Riverville Murder - Chapter 4

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Four

Previously:

 “Two things; did the money get to you OK and who in hell did you get to take care of that agent Anderson? They sure screwed this one up.”
“Don’t know his name. I called a friend in a South Boston bunch to find someone to take care of Anderson; paid him eight-hundred. Why do you ask, he’s dead?”
“That he is and is making headlines clear over here, as it must be there as well. My God, man, his body washed ashore not twenty miles north from you. A stupid and sloppy job. Any investigation will certainly be centered in Riverville and cover all of New England. He should have buried or burned or, at the least, dumped Anderson far at sea.”
“Gus, I don’t know what to say. The Southie bunch are considered the experts in this area.”
“Well, if you must say something, tell me the shipment is on its way.”
Hurley cringed and started to sweat, then replied, “It’s the weather, it is. They tell me it could be two more weeks. There is bad weather stirring to the north and heavy North East winds coming from the south and bringing rain. They say, if the two fronts meet, there will be nothing small moving from New England to the North Sea for a while.”

That evening at the Adams home, Kelly is sitting on the sofa in deep thought, her brow furrowed and her arms crossed hugging her body. Her father, looking over the top of his newspaper at Kelly, drops the paper to his lap.

“What’s bothering you, daughter of mine?” he gently asks.

Kelly pops back to reality and replies, “I’ve been thinking about this whole thing; murder, illegal guns and the Protestant – Catholic thing in Ulster. Daddy, I just cannot understand it. It’s beyond me why people hate each other like that. Don’t they both believe in the same God?”

“It isn’t so much about religious beliefs, but one of cultural and social differences” he replies. “It just happens that the two sides of the political fight worship a little differently. Northern Ireland was always Irish but immigrants from Scotland and England, both predominately Protestant countries, settled there in great numbers and are in the majority, as they have been for a long time. Because of the links to, and support of, England, the Protestants control most of the business, have the most opportunity and best jobs. This causes a great difference in the economy and social aspect of the two people; the Catholics generally are poor and oppressed and are in favor of the area becoming part of the Irish Republic. The Protests want to maintain the status quo.”

“But that was so long ago, Daddy. The United States has had emigration problems with certain nationalities not being accepted, and it all went away either by law or attrition. Why can’t they just get together and work it out?”

“Because there are those who just keep it boiling. When the Republic gained its independence in 1921, the IRA went right on fighting to include Northern Ireland. Over the years the English thought it necessary to have a military protection there because of assassinations and bombings by the Catholic and Protestant terrorists; which unfortunately killed many civilians. When the IRA became a parliamentary body, favoring diplomacy to gain unification, the Provisional IRA emerged and became violent in Ulster. Not having the support of the Irish Republic, they looked to underground sources to obtain weapons and ammunition. Most monies, and weapons, come from sympathizers in the Republic and in the US through phony charities and businesses. Of course, that’s all illegal under federal law in the US, but continues.”

“Well I don’t like it,” Kelly angrily responded. “If they have to fight and kill, it shouldn’t be effecting us. Can’t they keep all that at home?”

“I’m afraid not. It seems whatever happens in the world ends up with political and personal turmoil here. The US tried isolationism after the first world war. When the second world war came along, twenty-five years later, about all isolationism did was create unpreparedness, with a skeleton military force and no budget for increasing it.”

“Have you talked to uncle Carl about all this? How long does he think it will take to clear up this whole mess? I sure don’t want to spend much longer with police following me everywhere I go, and wondering if they can really protect me if they have to. I want my life back.”

“I haven’t, but I am positive he and the force are doing as much as they can, as fast as they can. And, please don’t worry about your safety. Carl and the chief have hand-picked the cops following you because they are the most capable for the job.”

“O.K. Dad, I’ll try, but I sure would like to know how much longer this will go on.”

The next morning, after roll call, Sergeant Carl Hendersen and his father the chief, sat on the podium to bring each other up to date, as they do most mornings.

“Dad, I had a call from Stanly Adams last night asking how long this murder case will take to be finalized. He told me of a conversation he had with Kelly. She is frightened and wants to get her life back and have some freedom. She even wonders if the cops following her can really protect her. What kind of an answer can we give her? I know these cases can’t be put on a schedule, but I feel for the poor girl. Is there anything we can do?”

