A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2017
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
Mitchell sauntered to the end of the bar nearest the door, his favorite spot in case he must get out in a hurry. With his elbows on the bar and a new Scotch in his hands he wondered what in hell might be worth a million or so bucks that old Smyth has tumbled on to – must be something from Europe he has smuggled into the US. Mitchell motioned to the bartender while pushing the twenty he just won across the bar.
Back in Boston the next day, Wadsworth heard the office phone ringing as he reached the top of the stairs. It was early in the morning, and realizing he is probably the first one in, rushed to open the office door and answer the phone.
Scott picked a pipe from the small rack on his desk and thoughtfully filled it and fired it. He took a couple of puffs and reached for his coffee. He sipped and puffed while thinking about Ryan and wondering if Frank Gray has heard from the European news services about Ryan. There must be something if he is importing from there. He sat and pondered the whole situation to this point until he heard his secretary settling in the outer office and decided it was time to get to work.
About eleven o’clock, Scott secretary informed him that Frank Gray is calling.
On the way to Jake Wirth’s Scott stopped at L.J. Peretti’s. He thought he needed a break from Royal Blend; something a bit softer. Whisky blend was suggested, a Cavendish blend, with a subtle flavor and aroma from curing with Kentucky Bourbon. Mild, smooth and mellow. He reached Jake Wirth’s just as Frank did and just ahead of the noon rush. In the booth they used for many years, both finished off their Knockwurst and German hot potato salad and settled back with the last of a dark beer and lit their pipes.
“Well,” Frank started. “Your Albert Ryan certainly has a checkered reputation in Europe. His company, European Consolidated Imports, buys antiques and art all over Western Europe, but quite heavily in Italy. It is suspicioned he has close ties with the underworld there. Officials have been trying since the war to catch him smuggling, but never have. He has been in courts in several countries on one minor charge or another and always exonerated. However, authorities keep a tight eye on him everywhere. There is little doubt he is dishonest, and it is just a matter of time before he is caught either in Europe or here.”
That night, at 11:45, an Albany detective assigned to the bus station spotted Smyth getting off a bus from Miami. He followed Smyth to the taxi stand and then rushed to his car parked just beyond the first cab. When the cab pulled out the officer followed. When traffic thinned a bit, he radioed headquarters and asked for the chief.
Back in New York the next afternoon, Mitchell headed his rental car towards Albany, hoping to get there by six and hook-up with Smyth. On the way he tried to think of a gentle way to turn down Smyth’s proposal, just in case he didn’t like what the bugger was up to.
As Mitchell drove away from the Regal Hotel, The FBI car that was stationed outside the hotel pulled from the curb and followed Mitchell to the rental company, and home. By the time Mitchell left his apartment, a pair of New York agent were on duty and watched him leave and enter delicatessen two doors from his building for breakfast.
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