Riverville Murder - Chapter 24

riverville cover lg

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."

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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 23

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty Three

Previously:

“Good. What do you think of bringing him into the Chief Investigator’s office? I can use him. Also, if all about Callan proves true, Simmons is through as a cop in Boston, or any place else. I hate to see good talent wasted.”

“I think you are right on with this one, Boss. He and I have kind of bonded. We’ll work well together. Other than that, I don’t see how you hold it all together; what with maintaining a large law office and being Chief Investigator for the state. It will be good for you.”

At his law office, Scott ran through his Rolodex to find the phone number of Mark Simmons.

“Mark, I’m glad I caught you at home. I would like you to drop by my office on Charles Street South about ten in the morning. Can you do that?”

“Yes, Sir. Anything at all, if I can help. See you then.”

At nine-forty-five, the traffic being heavy, a taxi dropped Mark Simmons at a corner close to Scotts building. As he casually walked along, he felt a sharp sting in his left thigh. Mark limped into an alley to his right and fell, just as a window broke and he heard two ricochets bounce off the brick wall above his head. He quickly pulled his “38” from its belt holster and hugged the ground close to the wall. No more shots ensuing, he removed his necktie and applied it as a tourniquet, while fighting the darkness that flooded in.

Soon, Scott and Allan heard the sirens draw close and stop. “They stopped right out-front; Allan exclaimed.”

“Go see what’s going on, Allan. Flash you badge if necessary” Scott ordered.

Allan ran up the stairs and burst through the office door. “It’s Mark. He has been shot in the leg and is laying in the alley. City cops are there and an ambulance is on the way. He’s unconscious.”

Scott bolted out the door and down the stairs and into the alley. An older officer, cradling Mark’s upper body, recognized Scott, gave a half-hearted salute, and said, “Chief Inspector, he’s just coming around, he is. It’s not a bad wound – looks like it went right through his leg, about two inches from the edge – bit of a shock, it appears.

Scott knelt beside him saying, “Mark, can you hear me? – speak up, boy.”

“Oh, Mister Wadsworth! Guess I blacked-out. Sorry to mess up our meeting,” Simmons said, with a slur and glazed-over eyes.

“Did you see who shot you?”

“No, and I didn’t even hear the shots. I heard a window break and a couple of ricochets. Lucky I was down after the first shot,” he replied, while making an effort to sit up, his eyes starting to clear. “Who put my necktie on my leg?”

The officer laughed, more out of relief than humor, while saying, “Sure and it must have been yourself, lad. I was the first one to your side. Good that ya had your mind about ya and did that.”

Another officer entered the alley yelling, “All right now, every one, out with ya’. The ambulance is here.”

As the ambulance pulled away, Scott turns to Allan, “Allan get the car and meet me here. I have to close the office because Annie is off today. They are taking Mark to City Hospital.”

Scott and Allan, sitting silently outside the ER of City Hospital, await news from the doctor attending Mark Simmons. After a bit, Allan askes “How did they know?”

“I just hope it isn’t another leak. I had to explain my plans to too many people. I’ve been sitting here filtering them out and can’t believe any of them, by any stretch of the imagination, could be in with Callan. And, this has to be his work. I believe it was simply coincidence that it happened outside my building. I think Callan didn’t trust his getting friendly with us, so rather than take a chance, he decided to eliminate him – probably been                                                         tailing him for several days. The question now is, was the shooter another bad BPD cop, or a Goddard lieutenant.”

The two men sat for another few minutes before the doctor approached them. “He’s doing fine. The bullet went through the fleshy part of his thigh. Fortunately, he applied a tourniquet before passing out, or he would be in much worse shape from loss of blood. He can probably leave here tomorrow afternoon, barring an infection”

“That’s not a good idea, Doctor. I’m Chief Investigator Scott Wadsworth, out of the State’s Attorney’s Office, and I want him here for a week, at the least. I can get a court order if necessary. Please inform your administrator. Also, there will be state police protecting him twenty-four-hours a day. I need this time to figure out how to give him protection when he does leave.”

