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Authors: Edwin Attella

Tags: #crime, #guns, #drugs, #violence, #police, #corruption, #prostitution, #attorney, #fight, #courtroom, #illegal

THE FOURTH WATCH (2 page)

BOOK: THE FOURTH WATCH
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*****

Worcester, Massachusetts

RED WHORLEY TURNED RIGHT AT WEBSTER
SQUARE
and went south on Main Street out
past Bennett Field. He pulled into the Friendly's parking lot at
the comer of Airport Road and immediately saw the man he was
looking for parked in a maroon, unmarked Ford Taurus next to a
dumpster at the back of the lot. He pulled in alongside
it.

The Taurus was backed in so they were driver
side to driver side.

"You sure you want to do this," the man said
out his window, "we get paid for this stuff, you know. You don't.
We can handle this without you."

"I'm sure you can," Red told him, "but I want
this guy to see my face, I want him to know that I got him, you
know? That in the end he didn't put one over on me."

"Suit yourself," the man said. "Leave your car
here, we don't need a parade goin' in there. You can ride with
us."

Red locked up his car and climbed into the
backseat. The driver said, "Red Whorley...Officer Ray Willis, State
Police, Special Investigations."

Red shook the hand of a tall, lanky black man
wearing jeans and a tattered golf shirt. "Nice to meet you. Thanks
for letting me come along."

They pulled out and headed up Airport
Road.

"This is a joint operation. We have two teams
on the east side of the Reservoir around the location that the
undercover gave us as the drop site. We're early, so we're gonna
meet up with them and wait it out."

They turned east down a dirt fire road heading
into the woods toward the reservoir. The moon was up now and a cool
white glow sifted through the pine trees that lined the trail. Soon
Red could see the surface of the water through the branches as the
road turned down toward it. Willis hadn't said a word. His neck was
dotted with perspiration even in the night air. He looked nervous.
Jitters, Red figured. About twenty yards from the water the driver
turned the car away from it onto a dirt track and they all got
out.

"Where's the troops?" Red asked, the driver
standing right in front of him. Willis

hit him with some kind of bat across the back
of his skull. The crack made a sound like a gunshot in the quiet of
the woods.

"You're looking at em, cowboy," the driver
said.

Red collapsed to his knees. Reflexively he
reached for the back of his head and then stared at the blood on
his hands. In the waning moments of consciousness he knew that the
trap had indeed sprung closed - on him. He looked up at the
driver's :face. It was grinning and out of focus. Red felt a tremor
race through his body and then he pitched forward into the
dirt.

Willis stood with his mouth open, looking down
at what he had done. In his right

hand he held a four foot piece of solid plastic
pipe.

The driver said: "Alright, lets get him in the
water."

PART ONE

THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER

1

I WAS ALONE IN MY OFFICE AT
NINE
in the morning, drinking coffee,
skimming the sports page, and wondering what I was going to do with
myself today, when a soft tap on the door distracted me from the
Red Sox box score. It was so faint that at first I wasn't sure 1'd
even heard it. Then it came again.

"It’s open," I called.

She was perhaps the most beautiful woman I had
ever seen. I froze in place, coffee cup halfway between my mouth
and the paper, steam rising before my wondering eyes. She entered
tentatively, first just her face and head, glancing about, then her
shoulders, then all of her, a little nervous I could tell. Not sure
if she had the right place. She saw me across the room at my desk,
looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.
She squared up and stood before me clutching a small
handbag.

"Attorney Knight?" she said. She was all
curves and creamy skin, blond hair and green eyes, red, bee-stung
lips, moist and pouting. I stared at her openly, gawking really,
unable to look away.

Outside it was a beautiful late
summer day. The sky was cloudless, blue, and dominated by a big
warm sun. She was dressed accordingly in a light green dress that
tied behind her neck and cupped her breasts in a crossing pattern.
It was pleated and loose around her hips. Suddenly 1 remembered the
scene from
The Seven Year Itch
where Marilyn Monroe is wearing a white dress,
just like this green one, and a gust flares up from a subway grate
that she's standing on, and blows the whole thing up around her
ears. Regrettably, there is no subway grate in my
office.

"I'm Mike Knight," I said, when the staring
had gone on too long.

"Mr. Knight, I'm Carolyn Whorley, and I think
I might need a lawyer."

"What a coincidence Ms. Whorley," I said,
''I'm a lawyer and I think I might need a client."

She smiled at me with big, white
teeth.

"I know I should have called first, before
just barging in like this I mean, but then I was down here
shopping, and I had your address, and I don't know, I ...
"

"Not at all, Ms. Whorley," I said, ever the
gracious host, getting up and clearing a stack of ivory file
folders off of the lonely chair in front of my desk. "Please," I
said, indicating the chair. "Why do you think you need a lawyer?" I
asked her.

So she told me.

*****

AS SHE TOLD HER STORY
it dawned on me that I knew exactly who Carolyn
Whorley was, or more precisely, I knew exactly who her father was,
or I should say, had been. Malcolm Whorley was one of the richest
men in the state. He owned a string of big discount retail stores,
each known as "The Loading Dock" and then carrying a "Slip" number.
So for example: "The Loading Dock, Slip #16." The stores were
fantastically popular! People flocked to them like Muslims heading
for Mecca. The stores were stocked with everything you could think
of, and things you would never think of. A visit to a Loading Dock
could be something of an adventure. A place where the mundane meets
the mysterious. Teams of buyers combed the globe for just the right
items at just the right prices, and stocked the shelves of the
"Slips" with new and different bargains on a continuous basis.
There were household items and lawn care and car care products,
appliances, computers, photography equipment, furniture, hardware,
stationary, toiletries, electronics, musical instruments, books and
music and movies, china, pots, pans, crocks, grilles, window
treatments, paper goods, sporting equipment, tools, crafts and
collectibles. But there were also forbidden treasures mixed in;
rare herbal aphrodisiacs from the Orient, the chains and leather
bindings of sexual fantasy, the strange works of taxidermists from
distant lands, rugs made from the skins of exotic animals, chess
sets carved from the tusks of elephants, the masks and costumes of
the occult, fragrant oils and incense and spices. And all of it
sold at tantalizing prices, and yielding a healthy profit. As a
result Malcolm "Red" Whorley was very rich indeed, or had
been.

