Riverville Murder - Chapter 13

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Thirteen


About halfway to Riverville, Scott phoned Carl Hendersen.

As soon as Carl heard Scotts voice, he interrupted. “Scott, are you OK? I heard, on the news last night, about Nunsay’s arrest and you being wounded.”

“It’s just a scratch, Carl. I’m fine and on my way to Riverville. I want to talk Hurley first and then to you and the chief, as well as Henry Reichmann regarding Somerville. I think it’s time to clean them out. Between The info Sullivan sent me, whatever we can get out of Hurley and anything Chief Grant has, we should be able to do a thorough job of it.”

 “Looking forward to it, Scott. I’ll alert the chief and Reichmann that you are on your way. By the way, Hurley has been silent. I think he figures we don’t have much on him, but he is obviously scared to death – doesn’t eat much and paces around in his cell all the time.”

“Then we have a big surprise for him,” Scott said with a chuckle.

The rain and wind along the coast, that keeps the Dolphin tied to its dock in Portland, slowed traffic on Rt. One. The monotonous rhythm of the windshield wipers distracts Scott as he tries to concentrate, once again, on the information provided by Inspector Frank Sullivan.

“When in hell is this rain going to stop?” Scott asks angrily as he shoves the papers back in to his briefcase. “I want to refresh my memory on the stuff Sullivan sent me. I really want to shake-up Hurley and get him talking.”

“Well, let’s see what the radio has to say about the weather,” Allan said as he switched on the car’s civilian radio.

“And now for some good news. The tropical depression, that has been plaguing the East coast, from the Carolinas to Nova Scotia, for more than a week, looks like it is about to end. A strong high-pressure system is sweeping down from Canada, and the upper Mid-West. If it maintains its intensity, it will weaken the existing depression and it will dissipate in three or four days. Welcome the sun! Be sure to stay tuned for further news and weather from coast to coast. This is WBZ and WBZA – Boston and Springfield. At the tone, the time will be eight-thirty-seven.” Bing-Bong-Bing.

“Thanks Allan. That’s good to hear and I’m sure the FTA and Coast Guard will be happy to tie this up. I wish this traffic could loosen up.”

As Scotts car turned into the Riverville PD parking lot, and found a parking spot, Scott noticed Henry Reichmann a short distance away exiting his car and waited for him at the door.

“Henry, have you talked to Hurley?”

“I tried, but he isn’t saying a word – just sits there with a smug look on his face as if we didn’t have a thing on him. Watching him in his cell, he is like a different man. He appears to be very nervous and paces a lot.”

“And well he should be, Scott replied. If he really thinks we have nothing to bring him to trial, he is in for a big surprise.”

Chief Hendersen and Detective Carl Hendersen welcomed Scott and Allan warmly. “Scott we’re so happy you got Albert Nunsay and your wound was not serious. That was quite a bag and will more than likely lead to the clean-up of that Southie crowd.” The chief said.

“It’s not going to hurt the interrogation of Hurley either. Once he hears of it, and I intend to tell him, he’ll start wondering how much Nunsay is talking. It gives us the upper hand. That, and the material Sullivan gave us

should soften him up considerably.”

Carl Hendersen said, “Well, shall we get on with it. I have had Hurley steaming in interrogation room “A” since early this morning.”

“Yes, let’s do it then. I would like just Carl and Henry with me, at least in the beginning. The rest can observe from the viewing room. If I think your presence will be helpful, I’ll signal and you can come in,” Scott instructed.


At the harbor, things are buzzing around the trawler Dolphin. The report of better weather raises hopes of getting to sea. However, the plans have changed. Instead of heading directly for the three-mile point, the skipper plans to hug the coast and go north, then reverse course a short distance in hopes of fooling the Coast Guard. Then, make an all-out run to the open sea. Disguised as dock workers, ATF agents are watching the Dolphin closely from several strategic spots. The Maine State Police are nearby, and the Coast Guard is already in the harbor awaiting the departure of the Dolphin.


“OK, Mr. Hurley, it’s time to cooperate. We, the state police, Somerville police and the ATF, intend to break-up and arrest, the Compton Hill gang. And, you are going to help us.”