“I understand Mister Wadsworth. You have my full cooperation, and I’m sure, that of the administrator.”

“Thank you doctor. You’ll be hearing from me very soon.”

Back at Scotts law office, Scott made a call to Matt Hart informing him of the shooting and requesting twenty-four-hour state police protection for Simmons, and adding, “No visitors, including Boston Cops. Naturally, his family can visit to the extent of hospital rules. He’ll be ok, but I have to find a place for him after the hospital. Also arrange with the papers to print a false story of his death, and a fake funeral. I want him as safe as possible until this mess comes to trial, and if he has to testify, or until the trial is over, if he doesn’t.”

“You’re asking a lot, Scott. Do you think all this is necessary, or are you now working on emotion?”

“No, I’m not, even though I’m as angry as I have ever been. I want this exceptional young man to be safe.”

“Ok. I’ll take care of the police protection, and the visiting matter. You do your thing. I’ll keep it to myself.  Just keep me informed.”

Next, Scott informed Simmons’s parents of the shooting, and assured them he is in excellent condition. Then said, “I’m working on a plan to keep him safe until the case we are working on is over, and those involved are put away. I’ll explain that part to you later. I hope this eases your mind. Official notifications of this type are often too blunt, with little explanation as to severity. Mention my name if the guards give you trouble about seeing Mark. Only family will be allowed to get near him, per-order of the State’s Attorney.”

Back at his Rolodex, Scott quickly found the number of Frank Gray office at Consolidated News Service.

Frank Gray, a school and military friend of Scotts, went with Consolidated in 1944 from the Boston Post. Wooed away primarily because of his vast connections at foreign news services.

“Well, if it isn’t Scott Wadsworth, Esq. Long time no see, buddy. What kind of a muddle are you going to get me into this time, as if the Nazis and that odd pipe weren’t enough?”

“Come on, Frank, you loved it, and look where it got you, Just into the largest news service in the world.”

“You’re right. I thought I might be hearing from you, considering what I’ve been reading, and you getting shot at twice.”

Scott went on to explain the situation, and the secrecy needed, before talking about the false death report and funeral. “The shooting happened right in front of my building. If it hasn’t been on the radio yet, it will be soon – in the papers also. I’m hoping you can get any more newspaper reporting on it killed. Also, in a week or so, you can plant the story of Simmons death and funeral. By then he will be tucked away somewhere safe. I’ll do the write-up. You edit it if necessary. I would like it in Boston and New York papers.”

“I thought you were going to ask for something difficult! Of course, I’ll do it. I think I still have enough pull with the local press to be granted a favor occasionally. If I hear of anything I think pertains to Goddard or his gang, on the wire, or elsewhere, I’ll buzz you.”

“Thanks, Frank. How long since we’ve done Jake Wirth’s? Never mind, it doesn’t matter. Just let’s do it again soon.”

“Absolutely. I sure wish Abe Müller could be there, Frank quietly said.”

After a short silence, Scott replied, “Yea, me too.”

Riverville:

Michael J. Hendersen, Somerville Chief of Police noticed his son, Carl, passing his door. The chief caught Carl’s attention and motioned him to come in.

“Carl, did you hear about the shooting outside Scotts law office?”

“No, I didn’t. Was Scott the target again?”

“No, it was a BPD Detective Sergeant, Mark Simmons. But it occurring practically at Scott’s door is the odd thing, don’t you think?”

Possibly. Why don’t you call him? The way he helped with Kelly’s problem, and it turning into a big murder, and local, as well as, an international case, we owe him. Maybe we can help in some way.”

“Perhaps, Carl. I’ll call him this evening to see if we can be of help. Anyway, I want to congratulate him on the clean-up of Somerville and South Boston. When we were at all together last Sunday, Kelly was asking me about him. She holds him in high regard for helping her, and the department.”

“Call me and fill me in on your conversation.”

