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.The snow bound them all together in Brooklyn.It bound me, also.I felt responsible now, in a way, for every one of them.It stopped snowing around seven o’clock, so I drove to the Kings County Hospital to see Liam.He was cheerily making up limericks about the nurses, a sure sign of recovery.He might lose some hearing in his left ear, but the rest of him would mend.He’d get his car repaired when he got out of the hospital and go right back to the work he loved.I stopped at the Home Run Diner after visiting hours were over.Lucille wasn’t around, but her brother Sam was behind the counter poaching eggs.I was glad to see him.He had a sunnier disposition, and his coffee was potable.Nobody in the diner was making jokes about Carlson anymore.He was already old news.The Brooklyn Eagle I picked up from the counter said that he was being buried on Saturday in Greenwood Cemetery.It would be a hero’s funeral, replete with tributes, harangues against the city’s criminal element and poignant, personal reflections on the late, great crime fighter’s career by the city fathers.If they only knew.To avoid another harangue from Gino, I drove back to the neighborhood and parked across from St.Margaret’s until well after ten.The latest replacement glass was still unbroken in the church door, and absolutely nobody, suspicious or not, was on the street.I went straight to bed when I got home.The dream added a new twist.Teddy Mitchell and Chick Gunderson were suspended on either side of me now, and Alberto Scarpetti had taken Arnold’s place with the two goons.The soles of his shoes were embedded with spikes.Chick let go of the bridge first, grabbed me by the belt, and hung on.Teddy followed, clutching my leg.I couldn’t shake either of them free, and the longer they clung, the more I felt my own hold slipping.Alberto, oppressively close, smiled and said, “This time you won’t wake up, Lombardi,” as he spiked the back of my hand.It was the telephone again that woke me.Three in the morning, and I knew what that meant.I stared at it and let it ring several times before picking it up.“Hello, Nick,” I said into the receiver.“So, who is it this time?”“You gettin’ psychic, Eddie?”“Who is it?”“Don’t get so far ahead.I got a routine to follow here.You’ll mess it up if you go anticipatin’ too much.”“Okay, okay,” I said glumly, and waited.“You ready?”“I’m ready.”“We found one of Arnold’s pals.The Mitchell kid.”I sat erect, threw the covers aside and set my feet on the floor.“That’s great, Nick! Where is he?”“Empty lot on Ralph Avenue, near Sutter.Under a foot of snow.Sorry, Eddie.Didn’t mean to get your hopes up.You wanna come and look anyway?”I didn’t answer.“Eddie?”“Sure, Nick.Be right over.”The empty lot was around the corner from the building where Caroline and the Mitchells lived.Even at three-thirty on a freezing winter morning, there was a sizable crowd outside.A half dozen uniformed cops were keeping back the curious while the forensic crew did their work and the ambulance attendants ran their heater and waited.DeMassio was chatting with a couple of detectives from the 73rd precinct.They were all smoking cigarettes.Between the steam of their breath and the smoke, their faces were almost invisible.Without moving closer, I looked at the body of Teddy Mitchell.It was face down, lying near a heap of snow-covered rubble, the remains of a building that had once occupied the space.The forensic crew had removed the snow cover.A large pool of frozen blood surrounded the corpse.When DeMassio finally saw me through the cigarette haze and steam, he left the other detectives and strolled over, raising his coat collar against the wind.“Bullet in the back,” he said gruffly instead of a hello.“.45 caliber.”“When’d it happen?”“No idea, yet.”“Anybody hear the shot?”“This is Brownsville, Eddie.Nobody hears shots.”“The bullet… hollow point?”“Can’t tell until we turn him over,” DeMassio said, “but that’s a pretty big pool of blood under him.Smaller exit hole would mean less, especially in this friggin’ cold.What’re you thinkin’, Eddie?”“That maybe there’s more people involved in this mess than I thought.”“Besides Scarpetti?”“Besides Teddy, Chick, and Arnold.” I told him about Caroline, Charlotte, and Jimmy.“I knew there’d be a woman in this,” he said without smiling.We walked back to the sidewalk.“How come the 73rd called you?” I asked.“They know I like to look at stiffs in freezing cold at three in the morning.”“Just like me.”“Just like you, Eddie.”I was about to ask who’d discovered the body when I saw the two hunched figures in the back of a prowl car.I had to look twice to be sure.“Excuse me a minute, Nick,” I said.I walked past the uniformed cop guarding it and rapped on the back window.Caroline Hutchinson, dour-faced, rolled down the glass.A petulant Charlotte sat beside her, offering a quick look of murderous contempt before turning her face away.The cop pulled me back and Caroline rolled up the window.When I tried to keep eye contact, she turned away, too.I walked back to DeMassio.“Let me guess,” he said, jeering.“That’s Caroline Hutchinson.It’s her brother Jimmy that I was tellin’ you about.”“And the other one?”“Her younger sister, Charlotte.What’s goin’ on, Nick?”“One of ’em found the body is all I know,” said DeMassio, just as a uniformed cop got behind the wheel of the prowl car and started the engine.“Which one?”“Beats me.Why don’t you ask at the 73rd? I’m goin’ back to bed.”Caroline’s sad, tormented eyes met mine as the prowl car pulled away from the curb.It turned onto Sutter Avenue and headed east, toward the 73rd precinct station.DeMassio was driving away, too.I lingered at the edge of the empty lot before getting into my own car.The foren-sics crew had managed to turn Teddy Mitchell’s frozen body onto its back.The front of his shirt and coat had been shot away, and the exit hole in his chest was as large as a Softball.For just a moment, I thought about going back to Bensonhurst and staying there, like a monk in his monastery.But when I made the turn at Sutter Avenue, I headed east instead, toward Caroline, the 73rd precinct station, and all the trouble I could handle.CHAPTER31I waited in the car outside the 73rd until Caroline walked out alone, eyes bloodshot and teary [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]