political turmoil which now permeates The United States is by no means new. As
embattled as the two political parties are, the divisiveness, lies and dirty
politics we now witness daily has happened before in The Swamp called
In the immediate aftermath of the Allies’
victory of WWII many saw their opportunity to cash in on the ‘big win’, not
least of which were the politicians and members of organized crime.
The exuberation of the 1930’s New Deal
spawned a new transition to a wartime production economy and the resultant
production mentality required to win the war quickly transitioned the national
zeitgeist into an unbridled, all out production-based Capitalism virtually
However, the exuberant ether of forced
optimism brought on by FDR’s tackling of the Great Depression and WWII was followed
by a late1940’s, post war let-down of the crushed social revolution the much
needed economic reforms of the New Deal had spawned.
As one 1940’s movie character in a scene
set in a bar espoused: “Yesterday it was kill Japs.
Today it’s sell cars!”
Coupled with a post-war disillusionment
the U.S. public, for the first time, began to seriously question the
institutions they had previously taken for granted - institutions such as
government, Hollywood, the popular press and higher education. Four spheres of
influence which quickly realized they had unintentionally been handed unprecedented
power to influence the population of the most powerful country in the world.
While the Ivy League universities crept
towards neo-Marxism and the senate went off on safari with the communist witch
hunts the half dozen major Hollywood studios sought to influence America with
the introspective, politically critical Noir genre as well as the movies which
have become to be called the ‘social justice’ films of the Thirties and
This era, punctuated by
political irony, government backed censorship, bolstered at times, by outright
lunacy, lasted well into the Sixties. Fear borne, of ignorance, leading to
wide-spread political paranoia was heavily influenced by film and vice versa.
It is no coincidence that this time period, 1941-1957, is the widely accepted
life span of what has become known as Film
Starting with The
Maltese Falcon in 1941 and ending in 1958 with A Touch of Evil,
(with Marlene Dietrich and Charlton Heston playing Mexicans), what came to be
known as Film Noir mixed with the ‘social message’ movies of the immediate pre
and post war era to contribute to the turmoil of the contemporary American socio-political
We now have social media to play that role.
In 2003, in Kyoto, a
leading environmentalist was asked by a reporter how scientists could hammer
home the global warming crisis to politicians. The doctor’s answer was, ‘Get Spielberg
to make a movie.’ A year later work began on The Day After Tomorrow, a
disaster film which espoused the knock-on effects of continued global warming, whose
producers, in a fine display of marketplace symbiosis, lost no time in
borrowing heavily on Bush's denouncement of the Paris Climate Agreement to hype
Pre-release hype alone practically
guaranteed ticket sales of the project and not only helped Centropolis
Entertainment et al break even, but in reality the film quadrupled the box
office take of its allotted budget and in turn helped to launch the current
wave of climate hysteria which in some quarters has achieved cult status.
Ergo the socio-economic
power of film.
Of the plethora of significant historical
episodes in the chronicle of my series Building
of The American Empire, one of the least well known is the on-going 1940’s struggle
between a nearly all WASP congress and a nearly all Jewish Hollywood, led by a
near single-mindedly determined studio head, for the control of film content
and his quest for industry domination.
On the other hand historical
records testify to the fact that radical elements in the United States Senate
have, in terms of film content, relentlessly fought to wrest control of cinema
from the Hollywood studio moguls like Jack Warner, as far back as the Twenties.
However, the crescendo of the battle reached its zenith in the late Forties,
just after WWII. And the way out for Washington was to find someone on which to
pin the blame.
Before J. Parnell Thomas, before John E. Rankin
and before Richard M. Nixon and the other mis-guided senators who employed the
terrorization of writers, artists and actors to establish and maintain their
careers, there were a tiny group of men in sunny, Southern California who, who
with the compliant aid of the popular press, wielded more power and influence
over the American Public than the entire United States House and Senate
However, as much damage as the 'Onorable Gentlemen’ from Washington and their cronies in
the popular press perpetrated against the U.S. Constitution, they were not
behind the genesis of the worst period in America's most overt battle for free
speech until modern times and the failed P.C. movement of the last decade.
