Authors: Edwin Attella
Tags: #crime, #guns, #drugs, #violence, #police, #corruption, #prostitution, #attorney, #fight, #courtroom, #illegal
When I was done, Jack did the same. We
stripped the small weights off and added a 45 on each side. There
were now two 45 pound plates on each side, the bar itself weighs 45
so the total was 225. I did ten smooth reps and so did
"What are you doin' down here in the
mourning?" I asked him in between sets. Jack and I often worked out
together but he rarely got to the gym before noon.
He shrugged. "Things were quiet."
We put on another 50 pounds and did ten reps
each, then stripped off the two 25's and added a 45 to each side -
315 pounds. With Jack spotting I got eight reps. He got his ten and
really didn't need me to spot him He added 20 pounds to each side.
I got four, he got his ten. He took the two 10's off each side and
in their place added a 35. The weight was now 385. 1 got one clean
one and almost dropped the bar on my neck trying to do another. I
was done. I spotted for Jack and he got seven on his own and three
more with a little help. He stripped off the 35's and put on the
45's. There were now four 45 pound plates on each side of the bar,
405 total. Jack did 5 reps and called it quits on the bench, but he
was just starting his workout.
"What are you doin' when you're done here,
Jack?" I asked him.
"Just going back to the rectory," he said,
loading up a curl bar, "Why?"
"I don't know, thought I'd buy you lunch or
"Can't buy your way into heaven you know,
Kato," he said smiling, "but I won't stop you from
"Good, cause I got a question about my
His face took on a look of concern. "What's it
I laughed. "I'm only joking, Jack. I'll talk
to you at lunch."
He smiled, but had me caught in his eyes. He
didn't look away. "Okay," he said.
"Sure, what, an hour? Hour and a
"What time you got?"
"Ten past twelve," I told him.
"See you there at 1:30, how's
"1:30 sounds good."
I SAT IN THE WHIRLPOOL
for five minutes then took a sauna and a shower
and drove back downtown to my office. It was about ten of one and I
was only five minutes away from the Wonder Bar. Using my cell phone
I dialed my office number and checked my messages. Matte Genetassio
had returned my call. I called the station and Carl Wallings
patched me through.
"Hey Kato, what's shakin'?"
"Not too much," I said matter-of-factly, "How
"Good, busy. What can I do for ya?"
"I've been retained by a member of the Whorley
family to look into Red Whorley's death."
It caught him by surprise. A meaningful
silence followed. I did not break it. Then he said: "The daughter,"
and I could almost see him nodding his head on the end of the line,
"now why would she go and do a thing like that?"
"You know, I was gonna ask you the same thing!
I think it’s because she thinks his death was a homicide. What do
you think, Matte?"
Another pause, then, ''I think Red Whorley had
a little too much to drink and drowned in his pool Kato, that's
what I think."
"Well you might be right, but what I'm after
is why do you think that. I mean I got to figure that when a guy
like Red dies of something other than natural causes, everybody
gets real careful and thorough. So I just want to go through the
drill with you guys. I want to take a look at the official file.
Who investigated what and came to what conclusions about what and
why. Like that."
"I can't do that, Kato. This is a police
investigation ... "
"1 thought the investigation was over.
"Well that's true, but..."
"There's a ‘but’?"
No, no, no ... nothing like that, we're just
clearing up a few things."
"What things? And if there's a but in this
thing, how come you're blowing off the daughter?"
"Listen, Kato ... "
"No you listen, Matte. I'll tell you what; I
don't like this evasive stuff at all. I thought for sure I was
gonna call you and you were going to tell me that Red drowned and
that was that. I'd take a peek at the police file, confirm my
suspicions, take a look at the autopsy report and report back to my
client that I'm sorry but it sure looks like it is just an awful
accident. Now why wouldn't you want to help me do that?"
"I would, but I just can't let every lawyer
that calls the station ... "
"Whoops!” I said, “Wrong answer, Matte, I'm
getting suspicious. You guys wouldn't happen to have a murder
investigation going on that you're not telling anyone about would
you? This isn't one of those times where you guys help the press
come to a false conclusions so that they'll stop clamoring around
"Absolutely not!" He barked.
''Then why won't you let me take a look at the
"Because it's against regulations and you
fuckin' know it."
"Boy, I'm getting excited. You guys are hiding
something. I love it when that happens."
"Kato," he said. "Don't break my balls, will
''Perish the thought! Listen up, there are two
ways we can do this. One is, I come on down to the station and you
buy me a cup of coffee and stick me, the coffee and the unabridged
Red Whorley file into a conference room and leave me alone for an
hour or so. When I'm done if there is nothing there ... and I'll
know if I'm reading an edited version .. .I'll be that much closer
to telling my client to drop the matter. Two is, I call the press
and tell them that I think the police have an ongoing investigation
into the death of Red Whorley. That there are several unanswered
questions about the manner of his death. I'll advise them that a
member of the family has retained me to investigate the matter and
that I have met a stone wall in my attempts to get cooperation from
the Worcester Police Department. That way you can have an army of
reporters asking you five hundred questions a day instead of one
lawyer quietly working with you. Which one do you like better, one
"Listen you little prick ... "
"Is that one?"
A long silence ensued during which I could
almost hear him searching for options.
"You could always shoot me!" I volunteered
''I'm thinkin' about it seriously."
