Riverville Murder - Chapter 27

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty Seven

Previously:

“Am I happy to see you two!” Simmons said when he saw Scott and Allan. He was seated near the ICU nurses’ station, wearing a white knee-length medical coat, a stethoscope in the side pocket, and a name tag on his chest. His complexion was much darker, thanks to an astute nurse with pancake makeup.

The three men walked to the ambulance entrance where Mister Gregg and the backed-up hearse awaited six-feet away. Mark removed his disguise and hopped on the gurney, where Gregg covered him with a large blanket. Scott and Allan pushed the gurney into the hearse, then moved to the front seat.

The drive to the Funeral Home proved uneventful.

They shed their suit jackets and ties at the statehouse and donned the blue overhauls and caps found in the panel truck. Allan went to Scott’s to pick up the funeral wreath.

Lloyd Qualter showed up in a different car, and as they waited for Allan’s return, they talked about the morning’s adventure.

Qualter told Scott, “I didn’t spot anything out of the ordinary on the way to, or from, the funeral home. And I weaved in and out of traffic – pulled close to you and dropped way back. I doubt you were being followed. None of the vehicles stayed with you all the way.”

“I’ve been thinking about your assignment, hunting Goddard, and the three lieutenants. I’m wondering if you need a partner or not. Four to one aren’t outstanding odds. What do you think?”

Qualter thought for a minute or two and replied, “I’ll have to admit, I’ve thought about what I should do if I have all four in one place, other than push that button on the radio and hope the back-up isn’t far away. A partner might be good. I’d have company, at least.”

Scott offered, “Al Guatino came to mind. Any thoughts on him?”

“Perfect! We did well at Goddard’s bar that first day. When Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne walked in unexpectedly, it was as if we could read each other’s minds, and arrested them without incident. More than that, we get along,” Qualter, with a note of excitement, answers.

“First, I’ll determine if I’m allowed to take on another person and then check if Guatino is interested. As soon as we return from Riverville, I’ll see my boss about taking on another temporary assistant.”

As soon as Allan returned with the flowers, they set off for the funeral home --  and Simmons. Delivery at the funeral home is made private by using a closed-in carport attached to the building. Scott and Allan opened the truck’s rear door, retrieved the flours, and went into the building.

Mister Gregg asked. What’s with the flower truck? I’ve been expecting a laundry van.”

Scott replied, “We couldn’t obtain one, so took a flower delivery truck found in the vehicle impound lot.”

Simmons, relaxing in the office with a cup of coffee, said, “That didn’t take long! How do you think this move is going. Anyone on your tail?”

“Not so far,” Scott replied. “Lloyd Qualter is the rear echelon and doing an excellent job of it. If we hand no tail earlier, I doubt we’ll have one now.”

Scott, Allan, and Mark returned to the van, followed by Mister Gregg. “Here, give these to some family short on flowers,” Allan said while handing the wreath of flowers to Gregg.

The silver and blue diner on Route One invited them, by a large sign proclaiming, “The Best Roast Beef on the North Shore.”

Ten minutes after they were led to a booth, Qualter joined them, saying, “No tails! Only trailer trucks with a single driver entered this parking lot. I also watch for any strange action from passing vehicles. No one is following you.”

As the men left the diner, praising the roast beef, Scott dismissed Qualter to return to his regular duties.                

Riverville:

After an uneventful continuing trip, Allan drove into the Riverville Police Department’s back lot at quarter-to-two. Scott, Allan, and Mark proceeded to Chief Hendersen’s office, where they found Sergeant Carl Hendersen and Patrolman Frances J. Hendersen with the chief. Scott introduced everyone.

The atmosphere in the office is jovial; on par with a birthday or Christmas. “We are so happy to have you with us, Mark, the chief said, clasping Mark’s hand. I speak for the entire family and want you to be part of it for as long as a sanctuary is needed.”

“Welcome, Mark,” Carl said. “You will be staying with my brood. I’m sure you will find it exciting and entertaining. I hope they don’t overwhelm you. Let me introduce you to my son, Frances.”

“Thank you all very much. I have two brothers and a sister. I don’t think I’ll be overwhelmed,” Mark replied. “I am a little dazed from the stress of the shooting. The unselfish effort and care I’ve received, from Scott and his people, to keep me safe have me in awe. Lying in that alley leaking blood, I had little hope of surviving.“

“You can tell us all about it later,” Chief Hendersen told Mark. “Now, Carl and Frances will take you home to meet the rest.”

Turning to Scott and Allan, Mark askes, “I don’t suppose, in all the other arrangements, you thought about clothing for me?”

While giving himself a slap on the head, Scott winks at Mark, keeping within the mood of the moment, and then turns to Allan. “Allan, how come you didn’t think of that?”

“Me, Boss. Heck, I’m just a lowly driver. You’re the thinker in this crew,” Allan said, playing along and looking entirely innocent.

After several minutes of revelry and back-slapping, Scott said, “You make a list, Mark, and we’ll drop it by the house. When your mother calls me, someone will pick up the items and bring them here. You have to get along now.”

“Guess I can’t ask for more. There must be a general store or something out here in the wilderness,” Mark said as he finished his list and gave it to Scott.

Frances grabbed Mark by the back of the collar. “Wilderness indeed? I’ll have you know we even have a sub shop. How’s that?” 

Carl, moving behind the two and giving a gentle shove, says, “OK, enough fooling around. Take Mark home. Your mother is probably pacing the floor in anticipation of meeting him.” They left the office gibbering and laughing.

“Great kids, wouldn’t you say, Scott,” the chief commented.

“No doubt, Chief. Now we must get going. Always something else to do, you know.”

Allan ran up the walkway to the Simmons family home. As he stepped onto the porch, the door opened, and Misses Simmons appeared. Rather than answer a lot of questions, Allan held up both hands to stop her and said, “Mark is his old self again and is safely in Riverville. He received a fabulous greeting from the Hendersens. A good friendship seems to be building between Mark and Frances Hendersen, a patrolman in the Riverville Police Force. I have a list of things he wants, mostly clothing. Please call when you have it assembled, and I’ll take it to him. It’s nice to see you again, Misses Simmons. Give my best to your family.”