These men were William R. Wilkinson, J. Parnell
Thomas and Eric Allen Johnston: creators of the Hollywood Blacklist.
Wilkinson not only single-handedly ignited
Thomas and Johnston’s 'Hollywood Blacklist', but inadvertently helped finance his
new business acquaintances from New York City; Charlie “Lucky” Luciano",
Meyer “The Accountant” Lansky & Benny "Bugsy" Siegel, to usher in
the most diabolical curse ever to invade the shores of America – The
International Drug Cartel.
So just as
Americans today struggle daily with dirty Washington politics, You Tube and
Google censoring free speech and raise questions about film content, so too back
in 1947 did Americans grapple with dirty politicians who continually skirted
the law, out of touch with reality Hollywood elitism and a bias unethical
press, we currently call the main stream media.
of life continues.
n December of 1942
Charlie’ Lucky’ Luciano, the then defacto head of the New York crime families,
was serving a 30-50 year sentence for a crime he may or may not have committed
which, for anyone else would have carried a ten year sentence.
ambitious New York D.A., Thomas E. Dewey, realized that the keys to the White
House lay not in the ballot box but under the headlines of the nation’s
newspapers and like dozens of politicians before him, promised America to
eliminate organized crime. A promise he well knew he could never keep, particularly
with the head of the F.B.I. consistently denying the existence of organized
crime in the U.S.A. while on the hand accepting bribes from the organized crime
From an extremely
impoverished Sicilian family who immigrated when he was nine years old Luciano
persevered to rise and achieve two of the most significant contributions to
First, he temporarily
eliminated the random murder-revenge cycle instituted by his predecessors such
as Alfonse Capone, Johnny Torrio, Dean O’Banion and Bugs Moran.
Then by banding the
crime member heads as one and instituting the Commission, in front of which
grievances could be aired and settled and all killing had to be approved,
control was instituted and more energy devoted to ever expanding criminal
activities with diminished public awareness thereby reducing police and
plan, known to virtually no one save Meyer Lansky, until the end of the war,
was to bring the most profitable commodity, heroin, to the most profit ridden
land, America, together in a mega operation of such magnitude that even he
failed to fully realize the eventual global impact it would have.
The testimony to that
statement can be seen in the fact that today there is not a single village,
town or city in the U.S without a significant drug problem.
Luciano’s big chance
came in 1942 with the sinking of the T.L.S.
Normandy in New York Harbor on the 9th of February and the
institution of Operation Underworld.
At the onset of America’s
entry into WWII Operation Underworld
was a plan to recruit Mafiosi into the ranks of the sparsely staffed, poorly
funded Office of Naval Intelligence in New York City to guard the waterfront.
Although Operation Mincemeat, the secret mission setting
up the Allied invasion of Sicily two years later upon which the second book in
this trilogy The Wolves of Calabria revolves around, was a British SOE
operation and unrelated to Underworld,
which was an Office of Strategic Services operation by the Americans, they did
cross paths through Operation Husky
the actual invasion of Sicily in July of 1943.
All three were unwittingly
instrumental in leading to a joint Sicilian Mafia/New York based Syndicate
operation to import massive quantities of drugs into America.
By July of 1943 the
Allies were able to launch Operation
Husky, the successful invasion and capture of the island of Sicily. It was
here that the government met with the Mafia outside of New York on their own
In the interim year
American movies had virtually vanished from most of the rest of the world.
When, in 1945, the end
of the war seemed inevitable and the sea lanes were opening back up, Charlie
‘Lucky’ Luciano, Meyer Lansky in cooperation with Don Carlo The Bullfrog’
Vizzini had already begun to set up trade routes and U.S. based distribution
centers for their outrageously profitable international drug business. They did
this via many means to include setting up phony tomato caning operations and smuggling
the heroin in as food shipments.
