Authors: Howard Shrier
Tags: #General, #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective
ichuan Garden my lobster-loving ass,” I said as we walked back to the car. “What was he going to order there? The shrimp, the pork or both?”
“You’d order both,” Jenn said.
“I’m not Orthodox. But David is the real thing. You saw his room. He eats out of his closet so he can keep kosher.”
We retrieved our car from a parking lot and headed back toward the hotel. We still had paperwork of David’s to go through, and more calls to make, moves to plan.
Jenn turned on the camera and scrolled through the photos she had taken of Carol-Ann Meacham. “Too bad lies don’t show up on camera,” she said. “Look at that face. Totally defensive. Her body language too.”
“Like he would have asked her out. Yech.”
“Which brings us back to the phone calls. Why else were they calling each other at home?”
“Let her stew a bit. Maybe she’ll be more inclined to tell the truth next time we ask.”
Jenn leaned forward to peer out at the next street sign and said, “Shit. I think you should have made that right on Newbury.”
“The GPS would have told you that if you’d let me use it.”
“Just make the next left and double back on Commonwealth.”
I followed her instructions, then turned left on Newbury to get to the laneway behind the hotel, where the parking entrance was. A grey van behind us made all the same moves. Two men in the front seats. Both white. The driver had blond hair. The licence plate was covered over with mud.
“Ready for our next interview?” I asked.
“The clowns who are following us.”
A white grocery truck sprayed with dozens of tags had its back doors open at a loading dock ahead on our right. That left room for one car only to pass. I stopped with my nose parallel to his, blocking the van behind us, and told Jenn what I was going to do. She unfolded our map and got out, moving toward the parked truck as though looking for someone to ask about directions. As soon as she was clear I put the gearshift in reverse and hit the gas. Slammed hard into the van behind us, rocking it backwards. Then I grabbed the GPS off the dashboard and rolled out of the car.
The driver had been stunned for a moment by the impact, but now he was getting out of the car and reaching for a chrome gun butt in his waistband. I threw the GPS at his head. It didn’t hit him but he had to duck and that gave me the time I needed to rush him and drive my left fist into the bridge of his nose. His head snapped back, blood streaming from his nostrils. His eyes looked half closed but his hand was still on his gun. I pulled my right wrist in close to my chest and drove my elbow forward into his cheek. It opened a nasty gash, as elbow strikes should, and knocked him flat on his back, out cold.
I looked over to check on Jenn. As soon as the passenger opened his door and swung a leg out, she threw her shoulder against it. He yelped in pain as the door slammed against his shin. When he tried to push it open, she braced
her feet against the curb and kept the pressure on until he howled.
I thumbed the magazine out of the driver’s gun and put it in my coat pocket. I ejected the shell and put it there too. The empty gun went under the driver’s seat. Then I reached in and turned the engine off, grabbed the keys and scrambled around the back to Jenn’s side.
Her guy had his hands on the edges of the door, trying to keep Jenn from closing it on his leg. I slammed the heel of my hand onto his fingers and he let go with a yell. I opened the door and grabbed him by the lapels with one hand, and patted him down with my other. No gun. His wallet was in an inside pocket of his leather jacket: Kevin Walsh, a Boston address, somehow made it to twenty-six dumb years of age.
“Your partner’s out, Kevin, so you’re going to have to do all the talking.”
“About what? We were just taking a shortcut here and you attacked us, man, you’re crazy.”
“You were following us. And you and your friend tried to grab a man named David Fine two weeks ago. On Summit Avenue with this van. You hit a cyclist and he got away.”
“Where is David Fine?”
“How should I know!”
I added my weight to Jenn’s on the car door and he cried, “
. Christ. Okay. you’re right, you’re right.”
“We tried to grab him. Please.”
“Let go my leg!”
“Aargh! He got away, like you said.”
“Just tell me where.”
“Down those steps. Down that path. I don’t know what the fuck it’s called. He ran down them and we couldn’t find him with the van.”
I nodded at Jenn and we took just enough weight off the door to keep his leg pinned without pressure.
“Who hired you?”
