Read A Catskill Eagle Online

Authors: Robert B. Parker

Tags: #General, #Fiction, #Detective, #Mystery, #Crime & mystery, #Mystery & Detective, #Fiction - Mystery, #Suspense, #Hard-Boiled, #Crime & Thriller, #Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled, #Mystery fiction, #Boston (Mass.), #Political, #Mystery & Detective - General, #Private investigators, #Spenser (Fictitious character), #Escapes, #Private investigators - Massachusetts - Boston

A Catskill Eagle (10 page)

BOOK: A Catskill Eagle
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CHAPTER 22

BELSON PULLED THE CHEVY IN BY THE CURB OF A yellow diner in Watertown. Quirk and Hawk and I got out. Belson sat in the car with the motor idling. “You want me to bring coffee out?” Quirk said.

“Yeah,” Belson said. “Black.”

The three of us went into the diner. There was a long counter opposite the door and along the right wall four booths. In the back booth two men sat with thick white china mugs in front of them. The wall behind the counter was mirrored and two large coffee urns loomed at each end. On the counter there were slices of pie in glass cases, and muffins, and plates of donuts. We went to the back booth and slipped in opposite the two men. I knew one of them slightly, McKinnon, an FBI agent. Both of them wore gaberdine raincoats although it was sunny and not very cold. A very fat middleaged woman with dark skin and a mole on her chin came to take our order. I ordered black coffee. Quirk ordered two black, one to go. Hawk ordered hot chocolate and a double order of French toast. The two feds accepted a refill on the coffee. The waitress brought everything except Hawk’s French toast. Quirk took the black coffee to go out to the car and gave it to Belson, then he came back in. Nobody said anything while he was gone. He came back in and sat down and picked up his mug and sipped the coffee. He looked at Hawk. “French fucking toast?” he said.

“I give you a bite when it comes,” Hawk said.

McKinnon said, “McKinnon, FBI. This is Ives.” Ives looked like a salt cod. He was lean and weathered and gray-haired. His raincoat was open and under it I could see a green bow tie with little pink pigs on it.

“I’m with the three-letter agency,” he said.

“You with the Tennessee Valley Authority,” I said. “Well damn, I always wanted to meet someone like you. TVA is my favorite.”

“Not TVA,” Ives said.

“He’s with the fucking CIA,” Quirk said. When Quirk said the sacred letters Ives looked uncomfortable, like he was fighting the impulse to turn his coat collar up.

He said, “Let’s not broadcast it, Lieutenant.”

Hawk said in a full voice, “Broadcast what?” and Quirk looked away trying not to smile.

McKinnon said, “Come on, we know you’re both funnier than a case of the clap. You’ve proved it, now let’s move on.”

“We are trying to pursue this informally,” Ives said. “We don’t need to. I can have Lieutenant Quirk place you under arrest and the discussion can be held more formally.”

Quirk looked carefully at Ives and spoke very distinctly. “You can’t have Lieutenant Quirk do anything at all, Ives. The closest you can come is to ask.”

“Aw, Jesus Christ, Marty,” McKinnon said. “Come on. Let’s see if we can’t just talk business here and stop fucking around.”

The fat waitress appeared with a huge platter of French toast and a pitcher of syrup.

“Who gets the toast,” she said.

“Here,” Hawk said.

The waitress put the food down and went away. “Be hard,” I said, “for anyone to distinguish you from the rest of us.”

“Yeah,” Hawk said. “Me and four honkies, how could she remember?”

“That’s real progress, I should think,” Ives said.

“That someone confuse me with you?” Hawk said.

Ives cleared his throat. “Let’s begin again,” he said. “We may be in a position to trade marbles.”

I nodded. Hawk cut a square off one of the pieces of French toast and held it across the table toward Quirk. Quirk lipped it off the fork and ate it.

“Costigan has chips on a lot of squares,” Ives said. “One is selling armaments. He is licensed and in and of itself there is nothing illegal about being an arms dealer, as I’m sure you people know. But Costigan deals covertly with proscribed nations.”

