I and old Gray were the first to arrive at Brown & Keller. Just a minute or two later, possibly even within countable seconds, a black and white arrived with the stenographer, Sissy Williams, the daughter of a long time Traffic Court Judge in Boston. Sissy and I went to the same high school, when I was a senior she was merely a sophomore. She was always rather cute, never a knockout, but always cute enough to get a date, a husband, a divorce, and husband number two.
Calabrese's big Buick pulled in, a Deluxe Special, metal green with that beautiful, gray, rolled leather interior, and that jazzy jet age hood ornament. However I never like that toothy-grin grille those Buicks were famous for. Out of it stepped Calabrese and some other young guy I didn't know. I figured he pulled one of his rookies along to teach him a little about crime work in the field. I was wrong. It was his own stenographer. I never met a male secretary before. I figured he must type like h*ll to make up for his lack of other physical qualifications.
"Hey, MacKenzie. This better be gold you called me out for."
"Tony, if he doesn't get cold feet, this should be worth more than gold."
I would have thought that since Brown wanted this to be all on the quiet side, he would have met us the door himself, but instead it was Delores. We had secretaries enough to start our own business.
"Hello, Delores. This is Tony Calabrese of the District Attorney's office and this is Mrs. Williams of BPD and this is Mr. ..."
Stepping forward to finish up the introductions, "Marvin Welles, Reporter for the District Court."
I echoed, "Yes, Mr. Welles. Delores, is Mr. Brown ready for us?"
"Yes, sir. He's in his office."
We were hallway down the back hall when a gunshot just reverberated up and down the hall. In an instant, I knew what the meant. I ran with service revolver in hand, urging all others to stay where they were. Through the door I recalled from the morning meeting, into the office that was already filling with staff from nearby offices. Then I carefully opened the inner door to Brown's office and upon seeing the scene within, closed it quickly behind me. Mr. Brown was no more. He gave himself the quick good-bye, a 38 to the mouth while he sat in his leather high-back desk chair, his glassy eyes, still wide-open staring out at me, but he was seeing nothing no more but the life beyond, The bullet had ripped into the top of the chair, covering it and some of the gold brocade curtain behind him with blood and bits and pieces of what was once a tormented brain. The gun had fallen to rest in his lap and I could still smell just a trace of the smoke.
"Lord!" I started to curse, but then I saw on the desk, handwritten pages of legal paper, four of them full of what proved to be his own deposition of what he knew and just a one sentence suicide note. He closed with the words, "I really screwed it up. I'm sorry. Benjamin J. Brown." Beneath the legal pages, five file folders that I assumed went with his notes.
I used his phone to call O'Toole to send all the necessary folks, including Doc Brewster. I went out and told the news to Delores, who took it all in with a real measure of shock but with a whole lot more cool professionalism than one might expect of a civilian. She said she'd make the necessary calls to Mr. Keller and others in the firm. I sent the stenographers back out to the parking lot to cool their heels for awhile. Calabrese, I took back into Brown's office with me.
"Tony, our star witness just bought the farm and paid up early."
"H*ll, Mac, what do we do now?"
"Well, Tony. If I'm not mistaken, he probably has found a way to give us more than he could if he were still among the breathing."
As we waited for Doc and the others to arrive, Tony did some reading and gave me the thumbs up sign.