A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2018
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored
in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form,
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The next morning, Harry Malison was waiting at the
door when Scott’s secretary arrived. He sat impatiently in the reception
area of Scotts office complex anxious to talk to Scott. He came in five-minutes
later, saw Harry, and motioned him into his office,
“You are at it early this morning.” Scott said.
“Didn’t see a bed last night. Been on the phone all night
with the New York office and Washington setting up the raid and getting
warrants arranged. It’s a go for eleven o’clock Thursday.
That will give us time to talk to the truckdriver who will be picked up
tomorrow. I’ll call when we have him at the office. Concetta will
be interrogated by New York today and Telex me a transcription.”
Just then Scotts secretary came in carrying a tray with two mugs of coffee,
cream and sugar.
With a sigh Harry said, “You are a lifesaver. I don’t think
I could make another five minutes without a pick-me-up.”
Harry gulped down the coffee and started to lay out the raid plan. Scott
sipped his coffee, and his pipe, while listening attentively.
Lucky Ryan sat behind his big desk steaming about not getting at Mitchell
and Smyth refusing to sell him the gourd pipe. He picked up the phone
and dialed the Regal Hotel in Albany hoping to convince Smyth to sell
him the pipe. When he was told that Smyth no longer resided there, he
assumed he sold the pipe and skipped town.
“Bring the car around front, he told his bodyguards.
We are going to Massachusetts.”
The car pulled into Abby’s driveway and skidded on
the gravel as it came to a halt at the front door. Ryan pressed the doorbell
continuously until Abby, red-faced and angry, opened it.
“Ryan! What in hell are you trying to do. One ring
is sufficient. What are you doing here, anyway?”
“I want to talk to you about that pipe you bought from Smyth,”
he said as he pushed his way past Abby and into the house.
“I told you I didn’t want to do business with that crumb.
I haven’t seen, or even talked to him, since I told you that,”
Abby yelled. “Now, please go. I have work to do.”
Ryan, about to burst from anger yelled back, “OK I’ll leave.
But, if I ever find out you have that pipe, you better watch out. I’m
willing to give you a twenty-percent profit on it, so think it over.”
As Ryan reached the door, he remembered the tobacco from Briar and Smoke.
“Oh, here is a present for you. I hoped to cement our friendship
Ryan turned and threw the eight-ounce tin of Number Eight
at Abby. The can hit him in the head just at the left temple. Abby crumbled
instantly and fell to the floor with blood gushing from the wound and
his left nostril, and a trickle coming from his mouth. Ryan started to
approach him but changed his mind when Abby’s body convulsed.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” he
said to his guards and they rushed to the car.
As Ryan’s car turned out of the driveway heading
west, an unmarked State Police car was passing. The trooper, noticing
the big Lincoln, took care to see who was in it. He immediately recognized
Ryan from photos regularly distributed of undesirables. He made a U turn
and then turned into Abby’s driveway. The trooper found Abby dead
on the floor, the blood-stained tin of Number Eight close by. He returned
to his car and radioed headquarters what he found.
Back in Boston:
When Harry finished, Scott told him of the conversation with Mitchell
and his willingness to participate in the arrest of Ryan. Harry agreed
that it will make entry to Ryan’s office much simpler.
“See you Wednesday afternoon at South Station,” Harry
said. “It’s best to go to New York early and be fresh in
the morning. I’ll send a car for you and you can pick up Mitchell.
We’ll take the three-fifteen train.”
“Good idea, I’ll call Mitchell and go over it with him.”
No sooner did he finished with Mitchell, when Harry was calling again.
“Big news, Scott. Abby was found dead in his living room by an observant
State Trooper. He spotted Lucky Ryan in his Town Car leaving Abby’s
drive and decided to investigate. It looks as if Abby was hit in the head
using a can of tobacco, Blend Eight no less. It appears we have more than
good reason now to talk to that truck driver. I should have the Telex
regarding the Concetta interrogation soon. I’ll let you know as
soon as we have the truck driver at the office.
