Fred Scorby and his two thugs Dane and Fowler go to the water taxi depot and see a poster for the new comedian at Lucky's, Jerry Musco. Irritated, Fred yanks down the poster and says that if Jerry doesn't want to come back, he'll get the same treatment as the poster.
On the Fortuna, Jerry is doing a routine when Fred and his thugs come in and watch from the back. Once Jerry finishes his routine, he does an impression of James y holding a cigarette for a temperamental actress. Once the show is over, Jerry goes out on the deck and finds Fred and his men waiting for him. Dane takes out a blackjack, but Lucky grabs him from behind and Andamo holds a gun in his pocket on them. Fred explains that Jerry works at his place and he's coming back, and Lucky says that it's up to Jerry. The gangster admits that he doesn't have a contract but says that it doesn't matter, and Lucky says that Jerry has his protection and orders Fred off of the Fortuna.
Once the crooks leave, Jerry thanks Lucky. Andamo shows off the finger in his pocket, and Lucky takes Jerry to his office. Maggie meets them there and Lucky asks why Jerry said he couldn't keep working for Fred. Jerry explains that Fred has a temper and no one could handle being around him. He says that he has to ashore to get his wife Hallie, and Lucky sends Maggie to get her. Andamo suggests that they bring the police in, but Lucky says that it's business and Fred needs to know they can be just as rough as he can.
Dane and Fowler go to the apartment to collect Hallie. Maggie knocks on the door and the thugs tell Hallie to tell Maggie to beat it. Hallie does it and refuses to let Maggie in, and Maggie waits in the hallway. The thugs figure that grabbing Lucky's girlfriend will give them leverage, and grab her when Hallie lets Maggie in.
At Fred's Club Rico, the thugs take two women to the wine cellar. They warn Fred that he's getting into a lot of trouble, but Fred is unimpressed. He calls Lucky and puts Hallie on the line to prove that he has her. Fred tells Hallie to tell her husband to sign the contract with Fred, and then puts Maggie on the line. She secretly confirms that they're at Club Rico in the wine cellar, saying that Jerry drinks too much. Once Fred hangs up, Lucky tells Jerry that if they call in the police then Fred will kill the women. Lucky and Andamo get out guns over Jerry's objections and take him along.
The three men arrive at Club Rico, and Lucky notes that Fred used to work in the Syndicate. Jerry wonders what they're going to do, and Lucky tells him to meet with Fred and convince him that he's scared. They drive to a phone booth and have Jerry make the call, and Fred tells him to meet him at his office in fifteen minutes. He tells Hallie that she'll be going home, but he'll have to think about what to do with Maggie since Lucky pushed him around.
Jerry goes back to the car, and Lucky tells him to do what Fred says while they handle matters. Lucky and Andamo go around the back to the wine cellar window, and see Maggie inside with the two thugs. She sees the two men at the window and Lucky spots a service entrance. Andamo picks the lock and they go in.
In the bar, Jerry looks over the contract and Fred tells him that it's just a formality. Jerry points out that it won't stand up if he signs it under duress, but Fred threatens to kill him if he objects. The comedian wants to see his wife before he signs, and Fred tells Dane to bring her up. Andamo and Lucky put a gun to Dane's head and have them let him in. They jump Fowler and the other man and get the drop on all three of them, but they jump Andamo. The two sides take cover behind the racks and fire at each other.
Fred hears the gunshots and wonders what's going on. He draws a gun on Jerry and takes him along with him.
Lucky runs out of bullets, and calls to Maggie to yank a nearby rope. It releases wine casks on the thugs, and he jumps them. However, Fred and Jerry arrive and Jerry complains that they ruined his wine cellar. He throws Jerry into some boxes, and Lucky punches Fred unconscious while Andamo drinks wine from a broken bottle. Hallie runs to Jerry and makes sure that he's okay, and Andamo gives him some wine.
The next night, Jerry is doing a set on the Fortuna despite a sling and a crutch. He does an impression of Boris Karloff as Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 10, 2018