Whorley himself was a bit of a legend and
beloved of the media. He was a big, good-looking Swede, with a mop
of flaming red-blond hair and a booming voice. He was, allegedly, a
drinker and a womanizer, and completely unrepentant. He rode
horses, drove sports cars, sailed, flew his own helicopter and
threw wild parties. He was extremely generous, endowing endless
charities and universities, and he spent lavishly on himself and
his friends. He wasn't the least bit apologetic about his business.
He didn't care in the least how many animal rights groups, or
woman's lib organizations, or political correctness crazies came
out of the woodwork to protest against it. He sued them to keep
them off his property and for interference with his economic
opportunity and for interruption of his business, and he never
seemed to lose. He was only 57 years old when they'd fished him out
of his swimming pool two months ago.

His death was widely reported, and because Red
Whorley had business dealings everywhere, reporters came from
everywhere to cover the story. But the story, as I remembered,
seemed simply to be that old Red had got himself good and drunk,
and had taken a header out by his pool. He whacked his head and
slipped under the surface, and was found floating by the yard help
in the early hours of morning.

Carolyn Whorley had a different take on the
whole matter. Her father, she said,

had been murdered.

"Murdered?" I said.

"Murdered" she said.

Very cleverly I asked: "What makes you say
that?" And so she told me.

Red Whorley had been around the water his
whole life. He grew up in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of a
commercial fisherman, and was going to sea with the old man before
his tenth birthday. He was an expert swimmer and seaman, and for
that matter, an expert drinker. His mansion was just one building
on a large estate that included tennis courts, an old fashion steam
house, servant’s quarters, a helicopter pad, a maintenance shed and
large garage area for his sports cars, and a horse barn and
paddock. The pool was set back from the main house and had a large
iron fence surrounding it, with a latching gate. Her father,
Carolyn Whorley said, would have had to leave the house through the
French doors leading to a big deck sandwiched between two wings of
the mansion, descend a set of stairs, cross a large patio area and
manipulate the gate to get in. Not a difficult task for a sober
man, but he was supposed to be staggering drunk at the time. They
found him in his pajamas (which weren't really pajamas at all, but
a pair of gray sweat-shorts and a green T-shirt that he always
slept in), and if he had gone to the trouble of going out to the
pool, he would have been out there to swim, and would not have been
dressed for bed.

Her father, she admitted, was a hearty
drinker, but did not easily get himself sloshed. He also didn't get
drunk: by himself. Oh sure, if he was out with the guys at a ball
game or playing cards or whatever, he might come home with a buzz
on, but she'd never in her entire life seen him falling down drunk.
There was also no chance, she said, no chance, that if he had a
good buzz going from a night on the town, that he would go for a
late night swim.

For the last two or three weeks of
his life he was always on edge, barking orders, being very short
with his help, and with everyone around him. This was not like her
jovial father. He took telephone calls in private, something he
never did, and would come back from some of them and sit brooding
in his chair. She would hear him downstairs, late into the night,
prowling around and whispering harshly into the phone. He was
driving the store managers and the purchasing and shipping people
crazy by showing up unannounced and holding meetings during which
he questioned them about every aspect of their jobs. Her father,
she declared, was a big picture guy. Details drove him to
distraction, and as long as he knew that someone he trusted was
looking after them, he never gave them a second thought. But in the
last month of his life, he wanted to know who was in charge of
receiving merchandise and how the product flowed to the stores. Who
was watching how the banks moved money around, in and out of
Loading Dock accounts? He suddenly wanted to know which buyers were
in which part of the world on what days and why. He had them laid
out on a map of the world, like pieces in a game of
Risk,
and watched as
they moved from place to place, as if searching for a pattern. He
poured over the daily reports from the stores, and though nothing
seemed out of sorts, he searched them in detail, as if looking for
something hidden there. It was behavior that was completely out of
character for him and, everyone noticed it.

And then, just as suddenly as it started, it
stopped.

The week before he died, he was back to his
old self. Coming home with arms full of gifts, booming with
laughter, insisting that they all go out to dinner, staying clear
of the office, planning a trip to Paris with Samantha, his young
wife. No one could quite figure it out, but they were all happy
that whatever storm he had been caught in had finally blown
over.

And then he was dead.

When she seemed to be done with her story I
asked her, "Who else lived with

your father, Ms. Whorley?"

"Carolyn," she said.

"Carolyn, then," I said and smiled. "I gather
that you lived with him, is that

right?"

"Yes," she said, "and Sam, his wife, and my
brother Teddy and his wife, Ellie."

"Must be a big place?" I said
stupidly.

"Yes."

"What do they think of your ... um ... theory,
the other family members I mean, have you talked it over with
them?"

"Well ... no," she said, and looked down at
her perfect hands where they lay neatly folded in her lap. "I tried
to talk to my brother about it, but he told me I was
crazy."

''How about the police? Do they know that you
suspect ... "

"They don't care about my father," she
snapped.

BOOK: THE FOURTH WATCH
2.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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