"Might be best if you guys are hiding
"We're not hidin' a goddamned thing. You know
me better than that."
I wasn't so sure I knew him better than that,
but I let it go. "So then just let me look at the file and maybe
I'll go away," I said.
Another long silence and the he made up his
mind. "Nine o'clock tomorrow morning."
''Unabridged Matte," I told him, my voice a
"Nine o'clock," he said and hung
JACK WAS ALREADY IN A BOOTH
when I got to the Wonder Bar. He had his Priest
uniform on, black on black, with his white collar showing through
the notch at his throat.
The Wonder Bar is on the downtown end of
Shrewsbury Street, which is a one mile stretch of restaurants,
dinners and markets that cuts through the center of the city's
Italian section. More than a hundred years ago Italian immigrants
settled on the backside of 'Bell Hill', so called because Belmont
Street runs up and over it. They did that because the WASPs had the
front-side, and the backside was too close to the front-side for
the Irish, who came to Worcester fifty years before the Italians.
Shrewsbury Street slashes down from its beginning perpendicular to
Belmont Street, and turns back around the base of the hill toward
downtown. The street is clogged with businesses on both sides, and
the hill to the right of the southbound lane is dense with the
"Three Deckers" that have, for generations, housed the descendants
of the original immigrants. Over the years other ethnic groups have
moved into the area, and it has really become a melting pot of
southern European cultures. But it is now and will always be known
as the "Italian Section" of Worcester.
There must be 30 Italian restaurants on
Shrewsbury Street, and in my life I've eaten in all of them. They
range from the hole in the wall lunch counters, to the high-end
joints that do most of their business at night. The Wonder Bar is a
middle of the road place that is open day and night and serves
excellent food in abundance at reasonable prices. Jack and I have
been patrons for years, and the old Italian woman who waits the
tables hasn't changed in looks or personality. She calls everyone
'Honey' and hovers around to make sure that everything is just
right. Neither the prices nor the menu had changed in a decade.
Jack and I usually eat to near bursting and get out of their for
less than twenty bucks, including the healthy tip that we always
We scanned the menu in silence, although we
could both recite it. I ordered
sausage and peppers over linguini and Jack had
the veal with ziti. We ordered an antipasto to split, which comes
in a bowl not on a plate, and two Diet Cokes. She brought the
Cokes, two glasses with ice in them, the antipasto and a hamper
full of fresh bread before she yelled the rest of our order back
into the kitchen.
"So what was all that 'joking' about your
soul?" Jack asked shoveling the antipasto onto our plates. "A
troubled soul is no laughing matter."
I took a short loaf out of the basket and tore
a piece off the end. I poured some olive oil on a saucer, added
some red pepper and Romano cheese to it, and dipped the bread into
it. "Nothing, really," I said and wrapped the bread around a
forkful of antipasto. "I Just have a new case that's a
He waited while I chewed.
"I had this woman come into my office the
other day, and she was all distraught, her father died recently,
drowned actually in the family pool."
Jack ate his antipasto, nodding as he
"The old man was a prominent local business
man, leading kind of a big life. The daughter worshiped him I
think. Anyway, she comes in and tells me that he was murdered.
Doesn't know why or how or who did it of course, just knows that
there is no way it happened like the police say it did."
I jabbed my fork into a pile of salami, hot
ham, hot peppers, onions, lettuce and Provolone cheese, wrapped a
piece of bread around it and bit off half.
"I hope your not attempting to conceal the
fact that the alleged victim in this thing is Red Whorley, because
if you are it’s not going to work."
I stopped chewing and smiled at
"Common' Kato, it was in all the papers for
He was right of course. ''I'm not trying to
conceal anything, just telling you a story."
"Sorry, go ahead."
The waitress banged our plates down on the
table. They were the size of hub caps and still Jack's veal was
hanging over the sides. We both used the shakers of Romano, oregano
and red pepper liberally.
"Well the thing is, the woman...his daughter
Carolyn...ended up giving me a sizable retainer, twenty-five grand
in fact, to look into this thing for her."
Jack is my sounding board. He is
tough and fair, even-tempered and very smart. He will not tell me
what I want to hear, he will always tell me what he thinks is
right. I trust his moral compass far better than I trust my own.
Lunch with Jack, down through the years, has proved to be among my
best investigative tools. He will always advise me wisely, not
necessarily about how to proceed on a case, although he won't
hesitate to put his two cents in there either, but in talking with
him I always find the focus. By that I mean the
of a case. He loves listening
about cases. He gets wrapped up in the drama, the underlying
sadness in many, the excitement of the investigation and the
occasional chance to make justice happen.
Father Jack, action hero.
He never tires of listening, and often times
without him saying a word, just talking these matters out with him
helps me see the edges of it more clearly. I know he will catch any
flaw in any argument and knowing that makes me examine them more
"It was all kind of vague," I told him, "Alex
referred her to me, I guess the old man was a client of his." Jack
knows Alex well, through me, and he would tell you that he was
about the business of saving his soul, whether Alex liked it or
"Well, I didn't feel quite right taking her
money. Its just that I don't want to lead her down the garden path,
you know what I mean, get her hopes up, if that's what you call it.
But she is so determined."
Jack chewed his food in silence and I could
tell that something was turning over in his mind. He spread a pat
of butter on his bread and dipped it in the sauce on his plate and
ate it slowly. He took a drink of his Coke and looked at me over
the rim of the glass.