Riverville Murder - Chapter 2

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Two

Previously:

The object, as he freed it from the glue-like mud, appears to be a sea bag with barely discernable letters, USN, stenciled near the top, a six-foot rope securely tying the opening closed. Hendersen, pulling on the rope, puffed and strained to drag the bag over the mud to the walkway. Once there, and greased with mud, it was relatively easy to move the bag along the wooden walkway. He estimates it weighs a hundred pounds or better. Once off the walkway, he made a quick inspection of the contents by feeling through the canvas and detected what appears to be a leg with a foot attached. A cold shiver came over him as he moved the sea bag to the tall grass bordering the flats, scrapes some mud from his boots and trots back to the road and the nearest police call box.

Sunday dawned bright and clear and the Adams clan decided to walk the five blocks to Saint Michael’s church, arriving just as the Hendersen’s rounded the corner and approached them. For many years, the two families habitually shared the same third-row pew, and after mass take breakfast together. As is the case, the staff at the “Humble Mushroom” restaurant joins two tables and puts out place settings in preparation for the two families’ weekly visit. They joyfully chat among themselves while eating and when an occasional friend or relative stops by to say hello. All in all, it is a happy, carefree time for the two families.

As the families leave the restaurant, Kathleen approaches Agnes and says, “Remember sister, it’s my day for dinner and yours to bring dessert.” “No worries, I haven’t forgotten. We’ll see you at four, sharp.”

Somerville:
James Hurley and Frank Sullivan, are strolling along the street, enjoying the warmth of the sun after a filling breakfast, and discussing the urgency of getting the armament shipment, sitting in the trawler Dolphin at Portland, on its way.

“I just wish we had the balance of the payment. That fact worries me,” Sullivan told Hurley.

“You have to have some trust, Frank, me boyo. Its not like we haven’t done business with the New York group before. We’re all in this together; and then there is the great cause were all after. It’s not all about the money.”

“I’m aware of all that, Jim. Don’t I have an entire family decimated by the Prods and one of their bombs?” Sullivan replied.
“And sorry my heart is for you, and them. It is a terrible thing.”

The two walked along in silence for a while and Hurley suddenly turned to Gaelic and said, “What about the girl. Do you think we have anything to worry about if she happened to hear our conversation last night?”

“How should I know. Even if she heard, I doubt she knows what we really talked about. She’s a youngster and, more than likely, could care less.”

“Perhaps, but I’d like to know more about her, Hurley continued. I want you to get up to Riverville and find out what you can about Kelly Adams; where she works and what her family does. Follower her as much as possible and remember her habits. Give it a few days. That should be long enough to get a good picture. However, if you think you have been noticed, don’t take any chances. Get out of there quickly.”

Sullivan suddenly stopped walking, knocked his pipe against his heel to dislodge the ash, and turned to Hurley, “OK, Jim. You’re the boss and I’ll do it. I hope and pray you don’t have anything bad in mind for that young lady. We’re not animals, and remember, this is the USA, not Ulster. Besides that, these young American lasses aren’t interested in politics much less what’s going on in Ireland. Their life is a good time, parties, dancing and boys. She has probably already forgotten Saturday night, much less what she might have overheard. I wish you would call it off and leave her alone. But then, you are always bent on dramatics and violence. You should have left it all back in the old country.
At that very moment in the Catholic section of Belfast, in a run-down warehouse with CONDEMED notices nailed to the doors, Gus Malone picked up the phone, asked for long-distance and gave the operator Jim Hurley’s number. The warehouse, for the time, is the headquarters of the provisional IRA. Gus Malone sits at a makeshift packing box desk in a small hidden room. A green painted industrial light fixture hangs over the desk from a nail in a ceiling beam. Two scared kitchen chairs complete the decor. Holding the phone on his shoulder, Malone scoops tobacco from an old oilskin pouch into the bowl of a large, full-bent, Pot. Just as he scraps a kitchen match across the end of the desk, the operator returns to tell him the number he wanted is not answering. He thanks her and slams the receiver on its cradle and quickly discards the, nearly burned out, match. He lit-up again and, in a fit of anger, puffed furiously at the prospect of having to spend the rest of the day trying to contact Hurley.