Allan immediately turns and trots back to the blue van, where Scott is waving to Missus Simmons from the passenger’s seat.

At the statehouse, with Allan doing a coffee run, Scott phones Frank Gray.

“Frank Gray, may I help you?”

“Scott, on this end, Frank. Simmons is safely on the North Shore. Can you arrange for the article to run in the evening papers? I’m sitting at my desk reading it right now. Good job, my friend. That should stir-up the enemy.”

“Yes. I think there is enough time for the late editions. Morning edition too? Did you have any problems getting Simmons out of the area? I might like to do a follow-up on this whole capper, maybe even a short story.”

“Sure, the morning editions too if you can make it happen. Everything went smoothly and on time, thanks. About the follow-up, an article will be OK. However, Mark and his family will have to agree to a short story.”

“I get you. Well, talk to me later about it. I have to call in some favors if we want to get this going,” Frank said.

Allan, returning with two cups of coffee, meets Matt Hart at Scott’s door. “How come only two, Allan?”

“Here, you take them in Mister Hart. I’ll get another cup.” Alan reluctantly said.

“No, no, no. I’m pulling your leg, Allan. I just finished my coffee. Here, Let me get the door for you.”

“Hi, Matt. Have a seat. I have one more call to make to Reverend Carlton Mac Elroy, and then we can move back to arresting Callan.”

“Reverend Mac Elroy, happy to hear the charade is at its end, quickly agreed upon Saturday for the mock funeral. “These usually take an hour or so. I have arranged for recorded music. There will be no one in the church: only the Simmons family, the undertaker, his men, and me. You have set-up security. And the coffin will be returned to the funeral home. Correct?”

“Yes, Sir. Scott replied. If you need me between now and then, just call. Until Saturday, then.”

“I really do not think Mac Elroy likes doing this fake funeral, but because of the influence of the large Simmons family at his church, he will. Sorry, Matt, what can I tell you?”

“Did the run to Riverdale go smoothly?”

“Like a clock,” Scott responded. “Qualter followed in another vehicle to be sure we were not followed. He did the job splendidly.”

“Thinking of Qualter, It occurred to me that should he coral Callan and the lieutenants by himself, and it takes too long for back-up to reach him, he could be in deep trouble. I’d like to get him a partner until the case is over.”

“I suppose you are right, and I have no doubt you have someone in mind,” Hart said sarcastically.

“Yes, Sir. Al Guatino. Together they arrested, in magnificent fashion, Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne on the first day of the raids. They think the same and get along well.”

“OK, Scott, I’ll make the arrangements. You have a reasonable justification, as always.”

As the day wained, Scott’s thoughts again turned to Lloyd Qualter. He said to Allan, “I was amiss in not giving Lloyd the rest of the day off. I hope he wasn’t futilely trying to find Callan the rest of the day.”

“He likes his work. Futile or not, I wouldn’t worry about Buck Qualter if I were you.”

“Perhaps,” Scott returned as he lifted the phone and dialed his law office.

“Anything you need me for today, Annie?”

“No, Sir, your slate is clear today.”

“Good, it’s been tiring. If Lloyd Qualter calls, ask him to phone me at my home, please.”

He hung up and said to Allan, “Let’s lock-up for today – it’s been a long one. I’ll walk home. Maybe the walk will invigorate me a little. Please pick me up in the morning at about nine. We’re going to see the Simmons family.”

The Simmons family listened intently the next morning as Scott explained the funeral. “I want you to invite some of your friends and/or relatives, those who will not reveal to anyone that the service is fake and that Mark is safe.  Please impress upon them that Mark’s life might depend on their secrecy. Limousines are set aside for the procession, the hearse, an immediate family car, and the guest cars. To bring the coffin into the church, a side door will be used. You and the guests will remain in the vehicles until Mister Gregg appears at the front door. There will most likely be several police groups standing at attention when you move from the cars to the church. You have the choice of remaining in the sanctuary or moving to one of the parlors. I suggest you choose a parlor to reduce any emotional reaction. Keep in mind that Mark is safe and happy. Don’t even think of what might have been, and you’ll be fine. Several organ interludes will be played during the half-hour service. After the service, perhaps bagpipe music from a police contingent as the coffin is returned to the herse. Any questions?”

“Just one,” Mister Simmond replied. “Will we be picked up at the house, or do we go to the funeral home?”

“It is customary to pick up the immediate family. Guests make their own way to the funeral home before the procession to the church. I’ll be in one of the guest cars.”

The family thanked Scott and saw him to the door. “Oh yes,” Scott said as he hesitated at the door, “In today’s newspapers, you’ll see a headline and short notice of Mark’s death. I had this placed as a notification to our enemies.”

“You will receive calls from your family, friends, and strangers.” Scott continued. “To sidestep suspicions about Mark’s alleged passing, do not trust the strangers, and avoid lengthy conversations with anyone. The enemy will try to catch you in conflicting facts and will be analyzing your emotional state so, try to sound sad.”

After lunch at a mid-eastern restaurant, Allan headed the car back to Boston and Scott’s law office. Walking down the hall, Scott hears his phone ringing, and, upon opening the door, Annie is heard saying, “Hold on, please. He just came in. It’s Lloyd Qualter,” Annie whispered to Scott.

“Buck! How’s it going?”

“Slowly, I’m sorry to say. Callan isn’t doing much of anything except eating and putting in five or six hours at headquarters. At least he gets to work on time. Each night he goes out to a nearby bar and is home by ten. I’m keeping a log if you ever need a detailed report.”

“That must be very monotonous, to say nothing of lonely. How would you like a partner?”

“Boss, that would be great, but your kidding, right?”

“Not at all. I’ve cleared it with my boss. How about Al Guatino?”

Scott heard nothing but breathing on the phone for several seconds, then, “Great choice, Boss. At Goddard’s bar, we worked like old partners, although, before that day, we only had a nodding acquaintance. I believe we can be an effective team.”

“So do I, Buck. You call Guatino and see if he is interested. Remember to mention that it is a temporary assignment. Get back to me, and I’ll set a meeting time for the three of us.”