 “Now, why would I be doin’ a thing like that?” Hurley asked smugly.

“To start with, we have Albert Nunsay – you know him. We also have photos of you tailing Kelly Adams and waiting around to tail her home and planning her murder because she overheard a conversation you had with Frank Sullivan. One of the pictures shows an unlicensed revolver tucked into your waistband. We also have affidavits outlining your activity in illegal arms purchase and shipment overseas. We have verification of your association with a Mr. Connors of Global Mortgage and Loan Company, who is currently being investigated by the ATF and IRS. Then, there is this large envelope full of information from Inspector Frank Sullivan of Interpol’s National Central Bureau in Dublin”

At that Hurley, sweating and red-faced yells, “Inspector Frank Sullivan! The blighter! I’ll kill him if I ever see him again. So that’s where he went.”

“To continue, Mr. Hurley, The state has enough on you to put you away for about fifty years. And then another fifty on federal charges. Because you have offended the United States of America., the sentences will run consecutively. To top it all off, you just threatened an international police officer in front of witnesses. You will spend the rest of your life behind bars. There will be no paroles.”

Hurley says nothing but throws his head back and stares at the ceiling, as if counting the perforations in the acoustic tiles.

Henry Reichmann clears his throat and interjects, “However, there is an option. We could deport you. You entered this country fraudulently on a temporary visitor’s visa from the port of Dublin. Should you cooperate and give us what we want, the USA has the choice of returning you to that port, and you take your chances. Perhaps you can get help from Gus Malone, your Provo contact in Ulster.”

Hurley bangs both fists on the table, looks viciously at the two men confronting him, and with anger in his voice yells out, “Holy Mother, is there anything you don’t know?”

Burying his face in his hands, and his shoulders slumped in defeat, Hurley says softly, “Ask away.”

Behind the viewing glass, the chief’s secretary opens her shorthand pad and lays out three pencils.

“Do we have a stenographer handy?” Scott askes the viewing window.

“Yes, ready and waiting,” the chief’s voice answers from a small speaker barely visible in the ceiling of the interrogation room.

Scott, sitting across the table from Hurley, spreads out the material Sullivan supplied and starts questioning Hurley based on that material. Hurley freely answers each question, and occasionally amplifies his answer with additional information.

About an hour and a half later Scott says, “Were about done here, Mr. Hurley. Who heads up the Compton Hill gang and where does he live?”

“I don’t dare answer that, Mr. Wadsworth. The boss has connections all over New England. I’ll be dead within twenty-four hours of you collaring him if I do.”

“No, you will not. With the number of charges against you, and some of them being federal charges, you will be held with extreme security in place. We will attempt to institute a press black-out on this whole case until we are through in Somerville, South Boston and have stopped the trawler Dolphin from delivering any armament. Now, I suggest you answer if you expect anything at your trial to go your way. Remember, you are looking at one-hundred years in jail, or simply deportation.”

“Ok, Ok. His name is Nathan Goddard. I think he has charges against him somewhere for assault, but I don’t know where. He lives several places. As I remember, it’s 258 Clark Street, here in Somerville, but I could be wrong about the number. In Southie, he lives on C Street. I don’t know the number. He owns a bar opposite Carson Beach, but off a street under the Expressway. He also has a place on Cape Cod somewhere.”

Scotts attention peaked when Hurley mentioned C Street. “Does Goddard have family or strong connections in South Boston?”

“Just the strongest! He runs the gang that took out the FTA agent.” Hurley answers. “And, about all the gambling on the East coast. He’s a big man here in Massachusetts, and beyond.”

“Last question. Do you know who actually killed ATF agent Clarence Anderson?”

“Nunsay, I’ve heard. Sure, and I do believe it. I don’t know him personally – it’s just that I hear he is a mean and blood-thirsty bastard.”

“That’s it Mr. Hurley. Thanks for your cooperation. It will be noted at your arraignment. Would you like some coffee?”

Hurley nodded and Scott looked at the viewing window. “Can we have some coffee in here, please?”