Riverville:
In the Hendersen home, dinner is over and the women, gathered in the kitchen, are about washing dishes and tidying up. The men, with the Sunday paper divided among them, sit quietly in the living room reading; with after-dinner pipe smoke casting a blue hew to the shafts of late afternoon sun entering the large bay window.
Kelly Adams slowly enterers the room and sits on the arm of her uncle’s chair.

“Uncle Carl, I’m sorry to bother you but I heard something last night that is troubling me and I think you should know about it.”

“You’re not bothering me, dear girl, but don’t you think your father should know as well?”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“Good. Let’s go to the porch. Stanley, Kelly has something to tell us. Come to the porch with us, please.” Kelly related the conversation between Hurley and Sullivan, noting they were no longer in the booth when she and Mary returned from the dancefloor; that she didn’t get a good look at them earlier by intentionally avoiding looking in their direction.

“Kelly, I’ve warned you to be careful where you go in Somerville. There is a lot of trouble there between gangs,” her father scolded.

“Daddy, it is a safe place. People come there from all over. It’s a neutral place, not a neighborhood hangout. They don’t allow any politics or religious goings-on; no posters or fund raising. They hire people to enforce the rules if needed; although I’ve never seen the need.”

“She is right, Stanley. I know of the place. It’s more on the side of a tourist attraction than a hangout. The building is as much of an attraction as anything, having been shipped over from Dublin and reassembled. However, Kelly, I think you should stay away until I look into this bit about armament and shipping from Portland. I’ll get on it first thing tomorrow.”

“OK, I’ll stay away if you think it’s wise, Uncle Carl,” she responded. “Daddy, I went to Uncle Carl because I don’t want you to worry about me, not to exclude you.”

“I understand, dear. It is best I know something like this. I want you to be aware of what’s going on around you from now on. If you feel uneasy about anyone or anyone gets too friendly, I want you to call Carl immediately. Do Not take any chances and don’t dally too long in any one place. Try to have someone with you as much as possible.”

“Good advice,” her uncle interjected with a smile. Now let’s get back with the family. I’ll let you know if I turn up anything.”

In the evening, after the Adams family went home, Carl Hendersen settles in his favorite chair pondering the information his niece gave him. I’ll have to take some action on this tomorrow, he thought. First to protect Kelly and then look into the armament part of what she overheard. I’ll call my father and set an appointment before rollcall, his thoughts turning to the implications of illicit shipments of guns and the troubles in Ulster.
Carl Hendersen entered the Riverville Police Station promptly at seven o’clock, bypassed the detective section, and the cubicle with his name on it, and continued another twenty feet to a frosted glass door on which was printed M. J. Hendersen – Chief. As Carl raised his hand to knock, the door abruptly swung open.

“Oh, good morning, Son. Have a seat,” his father said and continued out the door to his secretary’s deck.

“Katie, please see if my grandson is in as yet and ask him to come to my office, then, if you will be so kind, please bring us three coffees.” The coffee and Patrolman Francis Hendersen arrived at the Chiefs office almost simultaneously.

The three men settled in and the Chief turned to Carle and asked, “All right Detective Sergeant, now what is this all about?”

After Carl related Kelly’s story and interjected his theory about the armament being destined for Northern Ireland, he added, “I wanted to talk to you before rollcall. I believe Kelly to be in danger and want your opinion. Also, to discuss the possibility of asking off-duty officers to volunteer for a protective force, when she is not at home, discretely keeping an eye on her in perhaps teams of two. If you agree, I will present it at rollcall, and do so at all three shifts. Francis and I can organize the whole thing and, hopefully, not cut into our duty hours.”

“If your theory is correct this will have to involve a lot more than this police force. Chances are the ATF already has wind of this shipment. I have some contacts there and will make some inquiries. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing from, and perhaps seeing, someone ATF soon.

