Case of the Riverville Murder
A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
Chapter Twenty Eight
“Thank you -- very informative.” Judge Millstone said. “I read in the paper, the young officer Simmons passed away. I understand he was shot outside your office. Tell me more about that.”
“Respectively, Sir, I cannot. All I can tell you is that he is not dead. It’s all tied into the attempts on my life and this case. To tell you more will jeopardize Simmons’ life.”
“All right, Chief Investigator. I’ll accept that. But, when this is over, I want the full story.”
On the way out, Allan said, “That wasn’t bad. I thought you might get a good chewing-out for something, Boss.”
“No. Despite the judge’s abruptness, likely caused by being so busy, he is a good and reasonable man. Now, how about Angelo’s for lunch?”
The car headed out, traveled to Hanover Street, turned left onto Prince, and stopped at Angelo’s, Allan’s favorite restaurant.
The restaurant has none of the trappings of some Italian restaurants in the area; no murals of gondolas in Venice, or leaning towers, or hill senes in Sicily, no basket-housed Cianti bottled on tables. The interior is dark Walnut with a beamed ceiling and just the right amount of light emanating from stained-glass chandeliers placed about ten feet apart. The tables are correctly set with china and silver on white linin. The service people are all men, impeccably dressed in black trousers, white shirts with black bowties. They intimately know each wine on the list and what makes up each menu item. To top it all is the excellent, authentic food.
Later, walking to the car through Angelo’s parking lot, Scott and Allan hear a gruff voice yell, “Scott, oh, Scott.”
Turning, they saw a large man rushing toward them. Allan immediately pulled his weapon and concealed it behind his leg. Scott, sensing Allan’s tension, said, “It’s OK, I know him. It’s Pops Klien.”
Pops approached with a huge grin, and his hand extended. “Pops, How long has it been? How are you?” Scott asked.
“Six years, I think, Scott. And I’m fit as a fiddle.”
“Well, what brings you here, my friend?”
“Food, of course. I come here once a week – the best Italian in the city.”
“No argument there,” Allan said and held out his hand, saying, “I’m Allan Rockford.”
‘Well, Pops, what’s new in your world?” Scott asked.
“Micheal Mitchell, that’s what! I first thought you were pulling a prank on me. He knocked the middle out of his first target as if he lived with that pistol half his life. No lengthy lessons on the Colt 1911 for that young man.
“How about range safety? Did Mic handle the weapon correctly?”
“Like a pro, Scott. I handed him a box of cartridges, and he did everything correctly from then until I pulled the target back for inspection. I gave him no preliminary instructions, either.”
“So, will you qualify him?”
“Absolutely. I haven’t seen shooting like that since my competition days. The certificate is in the mail to you. I thought you might like to give it to Mic. Now it’s getting late, and I’m as hungry as a bear. Good to see you, Scott, you too, Allan,” Pops said as he hurried on to the restaurant.
All the while, the State Troopers assigned to protect Scott sat in their unmarked patrol car a hundred or so yards away. They spotted the large man approaching Scott, and suspecting trouble, the driver started the vehicle. Moving slowly toward the scene, the second trooper raised his binoculars for a closer look.
“Hold it!” He said. “That’s Pops Kline! I haven’t seen him for a long time. If Mister Wadsworth just had one friend, it would be Pops.”
The troopers waited until Allan exited the parking area and followed. They parked illegally but as close as possible to the Charles Street South office and waited for Scott and Allan to enter the building. The driver put a “Metropolitan Electric Co.” sign behind the windshield while the other trooper entered the building and waited. It wasn’t long before a tall, well-built man entered and went to the elevator. The officer followed, and when the man exited the elevator at Scott’s floor, he stopped him.
“May I asked where you are going, Sir?”
“What’s it to you?” the man asked, being somewhat disturbed at the intrusion.
“Police business,” the trooper replied, showing his badge while at high alert for trouble.
“Sorry, you should identify yourself first. My name is Micheal Mitchell. I’m going to Scott Wadsworth’s office.”
“Do you have business with Mister Wadsworth?”
“No, he’s a friend. I happened to be in the area and stopped in to say hello. Come in with me, and you’ll see.”
Mic opened the door and said, “Hi, Annie. How are you?”
“Hello, Mic. I’ll tell him you are here.”
Mic and the officer entered the inner office. Scott said, “What brings you here today, Mic, and who is your friend?”
“He’s a cop from the hallway who just gave me the third degree about being here.”
Now a little flustered, the officer said, “Mister Wadsworth, Mister Mitchell, please understand, I was doing my job.”
