Flattop Jones

Appeared from Tuesday, December 21, 1943 to Sunday, May 21, 1944

Panel from December 30, 1943

Flattop Jones was a hired gunman and vicious killer. Flattop’s head was flat and his eyes were thick lidded and almost closed; his pouting lips and button chin completed his grotesque face. Flattop was offered $10,000 by Zolla and the “Big Shots” in a black market ring, to come to the city from his home in the Cookson Hills to kill Dick Tracy.

Immediately upon his arrival in the city, Flattop and Ed captured Tracy in a taxi. Instead of killing Tracy, Flattop decided to black mail Zolla for $50,000 more. While the “Big Shots” thought it over, Flattop gave Tracy free run of his apartment, as three gunmen, Ed, Charlie and Joe, kept watch. Flattop made the mistake of trying to date Margie Elong, a woman studying Morse Code for the WACS, who lived in the apartment below his. Tracy managed to tap out a Morse Code “help” message to Margie, as he played Flattop’s piano.

Finally, the “Big Shots” agreed to Flattop’s demands. Flattop faced Tracy in the middle of the room with a silencer-equipped automatic at Tracy’s chest. Ed pointed his machine gun at Tracy’s back. Charlie and Joe stood around them with their machine guns ready. Tracy lunged, grabbed Flattop’s gun and raised it up and over his shoulder. Flattop fired and hit Ed in the head. Ed fell dead and Tracy and Flattop struggled for Flattop’s gun. The gun went off again and killed Charlie. Tracy made Flattop drop the gun and then Tracy dove for Ed’s machine gun. Using Ed’s body as a cover, Tracy shot and killed Joe. Flattop ran down a fire escape, shot and killed a policeman, and disappeared into the subway.

On a crowded train, Flattop caught a young man, Bud Jenkins, trying to pick his pocket. Flattop convinced Bud and Bud’s mother, Mrs. Jenkins, to let him room at their house. While there, Flattop stored his money inside the Jenkin’s family album, the pages of which he hollowed out. One day, Tracy came to tell Mrs. Jenkins that Bud had drowned in the park lagoon while ice skating. Flattop raced up to the roof and hid from Tracy inside a chimney. After Tracy had gone, Flattop realized he was stuck in the chimney and his feet were in honey from a bee’s nest. A neighbor, looking to get honey, pulled Flattop out of the chimney. Dirty and sooty, Flattop changed clothes with Hawker Davis, a street corner pitchman, and then killed him and burned his body.

Hiding out in a cheap hotel, Flattop encountered aging actor, Vitamin Flintheart, stole a disguise from him and left him bloody on the floor. Flattop was shot in the neck by Pat Patton as he emerged from the movie theater where he had been hiding. Taken to the hospital, Flattop’s life was saved and he was put in jail. Vitamin had the cell next to Flattop’s, and an escape plan was hatched. Using a strip of rubber from Vitamin’s hot water bag, Flattop made a slingshot and fired a sliver of glass at the guard who was bringing him supper. The glass struck the guard in the eye and Flattop beat him and stole his gun and keys. Flattop released Vitamin and used him as a shield to make his getaway.

Flattop took Vitamin to a hideout inside the Santa Maria Replica that stood on pilings in the park lagoon. Using a rowboat to get to and from the ship, Flattop stocked up on food and cigars. However, the smoke from Vitamin’s cigar was seen coming out of one of the ship’s portholes by Tracy and Pat, who were checking out a medicine bottle that Vitamin had tossed into the lagoon. Flattop was startled when he saw a US Navy patrol boat with Tracy aboard, heading quietly for the ship. As Vitamin slept, Flattop slipped quietly into the row boat and eased himself under the ship’s platform. After boarding the replica and taking Vitamin off, Tracy discovered Flattop’s hiding place. Flattop fired up through the platform and then tried to swim underwater through the pilings that held up the replica. His clothes got snagged on a spike and he became wedged in the pilings, where he drowned. Tracy dove into the lagoon and recovered Flattop’s body. Flattop was buried in a Potter’s Field.

Reprinted with permission from the author Victor E. Wichert “The Dick Tracy Encyclopedia Oct. 4, 1931 – Dec. 25 1977″

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