Mrs. O'Hara was, by any standards, an attractive woman. Her once blond hair, now was naturally tinged with gray, framed her very pretty face and her remarkable royal blue eyes. She was pretty without the need for glamor; well-kept without showing off. She fit quite comfortably the definition of a lady with class. I then tried to imagine the crude and rough Bill O'Hara lumbering beside her and it just didn't fit.
"Lieutenant MacKenzie, do you take cream or sugar with your coffee?"
"Just like Bill. He likes almost everything straight-up. I can't take it too strong. I have to thin it out with cream." She thanked the clerk, she took a napkin for herself, and offered one to me. I never felt the need to have a napkin with coffee but somehow I thought it might come across as rather improper if I didn't take it.
"Would over here be alright with you, Lieutenant?"
"That would be fine, Ma'am."
"Please. You make me sound like an old matron, Mr. MacKenzie. Please call me Mary."
"Okay... Mary. My name is Ian."
She smiled but I could tell she would never feel comfortable calling me by my first name.
"Ma'am, I mean Mary, Mrs. O'Hara."
Sensing my awkwardness she gave me a wink. "You call me whatever you makes you feel comfortable."
I thought I best give my proper respects before going on. "Again, I am so sorry about the death of your daughter."
"Why thank you, Lieutenant. I appreciate your kindness. She was a beautiful young lady, maybe, a little strong-willed and headstrong, but still a beautiful young lady." She took a couple of long sips of the coffee and I did mine.
She then took the lead in our pressing forward. "Lieutenant, I think that you may need to know a few things as you go forward in your work."
"Alright. Anything you say will between us for the time being."
"Lieutenant, Mollie's father is being black-mailed by some very dangerous people."
"I am sure your husband certainly has ..."
Mrs. O'Hara interrupted me with a gesture and a look, "No, Lieutenant. I mean Mollie's father. I know you already know of what I speak. Warren told me that he would be talking to you."
I just nodded, not sure where to go from there.
She continued, "Somebody has been sending him anonymous letters with snapshots of Warren and me. We get together every now and then to catch him up on the news of Mollie. And in those letters, they threatened to expose all this to my husband if he didn't start paying."
"Did he pay?"
"Yes, he did. He's been doing so for about six months. It's all very delicate, Lieutenant. You surely realize the temperament and reputation of my husband."
I was noncommittal, but she got the message that I understand her inference.
"Any ideas who may be out to get the Senator? I have found that any politician has bound to have his enemies."
There was a long pause ... then I could see her give one last check as to the wisdom of what she about to say. "Lieutenant. I might be wrong and I hope I am. But I think it might have been our Mollie."
"Yes, Lieutenant. Like I said, my daughter was a rather strong-willed child. I think she found out about Warren and me and then, of course, her. And when she did, she just turned hard against us. Started drinking and running with anybody that might embarrass her father."
"It happens. Could you give me the names of those gentlemen friends?"
"Maybe one or two, but that's all."
i was quite sure how to broach the subject so I just charged right in. "Was one of them Benjamin Brown?"
"Yes, he was the latest one,"she said with a very subtle tone of disdain.
"Mrs. O'Hara, is there anyone else we should be checking on?"
"If I were you, I believe I might start with Mrs. Benjamin Brown."
"Why is that?"
"I'm not sure, but she seems to me to be a woman who would settle matters herself. You do know who her father is?"
"No, ma'am... I mean Mrs. O'Hara, I don't."
"My father. The once powerful governor of the Commonwealth, but now departed, the Honorable Bryan Kennedy. I was his daughter of record, she was you might say, the one off the record.. Same father different mothers. Funny how things always come around, isn't it, Lieutenant?"
She gave me some more background and gave me the key to a train station post office box where I could communicate with her without tipping off Wild Bill. She thanked me and she left.
I swung by for some take-home from Chang's, this time ordering extra noodles and egg rolls. I also took home a bottle of Johnny Walker Black, just to give it a try. I felt the need for a good drunken stupor that night. Every now and then, I just like drinking myself to sleep. I regret it in the morning, but I do it anyway.