Authors: Brent Coffey
Cover Design by Melody Simmons of eBookindiecovers
© 2014 Brent Coffey
Dedicated to Dr. Robert W. Hoag and
my editor, Kay.
is a work of fiction, and all real people and real places herein are used fictitiously.
Table of contents:
“I’ll get you your boy.”
“I’ll get you your boy.”
“If you touch that child, I swear I’ll kill you!”
I’ll get you your boy
. I didn’t say
I’ll get your boy
. You’re welcome by the way.”
Turning around and walking away without further explanation, Boston’s latest celebrity criminal, Gabriel Adelaide, left the Suffolk County Courthouse with his team of lawyers and started answering questions from eager reporters on the courthouse stairs. Guilty of several dozen counts of protection racketeering and convicted for none, Gabe was the type of criminal Bostonians enjoyed. Young, handsomely dressed in a three-piece suit, smirking, and seductively arrogant, he preserved the traditions of the Mafia greats that the city’s older residents missed. Long gone were Alberto Messioli and Raymond Petrone, who were famous for their Italian exploits in wine, fine dining, and murder. But Gabe kept alive the memorable traits of the area’s most notorious killers, including their smug expressions and cocky tone. The usual crowd in Boston’s bars liked to say that the mob gave the city flavor, character almost, and they relished the mob’s contributions to the city’s tough image. Thanks to Gabe’s recent arrival on newspapers’ headlines, “Boston Tough” once more drew respect, instead of the raised eyebrows of the city’s skeptical college kids, unwilling to believe the folklore about dead criminal legends.
Gabe, surrounded by his lawyers, stood confidently in front of the courthouse and had no trouble responding to the fast questions thrown at him, knowing that locals who were old enough to remember Boston’s underworld legends would hang on his every word in front of their TVs. He smiled and launched an attack against the prosecution’s case against him:
“As all of you just learned, the jury dismissed all charges against me, because these charges were politically motivated by city officials that are desperately grabbing for votes. And as you reporters know firsthand, these tough-on-crime types in city hall are a sham, and the only people they’re actually tough on are the taxpayers who have to fund their lavish lifestyles.”
This got quite a few laughs from city’s beat reporters, and several of them nodded in agreement. Gabe was pleased. The press liked him, and they’d spin his victory in court today in his favor.
And he was right. The press did like him. Gabe was the up-and-coming figure that Boston’s reputation needed. He revived the city’s image of its in-your-face ethos, but with a taste for the finer things in life. He was rumored to be strong enough to crack a few skulls, but classy enough to steal a Lincoln Towncar when dumping a body in an auto’s trunk. And he could
pahk his cah in Hahvahd Yahd
to old school reporters pining for the city’s blue collar accent. Beantown’s aging chattering class had high expectations for criminals, and Gabe met them all. Polished in appearance and salt of the earth in speech, he was the perfect combination of elegance and brute force, and he hailed from one of New England’s few remaining active Families.
“The press may love you and you may love them, but if you touch that kid I will kill you,” Bruce muttered to himself.
Pausing inside the open courthouse doors to gather his thoughts, Bruce Hudson, the D.A. who’d just failed to persuade twelve of Gabe’s peers to send the mobster to a federal penitentiary (and who was now worried about Gabe’s offer to
get him his boy
), wasn’t a complicated guy. He was working class, devoted to his wife, and, with conviction, simple. Despite being a successful lawyer, Hudson didn’t believe in living a high maintenance life or one of luxury. He preferred the opposite of most everything the Adelaides were famous for. Microwaveable pasta and gas station wine suited his taste, and his clothes were never custom tailored. Nor did they conceal 9mm pistols.
As Bruce also walked out of the Suffolk County Courthouse and into the same throng of reporters, the voice in his head asked
You’ll get me my boy? What the hell are you planning?
And then the voice in his head asked a question more startling than, “How does it feel to know that you blew it and that Gabriel Adelaide is a free man?” shouted by a guy from the
Surely to Christ he doesn’t know about August… does he?
How could he possibly know we’re trying to adopt August?