The three men entered the squad room, the chief making his way to the podium. The room became suddenly silent. “Men, it isn’t often that I take over rollcall but we have a situation brewing that warrants I do so.” The chief went on to explain the situation regarding the overheard conversation in the Somerville pub and the position in which it could put Kelly. “This involves our community, someone most of you know and my family. I now ask for volunteers, for off-duty hours, to shadow and protect Kelly Adams, while our detective division digs in and investigates these two men she heard talking. Report anything suspicious and don’t hesitate to intervene if it appears Kelly is in danger. Whatever your actions, they will be sanctioned and supported by this department.”

To a man, the shift raises hands to volunteer. The chief thanks them with a note of pride in his voice ending with an inaudible sigh of relief.

New York:
Just off Wall Street, in a pretentious, glass and stainless steel fronted, building befitting the area, the Global Mortgage and Loan Company hold offices on the fifth floor. The offices are fronted by the same stainless and glass with the theme carrying through in the interior décor. The company name, in flowing raised script letters decorate the window next to the entrance door. Global solicitates and brokers large real estate and construction mortgages throughout the country with huge amounts of money on the books. The “Loan” end of the business is not so well defined or visible. Money passes through Global to many, mostly dummy, corporations and businesses. The fact is, other than capital invested from the mortgage business, the money comes from private Irish Relief fund-raisers and bar-top collection cans in pubs across the country. A small portion is used for Irish relief and sent directly to relief organizations serving the underprivileged Catholic population of Northern Ireland. The majority goes out as loans to dummy companies and ends up supporting the Provisional IRA in either cash or armament.

The phone at Global does not ring, but blinks a light and emits a low buzz. “Global Mortgage and Loan,” the lilting voice said in Jim Hurley’s ear, “May I help you?”
Yes, this is James Hurley from Boston. It’s important I speak to Mr. Connors.”

“One moment Please.”

Hurley, waiting impatiently, finally hears a click followed by, “Good afternoon Jim. What can I do for you?”

“You can give me the remainder of the loan for the present transaction. The merchandise is together and waiting to be shipped. However, it can’t be shipped without pre-payment” he lied. “Now, you know this merchandise is badly needed by the customer. He can’t move forward without it.”

“Jim, I’m really sorry we have been amiss on our end with the payment. I promise that a courier will be on a plane to Boston within the hour. You can meet him at the usual place within two hours.”

“Thank you, Mr. Connors. I didn’t want to bother you but it was necessary, or our merchandise could be soon sitting on the sidewalk in Portland,” he lied again. “Please keep in touch. Looking forward to doing business again soon.”

“Yes. Good luck Jim. Talk to you soon.”

Riverville 4:30 PM:
Chief Hendersen, returning from a meeting at City Hall, picks up the large white envelope on his desk and runs a letter opener under the flap. The County Coroner’s report is succinct, stating that the cause of death was a single gunshot to the head of a, yet unidentified, male between the age of thirty-five and forty-five years. The body is in the first stages of decomposition and emitting gases. Papers on the body are being restored and examined, a report of which will follow.
The cloth bag, in which the body was discovered, is of sufficient density and tight weave as to retain air for a time, and give floatation to the body at some depth in salt water. Gases from decomposition further enabled the bag to float to where the tide deposited it at Chandler’s Point mudflats. No indication exists as to where the bag was put in the sea.
The chief noted the county seal embossed in the corner along with the signature of Donald E. Scott M.D., County Coroner. He places the report in a file basket as he scans the pink call messages. He tells himself there is nothing there that can not wait until tomorrow.

Chief Hendersen locked his office door and passed his secretary’s desk just as the phone rang.

“Chief, this is Dr. Scott. Glad I caught you still there. I have some news. The technicians discovered a cleaver hidden pocket in our Chandler’s Point corps’ wallet. From an ID folded in this pocked we have determined the body to be of an ATF agent. The ID does not contain a name however, some of the type being washed away. I thought you would want to know this information immediately. A report will follow tomorrow.”

“Thanks Doc, that is certainly important. Can you lift any fingerprints or is he too far gone”?