The next day, Scott walked to the statehouse. When Allan showed up, Scott told him, “Al Guatino jumped at the proposition. He and Buck will be here at ten-thirty to fill Guatino in on the operation.”

As it turned out, Buck Qualter, in his conversation with Al Guatino, had filled him in on the job he was about to undertake. There was little left for Scott to say. He impressed upon him the dangers and importance of eradicating the South Boston crime activities and those who perpetrated them.

“We’re happy to have you with us and partnering with Buck, I can’t promise anything, but your work here might lead both of you to something better. Buck, did you go over the hand radio with Al?

“Yes, Boss. He’s a fast learner.”

“On your way then and pick up Callan if you can. I have high hopes of nailing him with Goddard’s lieutenants.”

Scott’s phone jingled just as Allan returned with coffee. “Really,” Scott said into the phone. “What time, or did he specify?” “OK, thanks, Annie. See you later today.”

“Judge Millstone wants to see me before noon, Allan. Finish your coffee, and let’s get going.”

Allan set the red light on the car’s roof, allowing him to maneuver skillfully and unimpeded through traffic. Scott and Allan entered the judge’s chambers at eleven-fifteen.

“Chief Investigator, I need a brief update regarding the South Boston case. Both federal and state prosecutors are winding up their presentations. I’ve been appointed to oversee the whole thing and need to know what is left for you to do.”

“We are in the closing stages,” Judge Millstone.

Scott explained Captain Callan’s association with Goddard and how he came to know the connection..” To finalize, Scott explained Alice Nadeau, the lieutenants, and why he obtained Qualter and Guatino.

“Thank you -- very informative.” Judge Millstone said. “I read in the paper, the young officer Simmons passed away. I understand he was shot outside your office. Tell me more about that.”

“Respectively, Sir, I cannot. All I can tell you is that he is not dead. It’s all tied into the attempts on my life and this case. To tell you more will jeopardize Simmons’ life.”

“All right, Chief Investigator. I’ll accept that. But, when this is over, I want the full story.”

On the way out, Allan said, “That wasn’t bad. I thought you might get a good chewing-out for something, Boss.”

“No. Despite the judge’s abruptness, likely caused by being so busy, he is a good and reasonable man. Now, how about Angelo’s for lunch?”

The car headed out, traveled to Hanover Street, turned left onto Prince, and stopped at Angelo’s, Allan’s favorite restaurant.

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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 now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
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.

Riverville Murder - Chapter 29

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty Nine

Previously:

Annie handed the contents to Scott, saying, “It’s a Cablegram -- glad I noticed it in your pocket.”

“It’s from Karl von Ropp at Interpol.  He says that Gerald Smyth has been recaptured in Nice, France. He was masquerading as a seaman and trying to get a job on a ship heading for the U.S.A. It seems he had poorly forged papers. A port official alerted the police, who, in turn, called Interpol.”

“Isn’t that good news! Mic will be so happy to know, Annie exclaimed. “He has been really uptight about it, thinking he might have to use his new gun if Smyth isn’t caught.”

“I’ll call him immediately, or would you rather call?” Scott asked.

“Oh, yes, let me call. I want to hear the joy in his voice, Annie replied. You can listen in.”

Scott lifted the phone in time to hear, “I have news for you, Michael. Gerald Smyth is back in jail.”

“Oh, come on, don’t kid me about that,” Mic responded.

“I’m not, Mic, honestly. A cable from Interpol came this morning. Mister Wadsworth is listening. I’ll let him tell you.”

“Hi, Mic, it’s true. Von Ropp sent the cable. It was slipped under the door before I came in. I put it in my pocket and forgot about it. Annie saw the envelope and asked me about it, so I opened it. In Nice, France, Smyth was playing at being a seaman, with a disguise and poorly forged papers -- was trying to ship out on a boat to the U.S. as a crewman. The cops grabbed him and turned him over to Interpol

The phone went silent for several seconds before Scott and Annie heard, “WHOOPIE, Scott, I haven’t heard such good news since you told me you were taking me to Boston.”

“Annie, we must celebrate tonight. Scott, Can you and Nancy join us? It’s on me.”

“I’ll let you know later today. I first have to ask her, you know,” Scott said.

After the call, Allan said, “Boss, you never did finish telling me the story of Mic.”

“Here it is briefly. Mic had a lousy family life due to a brutal father and left at an early age. Before Mic came to the U.S., he was, for years, a finagler and a hustler. He ran errands for Smyth for a fee, which often got him in trouble with the police. Whenever Smyth was a suspect in a crime, Mic would be questioned as well. After Mic came here, mostly to get out of Smyth’s clutches, He worked as a plumber part-time, a trade he started learning in England, and hustled dart games for money. He is highly skilled at the game.

“Enter Smyth. He was under suspicion of murdering Baron Alfred Kunz in Austria and stealing the gourd pipe. And here is where it gets complicated. It is believed that under a contract, Smyth lifted the very same pipe years before, from an Indian museum for Baron Alfred Kunz. The same man he is suspected of killing. Smyth evaded the police and Interpol and came to New York looking for a pipe collector wealthy enough to buy the pipe. He looked up Mic, and it started over again, wanting Mic to find the pipe collectors, offering him a cut of the sale, which he refused. Mic turned to one Lucky Ryan, a pipe smoker and collector. Also, an antique importer of questionable reputation with underworld connections. Ryan became obsessed with having the artifact and was heavy-handedly pressuring Mic.

How I came into the picture isn’t essential and quite complicated involving the FBI’s Boston office. Suffice it to say, Mic was important to Smyth’s apprehension, so I brought him to Boston for protection from Ryan’s thugs. Later, I recommended him to Swenson’s Plumbing. You know the rest.

“Wow, Boss. I’d never suspect a background like that, considering what Mitchell is today. Thanks, you’ve elevated my perception and respect for Mic.”

Later in the day, Annie brought mail and the newspaper to Scott, “I see there is a feature story on the Simmon,s Funeral. How did your theatrical production come off?” Annie asked with a touch of disdain in her voice.