“I suppose she could get a leave-of-absence and go visit her aunt Helen in Vermont. However, I doubt that is something she will want to do. You have a talk with her and explain the situation. Tell her what we now know. Let her know how much faith we have in the men assigned to her protection; and how important it is to ID the Somerville guys tailing her every move, and that we are close to doing just that, thanks to her protectors. Maybe, if she can see the whole picture, she’ll feel better about being so restricted. Also, ask her if there is anything else we can do for her.”

“I’ll call Stanley and ask if I can come over tonight to talk to Kelly. Now, to another subject. Francis is making preparations for Saturday night; checking out his Minox sub-miniature camera, cleaning and checking his 32cal. ankle revolver, and who knows what else. I’m convinced a visit the All Erin is a good idea and trust him to handle it. I think we should have other photos for comparison. I’m going to enlist one of the department photographers to discretely photograph the guys following Kelly, if you approve.”

“Absolutely. It will also give us a head start by running them through the State Police ID division. We might get lucky. Better notify the men assigned to Kelly so they won’t grab the photographer should they not know him.”

The chief returned to his office where his secretary told him he has a guest from the FTA, a John Guilford.

He opened the inner office and said, “Mister Guilford, I’m Chief Michael Hendersen. Very happy, but surprised to see you. I guess you are here about the demise of your agent, Anderson.

“That’s correct, Chief. I’m the district supervisor from New York. Washington asked me to make a visit to see if there is anything we can do to help.”

“As a matter of fact, there is. We have two things going on here; the murder of Anderson and some information we obtained about a couple of Somerville hoods and a shipment of illegal weapons being shipped from Portland Maine. We are assuming the two are linked but do not know how.”

“Anderson was under deep cover in the Compton Hill gang in Somerville, and collecting information on this very shipment. Unfortunately, he was murdered before he could pass the information along. The one thing we do know is how tightly the gang is linked to a mob in South Boston. The Somerville gang is not prone to much violence, so we must believe someone from Boston did the job for them.”

“Well, that makes the connection, then. We have been reluctant to call in the Somerville police or our own state police until we knew more about Anderson. Perhaps the time is now.”

“The FTA hopes you won’t do that yet. This case reaches much farther than you might expect. The CIA is on it in North Ireland, both sides, trying to find out where these guns are going should they not be intercepted before that. Also, we would like to stem the flow of money from around the country, mostly California, New York and Massachusetts, that is purchasing the weapons. We are close to proving that most, if not all, of the money is channeled through a dummy financial institution, probably in New York. The big question, which one of the hundreds of institutions is it? FTA accountants in conjunction with the IRS are working on that problem. We know that not all the money contributed to charity groups, helping the poor in Ulster, is getting where it’s intended. So, you can see the need for a bit of secrecy about the whole tangled case. Now, Chief, tell me just what you know and what your department has been doing about this matter.”

The chief first told the story of Kelly overhearing the men in the Somerville pub, and how the police are protecting her while hoping to get a line on the men following her. He went on to tell of the plan for the pub this Saturday and the police photographer being assigned to photograph the different men on Kelly’s tail.

“I understand your predicament. Can you utilize the State Police ID Division with a feeling of security that it won’t go beyond them? If not, we can put both the FBI and CIA on it. There could be an international connection to these men. A lot of people come to the US on a student or visitor’s visa and then disappear. God knows what they are up to.”

“I don’t see why we can’t do it all. One of the organizations is bound to come up with something on these two. I feel fairly safe having the State Police run the photographs. I have a couple of old friends I can depend on to handle it in secrecy,” the Chief answered.

“I won’t take any more of your time, Chief. I’m glad we had this talk. It gives us both a better understanding of what is going on. I left my card with your secretary. Please call me about anything, no matter how small you think it is. I’ll do the same, at least for a while. Washington will be sending an agent to work with you. I hope you can find desk room for him.”

“He’ll be very welcome,” the chief responded as John Guilford left the outer office.

About the same time, Detective Sgt. Carl Hendersen walked through the door of the police photo department.

“Sergeant,” a deep voice boomed from behind the counter. “What, are you lost or something? I haven’t seen you in the photo department for a couple of years.”

“No, Charley, I just figured it was time to check up on you and see if you are any uglier,” the sergeant said with a smile. “There is something else I need to talk to you about. Let’s go to your office.”