By 1947 some of the political elite in
Washington realized they could garner much political capital by continually
focusing paranoia on the unknown but still dangerous Charlie ‘Lucky’ Luciano.
A political ATM from
which politicians like Anslinger continued to make withdrawals well into 1962
when Luciano eventually died.
During the organized crime
revelations, ensuing head hunts for crime leaders by the CIA, FBI & the
FBN, Hollywood, while fighting off accusations of communism, were led by men
like Jack Warner of Warner Brothers and Eric Johnston of the MPPA who struggled
to keep their heads down and conceal their organized crime connections with
individuals like Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel and others.
This chapter of the
story is told in The Broad in the Kimono, the last of the Operation Underworld
Trilogy, the story relating some of the elements which have given rise to the
circumstances modern Americans now find themselves brawling with.
gave rise to what is
now known as . . . the International Drug Cartel.
Floor, the Artic Building
Avenue and 24th Street
New York City
Thursday, May 8th, 1947
impeccably dressed in a grey
flannel suit the heavy-set body, seemed
to briefly float in mid-air before the falling motion set in.
blue silk necktie fluttered upwards as he fell face-
First, floor after
floor blurring past his descending form.
Thirty-four stories below, at street level the blue-grey haired Mrs. Epstein
looked behind her as she backed her brand new, beige ’47 Chrysler convertible into
the parking space and eased out of the busy Downtown traffic on 3rd
She shut down the engine, adjusted her arm load of shopping bags and
climbed out of the car.
The screams of the passers-by around her suddenly arrested her attention
as she fed several nickels into the parking meter. She turned just in time to
see the body of the man impact the pavement a few yards behind her with a
Despite the mangled posture of the body, which appeared as though the man
had been flailing on the way down, she recognized the blue tie she had selected
just that morning for him to wear.
It was her husband, Mr. Epstein.
Earlier that morning
Anthony Saul Epstein, who usually entered
the well-appointed lobby in Lower Manhattan with a smile, instead just grunted
to Larry the doorman when he came through the brass-plated revolving door
before crossing the lobby’s spacious, marble floor and heading straight for the
Once upstairs he brushed past the janitor and entered his office, hung
his hat and coat on the King Edward rack beside the door and went straight to
Twenty minutes later, as pandemonium ensued at street level, back up on
the 34th floor the day maid knocked then let herself into Epstein’s
outer office and began cleaning.
Hearing no answer when she knocked on the inner
office door she let herself in and, as she reached for the wastebasket next to
the desk, she spotted the open window then the note sticking up from the Capitol typing machine on his desk which slowly
fluttered in the breeze from the open window.
only hope in life was to improve the condition of an unfair economic system
that held no promise to those without wealth to gain even a decent chance for
the citizens of this civilization to survive, let alone live.
Although Epstein was a successful Mid-town businessman, on the strength
of the cleaner’s testimony and that there was a suicide note, all pressured by
the fact that there were over a half dozen bodies a day arriving at the city
morgue, a cursory autopsy was all that was deemed necessary.
The Coroner stamped ‘Suicide’ on the outer folder and filed it under ‘E’.
Michigan Avenue, Chicago
11:30, Friday, 16 May
Right about the time
Anthony Epstein was achieving terminal velocity between floors 18 and 16 of the
Artic Building above Manhattan, a small army of wait staff was preparing the
Grand Ballroom on the ground floor of the Stevens Hotel, what was to become the
Conrad Hilton, on Michigan Avenue.
The hall was designed
to seat 1,800 but tonight, with no dinner scheduled, over 3,000 would be
stuffed in across the oak parquet dance floor.
It was the 3rd
Anniversary celebration of the Sons of Liberty, Chicago main branch.
