the show and that he doesn’t arrive until a half hour before the show. So, they purchased tickets and went to wait in a nearby chippie. Before they entered the restaurant, a fine black carriage pulled up next to them and the driver indicated that somebody wanted to talk to Dracona. Fredryck looked cross at her as she indicated that she’d catch up with them in the chippie. Dracona recognized the fine carriage. It belonged to Don Marco, who was waiting inside.
“I like the work you’re doing for the family,” he began. “Taking out that Duffy gun carriage was no small feat,” he said reaching carefully for his billfold. “In the future I’m sure we can have you do some … light work for us,” he smiled as he withdrew 100 pounds. “You know, heating things up for the local businesses that don’t feel the need for our fire insurance,” he handed the notes to her. Dracona took the money and stuffed it into her purse. Don Marco patted her on the cheek, “keep up the good work for the family.”
The carriage stopped and let her out before it moved on. Dracona went into the chippie and ordered a round of drinks for everybody, on her. A half hour before the show, Fredryck spotted a man that arrived in a hansom, exited and entered the theater. He guessed that the man was the Amazing Anthony but the man was inside before he could even get out of his seat. So, they went to the show, on schedule.
The show began with your typical lead in acts, not worthy of mention. Finally, the Amazing Anthony came on stage. He was dressed in a tuxedo adorned with a cape and turban with heavy makeup around his eyes and a goatee that gave him a sinister look. The Sensuous Sophia, his assistant, was in a colorful costume, one that would be considered quite scandalous for the time. The Amazing Anthony had an incredible stage presence, entertaining the crowd with feats of illusion until, for his climax, he sent the Sensuous Sophia to get an audience participant.
The Sensuous Sophia noticed Archibald and Fredryck but still chose another man, a slight man of obedient demeanor. Between them, they determined that the man selected was Gerald Marino, a bank teller that handled most of Al Cantalupo’s business. Cantalupo is a lieutenant in charge of the Marciano smuggling operations. Still, the Amazing Anthony ran through his bit, hypnotizing the volunteer into first believing it is very cold (he had coats and blankets on stage) and then believing it’s very warm. Of course, as the man started to shed blankets and clothes, the Amazing Anthony stopped the volunteer before he compromised his modesty.
When the Amazing Anthony released the volunteer from his hypnotic trance, the Sensuous Sophia escorted him back to his seat. She whispered something in the volunteer’s ear, which garnered a smile from him, before returning to the stage. It was obvious to Evgenia that it was more than a “thank you” but nobody could hear what else the Sensuous Sophia had told the man. But, with the show concluded, the Amazing Anthony and Sensuous Sophia graciously took their bows and then vanished from the stage in a billow of glittering smoke.
The gaslights of the Starlight Theater came up and the crowd started funneling out. Evgenia and the others made their way to the doors to get back stage. They were met by the stage manager, “what do you want?” “We need to speak with the Amazing Anthony,” they informed. “Wait here,” the stage manager informed them. “I’ll see if the Amazing Anthony wants to speak to anybody,” he said stepping back behind the door. It was not loud but they heard the Amazing Anthony’s response, “I don’t want to talk to anybody except news reporters.”
The stage manager came back to the door. “He doesn’t want to see anybody,” he informed. Archibald stepped forward and Evgenia pulled her Kodak Brownie camera, moving up next to him. “The Times, London Times,” he said flipping open a notepad he’d been his writing story ideas into. “I’ve been sent to get an in depth interview,” he said. Evgenia nudged him. “And photograph,” he added as he pulled and flashed a copy of the London Times, tapping his finger to it as if the story on the front were his byline.
“Come in, then. They’re all with you?” the stage manager questioned as he opened the door for them to pass. “Of course,” Archibald answered. “My photographer,” he indicated Evgenia, “photographer’s equipment man,” Fredryck, “my date,” he put a tender hand to Dracona as she walked through the door, “my journalist apprentice,” Adoline, “and driver,” he indicated Priscilla as he made his way past the stage manager. “The first door on the right,” the stage manager indicated. “Journalist,” he called out, “London Times.”
In the dressing room, the Amazing Anthony had just finished removing the dark eye makeup and stood as Archibald entered with his entourage. “The Amazing Anthony,” the magician said as he bowed flamboyantly and then rose to greet them, “welcome. How can I assist you?” They wasted no time with their charade and got right into the connection between Anthony’s hypnotism and the recent murders.
Anthony picked up that they weren’t actually a journalistic team but indicated no desire to hinder police investigations, either. So, he told them that he believed that he had nothing to do with the recent murders. They could tell that he was being truthful about it but then he said that his hypnotism is purely for show, that he doesn’t really hypnotize people, that the audience participant is planted there and paid well for going along with it.
