"Ah, I'll catch you yet, Tommy," Eddie whispered, though he knew it was a lie. He hadn't the head for business and politics the way Tommy did. And if he ever could have gained such gifts, the time was long past. No, he would have to content himself--
The door to his shed was open. Just barely, but open. He went to it and opened it fully. It looked as he had left it--a broom and some garden tools to one side, two of his battered satchels to the right. He pushed them farther into the corner and reached back until he found the lip of the floorboard. He pulled it up, trying to block out the memory of doing almost the exact same thing on Shawmut Avenue this afternoon, all the well-dressed coons standing around him with stoic faces while, on the inside, they howled with laughter.
Below the floorboard were the bundles. He'd always preferred thinking of them that way. Let Thomas put his in the bank or real estate or the wall safe in his office. Eddie liked his bundles and he liked them up here where he could sit after a few drinks and thumb through them, smell them. Once there got to be too many--a problem he happily ran into about once every three years--he'd move them into a safe-deposit box at the First National in Uphams Corner. Until then, he'd sit with them. There they were now, sure, all in their places like bugs in a rug, just as he'd left them, they were. He put the floorboard back. He stood. He closed the shed door until he heard the lock click.
He stopped in the middle of the roof. He cocked his head.
At the far end of the roof a rectangular shape rested against the parapet. A foot long, it was, and half that in height.
What was this now?
Eddie took a pull from his tumbler of Power's and looked around the dark roof. He listened. Not the way most people would listen, but the way a copper with twenty years chasing mutts into dark alleys and dark buildings listened. The air that just a moment earlier had smelled of oil and the Fort Point Channel, now smelled of his own humid flesh and the gravel at his feet. In the harbor, a boat tooted its horn. In the park below, someone laughed. Somewhere nearby, a window closed. An automobile wheezed up G Street, its gears grinding.
No moonlight, the nearest gas lamp a fl oor below.
Eddie listened some more. As his eyes grew more accustomed to the night, he was certain the rectangular shape was no illusion, no trick of the darkness. It was there all right, and he damn well knew what it was.
The toolbox, the one he'd given Luther Laurence, the one fi lled with pistols he'd spirited out of the evidence rooms of various station houses over the last decade.
Eddie placed the bottle of Power's on the gravel and removed his .38 from its holster. He thumbed back the hammer.
"You up here?" He held the gun by his ear and scanned the darkness. "You up here, son?"
Another minute of silence. Another minute in which he didn't move.
And still nothing but the sounds of the neighborhood below and the quiet of the roof in front of him. He lowered his service revolver. He tapped it off his outer thigh as he crossed the roof and reached the toolbox. Here the light was much better; it bounced upward from the lamps in the park and those along Old Harbor Street and it bounced from the factories off the dark channel water and up toward Telegraph Hill. There was little question that it was the toolbox he'd given Luther--same chips in the paint, same scuff marks over the handle. He stared down at it and took another drink and noticed the number of people strolling through the park. A rarity at this time of night, but it was a Friday and maybe the fi rst Friday in a month that hadn't been marred by heavy rain.
It was the memory of rain that got him to look over the parapet at his gutters and notice that one had come loose from its fasteners and jutted out from the brick, canting to the right and tipping downward. He was already opening the toolbox before he remembered that it held only pistols, and it occurred to him what a harebrained instinct it had been to open it before calling the Bomb Squad. It opened without incident, however, and Eddie McKenna holstered his service revolver and stared in at the last thing he expected to find in this par ticu lar toolbox.
Several screwdrivers, a hammer, three socket wrenches and two pair of pliers, a small saw.
The hand that touched his back was almost soft. He barely felt it. A big man not used to being touched, he would have expected it to have taken more force to remove him from his feet. But he'd been bent over, his feet set too closely together, one hand resting on his knee, the other holding a glass of whiskey. A cool gust found his chest as he entered the space between his home and the Andersons', and he heard the fl ap of his own clothes in the night air. He opened his mouth, thinking he should scream, and the kitchen window flew up past his eyes like an elevator car. A wind filled his ears on a windless night. His whiskey glass hit the cobblestone first, followed by his head. It was an unpleasant sound, and it was followed by another as his spine cracked.
He looked up the walls of his home until his eyes found the edge of the roof and he thought he saw someone up there staring down at him but he couldn't be sure. His eyes fell on the section of gutter that had detached from the brick and he reminded himself to add it to the list he kept of household repairs that needed seeing to. A long list, that. Never ending.
We found a screwdriver on top of the parapet, Cap'." Thomas Coughlin looked up from Eddie McKenna's body. "What's that?"
Detective Chris Gleason nodded. "Best we can tell, he was leaning over to remove an old fastener for that gutter, yeah? Thing had snapped in two. He was trying to get it out of the brick and . . ." Detective Gleason shrugged. "Sorry, Cap'."
Thomas pointed at the shards of glass by Eddie's left hand. "He had a drink in his hand, Detective."
"In his hand." Thomas looked up at the roof again. "You're telling me he was unscrewing a fastener and drinking at the same time?" "We found a bottle up there, sir. Power & Son. Irish whiskey." "I know his favored brand, Detective. You still can't explain to me why he had a drink in one hand and--"
"He was right-handed, Cap', yeah?"
Thomas looked in Gleason's eyes. "What of it?"
"Drink was in his left hand." Gleason removed his boater and smoothed back his hair. "Captain, sir, you know I don't want to argue with you. Not over this. Man was a legend, sir. If I thought for one moment any foul play could be on the table? I'd shake this neighborhood 'til it fell into the harbor. But not a single neighbor heard a thing. The park was filled with people, and no one saw anything but a man alone up on a roof. No signs of a struggle, no hint of defensive wounds. Captain? He didn't even scream, sir."