“Let me just say that I’m proud to be an American, because this is a country where justice rules supreme. This institution, this building behind me, is a damn fine institution, and it’s governed by the way stuff’s supposed to work.” Normally, only the accused party’s lawyers talked to the press, but few accused souls are as arrogant as those in a Family. Gabe went on:
“And let me add that these baseless allegations against me were a waste of both taxpayers’ dollars and the court system’s time. Forcing you, the good citizens of Boston, to fund the smear campaign that the prosecutor ran against me is the real extortion scandal.”
The press kept smiling and nodding, hoping that their friendly expressions would prolong Gabe’s rant, a rant that was surely a made-for-TV moment.
Meanwhile, Bruce had difficulty answering the questions tossed at him, as he was trying to overhear what Gabe was saying to the media from the opposite side of the courthouse stairs.
“Sometimes the jury is wrong. Period. That’s the only explanation I have, but it’s the only one I need. The evidence was there, and, well, everyone knows that the Adelaides literally are the mob. There’s no serious debate there. Gabriel Adelaide may be walking free this afternoon, but that’s a legal technicality, not proof of his moral innocence,” Bruce complained.
“Do you plan to bring new charges against either Gabriel Adelaide or other Adelaides?”
“How much blame do you bear for the botched evidence?”
“Did some of Boston’s Finest taint the evidence, and, if so, how widespread is the corruption in Boston’s Police Department?”
Bruce tried to parry the aggressive questions thrown at him, but there were too many, and they were coming too fast. Eventually, the
cluttering his answers made him sound uncertain of Gabe’s guilt. But uncertain he was not! Bruce had spent the past five years working the Adelaide case: making connections, offering pardons to snitches, and hiding informants in witness protection. He’d spent two of the past five years gathering information against Gabe from folks in Southie, Boston’s southern neighborhood. He knew Gabe was guilty. He’d seen the bodies, heard the stories, and talked to the eyewitnesses. He suspected, though he wouldn’t say it because he couldn’t prove it, that, yes, some of Boston’s Finest were in bed with the Adelaides. He also suspected that jury intimidation was a factor in Gabe’s acquittal, as previous jurors who’d convicted other Family members had died from causes that were never explained in detail by the suspiciously silent county coroner. Bruce knew he’d pissed off a connected man from a powerful Family, and his stress level soared, as thoughts of Gabe’s ominous promise floated through his mind.
“Will you seek a new trial?”
I’ll get you your boy
“Do you think jury selection was a factor in this case’s outcome?”
I’ll get you your boy.
“Are Boston’s streets more dangerous because Gabriel Adelaide wasn’t convicted?”
I’ll get you your boy.
Replaying in his mind like an unwanted song, the thought of a mobster
getting him his boy
made talking to the swell of eager media members even more difficult than usual. Adding to that difficulty was the loud and hypocritical sermon on American justice being delivered by the should-have-been-convicted Gabriel Adelaide, a mere forty feet to his right. The press, torn between its love for lucky mobsters and unlucky prosecutors, split evenly, surrounding Gabe and Bruce with a near equal number of cameras and mikes. At times, the questions posed to one man were asked in response to a statement the other had just made, as reporters were in earshot of both.
“Mr. Adelaide, do you feel you’re the victim of selective prosecution?”
“If you mean,
Was I harassed because of my last name
, then, yes.”
“Mr. Hudson, Mr. Adelaide says that he was harassed because of his last name. Your response?”
“Again, anyone following the, umm, details of the case, and, umm, the clear and irrefutable evidence (
I’ll get you your boy
) would concur that crimes of the most vicious nature were committed by Mr. Adelaide (
I’ll get you your boy
) against some of Boston’s hardest working business owners in an effort to coerce other business owners into paying for fraudulent and makeshift, umm, protection services.”
Bruce silently conceded that Gabe’s offer to
get him his boy
was screwing with his head something fierce. He briefly considered telling the press
This asshole just threatened the kid that I’m trying to adopt,
but he held his tongue. Going public with the threat might further endanger August.