As the three men enjoy the coffee and pastry, Scott fills an Ehrlich large Pot pipe from his suede pouch and lights it, then says, “Mr. Hurley, you will be transferred to a secure, and little known, Mass. State penial facility, usually used to house felons convicted of business and financial crimes. You will be well cared for there.”

Henry Reichmann finishes a Cheese Danish, washes it down with the last of his coffee, and turns to Hurley. “You might be remanded to federal custody. It depends which trial takes precedence. If, and when, that is the case, you will be in a similar facility and guarded by Federal Marshals. At either facility, I suggest you be on your very best behavior or that also will be noted at your arraignment and will be very detrimental to your future.”

Scott turns to the viewing window and signals that they are through, whereupon two patrolmen enter to escort Hurley to his cell.

“Mr. Wadsworth. They have taken everything from me. Do ‘ya think it possible I can have me pipe, pouch and Zippo?”

“I’ll see to it,” Scott replies.

As they leave the interrogation room, the intercom speaker announces, “Chief Hendersen, Chief Grant is waiting in your conference room.

“Winston, good to see you again. I think the last time was the Chiefs Association meeting a couple of years ago,” Chief Hendersen exclaims enthusiastically upon entering the conference room.

“I think you are right -- how time flies. How are you anyway, Michael?”

“I’m doing very well; especially since we have Hurley under wraps. We just finished questioning him and he “sang like a Canary” to quote the movies. Please, have a seat, Wadsworth will be along directly. He is – no we are all anxious to help you clean up Somerville. Anyway, he will bring you up to the minute when he gets here.  It has been a grueling three hours for him, so, I think he is probably refreshing himself.

Scott and Allan enter the conference room ten minutes later. Scott, while shaking hands with Chief Grant, introduces Allan and then says, “I think that went very well, thanks to Frank Sullivan. Being able to confront Hurley, with the surprise of information he had no idea we have, certainly made my job easier. And, we might have saved a couple of days interrogating him.

Chief Grant responds, “And we had Sullivan down as a real hard case; mainly because of his closeness to Hurley. Are we ready to construct an operation to take down the Compton Hill gang?”

“I really want to grab Nathan Goddard first, and then coordinate, as closely as possible, the arrests in South Boston and Somerville. We have confirmed, Chief Grant, that Goddard also heads up the C Street gang, as it is suddenly being called. We have a home address for him in Southie, and a bar he owns there. Also, for a residence on the Cape.”

“You’re biting off a big mouthful there, Scott. That is a massive undertaking involving a lot of cops” Grant replied.

“You are so right. However, it will take a couple or three days to accomplish. The way I see it is: First, Goddard. We will hit all addresses, including his bar, simultaneously. If Successful, we will, as quietly as possible, start to pick-up gang members in both cities. The hope being, that we can complete the job before word gets out that we are making arrests. Who knows, we might even bag a few at Goddard’s bar when we are there. I have state detectives and troopers cruising South Boston around the clock. According to the captain, the gang is a habitual bunch, following the same daily routines with few exceptions. I’m convinced it will go quickly.”


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 11

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Eleven


Scott returning to his chair, recognized the hurried footsteps of high heels behind him, and turned as the Judge’s secretary approached.

“Judge Millstone is ready for you, gentlemen. Please follow me.”

Passing the office entrance, and stopping several yards beyond, the secretary opens a door to reveal a large conference room with the judge sitting at one end of a large table.

“Sit down please,” the judge said somewhat sternly. “I have the proverbial good news and bad news.”

“Unfortunately, Your John Doe warrant has no credence, so I can’t issue it.  It is too vague. Had you associated it, in some way, to any of the other requests, it could have been issued. I realize this is important to you so I’ll give you an out. Make your arrest “on grounds of suspicion.” Considering the importance of this case, I doubt any judge will dismiss the arrest without very solid evidence of it not being relevant.”

“As far as the rest of the warrants go, excellent work. Your Dad would be proud of you; the way you have progressed over the years.

