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 (4 page)

BOOK: A Catskill Eagle
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THE PHONE BOOK TOLD ME THAT DR. DOROTHY Hilliard had offices on Russian Hill, and the noon news told me that an “exhaustive manhunt” for me and Hawk had now spread throughout the Bay area.

“Exhaustive,” Hawk said.

“No stone unturned,” I said.

“Did you really kill that guy?” Meg said.

“Yes,” Hawk said. “It was the best thing for him.”

Fay was not talking.

For lunch we had peanut butter sandwiches and instant coffee. The peanut butter was Skippy. The bread was pale white.

“This is revolting,” I said.

“We don’t usually eat here,” Meg said.

“I can see why,” I said. I ate three sandwiches. After lunch Hawk took a shower and then had a nap. I watched the women. At suppertime Meg said, “We got no more peanut butter.”

For supper we had white toast and Kraft strawberry jam and some white jug wine. The evening news rehashed most of what the noon and morning news had said. They still had me fifteen pounds too heavy. After the news we watched an animal program and then something called Trauma Center.

“Another day of this,” Hawk said, “and I turn myself in to the Mill River cops.”

At nine Rachel Wallace called.

“Jerry Costigan, his baptismal name, lives at something called The Keep in Mill River. The Keep is located off Costigan Drive, which in turn connects to Mill River Boulevard.”

“I know where Mill River Boulevard is,” I said.

“Good. Costigan inherited a small trucking firm from his father in 1948. It is the basis of what is now Transpan. They still do trucking, but have diversified into air freight, agriculture, hotels, television stations, and the sale of arms and munitions. Costigan occasionally dabbles in show business, investing in motion pictures, for instance. At one time he owned part of a record company and is currently involved through Russell in producing rock music videos. The company appears to be privately owned and controlled entirely by the Costigan family. Jerry is president and chairman. Russell is executive vice-president. Grace Costigan, Jerry’s wife and Russell’s mother, is listed as treasurer. They have offices in most cities.”

“What do you know about them personally?”

“About Jerry, almost nothing. He’s reclusive. He has contributed money to conservative and anticommunist organizations. He was investigated once by a House committee looking into labor, racketeering. No conclusions were reached. He was linked to illegal arms dealing in the Middle East and Africa. No charges were ever brought. He is probably one of the three or four wealthiest men in the country. He was born in 1923, and has been married to the same woman since 1944. Russell was born in 1945. Attended Berkeley but didn’t graduate. During the Vietnam war he was a naval air cadet but washed out of the training and was discharged for a health disorder which none of my sources were able to specify. Most of this is old newspaper clippings and. Who’s Who-type entries. The discharge was honorable. In 1970 he married a woman named Tyler Smithson. There were two children, Heather, born 1971, and Jason, born 1972. I have no address. There is no record of a divorce. Russell often represents his father in public. Transpan maintains an office in Washington, D.C., and Russell spends a fair amount of time there. He’s not registered as a lobbyist, but one of his principal duties for some years was to influence government action on behalf of the family business. Now that he is executive vice-president-it’s a new post, by the way, no one seems to have filled it before him-he is less often in Washington. But he still gets there regularly. The business keeps a suite at the L’Enfant Plaza. Russell has been arrested several times for minor things. Public drunkenness. Driving while impaired. Possession of a Class D substance. He’s been party to several altercations arising, apparently, out of disputes in public places where liquor is served. None of these arrests resulted in anything but a quick trip downtown by one of the company lawyers, and they didn’t get much press coverage. Only an unusually gifted researcher would have even found mention of these things.”

“But self-effacing,” I said.

“Yes. That is about all I have. The only other thing is that neither father nor son seems to have taken a vigorous public position on women’s issues.”

“Amazing,” I said. “They sure seem like they’d be feminists.”

“I can continue, in fact I will continue to dig into this. I’m a wonderful researcher. I’ll get more. But more will take time. Is there anything specific you want me to look for?”

I said, “I also need the names and addresses of everyone connected with Costigan, Costigan Junior, and Transpan.”

“Everyone is quite a large number,” Rachel Wallace said.

“I’m looking for Susan,” I said.

“Yes,” Rachel Wallace said. “I’ll be as complete as possible. There will be decisions necessary as to whom I research first and whom I put off. If I can’t reach you I will have to make those decisions.”

“You know what I’m after,” I said. “Do what you think is best.”

“And when you get what you’re after,” Rachel Wallace said, “when you find her. Then what?”

“We’ll worry about that when I’ve found her. Right now finding her is all.”

“That’s how you’re dealing with it,” Rachel Wallace said. “It’s a thing to be done. A task to be accomplished.”


“And you won’t think about anything but how to do it best.”


“And you will try very hard not to feel anything at all.”


“You’re bound to feel things,” Rachel Wallace said.

