Before saying farewell to Mary, I had to borrow Shirley's phone to call in some backup. The afternoon would be one I ought not to handle on my own. So I called in Tommy Willis, a rugged, bare-knuckle newcomer to Homicide, an old-fashioned beat cop that finally got his turn to wear a shirt and tie.
"Tommy, Ian MacKenzie here. I need to have some words with the Mahoney Brothers. Got time to meet me at their place? ... Maybe one o'clock. ... Great. See ya in a few minutes, Tommy Boy."
The Mahoney place of business was officially Greater Boston Maritime and Shipping, a section of the East Boston docks, but for fellas like Tommy and me Mahoney's place was Santarpio's Restaurant, a pizza joint in a class by itself. If you were Italian or you loved Italian food, this ram-shackled place was it. Not many of the profits went into decor at Santarpio's, for the most part, just bare walls papered with old boxing posters, a visual history lesson in the sweet science as it had been conducted through the years in old Boston. The Mahoneys had a habit of holding their business meetings during the slow daylight hours at Santarpio's. The old couple who ran the place I figured didn't much like this arrangement, but it kept the peace behind the scenes.
When I pulled into the parking lot, the inventory of the three black Cadillacs sitting by the side entrance gave me evidence enough that the Mahoney's were in today. About five minutes later, Tommy arrived in his old oil-burner, an old Packard that had barely survived a couple of wrecks. But that car so fit Tommy Willis. When Tommy stepped out of that car, you could see why I'd say that. He looked like a man who had survived a few wrecks himself, scarred and beat up, but going stronger than ever, probably more out of sheer toughness than anything else. Built like block of mountain rock, coal gray hair shaved down into a crew-cut, square jawed, big-fisted, cold blue eyes, and that ever present match twitching between his lips.
"What the h*ll we doing here, MacKenzie?"
"Just asking questions."
"And you think we're actually going to get some answers."
"Still got ask 'em, Tommy Boy, still gotta ask 'em."
I thought the best course would be to use that side entrance. The place looked more like a fishing shack than a restaurant, big enough, just run down a bit in the fifty years that it had been operating here. The wooden door painted some sort of Sicilian pistachio green wobbled a bit on its hinges when we opened it. A few feet inside we were met by a wall of grunt wearing a high-priced suit from the last rack in the big man's shop. "Can I help you?"
I stopped to show him my badge, Tommy just kept walking on. Before I could plead my authority, Tommy bellowed, "We're here to see Bryan Mahoney."
"It's alright, let 'em by, Jake. I'm always ready and willing to assist the men of law enforcement."