Jazz Age Chicago
Thurman Booker Wilde
Tall, angular and dark, Wilde is a finder of lost items and a master of discreet inquiries...
Born in 1895 to Irish immigrants, Booker Wilde grew up tough on the southside streets of Chicago. The son of a Union Stock Yard butcher and a house maid, Booker was raised to be a good Irish Catholic boy, work hard, play hard, fight hard, and go to Mass.
Some of Booker’s earliest memories are the way his mother smelled of cleansing soap and roses and his father always smelled of sweat and blood. Booker remembers how his father took him to the Chicago River the day they reversed the flow and years later how they sat in the stands and cheered as the Sox beat the Cubs in the Crosstown World Series of 1906.
At 16, he saw the sky blaze orange and black during the Union Stock Yard fire, and a year later, while still in school, he began working the third shift, butchering hogs to feed the world.
After finishing school, Booker worked with his father in a small neighborhood butcher shop opened with money the family scraped together.
At 23, Booker was called to duty with the Selective Services Draft, and after training as an infantryman, was deployed with the American Expeditionary Force’s 42d Division and saw action at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Muese-Argonne Offensive. Sergeant Wilde saw plenty of fighting, but the brutality of war and man killing man paled in comparison to the eldritch horrors that he witnessed one night deep in the forests of the Western Front.
Even though he returned from The Great War physically whole, he now understands that there are things “unseen and unknowable”. Some days this knowledge drives him to seek out answers. Other days it drives him to the bottle to cope with the memories.
Upon returning to Chicago, Booker put his military service to good use. With a framed Honorable Discharge, a service check from the Army, a Colt .45 (Gladys), and a Trench Knife (Bloody Mary), Booker has opened an office of “Discrete Inquiries” on the northside of Chicago, only a few blocks away from his favorite jazz joint, The Green Mill. Even though Prohibition is in full swing, a libation is easy to find, and if “The Mill” happens to find itself dry, well, there is always a trip to the sawbones for a medicinal prescription:
Until recently, most of Wilde’s work has been cutting his knuckles on the broken jaws of low-level mob thugs who threaten neighbors and local businesses, but a couple of society inquiries spread the word among the gentry of Wilde’s discretion and jobs for Chicago’s well-to-do have increased…