On the walk back from Fenway, Luther's heart was banging away in his chest. It had been happening all summer, rarely for any particu lar reason. His throat would close up and his chest would fl ood with what felt like warm water and then bang- bang- bang- bang, his heart would just start going crazy.
As they walked along Mass. Ave., he looked over at Danny, saw Danny watching him carefully.
"Whenever you're ready," Danny said.
Luther stopped for a moment. Exhausted. Wiped out from carrying it. He looked over at Danny. "I'd have to trust you with something bigger than anyone ever trusted you with something in their lives."
Danny said, "You tended to Nora when no one else would. That means more to me even than saving my life. You loved my wife, Luther, when I was too stupid to. Whatever you need from me?" Danny touched his chest. "You got."
An hour later, standing over the bump of land that was Clayton Tomes's grave in the backyard of the Shawmut Avenue building, Danny said, "You're right. This is big. Fucking huge."
In the house, they sat on the empty floor. It was almost done now, very little left but trim work and the painting. Luther fi nished telling all of it, every last bit, right down to the day last month when he'd picked the lock on the toolbox McKenna had given him. It had taken him twenty minutes, and one look inside told him everything.
No wonder it was so heavy.
He'd checked them, one by one, found that they were all well oiled and in good condition, though hardly new. Loaded, too. Twelve of them. A dozen loaded guns meant to be found on the day the Boston police decided to raid the NAACP and make it look like an army readying for a race war.
Danny sat silent for a long time and drank from his fl ask. Eventually, he handed it across to Luther. "He'll kill you regardless."
"I know it," Luther said. "Ain't me I'm concerned with. It's Yvette. She's like a mother to me. And I can see him, you know, just for the hell of it? 'Cause she's what he call 'nigger bourgeoisie'? He'll kill her for fun. He definitely want to jail her. That's what the guns are all about."
"I know he's like blood to you," Luther said.
Danny held up a hand. He closed his eyes and rocked slightly in place.
"He killed that boy? For nothing?"
"For nothing but being black and alive."
Danny opened his eyes. "Whatever we do from this point on . . . ? You understand."
Luther nodded. "Dies with us."
Connor's first big federal case involved an ironworker named Massimo Pardi. Pardi had stood up at a meeting of the Roslindale Ironworkers Union, Local 12, and proclaimed that the safety conditions at Bay State Iron & Smelting had better improve immediately or the company "might find itself smelted right to the ground." He'd been loudly cheered before four other men--Brian Sullivan, Robert Minton, Duka Skinner, and Luis Ferriere--had lifted him onto their shoulders and walked him around the room. It was that action and those men who sealed Pardi's fate: 1 + 4 = syndicalism. Plain and simple.
Connor filed deportation orders against Massimo Pardi in district court and argued his case before the judge on the grounds that Pardi had violated the Espionage and Sedition Act under the antisyndicalist laws of the Commonwealth and therefore should be deported back to Calabria where a local magistrate could decide if any further punishment were necessary.
Even Connor was surprised when the judge agreed.
Not the next time, though. Certainly not the time after that.
What Connor fi nally realized--and what he hoped would hold him in good stead as long as he practiced law--was that the best arguments were those shorn of emotion or inflammatory rhetoric. Stick with the rule of law, eschew polemic, let pre ce dent speak for you, and leave opposing counsel to choose whether to fight the soundness of those laws on appeal. It was quite the revelation. While opposing counsel thundered and raged and shook their fi sts in front of increasingly exasperated judges, Connor calmly pointed out the logical strictures of justice. And he could see in the eyes of the judges that they didn't like it, they didn't want to agree. Their seepy hearts held for the defendants, but their intellects knew truth when they saw it.
The Massimo Pardi case was to become, in hindsight, emblematic.
The ironworker with the big mouth was sentenced to a year in jail (three months time served), and deportation orders were fi led immediately. If his physical eviction from the country were to occur before he finished his sentence, the United States would graciously commute the remainder of it once he reached international waters. Otherwise, he did the full nine months. Connor, of course, felt some sympathy for the man. Pardi seemed, in the aggregate, an inoffensive sort, a hard worker who'd been engaged to be married in the fall. Hardly a threat to these shores. But what he represented--the very first stop on the road to terrorism--was quite offensive. Mitchell Palmer and the United States had decided the message needed to be sent to the world--we will no longer live in fear of you; you will live in fear of us. And that message was to be sent calmly, implacably, and constantly.
For a few months that summer, Connor forgot he was angry.
The Chicago White Sox came to town after Detroit and Ruth went out with a few of them one night, old friends from the farm league days, and they told him that order had been restored to their city, the army finally cheesing it to the niggers and putting them down once and for all. Thought it would never end, they said. Four days of shooting and pillaging and fires and all because one of theirs swam where he wasn't supposed to. And the whites hadn't been stoning him. They'd just been throwing rocks into the water to warn him off. Ain't their fault he wasn't a good swimmer.
Fifteen whites dead. You believe that? Fifteen. Maybe the niggers had some legitimate grievances, okay, yeah, but to kill fi fteen white men? World was upside down.
It was for Babe. After that game where he'd seen Luther, he couldn't hit shit. Couldn't hit fastballs, couldn't hit curves, couldn't hit it if it had been sent to him on a string at ten miles an hour. He fell into the worst slump of his career. And now that the coloreds had been put back in their place in D. C. and Chicago, and the anarchists seemed to have gone quiet, and the country might have been able to take just one easy breath, the agitators and agitation sprang up from the least likely of quarters: the police.
The police, for Christ's sake!
Every day of Ruth's slump brought more signs that push was coming to shove and the city of Boston was going to pop at the seams. The papers reported rumors of a sympathy strike that would make Seattle look like an exhibition game. In Seattle it had been public workers, sure, but garbagemen and transit workers. In Boston, word was, they'd lined up the firemen. If the cops and the jakes walked off the job? Jeepers Crow! The city would become rubble and ash.