Charley Maxwell and Carl Hendersen met in the third grade and have been friends ever since. Maxwell bought a second-hand Leica camera while in junior high school and drove every one crazy with it. However, in his junior year of high school he contributed many activity pictures to the senior year book. That book won a national year book competition due largely to Charlies photos; for which he received a separate award. He became an instant celebrity at school and around Riverville. He started freelancing pictures to the local and Boston newspapers. Eventually, the Boston Globe hired him as a local stringer. This gave him the opportunity to hang around the Globe’s regular photographers once in a while. Charlie watched, listened and learned. The men liked Charlie and gladly answered all of his questions. The Globe took him on full time after a couple of years and he made a name for himself as a fearless news photographer and his dramatic pictures.

Carl followed Charley through the studio, used for police portraits and forensic photography, to Charlie office on the far side. Once in the office, Carl explained Kelly’s situation and lightly touched on the murder and gun-running problem. He also told him of the plans for the Erin Pub on Saturday night.

“Now, we would also like some professional photographs of the men tailing Kelly. I’m asking you to go on a special assignment for me and get some long and close-up photos of these men. We think there are only two of them right now, but only one at a time, swapping-off every other day. This could change so you will probably be tied-up for a week or two; either mornings, on her way to work, or evenings when she comes home. It’s your choice. I doubt it will take more than an hour or an hour and a half each day. Less if they stick to only two men. The two cops who are protecting Kelly have a routine. One follows the bad guy and the other is on the opposite side of the street and parallel to Kelly. You will probably recognize the officers. In any event, I’ll instruct them to make themselves known somehow, just in case.”

“Carl, I’m so glad you came to me. Kelly, and more so you, have been a part of my life in this community for too many years to keep me out of it. I will devote as much to this as is needed to get a complete profile on these guys. I have a great staff here and have no qualms about being away from the studio. When do I start?”

“Start tomorrow. I’ll inform the volunteers watching out for Kelly to expect you. Don’t go overboard on this. We are anxious to get the pictures to the State Police ID group and the FTA. The profile might be handy but time is important. Thanks Charlie. I know you will do a stand-up job.”

“It’s doubtful that your volunteers will even see me, most of the time anyway. I’ll be using long focal length lenses that allow me to shoot from cover and at great distances. Of course, there may be times when I will have to be in the open, but I’ll look like a tourist,” Charley told Carl.

 

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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 2019
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 5

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Five

Previously:

“Start tomorrow. I’ll inform the volunteers watching out for Kelly to expect you. Don’t go overboard on this, time is important. Thanks Charlie. I know you will do a stand-up job.”

“It’s doubtful that your volunteers will even see me, most of the time anyway. I’ll be using long focal length lenses that allow me to shoot from cover and at great distances. Of course, there may be times when I will have to be in the open, but I’ll look like a tourist,” Charley told Carl.

“We are anxious to get the pictures to the State Police ID group and the FTA. The profile might be handy”

That evening, Carl Hendersen walked to the Adams home where he sat down with Kelly and went over everything being done to protect her, explained who the men following her are and their qualifications.

“They are the best men on the force, Kelly, and all volunteers. So, you can see they are dedicated to a job they obviously want to do. I understand your frustration with the process. The only other thing we can do is put you up in a hotel somewhere away from here, or send you to Vermont and your aunt Helen.”

Kelly gave her uncle a hug while saying, “Thanks Uncle Carl. I guess I can stand it for a while, now that I understand it better, especially feeling I know the men and better appreciate what they must be giving up to help me. Most of them don’t even know me.”

Frank Sullivan and James Hurley, after a late supper at a Somerville diner, Walked, without   conversation, to the All Erin for a nightcap and found an empty booth. They sat there, sipping whisky without a word to each other.

“What in Heaven’s name are you brooding about Sullivan? You haven’t uttered a blessed word since you got home from Riverville,” Hurley blurted out.

“I’m tired, James. It’s a long, hard day on my feet keeping an eye on that girl, and to say the least, damn boring. I’m through unless you start swapping off more days than one a week. It’s not fair. Besides, she hasn’t changed her routine since we started this bloody thing.”

“You can’t quit on me now. She is bound to change soon.”

“The hell I can’t. I don’t see the point. If she was going to say anything to anyone, it would have happened by now,” Sullivan came back sternly.