“We have applied a mild desiccate to his fingers to hasten drying. If the swelling isn’t too great, we might have a good chance. I’ll let you know if we’re successful, and then I’ll run them through the usual agencies. We might have an answer before the end of day tomorrow.”

“Let’s hope for the best, Doc. Good-by.”

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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 3

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Three

Previously...

“Chief, this is Dr. Scott. Glad I caught you still there. I have some news. The technicians discovered a cleaver hidden pocket in our Chandler’s Point corps’ wallet. From an ID folded in this pocked we have determined the body to be of an ATF agent. The ID does not contain a name, however. I thought you would want to know this information immediately. A report will follow tomorrow.”
“Thanks Doc, that is certainly important. Can you lift any fingerprints or is he too far gone”?
“We have applied a mild desiccate to his fingers to hasten drying. If the swelling isn’t too great, we might have a good chance. I’ll let you know if we’re successful, and then I’ll run them through the usual agencies. We might have an answer before the end of day tomorrow.”
“Let’s hope for the best, Doc. Good-by.”

In the morning Kelly set out for work as usually. The walk is about four blocks and, other than in very bad weather, she enjoys it, often leaving home early and walks slowly. She followed routine this morning and took a deep breath as she turned onto the sidewalk, completely unaware of Frank Sullivan across the street and twenty feet behind her. Or, of the two off-duty cops, one on each side of the street, and noting Sullivan as the only other person close to her. Kelly decided to stop into a doughnut shop before entering her building and one officer followed. The other stopped and lit a small cigar as he kept an eye on Sullivan, who slowed down until he was across from the shop. He bends over and feigns tying his shoe then turns to look in an antique store window. He stayed that way until he saw Kelly, in the store window reflection, leave the doughnut shop and enter her building. The officer in the shop sat at a window table and watched Sullivan take a small notebook and pen from his inside pocket and start writing, presumably about Kelly, then start across the street toward the doughnut shop. The officer tossed his coffee cup in the barrel by the door and leaves just before Sullivan enters. The two officers walk toward the yacht club, where out on the public pier, they sit on a bench about half way to the end of the pier.

“What do you think of that guy who seems to be following her,” one asked.

“I got a good look at him from inside the doughnut shop. He stopped across the street and made notations in a book.  We will have to pass along a description to the other units. I think they will be seeing a lot of him for a while. I’m just not sure if it is enough to bring him in for questioning. Detective Hendersen will know and it doesn’t have to be us who nab him. Now what do we do until lunch when she might come out?”

“I can head back to the station and look up Detective Hendersen, and find out what else might have come up in the case. You hang out close by in case something causes Kelly to leave work before her lunch time. If these two bums are into gun-running, this whole thing is going to get bigger quickly.”

At the police station, he moves through the crowded desks and the detective cubicles, and spots Detective Hendersen as he enters the squad room, and follows him in.
The detective, at the podium, looking at the new arrival, said, “I didn’t expect you here, but as long as you are, sit down.”  Turning to the other two men in the front row, “OK, anything to report?”

The older of the two stood, “Yes sir; we followed Kelly to the home of her friend Mary. It appears another guy tailed her as well. After Kelly went in Mary’s house, he concealed himself behind the bushes, along the edge of the park, across the street. I stayed a half block back while my partner entered the park to watch this guy. We waited until ten forty-five. Watched the guy leave the park and follow Kelly home. We took up positions on both sides of the street and followed. The man made no attempt to approach her but did pause long enough to write something in a small notebook before he went on his way.”

“Thank you. Could you see this man well enough to describe him?” The sergeant asked.

“Yes sir, he is about five foot-eight, fair complexion. Wearing a shabby tweed jacket, brown cord pants and a green Trilby hat. As best we saw him, he wears no facial hair and no noticeable markings or scars.”

“Good job, you two. I’ll have your description circulated to the rest of the volunteers. I’m pleased to know your training stuck with you. Your surveillance is right by the book. Now, you in the back, come forward.”

“Why are you here? Aren’t you and your partner supposed to be on watch right now?”

