"I understand that you do, in fact, have quite a network of men attending meetings of the various radical groups in your city, that you even have some who've infiltrated a few groups under deep cover." Finch blew on his coffee and took a tiny sip, then licked the sting from his lips. "As I understand it, and quite the contrary to what you led me to believe, you're compiling lists."
Thomas took his seat and sipped his coffee. "Your ambition might exceed your 'understanding,' lad."
Finch gave that thin smile. "I'd like access to those lists."
"Is that a problem?"
Thomas leaned back and propped his heels on the desk. "At the moment, I fail to see how interagency cooperation is advantageous to the Boston Police Department."
"Maybe you're taking the narrow view."
"I don't believe I am." Thomas smiled. "But I'm always open to fresh perspectives."
Finch struck a match off the edge of Thomas's desk and lit a cigarette. "Let's consider the reaction if word leaked that a rogue contingent of the Boston Police Department was selling the member rolls and mailing lists of known radical organizations to corporations instead of sharing them with the federal government."
"Allow me to correct one wee mistake."
"My information is solid."
Thomas folded his hands over his abdomen. "The mistake you made, son, was in use of the word rogue. We're hardly that. In fact, were you to point a finger at myself or any of the people I'm in congress with in this city? Why, Agent Finch, you'd surely find a dozen fingers pointing back at you, Mr. Hoover, Attorney General Palmer, and that fledgling, underfunded agency of yours." Thomas reached for his coffee cup. "So I'd advise caution when making threats in my fair city."
Finch crossed his legs and flicked ash into the tray beside his chair. "I get the gist."
"Consider my soul appropriately comforted."
"Your son, the one who killed the terrorist, I understand he's lost to my cause."
Thomas nodded. "A union man now, he is, through and through." "But you've another son. A lawyer as I understand it."
"Careful with talk of family, Agent Finch." Thomas rubbed the back of his neck. "You're treading a tightrope in a circus fi re about now."
Finch held up a hand. "Just hear me out. Share your lists with us. I'm not saying you can't make all the profit you want on the side. But if you share them with us, I'll make sure your son the lawyer gets plum work in the coming months."
Thomas shook his head. "He's DA property."
"Silas Pendergast?" Finch shook his head. "He's a whore for the wards and everyone knows you run him, Captain."
Thomas held out his hands. "Make your case."
"The preliminary suspicions that the molasses tank explosion was a terrorist act have been a boon for us. Simply put, this country is sick of terror."
"But the explosion wasn't a terrorist act."
"The rage remains." Finch chuckled. "No one is more surprised than us. We thought the rush to judgment over the molasses flood had killed us. Quite the opposite. People don't want truth, they want certainty." He shrugged. "Or the illusion of it."
"And you and Mr. Palmer are more than happy to ride the tide of this need."
Finch stubbed out his cigarette. "My current mandate is the deportation of every radical plotting against my country. The conventional wisdom on the subject is that deportation falls solely under federal jurisdiction. However, Attorney General Palmer, Mr. Hoover, and myself have recently come to the realization that state and local authorities can get more actively involved in deportation. Would you care to know how?"
Thomas stared at the ceiling. "I'd assume under the state antisyndicalist laws."
Finch stared at him. "How'd you arrive at that conclusion?"
"I didn't arrive anywhere. Basic common sense, man. The laws are on the books, have been for years."
Finch asked, "You wouldn't ever consider working in Washington, would you?"
Thomas rapped the window with his knuckles. "See out there, Agent Finch? Can you see the street? The people?"
"Took me fi fteen years in Ireland and a month at sea to fi nd it. My home. And a man who'd abandon his home is a man who'd abandon anything."
Finch tapped his boater off his knee. "You're an odd duck."
"Just so." He opened a palm in Finch's direction. "So the antisyndicalist laws?"
"Have opened a door in the deportation pro cess that we'd long assumed closed."
"And state, yes."
"So you're marshaling your forces."
Finch nodded. "And we'd like your son to be a part of it." "Connor?"
Thomas took a drink of coffee. "How much a part?"
"Well, we'd have him work with a lawyer from Justice or local--" "No. He works the cases as the point man in Boston or he doesn't work at all."
"Older than your Mr. Hoover."
Finch looked around the office, indecisive. "Your son catches this train? I promise you the track won't run out in his lifetime."
"Ah," Thomas said, "but I'd like him to board at the front as opposed to the rear. The view would be all the finer, wouldn't you say?" "Anything else?"
"Yes. You call him to Washington to hire him. You make sure a photographer's in attendance."
"And in exchange, Attorney General Palmer's team will have access to the lists your men are compiling."
Thomas said, "Per specific requests that would be subject to my review, yes."
Thomas watched Finch give it some thought, as if he had a choice in the matter.
Thomas stood. He reached across the desk.
Finch stood and shook his hand. "So we have a deal."
"We have a contract, Agent Finch." Thomas gripped Finch's hand fast. "Do consider it inviolate."
Luther had noticed that Boston might have been different from the Midwest in a lot of ways--the people talked funny for one and everyone dressed in this city, dressed like they were going out to dinner and a show every day, even the children--but a stockyard was a stockyard. Same mud, same stench, same noise. And same job for coloreds-- on the bottom rung. Isaiah's friend Walter Grange had been there fifteen years and he'd risen to the post of key man for the pens, but any white man with fifteen years on the job would have made yard manager by now.