“You don’t get it, do you? The point is to find a way for one of the South Boston boys to grab her, you ninny. Of course, she has talked. Now she has to pay for it.”

“You’re kidding. A nice young girl like that! How come you’re just telling me. I want no part in it.”

“You better change your mind, boy-o, or you’ll be answering to the boss his-self, or maybe someone he appoints to bring you in tow. I don’t think you will like that. And I’m talking as your friend now.”

“OK, OK, but I still need some relief. You should be swapping every other day with me, or get someone who will.”

“There isn’t anyone else free to do it, so It is up to me. I’ll start tomorrow. Now, shut up about it and start acting normal,” Hurley snapped.

Rain started falling lightly, as the two men left the pub, and quickly turned into a downpour.

“Devilish miserable weather, Hurley said as he turned up his collar. If it doesn’t clear soon, that shipment waiting in Portland will be worthless. The weather in the newspaper, says this is just the beginning. High winds are coming and a low-pressure system covering the country from Florida and Northeast for several hundred miles to sea, and heading across the Atlantic. Not good.”

The next morning, under a gray and threatening sky, Charley Maxwell rose a little early and pulled a large suitcase from under his bed. From it he selected several baseball caps, each having a different sports team’s insignia on the front. These were followed by T-shirts displaying various team names or mottos. Next came several brightly colored light weight wind-breaker jackets. He put everything in a small duffle bag. Then, he opened a drawer in his dresser and retrieved a plastic box containing several styles if mustaches and a small make-up kit, and put the box in the duffle.

By the time people started arriving at Kelly’s work building, Maxwell was settled in his car, about fifty yards away, and facing the direction from which Kelly will be walking; his Cannon thirty-five-millimeter camera, fitted with a five-hundred-millimeter telephoto lens, at the ready.

 Maxwell whispered to himself, “OK, here we go,” and started scanning the faces with the Cannon looking for Kelly. He spotted her almost immediately and continued to scan beyond her. He spotted officer Mike Marzano, so went back to Kelly and started over, trying to spot which one of the men is following her. It didn’t take long, as he was bobbing right to left and back again trying to keep an eye on Kelly between the heads of others in front of him. There is a shadow on his face from the Irish slouch hat he’s wearing. Charlie adjusted the aperture of his lens to account for the shadow and grabbed several shots of the man walking toward him.

The sidewalk being almost deserted and Kelly in the building, James Hurley crossed the street and went into the coffee shop while Maxwell was slipping into a yellow T-shirt with Eagles printed on the front, a bushy eighteen-hundreds gray mustache and a cap with a large P on the front. A green jacket topped it all. Maxwell followed Hurley into the coffee shop and saw him seated at the counter. After ordering a coffee, Maxwell left, crossed the street and sat on a bench waiting for Hurley to come out. He quickly raised his camera and got three close-ups of Hurley, who had yet put on his hat.

Hurley could not help but see Maxwell and directly approached him.

“Sure, and you’re taking a picture of me, are you?”

“Oh no, I was taking a shot of the big coffee shop sign above the door. You see, my wife has never been to this area and I’m going to Newburyport on business. She wants me to take slides along the way. She couldn’t come because she sits the grand kids during the week. I have no deadline to get there so decided to take the costal rout. Fact is, I didn’t even see you there.”

Hurley sits on the bench and wonders if he can believe this guy. “Nice camera you have there. That’s a bloody big lens. What’s it for?”

“It lets me take shots from far away. This way I can get pictures of the beaches I see without taking the time to find my way to them. The wife also likes boats. I can shoot them at sea from a pier or beach, if not too far away. Well, guess I should get going -- never know when I’ll see a nice scene to take for my wife.”

“Yea, now, you drive carefully,” Hurley replied.

Maxwell, coffee in hand, strolls to his car, does a U-turn and heads down the road. He notices the sign pointing to the Public Pier and makes the right turn. The parking lot is almost empty and he parks right at the entrance to the pier. Retrieving his camera and coffee, he heads down the pier and recognizes officers Marzano and Hendersen standing with their backs to the railing.

“Good morning, gents. How are you today?”

Surprised at the stranger, Marzano answers, “We are just fine, how about yourself?”

“Well, I’d be just great except this thing is driving me nuts.” Maxwell answers while pulling off his phony mustache.

