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Authors: David Hosp

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BOOK: Among Thieves
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He walked into the lobby of the jail, a tall, narrow, yellowy space occupied only by two uncomfortable metal benches, and
headed to the front desk. It was a holiday morning; the place was empty. Finn was dressed casually in a polo shirt, khakis,
and a spring overcoat. He was heading out to the Sox game later that morning, and he’d vowed that the trip to the jail wouldn’t
interfere with his day.

“Officer Hollings,” he said to the uniformed woman standing at the front desk. Her face was down, and she was churning through
paperwork.

She looked up and smiled. “Attorney Finn,” she said. She had a pretty smile that made it easy to overlook the acne scars on
her cheeks. Her polyester uniform tugged at her tight curves, and she had an admirable sense of humor for a corrections officer.

“You here for Malley?” She chuckled as she asked the question.

“Yeah,” he admitted, throwing his bar card and driver’s license on the counter. “How’d you guess?”

“You’re a sucker for the hard-luck cases. His is as hard as they come.” She laughed again as she picked up his identification
and handed him a locker token and a yellow laminated lawyer’s pass to hang around his neck.

Finn slipped the pass over his head and took the token over to the wall lined with dented steel lockers, sliding it into the
key slot of one and opening it. He knew the drill by heart: he took everything out of his pockets—wallet, keys, phone, BlackBerry—and
tossed them into the locker. Then he took a legal pad out of his briefcase and slid the case into the locker. Only the pad
was permitted into the jail.

He put his overcoat on top of the pile before he closed the door and turned the key, hearing the token drop into the lock.
He tugged once on the door to make sure it was secured, and walked over to the metal detector. Carol was waiting there for
him.

He stepped through the archway and the metal detector buzzed once. She beckoned him forward, and he moved toward her, keeping
his feet shoulder-width apart and putting his arms out to his sides, palms up. She picked up a handheld security wand and
began running it over his torso. She was still chuckling softly to herself.

“It’s not nice to laugh, you know that, Hollings?” he said.

“How can you not laugh?”

“He’s my client. At least, he may be.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s not funny.” She passed the wand over his belt buckle and it gave a chirp. She looked down at his crotch
and passed the wand over the front of his pants a few times. The wand whined rhythmically in time with the motion of her arm.
“You got anything in your pockets, or is that just the buckle?” she asked.

“You’re welcome to check.”

“Tempting, but I’m engaged.”

“Really? Tragic. Still, it’s your job to make sure this facility is safe. For the inmates, for the city”—he winked—“for me.”

She raised her eyebrows. “My fiancé’s a Statie. SWAT team. If you’re worried about your safety, the last thing you want is
me digging around in your pants.” She put the wand down and waved to another guard behind four inches of bulletproof glass
that separated the lobby from the rest of the jail. “He’s good,” she called.

The guard pressed a button, releasing a hydraulic lock on the steel door that led into the jail. Finn walked through.

“Good luck up there,” Hollings said.

“You’re all heart.” Finn looked back, admiring her uniform again.
Well, maybe not
all
heart
.

He stepped up to the small window that separated him from the interior guard. The door behind him closed again, and Finn was
now trapped in a tiny vestibule between two three-ton steel doors. One led back out to freedom. The other didn’t. It felt
like a decompression chamber. He put his arm through the small window where the interior guard was sitting and the guard stamped
the back of his hand with fluorescent ink, marking him as a visitor.

“Don’t wash that off ’til you’re out,” the guard said. Finn had seen him before, but didn’t know his name. He made a mental
note to find out what it was. In his line of work it was always good to be on terms that were at least cordial with the corrections
guards.

“Thanks. Good advice.”

“You know where you’re going.” It wasn’t a question. The guard recognized Finn.

Another buzzer sounded and the bolt slid free on the interior door. Finn walked through it and into a small elevator lobby.
He pushed the button and the elevator door opened. He stepped in and pressed the button for the second floor.

When the door reopened, he exited and walked down a long empty linoleum corridor. At the end was another thick metal door.
Behind that, two guards sat on a raised platform looking out through more heavy glass into the cell block. From where Finn
stood, he couldn’t see the cell block itself, but he didn’t need to; he’d seen it before—from both sides. It was a crescent-shaped
area with two levels of cells opening into a large, high-ceilinged common area. The guard station was at the center of the
crescent, allowing the corrections officers a good view of every area on the block.

