My Old Friend, the Assistant D.A.

Dropped off both Bill and the black-and-white.  Then found a phone.  "Hello, this is Lieutenant Ian MacKenzie of BPD.  I need to speak with Assistant District Attorney Calabrese, please ... Yes, Mr. Calabrese, please ... " 

It took two receptionists to finally get to him but then came that whiskey  voice,  "Mac, where you've been, old man?"

"Here and there, everywhere the cause of good is being fought, you shyster.  Hey, Tony.  How about lunch?  I'll treat you to a hot dog at Gus's.  I'll even throw in the beer."

Tony laughed, knowing that I never picked up the tab for anyone who wasn't a reliable snitch.  "Ian, how about twelve-thirty?"

"Works for me."

Tony and I had gone to high school together, he studied and I had a good time.  I did three tours in the Navy then went to the Police Academy; he went to Boston University then on to Harvard Law.  I caught the bad guys and he sent them away, at least, more often than not.  Tony had spent a number of years in the Public Defender's office, eventually becoming the Chief Public Defender.  Then for reasons he said were born primarily from boredom, he jumped to the other side about five years ago. He was good guy, knew the system, knew the law, and knew every two-bit  criminal and every big-money crime boss in town.

As the courthouse was overwhelming in its pillared, marble-and-granite classical nobility, Gus's Hot Dogs was underwhelming, a hole-in-the-wall squeezed between two buildings, just large enough for eight stools at a counter facing a wall, Gus's miniature, stainless steel kitchen, and, of course, Gus, legend of downtown Boston and the maker of the best chili with onions hot dogs on the planet.  For three hours a day, eleven in the morning until one in the afternoon, Monday through Friday, Gus was king and this was his palace.

The rush was nearly over when Tony dashed across the street wearing his three-piece, dark blue suit and his Allen-Edmonds wingtips.  Tony was just like his Papa, big Tony.  His father was one of the most respected tailors in town and was always dressed to the nines.  "Hey, Ian, sorry I'm a few minutes late."

"No problem,' I answered while opening the door for a fat guy to eit and for Tony and me to squeeze in.

"Great!  the line's short today and since you're treating, my policeman friend, I'm getting two of those superdogs.'

"Alright.  Don't go crazy," I said.  The line was only three deep and they were all to-go orders.  "Gus, I'll have two chili and onions and a Vernor's..."

Tony jumped in, "And I'll take two of the superdogs, relish, mustard and slaw.  And that's sounds good, give me a Vernor's, too."

Half the fun of Gus's was watching Gus build his hot dogs by slapping on the extras with these wooden paddles that sure looked like those tongue depressers that come with saying "Awhhhh."

We were in luck, two stools at the far end of the counter, away from listening ears.

Between mouthfuls of hot dog and swigs on ginger ale, I brought Tony up to speed on where we were on the Billington matter and all the ins and outs of my case concerning Miss Yellow Roses.  All this made Tony's eyes dance.  Why?  Well, to be candid, because he had a personal hatred of Wild Bill O'Hara and so wanted to send him up river.

"Tony," I approached my question rather cautiously.  "Do you think there is anything to be found in this relationship between young barrister Benjamin Brown and Wild Bill?"

Tony gave a shrug, "I wouldn't be surprised.  You bring me a crime and I've got the files.  Especially if you say these files that Scarborough has are as juicy as you seem to think they are."

I really needed to know who had my back before I took this leap off the cliff.  "Will you guys at the DA's office be there for me if I make a run at this?"

Tony measured every word.  "Ian, you get it started and we'll finish it.'

Suddenly the matter with Flanagan and Galloway seemed to have gained some significance, but for the moment, I kept that to myself. 

"Thanks for lunch, MacKenzie.  This is truly a red letter day when I somehow managed to break into your wallet."

"Next time, you old ambulance chaser, you're treating and we're eating upscale."

We shook hands and Tony took off back to the courthouse, dodging traffic caused his brazen disregard for the jaywalking statutes.  Jaywalking ... it's on the books in almost every city and no one cares.  Outside of cheating on your taxes, the most broken law in America.


The End

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