Riverville Murder - Chapter 23

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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.

Riverville Murder - Chapter 21

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty One

Previously:

No sooner than he entered BPD Headquarters, than Captain Callan stepped up and shuffled him aside saying, “Do you have the reports? I’m kind of anxious to see them.”

“Yes, naturally, but the chief gets them first. I’ve tagged a set for you and the chief will pass them on if he wishes,” Scott replied, somewhat aggravated.

Before they passed through the double doors to the office area, Scott noticed Sergeant Mark Simmons had been watching through one of the door windows. As their eyes met, Simmons frowned deeply and gave a negative shake of his head that was almost imperceptible.

Upon leaving, Scott again found Simmons standing in the hall, obviously waiting for him, and said, “Is there something you want, Sergeant?”

Yes, sir, I’ll walk you out – can’t talk here.”

“OK. My car is waiting. You walk down the block and turn the corner. We’ll pick you up.”

Simmons quickly entered the back seat of Scott’s car, seconds before Allan put the accelerator pedal half way to the floor and the powerful town car sped off.

Scott turned to Simmons and asked, “What is this all about, Sergeant Simmons?”

“Well sir, I might lose my job over this, but you have worked too hard and have treated me so well, I just can’t hold certain facts from you, so here goes.  Norman (Baldy) Riley has been murdered. Not an hour after he was transferred to the county jail, his throat was cut. This is being hushed-up by the department, although I doubt it will last, seeing it is a county facility, and the newspapers will be all over it. Thankfully, they have a way of knowing things and have no reservations about making them public. The interesting part of this is Captain Callan. Remember, he joined you immediately after you finished with Ryan. Anything you told him, he probably assumed came from Ryan. Also, I’ve been with the captain through most of his interviews with the prisoners. Not once did he ever ask about the leaking of your raid plans, or Goddard’s lieutenants. I understand he told you he couldn’t get anything out of the prisoners. Another odd thing; that first day he came with me, he told you he was just an observer. Now, he is into everything and is asking you for reports.”

“That’s right Sir. Allan interjected as he sped toward the Federal Courthouse, Mark and I briefly talked about Callan saying he was just an observer over coffee on Friday, and wondering how he became so involved.”

“Well, he did mention Judge Millstone’s office as a possibility, Scott replied. I’m on my way there now to discuss it with him. I’ll have to follow up, but I’ll also have to be very tactful. Just what are you trying to tell me Simmons? Do you suspect Callan might be attached to Goddard somehow?”

“Frankly, I’d bet on it. I guess I already have placed my bet by talking to you right now. When we were all cooped-up in Goddard’s bar, he made short, quiet visits to a few of the prisoners, and made several hushed phone calls – but only when you weren’t there. The visits were what got me thinking. I’ve been more interested in his activities since then. I think he is running the C Street gang, now that you have Goddard. His lying to you is what caused me to approach you with what I’ve observed. Hope I did the right thing.”

“I’d say so. If you are right – you’re a hero. If you are wrong – no harm done, and no one will know about it, other than we three. Frankly, I hope news of Ryan’s murder does get out. I can turn it around and use it as another tool against the incarcerated gang members. Then they will know that any one of them can be next, and only I can protect them.”

Scott grabbed his briefcase and exited the car in front of the court house. “I’ll make this as short as possible, so don’t go far.”

“No sir. There is a spot just ahead, Allan said, that is out of this restricted area. We’ll wait there.”

Allan and Mark, watching Scott ascend the steps to the court house, and suddenly saw chips of concrete fly up around his feet. Each chip was immediately followed by the report of a high-powered rifle. Allan and Mark jumped from the car with weapons drawn, and quickly scanned the rooftops across the street for the shooter. At the same time, Scott leapt from the right edge of the steps into a sheltered lower entrance, his Webley Mark VI in his hand. Soon, guards ran out of the court house entrance; a couple with machineguns.

Not seeing anyone, Allan and Mark ran across the street and up three floors to the roof. Nothing was found there other than an empty Coke bottle and three thirty-caliber shell casings, they quickly returned to the street.

Scott was on the car radio when Allan and Mark returned. Placing the microphone in its cradle, he said, “I’ve reported the shooting. This area will be full of cruisers soon. Did you find anything up there?”

“Three cartridges and a Coke bottle, Mark replied. Do you want them now?”

“No, later.” Scott said and started back up the stairs to the distant sound of sirens approaching.

“Good to see you Scott, Judge Millstone said. What was all the ruckus outside?”

“Someone took three shots at me with a rifle. I guess he didn’t want me to see you, judge.”

“I know you’ll find out who did the shooting – probably connected to this Goddard thing you have on your hands. You have plenty of resources and manpower, and you can call on this office any time you have a need.”

“Thank you, sir, and I want to get after him as soon as possible. So, I’ll get right to the point and be blunt. Is there anyone associated with you personally, or with this office, you suspect of leaking information regarding the recent raids?”

“In my mind, I have examined everyone having any knowledge of the warrants or the raids. There is one person, and I stress one because everyone else has been with me for eight-years or longer. I trust them completely. The one is Carlton Mason. Mason works for the Harbor Courier Service and has been assigned to the Federal Court for six years. He serves all judicial officers in the court, which, theoretically, puts him in a perfect position to have access to valuable information. Now, I’m not saying I have proof, or even that I suspect him of any wrongdoing. He is just in the perfect position to pass-on information.”

