Frankie Provalone, a con artist, shuffled his feet to the jukebox playing 'Oh what a wonderful life.'
Outside the bar, grim shapes resolved themselves in the shadows into a jigsaw puzzle of a man in a long green coat.
Across town, Chief Inspector Barnswell signed the duty roster for the night shift and wondered where Detective Sergeant Russo was sleeping tonight.
Illegal aliens from Bohemia had taken up residence in a downtown newpaper vending stall, a family of 8 in a space built for one.
Birds nesting in the skyscrapers watched them all and said nothing, except to themselves.
Frankie stopped two-stepping a beat before the song ended.
Jigsaw man entered the bar and raised a blurred arm at Frankie.
Det. Sgt. Russo dived at the assailant in a beautiful mockery of ballet.
Chief Inspector Barnswell got a report involving suspicious activity around a newspaper vending stall downtown.
Russo dragged the injured Frankie to the door of the vending stall just outside the bar and illegal aliens rushed forward to tend to the bleeding Frankie while Russo inspected Jigsaw man's weapon, some kind of pistol but unlike anything she had ever seen.
Jigsaw man began to piece himself together in the now desterted bar. Russo realized she'd gotten lucky, Jigsaw man wouldn't give her a second chance, she hurried Frankie to her unmarked while the illegal aliens scattered.
Barnswell heard over the scanner that Russo was taking Frankie to Mercy Hospital. As he listened further he understood the significance of the unusual activity around the newspaper vending stall.
He made a personal call on his private line as he grabbed his jacket and launched his considerable bulk at the garage.
Within minutes which dragged like hours he was bedside with Frankie and getting debriefed by Russo.
"He'll just keep coming for him, Jackie," said Barnwell.
"I know Fred, but maybe this will stop him," she held up the strange pistol with its smooth contours and lack of either ammunition clip or barrel. It looked like a long, apparently solid, cylinder on top of a trigger mechanism behind which was the grip.
"Like a cheap toy gun," said Barnswell. Jackie pointed the 'barrel' at a bedpan lying on an empty bed.
A slice of bedpan the width of her finger vanished, along with much of the bed beneath it. Silently, Barnswell looked under the bed. There was no damage.
"I figured out it has some kind of rangefinder, you set the distance with this thumb-wheel on the handlegrip, I haven't figured out how to change the power setting though, maybe there is no way," Russo realized she was babbling, she stopped. Waited for Barnswell to say something.
He didn't, in the end it was Frankie who broke the silence.
He wasn't even finished before they hurried him out of his hospital room and towards Russo's unmarked in the garage.
Frankie had made it perfectly clear, tonight was far from over.
In fact, it was just beginning.