I didn't even get in the door of the old 23rd Precinct before Captain Scarborough collared me. He was sitting on the stone stoop of the stately brick building that had been keeping the peace here in old Boston for some forty-five years. According to the building's cornerstone, she was ERECTED 1907, MAYOR JOHN FRANCIS FITZGERALD, POLICE COMMISSIONER AMOS WILLIAMS., DUTY, JUSTICE, FRATERNITY.
Bill Scarborough had been until a few months ago my long-time colleague on the force and in Homicide Division. But not long ago he had become my boss. We were both still getting used to this new relationship, sometimes we'd forget and buddy around for a few moments but then we would remember that we weren't of the same rank in life anymore then we'd retreat to the appropriate respectful distance.
As I neared I could smell that sweet fragrance of those famous Cuban cigars Bill Scarborough was known for, one of the fringe benefits of marrying into dry-cleaning money. As he puffed, he pulled another from his pocket and enticed me with it. I was an easy seduction. So I sat down beside him and enjoyed one of the most wonderful vices known to man, smoking a quality cigar.
"No problem, old man."
"How's life treating you, Bill?"
"Ah, not bad. I miss being out in the street. Being Captain just means an agonizing life of meetings and paperwork. Some days I'd just as soon give it back to the Commissioner."
"Ah, you're doing great. The guys respect you and God knows we needed to get some respect around here."
After a few more puffs, I went on, "I reckon you heard about the Archbishop checking out this morning."
"Yea. Doc thinks it's a poisoning."
"Hard to believe that someone would do in the old saint."
"Well, we have had a couple of priests and nuns go under in the past few years. Remember that Father Francis fellow who bumped off his mistress that he had been keeping for thirty years over in Brockton."
"Yea. I guess nasty stuff happens with everybody, the godly and the not-so-godly. D*mn, these cigars are good."
"You like 'em. My wife's father has them shipped in all the time. How about I give you a box for your birthday, May 11, right?"
"That'd be great."
"About this Archbishop Collins thing. Mac, you might want to check with the newspapers. It seems like there was some sort of scandal with the then Father Collins. Well before the war. Maybe around '35 or '36, somewhere around there. Seemed like it had to do with something about the dockworkers' strike. I remember my wife being all upset because her father held some office in Collins parish over in Charlestown."
"I'll check it out."
"You and Mary still got something going."
"Yep. So far so good. Jus' pray I don't do something stupid."
"That'd be wasting good praying time. Mac, gotta go. Budget meeting over at City Hall. Good luck with the Archbishop thing. You'll get some good face time in the news with this one. Let me know if you need some help."
"Thanks, old man. And thanks for the stogy."
Bill left and I lingered awhile, savoring the remainder of my Montecristo. As I sat there, a Yellow Cab ran over a pigeon. I believe that was the first time I ever saw a Boston pigeon bite the dust. It did get me to thinking, just where do pigeons go to die?