Case of the Riverville Murder
A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
“Very efficient, Scott. We can use you at Interpole, if you are interested.”
“No thanks. I like what I’m doing just fine. Do you know anything about the destination for the arms on the Dolphin? There is a chance, albeit a small one, that the Dolphin could escape the U.S. Coast Guard patrols.”
“Ulster and the Provisional IRA, without a doubt. If the Dolphin does escape, we’ll grab them at sea. Through friends in Ulster, we have learned the name of the freighter that is to meet the Dolphin. And, be it a fact, that ship has already left port, as have two fast chase-destroyers of the Irish Navy. We hope to capture the Dolphin, should it get that far, along with the freighter and its captain. If you folks get the Dolphin, we will certainly bring in the freighter’s captain for a long talk. He, and the ship, are under foreign registry. I just hope we can hold on to them. So, you can see that we’ve been watching the North American weather as well.”
“Looks like things are going well all around. I’ll call you again regarding the Dolphin so you can alert your navy if the boat escapes the coast guard. Oh yes, and for cooperating thoroughly, Jim Hurley will probably be deported, rather than serve time in a federal prison. He will be sent directly to Dublin under guard of a federal marshal.”
“I’ll be waiting for him to deplane and happily clamps the cuffs on, of that you can be sure. There must be outstanding warrants on him. If not in the North, surly here in the Republic.”
Gus Malone slams the handset into its cradle and mumbles a string of obscenities at the phone, turns to his lieutenant and says, “They must have shut down the U.S. I can’t get anyone on the bloody phone! Hurley doesn’t answer for three days. Goddard’s service tells me he’s been given my messages, yet he doesn’t call. And, Global Mortgage and Loan Company isn’t answer at all. I’ve got to find out about the guns. The storm has blown out to sea and the boat should be underway. It will take some planning, and several pay-offs, to get that cargo from Dublin to Ulster.”
He bangs on the table in frustration, and then frantically puffs a cigarette, as if afraid it will go out. The third in an hour. Then, starts to pace around the small office, hidden in a partially burned-out brewery.
Malone says, “Timmy, Let’s see if you can find a way to get some fresh air in here. This place stinks. We have to find a permanent office space. Think of a business we can use as a front and I’ll do the same – something we can actually do in case we acquire any business. I’m bloody tired of moving around all the time to keep invisible. I’m beginning to think that legitimacy might be the best invisibility. Look at Connors and his mortgage company in New York! He is extremely wealthy from his legit business and still has time to help fund the cause.”
“Yes, Gus. Let’s do that. Will be nice to have a place to sit that the seat of your pants doesn’t get dirty, and the air fills with dust from just walking. Sure, and it can’t be healthy here.”
The State House, Boston:
“I’m glad we were heading in-town from the North instead of out. Did you see all the traffic going North – everyone going home from work, I guess.” Allan said to Scott as they entered his office.
“I’m just glad you were driving.” Scott replied. “See if you can find us some coffee, please.
As Allan leaves the office, Scott calls the State I.D. Division.
“See if you can dig up a photo or mugshot of Nathen Goddard. I’ll need a dozen copies very quickly. Overtime is warranted for this one – top priority. Please call me with an estimate of when they will be ready. By the way, Nathen Goddard is presently under indictment. I’d start looking at that record first. In addition, put someone on finding an address for Goddard on Cape Cod. Cape Cod is as close as I can give you, we don’t have the town.”
Next, he called state police headquarters and asked to be put through to Detective Cpl. Mark Simmons.
“Cpl. Simmons, Scott Wadsworth here. We are about to stage a clean-up of South Boston. I want you to contact everyone who has been patrolling with you in Southie; both state and Boston personnel. If you are still on that special frequency, I gave you, you can easily do it by radio. Otherwise, figure out your best way of doing it. You have tomorrow only, as I want to meet with everyone at seven-thirty Wednesday morning at my office in the state house. Do you see any immediate problem doing this?”
“No, sir. No problem at all. The frequency is still in use and everyone is on duty. Some were asking the other day how long this patrolling will continue. Can you give me any more info regarding the clean-up? It might cheer-up a bunch of bored cops.
“I agree with you. To start, Somerville cops will be doing the same there. First, we will be looking to arrest Nathen Goddard, head of the Compton Hill gang, who we have learned also runs the C street gang. Then, both we and Somerville will start picking-up the players. We have a good list, with pictures for most, in both areas. One more thing, let your captain know about this, and also tell him I want you advanced to Sergeant and put in charge of the men with you. If he gives you any static, let me know. Also, tell him I would like him to attend the Wednesday meeting, and I welcome any in-put he might have.”
“Thank you, sir. I’ve passed the Sergeants examination, so I doubt he will question it. As it is, I’m close to the top of the list.”
“OK, see you Wednesday.”
Scott arranged his desk in an orderly fashion, and walked into the outer office where Sgt. Allan Rockford sat waiting.
“Let’s go, Allan. I need to go to the Charles Street office. You can go home from there.”
Allan popped from the chair, opened the outer door and followed his boss through, and to the car.
Entering his law firm office, Scott sees Mic Mitchell propped on the corner of Annie’s desk “Well! this is a surprise, finding you here. What’s up, Mic?”
“Just waiting for you, Scott. I’ve invited Annie for an after-work drink at the Parker House.”
As Annie, with her fair complexion, blushed mightily while wondering what her boss will say, Scott replied, “That is very nice, Annie. I’ve been wondering what’s been holding Mic back. You two go on then, and have dinner too. Annie, put dinner on my bill.”