After talking to the truck driver and reading the transcript of Concetta’s
interrogation, Scott and Harry decided both men to be simply pawns in
one of Ryan’s devious plots. However, they should be called as witnesses
at Ryan’s trial, should there be enough evidence to bring him to
trial for Abby’s murder as well.
Considering the connection between Abby, Ryan and Smyth, The FBI took
an active part investigating Abby’s death, causing the raid on Ryan’s
warehouse to be put off for four days. Tire treads were compared positively
with tracks in Abby’s driveway as being from Ryan’s car. Finger
prints found on the tobacco can and both the door handle and bell proved
to be Ryan’s. Ryan will be charged with the crime at the finish
of his trial for murder and racketeering.
The rest of the week was quiet for Scott Wadsworth. He took Abe Müller
and Michael Mitchell to Jake Wirth’s for lunch, spent time at the
BPD pistol range and caught up on work at the office. Best of all, things
were peaceful at home and he spent pleasurable evenings talking with Nancy.
The combined task force, of FBI and New York State police, surrounded
the warehouse the next morning. Scott, Mitchell and two FBI agents waited
at the door leading to Ryan’s office. At precisely nine-thirty Scott
pressed the doorbell. In a matter of seconds, the door opened revealing
the two bodyguards.
“I’m Scott Wadsworth. I’m here with Michael Mitchell
to see Mr. Ryan, please.”
“Well, I’m sure he’ll want to see you two. Will he
ever!” one of the men said. “Up the stairs.”
Before the door could be closed the two agents moved in from either
side of the door, weapons in hand, and hauled the guards out to a waiting
police wagon. They then followed Scott and Mitchell up the stairs, frightening
the secretary to silence, and entered Ryan’s office. Ryan at the
sight of three guns immediately dropped his pipe from his mouth and
raised his hands.
In a short time, a loud, clanging bell sounded throughout the building.
“That’s an alarm bell. Someone has broken in the warehouse,”
Ryan yelled “Do something.”
“It’s a raid, Mr. Ryan,” one of the agents said. “And
you are under arrest for theft, racketeering, murder and international
trafficking of stolen goods. That is just under New Your law. You will
hear from Massachusetts later in the day. Hold out your hands, please.”
Ryan, coming from behind his desk, stepped on a hidden button under
the carpet. Quietly, a section of paneling swung open and Ryan made a
dash for the opening. He was knocked to the floor by an agent just before
he got there.
“Where does that passage go?” The agent asked as he roughly
lifted him to his feet.
“There are stairs leading to the back boor of the warehouse and
the street.” Ryan responded.
In handcuffs, and followed by the others, the agent hauled him along
the short corridor and down the stairs where they found some of the
raiding party busily searching for scattered employees. The rest of
the party busy looking for secret rooms.
Scott and Mitchell, to get out of the way, moved to a corner. To their
left they heard a slight squeak and turned toward it just in time to see
a man attempting to get to a door going to the street.
“Hold it – stop,” Scott shouted.
The man turned quickly with a small pistol in his hand and fired. The
slug hit the wall inches from Scotts head just as he pulled his “45”
from its holster and ordered the gunman to drop his weapon. Instead he
again pointed it at Scott who immediately fired, hitting the gunman in
the thigh slightly above his knee. The pistol flew from his hand as he
reeled and fell to the floor, blood flowing liberally from the wound.
Agent and police officer rapidly moved in. One applied a tourniquet to
the man’s leg while the other put handcuffs on him and retrieved
Harry Malison came running across the warehouse floor shouting, “Scott,
Scott, are you hurt?”
“Not a scratch,” He responded and turned looking for Mitchell,
and found him back in the corner curled up in a ball on the floor.
“Are you OK, Mic? Scott asked.line
“Yea, I’m OK. Just getting out of the way of flying lead.