“He did,” Walsh panted, pointing to his driver’s seat. “He said we had a job to do, didn’t say who hired him. Didn’t say why.”
I looked at Jenn. “Do you believe him?” He saw the look in my eyes and tried to pull his leg inside the car but Jenn was too fast. She threw herself against it again and he screamed as it trapped his leg, lower this time, closer to the ankle.
“Who wanted him? Who wanted David!”
“No fucking way,” he said. “Break my leg, go ahead. I ain’t saying fuck all.”
I could tell he was too scared to talk, whether I broke his leg or not, and one of these shitheads had to drive the other one out of that alley. I picked up the GPS and went back to our car, got the digital camera and took shots of both pretty boys. I also took close-ups of both drivers’ licences and the van. I banged the mud off the front plate and shot that as well. Then I helped Walsh swing his limp partner into the back seat so he could drive them both to a hospital, if they so chose. I figured they would head for Sinai. If they’d been following us for any amount of time, they knew where it was.
We had a message from Colin MacAdam when we got up to my room. Karl Thompson had cracked David’s password and had sent us a link to a ghost drive where we could look at his email and Internet history. Jenn started on that while I booted up my laptop, uploaded the pictures I had taken of our assailants and called Mike Gianelli in Brookline.
“How would you like to see a photo of the guys who tried to abduct David Fine?”
“Give me an email address, you’ll have them in a second.”
“All right, Geller,” he said, and gave it to me. “I’ll circulate them here and with some of my old guys in Boston. We come up with something, I’ll call you. Jesus Christ,” he said, “maybe turning you loose wasn’t such a bad idea.”
When I called Adath Israel and asked to speak to the rabbi, the woman who answered said they didn’t have one. “We will, shortly,” she said. “Certainly for the High Holidays. Our search committee is almost done. Are you thinking of joining?”
“No, I’m from out of town,” I said. “I was hoping to ask the rabbi about a member named David Fine. I was told they’re close.”
“Oh, you want Rabbi Ed,” she said. “Ed Lerner. Yes, he and David were close, I’d say. But he’s not with our congregation anymore. He stepped down last month.”
“Can I ask why?”
There was a pause and then she said, “Personal reasons. That’s all I can say.”
“Could you put me in touch with him?”
“His number is unlisted,” she said. “So, no.”
“It’s very important,” I said. “David is missing and his family has hired me to find him.”
“More than two weeks.”
“But he’s such a lovely young man,” she said, as if that were some kind of shield against trouble. “No wonder he hasn’t been at services lately. All right, you leave your number with me,” she said. “I’ll get Rabbi Ed to call you. And you didn’t hear it from me, but his daughter might be in the book under S for Sandra.”
“She’d be listed?”
“She’s single, I heard. She’d be crazy not to.”
“David is here on a very limited visa, right?” Jenn asked.
“Yeah, a J1.”
“Can’t work anywhere, can’t moonlight.”
“So he probably can’t vote, right?”
“No. No way.”
“So why did he spend so much time checking the website of Marc McConnell, congressman from the Eighth District?”
“Which is where?”
“Let me check. There’s a map on McConnell’s site. Hmmm. Mostly downtown Boston, Cambridge, parts of Brookline—but not where David lived. Curves right around it.”
“The same city line that kept the Boston PD out.”
“So someone who can’t vote and can’t even ask for a favour because he’d be asking the wrong guy … how much time was he on the site?”
“In hours or minutes, I don’t know, but he visited it more than once. Bookmarked a number of pages. And searched McConnell on Google.”
“We should do the same.”
“Wait. He also emailed him a few times.”
“Slow down there, hombre. Let me get this open. Okay, he wrote February 23, asking for a meeting with McConnell.”
“Did he say why?”
“No. But he does say it’s urgent.”
I crowded in over her shoulder and read along with her.
She checked and found a formulaic response from someone named Tim Fitzpatrick, an adviser to McConnell, who thanked
David for his interest in the congressman’s work and asked if he wanted to be on his mailing list. “Okay, then two days later, David emails again, saying—”
“ ‘I really need to meet with Mr. McConnell,’ ” I read. “ ‘It is in both our interests that we meet immediately.’ ”
“Dated February 26.”