Established by a group
of successful businessmen two years after America entered the war, The Sons
were chaired by Joshua ‘Jake’ Steadman, sole owner of United Engineering and
At six foot two and weighing
in at two hundred fifty pounds and no matter how much he primped, combed and dressed
Steadman always looked as if he just stepped off the construction site.
Jake made his money in the
late Thirties and early Forties and though most thought it to be in design and
reconstruction of many of the Midwest’s factories in ’41 when the government
was gearing up and retooling to get serious about the war effort and required
massive amounts of manufactured goods in record time, it was actually in
With a small nest egg
accumulated during the Great Depression, he also had the where-with-all to
bargain hard with the D.C. negotiators sent up from Washington to recruit
industrial entrepreneurs, Jake wasn’t the kind of guy to let a little thing
like a world war get in the way of making a quick few million bucks. Patriotism
was okay for the other guy but it was at the altar of capitalism and profit that
The mid-morning meet with
his accountant to go over the second quarter take from his half dozen business
ventures, told him he would likely break the 50 million mark by year’s end. Just
the kind of ammo he needed to flaunt at the big gala tonight.
The S.O.L., now boasted
over 5,000 full members backed by a couple of thousand auxiliary or associate
members with a couple dozen volunteers constantly hovering around the
The Sons’ ethnocentric charter
was unambiguous and unapologetic about their mandate. Among their alternative
choices for titles was America for Americans, The Sons of Freedom and, a
personal favorite of Jake Steadman’s, the United Sons of America. They had all
the bases covered. All that was missing were the white hoods.
That Friday night’s function was strictly an after dinner affair, no
reason to waste cash on feeding the masses the S.O.L. board reckoned, so the
primary purpose of the get together, as could be deduced by one glance at the
guest list, was to serve as the fledgling organization’s first real pitch at
trying to wedge themselves into the upper echelon of American political society.
After all, if New York City, the financial capital of the nation was
considered the backdoor into D.C. politics, Chicago was certainly a backdoor
into NYC politics.
Among the invitees was the Mayor of Chicago, Martin Kennelly, Deputy
Mayor Coughlin, Superintendent of the Chicago P.D., a cursory collection of
judges and the primary target for the evening, the Seventh Congressional District
Senator, Charles H. Pickham.
It was about an hour into the festivities when someone manned the mike
and called on Steadman to address the troops. Situated right next to the stage
Jake was Johnny-on-the-spot and as the applause died down he stepped up to the
mike and following a few cursory greetings he launched straight into his spiel.
“Thank you. Thank you all for coming. Now, I don’t want to get too
melodramatic, there’s still too much dinking time left in the evening.”
Appreciable laughter rippled through the crowd. “We, Americans, foreign or
natural born, bear an awesome responsibility to the rest of civilization in
regards to the safe guarding of the freedoms and
morals of western democracy.” A moderate round of applause interrupted. “As
currently is being witnessed across the seas in Europe there are forces at work
as well as all around the modern world that seek to make it clear that it is
their expressed intent to usurp our efforts. And the efforts of others like us.
They will, they do, seek to do this through various not so surreptitious
means. Control of the international market. Industrial infiltration of other
countries. And worse and most damaging of all . . . by flooding our shores with
foreign, immigrant labor!” His words were bolstered by the occasional here,
“We didn’t start that war-”
“NO! BUT WE DAMN WELL FINISHED IT!” Someone yelled out which prompted a
general mix of laughter sprinkled with applause.
“That we did, that we did!” Steadman agreed. “We didn’t start that war,
but we stood together to finish it.
Sometimes people’s ability to look ahead is obscured by the events of the
moment. We, as good moral Americans have a responsibility, no
a duty, to look ahead to build a better America. An America for all
And now we must stand together again. Together to stand against them! The
forces that seek to transform our country into what the free world spent the
last ten years fighting against. Indeed it is the very reason that myself,
Frank Smith, James Fry and others founded the Sons of Liberty and the very
reason we intend to take the organization national by the end of next year!”