“Nobody’s perfect,” I said.

“Hold that thought,” she said. “Call me when you can.”


FRIDAY THERE WAS NOTHING TO EAT. WE DRANK instant coffee and moved around each other in the apartment and stared out the window.

“It’s not right,” Meg said. “You can’t starve us.”

“You’ll eat tonight,” I said. “Seven more hours.”

“I’m hungry,” Meg said. “Let me go out and get something. I won’t tell. I could go get us some sandwiches and stuff.”

“No,” I said. “Wait until tonight.”

“Been a long time,” Hawk said, “since I ate good.”

“Me too,” I said. “But I’ve been sleeping badly.” We stood at the window looking down on Mission Street. I watched the women. Not so chic down here. Overweight more often. Stretch pants that fit too tight. More of them carrying groceries and almost nobody with a shopping bag from Gump’s. Young black women, elegant very often, no matter what they wore. And chicano girls with thick long hair. Women holding on to the arms of men as they walked. Tired women, alone.

“Hard doing nothing,” Hawk said.

“Waiting is doing something,” I said.

Hawk shrugged. “Hard waiting,” he said. “Hard to not think while you’re waiting.”

“I’m thinking about how to find her,” I said. “That’s all.”

Hawk said, “Umm.”

The two women were watching television. A game show hooted and shrieked behind us.

“Sartre claimed that hell is other people,” I said.

“He never saw no TV game show,” Hawk said.

People went in and out of a pizza shop across the street. Most bought it by the slice and came out and ate it as they walked on. I envied them.

“Leo as bad as the two babes say he is,” Hawk said softly, “might be better to kill him.”

“He’ll take it out on them?”

“Maybe,” Hawk said. “Can you do it?”

“Have to,” I said.

We looked out the window some more. “You’re fucked,” Hawk said. “You got too many rules. Against the rules to blow Leo away coldblooded like. And against the rules to let him burn those whores.” He smiled happily.

“We exploited those whores,” I said.

“So we got to fan Leo,” Hawk said.

“We kill him,” I said, “we’ll have to kill the bodyguard. That leaves the women with two stiffs to explain.”

“If they stay,” Hawk said.

I turned and said to the two women, “You own this place or rent?”

Meg said, “We rent from Leo.”

Hawk laughed. “Old Leo got it every way.”

“You sign a lease?” I said.

Fay laughed without any hint of amusement. Meg shook her head.

“Slick,” I said to Hawk. “Leo owns property, puts his whores in it, they pay him rent, use it for commerce, and split their earnings. Leo gets a nice double dip.”

“Also means if these babes leave no one know they were here,” Hawk said.

“Yes. They’re not profitable, or whatever, he can move them out, move in two more.”

Fay was watching us as we talked.

“Why do you want to know that stuff,” Fay said. It was the first thing she’d said since yesterday.

“Better to know than not to know,” I said.

“You’re thinking of killing us,” Fay said.

“Oh my God,” Meg said and turned toward Fay, forsaking the game show.

“You want to know if we can be traced. You want to know who knows we’re here.”

“How do you think Leo will react to getting tossed in this apartment?” I said.

“We won’t ever tell anyone,” Meg said. She was leaning forward with her hands squeezed together in her lap. “Honest to God we won’t.”

Fay reached over and touched Meg’s clenched hands. “What do you mean,” she said.

She rested her hand on the double clenched fist in Meg’s lap. She patted it slightly.

“Will Leo blame you?” I said.

“Oh holy God,” Meg said. She began to rock slightly, her hands still clenched. Fay continued to pat.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Fay said. She was quiet while she thought about it. Meg slipped her hands from under Fay’s comforting pat and pressed them against her mouth.

“Jesus,” she said in a choked voice. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

“He might think we were in on it,” Fay said. “He’ll pretty sure know that we told you about the collection. And getting hassled in front of two of his girls will… He’ll take it out on us even if he doesn’t blame us.”

“If you have to get out of here,” I said, “you got someplace to go?”

Fay looked at me without speaking for maybe thirty seconds. Then she said, “Neither one of us is Little Red Riding Hood.”

“Okay,” I said. “Why don’t you pack up and be ready to leave.”

Meg had stopped murmuring Jesus. Her clasped hands were still pressed against her mouth. But she had stopped rocking and she looked up at Hawk and me over the tops of her hands. Then she turned and looked at Fay.

Fay smiled at her very slightly. “Come on,” Fay said. “We’ll pack.”

The two women went back down the corridor to the bedroom. Hawk was still looking out the window. As he stared down at Mission Street he was singing softly, “Good-bye, Leo, we hate to see you go.”

“It’s really something about you black guys,” I said. “You got so much soul.”

Hawk turned from the window and grinned. “Born to sing, honey,” he said. “Born to boogie.”