Gales of laughter erupted from the officers. As Charlie Maxwell removed his baseball cap.

“We were told you would be around photographing the bad guys. What’s with the disguise?” Hendersen asked.

“Just a precaution. I talked to one of your bad guys today after I took his picture leaving the coffee shop; a real tight head shot. When he asked if I took his picture, I told him I was photographing the sign above the coffee shop. I followed it with a cock and bull story of why I was taking pictures. I think he swallowed it. If he should talk to anyone about the incident, I’ll be just some eccentric old guy from Philadelphia that will never be seen again.”

“Very cleaver,” Marzano said. “Are you through here for today?”

“What is Kelly’s routine? Does she go out for lunch, or take a walk. Anything unusual before she goes home?”

“Not generally. She brings her lunch most every day. We are there at lunch break, just in case. This is rather routine stuff. However, we have to be aware that they could attempt to snatch her at any time.”

“I guess I’m through for today, then. I was hoping to do a photo essay on each bad guy, sort of a profile. It just doesn’t seem feasible – too much down time. But I’ll give it a couple of days before deciding. I need to know what they do during the time Kelly is working.”

“I wish we could help you there but we try to avoid any contact at all. We don’t want to be recognized a couple of days from now.” Marzano said.”

“Understandable. Guess I’ll go back and get this film in the soup. The Chief is anxious to see some results and get them to the State Cops for ID. I’ll be around for a few days, although you might not see me. If you want to talk about anything, leave a note on my car. I’ll hang a tattered Confederate flag from the antenna. The car will be within seventy-five yards of the coffee shop, and on the other side of the street.”

 Somerville:

Frank Sullivan leaves the diner after lunch, with a toothpick dangling from his mouth, and walks a half-block to a phone booth. Once inside, he searches his jacket for a slip of paper, and places it on the shelf beside the phone. He inserts a dime in the coin slot and dials a number. After inserting another dime, as instructed by a mechanical sounding voice, the phone started ringing.

“Riverville Police, may I help you?”

“Yes, I have important information about a pending kidnapping, and perhaps murder, of Kelly Adams of your city.”

“What is your name, sir”

“Now, you never mind that. Just put me through to the chief or a detective, or I’m hanging up.”

“This is Detective Hendersen. I understand you have some information you wish to give us.”

“And that I do” Sullivan said and went about telling how some people think Kelly should pay for telling what she heard in the All Erin pub.

“Is there anything else you want to say; like who intends to make her pay or who killed the ATF agent and dumped his body in the Atlantic?” Hendersen asked.

“On my mother’s grave, I don’t know. I know the agent was murdered but I don’t know exactly who did it; perhaps one of the hit-men from Southie,” Sullivan replied. “I’m not let in on a lot of stuff,” he continued and quickly hung-up.

Carl Hendersen immediately walks the short distance to the chief’s office and told him about the call.

“We have got to do something more to protect her, Dad. I don’t think two men, keeping an eye on her is enough. And, any objections she has are certainly nullified by that call.”

“I totally agree,” the chief replied. More men can be added along with a couple of two-man un-marked cars. That will make it eight men and a means of pursuit. Unfortunately, it offers no protection to a drive-by shooting. The best bet is to get her out of town to her aunt Helen in Vermont or somewhere equally remote. I’ll bet we can get some of Helen’s brothers-in-law, she has five, to watch the place. They are all hunters and crack shots.”

“I think you should put this to her, Dad. It will carry a lot more authority coming from you. Besides, she adores you.”

“OK, I’ll stop over and talk to the family after dinner tonight. If it’s a go, I’ll call her company in the morning, explain the situation and request she be given a leave of absence.”

The chief sits forward to retrieve a full bent apple from the stand on the corner of his desk and sets a match to it. To restrict himself, he fills three pipes each morning before leaving the house. These last him through the work day.

Leaning back in his old wood office chair, he blows smoke rings at the ceiling and tries to fight the feeling of fear that comes each time he thinks of his grand daughter being in eminent danger.

Carl, on the walk back to his office his office, suddenly realizes he must ramp-up protection between now and when Kelly leaves for Vermont. It could take several days to two weeks, depending on her employer’s needs.  

Somerville:

            Frank Sullivan, wandering the streets while waiting for the All Erin to open, wonders if he has done the right thing.