More applause followed at the already well known news. Steadman’s future
political ambitions were no secret but intended tonight to serve as an official
“When do we put forth a candidate Jake?” A crowd member yelled out. The
surprise announcement bolstered by the benign heckle garnered loud applause.
Steadman’s impulse was to yell back ‘I’m ready any time’, but instead he
just waved and casually walked off stage.
Better to leave them wanting more! His internal dialogue shouted.
Stepping down from the stage, in-between handshakes and congrats,
Steadman made his way over to the packed bar and elbowed a space in the corner
next to the man he had quietly staked out earlier in the evening. Not so
coincidently the spot was right next to Congressman Pickham.
“Glad you could make it Senator.” He signaled to one of the barmen to
bring another round for himself and the senator. “What’d ya think of the
“You’ll make a fine politician Jake.”
“Whoa, let’s not put the cart before the horse I didn’t say I was gonna run
“Yeah Jake, this is my first rodeo!”
“I didn’t say that either!” The congressman adjusted his position and
smirked. “But, since you mentioned it, I am interested in where you stand.” Steadman
“On what, exactly, Jake?” Pickham reached for his drink but refused the cigar
“On the state of the country. More specifically on the immigrant
“Well, we’re all immigrants, to one degree or another. Some of us got
here before the others but that doesn’t make us-”
“I’m talking real specific like.” Steadman
queried. The senator leaned in and lowered his voice.
“Like how specific?”
“Well, there’s quite a few folks of a certain . . . ethnic persuasion
shall we say that, it’s come to light control quite a bit of the financial
dealings in this country.” Jake took the senator’s bait and leaned in even
closer speaking in a hushed tone. “Especially out in Hollywierd,
if you know what I mean.”
“Like who for instance?”
“Well, without being too specific, the Jews.” Steadman specified.
“You talking about Hollywood?”
“Not just. Ya got Benny Siegel, Meyer Lansky Arni
Rothstein, the guy that started it all.”
“You know, organized
“Let me ask you
something Steadman. Guns on the table.” The big builder leaned back on the bar and smiled.
“Okay, guns on the
table Senator Pickham.”
it was pitch time.
“How is it of all the
potential candidates for union president your man Morelli entered at the last
minute, was the least known, the least financed and yet got elected by a 'landslide'?”
Steadman shifted the
thick Cubana cigar between his teeth and smiled.
“The construction game,
Your Honor, is a lot like the political game.”
“Absolutely! In this
game there are basically three kinds of people. Those who own the whores, those
who pay the whores and those that are the whores. And, as you well know, Your
Honor, it's not about who ya now.” He stood straight and tossed a few tens on
the bar. “It's who ya blow! Drinks are on me. Look forward to our next meeting.”
Steadman walked away.
Pickham shook his head/
“It’s Congressman! I’m not
in the senate and damn sure no judge!” He finished his drink. “You fucking
Neanderthal!” The congressman mumbled as he turned to leave.
Corner of Duncan Ave. and Route 440
Jersey City, New Jersey
17:10, Monday, 26 May
The sun was still bright and he’d have to wait another three or four
hours until dark before he could make his move but he had to be reasonably sure
the place was empty.
Doc McKeowen, draped in his brown leather bomber jacket and Negro
League baseball cap, casually peered up and over the newspaper he held open as
he sat on the park bench. The wide intersection of Route 440 and Duncan Avenue
afforded a clear view of the entire exterior of the corner premises.
He watched as one by one the half dozen late model cars sporadically
pulled out of the open parking lot catty cornered from where he sat in Lincoln
Doc smirked as he glanced up and to his left as he saw the tall towers
of the super structure of the Pulaski Skyway spanning the Hackensack River less
than half a mile away. The Pulaski where a year ago he trapped and fought the
crooked State Department agent Benson.
