Case of the Riverville Murder
A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
“What are you doing?” Hurley asked.
“Me? I’m taking shots of the pier for the town. They plan to expand the pier this fall and need photos for the engineers. I’m sure glad the rain stopped. I’m on a short deadline as it is. Have a good day” Maxwell lied, turned and returned to his car.
AT 11:00 a.m. the same morning, Allan Rockford guided the state police Lincoln carrying Scott and Mic, into a “GUEST” spot of the Riverville Police Department parking lot.
A loud knock on the office door brought Carl Hendersen sharply to his feet with; “Come in please.”
“Scott! What a surprise. I don’t think I’ve seen you for a couple of years. Strange thing, but I was going to call you in a day or two.”
“Well, I’ve saved you the effort,” Scott said and proceeded to introduce Mic and Allan.
“To what do I owe this visit?” Carl asked as he emptied his pipe on a cork knocker?
Scott explained Mic’s position at Swenson’s Plumbing Service and asked Mic to tell the story. When Mic finished Scott added, “I have a list here of the men on the shift that was recalled. The underlined names have a police record. I hope it is helpful.”
“Thanks for being so alert, Mic. And, your efforts as well, Scott. We are aware of this situation and Kelly is being protected. This whole thing is tied in with illegal gun sales, the murder of an ATF agent and Kelly overhearing two men talking about a shipment leaving from Portland. We expect an ATF agent here soon to work with us out of this station. There is a constant tail on Kelly and we have men, all volunteers, watching the whole thing. In fact, our photographer has been photographing the two guys that alternate following her. I should have some shots today. I intended to call you and ask if you could run them through your I.D. people. I’ll also send them to the FBI. We have a feeling they are members of the Compton Hill gang in Somerville. That’s where the murdered ATF agent was working undercover.”
Another knock on the door interrupted their conversation and Charley Maxwell came in, apologized for interrupting and Handed Carl an envelope saying:
“Here are three sets of the pics I took of the guys following Kelly. One shows a holstered revolver when the guy’s jacket slipped open. I hope they prove useful.”
“I’ll let you know, Charley, as soon as I know. Thanks for delivering them.”
“He’s a good man,” Carl told them after he left. “He and I go back a long way and he is as concerned about Kelly as the family.”
The three men looked over the pictures before Carl pulled out a set and gave them to Scott.
Rockford asked before they left, “I’m a sergeant in the state police and I’m surprised I haven’t heard of this before. Regardless of the job we have, every state officer is kept informed. Don’t they know about this murder and the harassment of Kelly?”
“No, not yet,” Carl replied. “Because of the complexity of it all, and the safety of civilians, we are holding off on other agencies being involved. However, that is about to end with the distribution of the photos. The ATF and FBI, and I suppose The Maine State Police, will all be working on this case. Well, it’s about that time. Can you join me for lunch? We have a very good cafeteria for a small-town department.”
Carl, upon Scott and Mic leaving, prepared the envelope with the photos for posting to the FBI. He left the mail-room and started back to his office when he heard his name called.
“Sergeant Hendersen. Hold up please.” shouted the Desk Sergeant who hurried toward Carl with a civilian following closely behind.
“Carl, this is Henry Reichmann from the ATF. I was bringing him to your office when I spotted you. He asked to see you and the chief.”
Meanwhile, Scott, on the way to the parking lot, lit his pipe filled with Royal Blend. His thoughts being completely about Kelly Adams, and the fear she must be feeling, walks right past the Lincoln. Mic grabs Scott’s arm and directs him to the car.
“Mic, is there any way you can keep an eye on the men with records who work for Swenson’s Plumbing Service? It seems to me the Riverville cops have a hard road ahead with this case.”
“Yea, I can give it a try. I have pretty much of a free reign, concerning what I do and where I go, as long as the job comes in on time with a profit. The delay of the Commercial Street job gives me a reason to keep a close eye on its progress, and the men in question.”
“Any little thing you think, even remotely, might be important you call me. Give your name and you will be put through immediately.”
In the Chief’s office, Carl and ATF agent, Henry Reichmann, sit in front of the desk waiting for the chief to speak.
The chief sat his pipe in an ashtray and said, “The department is happy to have you here. I am hopeful that between us, we can shed some light on the murder of Clarence Anderson, and who is behind the illegal gun shipment out of Portland. I realize the latter is beyond our jurisdiction, however it fits right in with local problems here in Riverville.”
“I’m sure it will all come together soon. In fact, it is crucial before this spell of nasty weather ends, allowing the boat slips out to sea.” Reichmann replied.
“On another subject,” Reichmann continued. “You know we have a man in South Boston. Well, he has been there for five years, working on the fringe of the mobs and gaining their confidence. The ATF feels it is time for him to get out. At last report, now that he is doing odd jobs for them, the mobs are starting to ask a lot of questions regarding his background. He has a solid fictional background to answer with that is fully documented. However, slip-ups can happen and we want to get him home ASAP, both for his safety and his accumulated information. Perhaps you, with your Boston contacts, can help us make it go smoothly.”
“I’m sure we can, Mr. Reichmann. Just before you arrived, I was talking to Scott Wadsworth who heads the Massachusetts Attorney’s Investigative Department. He is an esteemed attorney and skillful investigator who has worked, on several occasions, with the FBI, Interpole, Massachusetts State Police and Boston P.D. He is the man to figure out the safest way to get your man out of South Boston. He, and an associate, are currently watching a couple of men who are likely to have been involved in the murder of Clarence Anderson.”