Charles Street South:

Scott pulled a legal pad from his desk and a new pencil, thinking he should do a draft of the death and funeral article, but saw Allan gazing out the window looking bored.

While fishing his pocket for money, Scott said, “Allan, it’s time for an afternoon break. How about you get us some coffee and a couple of doughnuts?”

“Glad to, Boss. I need the exercise.”

Allan barely shut the door behind him when the phone rang again.

“This is Chief Hendersen, Scott. I have been reading about your exploits of late; the Nunsay thing with you getting shot, the raids and the attempt at you at the federal court. And now the BPD cop near your office. Are you OK? Is there any way we can help you?”

“I’m fine Chief. How is the Hendersen clan doing these days? Has Kelly settled back into a normal life?”

“Oh yes. Young people are quite resilient, you know. And, the rest of us are just fine, thanks. Now, about you?”

Scott hesitated before speaking and asked himself if this was the time, then said, “As a matter of fact you might be able to help. That officer who was shot outside my building was on his way to see me. I was going to ask him to come to work for me. Why, is a long story I won’t go into now, but it is important he go into a secure situation when he leaves the hospital. I was hoping you might have a place for him within the family until this South Boston case is finalized. I estimate that will be in a month or two at the latest. Riverville and a police family will be perfect for him, and I think you all will like him.”

“I can’t see where that will be a problem at all, Scott. I’ll talk to the family and get back to you. When will he be discharged?”

“His wound is not serious and he could leave tomorrow, but I’ve asked the hospital to hold him for a week or two. That’s about all I can tell you for now. I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks.”

Scott, filling his pipe asked Allan, upon his return from the coffee run, to pull up a chair, that he wanted to run something by him.

“What is it, boss,” Allan asked.

Scott explained the Hospital and false news report first; then said, “I’ve asked Chief Hendersen in Riverville to take Mark in for a month or so, in order to provide a secure environment for him, while we clean up this Callan problem. What do you think of the idea and do you think Mark and the Hendersen family will be a good mix?”

“Off hand, I can’t think of a better one. For the most part, my association with them was as a bystander, but my impression is that of a fine upstanding family, as I believe Mark’s is. And, a police family as well. I doubt you can find a better match.”

“Thanks, Allan. Now finish your coffee and take off. I won’t be needing you the rest of the afternoon. I’ll take a slow walk home and call you in the morning if I don’t decide to walk to work. Otherwise, take whatever time you need for yourself in the morning, then come to the law office when you have finished”

“Is that wise, boss? Looks like Callan is after you too.”

“They’ve done one deed today. I think they are lying low for now.”

The door closed behind Allan and Scott sat trying to mentally construct a plan for moving Simmons. His head was a stir-up of ideas that mostly conflicted.

South Boston:

Claud Callan pulled into the parking lot of the Italian Club. He unlocked a side door and walked through the empty corridors to the locker room. He sat on a bench and turned to the man leaning against a bank of lockers.

“What happened?” Callan asked. “That cop snitch-bastard is still alive. I thought you were a pro.”

“I got him with the first shot, but he fell into the alley. I popped off a couple more into the alley. He was on the ground and people were crowding around. I did all I could. I had to put the gun away. Shooting from a doorway on a busy street, isn’t very wise to start with, ya know.”

“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 be forgotten. Then we can start rebuilding the gang.

“Where do you expect to find the people? There is me, and the other two lieutenants. The rest, 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.

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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 22

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty Two

Previously:

“Of course. I know you well enough to trust what you say and believe you have more than a suspicion about Callan, or you wouldn’t be telling as much as you have. I’ll have to pass this request by the Police Commissioner, you know. Other than that, you have my word. Please keep me in the loop, and call if I can help. Give my best to Nancy and the boys.”

As Scott cradled the phone, a loud thump emanates from the front door. Investigating, Scott finds a bottle with a smoldering rag fuse stuck in the neck. Removing the rag, gasoline fumes rising from the bottle assault his nose. He carries his findings to the front fence and empties the gas into the dirt by the fence, then places the bottle and rag near the gate, thinking, “I’ll pick that up in the morning. One more thing for the FBI to look at.”