“Should anyone find out I snitched, my life will be taken with dispatch,” Sullivan says to himself. “Should I leave here and head west or hop a flight to Dublin and disappear somewhere in the Republic?”

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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 2019
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 6

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Six

Previously:

            Leaning back in his old wood office chair, he blows smoke rings at the ceiling and tries to fight the feeling of fear that comes each time he thinks of his granddaughter being in eminent danger.

            Carl, on the walk back to his office, suddenly realizes he must ramp-up protection between now and when Kelly leaves for Vermont. It could take several days to two weeks, depending on her employer’s needs.  

Somerville:     

            Frank Sullivan, wandering the streets while waiting for the All Erin to open, wonders if he has done the right thing.Should anyone find out I snitched, my life will be taken with dispatch,” Sullivan says to himself. “Should I leave here and head West or hop a flight to Dublin and disappear somewhere in the Republic?

                “But then,” Sullivan continues, “How can they possibly find out. I doubt the coppers will tell anyone. And yet this whole armament thing is getting bloody. I never bargained for that. And besides, Hurley treats me like some sort of lackey that doesn’t deserve any respect. Sure, and I must do some serious thinking on this.”

Riverville:

            That evening after dinner, Chief Michael J. Hendersen pauses on the front porch to light his pipe for the walk to the Adams house. Slowly descending the steps and turning onto the sidewalk, he ponders just how he is going to address the subject of the danger Kelly is in without frightening the devil out of the family, at the same time convincing Kelly that she must get out of the area for the safety of her life.  The family was already assembled in the living room as the Chief entered.

            “Kelly, your Uncle Carl received a phone call today from a member of the gang involved in the gun smuggling and the recent murder of a federal agent. This man strongly suggested you are in great danger if you remain in Riverville. Carl and I discussed your options and we agree that you should visit you aunt in Vermont as soon as possible. I know you are against it but you do not have a choice now. It’s the safest place you can go. What with your aunt’s brothers there, you have a built in squad of guards. In the meantime, I will talk to your employer about a leave of absence that is convenient for him. I am also doubling the volunteers that are now guarding you.”

            Kelly, sitting on the love seat that occupies the alcove with the large bay windows, with her face in her hands and her shoulders shuddering, cries silently. Her mother, moving to the seat beside Kelly, attempts to calm her. Eventually she stops sobbing, raises her head and looks around the room.

            “I’m sorry to put you all through this. I would give anything if I hadn’t gone to the pub that night. However, I did go and nothing can be done to change that. If a visit to Vermont is what you all think is best for me, then so be it. I’ll make the best of it. I’m sure aunt Helen and the rest will welcome me.”

            “Good” the chief said getting to his feet. “I will get things rolling first thing tomorrow and let you know when the move will take place. I don’t think this will go on much longer. We are hopeful, very soon, of identifying the two men that tail you every day. An FTA agent will be working at the station soon. And, your Uncle Carl and cousin Francis are going to the pub Saturday to do some snooping. In the meantime, your protection is doubled and will be strategically positioned to quickly intervene should any attempt be made by strangers to approach you.” 

“Thank you, Grandpa Mike. I know you are doing all you can.” Kelly said as she walked to the chief and kissed him on the cheek.

South Boston:

Mic Mitchell descended the front stairs of his apartment building, with the rain coming down hard and the wind blowing it nearly horizontal, he pulled his hat down tighter and the collar of his raincoat up higher. He glanced at the sky and shivered slightly. October in July, he thought as the dark ominous clouds raced across the sky.

Mitchell, taken under the wing of Scott Wadsworth when he was working on The Case of The Killer Pipe, had skyrocketed to a supervisory position and is on his way up at Swenson’s Plumbing Service; a job Wadsworth was instrumental in Mic obtaining to get him on his way to a respectable life.

     After a short subway ride, Mic entered the Swenson’s Plumbing Service building and quickly went to his office where he checked a wound on his left thigh through his trousers. The deep wound, obtained on a job a week or so ago, required constant attention to retard infection. His pant legs, being soaked from the rain, caused concern that the dressing might be wet. Mic retrieved the necessary materials to replace the bandage from a desk drawer, and proceeded to the men’s room to change it. He walked directly to the men’s room, entered the first stall and lowered his pants to observe the wet and sagging bandage. After cleaning the wound with antiseptic and applying a salve, he reached for the clean bandage just as the outer door opened to the accompaniment of loud voices obviously arguing.