He glanced over to the side of the rectangular building as the sign
painters began to break down their paints, rollers and two tiers of scaffolding
stowing the gear in the back of their Dodge van. The wall sign was a little
over half finished.
At just over six foot
tall with dark hair, hazel eyes and a medium build, Mike ‘Doc’ McKeowen had been
a swimmer in his youth, never ate or drank to excess, (well didn’t eat to
excess anyway), even during the holidays and so was in as reasonable a shape as
a forty year old bachelor could be. His idea of good fashion sense was to keep
the dark fur collar of his brown, leather bomber jacket clean and to always
have his N. L. baseball cap cocked back at just the correct angle.
A native New Yorker
by birth, save for a couple of years on the NYPD following a 4F rejection by
the Navy for a punctured ear drum, Doc’s life had been pretty mundane.
Following his divorce
he founded his small P.I. firm and met his current girlfriend, Nikki Cole while
on a case.
He glanced again over at the employee/customer parking lot of the
property fronting the main warehouse building but he couldn’t see the back
where he knew the executive parking area to be. He knew this from the previous
M&M Investigations had been hired by the head of
security of an accounting firm, Steinberg Accounting, which also insured several
clients who utilized Hudson & Delaware, a privately owned, bonded shipping
firm, to ship their goods nationwide. Since the war’s end, H&D had expanded
into overseas trade as well.
The accounting firm expected and budgeted for an
increase in rates for overseas shipping at the end of the war but a month or so
into the contract one of Steinberg’s bean counters noticed a disproportionate
increase in domestic shipping rates after a number of clients started to
complain about an unexplained rise in their shipping charges.
When H&D were approached about it they said
they’d look into it. After six weeks with no response, H&D’s people began
to dodge phone calls from Steinberg’s accounting department. That’s when
Steinberg’s internal security people were notified. To avoid a conflict of
interest claim if they initiated an investigation themselves, they called
M&M Investigations to look into it. Doc took the case.
Weights of goods to be shipped were required to be
stamped on the manifests which were usually taken off the federal weight
certificates prior to shipping. A few pounds discrepancy more or less is no big
deal on a truck or a ship, but on an aeroplane accurate weight comes down to
the ounce. Doc immediately realized that the air shipment manifests were his best
bet to start his investigation. Shipment manifests which were presumably kept
in the front office.
H&D Shipping were headquartered on Duncan Avenue
in Jersey City across the Hudson River from M&M’s Manhattan office. Doc
made the trip over by ferry earlier that afternoon and had come to form an
He checked his watch, grabbed his Army issue messenger’s shoulder bag and went up the block into a local bar. He ordered a drink and ducked into
the men’s room.
Now dressed in casual but upscale khaki slacks and a
light blue dress shirt with a dark blue neck tie, Doc pushed through the front
door of the office in the front of the massive warehouse and storage facility
and up to the room length service counter.
A thirty-something brunette sat off to one side squeezed
into the far corner, at a small desk behind the long counter.
“Can I help you?” Head down, she kept working.
“Hi, good afternoon.” Doc removed his hat and brushed back the lick of
hair that escaped the thick layer of Brylcream. “Is this Hudson & Delaware
“Who do I talk to about shipping some freight to Italy?” Doc inquired.
“I can help you with that sir.” The brunette answered still not looking
up from her tiny desk. She finished up what she was doing and stood to help
“Sorry we’re having the sign redone. More paper work.
What is it exactly you’d like to ship Mr.-?”
Fiorelli. Olive oil. My family is in olive oil. We
get the olives shipped in from a company in Sicily but they’re not yet licensed
to ship processed goods back into this country.”
“Well Mr. Fiorelli, we can certainly help you
She tore a page from a carbonated pad and slid it over to McKeowen. “If
you’ll just fill out this form for us, we’ll have an agent get in touch with
you in a couple of days with our shipping requirements and standard rates.”
“Super!” Doc donned a pair of horn rimmed glasses and took the pen and
began to write. The receptionist stepped back over to her desk and Doc glanced
up and behind the long service counter as he slowly wrote.
