Riverville Murder - Chapter 24

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty Four

Previously:

"OK, OK, calm down. So, you did your best. Now, we have to cool it for a while. Later, we'll put three or four on Wadsworth. With him gone, the whole thing might cool off and soon forgotten. Then we can start rebuilding the organization."

"Where do you expect to find the people? There is me, and the other two lieutenants. Those of any value are in jail and will be for some time to come if the Feds get ahold of them. The rest are punks and have probably scattered anyway."

"You will have to recruit locally first, and then try New York and Rhode Island. I'm not going to be able to help much. I'm sticking my neck out as it is, right now. I want to hand this job off to someone and get back in the shadows." Callan responded with finality in his voice.

Charles Street South:

The echo of Allan leaving fading away, Scott sat for some time gazing out the window, and occasionally tapping out a rhythmic beat with his pencil. While attempting to form the story of Simmons' death in his mind, he slowly began to realize he was not a news reporter and less able to compose a reporter's story. Scott sat there for some frustrating reason, unable to set down more than a few words. After a half-hour, he slammed the pencil down and called Frank Gray.

"Frank, I've been sitting here trying to write the fake death story with no success whatever. HELP!"

"OK, Scott, here's what to do, make a numbered list of the things you want the story to tell – by importance if possible. Put it in an envelope and get it to me. I can probably write a couple-of-hundred-word article in ten minutes. I'll send it back for you to check. How's that?"

"Just perfect, pal. Jake Wirth's is on me when we make it. Next week, I hope."

After a call to the Simmons home, to find out family particulars, Scott was able to compile the required list quickly. Soon a messenger was at the office and picked up the envelope for delivery to Frank Gray. Scott leaned back in his chair, happily relit his pipe, and thoroughly relaxed for the first time in weeks. He sat there for a long time, gently rocking the old office chair back and forth while relishing the familiar squeak of the heavy spring that stabilized the chair. His father used the same chair for as long as Scott can fondly remember. It had the same squeak then. When his father died, the chair and pipes were the first items Scott took from his office.

Eventually, Scott locked the office and started home. Traversing the Common slowly, Scott did not notice the two men that left their unmarked police car on Charles Street South and followed across Boylston Street to the Common.

The next morning, Scott decided to walk to work; that action usually clears his mind, and he can more clearly attack the problem of the day.

Not having heard from his Boss, Allan decided to make the car available for him on the way to work, should he need it or not. He waited on Beacon Street until he saw Scott emerge from Walnut, and discerned how Scott will cross the common. He stayed well back, but in a position to go to Scott's aid if necessary. Suddenly, a car pulled up beside Allan and then cut him off, driving him into the curb. Two men jumped out and approached Allan, one on each side, with weapons drawn.

"Keep your hands in view and step out of the car," one man said as he opened the driver's side door.

As the first man searched Allan and removed his wallet and pistol, the second man searched the car and removed the registration.

On the sidewalk, the first man said, "You're a state Cop! What are you doing following Mr. Wadsworth? You're not on this detail."

"I'm his personal driver, and it worried me that he decided to walk to Charles Street South, especially across the Common. I decided to be handy if he ran into trouble."

"Well, that is enviable, Sergeant Rockford. But that problem is being well covered. The State's Attorney has seen to that. Mister Wadsworth has sufficient protection around the clock."

The second man walked closer and said, "Aren't you the cop, along with that BPD cop Simmons, that chased the shooter off the roof across from the courthouse?"

"Yes. Unfortunately, we missed the guy. All we got were three shell casings and a Coke bottle."

"Quick positive action, though. Too bad about Simmons. How is he doing?" the second man asked.

"I really don't know. Not much coming out of the hospital – lots of security," Allan shrewdly replied.

"OK, Sargeant, your actions have taken two officers away from Mister Wadsworth's protection. We can't argue with your motives, so let's just forget this incident ever happened. You stick to your job from now on. He needs a guy like you in his car with him."