      “Now, hold-on, what are you doin’ draggin’ me in here sayin’ it’s a matter of life and death?”

“In a matter of speaking, it is. Now, lower your voice and check under the stalls doors to see if anyone else is in here,”

Quickly raising his trousers, Mic stepped onto the toilet seat.

     His heels clicking on the tile floor as he walked past the stalls, the voice said, “No one is here. Now, what is this about?”

     Mic stepped off the toilet and continues with the new bandage while listening intently.

     “The boss got a call from Belfast last night -----”

“Mr. Swenson?” The other voice interrupted.

     “No, stupid, the one on C Street. Now listen. Everyone from the PIRA in Belfast to Connors in New York, to the boys in Somerville are worried about that Kelly Adams overhearing Hurley and Sullivan talk about the gun shipment and spreading it around. They want her quieted – permanently. And don’t mess it up like you did with that FTA bloke, understood?”

     “Understood, but this will take some time to set-up. I’ve got to know where she goes and what she does.”

     “Hurley and Sullivan can fill you in on that. They have been tailing her day and night. So, get on it quickly.”

     Mic heard the door slam as the men left but waited a bit before leaving the men’s room. Walking swiftly, he made his way to his office while ignoring a couple of people approaching him along the way.

     “This is Michael Mitchell. Please put me through to Scott Wadsworth. It’s very important I speak to him.”

     “Michael! It’s good to hear from you. How long has it been? Two months or so?”

     “Yea, about that. Scott. I overheard something this morning and I’m not sure what to do about it. It concerns a murder and someone I think I have heard you mention”

     “Why don’t I come to Southie and we can have lunch. This doesn’t sound like something we should discuss on the phone.”

     “Fine with me,” Mic said. “I’ll meet you out front about noon. See you then.”

     Over the years, since his bout with Nazi espionage agents, Scott Wadsworth grew his legal business and gained a good deal of notoriety for his investigative skills; skills being a result of his work in Army Intelligence and later with the FBI and Boston Police Department. He still maintains his offices on Charles Street South, but most of the time he oversees the Massachusetts Attorney’s Investigative Department.

      The black Lincoln stopped directly in front of Swenson’s Plumbing Service building just as Mic Mitchell scurried down the steps and walked quickly through the rain to the car’s open back door.

     The two men exchanged greetings and Mic said hello to the driver, Sgt. Allan Rockford of the state police in his chauffer’s black suit. The car headed out and traveled to Hanover Street, turned left onto Prince and stopped at Angelo’s Restaurant.

     Scott was greeted warmly by Angelo and led to a small private dining room lavishly decorated with Neapolitan tapestries. As they ate, Mic related to Scott and Charlie what he overheard in the men’s room; emphasizing that he is astounded over such a thing happening at Swenson’s. That everyone he knows there is a stand-up person and most are family men.

     “I’ve found out those traits mean absolutely nothing when it comes to crime, Scott said. “Remember Albert (Lucky) Ryan from The Killer Pipe case? He was a family man and owner of a highly successful and profitable business but under it all he was a thief, smuggler and responsible for several murders. I know Mister Swenson would never be part of anything like this. However, he has no control over the private lives of his employees.”

     “Yes, I remember, Mic replied. “Although I am trying to erase my prior life from my memory”

     “I can understand that, Mic. Perhaps, for your own well-being, you should remember the undesirables you have come across.”

     “You’re correct, I know of Kelly Adams through her detective uncle and her grandfather. She also has a cousin on the Riverville Police Department. I don’t know what I can do to help, but I’ll take a ride up there and tell them the story. Also, I’ll put one of my people on finding any known bad guys living, or with business on, “C” Street.”

     “Mic is there anything else you can tell me about the men in question?”

     “Nothing that I can think of. I didn’t recognize their voices. I did wonder what they were doing in the office and not out on a job; unless a job has been shut down for the day for some reason.”

     “Can you check on that and let me know? Also, if a job is shut down, I want a list of the men on that job.”

     “I’ll have it for you in the morning and bring it to the state house. I have some vacation time, so I can take a day tomorrow.

     The next morning Mic arrived at the state house at nine-fifteen with a list of thirteen names.