“Heavens,” I said.

“There’s nothing frivolous about this,” Ives said. “It translates into a lot of human suffering. Moreover, Costigan or his representatives not infrequently act as agents provocateurs, burning the oil on troubled waters in sensitive parts of the world. It enhances their marketing posture.”

Hawk finished his second piece of French toast. The waitress came over and asked if we wanted anything else.

McKinnon said, “No.”

The waitress slapped a check down in front of him and went away.

“We, that is the government, have penetrated Costigan’s schoolyard several times. Each time the agent has disappeared. We have had the organization under surveillance for five years. Nothing. For God’s sake, we do better infiltrating a foreign national organization. That’s where most of our information comes from, the buying end of Costigan’s business. But no paper. No records. No bills of lading. No invoices. No checks. No letters of credit. Everything appears to be cash and numbered bank accounts. Over the years we have had two eyewitnesses. Both of them were killed.”

The waitress came back and looked at the check still lying facedown in front of Ives. She took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and went away again.

“Now we have information which suggests that he may begin dealing nuclear weapons. Not the big bang, but tactical weapons, and tacs are plenty bad enough. You might wish to pause and think about the implications of atomic weaponry in the hands of, say, Idi Amin.”

“I thought he was out of business,” McKinnon said.

“He is,” Ives said. “I chose to use him as a hypothetical example for just that reason. But we all know that there are leaders in the Middle East and Africa and other suburbs of civilization who are just as irrational and savage. You can understand our concern.”

Hawk gestured toward the waitress. She came over, looking at the check. “I’ll have another hot chocolate, please,” Hawk said.

The waitress looked as if she was going to say something. Hawk smiled pleasantly at her. She paused, then she picked up the check and huffed away. Ives was silent while she went for the hot chocolate, and silent when she came back and put it down and slapped the revised check down beside it and cleared Hawk’s dish and cutlery away. When she had gone again he said, “We had decided to recruit someone to de-effectuate Costigan. All of this is, of course, off the record.”

“Deep background,” I said.

“When, fortuitously…” Ives said.

“He mean lucky,” Hawk said to McKinnon.

Ives sounded a little impatient. “Fortuitously, perhaps, for all of us, it was brought to our attention that you two were already involved in a pissing contest with Costigan.”

“How did that come to your attention?” I said.

“McKinnon.”

“How did it come to your attention?” I said. McKinnon nodded at Quirk.

“You knew about Costigan?” I said to Quirk. Quirk shrugged and tipped his cup so as to drain the last of his coffee without lifting his elbow from the table.

McKinnon said, “He won’t tell you, so I will. He didn’t know Costigan except as a famous name any more than you did. When the arrest warrants for you two started flowing in from California, he came in to see me. See if we could do anything to get your ass out of the crack, you know? I’d been talking with other people”-he nodded at Ives“-about their problem with Costigan and I got hold of them, and here we are.”

Hawk looked at Quirk and raised his eyebrows. “I knowed that, I give you two bites of my toast.”

Quirk said to Ives, “Let’s hear the rest.”

“So, when your situation came to our attention, we looked into you both. What we found about you tells us that you are just the people to twist Costigan’s tail for us.”

“And if we do?” I said.

“You’ll be doing your country a service. Your country will wish to repay you.”

“We kill Costigan,” Hawk said, “and you kill the charges on us.”

Ives nodded.

“Just Jerry Costigan?” I said.

“Cut off the head and the snake dies,” Ives said.

“How about Russell?” I said.

Ives shrugged. “If Russell takes over his father’s business the world can rest easier,” he said. “Russell will have all the gears jammed in six months. On the other hand; my information is that you might have your own reasons to want to drop the hammer on him. If you do we don’t object.”

“And the charges?” Quirk said.

“The charges will quite simply be deep-sixed,” Ives said. “It’s a fabric we know how to weave.”