Carl Hendersen went on to explain how Scott and Mic became involved, the problem surrounding Kelly, and how it’s all intertwined.
“OK, we’re further along than I hoped. Oh! and please call me Henry or Hank. We will be seeing a lot of each other, and it will simplify things a lot.”
“Can you have Wadsworth come here soon? I want to get our man out of the state. Sooner or later there will be a slip-up and he’ll be in big trouble. They will assassinate him if they have any doubts about him at all.”
Carl responded, “I’ll call him this afternoon. I’m not sure how busy he is, but we can hope for the best.”
“Do you have any questions of me, chief?” Reichmann asked.
“Not today. Carl can show you to your office. Have you had lunch?”
“No, and I also need a place to stay.”
“Carl, please help Hank with lunch, and see if there are available accommodations at the “SeaSide”.
“It’s a nice place and they have a coffee shop; if you are a breakfast-eater.” The chief said, turning to Reichmann.
Once back in his office, Carl called Scott Wadsworth. Almost immediately after giving his name, Carl was put through. “That was quick. I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon.” Scott said.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Scott. Henry Reichmann, an ATF agent on this murder case, has taken up residence here in the station to work with us. I think you can be of immediate help if you have some time. It’s in the best interest of the Commonwealth. We would like to meet with you in the morning, if possible, and talk it over. I realize it’s Saturday, but I can only stress how crucial it is”
“I can do that. I’ve nothing planned until the afternoon. I have tickets for me and the boys for a Celtics game. Unfortunately, I have no transportation on weekends.”
“That’s OK. I’ll send a car to your house. Is eight-o’clock too early?” Carl asked.
“No, eight is fine. I’m still on Walnut Street; number fifty-eight.”
Sporadic heavy rain along the coast made the drive to Riverville a slow one, and at nine-fifteen Scott entered Chief Hendersen’s office.
The chief walked from behind his desk to greet Scott. “Good morning Scott. Sorry to bring you out on a day like this. It must have been a tough drive. I’d like you to meet Henry Reichmann of the ATF. He is assigned to work with this department on the murder of Clarence Anderson and the weapons shipment out of Portland.”
“I’m happy to meet you,” Reichmann said. “Your reputation as an investigator is well known in the ATF. That international case involving a stolen ancient artifact, a gourd pipe, is used as an example during training.”
“Well, I’m flattered,” Scott replied, somewhat embarrassed. “I’m happy to help if I can.”
The three men thoroughly discussed the predicament of the undercover agent in South Boston, and the apparent danger he is facing. Reichmann went over every detail of the agent’s documented, and fictitious, background and arrest record.
Scott, after listening intently said, “I agree, considering all the questions addressed to your man, he is under some sort of suspicion. Despite that, it appears his I.D. will hold-up, at least for a while. That’s not to say we should hesitate in removing him from danger. I have a lot of resources at hand, so a well-planned extraction can be easily executed. Give me a couple of days to come up with some ideas. I’ll see you first thing Tuesday morning, if it is convenient for you, and we’ll kick around a plan or two.”
“We are very grateful, Scott, and look forward to hearing what you come up with. I feel certain it will be a very solid plan.” Reichmann said, as Carl left the chief’s office.
That evening, Francis Hendersen is in his room preparing for his Saturday night appearance at the All Erin Pub. He just finished checking his 32cal. ankle revolver and Minox Camera and decided to add one more item; a one-pound, leather-wrapped, Black Jack. As he attached the camera behind a button hole at the front of his jacket, Carl knocked on Francis’s bedroom door before entering.
“Son, I don’t want to spoil your evening, but as things have progressed, I don’t believe this trip to the All Erin is relevant. We have sufficient photos of those men, and there is no other reason to enter into a potentially dangerous situation. I want you to abandon the idea and inform Tony Marzano of my decision. If, after this case is resolved, and you want to have a night out, get Tony and go. According to Kelly, it sounds like a fun place.”
“OK, Dad. you are the boss. I can’t say I’m not disappointed. I was looking forward to something other than walking a beat. It does get a bit tiresome, especially out on the flats.”
“I know, I know, Son. We have all been there at one time or another. It is an unofficial initiation for rookies. You will be out of there soon.” Carl said as he left the room with a grin on his face.
In a dingy bar, hidden away on a back street under the expressway at the edge of Southie, two men sit at a bare wooden table in a back room; each with a bottle of Smithwicks Ale. Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne are handy-men for the various mobs working out of South Boston.
Byrne takes a swallow, puffs on his pipe and says, “Seems there is a suspected mole or spy working here, according to the C street boss. His name is Sean Keogh, or so he says. Could be anything, really. We are to keep an eye on him and investigate his background, as much as we can, without raising suspicion with any authorities. I’m to pick up a dossier on him tonight. We’ll meet here tomorrow at one-o’clock, look it over and decide where to go with it.”
“I suppose they will want us to arrange his disappearance should we find out he’s dirty,” Mc Dougal responds.
“Now, let’s not be think’n of that as yet. A heap of work comes first. Then it’s the boss’s decision not ours, thank the good Lord.”
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
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