     “Here’s the list, Scott. A crew was taken off a job on Commercial Street because of an Electricians Union problem. I guess it was a supporting move.”

     “Great, I’ll get someone right on this and see if we can narrow it down a bit.”

     Scott pressed one of the buttons on his phone and immediately his secretary walked through the door.

     “Annie, please get someone to run this through the ID section and see if there is anyone on this list having a criminal record. This might take a half hour, Mic. How about some coffee and a pipe?”

“Sure, why not!”                                                                                                                                                                                Annie located Scott in the coffee room and handed him a folder containing the records of three men. Scott took a cursory look at the records before standing.

“Thanks, Annie. I’ll be out the rest of the day. If you urgently need me, try the Riverville Police Department or that bag phone Allan keeps in the car. Oh yes, have Allan Rockford meet us at the back door, please. Let’s go Mic.”                                                        

Riverville:

Charley Maxwell was in place near Kelly’s work with his Canon fitted with a five-hundred-millimeter lens. He decided to stay in his car, partly because of the light rain and high wind, and shoot at a distance.

James Hurley followed Kelly to work a bit too close to suit Maxwell. He decided to speak to the officers following her about it first chance he could. The lens proved to do the job perfectly and he has several good shots of Hurley; who immediately went in the coffee shop when Kelly entered her building.

Maxwell started his car and drove to the sub shop up the street. The officers on duty that day retreated there from the rain about the time Hurley entered the Coffee Shop. The shop appeared empty, except for the officers seated at a table drinking coffee. Francis Hendersen being the only one he recognized.

“Good morning, Frances. Are these gentlemen on the job with you?”

“Hello Charley. Why yes, they are. Dad doubled the crew due to some new information that came in. I don’t know what that is, but it must be critical. Have a seat and some coffee,” Frances said and then proceeded to introduce the other officers.

Maxwell, after taking a couple of sips of coffee, “I noticed the bum following Kelly was a lot closer to her than the other guy I photographed. That concerned me and I wanted to bring it to your attention if you hadn’t noticed.”

“Yea, I noticed. We were talking about it before you came in. It would make it easier to grab her if a car pulled up beside her.”

“Exactly,” Maxwell replied.

“You’ve had years more experience on the beat than any of us. What do you think we should do?” Frances asked.

“I’d move the two from across the street and have them be ahead of Kelly a few steps, and the two behind Kelly, close behind the bad guy. Also, I’d have weapons cocked and placed where they can be easily drawn. I doubt an abduction will be tried in this area – just too many people. It’s more likely before or after she is in a congested area.”

Frances thought a few seconds the replied, “You’re right. We’ll do just that, and I’ll inform the sergeant about it. He will probably want to instruct the rest if the volunteers to do the same. Thanks, Charley.”

Maxwell finished his coffee quickly, stood up and shook hand all around saying, “Happy to meet you all. I’m usually in my studio and don’t meet new people very often. Now, I must get back to work. If I can find that guy, I want to do a good study of him and get back to my lab.”

The rain had stopped when Maxwell got back to his car. He drove back past the coffee shop and spotted Hurley turning the corner as if heading for the yacht club and the public pier. He stopped and waited a couple of minutes before turning to follow Hurley and parking in the small lot just short of the pier. He opened his duffle bag and fished out a Red Sox cap and jacket along with a short false beard, put them on and started walking toward the pier, his Canon hanging from his shoulder. Hurley was leaning against a light post at the end of the pier. Maxwell acted as if he was taking pictures in all directions from the pier and quickly shooting Hurley in the process. He noticed Hurley taking his raincoat off, and in the process, his sport jacket partially came off one shoulder revealing, in a shoulder holster, what looked like, a thirty-eight-caliber revolver. He swung the camera and grabbed three shots before Hurley could adjust his jacket. He continued photographing the area around the pier while getting closer to his subject.

“What are you doing?” Hurley asked.

“Me? I’m taking shots of the pier for the town. They plan to expand the pier this fall and need photos for the engineers. Sure glad the rain stopped. I’m on a short deadline as it is. Have a good day” Maxwell lied, turned and returned to his car. 

AT 11:00 a.m. the same morning, Allan Rockford guided the state police Lincoln carrying Scott and Mic, into a “GUEST” spot of the Riverville Police Department parking lot.

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

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 2019
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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