Nucky walks into the room at the Hotel Astor and finds it empty, with a big goldfish bowl perched on a table. Inside that bowl, a hundred dollar bill. Nucky doesn't know what the fuck to do, so he calls out, "Hello?" After a few more moments of silence, a funny little Southern-inflected voice calls out, "In the boooowl! Just put the money on the bowl." Nucky turns to a closed door and says he's not doing that. He finds the door locked and says that he's not just going to leave $40,000 to some unknown person. Ah, so this is the payoff to Harry Daugherty. Harry said there'd be a new go-between for the money. "It's the entire essence of the system," calls the voice. Nucky goes to leave, then hears the door open a crack.
He walks in to find our old pal Stephen Root, from NewsRadio and countless guest appearances. He introduces himself as "Gaston Bullock Means," a special investigator for the Justice Department. And crooked as all get out, it would seem. Quite gentlemanly, though. Nucky asks what happened to Jess Smith, and Means simply says he's conspicuous by his absence. We see on the table, along with quite the elegant meal Means is enjoying, is the tumbler glass with the goldfish in it, so here's our guy from the opening scene. Nucky complains about this baroque method of transaction, but Means says it "shares the twin virtues of simplicity and mystery." This guy likes to hear himself talk, I think, but basically he wants to so compartmentalize the payoff process so that while the money makes it through, the connections are so tenuous as to be nonexistent.