Returning to the house, Scott stops at the side table and pours some Scotch over ice before going to his chair and dialing State police headquarters.

“This is State’s Attorney Chief Investigator, Scott Wadsworth. I need information regarding Detective Lloyd Qualter, please.”

One moment, sir, and I’ll connect you with Personnel.

“Personnel Department. May I help you?”

“Yes, this is Scott Wadsworth of the State’s Attorney office. I would like the phone number of Detective Lloyd Qualter, please.”

“I’ll need your ID number before I can give you that information, sir,” the voice said in a happy, lilting way, obviously designed to dissuade any objection to another delay.

“SA-1-1,” Scott quickly returned.

“That number is Riverside 2264, Chief Investigator. Can I help you further, sir?”

‘No, thank you.”

Lloyd Qualter lifted the receiver at the second ring. “You’ve got me, Speak.”

“Lloyd, this is Wadsworth. I’d like you to come to my office at the statehouse in the morning. Can you arrange that?”

“Absolutely, sir. I don’t go on duty until one-o’clock. Will about nine-thirty be good.?”

“Fine with me, “Scott replied.

In the morning, Scott decided to walk the couple of blocks to the Massachusetts Statehouse and called Allan to pick him up there at noon. He said goodbye to Nancy and the boys in the kitchen; and picked up the bottle and rag fuse on the way out the front gate. Once out the gate, Scott stopped and removed a shopping bag from his briefcase and place the bottle and fuse in it. The odor was practically gone, and he hoped what remained wouldn’t be noticed in the office.

The door, with Matthew Hart, State’s Attorney hanging above, was open. But before entering, Scott gave a courtesy knock.

“Happy to see you, Scott. I thought you might have changed jobs – perhaps went to the BPD, or something,” Matt Hart jokingly said.

“No sir, I’ve just been swamped cleaning up Boston and Somerville and helping with the murder in Riverville. To say nothing about gun-runners, the ATF, U.S. Coast Guard, and Interpol. Here are my reports, in chronological order, covering the whole thing so far. I might add, we are getting very close to closing it out and handing the various segments to the proper authorities.

“Yes, I know, Scott. I have ears out there, and as you know, ATF Agent John Guilford is second cousins to my wife. I hear a lot from them, as we are quite close. From all indications, you have done a superlative job. For the first time, state and local police have worked very closely together – even sharing the same vehicles and reporting to one superior. That is history, and the best part is, it ran like clock-work.”

“Not quite as smooth as I would like, Scott said, as he stuffed his pipe with Ehrlich’s DPE. There is a leak somewhere that warned Goddard’s lieutenants of the raids. Besides, I’m confident he is also responsible for the murder of Norman Riley at the county jail and the shooting attempt, on my life, at the courthouse. I’ve also found an unexploded gasoline bomb in my front yard.”

“We have to set up some protection for you and your family. I’ll talk to BPD Chief Cosmo Natali today and set up twenty-four-hour patrols of your neighborhood. Also, a plain car, with two state detectives, to be with you all day. Even with all your work, it doesn’t appear that Goddard’s bunch is finished yet.”

“No, it isn’t. That’s another reason I am here. I have sufficient evidence to suspect Cpt. Claud Callan, BPD, is running the show for Goddard right now. A sergeant working under him became suspicious of his actions with the prisoners when we held them at Goddard’s bar in South Boston. Later he noticed Callan lying to me about responses from prisoner questionings. He also brought to my attention that Callan was on the raids as an observer but started taking a very active part. Callan was also very anxious to get copies of my reports. However, I put a stop on that, even though I had told him he could have copies.”

“What is it you want me to do about this, Scott” Just tell me,” The State’s Attorney interjected.