Finn flashed his lawyer’s pass at one of the guards through the window, and the guard pressed a button, opening the door and
waving him through.

“Attorney Finn,” the guard said. His voice wasn’t quite friendly, but it wasn’t hostile either. Some of the corrections officers
understood that Finn was just doing his job. Others…

“Officer DiNoffrio,” Finn replied.

He noted Finn’s casual attire. “You going to the Sox game today?”

“Yeah.”

“Lucky bastard.”

“Yeah. I’d offer you one of my other tickets, but…” Finn shrugged.

“Bullshit.”

“Yeah. It’s the thought that counts, though, right?”

DiNoffrio shook his head. “Not even close. Who are you here to see?”

“Devon Malley.”

“Shit. You serious?”

“I guess.”

“You might as well give me your ticket. By the time he finishes trying to explain this, it’ll be the bottom of the ninth.”

“I charge by the hour.”

“Still…” DiNoffrio swiveled in his chair, facing back out toward the cell block. He grabbed the microphone that extended up
from the control board at the center of the guard station, flicked the power switch on. “
Devon Malley. Visitor
.” His amplified, mechanized voice echoed off the smooth cement surfaces of the cell block. It didn’t sound like him; it sounded
like God. For those living on the block, it might as well have been. He looked back at Finn and nodded toward another steel
door off to the side of the guard station. He pressed a button and the door unlocked. “He’ll be in in a minute.”

“Thanks.” Finn walked over and stood in front of the door. He looked up at a clock in the guard station. Nine forty-five a.m.
The first pitch was at eleven oh-five.
Devon better talk quickly
. He took a deep breath and walked through the door.

The room was small—smaller even than the single cells in which the inmates were kept for most of the day. Two plastic chairs
were the only furnishings. No table. The lock on the door behind him buzzed shut, and Finn took quick, shallow breaths, trying
to keep the stink of inmate sweat and vinegar-based disinfectant from reaching too deeply into his lungs. It was useless,
he knew from experience. The odor would stay with him for the rest of the day.

The buzzer on the door that led directly into the jail’s common area sounded, the door swung open, and Devon Malley stepped
into the room. He was dressed in the standard-issue faded blue smock and drawstring pants. The two men looked at each other
without saying anything.

Devon looked more or less the same as he had the last time Finn had seen him a few years before. He was around five years
older than Finn—late forties—and just over six feet tall. He had dark hair, cut short and streaked with gray, and a round
face with well-defined features. His eyes had a guileless look to them incongruous with his chosen profession.

Finn had known Devon since the old days, when Finn was still running with his gang in the Charlestown projects. He wasn’t
part of Finn’s crew—he was from Southie—but they hung around some of the same people. Devon was the sort of guy people usually
took little notice of. He wasn’t bright enough to be a leader, but he was pliable, and he could round out a decent crew. He
wasn’t a complete psychopath, which was refreshing. Many of the people Finn knew from back then would kill without thought
or provocation. That was never a worry with Devon. Finn didn’t think he had killing in him. Finn liked him for that.

Neither of them said anything for a moment, and the silence was awkward in so small a room. Devon finally stepped forward,
extending his hand. Finn shook it.

“It’s good to see ya, Finn,” Devon said. His heavy South Boston accent brought Finn back to his youth. “R”s came out as “aah”s
and the gerund form “-ing” had been lost forever. Curses replaced all punctuation. Finn had worked hard to lose that dialect.

“You too,” Finn replied.

“It’s good of ya to do this. Showin’ up on a fuckin’ holiday and all.” Devon let Finn’s hand go and stepped back, pulling
one of the chairs over and sitting down.

“Anything for an old friend.”

“Anything for an old friend who’ll pay your fuckin’ fees, you mean,” Devon corrected him.

“That, too.” Finn pulled over the other chair and sat in front of his client. “You can pay my fees, right?”

Devon smiled, but avoided eye contact. “We never change, do we?”

“Not in any way that matters,” Finn agreed.

“Jesus, what’s it been, five years? Ten? How you been?”

“Okay.”

“From what I hear, you been better than okay,” Devon said. “You’re gettin’ a fuckin’ reputation for yourself. ‘Miracle worker,’
that’s what I heard you called.” He rocked back and forth as he spoke.

