My early arrival at Chang's Restaurant gave me time to feed Chang's giant goldfish. I've been told they are actually called koi. Whatever they are called, these orange and white watery wonders are mighty impressive swimming around the moat that circles Chang's. I love watching them wind their way around each other as they pass under the wide, wooden bridge that carries you from the world of old Boston into the world of Hong Kong or Shanghai. For two bits, you can purchase food to feed the fish and today I did. I noticed that even well-fed fish fight and scramble over getting just a little more, much like most people do, even when they have had enough.
In the evening, you would find an exotic Asian lady by name of Lu there to welcome you as you pushed open those mahogany and teak doors, but at this noon time hour, it was Lu's son who watched the store. "One for lunch, sir?" the courteous and well-mannered young man asked.
"I'm actually here to meet someone. They said they would meet me in the back banquet room at the round table."
"Ah, yes, the guest for the Mahoney table." Now you must really be somebody to have your own table at Chang's.
Down the hallway, past the paper windows that screened the main dining room, through the front banquet room, closed off at this time of day, then into a room that I would guess was designed for fifty customers. In the room at that round table in the corner, only one customer sat and now with my addition, two. But it was not a middle-aged gentleman, the anticipated Michael Mahoney, waiting for me, rather before me sat a pretty young lady with auburn hair and a refined manner about her. "Lieutenant MacKenzie, I'm Colleen Mahoney. Thank you for coming."
The young waiter pulled out my chair, left a menu, nodded, bowed and then left with the assurance, "Your waitress will be right with you."
"Miss Mahoney, I was thinking I was suppose to meet your father here."
"I know. Forgive my little deception, but I thought that this might insure you promptly seeing me. Please, let's order first and then we'll talk. I always get the won ton soup and the sesame chicken."
"I'm a sweet and sour pork kind of guy, myself."
And that's what we ordered to the shortest, cutest Chinese gal I had ever seen. I added rice to my order and we both had some rice wine. I figured she was of age, Miss Mahoney, that is. I wasn't all that sure about our miniature waitress.
"Miss Mahoney, I suppose I am curious about why you called me down here."
"Not surprising. I am only twenty-five, Lieutenant, but I am not naive about my family's reputation. My father has always tried to keep me out of all that business, and I sincerely believe that he is trying to walk away from my grandfather's way of life. And that is precisely why I called you."
"I'm not sure I am yet understanding what you're trying to say."
"I sometimes overhear things, things I would rather not here. When we were having breakfast yesterday, I overheard my father on the phone talking to his brother. I heard him ask my uncle point blank if he had anything to do with Archbishop Collins' death. I was the left with impression that Uncle Bryan had reassured him that he did not."
"But Miss Mahoney ..."
"I know that Uncle Bryan may not have been telling the truth, but I want you to know that with all my heart, my father had nothing to do with it."
"Maybe, your father wanted you to overhear that conversation."
"No, sir. I am absolutely sure he didn't know I could hear him."
"You do understand that your family made threats against the Archbishop."
"Yes, but that was a long time ago, sir. And there is something else you need to know."
"And what might that be, Miss?"
"The Diocese has been paying hush money to a lady down in New York City."
"Now how would you know that?"
"Because Uncle Bryan got a more than little drunk one night and was bragging that his knowledge of that embarrassment was his trump card that he was going to play one day against the Archbishop."
"Sure he wasn't just blowing smoke."
"No, sir. Uncle Bryan always means what he says, even when he's sauced."
"Do you have the specifics on this mysterious lady?"
"Could you get hold of the specifics?"
"Maybe. If you can guarantee a clean bill of health for my father."
"You'll have to give me some time to think about that, Miss Mahoney."
We had a good conversation. By the time I left, i must confess that i was impressed with this generation of the Mahoneys. This certainly was a young lady who had come a long way and if her family didn't mess her up, she would go a long way in the future."