The cinder block wall separating the customer service area and the
warehouse behind only rose about four feet from the wooden floor, from there up
the rear wall was glass. He had an unobstructed view of the expansive warehouse
behind reception. There was a small office to the side of where the secretary
All manner of freight was stacked across the floor and he watched as a
handful of workers shifted crates, barrels and cardboard boxes. He noticed the
double sized rolling door in the far rear of the dock area.
“You doin’ okay?” She asked. Doc snapped back
to the paper.
“It has a box here for estimated weight. I’m not exactly sure what to
put. I don’t know how much my father wants to send in the first shipment.”
“Don’t worry about that. We’ll weigh it and price it for you.”
“Oh, that’s very thoughtful. What else do you need?” She stepped back up to Doc and perused the
“This your company’s main number, Murray Hill 5-5121?”
“Yes, you can leave word with the secretary and we’ll get right back to
“That’ll about do it then! Thank you Mr. Fiorelli,
one of our agents will give you a call before the weekend.”
“Thank you Miss - .”
“Mornay, Betty Mornay.”
“Thank you Betty.”
With a few hours to spare Doc
decided to grab a beer and a sandwich at the place up the road where he changed
but first he ambled around the side of the building which fronted the four lane
State Route 440. Being certain no one noticed him he took a good look at the
rear, fenced in area of the structure. A small fork lift
scurried around the yard, some building material was thrown off to the side of
the rear fence and there was a dog house tucked away in the far corner of the
With no one around he rattled the chain link fence hard and watched as,
from somewhere, a pair of Dobermans darted out into the yard barking loudly.
“SHIT!” Doc cursed as he turned away from the fence and started to head
off down along the shoulder of Route 440.
“SHIT, SHIT!” He had stepped in a big pile of dog shit.
from the rear along the ten foot tall chain link fence it was just past ten thirty
that night when McKeowen casually strolled back up to the rear of the H&D
front of the building was far too well lit to attempt entry there.
from the two marked parking spots, apparently for executive parking, the other
side of the fence at the rear of the building was cleared away, probably for maneuverability of the forklift currently parked off to the far side of the yard.
no lamp post in the corner where the building met the fence, light was sparse
and so presented no problem. Doc scaled the chain link and quietly dropped down
into the yard.
only two steps McKeowen met his first two obstacles, Butch and Demon, the
drooling, growing Dobermans.
froze in place but moved slowly as he eased the small messenger’s shoulder bag
to his back and removed a wax paper package from inside his bomber jacket. The
low growling transitioned to sniffing as he removed the two pound and half
Porterhouse steaks and brandished them to the dogs.
dogs sat back in place and let off one bark each.
trained little bastards, aren’t ya?” He tossed the steaks across the yard away
from the rear door and the dogs bounded away. Doc bounded to the door.
double dead bolt lock on the personnel door was no problem and Doc didn’t see
any alarm tape on the doors’ glass panels. He was inside the warehouse in under
a minute quietly closing the door behind him.
moving up between the stacks of freight to the front office he found the door
from the freight area into the customer service area was dead bolted from the
inside so he merely had to undo the bolt and the office door was unlocked.
inside the director’s office aside the secretary’s mini-desk he went to the
four draw filing cabinet also unlocked and so had unfettered access to all the
I didn’t know any better I’d swear they wanted me to break into this place!”
previously researched the names of three of Steinberg’s clients who had filed
price hike complaints, he quickly located those files, double checked that the
federal weight slips as well as the H&D weight records were in each and quickly
laid them open out on the desk pulling out a small Land camera and snapping
several pictures of each.
then removed the film roll, pocketed it and stuffed the records into the small
Army issue shoulder bag and prepared to head out.
the door over behind himself he carefully started back out behind the counter
towards the warehouse area when he was forced to duck down.