With cameras madly flashing like a factory quota was being met, Bruce stared into the heart of every city’s most enthusiastic fans of drama: street reporters and evening newscasters. He fought off a visible sigh of fatigue. He was tired of this. What good ever came from talking to the press? The jury wasn’t going to reverse its decision because he was quoted in an editorial. The judge wasn’t going to order that Gabe be locked up just because he complained to the electronic eyes and ears demanding to know what it was like to be a loser. This was all a waste of time. Time that could be spent at home with a Guiness and the Red Sox. Time that could be spent with his wife, Martha. Time that could be spent on the internet looking at how damn cute August was, while warmly chatting with Martha about how great it would be, after all these years, to finally have a child. He decided to end this tiresome barrage of questions with the most boring answers he could think of:
I don’t know
“Is this the end of your office’s focus on the Adelaide Family?”
“Will you work with the chief of police to investigate allegations of police corruption?”
“I don’t know.”
And so it went, until the press lost interest in questioning a D.A. who wouldn’t commit to specific answers. Gabe, on the other hand, was just getting started:
“The jury’s decision to clear me of all charges reflects the fact that I’m not connected to the tragic slayings of Arthur Mulberry and Mike Bronston. This D.A., Bruce Hudson, tried to string me up on bogus racketeering charges, thinking that if he could trick people into believing that I had something to do with extorting Mulberry and Bronston’s businesses, he could later bring additional charges of first-degree murder against me. I’d like to think the events of today mean that I’m not only cleared of all these ridiculous accusations of protection racketeering, but that I’m also off the hook for whatever happened to those guys.”
Off the hook!
Gabe’s lawyers tried not to grimace. They’d warned their client not to mention the deaths of Arthur Mulberry and Mike Bronston, who’d respectively owned a dry cleaning shop and a restaurant in Chinatown. It was damning enough that Gabe had been tried for extorting their businesses for cash, and it was even more suspicious that both men had died before they could testify.
, his lawyers thought,
he has the good sense not to mention that Mulberry and Bronston were killed, in classic Mafia tradition, execution style.
“And whoever shot those guys in the head when they were on their knees… Or that’s how I imagine people are shot,” he quickly clarified, clearing this throat for emphasis and starting again. “It couldn’t have been me since I was detained during my trial.”
In fact, Gabe hadn’t killed Mulberry and Bronston. His associate, Luke Espinoza, acting on his order, had killed them.
Bruce walked to his car and wanted not to think about losing this case, but it was hard to shrug off the loss with the sound of Gabe rambling to every reporter willing to listen. As Bruce got in his car, he placed his briefcase on the passenger’s seat and opened it. He dug underneath the small mountain of paperwork detailing Gabe’s guilt and found what truly interested him, the Massachusetts Child Services case file on 5-year-old August Middleton. Bruce didn’t know why he took August’s file to work… perhaps it was the closest to a “bring your child to work day” that a man trying to adopt a son could experience. He quickly opened the manila folder, as he was suddenly curious if August had any connection to the Adelaides. He reread the file for the sixth time that day (reading August’s background had been his favorite pastime when the jury had deliberated) and reviewed the kid’s history.
August George Middleton, born August 1
2005 to June and Larry Middleton.
(Evidently August’s mom liked her name, Bruce thought, since her son’s also named after a month.)
Race: Caucasian, Weight: 42 pounds, Height: 46 inches, Hair: Blonde, Eyes: Blue… About August: August is a shy little boy who enjoys television and coloring. His other favorite activities are going to the zoo and watching people walk their dogs at Boston Common. He likes most foods, but he is allergic to peanuts. He says he wants to be either an astronaut or a firefighter when he grows up. He did not attend preschool, so he was disadvantaged this past year in kindergarten. Due to this disadvantage and his troubled home life, he must repeat kindergarten, though his teacher and counselor believe that he is a bright young man with plenty of potential. He needs a structured home with loving parents who will be patient with his shyness, as he often struggles to say what he feels. Continued therapy is needed so he can cope with his disturbing background, and his adoptive parents must agree to keep his future appointments with his psychologist. August needs parents who understand that reserved and withdrawn children have a lot of love to offer.
Scanning the file further, Bruce was relieved to see there weren’t any Italian sounding names in August’s list of grandparents, aunts, and uncles. If the kid had a connection to the Adelaides, it was hard to see how.