They sensed that he was not totally truthful about that and pushed him, indicating that if he didn’t tell all he knew, they could remand him to the police. “Look,” he said, “I’m Anthony “Tony” Archer from the United States. I was a small time magician that could barely pay for food and a room. I was playing at a dive in San Francisco and I’d left one rainy evening when I rescued an elderly Asian man from being hit by a runaway carriage. The old man repaid me the best way he could; he taught me the secret of mesmerism. The Amazing Anthony was born that night and I’ve never looked back. Yeah, maybe I should do something more heroic with this ability, but there are lots of people willing to pay to see me perform.”
“I’m telling you that I had nothing to do with those murders. My mesmerism only lasts a few minutes. For me to be involved in those murders I’d have had to be real close at the time they were done. I can’t set somebody to kill days later,” he explained. They could tell he was truthful but then who was involved if not him? “What can you tell us about the Sensuous Sophia?”
“She’s the perfect complement to the act, wouldn’t you say?” he quipped. “We’re purely professional, though. Nothing going on other than performing the show,” he answered. They could tell he had more on that topic so they pulled it out of him that he’s had designs on Sophia from the start but she simply doesn’t see it. After his admission, they requested and he told them where Sophia’s dressing room could be found.
They knocked and, after a short time as she called that she needed to get “decent,” she let them into the dressing room. “I can’t tell you any of the magician’s trade secrets,” she warned. Her fake European accent was immediately picked up on and Evgenia questioned her about it. Indeed, Sophia was not her real name. She’s Deborah Silberstein and she was an aspiring actress, waiting tables while she looked for her big break into theater. She’d met the Amazing Anthony after he performed at the club in San Francisco. He was instantly smitten with her but she didn’t feel the same for him. Still, when he offered to make her his full time assistant, she took it hoping for better exposure. Anthony suggested ‘the Sensuous Sophia’ as her stage name and taught her how to fake an Italian accent.
She’s enjoyed her time with the Amazing Anthony, but she is a little bothered by his jealous nature whenever she gets “a little attention.” Anthony’s latest jealous rage occurred about two weeks ago, when he realized the same person, Fred Martin, sent Sophia a bouquet of flowers three days in a row, pleading with her for a dinner date. Partly out of spite, Sophia did accept the invitation, but Fred Martin turned out to be a boring conversationalist and not all that interesting. Sophia decided not to see him again, much to the Amazing Anthony’s delight.
But, Sophia’s body language told another story so they pressed her. “Okay,” she started, “he seemed like a really nice guy, rich and all. We went out that one time and he’s never called on me again. “What did you tell the gentleman at the show, tonight?” Evgenia asked. “I said, ‘thank you for participating in the show,’” the Sensuous Sophia answered. “You said something else, too,” Evgenia pressed. Sophia seemed to get glassy eyed, “_I only thanked them for participating in the show_,” she answered monotonously. Evgenia pulled Fredryck and Dracona aside while Archibald talked to Sophia about possible local acting jobs in London. “I think she’s under some sort of hypnosis,” Evgenia informed.
Returning to Sophia they asked, “Has the Amazing Anthony ever hypnotized you?” “No, why?” Sophia inquired. “Well,” Evgenia tried to break it gently, “I believe that you’re under the influence of some sort of hypnosis.” “What?” Sophia questioned. “You’re saying something else to the men who participate in the show but you obviously don’t remember doing it. We suspect that the men who participate in the show are then going out and killing people.”
“That bastard!” The Sensuous Sophia’s fake Italian seductress voice quickly went to a New Jersey girl accent as she got up and stormed past them. Out of her dressing room and into the Amazing Anthony’s room the tempestuous woman went. He turned as she entered. “How can I help …” he started to ask. She slapped him as hard as she could across his face. “You bastard,” she screamed closing her hands and pounding upon him. “How dare you!” Anthony put his arms up to shield himself from her rampage, calling out, “what? What did I do?” “I’ll never work with you, again! I quit! Do you hear me, you jealous bastard! I’m done! Find some other girl to mesmerize!” she screamed at him as she pummeled him.
It took Evgenia, Dracona and Priscilla to pull the turbulent Sophia away from the Amazing Anthony. Fredryck and Archibald moved in to question him, “Did you hypnotize her?” “What?” the Amazing Anthony seemed confused, “No! I’d never hypnotize her. She’s too important to the show. I’d never!” “It’s over, you bastard,” Sophia interjected. “Not even to gain her affections,” Archibald questioned. “I quit, you bastard,” Sophia interposed. “No … I mean I’d like to gain her affection but, but not that way!” Anthony answered.
“I’ll never set foot on stage with you, again,” Sophia threw in, spitting at him in a most unladylike fashion. “I would never,” Anthony said, again, defeated. Evgenia put her hand on Fredryck’s shoulder. “He’s telling the truth,” she informed. “If he didn’t hypnotize her, then who?” Archibald asked. “If we could hypnotize her, perhaps we can find out,” Evgenia noted as she looked at the Amazing Anthony.