Quirk said, “You are probably going to have to kill him anyway.”

I nodded.

“He’s got a contract out on both of you,” Quirk said.

“Figures.”

It was late morning by now. The diner was starting to fill with people for lunch. The waitress glared at us as she passed, but she was too busy now to stop and stare at the check.

I looked at Hawk.

Hawk said to Ives, “I don’t give a fuck about the emerging nations, or the needs of my government. I don’t give a fuck whether Jerry Costigan dies or he doesn’t or gets rich or pays his back taxes. I am interested in getting Susan Silverman away from him and his kid. You help with that and I’m happy to put the state of California away for you, if you want.”

Quirk said, “What happened to the superfly accent?”

Hawk grinned. “Sometimes ah forgets.”

Ives looked at me. “You agree with friend?”

“He said it very well.”

“We help you cher cher your la femme, and you dispense Costigan.”

“Yes,” I said.

“And you fix the arrest warrants,” Quirk said.

McKinnon said, “Whose fucking side you on in this, Marty?”

“It’s a fabric they know how to weave,” Quirk said.

“No problem with the charges,” Ives said. “What will you need to find the girl.”

“Woman,” I said. “She’s a grown woman.”

Ives laughed briefly and shook his head quickly. “Whatever. What do you see us doing for you?”

“Guns,” I said. “Money, access to my apartment. Intelligence.”

“What kind of intelligence,” Ives said.

“Whatever you have. Addresses, locations, phone numbers, habits, acquaintances, favorite color. Everything you have.”

“Most of that is a walk in the spring rain,” Ives said.

“We will need a place,” I said. “In case Susan tries to reach me. We need a place to stay with a phone where Paul can reach me.”

“You think she might escape on her own?” Ives said.

“I’m not sure she’s exactly a captive,” I said.

“Well, what the hell is she,” Ives said.

“We’ll see,” I said.

“She walks out of the woods on her own,” Ives said, “you’ve still got the murder raps and all that other garnish.”

“We say we’ll do it, we’ll do it,” I said. Ives looked at Quirk. Quirk nodded.

“Roger,” Ives said. “We’ll set you up with a safe house, a phone, currency and weapons. It’ll take a day or so. Once we’ve set it up, I can have some people come by and brief you. Meanwhile, where can I reach you?”

“Quirk will know,” I said.

Ives was silent for a moment, then he shrugged. “Right,” he said. “I need you I’ll give Lieutenant Quirk a jingle.” He reached inside his coat and came out with a business card. “You need me, call me.” The card said simply Elliot Ives, and a Cambridge phone number. I put it in my wallet.

Ives picked up the check, looked at it, put four ones down on top of it, and took a small notebook out of his coat pocket. He entered the amount in his notebook.

“We’ll be in touch before the weekend,” Ives said. “I think we’re going to be very happy together.” He stood up and put the notebook in his coat pocket. “But remember one thing. I am not your wife. Don’t try to fuck me.”

“You sweet-talking bastard,” Hawk said, and we went out of the diner.

CHAPTER 23

THEY PUT US IN AN APARTMENT ON MAIN STREET in Charlestown, just out of City Square. It was on the second floor of a recycled brick building. There was a living room and kitchen across the front and two bedrooms and a bath across the back. If you looked out the front window you could see the Charlestown down ramp from the Mystic River Bridge. The kitchen was stocked with food. There was beer in the refrigerator and fresh linen on the beds. There were new toothbrushes in the bathroom. Hawk and I stayed there for two days drinking beer, doing push-ups and watching cable television before Ives came with another guy to brief us. The other guy looked like Buddy Holly.

“As I’m sure you are aware,” Buddy Holly said, “our agency has no authorization for internal matters, so this briefing is entirely informal and off the record.” His heavy horn-rimmed glasses slipped down his thin nose a little and he pushed them back up with his left forefinger. He had a three-ring binder on the table in front of him.