Old Chinese proverb; if something’s too good to be true . . .”
glare of headlights of a pick-up truck blared through the front window as it pulled
into the parking lot outside the building. Doc crouched down, froze and waited.
He didn’t have to wait long. He heard the slam of the truck’s door as the head
lamps backlit a figure getting out of the truck. Seconds later a flashlight
illuminated the customer service area through the picture window and drifted across
SHIT! Doc cursed to
himself. He noticed he had left the door between the customer service area back
out to the freight dock open.
Maybe they won’t see it from there!
FRANKIE, SUMTHIN’ AIN’T RIGHT!” The fat security guard outside called back to
They saw it!
second watchman got out of the truck as the first went to the front door and
used his pass key. Doc did the only logical thing he could. He ran for it.
closing over the warehouse door and bolting it behind him he realized it would
not look good, for himself or Steinberg if he were caught with the goods,
especially off premises where he could be charged with robery.
As soon as the door was bolted he unslung the shoulder strap around the bag and
tossed it up into the ceiling rafters of the reception area above the door and
ran like hell.
two security guys were coming through the reception area door onto the freight
dock just as McKeowen was carefully slipping out the back door into the back
two Dobermans were roused from their dog shelter where they were fighting over
the wax paper remnants and were nipping at Doc’s heels seconds later as he
scrambled back up the fence.
fair weather friends!”
was able to make it down the outside of the chain link fence and out onto Route
440 as the two guards were running down through the freight dock and out onto
the loading dock to the back parking area.
two Dobermans chased them back into the warehouse but not before Doc overhead
one of them yell.
back around get the truck!”
dodged the few cars and trucks racing up and down the state route and crossed
over to the Duncan Avenue side of the road as he saw the Dodge pick-up flinging
gravel from the front of the building and skidding out onto the frontage road
outside the H&D building.
they hadn’t spotted him because the truck stopped at the intersection, unsure
of which way to turn. McKeowen was also undecided about what to do next.
open bed tractor trailer slowing to make the turn off 440 and up Duncan Avenue made
the decision for him.
it swung wide to turn left he ran alongside it for concealment and grabbed onto
the rear access ladder between the tractor and the rig and pulled himself up
and into the space between the two.
patrol van turned right at the intersection and drove up into the park.
A mile up Duncan Avenue Doc prepared to jump
from the truck at the next red light but realized the tractor had New York
plates. He leaned out and red the hand lettering on the passenger’s side door.
Broderick’s Fresh Seafood
Fulton Street Market
one truck closes, another one opens!” Doc mumbled. He decided he could hang on
for another fifteen minutes or so.
the time the truck was through the Holland Tunnel and was in Manhattan he
jumped off at the top of the exit ramp when the driver stopped for the red
light on Canal Street.
his on again-off again girlfriend Nikki would be waiting for him he decided to
find a phone booth and call her.
Cole and her young daughter Kate met Doc back in ’42 when she was working as a
receptionist for Naval Intelligence Downtown in the Woolworth Building. McKeowen
was looking into a fidelity case, which led him Downtown, they met and the rest
is not yet history.
a bonus prize Doc wound up with Nikki’s then work mate Shirley who he hired-on
partly to make inroads with Nikki.
“You know what time it is? What are you up to? Nikki tentatively asked.
not much. I couldn’t sleep, so I just rode around town a little.” He mumbled
into the receiver.
You’re full of it McKeowen. Cole had an aversion to profanity and so never used it.
I am.” He confessed.
You want to come over?
like that. I’m gonna stop by a diner first and get some grub. See you in about an
hour. You need me to bring anything in?”
Just your body handsome.
And maybe some crullers! The powdered kind.
the powdered kind, check!”
at his watch he saw it was just after one in the morning and headed off to get
breakfast and consider what he had read of the H&D records. Ten minutes
later he was at Manny’s Diner on Canal, ate then walked back to his office in
Greenwich Village to develop the photos.