From the back of a room, a young-ish guy -- Jimmy -- watches Nucky and seems to be taking this all in in spite of himself. In fact, as he walks with Nucky to the car afterwards, he tells his boss that he ate some desperate stuff but never rats. Nucky turns around and tells Jimmy what the rest of us could've: he should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. That's good advice, wouldn't you say, historical accuracy on TV nitpickers?
Jimmy then drives Nucky down to the boardwalk, where carnival barker types advertise showgirls on the street and the staggering masses wander from one attraction to the next. Around the corner, a New Orleans-style marching band -- in very classy blackface -- leads a mock-funeral procession for a giant bottle of whiskey. I'd say "Fun's over," but nobody seems all that worried about it. Well, maybe this guy pushing a baby carriage full of scotch down the boardwalk while his wife carries their baby.
Nucky and Jimmy duck into Babette's Supper Club, a typically rollicking flapper joint where a tuxedo-clad Crazy Laura on a Hot Tin Roof takes Nucky's coat and hat and tells him his brother is waiting for him upstairs. In fact, it's not only Eli Thompson (county sheriff) waiting upstairs, but the entire Atlantic City ruling class, including the mayor, various local functionaries, even Jimmy. But with Nucky at the head of the table, the power structure is clear. He leads the men in a toast to "those beautiful ignorant bastards" in Congress, whose passing of the Volstead Act will make liquor illegal at midnight, and will make them all very rich men now that they can be bootleggers and profiteers. I have to admit, that does sound WAY more fun than "treasurer." What follows is a somewhat clumsy roundtable debate on just how profitable this new world order will be -- Nucky figures people want booze and will pay what they're told to -- but which doubles as a way to introduce the bureaucracy. For our purposes: Eli's the sheriff, the mayor seems largely impotent, and Nucky's the man. (I was amused by one councilmember's scoffing that "They might as well outlaw smoking." Naw, just tax the hell out of it to prop up the state budget, while simultaneously shaming and finger-wagging those very taxpayers into their inevitable designated smoking zone on a barge in the middle of the Hudson.)