Hawk and I didn’t say anything. We were sitting at the dining table at the end of the living room next to the kitchen. Buddy Holly sat opposite us and Ives sat on the couch with his legs stretched out and his arms resting on the back of the couch. Today’s bow tie appeared to have a maroon dolphin motif. A big leather suitcase lay on the floor in the middle of the living room. There was a duffel bag beside it.

“Perhaps we should open the gifts, first,” Ives said. He was running his eyes over the contours of the room as he spoke.

“Right,” Buddy Holly said. He stood and went to the suitcases. “First,” he said, “clothes.” He opened the suitcase and began to lay the contents out in two piles.

“Underwear,” he said. “Jeans, socks, polo shirts.”

“I’m not wearing no shirt with a reptile on it,” Hawk said.

“These seem to have small foxes on them,” Buddy Holly said.

He continued to unpack. “Sweaters, a watch cap for each of you, a belt for each of you. Two new pair of Puma running shoes, one size nine, one size nine and a half. Six handkerchiefs apiece.” He looked up at us and smiled.

“Handkerchiefs?” I said.

“Well, yes. You don’t use handkerchiefs?”

“Only to tuck in my suitcoat pocket,” I said.

“I’m afraid these aren’t that kind.”

I shrugged. “Don’t seem to have a suit anyway.”

Buddy Holly smiled. “No. We felt you would have no need for dressing up on this mission. But if it becomes a necessary expense I’m sure the agency will approve it.”

“Enough of the software,” Ives said from the couch. “Give them a gander in the duffel.”

The duffel bag contained: two folding knives, with stainless steel handles and four-inch blades; two Smith & Wesson Model 13 .357 magnum revolvers with three-inch barrels in a bluesteel finish, still in their nice blue boxes; a Winchester .30-.30 rifle with lever action, and a walnut stock; a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun with pump action; two boxes of .357 cartridges, one box of .30-.30, and a box of 12-gauge shotgun shells. There were shoulder rigs for the revolvers and belt-threaded ammo pouches. There were two Westwind warmup jackets with quilted linings. There was a pair of binoculars, and two black leather saps. Buddy Holly set each of these items out with a brief description of its value and potential use to us. When he was through Ives said, “If you think you’ll need anything else, let me know. If you need more ammunition say so.”

“We use up all this,” I said, “either we won’t need more, or more won’t help us.”

“We can provide automatic weapons if you think you’ll need them,” Buddy Holly said.

I shook my head. “This will be fine,” I said.

Buddy Holly glanced at Ives. He did that every few minutes. Then he said, “Good, well, let’s get to the paper work.”

He came back to the table, and sat down across from Hawk and me and opened his three-ring binder, and turned it so that Hawk and I could look at it as he spoke of its contents and pointed at it upside down, the way an insurance agent does when he points out the advantages of a Mod 5-10 in case you should, sir, God forbid, step out of the picture.

“Here’s a picture of Jerry Costigan,” he said, pointing with the eraser end of a pencil at the 81/2-by-11 glossy in its clear plastic envelope. “And this is Russell.” He pointed at another 81/2-by-11 glossy on the facing page.

Russell still had ordinary features in a smallish face. The features seemed a little close to one another, as if his face were cluster zoned. His hair looked artfully tousled. Hawk leaned slightly forward, looking at the picture. I was leaning forward too.

“That Russell,” he said.

“Recent?” I said to Hawk.

Hawk shrugged. “Still look like that,” he said. We both looked at the still glossy of Russell.

Finally Buddy Holly said, “Ah, now, is that enough? Will you remember his face?”

Hawk nodded. I said, “Yes.”

“Good,” Buddy Holly said. “Now, the pictures I’m going to show you are those of some of the men with whom the Costigans deal.” He turned the page. There was a dark man with a large mustache wearing an ornate uniform.

“No,” I said.

“No?”

“No. I don’t care who Costigan deals with. What I need is information as to where Susan Silverman might be.”