“Yes sergeant, and my partner is watching Kelly’s work place and the man who follows her. From the description I just heard, our man today is the same man who was described following her last night. I came here primarily to ask if anything has come to light regarding the two men overheard at the All Erin last Saturday night.”

“There isn’t much I can discuss at the moment, but I’m pleased to know you are interested in the whole picture. What I can say, is that we are beginning to think there is a correlation between them and the body Patrolman Hendersen discovered at Chandler’s Point. The coroner is trying to get fingerprints from the body to substantiate identification.” Hendersen continued, “Are you sure the man described is the one you have been observing?

“Without a doubt, sir. I observed him in perfect light, and at one time passed within three-feet of him. Without seeing their man, I will bet my pension on it. One thing, sergeant, whomever he is, he can’t continue on the job putting in the hours he is. Soon there will have to be a change and we should all be highly aware of that. If the man described isn’t seen, that won’t mean there isn’t one tailing Kelly. Also, if they do take turns, they are idiots to wear their same clothing. I can’t believe they will not vary their wardrobe drastically, even resort to disguises and wigs. Wearing the same clothing leads to familiarity, and makes one wonder about the person.

“Good point, patrolman, the sergeant responded. Your thoughts will be included, and emphasized, with the description hand-out.”

Hendersen, indicating the first two men, says, “You can go now.” Then, pointing to the other patrolman, “You stay, please.”

As the door to the squad room closes, Hendersen moves away from the podium, steps down to the floor and takes a seat next to the remaining man.   

“What’s your name, patrolman?”

“Begging your pardon, sir, that’s corporal; Corporal Anthony Michael Marzano.”

“Thank you, corporal. Your initiative and interest in this case is commendable. Keep it up. That’s where promotions come from. Have you thought about taking your sergeants exam?”

“Naturally,” he answered. “I’m studying but I’m not quite ready yet.”

“That’s good, Anthony. I’ll be interested in your progress. Feel free to call on me if I can be helpful with your studies, or anything. Now, get back on the job.”
Back in his cubical, Carl Hendersen checks his mail and phone messages and reaches for the telephone. It rang before he touched it.

“Good morning, Carl,” the familiar voice of his father getting his attention. “Can you come to my office right now, please? I have some important news.”
“Be right there, sir.”

“Carl, I received a call from Dr. Scott. He told me it took all night to handle the finger-printing of the Chandler’s Point body. They successfully lifted a thumb print from the left hand and an index finger from the right as well as a partial from the small finger of the same hand. They were photographed, and scanned by a Wirephoto machine to the FBI fingerprint division in D.C. over the telephone The prints confirmed the body is that of FTA Special Agent, Clarence, Anderson. I’m waiting for the ATF director to return my call. Hopefully he will be cooperative and talk about Anderson, and what in hell he was up to in this area. I hope I don’t have to remind him that it is our murder investigation.”
“Dad, if he does balk, dangle the armament waiting in Portland and the connection to Somerville. Of course, he might be aware of it all. They are quite close-mouthed about things, unless they need local help.”

“You are so right.” Where the heck is Katie with our lunch? Oh, I ordered for you, Carl, an early lunch.”

As the two men come to the end of their lunch, Katie announces that patrolman Francis Hendersen would like a word with the chief.

“By all means, send him in. Hello Francis, what can I do for you?” The chief asked in an uplifting tone.

“Well sir, I was just thinking; now that we have a description of the guy keeping an eye on Kelly, that if we can keep an eye on him, when he isn’t watching her, we might just find his partner and get his description. It might help identify them by name and ultimately gather any evidence related to the Portland shipment.

“Good thinking my boy. I don’t know why this hasn’t been instituted already. What do you think, Carl?

“Yes, of course. That stage of the investigation may be just a little premature, but right on the nose. How do you propose this be accomplished, Francis?”
“If those two are really studying Kelly they will, more than likely, be together and looking for her Saturday night at the Sommerville pub rather than following her there. Although she won’t be there, I’ll be there, an unknown entity, with the possibility of getting close to them and even talking to them. I’ll have my Minox camera, the miniature spy camera. It can be attached to me so it looks through a buttonhole and is operated from a pocket. The pictures will be very valuable and this camera takes good high-resolution photos under poor lighting conditions. I would like some back-up there as well, just in case.”