“My clerk is already working on the warrants, the judge continued, and you will have them by early afternoon tomorrow. They will be delivered by courier to your state house office. Scott, I’ll be watching the conclusion of this case closely. If you hit any snags, give me a call and I’ll do what I legally can for you. I fear, all of this illicit aid to foreign factions is becoming a blot on our great country and will eventually be politically harmful. I’m for stomping it all out.”

“Thank you, Your Honor. I certainly hope this will enable us to end it, at least in this situation, quickly and efficiently. Good day, sir.”

“Good day, Scott. Please convey my best to your family.”

As Scott and Henry Reichmann descend the front steps of Boston Federal Court, Reichmann’s driver brought the car to a stop at the curb.

“Do you have a phone or radio in this car?” Scott asks.

“Yes, Sir, both.” the driver replied.

“Good, get me Sergeant Hendersen on either,” Scott demands.

“Carl, Scott here. I have the federal warrants. Assuming James Hurley is still looking around Riverville for Kelly, I want you to pick him up on suspicion of something. You will have the warrant tomorrow afternoon. If he isn’t there, make arrangements with Somerville police, along with you and Agent Reichman, to grab him in Somerville. I think it is time to bring Somerville into this case. Let me know if you want state police help, and make sure he is jailed in Riverville. I’m hoping to sweat enough information out of Hurley to clean up the Compton Hill Gang, and get a line on the murder of ATF agent Anderson, who unfortunately showed up in a sea bag on your back door.”

“OK, we’ll work it out, Hendersen replied. I think bringing in Somerville is a good move, but doubt we will need the state police with the ATF involved and Federal warrants in hand.”

“I agree. However, I will call Somerville and tell them to cooperate with you and that they are ATF federal warrants and ATF arrests. Coming from the State Attorney’s office will carry considerable weight.”

Later that day, Sergeant Carl Hendersen replies to a telephone page and is informed that the Somerville chief is calling. Hendersen hurries to his office and picks up the phone.

“Sergeant Hendersen here. May I help you?”

“Chief Grant, Somerville Municipal Police. I received a call from Scott Wadsworth, State Attorney’s office, telling me of your situation and asking me to cooperate with your department and the ATF. I’m confirming that we will be proud to do so. We have been watching Hurley and Sullivan for some time, attempting to find out what they are up to. We know their affiliation here in Somerville and have also been keeping an eye on other known members of that Compton Hill bunch; a real bad collection of thugs there, I’ll tell you, and very secretive.”

“At the moment we are interested in Hurley and confirmation, regarding the Compton Hill leaders,” Hendersen replied. “Sullivan is no longer in this country. He returned to Dublin, and here’s one for you, also returned to his office as Inspector Sullivan, of the Interpol National Central Bureau, and work with the National Police on illegal fire arms entering both North Ireland and the Republic. Sullivan has filled us in on a lot of the activities of Hurley and fire arms, but we need information from Hurley to confirm what Sullivan told us about the Compton Hill gang and its leaders. It is they who orchestrated the murder of ATF agent Anderson who washed ashore in our town. Please keep track of Hurley. He has been around Riverville and I think we can grab him here. He and Sullivan have been tailing a young woman who overheard a conversation regarding an arms shipment. The subject of the tail is secreted away and out of danger, so when Hurley doesn’t see her, he might give up looking. If that is the case, I’ll let you know and you can pick him up and we will collect him from you.”

“Agreed,” Grant replied. “In any case we need to discuss the rest of the gang and figure out where to go from here. But that depends on what you get out of Hurley. Please keep me informed.”

“Absolutely,” Hendersen promised and hung up.

Late that evening, along the coast from Maine to Rhode Island, a stiff wind from the West pushed the clouds and rain out to sea and the crew of the Dolphin set about checking the secureness of the cargo of arms, and readying the boat for sea. At the same time, the Coast Guard moved a chase-boat to the mouth of Portland Harbor and slowly traversed the area. This went on until dawn, when a shift in the wind brought the rain back to shore with increased intensity. As the wind increased, the crew of the Dolphin gave up hope of heading to sea. The Coast Guard, about seven A.M., figured the small boat didn’t stand a chance and returned to port.