“The funeral went exceptionally well. The music was beautiful, other than the bagpipes. They are, as bagpipes are, you like them, or you don’t. If nothing else, their music is stirring. The Simmons family handed the whole thing well, knowing Mark is safe in Riverville. I estimate a hundred or so police officers from all over New England were in military formation on the street. Callan was there at the front of the BPD group, not out of any compassion, I’m sure – probably wanted to see who went in.  I’ll bet he got to thinking when Allan and I walked into the church. Now I know you don't like the idea of a mock funeral – a religious thing, I guess. Please remember, Mark,s life is in danger until this case is over. Superficially ending that life with a funeral takes the threat away, or if doubts remain, to a minimum.”

Sheepishly, Annie said, “I know that in the back of my mind, but it still feels a bit uncivilized to me. I apologize for being sarcastic.”

Allan, sitting by the window drinking coffee, can feel the tension rising and hopes it doesn’t go further. He relaxes when Scott says with a smile, “It’s OK, Annie, we love you anyway.”

South Boston:

Outside the Italian Club, a block away and almost obscured by a hedge, Qualter, and Guatino sit in their car. Both wondering what Callan can be doing in there all this time.

“This is getting monotonous,” Guatino said. “He’s been there, apparently alone, for five and one-half hours.”

“This is what we get paid for. I wish we could get inside and find out or even look in some windows, but we have orders to just follow and keep a log.”

“Well, a couple of more days like this, and I think we should talk to Wadsworth.”

Callan finally left the club an hour later, and the two detectives followed him to his regular bar.

“Holy smoke!” Qualter complained. “I could do this with my eyes closed, from the club to the bar, and then to the restaurant and home. Doesn’t Callan have a life? Wait and see, I bet you lunch it’s the same tomorrow, only he’ll go to police headquarters instead of the club.”

“Don’t like the odds, Guatino replied.”

Another day at police headquarters and the next at the Italian Club, Callan held true to form. They decided to go to see Scott in the morning after Callan gets settled somewhere.

“What’s bothering you, Buck? You seemed upset when you called last night.”

“Like I mentioned, Callan is in a rut. He spends hours at the Italian Club, alone, it appears. Or at BPD headquarters. His routine never falters, and he has no social life.” Qualter stated. “ I was telling Al, I wish we could go in and find out what he is up to. It’s monotonous.”

“Detective work can be that way,” Scott replied, “but you have given me an idea.”

“Think about it,” Scott said after a little thought. “What does Callan get at the club – solitude. Why does he need privacy – to do paperwork or make calls pertaining to the gang.

“He does carry a briefcase, always,” Al Guatino said.

“Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll talk to Judge Millstone about a phone tap on the club’s phones. I feel confident he will give us a go. We might get some useful info. It’s also an opportunity to try out a new gadget from Salinger Radio Company – a tiny transmitter on the phone bug that works for a half-mile. No one needs to be in the building; just sit in your car with the receiver and listen while recording at the same time. The bug has a battery life of a week, and the receiver is rechargeable over-night. It is a slow-moving wire recorder good for twenty hours.”

“Where do you come up with this stuff, Boss?” Buck Qualter asked.

“Salinger is local and contributes to the state’s economy. They are very innovative and make top-quality radio equipment. After internal testing, Salinger does extensive field testing. We, bring a state agency, cooperate when possible.”

Arrangements were made with Salinger for the phone tap kit and training for Qualter and Guatino. The training took them away from Callan for three days, but everyone thought it worth it and would pay off in the long run.

After Salinger company training, Qualter and Guatino resumed tailing Callan with renewed enthusiasm and as boys with a new toy. On the third day of Callan’s habitual movements, he went to the Italian Club immediately after breakfast. An hour or so later, the light on the receiver started blinking, telling the detectives that a call is in progress. The detectives listened intently to a conversation between Callan and Alice Nadeau.

When the conversation ended, Qualter asked, “Did you understand any of that?”

“Only that they were talking about money, Guatino answered. Nadeau didn’t want to go that far out on a limb. Did they discuss the purpose of the money?”

“Not that I heard, but I didn’t understand much beyond the money. Later, after we get Callan to his favorite bar, we’ll take it to the Chief  Investigator, Wadsworth.” Qualter said. “Call him and let him know when we are coming.”

At the office, it didn’t take long for Al Guatino to acquaint Annie with the play-back features of the Salinger wire recorder and explaining its relationship to the telephone bug. Annie plugged in the earphones, started transcribing the words in shorthand. Then, typed six pages and took them to Scott in a titled folder.

“Thank you, Annie; quick job!”

“It could have been faster if I typed directly from the recording, but wanted to be sure I had it all as it was spoken..”

“Laudable, Annie. I just might start using that Dictaphone you’ve been after me to use for months.

Annie threw up her arms in resignation and swiftly returned to the outer office.

“Buck, you men come to the statehouse in the morning. I’ll take the evening to analyze these, and tomorrow we can decide to change our plan or continue on for more captured phone conversations.

That evening, Scott studied the transcript, reading it over several times, and had Nancy look at it. Conferring, both arrived at the same conclusion. Scott returned the papers to his briefcase and tried to get Alice Nadeau off his mind for the rest of the evening.

In the morning, at the statehouse, Scott reread the transcript, coming to the same conclusion.

Qualter and Guatino arrived at nine-thirty and quietly sat opposite Scott.

Scot told them, “I’m quite anxious to see what Alice Nadeau will tell us. I thought about approaching her with this transcription. But there isn’t anything in it other than a discussion concerning the amount of money Callan wants, not one word referring to the money’s use. I don’t want to put her off. She is a strong, self-minded woman who might tell me to go to hell and walk away.”

“So, what’s next, Boss?”, Qualter asked.

“Continue your surveillance of Callan and recording phone calls. Keep a log of all who meet with him. I gave you the names associated with the license numbers, didn’t I?”

“Yes, Sir, we have them,”  Guatino offered.” We’ll be off then. I think we can pick up Callan at his breakfast place.”