LEO CAME KNOCKING AT THE DOOR PROMPTLY AT five. Hawk and I stood out of sight from the front door and Fay let them in.

“Hello, Leo,” she said. “Allie, come on in.”

A soft voice murmured so that it was barely audible. “You girls have a good week?”

The door closed and the two men came into view. Hawk and I pointed guns . at them. Leo looked at us, and back at Fay. He was a large man with neat graying hair. He wore horn-rimmed glasses and a full Brooks Brothers costume. Striped shirt, knit tie, Harris tweed jacket, gray flannel trousers, wing-tipped Scotch brogues. Behind him Allie looked like he’d grown up watching Victor Mature movies. He was wavy-haired and heavylidded and wore a dark shirt with a white tie. The collar of his leather jacket was turned up and a cigarette smoked in the corner of his mouth. Behind me I heard Hawk snort.

Leo looked at us, and back at Fay. Meg stood against the far wall by the kitchen.

“You lousy bitch. You set me up,” Leo said in his mumbly voice. He was carrying a briefcase. Not the neat square attache kind, but a big scuffed satchely one.

I said to the women, “Go get your luggage.” Meg started to speak and Fay took her arm and said, “Shhh,” and they went back down the hall. Leo looked at me. There was sweat on his upper lip. His eyes were moist and bright.

“I’m going to fry their ass,” he said.

Hawk said, “No point talking.”

“No,” I said. I bit my back teeth hard together and shot Leo. He went back a couple of feet and fell.

Allie had his hand under his jacket when Hawk shot him. Allie fell on top of Leo, his legs sprawled toward the kitchen. I picked up the briefcase and took it to the counter and opened it. The smell of the shooting was strong in the room and the sound of it seemed to ring in the silence. I opened the briefcase. It was full of money. Hawk had taken Leo’s wallet out and Allie’s and was going through them.

“Leo appear to have about six different credit cards in six different names,” Hawk said. “That seem dishonest to me.”

Fay and Meg edged back down the hall and looked carefully out into the living room.

“I think you’ll like all this better,” I said, “if you don’t look at the bodies.”

Meg turned back at once, but Fay looked carefully past me at the two corpses. Her face had no expression. Then she looked at me.

“What about us,” she said.

I took four hundred dollars from the briefcase and gave it to her. “Two days’ pay,” I said.

“And we can go?”


“You shot him for us,” she said. “He’d have blamed us.”

There was too much money in the briefcase to count quickly.

“Toss what you got in here,” I said, “and let’s roll.”

Hawk put credit cards and licenses and Allie’s gun and the money from the two wallets in the briefcase and I closed it.

“Got some car keys,” Hawk said. “Hope he ain’t driving something look like a carnival ride.”

“With those clothes,” I said, “no chance. Probably a BMW.”

Fay was still standing in the hallway. Meg had come down the hall behind her carrying two suitcases. Fay was watching me.

“You didn’t have to burn them,” Fay said. “Why’d you burn them?”

“Seemed like a good idea,” I said.

“Two guys you didn’t even know, for two whores you didn’t even know.”

“Know you better than we know Leo,” Hawk said.

“Good-bye,” I said. “Sorry for the trouble.”

Meg said, “Good-bye.”

Fay simply looked after us as we went out the door and down the steps to the street.

A silver gray Volvo sedan was parked at the curb.

“You pretty close,” Hawk said. “A preppy pimp. Can’t count on nothing out here.” He got in the driver’s side. I put the briefcase on the backseat and got in beside him and we rolled out onto Mission Street.

“First we eat,” Hawk said. “Then what?”

“Mill River,” I said. “I want to take a gander at Jerry Costigan.”

“You like buffalo stew?” Hawk said.

“Certainly. And Cleveland stew and Detroit stew…”

“No. Buffalo meat. There a place up on Van Ness serve buffalo stew, we slip in, eat some, slip out, and head for Mill River.”

“And if the cops show up,” I said, “we can circle the wagons.”

We locked the briefcase in the trunk of the Volvo and went into Tommy’s-Joynt and ate buffalo stew. Buffalo stew tastes very much like beef stew. But there’s nothing wrong with beef stew. We each had a large bowl and sourdough rolls and a side of coleslaw and three bottles of Anchor Steam Beer. No cops came. No sirens blew. Warner Anderson and Tom Tully didn’t come in and put the arm on us. We finished our meal and went outside and got in Leo’s Volvo and headed south again toward Mill River.

Ten minutes out of the city I made Hawk stop the car and I threw up on the side of the road. When I got back in the car Hawk said, “You shot Leo to protect those whores.”

I nodded.

“Had to be done,” Hawk said.

“I know.”

“You’ll feel better in a while,” Hawk said.

“Better than Leo,” I said.

BOOK: A Catskill Eagle
12.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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