The office walls were oddly decorated with year after year of Checker Cab calendars. There had to have been twenty of them nailed on every blank space on the pale green walls. Each one featured that year's model of Checker Cab showcased in front of another Boston landmark. I thought Checker Cabs never changed! But apparently they did, ever so slightly, much like the days of my life. Nothing seemed to ever change, but now after all these years I've ended up in a place far from where I first began.
The aforementioned Mr. Krieger walked in, large coffee in one hand, and a bulging antique leather briefcase in the other. Short-sleeve white shirt, skinny black tie, brown pants that had a run in with cigarette ashes somewhere along the line, Navy crew cut, and tortoise shell glasses. "Yes, Officer. My gal tells me you have an interest in Cab 46. Can I ask what your interest might be?"
"I believe that the driver may have some information concerning a homicide I'm working on."
"Well, Officer ..."
"Lieutenant MacKenzie ..."
"Yes, Officer MacKenzie. You see Cab 46 has been leased out. It's a permanent charter."
"To whom is the cab leased."
Mr. Krieger sized up the situation for a moment and then realized he had no choice. "The Brown & Keller Law Firm. You see anytime they come up short with a car or have to take a client to the courthouse or to their home, they always have a cab available."
"Not as bad as you think. They pay the cabbie by the hour and we get a flat monthly fee."
"Who's the cabbie?"
"That's be the old man, Paddy Flanagan."
"Yea, Flanagan. He's been driving cabs here in Boston for over forty years. They asked for him special."
"Who asked for him?"
"Old man Keller. About a year ago."
"You sure it wasn't Brown?"
"No, I did the deal myself. It was Keller. I never could stand Brown's kid. I wouldn't trust him to get my dog his license. Now his old man, now he was a class act. But Benji ... he was always a snot nosed kid."
"Yea, the kind used to be called Benji... Benjamin I think it was his mother's father's name. They had some Jewish blood thrown in there along the way."
"Do you have a log for that cab?"
"Can I talk to this Flanagan?"
"Sure. He spends the day parked somewhere near the law firm. Just waiting. God, it must be boring but I think the old man sleeps half the time."
"Thank you, Mr. Krieger."
With that. he pulled out the first cigar of the day. One of those dark, black kind that look like gnarled rope. Struck the match right off the seat of his trousers. I always wondered how they do that. It never worked for me.
Next stop, the local offices of the good and honorable Senator.