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, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
The buzzer on Scott Wadsworth’s desk sounded and his secretary Informed him that he has a phone call from the chief of police.
Dick Taranto advanced steadily in the Boston Police Department from Detective Sergeant, when he helped Scott and the FBI clean up the Boston Nazi crowd in 1934.
Scott Wadsworth, because of the economic boom created by the war, grew his business to a point where he expanded into three more offices on his floor, redecorated them, hired a law clerk and secretary and acquired about all the clients he could handle. He hoped to take in a partner but his father, with his hand on the pulse of Washington and the country, advised him to hold off a while. He told Scott, according to his sources, the country was about to drop into a small depression that might last a year or two. He was right. However, despite unemployment being at only three and a fraction percent, the GNP dipped from the war-time economy. Some economists rejected the depression theory completely while others preferred to call it a recession. It didn’t last a year.
In the years following the end of World War Two, the country struggled to return to a peacetime economy while attempting to aid the defeated countries reestablish some sort of an economy to build upon. Power struggles were taking place in emerging European governments which made it more difficult.
At precisely three o’clock, the chief arrived, and ushered into Scott’s office by the secretary.
The chief finally sat down, heaved a deep sigh and replied, “Inspector Karl von Ropp, of Interpol, is coming to Boston and bringing a Sikh, Jodh Sing, curator of the museum at the University of Hyderabad. They want to gain information about any pipe collectors, obsessed enough with collecting, and wealthy enough to take a chance on obtaining this ancient pipe. You, being a pipe smoker and collector, are the only one I know of who might give us direction in this task.”
When the chief returned to his office at the BPD, he walked into a desk piled up with faxes and phone messages. He quickly sorted the messages, dropping half in a waste basket, and dialed the FBI. About half way through the story about the pipe and Smyth, Malison interrupted him.
Gerald Smyth, wearing a false beard and glasses and dressed like an English banker with striped trousers, winged-collar shirt, gray vest, tailed morning coat, and sporting a black Homberg hat, landed in Rome. He had completed his first leg of an elaborate round-a-bout trip to New York. From Rome he will travel to Lisbon, Bermuda, and then by ship to Miami. From Miami to Albany by bus. Each leg of the trip he will don a different disguise and have a passport and identity to match. This has worked many times for him in avoiding Interpol officers. He arrived in Albany about the same time Karl von Ropp and Jodh Sing arrived at Boston Airport.
At the same time, Dick Taranto, and crew awaited the arrival of the plane carrying Karl von Ropp and Jodh Sing. Jodh Sing was impossible to miss among the passengers as they emerged from the plane and carefully started down the metal steps of the portable deplaning stairs. His six-foot five-inch frame looked massive, and his head topped with a lime green turban stood out boldly against his bronze complexion and white beard.
The three men talked about the case as they re-crossed the bridge into Boston; mostly expressing questions about Smyth and why Interpol and European police haven’t been able to grab him, and what help to expected from them.
Frank Gray, no longer employed by the Boston Post, was hired by Consolidated News in 1944. They wooed him away from his Boston Post managing editor position into managing their Boston branch. This was a big step up for Gray, both financially and prestigiously. C N was an up and coming organization rivaling A P, I N S and U P. This rise from a small fledging news service in 1940 was, in part, due to Grays European contacts, and his willingness to share information he gleaned from Europe. C N, often during the war, hit the wires with items of news yet known to the other services.
After lunch, Scott called Frank Gray and told him the whole story, and about the meeting at FBI headquarters in the morning.
Scott worked for a couple of hours on a liability suite before locking up and heading for L.J. Paretti’s. As he walked along he thought about how little work he did today, because of this Smyth thing, and hoped it will be worth it. He always liked the look of Paretti’s and slowed to admire, as he did so many times over the years, the tobacco store Indian that stands ever watchful by the door. He walked up to the counter as the clerks greeted him heartily. He was about to ask for a pound of Royal Blend when the nearest clerk reached under the counter, came up with a paper bag and handed it to him.
Scotts two sons ran and jumped at him as he entered the carriage house. He grabbed one in each arm and lifted them as he crossed the living room; thinking to himself that they are getting far too big for this. Nancy entered the dining room from the kitchen, about the same time as Scott and admonished the boys for jumping on their father, that they were too heavy to do that now.
Scott and Nancy married shortly after the war started. It wasn’t for any moral reasons, but after several years of living together they decided they were a great match and started talking about having a family. Also, when Scott’s father would visit he would always ask when they were going to marry and give him some grandchildren; not that it was a consideration, but his father was getting older and children would be nice while he was still around. Nancy’s parents were killed in an auto accident some years back, leaving her on her own at age nineteen.
After dinner, and the boys were in bed, Scott told Nancy about Smyth,
the pipe, the FBI and Singh.
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