“Two things. I’d like State Police Detective Lloyd Qualter temporarily transferred to my office for the purpose of surveillance of Callan and reporting directly to me. Secondly, I would like to expand my office by one permanent transferee, Detective Sgt. Mark Simmons of the BPD. In the early stage of the operation, I gave Simmons control of all those patrolling South Boston -- also arranged for his promotion to sergeant through Cpt. Callan, his boss. He is the one who observed, and put me on to, Callan. There will be no place for Simmons at the BPD when the whole story is out, and this is all over. He is smart and has strong observational skills. He will be an asset.”

“There is no problem temporally transferring Qualter to you; if he agrees, that is. As for Simmons, as long as we can financially handle a new person, you’ve got Simmons as well. He will have to be happy with his current salary for a while. I’ll get someone looking into that end of it.”

Just then, the phone rang. “Yes, Mister Wadsworth is still here – OK, send him in.”

Minutes later, Lloyd Qualter tapped gently on the still-open door.

Scott greeted Qualter and introduced him to the State’s Attorney, then said, “Detective Qualter, I was very impressed by the way you did your job in South Boston and would like you to come work for me temporally. It’s a very hush-hush job and could be dangerous if not handled properly. I think you are the man for it.”

“You know, Mr. Wadsworth, I’m a rookie detective. Not that I am refusing the job, but don’t you need someone more experienced?”

“We know you were doing detective work, on and off, for some time as a uniformed trouper, and being successful at it. Now, as a rookie, I don’t believe your rank defines your skill at this time.”

“Make a decision, young man, the State’s Attorney interrupted. The Chief Investigator wants you for this job. Do you want this opportunity or not? It might mean a lot for your future.”

“Yes, Sir. I do. I was just hoping for a hint of what it’s about and what is expected of me,” Qualter replied, trying not to inject the sarcasm he felt.

Scott started to speak but stopped. Instead, to let things quiet down before he lost Qualter, he stood, retrieved a match from his pocket, and relit his pipe slowly. He continued, “Your function and purpose will be thoroughly explained in a day or two, along with a communication scheme for we two. I would like you to join me and assist in closing up the South Boston effort. There is a bit to conclude before that happens, and I want you to discretely and quietly help pull it all together.”

“I’d be honored to work with you, Mister Wadsworth. When should I report?”

“The transfer will have to be approved by your captain and the commissioner. I doubt that will be a problem and could be as soon as tomorrow. I’ll let you know the minute I know.”

Qualter stood and shook hands with Scott, then turned to the States Attorney, extended his hand, and said, “A pleasure to meet you, Mister Hart, and thank you for this opportunity of working in the State Attorney’s department; for however long it might be.

“An impressive young man, Scott. I hope he lives up to your expectations.  Now, about Boston Detective Sgt. Mark Simmons. Have you talked to him about this, and if so, what did he have to say?”

“No, Matt, I have not. I wanted to pass it by you before approaching him.”

“I’m glad you did. I trust your judgment. But keep me up to date with your every move on this. In particular, inform me immediately if you get any static from the BPD.”

“Absolutely, Matt.”

Scott made the short trek to his office, just down the hall from Matt Hart. He started reading his reports at his desk, looking for positive mentions of Mark Simmons that might have slipped his mind. While putting the last page on the read pile, the phone demanded his attention.

“I have deputy Commissioner Richard Taranto calling Mister Wadsworth, please.”

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, and again during the Case of the Killer Pipe in 1946.

“Please put him on.”

“Dick, old buddy. Man, it’s good to hear from you. It seems like yesterday that we worked on that stolen antique pipe problem. When did you get to the Commissioner’s office?”

“A little over four years ago. I thought you probably knew. I virtually flew through the ranks due to the Indian pipe case and the Boston Nazis’ notoriety. You had a lot to do with my getting here.”

“Well, no one deserves it more. I’m happy for you. However, I’m not happy that we sort of lost touch. We must remedy that.”

“Scott, I’m calling about holding reports from Captain Claud Callan. Can you give me a viable reason for that action?”

“Yes, I can, but I gave Chief Natali a full rundown on my reasons. He said he would have to pass it through the commissioner’s office. I guess he didn’t pass my reasons along.”