“Mic, due to the shootings, I have protectors these days. It wasn’t anything personal.”
At which, Mic shook the officer’s hand, saying, Good job, mate. Take good care of my friend here and yourself. Be safe.”
Scott gave Mic the news regarding his gun qualification, mentioning seeing Pops today and how impressed he is with Mic.
“A very personable and caring man, that one. After the exam, we became instant friends. Before that, I thought him a gruff old coot. What’s the next step for the license?”
“Don’t worry about that. I’ll run it through personally and pull some strings if necessary. It is an emergency, so I doubt there will be a problem.”
“Thanks, Scott. I hope I never have to use the damn thing. Although confronting Smyth, I sure would not hesitate. Smyth has put me in bad situations for much too long, even framing me for several things I had no part of. Luckily, I was able to wiggle out of them. It got so the copper’s in England caught on to what he was doing to me and didn’t bother me, other than to ask if I knew about the incident.”
“That life is all over now. Let’s hope Smyth is back in prison soon.”
“Right!” Mic responded. “Here am I, babbling on and taking up your time. I just intended to say hello, and see if Annie would like to go out tonight. See you later, Scott, Allan.”
The hand radio on Scott’s desk squealed, and he immediately picked it up.
“Boss, We followed Callan to the Italian Club. Callan went in, and soon another vehicle pulled into the lot. I could not see the other driver’s face as he exited the car or went into the club. Should we take them?”
“No, not now. Wait for fifteen-minutes; others might come. Do not approach the club in either case. If they do come and in more than one more vehicle, I want the license plate numbers recorded and brought to me after a reasonable time. Should we obtain names and address information from the plate numbers, arrests can be more safely made one by one. Keep in touch.”
“Got it, Boss,” Qualter said. Then, Scott heard Qualter’s radio switch off.
Qualter and Guatino, sitting in the car, watched the Italian Club for a while before Guatino asked, “Do you think it will be wise to move the care to another spot, Lloyd?”
“Good Idea. I’ll drive up the road a mile, make a u-turn, and come back to park on the opposite side of the street.” A third car sat in the parking lot when they returned, and five minutes later, another arrived. Qualter drove to the back of the lot where the plates can be seen. Passing his binoculars to Guatino, Qualter says, “Read them to me, Al, and I’ll write them down. Then, we’ll radio Wadsworth and head back to his office.”
Late afternoon traffic made it difficult for Qualter to get to Scott quickly. When they walked into his office, Scot said jokingly, “Did you stop for dinner or come here via Brockton?”
“Come on, Boss. The traffic was terrible -- we did our best. Here are the plate numbers. Interesting that one is a Rhode Island plate.”
“That it is! Could Callan be recruiting talent from Rhode Island? Or, working on a deal with a gang there?”
Guatino said, “I have relatives in Rhode Island. One is a cop down there and hears a lot of stuff. I’ll make some inquiries.”
“OK, but don’t be specific or use names, please, ”Scott replied. “I’ll get these numbers to the records clerk in the morning and try to rush them for an answer by the end of the day.”
“This meeting at the Italian Club could announce the end for the C Street gang, don’t you think, Boss,” Allan asked.
“Hopefully. But, there is a problem surrounding Callan that I haven’t mentioned. Historically, when a high-ranking cop goes wrong, it doesn’t end there. Other officers are carefully recruited to do his bidding. To date, I have no evidence of that being the case here. Let’s hope none comes to light.”
“You two stay on Callan and keep me informed if anything out of the ordinary occurs. Get back to the Italian Club. He might still be there. Should you recognize anyone else as they leave, let me know.”
“OK, Boss. We’d like to know who owns those cars at the club,” Qualter hinted.
Scott looked skeptically at the two detectives and said, “All right, I’ll radio you when I find out, so don’t let your curiosity get the better of you, and barge into the club.”
Gray clouds started blowing in on an increasing wind as Qualter turned the vehicle towards South Boston. Just before the two detectives reached the Italian Club, rain burst forth and came down in thick sheets.
“Jeez, Lloyd, how are we going to see any faces leaving the club? I can’t see five feet ahead!”
Qualter, having slowed to fifteen miles per hour, replied, “We’re not going to unless it lets up some.” and drove around to locate a strategic spot for observing, head-on, those leaving. However, by the time the rain slacked off, it became too dark to see from an unobserved position.
Callan didn’t leave the club for a half-hour after the others. Lloyd Qualter eased their car into traffic three or four vehicles behind Callan and followed him home. As the rain increased, they waited for him to leave for his nightly to visit the pub. He never did leave.