Matt Hart, after discussing the transcript with Scott, commented. “You did right. Nothing is incriminating here. Best to continue on. Either the phone calls will divulge something of what Callan and Nadeau are up to, or we will have to wait until she tells us. In the meantime, let’s concentrate on bagging the lieutenants. At least that will retard efforts to rebuild the “C” Street gang. To arrest Callan, we will need solid evidence of his association with Goddard and the gang.”

“You are absolutely correct,” Scott agreed.  “I suppose the trials for the gang members are well underway by now. I’ve been watching the newspapers but haven’t seen a word about them. Have you heard anything?” 

“Not a peep, Matt replied. “That doesn’t surprise me one bit, however. Considering the international flavor of the case and the ramifications it can have overseas, The federal court, more than likely, put a news blackout on the trials.”

“That seems logical. The entire thing, starting with the murder of Clarence Anderson, an ATF agent, and the assault on Kelly Adams, has been intertwined with IRA support and illegal arms sales to a foreign customer. Since Frank Sullivan told me what he is and what he found out as an undercover Interpol Inspector, I’ve concentrated on Massachusetts state matter. With the arrest of Albert Nunsay for that murder, federal issues are just a curiosity. Court results and how our state efforts helped will be interesting to know,” Scott recounted.

That afternoon, Frank Sullivan, his testifying duties in federal court over, deplanes in Boston at two o’clock and takes a taxi to Charles Street South. Approaching Scott’s Building, Sullivan spots Scott and Allan entering and shouts, You, Scott Wadsworth, wait-up.”

Scott turns and is surprised to see Sullivan moving quickly toward him, his hand extended in greeting.

“Inspector! It’s good to see you again. Are you through at New York Federal Court? Sorry, excuse my rudeness. Please come with me to my office.”

“No apology necessary, Sullivan said as he throws an arm over Allan’s shoulder. “And how about this young man? How are you doing, Boy? Is your boss treating you well?

“The best, Inspector. How about you? How is it to be back in the states?”

“OK, plenty of time for talk,” Scott interrupts as he pushes the elevator’s call button. “Let’s get upstairs. It hasn’t been healthy for me to dally in public.”

So, Inspector, How did the trials go,” Scott asked when they were all settled in Scott’s office.

“It’s Frank, please. I can’t speak for all of them, although I did sit in on James Hurley’s and Albert Nunsay’s trials. And those for which I was called, namely, Alfred J. Connors and the Global Mortgage and Loan Company and Nathan Goddard. Naturally, this being an on-going case, I was admonished not to talk to the press. But then, you are not the press, and I’m sure you will not repeat what I say, Sullivan explained.

“Hurley was convicted on the gun-running charge and money laundering, but rather than sentencing him, he was ordered deported to Ireland. Racketeering charges are at the discretion of this state, but I think they will want to save the cost of a trial and get rid of him. I’m only sorry I won’t be there to meet him as he gets off the plane and present him with charges against Ireland.”

“Nunsay was convicted on the murder of Clarence Anderson, the ATF Agent. And attempted murder of Martin Wolfe, undercover ATF Agent. Alfred J. Connors and the Global Mortgage and Loan Company were jointly convicted on international money laundering and aiding and abetting the selling of firearms to a foreign entity. He’ll be sentenced in a week or so. Other charges brought by the IRS and the Treasury Department are pending. It looks as if he will be away for life. All of his crimes require long sentences. New York state has withdrawn pending litigation against him.

“Nathan Goddard, now there is a character for you. All through the trial, he vehemently denied any knowledge of the murder of Clarence Anderson and the attempt on Martin Wolfe. The jury didn’t buy it for a minute. Being the master of two gangs, Goddard was also charged with complicity in federal crimes committed by those under his control – he even had to testify at Nunsay and Hurley's trials. He, too, is in for life. What the state of Massachusetts does, at this time anyway, is anyone’s guess. You would know better than I what will happen here with the case still open.”

“I really don’t know. I submit reports and talk to the State’s Attorney, but I’m not in on what he and the D.A. discuss. Things will get much clearer when Callan and the remaining gang lieutenants are brought in. We are rigorously attempting to gather enough evidence for solid arrests.”

Sullivan followed up with, “There is little doubt you are doing a splendid job. A lot has transpired to aid your country and mine since I left the envelope at your home. Although I work for Interpol, The work is primarily for the Republic of Ireland, maintaining international law.”

“What are you working on presently?” Scott asked.

“When I get home, I’ll concentrate on bringing to justice Gus Malone, the top Provo. A considerable amount of documented evidence against him came out at the New York trials. I’ll use what I can to get him – might need some help from the Brits up there in the North. In the meantime, with the cooperation of the Homeland Police, I’ll work at getting Hurley sent down.”

Good luck with whatever you do, Frank. There is no describing the value of the information you gave me. Without it, we could not possibly be where we are in this case. The one thing slowing us down is confirming that Captain Claud Callan, BPD, is, in fact, an advisor/informant to Goddard. At this time, we are gathering information concerning him and three top men recruiting new thugs to bring the C Street Gang back to full power. At which time, we would expect Callan to replace Goddard. The Commonwealth can not allow that to happen.”

Sullivan turned to Allan, “And I suppose you are a big part of this, young man.”

“As Much as possible,” Allan proclaimed. During the years I have been the Chief Investigator’s driver, I have learned an immeasurable amount about police work, things never explained at the academy.”

“He’s modest, Frank. Sergeant Allan Rockford is a fine officer. One doesn't attain that rank easily, and I’m happy I selected him for the job. Recently I was shot at in front of the Federal Court. Allan and another officer immediately left the vehicle, weapons at the ready, to protect me – rushed to a building across the street and collected evidence the shooter left behind. Unfortunately, the shooter was no longer there. He is a valuable, easy-going, and pleasant companion and often realizes things about people or a case that I fail to see.”

“With those virtues, Allan, What are your ambitions as a police officer?” Sullivan asked.

Laughing, Allan replied, “State Police Commissioner, Mister Sullivan, what else?. Actually, I’ll let time, and Mister Wadsworth, decide my future. Until then, I’ll happily do this job.”

