Locker 12

The next day began with a swing by the old 23rd to find the desk of Inspector Bill Scarborough, my fellow worker in homicide. 

"Morning, Bill."

"Well, good morning, MacKenzie.  Up awful early today, aren't we?"

Bill Scarborough was a hard-working, good man.  He didn't drink, didn't cheat on his wife, did provide for his five kids.  He was a good man in another way too.  He simply did his job.  Bill was your gentle giant, six-four, big and not only around his fifty inch middle, but big everywhere about him.  He wasn't very big on hair though.  He sported one of those monk hairstyles, and the little hair he did have around the edges, he kept cut close.

"Bill, you're working the Billington case, right?"

"Yea.  Ian, I'm thinking I'm looking at some sort of mob business.  I haven't been able to find lead one."

I was about to make his day.  "Bill, grab your stuff.  I think I've stumbled onto something that might help."

I thought it might be the smart play to take Bill's car, just in case there were still some eyes keeping a watch on my old gray Ford.  On the way, I explained the deal I had with Miss Devonshire and her lady friend.  He agreed to work with it.

As we neared the bus station, he asked, "Well, if it is O'Hara behind this, how are we ever gonna to pin this murder on him?"

"Probably can't.  But my guess is that we might be able to find something in the fraud or tax area."

We hit the bus station at the peak of a traffic.  Every bus stall was filled with diesel smoke.  The lockers were laid out in rows of ten, making number twelve the second one in on the second row.  I unlocked the two foot by two foot locker, which traded my access to its contents for the price of the key.  To get key back would cost me another four quarters.

The content of the locker was limited to one very large, shipping envelope, one of those padded envelopes that come with a double seal closure.  The package was of good heft, not one mark of any kind on the outside.

We walked away and returned to his Pontiac Super Chief, a surprisingly nice car for a cop.  I always liked that amber Indian head hood ornament that lit up at night.  Bill was married to good woman, not the prettiest gal by an stretch of the imagination or squint of the eyes, but a good and pleasant woman who was also the daughter of the dry-cleaning king of Boston. 

Bill watched while I opened the envelope with the pen knife that my father gave me when I graduated from the sixth grade.  It was a good knife and every so often I would take the stone and give its blade a good sharpening.  For some reason I took the time to feel the knife in my hand and say 'neath my breath,, "The d*mn knife will probably outlive me."  Strange thing to think at that moment, but my mind often takes those little side trips in the course of a day.

The envelope was filled with onionskin carbon copies of letters from Benjamin Brown to O'Hara Construction, referencing a maze of transactions to this account and that.  Also in the package were a number of torn out spreadsheets filled with numbers that I assumed came from the hand of the deceased Mr. Billington.  But the gold in that package were handwritten notes from Williman A. Billington, outlining the scheme of money laundering accomplished through the Boston Checker Cab Company, where cash from somewhere had made the Checker Cab Company one of the most profitable enterprises ever invented. And then the profits were lost once more in unbelievable maintenance costs for those cabs. According to Mr. Billington, much of that cash came from kickbacks in the construction business.  Throw in a little bribery action with officials in city government and we had in our hands enough for an honest D.A. to make a career.

"Thanks, MacKenzie," my colleague said with all sincerity.

"Just don't blow the case, Scarborough.  if you come across anything more that might help me with the O'Hara's girl's case, it'd be appreciated.  And if you could get some our folks keeping Wild Bill busy, it just might give me some working room."

"Will do, Ian, will do."







The End

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