“That’s it, my friend, let’s call it a day,” Lloyd said while he eased the car away from the curb.
“Yes, Sir, sounds good to me – want me to drive tomorrow?” Al asked.
In the Morning, Scott opens the front gate to Walnut Street and finds Allan waiting for him. Collapsing his umbrella, he slides in next to Allan.
“I told you I wanted to walk this morning. Thought I’d give you some time for yourself.”
“Boss, I appreciate that, but the rain is so heavy, I thought you might like to get to the statehouse dry.”
Allan made his morning run to the coffee room while Scott called the RMV’s I.D. department, asking for data surrounding the license plate numbers, saying, “The information is vital to an on-going murder case, so I hope you can speed it up for me.”
“Yes, Sir, Mister Wadsworth. I’ll run these through personally and get right back to you.”
While Scott and Allan, enjoying their coffee and waited for the RMV’s call. Qualter and Guatino came into the office, looking like wet cats.
“What’s going on, you two? You look as if you fell in the Charles River.”
Guatino, taking off his soaked jacket, replied, “For some stupid reason, Callan went for a walk this morning all decked out as a Glouster fisherman – we followed.”
“Then,” Qualter interjected, “When he came home, took his car and headed west through Watertown and Waltham on route twenty. Between the heavy traffic and the rain limiting vision, I lost him somewhere in Weston. Sorry, Boss, losing him was inevitable in this rain.”
“Not a very good start to the day, is it? Get some coffee and dry out a bit. It’s always warm in the coffee room. When you are ready, go on home. Should it clear later, you can try to latch on to Callan, but don’t worry about losing him. He isn’t going away – too much at stake.
The RMV called three hours later, gave the names to Scott, and said, “This afternoon, I’ll mail an official form containing the information I just provided.”
“Thank you for the speedy service.”
“Not a problem, Mister Wadsworth. Call anytime.”
The office was silent in anticipation as Scott, again, read the names and addresses.
Scott tossed the paper on his desk, looked at the three officers sitting across from him, and verbally observed, “Gentlemen, sorry to tell you, but we’ve been had. Alice Nadeau is on this list.”
“How can that be, Boss?” Allan asked. “She gave you the names of the lieutenants and the area where they might live. I don’t get it!”
Qualter added, “We don’t know if the names are actual. We have no proof.”
“Those lieutenants’ names are on the list I just received. There is only one reason Alice Nadeau revealed their names,” Scott said. “She wants to get them out of the way along with Callan. That leaves the way open for her to take command of -- and rebuild the gang.”
“Wow, what a twist,” Guatino said, almost in a whisper.
“On second thought, and the chance of this is highly remote, but must be considered,” said Scott, “She works for an unknown employer with as much interest in wiping out the C Street gang as we have. Don’t ask me who. I can’t even guess.”
“Do you want her picked up, Boss,” Qualter asked.”
“No, I want to do that myself. You’ll be back-up if there is more there than we are bargaining for,” Scott said as he copied Nadeau’s address to another sheet of paper for Qualter.”I want to knock on that door, the “John Doe” warrant in hand, at eight AM. Lloyd, you be in sight of the house, but move in front as Alan and I enter. Understood?”
“Yes, Sir,” Qualter said, standing almost at attention at Scott’s desk, the address paper held tightly to his side.
“OK, Go home before you catch your death, and hope tomorrow brings better weather. I have to talk with Matt Hart about this new turn.”
On hearing about Alice Nadeau, Matt Hart thought for several minutes, drumming his fingers on his desk.
“I agree totally. Before you can move against the three lieutenants, we must know what her game is. If a new agency is involved, why don’t we know about them? Follow through with tomorrow’s action. It’s the only thing we can do right now.”
Luckily the next day dawned without a cloud in the sky. In a neighborhood with opulent homes and lawns like golf courses, Allan sighted Qualter and Guatino parked a half-block from Nadeau’s house as they approached it.
“Oh, my,” Alice Nadeau said as she opened the door. “Two handsome gentlemen, and so early in the morning. What can I do for you?”
“ Scott waved the warrant at her while Alan stepped in behind her. Scott proclaimed, “Alice Nadeau, under this John Doe warrant, you are under arrest on suspicion of racketeering. Please turn around and place your hands behind your back.”
Nadeau objected vehemently as Scott applied handcuffs to her wrists and walked her toward the car. Qualter and Guatino, behind bushes on both sides of the door, moved in and flanked Nadeau.