“Really? That’s a good one. I’ll have to put it on my business cards.”

“No fuckin’ need. You do right by the right people and you don’t need to advertise no more.” He sounded like he was trying
to convince himself of something. “You must be making a pretty fuckin’ penny, too, huh?”

“Right. That brings me back to my fees.”

He nodded, still not looking directly at Finn. “I’ll pay ’em. I need a miracle worker.”

“Apparently. You want to tell me what happened?”

Devon shrugged. “I don’t fuckin’ know. My night didn’t go like I planned it.”

Finn looked around the tiny room. “So it would seem.” He went silent for a moment. “You want to tell me about the lingerie?”

Devon put his head down. “That’s all anyone’s gonna fuckin’ talk about, isn’t it. Fuck.”

“You’ve got to admit that when a guy gets caught with an armful of women’s underwear it paints a picture that’s hard to forget.”

“It wasn’t just underwear,” Devon said. “It was dresses, too.”

“Right,” Finn said. “Dresses, too. Does that make it sound better?” He watched his client get up and pace in the tiny room
like a tiger at the zoo. “The cops are calling you the
G-String Bandit.”

“Fuck ’em. They ain’t got nothin’ better to do with their lives but fuck with me? I got enough to worry about, right?”

“It was apparently a toss-up between that and the Panty Raider. Personally, I like the Panty Raider, but that’s probably because
I went to college at night, so I feel like I missed out.”

Devon stopped pacing and looked at Finn. “This is fuckin’ funny?”

“Maybe a little,” Finn replied. Then he turned serious. “Tell me what happened.”

Devon sat down, leaned back in the little chair, and took a deep breath. “It shoulda been the easiest night of my fuckin’
life. You know Gilberacci’s on Newberry Street? High-end fashion place?” Finn nodded. “They just got in the new shipments
for summer. The place was stocked.”

“A little smash-and-grab?” Finn asked. “The notion of you getting pinched fondling a bunch of silk bras is a little hard to
swallow.”

“You’re not listening,” Devon said. “This wasn’t no fuckin’ smash-and-grab. I had over fifty designer dresses, up to six thousand
retail for each one. Plus some jewelry and—yeah—very expensive panties and bras and shit like that. All in all, close to half
a million dollars in the store, low six figures on the street.”

Finn whistled. “That’s expensive underwear.”

“That’s what I’m sayin’. Plus, it shoulda been easy. Johnny Gilberacci’s one of the owners, and he’s got a serious fuckin’
gambling problem.”

“Johnny Gilberacci? He’s the guy who’s always in the society pages with his little dog with the pink collar, right?”

“That’s the guy.”

“A little weak in the wrists, isn’t he?”

“He’s queer as a fuckin’ ballerina, but he’s still got a gambling problem.”

“Really? What does he bet on?”

“How the fuck should I know? Whatever it is, he’s no fuckin’ good at it. He loses a fortune, and he’s been paying off Vinny
by stealing the shit outta the stuff in his store. This was gonna even everyone up. He’s got insurance on the place for twice
the inventory that’s actually there. I had the keys and access to the loading dock in back. No risk, and no one could get
hurt.”

“And yet here you are.”

Devon nodded. “Yeah, here I am.” He looked around the small room. “There was no fuckin’ warning. Everything was goin’ fine.
I had most of the shit loaded up already, and I’d just gone back in to grab a few more things. All of a sudden I look up and
there are these two fuckin’ cops looking back at me, these big, wide, shit-eating grins on their faces.”

“So, what do you think happened?” Finn asked.

“Only one possibility.”

“Someone dropped dime?”

“I don’t see how else this happens. There was no alarm, I didn’t make any fuckin’ noise, and there was no one else around.
The cops had to be tipped.”

Finn thought about this for a moment. “Who else knew?”

“I got the job from Vinny. You know Vinny Murphy, right? He’s moved up, and I’ve done a bunch of work for him. He’s always
been a stand-up guy, though, and I don’t see his angle on me gettin’ busted, so I don’t think it was him. I don’t know who
else coulda known, but someone did. If I was out on the street, I’d find out quick enough. In here I’m fucked, though.”

BOOK: Among Thieves
3.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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