Sullivan smiled broadly while removing a pipe from his suit pocket. Scott slid his glass humidor across the desk, gesturing for Frank to help himself. “How long will you be in Boston, Frank?”

“Sorry to say, I have a flight booked for London at eleven tonight. I would like to stay on as a tourist. Boston is a historic and fascinating city. However, too much is waiting for me in Dublin. Perhaps another time.”

“Then let me show you at least one of  Boston’s splendors. It’s close to closing, so let’s head for the Parker House for a couple of drinks, some dinner, good conversation, and then we’ll take you to the airport. Where is your luggage?”

“In a locker at British Airways terminal,” Sullivan answered. “I took the time to take it there before looking you up.”

Qualter called before the three left for the Parker House. “Where will you be in the morning, Boss? There are conversations on the recorder you will want to hear. Things are popping, and I think you will soon be hearing from Alice Nadeau. These conversations will give you a jump on her. We’ll be there at eight o’clock if you like.”

“At my law office,” Scott answered. “Eight o’clock is fine.”

-------------------------------------------------------------

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 now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
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.

Riverville Murder - Chapter 26

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty Six

Previously:

“With the cooperation of Reverend Carlton Mac Elroy and yourself, I think it will go like clock-work. Reverend Mac Elroy feels as you do but is willing to step around ethics to save Mark’s life. To answer your other question, Mark Simmons will only be at your place for a matter of hours. Allan and I will come to the funeral home, as towel and lab coat delivery people, in a panel truck with proper signage on its sides. We will take him out in a large hamper. After he is safely in Riverville, I can discuss the funeral with you and Reverend Mac Elroy. Keep in mind that the funeral is only for the family. Normally, there would be a large contingent of police at the funeral. That is OK, but they cannot enter the church. I will talk to the Chief about that problem.”

“When do you anticipate all this will take place?” Mister Gregg asked.

“As soon as I hear from the hospital that Mark can be discharged, we will finalize everything. Arrangements have been made to keep Mark at the hospital longer than necessary for his safety and allow time to figure out what to do with him when he is released.”

“I guess we have covered everything, Mister Wadsworth. I’ll await your next phone call, and trust that all will go as planned.”

“I’m surrounded by the best people I can find,” Scott replied with determination in his voice. I’m very confident that you have nothing to worry about.”

With that statement, Scott rose from his chair, followed by Allan. Allan stepped to the door and opened it, as Scott extended his hand to Mister Gregg -- “Happy to meet you, Sir. This will be over soon.”

Lloyd Qualter appeared at Scott’s office at the appointed time and walked right in.

“Good afternoon, Boss and Allan. What’s the important news you have for me?”

“Have a seat, Buck. Do you remember the woman from the raid on Goddard’s bar, Alice Nadeau? Well, she is back in the picture. Allan, Mic Mitchell, and I were in Palmer’s Bar, at the Palmer House, and she appeared at our table and gave me the names of Goddard’s three lieutenants, whose names are Jason Atkins, the top man,  and the sub lieutenants are named Cressey and Zebrine. She saw them in a restaurant in Northborough, so they might be living in that vicinity. We are looking into their records to find their first names and, with some luck, their photos.” Scott replied.

“Then, you don’t have them yet?”

“I expect them momentarily. In the meantime, your activities for this office have changed. While tailing Callan, he might, from time to time, lead you to the place called the Italian Club in South Boston, or to his bar. I think you and Al Guatino took a look at the club when we first learned of it.”

“Yes, Boss. We found nothing.”

“Callan was spotted at the Italian Club recently. More than likely, that club will be his meeting place for the lieutenants. Now, I do not want you going up against any three gangsters alone, much less those four, and I’m calling Captain Callan a gangster.” My superior and I have mulled over the question of arresting Callan and the lieutenants together or separately. We consider together to be the most expedient. However, that may not be possible. You will have to make that decision when the time comes. So, you can see, this is more than a surveillance job now.

“Buck, do you have the radio yet?”Scott asked.

“Yes, Sir. It was delivered yesterday evening. I’ve been familiarizing myself with it.”

“Then, you have noticed a button, on the bottom left; that button will get you in direct contact with the state police. All you have to say is Scott and a location. Use either an address or place, and there will be patrol cars with you in a short time. Remember to press the button again to disengage that feature.”

“ I have arranged an increase in patrols in South Boston. I think that is where you will grab them. Should you be elsewhere, it might be a bit longer for cops to join you.”

“Will I have to change a frequency to use that button?” Qualter asked.

“No. Only two frequencies are reachable. Squeezing the talk leaver gets you directly to me on one frequency. Pressing the button, rather than activating the lever, changes the frequency and electronically opens the radio to talk to the state police.”

“That’s some kind of radio. Where did you come up with that?” Qualter quizzed Scott.

“Salinger Radio Company came to me saying they want a more significant part in the police communications market and asked me for ideas and testing. They are a good company trying to get to the top and are pushing their engineers for innovation. I came up with the general idea. Salinger dropped it in the engineers' lap, and they came up with what we now have. The Massachusetts State Police have a half-dozen prototypes to test, the only ones in existence. They are the same radios we used during the raids, but those were without the instant call button.”

“You are sure it works, aren’t you? I don’t want to push that button and have no one show up.”

Scott and Allan laughed before Scott said, “It works, Buck. Allan and I have tested it extensively, so don’t worry.

“There is one thing. If you find yourself following Callan out of the city and heading west, he will probably be on his way to Northborough or even Worcester. Radio me immediately if you are within thirty miles of Boston. Otherwise, phone me as the radio only has thirty miles or so range.”

“I have made arrangements with the Worchester barracks commander to keep an eye out for Cressey and Zebrine. After you call me, I will alert them in Worcester that you are coming. You phone the Worcester commander when Callan stops, and you think he is with Cressey, Zebrine, and or Jason Atkins. Give him a good description of your location, and you will soon have police aid. Do not call the Worcester commander if Callan is not with those three, and the commander will know my call is a false alarm. Be sure to get on Callan early Monday morning. Should you find Callan and Atkins together, and they separate, let Callan go and follow Akins. There is a good possibility he will lead you to Cressey and Zebrin – we can pick Callan any time.”