Soon after Scott arrived at his office, a messenger, sent by Frank Gray, left his bike in the lower lobby and bounded up the stairs two at a time. He burst through Scott's office door as Scott was standing at Annie's desk, looking at a contract draft.

As the door slammed into the wall, Scott said, "Careful there, boy. Nobody should be in that much of a rush."

"Sorry, Mister Wadsworth. Mister Gray gave me five-dollars to get this to you in a hurry, so I am," the boy said while handing Scott a large envelope.

"Never get over that attitude, young man. Kept promises and honest loyalty will serve you well all your life. Hang on to those virtues."

Scott could hardly finish before the boy was out the door and thumping his way down the stairs – two at a time.

Scott laid his pipe in an ashtray, sat down at his desk, and opened the envelope. Frank Gray went all the way. The article was laid out and printed as it will be in newspapers.

BOSTON DETECTIVE DIES FROM SHOOTING

Two weeks ago, Detective Sergeant Mark Simmons was shot in broad daylight on Charles Street South by persons unknown.

Simmons was taken to City Hospital emergency room and treated. Several days later, he transferred to the intensive care unit due to complications following surgery.

Simmons is survived by his parents, two brothers and a twin sister, along with a large number of relatives, all of Watertown, Massachusetts,

Private services will be held for the family and invited guests on Saturday at the Resurrection Congregational Church in Watertown. The family asks for donations to The Policemen's Emergency Fund in place of flowers.

On a non-specified date, a private burial will take place in Kittery, Maine, where the family maintains a cemetery dating from 1793.

Scott read the short article, and then the attached note in which Frank promised the article is to be placed prominently in all newspapers. Thinking it certainly does the job, he sets about planning the disguised transfer of Simmons from the hospital to Riverville,  and then, an empty coffin from the undertaker to the church for, as far as any spectators or snoopers are concerned, a private service. A later trip to Kittery might or might not be required. But first, to get an undertaker and the Congregational Church to agree.

Scott buzzed Annie and asked her to get the Pastor of the Resurrection Congregational Church on the phone, then set about drawing a chart with dates for all of the chicaneries he must pull off.     

Scott picked up the phone at the first buzz, saying, "Scott Wadsworth here."

"This is Reverend Carlton Mac Elroy. How can I help you, sir?"

"You may or may not know I am a friend of Mark Simmons. When he got wounded, he was on his way to my office, hopefully, to accept a position with me, in the State's Attorney's Chief Investigator's office. As such, I have taken on the job of his protection and security. Your church can play a big part in this. I would like an appointment to discuss it with you, please."

"Of course, Mister Wadsworth. Let me see -- how is tomorrow at one-thirty?"

"Thank you. I'll see you then. Goodbye."

After lunch at the Watertown Dinner, Scott and Allan arrived at the church just before one-thirty. Reverend   Mac Elroy listened intently to Scott's plan, nodding his head affirmatively at times. Scott went through the whole thing, including those actions that did not involve the church, and asked, "What do you think, Mister Mac Elroy?"

"You have certainly done a thorough job of it. I don't normally agree with such deception, but in this case, I see it is essential. Have you discussed this with the family?"

"To a point, on the phone. I intend to meet with the family and discuss it completely. I'm afraid I will have to tell what prompted the attempt on Mark's life and that these plans are necessary to keep him alive. I'll ask them to call you and let you know the decision."

"That extended family occupies about thirty-percent of the pews in this church, are very active in the church's function, and have been for several generations. I'm sure they are thankful for your connection with Mark and what you are attempting. The church will do anything they agree to."

With a call to the Simmons home, Scott was graciously invited there the next morning at ten.

As Scott walked up the path to the Simmons home, the front door opened to reveal a tall, well-dressed man with wavy gray hair. He met Scott at the top of the steps with his hand outstretched in greeting and a smile on his face.

"Welcome to our home, Mister Wadsworth. Who is that in your car?"

"That is Sargent Allan Rockford, my driver."

"Does he know Mark?"

"Yes, they became friends during the present case."

"Well, have him come in. There is no point in him waiting out there  if he is Mark's friend."