About the same time, Hurley donned a raincoat and hat, and grabbed an umbrella as he left the apartment and made his way to Riverville, He hid in the park across from the Adams home. He watched the Adams folks all leave for work, but no sign of Kelly.

“What’s going on?” he asked himself in frustration.  “Is she ill? Is she going in later? Is she even home?”

After waiting twenty minutes, Hurley left the park and walked across and down the street to a phone booth. Reading from a small book, he dialed the Adams’s phone.

“Hello. This is Misses Adams. Whose calling, please.”

“It’s Mr. Smith from Kelly’s work. I noticed she isn’t in today and we are concerned. Will she be in at all, or is she Ill?” Hurley lied.

“I was just about to call and let you know she has a slight cold and thought it best not to go out on such a damp day. Sorry I didn’t call earlier.”

“OK” Hurley replied trying to hold his temper.

Immediately upon Hurley disconnecting, Agnes Adams called the Riverville police and was immediately put through to Sergeant Hendersen.

“Carl a man just called asking why Kelly wasn’t at work today; said they were concerned. I told him she has a cold. I think you had better get over to this neighborhood quickly.”

“Thanks Agnes, good thinking. I’ll dispatch men there immediately.”

On the intercom, Hendersen announced he wanted six armed men, no uniforms, in two unmarked cars to meet him immediately at the front of the building. He quickly explained the situation and they left for the seven-minute ride to the Adams’ neighborhood. On the way he communicated over the radio.

“Keep this frequency open and follow my lead. This car will cruise the street to the building where Kelly works and a bit beyond and start back. Car two, commence cruising in three minutes. You all know what Hurley looks like. It’s him we are after.  Report any siting immediately.”

The radio in car two suddenly came alive. “We have him. He just went into the coffee shop across from Kelly’s work. We are on the opposite side of the street heading back. I’m sending two men in the shop. Two from your car, station yourselves on either side of the door. When he gets out of the shop, apprehend him. I’ll be crossing the street and make the formal arrest.”

By chance, it was Corporal Anthony Marzano and Patrolman Frances Hendersen who entered the coffee shop and first put hands on Hurley as he walked out the door. The two friends had just entered the station from the rear parking lot, when Sergeant Hendersen made the announcement on the intercom. They, and another patrolman made their way, in car one, to the front of the station just as Carl came down the stairs.

In the car, Hurley in handcuffs, and sitting in the back seat between Marzano and Frances Hendersen, heard Carl radio the state police asking them to relay a message to Chief Investigator Wadsworth that Hurley is in custode in Riverville.

Scott, in his State Street South office to check up on things in his private practice, received the call informing him of the apprehension of James Hurley and immediately called Riverville P.D.

“Chief, this is Wadsworth. I just got the news about Hurley. I’m at my State Street office to take care of a few things. However, I’ll get to Riverville as soon as I can. Is Henry Reichmann there?”

“Yes, but he hasn’t talked to Hurley yet. Hurley is locked in an interrogation room, and Henry wants him to think about being arrested on a federal charge for a while. Hurley, still in cuffs, is already pacing the floor and fidgeting.”

“Good, I’ll be there as soon as I can; perhaps in a couple of hours.”

An hour later, Scott, about to leave for Riverville, opened the outer office door just as Annie answered the phone. “Hold on Mr. Wadsworth. I have Mic Mitchell on the phone. He has vital information for you.”

“Mic, what do you have.? I’m just on my way to Riverville.”

“Sorry to interrupt, but this is important. I visited the Commercial Street work site yesterday, to check a couple of things, and happened to see Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne in a corner talking to Albert Nunsay. If you remember, Nunsay has a police record. They talked for several minutes and then separated, Mc Dougal and Byrne heading my way. I turned to the wall and pretended to take measurements.”

“As they passed, I heard Mc Dougal say: “Old Nunsay will be an expert at knocking off ATF agents once he does away with Sean Keogh, if that’s really the bugger’s name.” They both laughed and kept walking.  Hearing the voices without seeing them, makes me think they are the two I overheard talking in the men’s room. I don’t know why they are around so much. This is the second time I have found them on a job site, and they have no business being at the Swenson’s Plumbing Service building either.”