“Don’t hesitate to call me about anything. In this department, there are no stupid questions – however trivial.”

“Got it, Boss; hope I can meet your expectations. I have never attempted such critical and involved surveillance as this.”

“Do your best, young man. It’s all I expect from anyone. I believe you will discover you are more competent than you think,” Scott declared as he filled a pipe, and someone knocked on the door.

“Delivery Service. I have a package for Chief Investigator Scott Wadsworth,” the old gentleman in an olive-green uniform loudly proclaimed, his massive white mustache bouncing as he spoke, and his gray hair protruding wildly from under his uniform cap.

The photos and records being neatly coordinated make it easy for Scott to sort out a set for Buck Qualter. “Here you go, Buck. Study the photos and try to memorize them. Use them like flash-cards, having someone test you. It won’t take long before you have them sorted out. However, when you are working, keep the pictures close by for confirmation. Now, get going and try to have a relaxing weekend. Best of luck.”                           

Northwood Massachusetts:

Michael Mitchell pulled up to the state police firing range early Monday morning in a rented car and removed his brand-new Colt 1911 from the car's trunk. Confident he will quickly qualify for a license to carry the weapon, Mic entered the building and approached the front counter.

“I’m here for instruction and a certificate of qualification to carry a weapon. My name is Micheal Mitchell.”

The officer at the counter looked at Mic with raised eyebrows. “Really, We can teach you safety, how to load and fire, and clean your weapon. Once you have mastered that, the license is up to you and a more in-depth background check that it took for you to buy the pistol. Have a seat while I find the instructor.”The instructor, a sergeant slightly over six-feet, entered the room wearing his sharply pressed uniform, boots so polished as to be used as a mirror, and his peaked garrison hat held rigidly under his left arm. Except for the garrison hat, he reminded Mic of the drill masters he encountered when first entering the British Army.

“Follow me, young man,” he said after scrutinizing Mic from head to toe.

On the firing range, under the harsh fluorescent lights, the instructor, with a slightly prominent midsection and salt-and-pepper thinning hair, appeared older than at first. In a gruff voice, he explained the 1911 to Mic.

“What do you say, Michael? Do you think you can handle this weapon?

“Yes, I do. I qualified on a very similar piece in the British Army. It held thirteen wounds, however.”

“Oh, you did, did you. We’ll just see,” the sergeant said and placed a box of cartridges on the low counter in front of Mic and ran out a target. “Go to it, son.”

Mick’s hands flew as he rapidly filled a magazine and shoved it in the gun, expertly holding the gun down-range. He worked the ejector slide, driving a round into the chamber, flipped the safety off, and lifted it to arm's length. The roar was almost deafening when in rapid-fire, Mic emptied the magazine at the target.

Standing with his hands on his hips and a deep frown, the sergeant growled as he started to retract the target. “Now, do you think you hit anything that way, boy?”

“Yes, Sir, I did.”

The man glared at him until the returning target came back and hit the end of the cable. He turned to the paper target, and his eyes widened as his mouth dropped open.

“What is this, a joke? What is Wadsworth up to, sending you here? Does he think he is making a fool of me?. Damn, boy, you shredded the center of the target!

“Not at all, Sir. Scott believes I need personal protection because my life has been threatened. I helped him capture a thief during a case about a rare ancient smoking pipe. He has escaped prison.”

The sergeant looked at him for quite a while, wondering if he should believe Mic’s story.

“Well, where have you been practicing, then?”

“Honestly, I haven’t. The British Army said I have a born talent for firearms. They were sorry when I had to leave.”

“And why was that? The sergeant inquired.

“I was too young. I lied about my age to get into the army.”

Later, sitting on a bench drinking cola and smoking, Mic and the instructor talked for most of an hour. Mic explained his connection to Smyth and the antique pipe and Smyth breaking out of prison.

“That is some story, Michael, and aren’t you fortunate to meet Mister Wadsworth, the kind and gracious man he is,” the sergeant said, losing all gruffness.

“Scott took me in hand and into his family, and I was ready for it. He got me a job and paid for my night school. I have a business education, thanks to him.”

The sergeant, stretching as he got up from the bench, with a hint of stiffness, shook hands with Mic saying, “I will qualify you for sure. There’s no point in coming back here unless you want to say hello occasionally. I’d like that.

“Thanks, sergeant, I might just do that, Sir.

“You call me Pop – all the boys do,” he said as Mic drove off.

Mic waved in acceptance and thought of what his mother told him, “You can never tell a book by its cover.”

In the meantime, Buck Qualter sat in an old Plymouth coupe a block away, waiting for Callan to leave his house. When he did, Buck followed as far back as he dared until Callan pulled up in front of a small dingy looking restaurant. Buck continued on, turning around in a gas station and driving back to stop across from the restaurant. Callan took a half-hour for breakfast before driving off again. Buck made a u-turn and followed as Callan went directly to the Police headquarters parking lot and into his reserved birth next to the door. After he went in, buck found a spot where he could see Callan’s vehicle and waited. Callan didn’t come out until four-forty-five and went directly to his home.

Later that evening, Buck sat writing the day's events in a ledger book, thinking the Boss might expect repots. When finished, Buck read what he had written and thought, “That sure wasn’t very exciting – thought I’d have more action.”

Charles Street South:

Scott and Allan entered the Charles Street South office shortly after nine o’clock to find Annie typing up a storm.

“At it already, Annie,” Scott asked.,

“Oh yes, you have a contract for Marathon Shoe due tomorrow,” she replied. “Did you forget?”

“What would I do without you. Yes, it slipped my mind – thanks. I’ll review it when you finish, please.”

Scott, finishing his coffee and about to light a pipe, is aware of Annie buzzing him, ”A doctor Colligan from City Hospital is on the line.”

“This is Scott Wadsworth, Doctor.”

“I’m calling about Mark Simmons. He is getting quite nervous and anxious over being in the hospital when perfectly healed. In my judgment, he should be discharged before that condition becomes a problem.”

“Absolutely, Doctor Colligan. I’ll try for tomorrow, and please tell Mark I’m working on it. I'll call you back later today if I can make the arrangements. Please give my secretary your phone number and extension.”