George Simmons introduced Scott and Allan to Mrs. Simmons, a brother, Peter, who appears to be a couple of years older than Mark, and a younger brother, John – about thirteen years old. No sooner than they were all seated in the comfortable living room than a young woman walked in smiling and carrying a silver tray holding a coffee service and a plate of pastries. Scott and Allan stood as Mrs. Simmons introduced her as Mark's twin sister, Sarah.

As Sarah poured coffee, Scott got right to business and explained to the family the situation of Callan and the BPD, his wish to employ Mark, Mark's safety, and the reason for the false funeral,

"I'm sure you have picked the Hendersen family as Mark's hiding place carefully," George Simmons said in a questioning way.

"The Hendersen family, having been personal friends for many years, is the primary reason. Being a large police family came second, but not of less importance. I would trust them with the safety of my own family. Mark is welcome there as long as necessary, meaning until this complicated case is over and all involved are put away or deported."

"If you agree, all I need now is a trusted undertaker of your choice."

"I have a lodge brother who is an undertaker, George Simmons replied. "I'll call him this evening and call you in the morning."

Scott handed him a card, "This is my business phone. I'll be there between eight-thirty and noon. Thanks for your hospitality. The coffee was delicious."

Back at his office, Scott found a message to call Matthew Hart, but he sent Allan out for lunch and lit a fresh pipe before calling Matt.

"I just wanted to tell you that Detectives Lloyd Qualter officially transferred to your office for an undetermined length of time – hardly any discussion over the transfer -- went right through. You should call the young man ASAP," Matt said.

"I'll do that right now. Thanks for calling me," Scott replied, relit his pipe, and made the call. As it turned out, Qualter is on duty, and Scott asks for a return call to the statehouse the next morning.

New York City - Ulster:

At the Global Mortgage and Loan Company, the ringing phone echoes through the uninhabited office. Uninhabited except for three IRS auditors.

"Global Mortgage and Loan," one auditor answers. "May I help you?"

"And why else do ya think I'd be callin'? Connect me to Mister Connors, if ya will."

"Who is calling, please?"

"Tell the old blighter it's Gus Malone from Ulster."

The agent silently laughed for a second and replied, "I'm afraid that's impossible. Mister Connors is in jail, and Global Mortgage and Loan Company no longer exists. I'm an Internal Revenue Service agent. Your name appears many times in Global Mortgage and Loan's ledgers. My counterpart in North Ireland will, more than likely, be calling on you soon. Have a good day, sir."

Malone slumps down in his chair, his face turning an ashen color, and he begins to perspire heavily. His struggling mind, attempting to sort out the problem, stumbles. "Where do I go now?" he askes himself.

Boston:

Captain Claud Callan roams the corridors of BPD headquarters, trying to look busy, and attending to his duties with difficulty. He is not quite sure of what's known about his connection with Goddard -if anything. He wonders if he got rid of Simmons before he talked to someone and why hasn't he heard from the "C" Street lieutenants about recruitment. Goddard is done for, and a new leader needed in a hurry. He laments the fact that his income from the gang has ended, and without a leader, it will not resume. He is relieved when he is called out to a robbery in Mattapan and stops on the way to pick up an iced coffee. Callan gulps the first half of the coffee in hopes of it cooling his hot face.

Back at Charles Street South:

Allan returned to the office with two hot pastrami, Swiss and coleslaw sandwiches, with half sours on the side.

Scott told Allan, "You have a fellow employee! Lloyd Qualter officially transferred to my office today."

"That's great. I don't think you will be disappointed. He is a smart and clever man."

"He is that, although he seems a bit timid. We have to work at giving him more confidence. He'll call in the morning, and I'll get him to the statehouse. I want to give him a brief indoctrination. Hopefully. I can get him on Callan's tail in a few days. I have a couple of contracts to review. When I'm through, we can go visit Simmons."

Before Scott could lock the office's outer door, the phone rang again. He stepped in and grabbed the phone on Annie's desk.

"There is a cablegram for you, Mister Wadsworth.  Shall I read it or messenger it to your address?"