Scott absorbed the judge’s statement for a minute and replied. “Thank you. It’s about what I expected your answer to be, other than that pertaining to Mr. Mason. I’ll put one of my men on investigating him. If he is clean, we’ll know it soon. I’ll keep you informed. I want to get onto the evidence from the shooting you heard, so if you will excuse me, I’ll be on my way.”

“Off you go, Scott, and good luck with it all,” the judge said while dismissing Scott with a wave of his hand.

“Back to Charles Street, Allan,” Scott said as he entered the front seat of the car.

“Allan, get on the radio and get me a phone connection with Hancock-5535. That’s Harry Malison’s number. I’m going to see if he will put the cartridges and bottle through FBI forensics for me.”

Harry Malison, waiting in Scott’s inner office, turned from the window as Scott entered. “You beat me here, Harry! Good to see you.”

“Yes, I rushed right over after you called, because a minute later I heard the news report of the shooting. What is this about you being a target? Do you know who it was?”

“It made the news already, did it? I don’t know who did the shooting, but I have an idea who is behind the attempt. You will hear more later if you are called in on the trials, and at this stage of the case, I’m positive you will be called. This started out with us thinking we were dealing with a small bunch of gun dealers and one murder. It evolved into a problem for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, the towns of Riverville and Sommerville, Interpole, the ATF, FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard. We are right at the end, or were, until someone decided to kill me. Anyway, I have a couple of favors to ask of you that I don’t want run through normal channels, and no reports that will be given out until I give you the OK. One is forensic testing of these three casings and this coke bottle. The other is a complete run-through on Captain Claud Callan of the BPD. I would like a deep look into his personal life as far back as possible, as well as his police records.”

“That sounds like you think he’s dirty.”

“I just want to be sure before I move on him, Scott said emphatically. Oh, and while you are at it. Do a preliminary check on Carlton Mason. Mason works for the Harbor Courier Service here in town. He might be involved with some leaks we have discovered. If anything comes up, we can dig deeper into him later.

“You’ve got it, my friend, and it will be our secret until you say otherwise.”

Scott turned to Allan and Mark saying, “Harry and I go all the way back to high school, served in the Army at the same time during the first war, me in Army Intelligence in France, and Harry in Washington catching spies. He’s been a gumshoe ever since. Jointly, we have been involved in several interesting cases over these many years.”

“Don’t get me going about that stuff, Harry said laughingly, I’ve got work to do. See you all later.”

The phone started ringing just as Harry closed the door. “Nancy, calm down. There is no proof that the shots were meant for me. There were several other people on the steps,” Scott lied, in an effort to dispel Nancie’s fears.”

“I was about out of my mind trying to locate you. The radio commentator made it sound so grizzly. I imagined you crumpled up on the steps bleeding.”

“Believe me, I’m fine and in one piece. Now take a deep breath and try to relax. I’ll try to get home early today,” Scott said before hanging up.

Scott turned to Allan and Mark. “Mark, I think I would like a tail on Claud Callan for several days. Do you know anyone skilled enough to do that and not be detected?”

“Yes, but I don’t think anyone from the BPD can tail someone from his same force and not be found out. I think we should look elsewhere. From the short time I’ve known him, Detectives Lloyd Qualter could fill the bill. If you recall, he was one of the guards, along with Al Guatino, who controlled the prisoners at Goddard’s bar as they were brought in. I had time to talk to him at Goddard’s. He’s a Mass. State rookie detective by rank, but has several years of work in that capacity as a patrol sergeant, having been called on when the detective squad was thinned-out with too much work. He impressed me with his intelligence and knowledge of detective work. Under the circumstances, it is my opinion he will be anxious to help you.”

“Thanks Mark. How about you Allan? Any suggestions?”

“I wish I did, boss. I’m with you most of the time, so I have very little contact with other state policemen. For all intent and purpose, I might just as well be a civilian.”

“Thanks for being forthright with me. I appreciate it. I’ll get ahold of Qualter later and find out if he is interested. Now, let’s get out of here. I’m anxious to get home and show Nancy that I’m not injured.”

“Mark, do you want to be dropped off at your headquarters?”

“Yes, thanks. I have to get my car. I just stopped in at the BPD to get something out of my locker. It’s actually my day off, so I don’t have to explain where I have been – unless I’ve been mentioned on the news.”

Scott looked at him for several seconds before saying, “If you were on the news and are asked for an explanation, politely say it’s confidential and decline. Then, refer them to me. I’ll take care of an explanation.”

At home, Scott finally proved to Nancy that he was totally in one piece with no wounds.

After diner, Scott settled into his big leather chair and called the Cosmo Natali Boston, Police Chief, at his home, “Cosmo, sorry to bother you at home, but I’ll excuse myself in the name of friendship. I have a request you will not like, but believe me, it is critical to this South Boston effort. Please do not, under any circumstances, give Claud Callan his copies of my reports.”

“Are you going to tell me why I shouldn’t pass them on? What in the world is going on, Scott?” the chief asked.

“Some information came to me, just hours ago, that is causing me to suspect the captain is colluding with Goddard’s organization. The murder of Norman Riley and the attempt on my life today affirms the Goddard gang is very much alive and functioning. The information I have indicates Claud Callan is, more than likely, running the show. That is about all I feel comfortable divulging. I hope you understand.”

“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 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.”

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

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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Keeping the smoking lamp lit since 1989