Mary gave me a wink and a coffee to go. Then off to the other place in my life, the 23rd Precinct, my obligation to meet six days a week, every week of my life, except for two glorious weeks in the summer. Once up those broad stone steps and through oh-so official doors, you found your self, face to face with the Desk, the hub of any Precinct. Behind that judicial looking tower of intimidation, sat Sgt. Tom Sharkey.
For years, that seat of power was filled with O'Toole, a stalwart and sturdy Irishman who just recently made real his threat to one day retire. I miss the old Mick, but Sharkey was slowly becoming the king of that throne. He was about three quarters the size of O'Toole, and not quite as Irish. O'Toole was Irish Catholic; Sharkey, an Orangeman of the Northern Ireland variety, probably of some blend of Brit and Irish. Younger, quicker, more short-tempered than cranky, a Desk Sergeant to be sure, but of a newer model.
"Morning, MacKenzie. Here's the pink sheet for the Archbishop. Captain Scarborough just signed off on it and gave it to you."
"Why? Did Doc come up with something?"
"Apparently. It's been listed as a Possible Homicide. Doc pinned a note to it for you to call him."
Every case worked in BPD has its pink sheet, the record of the investigation, the top of the files hopefully for the D.A.'s to one day do their work and put the bad guys away.
"John Francis Collins. Born 1880, Weymouth, Massachusetts. Male. Single." Of course. "Address. Jesuit Rectory, 22 West Street. Next of Kin: Sister, Miss Anne Collins. Address, Jesuit Rectory, 56 West Street. Location: Church of Saint Francis. Call made by: Father Gerald Kelly to the 23rd at 7:10 a.m.. Cause of Death; Unknown, pending Coroner's report."
"Sister, Anne Collins? Sister Anne. Oh, yea. The crying nun. Jeez, you'd think someone would tell me that the old gal was the Archbishop's sister."
My old desk hadn't moved in years and probably hadn't been totally cleared or cleaned for that same length of time. It's only real use for me now was to store any and all paperwork for a later date and to hold my phone.
The number for the morgue over at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital was one of the few automatic numbers in my fingers. I could dial it without really remembering it, the dial on the clunky Bell and Western phone just spun a certain way in a certain rhythm. Doc was one of the few who rated an extra number of rings because it might take Doc a few minutes to get untangled from whatever corpse he had on his table.
"Yea, Brewster here."
"Hey, Doc. MacKenzie. Sharkey said you needed it me."
"Yea. Just wanted to let you know that I was right. The old priest's heart gave out, but he had a good measure of poison in his system, strychnine. I can't tell you if it was accidental or intentional, but Mac somehow he was taking in poison."
"Still need me to stop by."
"Nah. Not much else I can tell you. The Diocese did call asking about when they can pick up the body. I'll file some samples and then I'll give them the release if that's okay with you."
"Your call, Doc. Thanks."
After hanging up, the obvious question came to mind. "Who in the world would need to kill of an Archbishop? "