"Please messenger it. The office will be closed, so have the messenger use the mail slot in the door, please."

As they entered the car, Scott instructed Allan, "In the morning, come to this office and pick up a cable that will be delivered. Use your key if Annie isn't in, then go directly to the statehouse. I'll walk to work."

At City Hospital, Scott and Allan must show their badges twice before entering Mark's room. "You are looking great, Mark, and I see you have plenty of security."

"That's for sure, Mark, replied while placing a book on the side table. Everyone here has been great to me."

"By the way, Mister Wadsworth, do you take that sidekick of yours everywhere? I understand they even let him in my home!" Mark said, with a smile on his face.

"Actually, my family is quite taken with you, Allan, and are happy that I have friends like you."

Scott went on to outline the plan to smuggle him to Riverville and describe the Hendersen family. When it came to the false death and funeral, Mark questioned how his family took the idea.

"Very well – much better than expected," Scott replied.

"I'm happy to hear that," Mark said while glancing at Allan as if looking for confirmation. Allan gave a slight affirmative nod.

The next morning, Scott sat at his desk in the statehouse thumbing through a stack of memos, while waiting for Qualter to show up. He suddenly remembered telling George Simmons to call him at his other office and immediately called the Simmons home to explain.

 Allan rushed through the door and handed the Cablegram to Scott. "From the Republic of Ireland -- looks like."

Scott opened the envelope and said, "It is that. It's from inspector Frank Sullivan of Interpol."

After reading the cable, Scott proceeded to read the message to Allan. "Have received an order to testify in case of United States VS Walter M. Connors and Global Mortgage and Loan Company, New York Federal Court. Will contact you when in the USA. --- Inspector Karl Von Ropp informs, Gerald Smyth breaks jail in garbage wagon. An old foe, I believe."

"Who is Gerald Smyth?" Allan asks.

"I wasn't working for the state then. Several years ago, I got dragged into that case because it was about a pipe theft – an ancient artifact from a dig in India and any collectors dream possession. It was then that I met Mic Mitchell, but that is another story. However, I have to talk to Mic about it after I see Qualter."

Lloyd Qualter knocked twice and walked into Scott's office looking like a suit advertisement in a men's magazine; sharply pressed and shoes with a brilliant shine. Must be a carry-over from his police training, Scott thought.

"Do you dress that perfectly all the time, Detective?" Scott asked.

"No, sir, just on Sundays, wakes, dates, and in this case, special interviews. Otherwise, when on duty, I dress to fit the situation.

"I'm happy to hear that. Now, your primary duty for me will be to tail Cpt. Claud Callan, BPD. It is the department's opinion, he worked for Goddard and is now, along with Goddard's lieutenants, trying to keep the gang going. This must not happen. We would like to apprehend them all together, if possible. Otherwise, to learn the identity of the lieutenants and apprehend; leaving Callan helpless. This task will require long hours and as many days a week, you can physically handle. Constant communication is essential. You will be issued a pocket transceiver with a private frequency. I will have a matching device. Call at any time necessary -- day or night. Should you get into trouble, I'll have officers at your side very quickly. I have a squad in waiting just for that purpose, and to help with any arrests," Scott told Qualter.

"As transportation goes, you are to change unmarked vehicles each day, or more often at your discretion, from the pool at headquarters. I have issued a standing order to that effect. Start next Monday. That will give you three days to get ready and to pick out a car. Any questions?"

"No sir, none at this time other than, when will I get the pocket radio?"

"It will be delivered to your home before Monday. Good luck, Lloyd. By the way, do you have a nickname?"

"Buck, sir."

"OK, henceforth, in private, it's Buck and Boss. Allan tagged me with Boss."

Shortly after Qualter left, Scott is heading toward South Boston and Swenson's Plumbing Service. "I have to warn Mic about Smyth, Allan. Mic was very helpful in Smyth's arrest. Smyth promised Mic a very painful death if he ever got out of prison. He is a disguise genius, and could be on his way here right now."

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

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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