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Legs

William Kennedy

Chapter 7: Jack Among the Maids

Chapter 6: John Thompson's Man

Chapter 8: Jack-in-the-Box

Summary

Eight days later, in late April of 1931, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then the governor of New York, announces a political platform geared toward rooting out and Jack and his gang. Fogerty gets Marcus out of bed one night to tell him that Jack has been arrested on charges of assaulting Streeter and Bartlett, on a kidnapping charge. Fogerty hides for a while, finally gets antsy. He goes to the Top O' the Mountain House, where the bartender tells him that a man with a bandage over his eye has been around looking for Jack. The bar owner appears and kicks him out. He does not want any of Diamond's men hanging around his bar anymore.

Fogerty loads his pistol and finds Jack. They head to the Aratoga Inn, where a pair of shooters drive by and shoot the place up with shotgun pellets. Jack is hit, but not badly. Fogerty drops off Jack at the hospital and goes to a diner and orders a hot dog. He notices a fly crawling on his hot dog. When the waiter doesn't do anything, Fogerty shoots at the fly with his pistol out of frustration. He leaves and is soon picked up by the police at a roadblock. All of Fogerty's finances have been seized by the authorities. Marcus refuses to accept him as a client, because he can't pay the fee. Doc Madison, Marcus's doctor, operates on Jack, who soon joins Ox and Fogerty in the Greene County jail. Two weeks later, however, Jack is out on bail.

The authorities find massive evidence against Jack, including bookkeeping records, carrier pigeons he used to relay secret messages, evidence of multiple mob tie-ins, and stashes of booze worth over ten million dollars. The town of Catskill buzzes with excitement over Jack's trial there. A team of local businessmen meet in secret at the Chamber of Commerce and agree to testify against Jack and his men. Marcus argues that a fair trial in Catskill is impossible, and is able to get the venue changed to Troy in Rensselaer county.

Alice and Kiki run into each other at Jack's suite at the Kenmore and realize that Jack has both of them staying in the same hotel at the same time. Jack's personal waiter later told Marcus that Kiki and Alice would shop together. One evening Marcus joins Jack, Alice, and Kiki to eat dinner and collect his fee. Marcus sees Alice rubbing a lemon on the carpet of her room and burning incense. She is putting a hex on Kiki using a ritual she learned from her Puerto Rican maid. Jack pays Marcus with twenty five-hundred-dollar bills, which Marcus later refers to as his pot of gold. Kiki tells Marcus that Jack gave her a five- hundred-dollar bill. She had never seen one before and is keeping it in her panties. Two days later she takes the bill to a Spanish gypsy, who uses it to put a hex on Alice.

Over dinner they read Jack's interview with John O'Donnell in the Daily News, which Jack granted in order to generate public sympathy. In the interview, Jack implies his image is mostly a fabrication created by the press. Throughout dinner, people come by to say hello to Legs Diamond (no one calls him Jack except Marcus, Alice, and Kiki). The name "Legs" originated as a nickname for Eddie, but the press mistakenly gave the name to Jack when he first came to fame. Everyone seems to have something nice to say. Kiki and Alice are wondering which of them Jack will dance with first. It is very important to them. A sexy woman in a low-cut dress walks by their table, flashes her firm, supple breast at Jack, and squirts milk with it. Jack does not take the bait. He gets up to dance and asks Kiki to take his left (paralyzed) arm. Alice starts to cry. But before they head to the dance floor, he tells Alice to take his right arm. Alice is overjoyed, and they all dance to "Two Hearts in Three-Quarter Time."

Analysis

Alice and Kiki begin living together with Jack. The moment when he asks them both to dance suggests Jack has brought Alice and Kiki together in an attempt to form one woman who embodies everything he wants. There is no suggestion in the novel that Jack has sex after the two shootings, but Alice and Kiki remain desperate for his favor. Since Kiki is, for the most part, the sexualized woman, perhaps the fact that he gives her his paralyzed, lifeless arm symbolizes his new inability to give her a sex life.

On the surface, everything seems fine after both women start living with Jack. However, the arrangement kills each woman internally, as evidenced by the fact that each woman tries to hex the other. Alice saw this eventuality in a dream, and has been dreading it for a long time. The voodoo magic that she employs to hex Kiki must cost her a heavy emotional price, for Catholicism does not smile on such superstitious behavior. The fact that neither woman leaves Jack now, even after he forces them into a polygamous living arrangement, confirms the magnetism of his aura.

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