Boy oh boy! that was something. I’ve never been that close to
Harry gave a little chuckle, turned to Scott and said, “One of
the New York troopers told me he received a radio message for me. The
Mass police called them saying Harlan Abby is dead. Looks like murder
– been dead since yesterday afternoon. The State Crime Lab is on
it and rushing to get answers for me, and them of course. We should know
more in the morning.
Scott said, “One thing we know for sure; It wasn’t Smyth
that killed him.”
Several hours later, Scott scanned the warehouse area looking for Harry
Malison. He spotted him coming out of one of the, finally found, secret
rooms and caught up to him.
“Harry, how much longer do you think we will be here. I don’t
relish spending another night away from home, and I want to be there
when the forensic report comes in.”
“Was thinking the same thing myself. There isn’t much more
we can do here. The agents and Mass State boys will be here for days
identifying and cataloguing all the art and antiques stashed in those
hidden rooms. I think we can leave in a few minutes. I’ll splurge
and we’ll take the Eastern shuttle from LaGuardia. I think I can
justify it. We’ll be in Boston in no time.”
With a big smile on his face Mitchell said, That’s great. I’ve
never been on an airplane. Will they have food, or will we eat first?
I’m getting very hungry.”
“We can grab a bite at the airport.” Scott said, as he put
his arm around Mitchell’s shoulder.”
The next morning, Scott spent an inordinate amount of time telling Nancy
all about the two raids, their outcome and the murder of Abby. He didn’t
mention the shooting incident. When he arrived at his office, at ten-fifteen,
he picked up the phone call-back sheets and noticed one from Malison on
“Well Scott, did you oversleep? I’ve got some news for
you. It was definitely the tin of Number Eight tobacco, from your buddy
at Briar and Smoke, that was the murder weapon, and Albert (Lucky) Ryan’s
fingerprints are all over the can. This will come before the Grand Jury
this afternoon. This pulls in the truck driver and Salvatore Concetta.
Naturally, he will have to be tried first in New York District Court
and Federal Court. Looks like he will spend the rest of his life in
jail, if he doesn’t get executed for the New York gang murders.
Massachusetts can try him while he is serving jail time. However, we
might never see him in a Mass jail. Oh! By the way. Smyth got thirty-five
years in English court, thanks to Interpol’s request for a speedy
trial and Mitchell’s affidavit. Naturally, a file of evidence
a mile high, collected by Interpol over years of investigation, helped.
At some point, he will be tried for murder in Austria. It doesn’t
seem very important that we ever get at him in the USA on a small charge
of attempting to sell stolen goods. Also, the pipe has been returned
to Jodh Singh, curator of the museum at the University of Hyderabad.
He sent his thanks and respect to the Washington office and all who
aided in the pipe’s return. The Indian Ambassador called the President
to commend the work of the FBI. I guess that ties it up, for now at
“Things move fast at times, Scott said. “I’ve had
enough for a while, thank you.”
“You’ve earned it, Pal. I’ll keep you informed if
you and/or Mitchell are needed in court. He’s an interesting young
man – smarter than he first appeared. Take care of him. In a way
he’s your responsibility.”
Mic Mitchell flourished in the plumbing business and advanced rapidly
to a section leader. Soon after his promotion, he started courting a Legal
Assistant in Scott’s office. It looks serious.
Abe Müller died of natural causes in 1950, to the profound sadness
of every one who knew him.
Gerald Smyth was found guilty of the murder of Colonel Baron Alfred Kunz
in an Austrian court and given a death sentence to be administered after
his release from English jail.
Lucky Ryan was acquitted of the New York murders but convicted on all
other state charges. The federal case against him was held a year later
where he was convicted on four charges. The total for all convictions
amounted to 73 years, with no chance of parole, making him one-hundred-twenty
years old when released. Massachusetts indictments against Ryan were filed
but not forgotten.
“If I believed in such things, the curse Singh mentioned came true.
All who had the pipe have met violent deaths; Alfred Kunz, Abby and in
thirty five-years, Smyth. Certainly a Killer Pipe,” Scott later
commented to Harry Malison.
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Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield,
Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean
War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is
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