Scott, lighting a large Billiard as Mic talked, removed the pipe and said, “What a lucky break. Mic! I’ll up the surveillance of the ATF man, his name is really Martin Wolfe, and hope we can get him out of this in time. Then we’ll grab the other three on conspiracy to commit murder, and a few other charges I can think of. We might even learn why Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne are around your building and job sites so much.”

Just before Scott left his office, he calls the phone in his car and quickly heard the voice of Sgt. Allan Rockford answering.

“Where are you Allan. We have to get to South Boston quickly.”

“I’m just turning onto Beacon Street. If you are at your business, I can be there in five minutes. If you are at the State House, I estimate ten to fifteen.”

“Great, I’m at the State Street office” Scott responded, I’ll be waiting down stairs.”

While strapping on his shoulder holster housing his Colt 1911, Scott pressed the intercom button of the phone and instructed Annie to call Riverville P.D. and tell them not to expect him today. He grabbed a couple of pipes, from rack that sits on the credenza behind his desk, and left to meet Sgt. Allan Rockford.

On the way to South Boston, Scott radioed the state police asking to be put through to Detective Cpl. Mark Simmons.

“This is detective Simmons – over.”

“Scott Wadsworth here. Where are you, Simmons? – over.”

“I’m parked on D Street, about a mile up from Dorchester Avenue, waiting for Martin Wolfe to come out. – over.”

“Ok, there is an independent gas station near there. I forgot the name, but they have large oil tanks on the property. Do you know it? – over.”

“Yes, I’m only a block from the gas station. Do you want me to go there? – over.”

“Yes. We need to talk. I’ll be there in about 10 minutes. Get one of your back-ups to fill in for you at Wolfe’s apartment. — out.”

Scott sees Simmons standing beside the black Ford, common to all unmarked state cruisers, and directs his driver to pull in close. As Simmons climbs into the back of Scott’s car, Scott relates the news about Alfred Nunsay and Mic’s discovery regarding Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne.

Scott continues, “Our prime objective is to get Martin Wolfe out of harm’s way today, then grab Mc Dougal and Byrne, at leisure, and get them out of circulation,”

“OK. Take a left out of the station and proceed a mile-and a-quarter. He lives in the yellow brick building on the right, number 243.”

The radio crackles as they turn onto D Street from the gas station. “Wolfe is on the move; North on D Street – over.”

Retrieving the microphone, Scott instructs, “Stay with him on foot while we get ahead of him. Closing in on him from two directions, and making a fake arrest, will look ligimete if anyone is watching – over.”

“Will do – out.”

The three from Scatt’s car, and the two from the back-up car, are all about fifteen feet from Wolfe as a green van stops on the other side of the street and Albert Nunsay, and another man, jump out and run across the street to grab Martin Wolfe. The police move in, weapons drawn, and Nunsay retreats back to the van.

Scott and the others run after Nunsay. Scott shouts, “You two, stop. You are under arrest.”

Nunsay stops running as he reaches the waiting van, pulls a revolver and fires at Scott. Scott winces as the round grazes his ribs, but gets off two shots at Nunsay’s legs. Nunsay goes down writhing in pain from the sting of the 45 Caliber Slug buried deep in his right thigh. Nunsay’s partner, unknown to this point, stands shaking beside the van. The driver sits silently with his hands on top of his head.


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 1

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Kelly Adams boarded the bus from Riverville to Boston. She was finely dressed in a Irish tartan wrap-around skirt, a blue Angora sweater, and with minimally applied makeup. Her auburn, shoulder length, hair held in place by two barrettes, gently bounced as she made her way down the isle of the bus, attracting admiring glances as she went. At Twenty-three, Kelly edged just over five-foot two with sharp, yet attractive, facial features. She was born in Riverville to Agnes Murphey and Stanley Adams; Agnes being the sister of Kathleen, the wife of Detective Sargent Carl Hendersen.
Kelly reached up and pulled the cord as the bus approached her stop in Summerville, on the fringe of Boston. She exited the bus and walked the two blocks to the All Erin, an Irish Pub shipped piece by piece from Dublin in the late twenties and reassembled. She could hear the thump of a drum and the high pitch of a penny whistle mingled with a guitar as she approached the Pub. She started to skip to the music, throwing in a fancy jig step or two. She spotted her friend Mary as soon as she entered the pub. The atmosphere, music and people made her heart jump with happiness; the happiest she is all week considering she feels her life and job somewhat humdrum.