Both Annie and Mic answered in unison, “Thanks you, Mr. Wadsworth,” as Mic grabbed Annie’s hand and they rushed out the door.
Henry Reichmann, dialing Scott’s number promptly at six-o’clock, hopes he isn’t making a mistake and adding more responsibility for Scott on a very serious operation.
“Right on time, Henry. We are starting at four AM, but there is no reason for you to be here for the first part of this operation. The second part starts at seven. There is a train leaving Riverville at five-forty-five for North Station – arriving about six-thirty. Allan will meet you and bring you to me in Southie. Or, you can drive down to the state house tomorrow; spend the evening with us and stay over. I have a meeting early tomorrow morning and plan to be there until about three. You can leave your car at the state house and I will notify the guards that it is authorized for indefinite parking.”
“I’ll drive down tomorrow. That way I can be in on the entire thing. And, for the first time in weeks, spend the evening with some nice people in a normal setting. Thanks, Scott for asking me. I look forward to meeting your family.”
“I thought you might like that, and it’s my pleasure. See you then.”
The meeting Wednesday morning went off without a hitch. All officers were alert and anxious to remove a scourge from their city. Cpl. Simmons’s captain publicly announced Simmons’s promotion to the applause of those there.
Henry Reichmann walked into Scotts office at two-thirty, just as Scott was collecting papers and pictures and placing them in his briefcase.
In the morning, about three-o’clock, Scott and Henry walked along the footpath to the Wadsworth front gate and stepped onto Walnut Street, just as Allan brought the car to a stop at the curb.
Immediately, Allan turns to the back seat and says, “I just heard from headquarters. They found an address in Barnstable for Nathan Goddard and the Cape detail has it.”
“I was wondering why I didn’t hear from someone about that. I guess it took this long to search every town and village on Cape Cod. That’s a relief.”
“Allan, remember the independent gas station on D Street? Scott asked without waiting for an answer. That’s where we are headed. Get going.”
Two cars were waiting when Allan pulled into the station, and another came in right behind him. Scott was standing outside his car and noticed Detective Sgt. Simmons heading over to him, and was surprised to see, his captain with him, as well as the BPD officer.
“Looking for a bit of action, Captain?” Scott asked with a big smile.
“Not really. I’ve seen enough over the last thirty years.” He replied. “Actually, just want to see how well this plan works and the final results. Hope you don’t mind me hogging in.”
“Not at all, Captain. In fact, you are not alone. Let me introduce ATF Special Agent, Henry Reichmann. He is along for the same purpose. He is armed, I trust you are; seeing you are on duty.”
Scott, not actually looking for an answer, turns his attention to the car just entering the station and waves them in closer.
“Well, you called it a little close,” Scott said as the two men quickly approached him.
“Ok, here it is. I want two cars at Goddard’s residence, one in front and the other in back. Coordinate a time to enter both doors and move in together. I, and the remaining car, will block the closest intersections on C Street.”
Scott continued, “Henry, if you want a close look, get in an attack car, but not with Simmons. He already has an observer.”
Henry Reichmann, not waiting to comment, hopped from Scotts car and trotted to the other attack car.
“Sgt. Simmons, use the special frequency to let us all know when you are going in.” Scott told him with authority. “All right, let’s move.”
“The inside of Goddard’s lavish apartment shows no signs of recent occupancy, Simmons reports to Scott over the radio. The air is heavy and acrid, and difficult to breath, and there are several moldy and decomposing apple cores in a waste basket. There is a pile of mail on the floor under the mail slot.”
“Ok, back to the gas station, everyone,” Scott orders.
Everyone assembled at Scotts car. “We will hit Godard’s bar next. He might be there. If not, we will wait for the Cape boys to call us. Car one and I will take the front door. Sgt. Simmons’s car and car three, take the back door. Officers in cars two and four, block roadways out of the neighborhood. Simmons, what does your watch say?”
“Mine too. We will execute the warrants at five o’clock. That will give plenty of time to get there and in position. No one know just where Goddard’s apartment, or room, is in the building, or if anyone else lives there. For those who don’t know, it is a stand-alone building, so the choices are minimal. Let’s go. Activate radios. I’ll give instructions on the way. Henry, come with me.”
“Simmons and your BPD officer, and one from car three, investigate the down stairs, suddenly came over the speakers. As long as you are here, Captain, you check the basement along with an officer from car three. Car one and I will check the second floor. Henry, you can opt out if you wish. Otherwise, stick with me. Any questions, let’s have them now.”
The radio is silent as they make their way to Goddard’s bar – down Dorchester Avenue to Andrew Square, and then Boston Street over the The Southeast Expressway, and a quick left on an unnamed dead-end street. There is no other way out of the street, other than a well-worn footpath leading through the undergrowth in the direction of Carson Beach. The only indication of a purpose for the lone and shabby building at the end of the street, is a sign lit by a streetlight, proclaiming, DRINKS.
Parking the cars some fifty yards away from the bar, the men quietly make their way to the lone building and separate. Those assigned to watch the street, separate to positions on both sides and a short distance down the street, while the rear group moves to various strategic spots in view of the rear door, and the path leading out of the area. All are looking for indications of an alarm system. None is found.
Scott and his group must find a quiet way to get through the front door. As five-o’clock approaches, they examine the lock, Sergeant Allan Rockford comes forward and inserts two thin metal rods into the keyhole and deftly maneuvers then until a slight click is heard, and the door opens a couple of inches.
Scott quietly asks. “Where did you learn that stuff, Allan?”
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
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