Buddy Holly glanced sideways at Ives. “Susan Silverman,” Buddy Holly said.

“This too hard for you?” I said. He looked at Ives again.

“The maiden in the tower,” Ives said. “She’s part of the deal.”

Hawk’s head lifted and he glanced at me. I turned slowly toward Ives. “She is the deal,” I said.

“Absolutely,” Ives said. “No question about it.”

Buddy Holly looked confused. “Then they don’t get the whole briefing?” he said to Ives.

Ives shrugged. “It’s not stamped on their dog tags that they have to,” he said.

“We need to know where Susan might be,” I said. “Homes, apartments, resorts, hotels Russell often stays in, places he often goes. If you have anybody on his tail it would be good if you knew where he was now.”

“We’re not allowed to do domestic surveillance,” Buddy Holly said.

Hawk got up and went into the kitchen, which was separated from the living room by a low counter. He looked over the wine bottles on the counter, took a Napa Valley Pinot Noir, uncorked it, poured some in a big wineglass, and came back in carrying the bottle and the glass. He gestured with the bottle at Ives.

“Too early in the day for me,” Ives said.

“Probably always will be,” Hawk said. He took a sip of wine and walked over to the front window and stood looking out at the off ramp.

“What have you got on the domestic habits of Russell Costigan?” I said.

“He lives with his parents,” Buddy Holly said, on Costigan Drive in Mill Valley, California.“

Hawk turned slowly from the window. He was smiling widely, his eyes bright with pleasure. “Mill Valley?” he said.

Buddy Holly said, “Yes.” He glanced at some notes in his folder. “Costigan Drive, it’s on Mill River Avenue in Mill Valley. Mill Valley is north of San Francisco, I believe.”

Hawk smiled some more. He looked at me. “Good to know they’re keeping the Russians at bay,” I said.

“It’s Mill River,” I said. “Mill River is south of San Francisco.”

“And it Mill River Boulevard,” Hawk said. “Not avenue.”

Buddy Holly studied his folder. some more.

“I have here Mill Valley,” he said. “And they maintained a hunting lodge in the state of Washington. The lodge was recently destroyed by a fire of suspicious origin.”

Hawk turned back toward the window. He poured some more wine from the bottle to the glass, and sipped some more as he looked out. “You folks get a chance, you want to send in some champagne?” he said.

“French? Moet and Chandon, Taittinger, Dom Perignon, something like that?”

I got up from the table and walked to the kitchen and rested my hands on the kitchen sink and looked out the kitchen window.

“Good spot to hide us out,” I said. “Hawk’ll blend in perfect with all the other blacks in Charlestown.”

“Maybe I use a disguise,” Hawk said. “Faith and begorra, motherfucker.”

“Listen,” Ives said. “We don’t keep these furnished nurseries everywhere. This is the best we had.”

Buddy Holly said, “I really don’t have too much else in domestic terms.”

“Most of the domestic bird-dogging is done by our cousins in the Bureau,” Ives said. “Perhaps Brother McKinnon can help you.”

“Where’d you get this stuff?” I said, pointing with my chin toward Buddy Holly and his folder.

“The FBI supplies us with most of our domestic intelligence,” Buddy Holly said.

“Sure,” I said. A red Ford Bronco like Susan used to have came down the ramp from the bridge and turned left onto Main Street heading toward City Square. “We’ll get them to help us.”

Ives stood. “Punch in with us now and anon,” he said. “We’ll keep our nose right on the ground and feed you anything we catch.”

I nodded. I could hear the click as Hawk poured himself some more wine. Buddy Holly closed his folder and slipped it into his briefcase and stood.

Ives opened the door. “Happy trails,” he said. He went out.

Buddy Holly followed. “Glad to be able to help,” he said. “Good luck.”

“Sure,” I said. “And it’s a damned shame about you and the Big Bopper.”

BOOK: A Catskill Eagle
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