“He did, but I want to hear it from you; the high-lights anyway.”

“OK, here goes. Callan’s actions during the raids are questionable. I was informed of them by one of his own men. He conversed with select prisoners and made several needless phone calls, all in my absence, which leads me to believe Callan is on Goddard’s payroll and leaked plans of the raids to him. We did not find one of Goddard’s top echelon people. Besides, he took it upon himself to question prisoners at headquarters when he was along only as an observer. Then, he lied to me about what he had learned. The lies were witnessed by two officers. The quick murder of Norman Riley upon his transfer to County Jail and the recent attempt on my life, combined with everything else brought to my attention, convinces me that Callan is running the organization in Goddard’s absence.”

After a long silence, Taranto replied, “I know you are being truthful, and it doesn’t look good for Callan. Naturally, you have cause to withhold the reports. This presents a very large problem for the BPD. What do you propose next?”

“I have approached a highly trusted and intelligent state police detective to join my office temporally. His one duty is to keep an eye on Callan’s activities and report only to me. Other surveillance measures might be taken, as well. When, and if, this office accumulates enough solid evidence, it will be turned over to the Boston Police Commissioner and State’s Attorney, Matt Hart, for action. Then I am out of it unless needed.”

“Well, it’s a sad turn of affairs, and you have handled it admirable. I’ll explain it all to the commissioner and tell him I’ve given my OK.”

“Dick, this problem is getting passed from hand to hand. You know what the chances are of this leaking because of that fact. If that happens, we will have wasted a lot of money and manpower. Tell the Commissioner if you must, but please, not too much detail. And stress the need for security,” Scott said in an emphatic voice.

“Leave it to me, my friend. Keep in touch.”

Scott cradled the phone, picked a fresh pipe from his briefcase, and with a sigh, leaned back in his old wooden swivel chair and lit-up. As he blew out the second match, the door opened, and Allan walked in carrying two paper cups of coffee.

“Ah, just what I need, Allan. It’s been a stressful morning. Have a seat.”

“What’s on the docket for this afternoon, boss?” Allan asked as he swung a chair around and sat with his arms over the top of the back.

“I have to stop at FBI regional headquarters first. A gasoline bomb was thrown at my house last night. Obviously, it didn’t ignite. I want it scanned for prints on the QT. Harry Malison, the regional director, is  my friend and does an occasional favor for me.”

Scott and Harry carefully looked over the gas bomb before Harry said, “Sure, I’ll send it through with the other stuff. That cocktail was put together by an amateur. The glass is much too thick to break simply by tossing it. You’d need a sledgehammer in strong hands to smash it.”

“Appreciate it, Harry. We’ll be on our way – much to do, you know.”

Allan and Harry exchanged goodbyes’, Harry saying, “Real happy to see you again, Allan. If the need arises, don’t hesitate to call me. A friend of Scott’s is a friend of mine.”

Before getting in the car, Scott asked, “How about Angelo’s for lunch, Allan?”

“Sounds good, Boss.”

Scott sat in the front seat, something he seldom does. Turning to Allan, he asked, “What do you think of Mark Simmons as a cop and a person? You’ve spent quite a bit of time with him recently, so I want a sincere answer.”

“In the time I’ve known him, I don’t think they come any better,” Allan answered without hesitation.

“Good. What do you think of bringing Mark into the Chief Investigator’s office? I can use him. If all about Callan proves true, Simmons is through as a cop in Boston. Or anyplace else. I hate to see good talent wasted.”

“I think you are right on with this one, Boss. He and I have kind of bonded. We’ll work well together. Other than that, I don’t see how you hold it all together; what with maintaining a large law office and being Chief Investigator for the state. It will be good for you.”

At his law office, Scott ran through his Rolodex to find the phone number of Mark Simmons.

“Mark, I’m glad I caught you at home. I would like you to drop by my office on Charles Street South at about ten in the morning. Can you do that?”

“Yes, Sir. Anything at all, if I can help. See you then.”

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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.

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