“And two days after that he’s gone. Is this hotel in his district, by any chance?”
“This block of Commonwealth?” She glanced at the screen. “Smack in the middle,” she said.
“Then we’re constituents,” I said. “Let’s get ourselves an audience.”
ean Daggett and Kieran Clarke were having drinks in leather chairs facing each other across a glass coffee table. Something Kieran had found, a smooth Irish whiskey called Redbreast they were having over ice, one cube each.
“Tell me about McCudden and Walsh,” Sean said. “Are they total fuck-ups or can they not catch a break? First they lose the Jew they’re supposed to grab, now they get beaten up by Canadians. One of them a girl. That makes them 0 for 2.”
Kieran was Sean’s oldest friend from Russell Street, and his best friend left. He had the size Sean lacked, a little over six-two and 20 pounds heavier than when he’d played football—call it 240 now, but still all brick, no mortar. “Walsh says they got suckered. Says the guy rammed them in an alley.”
“What does McCudden say?”
“He ain’t talking yet. Still doped up. Took two pretty good shots.”
“From a Canadian.”
“Jesus,” Sean said, shaking his head. “What have I been saying since I started this, Kieran? What’s the one thing I repeated over and fucking over?”
“We need the right guys …”
“Thank you. The right guys. Not a lot of guys. I don’t need an army. Just pros. That’s all I need to get on top of this thing and stay there is solid pros. No showboats. Strong silent types. Last names don’t count, where you came from don’t count. Look at the Italians, they’re all softies coasting on family names. Classic third-generation business failures. But we Irish, Kieran, we’ve got the same fierce genes we always had, we’re still bred for the street in our little packs. We’re still fucking desperate. I know the right guys are out there.”
“They are. McCudden and Walsh are exceptions.”
“No,” Sean said, “they’re examples. Bad luck, trouble, they brought it all. Take care of it, man.”
“And I want them found.”
“Any particular message?”
“They didn’t talk, so leave their tongues alone.”
“What says fuck-up best?” Sean asked.
“Two in the head?”
“A classic,” Sean said. “Nice call. Now about these Canadians, what do we know?”
“I’m told they’re PIs from Toronto.”
“And they take out two guys from Southie? Christ. We got names?”
“Jonah Geller and Jenn Raudsepp.”
“What kind of names are those?”
“Raudsepp, who knows. Swedish? She’s tall and blonde, Walsh said.”
“And Jonah Geller?”
“Sounds Jewish to me.”
“Another Jew? What am I, surrounded all of a sudden? Is it National Hebe Week?”
“My mother used to say one of them’s a cheat, two makes a con.”
“Where they’re staying?”
“The Sam Adams.”
“Who have they talked to?”
“The Brookline cops.”
“Who know dick. Who else?”
“They been to the hospital a couple of times. And Geller went out to Somerville.”
“Somerville? Fuck. I’ll show them Somerville. Show them my fucking garage.”
“You serious? You want me to pick them up?”
Sean thought for a moment, swirling around the ice in his drink, and said, “Not yet. We still have our wandering Jew out there. If these PIs are so good they can take out two of our guys, no sweat, maybe they’ll find him for us.”
“We got eyes on them.”
“Good. One last thing now, then I’m out of here. I want to sleep at home with my wife tonight. I spoke to the congressman in the Eighth District, McConnell. He’s all set.”
“He met your price?”
“They all meet my price.”
“Jesus, half a mil. And you don’t leave the house.”
“That’s the beauty of it. The other guy, the Greek. Is he confirmed?”
“He can’t not show.”
“He’ll show. He’s eager. He’s a degenerate fucking gambler, needs money like we need air.”
“I told you this thing was going to pan out.”
“We’ll clear over five million the first year. We got no competition, controllable expenses. Very little risk across the board.”
“You did it, pal.”
“I’m not fishing for compliments. I’m saying no more fuck-ups. I want Walsh and McCudden gone. And as soon as these PIs find their fellow Jew, I want them gone. No one left standing.”
“And if they don’t find him?”