At Scott’s car, Alice asked, “Aren’t you even going to let me take my purse? It’s on the hall table.”
“Lloyd, get her handbag and make sure the door locks when you close it.”
Alice looked at Scott as he checked her bag for a weapon and said sarcastically, “Well, now, aren’t you the generous one?”
Matt, Scott, and Alice Nadeau sit around a conference table in Matt’s office at the statehouse, while Qualter and Guatino stand, one on each side of the door.
“I suppose you are wondering why you are not at a police station being booked, ”Matt said to Alice.
She, in return, just shrugged her shoulders and looked bored.
“It is a quandary to us why you met with Captain Callan, Jason Atkins, Cressey, and Zebrine, along with someone from Rhode Island at the Italian Club,” Scott said. “Rather than booking you, we thought we might hopefully clear this up with a conversation, apologize and take you home.”
“Not that simple, boys, Alice replied.”
A bit exasperated, Matt asked, “Can you then explain exactly why it is not simple. We are trying to give you a break here, lady.”
“I can not -- not at this place in time. Doing so might just botch things up for you and allow “C” street to build again quickly. So go ahead and book me because that is all I have to say. I can get in trouble saying the small amount I did say.”
“Can I then assume you are working, in some strange way, to benefit our governments?” Matt asked.
“Yes,” Alice answered. “And that is as far as I can take it. If you believe me, let me go. If not, book me and take your chances with the remainder of the “C” gang. I will make bail immediately and try to continue my work.”
“I tend to believe you, Alice,” Scott said. If you can only give us an understandable hint regarding the person, agency, or department for whom you are working, I will vote for your release.”
“I concur with that statement, Alice, Matt said.
“All right, and this is as much as I can say. The agency is federal. I have worked underground many times for them successfully. The Orders for this assignment comes from the Boston U.S. Attorney and goes higher than you might think. If you should question the U.S. attorney, you will be disappointed. I’m that secret.”
“OK, Alice,” Matt said. “If Mister Wadsworth agrees, you are free to go. Allan will take you home.”
“That’s fine with me, Matt.”
Matthew Hart stood, hands on the table, and leaning close to Nadeau,” Remember, Miss Nadeau, we are keeping an eye on you and looking to discredit your statement. Considering you could be truthful, your protection is also a consideration of our surveillance.
“Thank you. I assure you, it’s a correct decision and you will not regret it. When this is all over, we’ll sit down, and I’ll tell you everything. Please inform me if you are going to pick-up Callan and or his lieutenants. I’ll need to complete business with them. That business will cement my case, as well as yous.
“Agreed, Allan, take the lady home.”
Matt returned to his chair and thumped his fingers on the table. Looking pensive, he said, “ Scott, what in the world is going on in this state. How can she be working under a U.S. Attorney and us not know about it?”
“The only way I can think of is through a top-secret security rating, and more than likely, emanating from D.C. Otherwise, I feel certain Judge Millstone would ask me about Nadeau, or, at least, mention her name.”
“Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Well, I have other things to attend today,” Matt said as he rose and headed for the door. “Despite Miss Nadeau and whatever she is up to, you keep up with Callan and his boys. “She might just fall on her face and leave us hanging.”
“I’m way ahead of you, Matt. I made that same decision from the minute she started giving us threads of information with no substance.” Matt nodded knowingly and closed the door behind him.
Scott strolled across the Boston Common, enjoying the early October that favors New England. It was early, and Annie was not at the Charles Street South office as yet. Scott opened the office door, noticing an envelope on the floor. Picking up the envelope and placing it in his suit jacket pocket before he entered the inner office. He started going through his messages, sorting the to-do from the ignore, and then going over contracts that had been sorely ignored in deference to the South Bostom problem.
The sun was creeping around to the office windows, and it was getting warm. Scott stood to remove his jacket as Annie entered.
“What’s that colored envelope in your pocket, anything important?” Annie asked.
“I really haven’t looked?” Scott said as he handed the envelope to Annie. “It was on the floor when I came in – shoved underneath, I suppose.”
Annie handed the contents to Scott, saying, “It’s a Cablegram -- glad I noticed it in your pocket.”
“It’s from Karl von Ropp at Interpol. He says that Gerald Smyth has been recaptured in Nice, France. He was masquerading as a seaman and trying to get a job on a ship heading for the U.S.A. It seems he had poorly forged papers. A port official alerted the police, who, in turn, called Interpol.”
“Isn’t that good news! Mic will be so happy to know, Annie exclaimed. “He has been really uptight about it, thinking he might have to use his new gun if Smyth isn’t caught.”
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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