She and Mary sat opposite each other in one of the high-backed booths, ordered amber ale, and proceeded to bring each other up to date since last being together a week ago. A second ale later and Mary excused herself to visit the lady’s room. The band was also taking a break and for the first time Kelly heard two men in the booth behind her arguing in muffled tones. She paid little attention until one man raised his voice.
“Frank, I’m tell’n you. The shipment must leave Portland on schedule for two reasons; the weather is promising, and those arms are frantically needed by the movement. It has taken too long already to acquire the proper weapons and ammunition. And then there is the slowness of the small trawler and time to transfer the shipment to a larger vessel.”
“You’re the boss, Hurley. I just wish we had the remainder of the payment in hand. But if you have the faith that we’ll be getting paid, so be it.”
Mary returned to the booth and the girls continued their conversation just as the band started playing again. It was a fast jig and the girls got up, joined several others and started to dance with great skill. At the same time, the two men, surprised that the next booth was occupied, quickly left and went to the bar.
“Do you think she heard us?” Frank asked.
“How could she not; the little one in the blue sweater. I thought the booth was empty. The other one was away when we argued.”
Hurley called the bartender over, slipped a twenty across the bar and asked, “Who is that little girl in the blue sweater dancing so well?”
“Oh, that’s Kelly Adams. She’s a regular every Saturday night – not a local, comes all the way down from Riverville.”
“She must have been taking lessons for a long time, wouldn’t you say.”
“I’d say,” the bartender replied, and walked away.


Chapter One

On his beat, Patrolman Francis J. Hendersen walks the very outskirts of Riverville, Massachusetts; a medium size community about fourteen miles north of Boston on what is locally known as the “North Shore”. He is a twenty-two-year-old rookie and the fifth Hendersen to proudly serve his community in that capacity. The fact is, his grandfather is Chief of Police and his father a Detective Sargent. His Great Grandfather retired as Chief four years ago. There are two younger brothers, one thirteen and one nineteen waiting in line, their father says. However, the boys have other ambitions and are frankly tired of the tradition. To them it seems everyone brings the police department home at night. There is seldom a conversation about anything else. Gang Busters, This is Your FBI, Official Detective and Calling All Cars are about the only radio heard in the home; other than the morning and evening news.

As Hendersen treads his way along Chandler’s Point, a strip of land about fifty feet wide separating tidal mud flats, he wonders if he will ever get used to the acrid smell of the flats at low tide; especially in summer. He generally walks to the end of the point scanning the flats on his right, and on the other side going back to the road. Today, halfway along the point, something about fifteen feet into the flats caught his eye; a roughly triangular muddy-white shape breaking up the monochrome grey-black of the mud. Wood walkways jut out over the flats about every twenty feet, a relic of earlier clam digging days before the flats became “sour”. Hendersen put one foot over the edge of the walkway and tested the mud. He touched solid ground about three or so inches down and brought the other foot down.

Laboriously, he worked his way to the object, each step making a sucking sound as his boots broke free of the mud.
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.

After calling in his discovery, Hendersen leans on the telephone pole, fishing his Canadian from inside of his uniform jacket, pulling a pouch of Prince Albert from his hip pocket and a match from his pistol belt. After packing the bowl, he raises his foot, out of habit, to strike the match, but thinks better of it after seeing the amount of mud still stuck to the bottom of his boot. He uses the pole as an alternative striker, and puts fire to the P A. Lingering against the pole smoking, he wonders if it really is a leg and foot, he felt in the sea bag or just his mind playing tricks on him. He popes back to the present with the whine of a siren coming into ear-shot; knocks his pipe against the telephone pole and stuffs it into his uniform jacket just as the police car, followed by an ambulance, approaches Chandlers Point.


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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