The crowd wasn't having it. They weren't throwing anything yet, but they were yelling and clenching their fists and shouting curses in Italian. Danny saw two members of the Black Hand moving along the edges of the mob.
"She's in the car?" Danny said.
"In back," Mrs. DiMassi cried. "They take her."
Danny gave her hand a tug of encouragement and began pushing his way through the crowd. Finch's eyes met his and narrowed. After about ten seconds, recognition found Finch's face. It was quickly replaced, though. Not with fear of the crowd, just stubborn determination as he kept the car in gear and tried to inch forward.
Someone pushed Danny, and he almost lost his balance but was buffeted by a pair of middle-aged women with beefy arms. A kid climbed a streetlamp pole with an orange in his hand. If the kid had a decent throwing arm this would get scary fast.
Danny reached the car, and Finch cracked the window. Arabella was curled up on the backseat, her eyes wide, her fi ngers grasping her crucifix, her lips moving in prayer.
"Get her out," Danny said.
"Move the crowd."
"You want a riot?" Danny said.
"You want some dead Italians in the street?" Finch banged on the horn with his fist. "Get them the fuck out of the way, Coughlin." "This girl knows nothing about anarchists," Danny said. "She was seen with Federico Ficara."
Danny looked in at Arabella. She looked back at him with eyes that comprehended nothing except the growing fury of the mob. An elbow pushed off Danny's lower back and he was pressed hard against the car.
"Steve!" he called. "You back there?"
"About ten feet."
"Can you get me some room?"
"Have to use my cane."
"Fine with me." Danny turned back, pressed his face into the crack 30 of window Rayme Finch had afforded him, and said, "You saw her with Federico?"
"About half an hour ago. Down by the bread factory."
"No. Another agent. Federico ducked him, but we got a positive ID on this girl."
The top of someone's head drove itself into Danny's back. He swatted at it, tagged a chin.
He pressed his lips to the window crack. "If you leave with her, and then return her to the neighborhood, Finch? She will be assassinated. You hear me? You're killing her. Let her out. Let me handle it." Another body jostled his back and a man climbed up on the hood. "I can barely breathe out here."
Finch said, "We can't back down now."
A second guy climbed on the hood and the car began to rock.
"Finch! You've already fucked her by putting her in the car. Some people are going to think she is an informant, no matter what. But we can save this situation if you let her out now. Otherwise . . ." Another body slammed into Danny's. "Jesus, Finch! Unlock the fucking door."
"You and me are going to have a talk."
"Fine. We'll talk. Open the door."
Finch gave him one last long look to let him know this wasn't over, not by a damn sight, and then he reached back and unlocked the rear door and Danny got his hand on the handle and turned to the crowd. "There's been a mistake. Ci e stato un errore. Back up. Sostegno! Sostegno! She's coming out. Sta uscendo. Back up. Sostegno!"
To his surprise, the crowd took a few steps back and Danny opened the door and pulled the shaking girl across the seat. Several people let out whoops and claps, and Danny hugged Arabella to his body and headed for the sidewalk. She clutched her hands to her chest and Danny could feel something hard and square under her arms. He looked in her eyes, but all he saw there was fear.
Danny held tight to Arabella and nodded his thanks to the people he passed. He gave Finch one last look and gestured up the street with his head. Another smattering of cheers broke out and the crowd began to thin around the car. Finch nudged the car forward a few feet and the mob backed up farther and the tires rolled. Then the first orange hit. The fruit was cold and sounded more like a rock. That was followed by an apple, then a potato, and then the car was pelted with fruit and vegetables. But it made steady progress up Salem Street. Some urchins ran alongside, shouting at it, but there were smiles on their faces and the jeers from the crowd had a festive air to them.
Danny reached the sidewalk and Mrs. DiMassi took her niece from him and led her toward the stairs. Danny watched the taillights of Finch's Hudson reach the corner. Steve Coyle stood beside him, wiping his head with a handkerchief and looking out at the street littered with half-frozen fruit.
"Calls for a drink, uh?" He handed Danny his flask.
Danny took a drink but said nothing. He looked at Arabella Mosca huddled in her aunt's arms. He wondered whose side he was on anymore.
"I'm going to need to talk to her, Mrs. DiMassi."
Mrs. DiMassi looked up into his face.
"Now," he said.
Arabella Mosca was a small woman with wide almond eyes and short blue-black hair. She didn't speak a word of English outside of hello, good-bye, and thank you. She sat on the couch in her aunt's sitting room, her hands still clenched within Mrs. DiMassi's, and she had yet to remove her coat.
Danny said to Mrs. DiMassi, "Could you ask her what she's hiding beneath her coat?"
Mrs. DiMassi glanced at her niece's coat and frowned. She pointed and asked her to open her coat.
Arabella tilted her chin down toward her chest and shook her head vehemently.
"Please," Danny said.
Mrs. DiMassi wasn't the type to say "please" to a younger relative. Instead, she slapped her. Arabella barely reacted. She lowered her head farther and shook it again. Mrs. DiMassi reared back on the couch and cocked her arm.
Danny stuck his upper body between them. "Arabella," he said in halting Italian, "they will deport your husband."
Her chin came off her chest.
He nodded. "The men in straw hats. They will."
A torrent of Italian flew from Arabella's mouth and Mrs. DiMassi held up a hand, Arabella talking so fast even she seemed to be having trouble following. She turned to Danny.
"She said they can't do this. He has job."
"He's an illegal," Danny said.
"Bah," she said. "Half this neighborhood illegal. They deport everyone?" Danny shook his head. "Just the ones who annoy them. Tell her." Mrs. DiMassi held her hand out below Arabella's chin. "Dammi quel che tieni sotto il cappotto, o tuo marito passera'il prossimo Natale a Palermo."
Arabella said, "No, no, no."