“Who do you have in mind for back-up, son”? his father asked.

“Tony Marzano is my choice, a corporal on my shift.”

“Yes, I’ve met Marzano. A very bright young man, Chief. I want to talk to you about him sometime. Well, the plan seems solid,” his father replied, “But it’s the decision of the chief. I will be in favor of a bit more back-up however. Perhaps a sergeant named Hendersen.”

The chief laughed for several seconds, then said. “I’ll let you know later in the week. I’d like to talk to the FTA as well as see if the surveillance of Kelly continues and how many different people are involved.

Outside the building where Kelly works, down the street a half block or so, Frank Sullivan sits at a table outside of a sub shop finishing a small Italian sub with pickles and tomato. He washes it down with the last swallow from a can of Mountain Dew. He tosses the can and napkins in a large rubbish barrel and fishes his pockets for his pipe.
Corporal Tony Marzano, as he walks back from the station house to meet his partner, spots Sullivan and crosses to the opposite side of the street while removing his jacket and hat to reduce recognition. As he passes Sullivan, he notices he appears to be asleep at the table with his arms crossed and his hat somewhat forward over his eyes. A smoldering pipe is on the table in front of him. Marzano found it amusing and thinking, that’s what over-work will do to you. He can’t possibly keep it up. Cpl. Marzano and his partner meet across from Kelly’s work-place at eleven-fifty; then take up separate surveillance positions, suitable to follow in either direction and wait to see if Kelly leaves the building.

Sullivan can be seen still sleeping in front of the sub shop, but not for long. An ambulance passes along the street with siren howling and jolts Sullivan awake. He jumps from his seat, somewhat disoriented and starts off in the wrong direction. After several steps he turns back, picking up his pipe as he passes the sub shop. He starts to panic as he notices the time and the increase in pedestrians, several heading to the sub shop. He frantically scans the faces looking for Kelly but does not find her. Increasing his gait, to get to Kelly’s building quickly, he thinks; Heaven help me if I lose her. Hurley will have my skin. Hope I can pick her up when she returns to work. Just before one o’clock, people are crowing into the building and Sullivan is glancing from one to another in search for Kelly but never sees her. By now he is shaking with fear and praying she has not left for the day. I’ll just have to wait ‘till quitting time and see. Lord, I can’t keep this up forever, he tells himself. Hurley has got to swap off with me or go to hell.
The officers, knowing Kelly did not leave the building, watched Sullivan with great amusement at the panic on his face and his erratic actions.

“Won’t he be relieved when she walks out of there at closing,” Marzano says.

Laughingly, his partner replies, “I feel a little sorry for him. This kind of error isn’t tolerated in the gangs. But then, it was funny and he is a fool to accept one sixteen-hour day after another on his feet.

Somerville:
Hurley meanders up the stairs to the second floor of the building where he and Sullivan share an apartment. He hears the phone ringing and takes the stairs two at a time, turns the key and bursts through the door to grab the phone.

Puffing, he blurts out, “Jim Hurley here. Who be you?”

"Gus Malone, you idget. Who are you running from that makes you out of breath?”

“Didn’t want to miss the call, puff-puff, I, ran up the stairs.”

“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 shags it then. I’ll have to spread word of the delay.  A lot of Provisionals will have to change their plans and lay low. They aren’t going to be happy, and I have to notify the freighter’s skipper. This will definitely cost more money for his delay. You be sure to let me know the minute that boat leaves Plymouth. Anything else I should know?”

Hurley thought several seconds about the Adams girl and replied, “Not a thing. All else is calm here. I’ll check on any investigation of Anderson’s death and keep you informed.”

“I’ll probably see it in the newspaper here in Ulster, or on the tele, before you know what’s going on.” The phone went dead.

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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 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.

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Keeping the smoking lamp lit since 1989