Scott immediately called Mathew Hart at the statehouse in hopes he can expedite acquiring a white laundry truck, a large hamper, and two white jackets and caps. Naturally, his superior wants to know the particulars of the request. Scott went onto his plan to get Simmons safely to the Funeral home using a hearse and to Riverville in the laundry truck.

“I’m hoping to smuggle Mark out of the hospital tomorrow; it seems he is clinically upset at being there when he is well. The doctor wants him out. Sorry, but this is a bit of a rush.”

“I’ll do my best, Scott. We’ll paint a truck if necessary and purchase the rest. You will have it tomorrow.  We don’t want our new employee going loopy before he starts!”

“What more can I ask. I’ll talk to you later today.”

Scott immediately called Arthur Gregg at the Gregg and Son funeral home, who agreed to transport Simmons from the hospital tomorrow and house him for a couple of hours. He next called the Simmons home and related the news to George Simmons, who was verbally delighted at the news. Scott decided to wait until tomorrow to telephone Riverville.

“Allan, are you ready to do some theatrics?” Scott asked.“ With the aid of the undertaker, I will take Mark out of the hospital tomorrow. Then, you and I, dressed in white jackets and caps, will deliver him from the funeral home to Riverville in a laundry truck.”

“I gathered all that from your phone conversations -- should be a real lark.”

“No doubt,” Scott replied. “But now, I have to review this contract. Call the deli in a while and order lunch. I’ll have a toasted BLT and coffee and see what Annie will have. Get whatever you want, and petty cash from Annie.”

After lunch, Scott and Allan sat talking about the Goddard case progression and speculating about Buck’s success tailing Callan. “We have piled a lot on his shoulders,” Scott said, “I hope he can handle it. I know he has some experience filling in as a detective, but not how much.”

“I wouldn’t worry about him. He tells me about some of his activities from time to time. I was surprised by some of the tight spots he has handled successfully.”

“It’s the compound problem of the three lieutenants that bothers me, and the time it might take to get help to Buck. I hope he won’t try to take the four of them alone. He needs a partner, or he’s liable to get hurt.”

“How about Al Guatino?” Allan asked. “They sure managed to fool and bag Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne at Goddard’s bar. Remember, they entered the bar when Loyd and Al were left there to receive prisoners during the first raid? Lloyd and Al acted as bartender and customer -- even serving them beer – and then arrested them?”

Scott thought for a few seconds before replying. “Right! So much has happened since then that those days fade away. You’re right. I’ll work on getting Guatino on board. Good thinking.”

While thinking about afternoon coffee, Annie buzzed again. “Michael Hendersen on the phone,” she said.”

“Chief! You are on my schedule to call today. Happy to hear from you.”

Scott, The family is wondering when that lad Simmons is joining us. Everyone, but especially the youngsters, is excited to have a visitor with stories to tell living with them for a while.”

“Exactly why I intended to call today. Tomorrow is the day. I trust the short notice is not a problem. I have no choice. According to Simmons’ doctor, He needs to get out of the hospital for his mental health – getting anxious, just hanging around there. I think we should be in Riverville early afternoon. I’ll bring him to the station.”

“Fine, Scott, I’ll alert the gang. See you tomorrow.”

As Scott cradled the phone, he mumbled something, causing Allan to say, “Didn’t get that, Boss.”“Sorry, I was talking to myself, I guess. I said I wish all these calls were new clients. As if I had time for more!”

Later, Scott looked up at the wall clock as Allan, yawning, leaned on his elbows on the windowsill watching the clouds. “Let’s close up Allan, what do you say?”

“Whatever you say, Boss.”

Annie buzzed again just as Scott locked his desk. “Mathew Hart, Sir.”

“Matt. We were just closing up. How did you make out finding the van and uniforms?”

“Not so good with a white one, but I have a blue one fresh from the impound with “Flowers” painted on the side. Also, blue coveralls and caps are inside the van. It’s parked in the guest area in the back. I have the keys.

“OK, I’ll have Allan take care of that after we get Simmons to the funeral home. I hope there are flowers in the van.”

“Afraid not. Call and have a funeral wreath delivered to your home. Put it on your expense account. When you get back from Riverville, call me. I’m interested to see how it all went.”

On the drive home, Scott turned to Allan add asked, “Do you have a black or navy suit? We should look like undertakers when we take Mark from the hospital.”

“I had a navy double-breasted. I think I saw it in the back of my closet recently – don’t suppose the fit matters much.”

“No, I don’t think so, as long as the pants aren’t up to your knees. That would be too obvious.” Come to the house for breakfast tomorrow, and we will choreograph the day. Make it around Eight.”

Allan arrived precisely at eight, wearing his navy blue suit. It appeared slightly tight, and the sleeves about an inch too short. He and Scott planed out the day over sausage and eggs accompanied by a half grilled tomato and English Muffins. When finished, Scott called City Hospital and informed Doctor Colligan they will be picking up Simmons before noon.

As they pulled away from Scott’s home, Allan observed Qualter sitting in an old pickup truck and brought it to Scott’s attention.

“Yes, I know. I asked Lloyd to follow us today and watch our rear. If there is someone following us, it could blow the plan to smithereens. He has orders to detain anyone he spots.”

Allan parked in the rear of the funeral home at nine-forty. “I’ll go get Gregg. I see the hearse is out of the garage, so I guess he is ready.”

Qualter waited on the street at a discrete distance.

“Am I happy to see you two,” Simmons said when he saw Scott and Allan. He was seated near the ICU nurses' station, wearing a white knee-length medical coat, a stethoscope in the side pocket, and a name tag on his chest. His complexion was much darker, thanks to an astute nurse with pancake makeup.

The three men walked to the ambulance entrance where Mister Gregg and the backed-up hearse awaited six-feet away. Mark removed his disguise and hopped on the gurney. Mister Gregg covered him with a large blanket. Scott and Allan pushed the gurney into the hearse, then moved to the front seat. The drive to the Funeral Home was uneventful.

-------------------------------------------------------------

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 now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
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.

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