Shoe Shine Jack

"Hey, Jackie.   How's the shoe shine business?''

My call roused Jack from a drowse that was the verge of becoming a nap.  "MacKenzie.  Sloooow.  Mighty slow.  Where you been, Lieutenant?"

"Oh, just doing and getting done.  How about a shine?"

"How about fifty cents?  And don't forget the tip."

I took my place in the second seat in and Shoe Shine Jack started his routine.  And he was an artist.  From the way he used his fingers to dab on the polish to the rhythm of his brushwork to the snap of his polishing rag, it was all tap dancing on a pair of brown Florsheim shoes, size 10.

"Whatsya doing here in the hub of the universe?"

"Oh Jack, just doing some background work.  Meeting a lady here."

"Something about the murder of O'Hara's girl?"

"Now, Jack, how in the world do you know that?"

"MacKenzie, I guess you don't read the paper much."  With that, Jack stopped and reached under his bench and pulled out a folded copy of the Globe.  He searched through the pages until he found what he was looking for, then handed it to me."

There she was all pretty in black and white, Miss Yellow Roses, her photo right next to a headline, CONSTRUCTION HEIRESS MURDERED. 

"MacKenzie,you were quoted in there."


And yes, after the scanty details of the event and a good deal of biographical material about the young Miss Mollie, debutante and Wellesley grad, a quote by a Lieutenant Ian MacKenzie, lead homicide detective in the case.  "There was little evidence left at the scene and to date have few leads, but we are following up on some persons of interest.  This case will probably depend upon an informant coming forth.  Any help from the public would be deeply appreciated."

Nice quote, but I didn't say it.  But Galloway did have a habit of putting what he wanted to say in the words of his underlings.  I suppose it gave him deniability if the words blew up in his face.

I offered the paper back to Jack but he said, "Keep it, MacKenzie.  but don't forget the tip."


"Hey, MacKenzie.  You ought to know your friend Flanagan came by and was talking about this O'Hara girl."

"You mean Bill Flanagan?"


"Jackie, what in the world was he asking about the murder?"

"Oh no, Mackenzie.  This was before the little gal was snuffed out.  he'd come by ever now and then and give me a five for me to keep an eye on the Limited to see when and if she ever got on that train."

"Well, did she?"

"Lieutenant, that's a business deal between Mr. Flanagan and me.  But if I were you I'd look over there and watch that lady in that yellow dress."

Jackie had located my appointment for me.  And there she was, kissing some gentleman good-bye as he boarded the Limited.   They were too far away to make any sort of identification.

Assuming that my squinting was trying to answer that question, Jackie chimed in, "In case your wondering, that's Senator Watters, heading home to his country place and to his missus. They meet here every week while he waits for his train to arrive."

"Kind of public, don't you think, Jackie?"

'You'd think so, wouldn't you, but they don't seem worried about it."

"As always, you do good work."  A one dollar bill followed by a five made me full partners with Bill Flanagan for any future info.

I took a roundabout route to make myself scarce as Mrs. O'Hara found herself a place near the clock.  i thought it best that it appeared I was running a couple of minutes late.  I even did a little acting as if I was having trouble locating her.  I think I pulled it off, for she was the one who  approached me and offered me a coffee over at the newsstand.





The End

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