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Furious Driving Part 2 - Detroit and New York

Max_Writer

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* * *

 

They all met at Union Station an hour later and boarded the train. They took various trains all the way to Detroit, having a sleeper car most of the night, and arriving in Detroit, Michigan, around noon on Wednesday, May 25, 1927. They got hotel rooms and freshened up, looked up Maggie Flynn in the Detroit telephone directory. There was only one listing and they were able to get her address, though she did not have a telephone. By 1 p.m., they were standing outside the Flynn house. It was a white, two-story frame house, neatly fenced, with shade trees and a separate garage opening onto the mews in the back. The bustle of the booming automotive city was muted there.

 

Their knock was answered by an older woman with short, dark hair in a conservative dress who seemed soft and frail.

 

“I wasna expectin’ guests,†she said, her voice an Irish brogue. “C’n I help ye?â€

 

“So, we talked to a Mister Putney,†Nurse Daughton said. “Rupert Putney. Do you know him?â€

 

“I canna say as I do.â€

 

“Oh. Do you know a … Rodney?â€

 

“No, I’m afraid not.â€

 

“Oh, that’s unfortunate.â€

 

“Would y’ like t’ come in f’r some tea and cakes?â€

 

“Uh … sure.â€

 

“We c’n sort all this out.â€

 

Maggie Flynn led them into a small parlor cluttered with various items on the walls and shelves.

 

“Let me get th’ tea,†she said. “I’ll be right back.â€

 

She left and they could hear her in the kitchen, putting the kettle on the stove. They looked around the room and saw a few photographs on the mantle as well as a pictures and crosses on the wall. She was obviously Roman Catholic. When they looked at the photos, they found one of Rodney Putney. It wasn’t the same photo but was definitely the same man as the one in the photo Rupert had shown them. Detective Sayers and Miss Fairfield noticed some bright china, a gleaming clock, and a new radio in the room, all very expensive items for such a modest home.

 

Maggie Flynn returned after five minutes with a tray holding teapot, cups, small cakes, sugar, and cream. She put it down on the low table and sat down in one of the comfortable chairs in the room. They all got cups of tea to their liking and some of them ate the little cakes. Miss Flynn put a lot of cream into her own tea.

 

“Now, wha’ c’n I be helpin’ ye young people with?†she asked.

 

“We’re looking for a man and he looks kind of like the one in that picture right there,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

She pointed to the photo of Raymond Putney on the mantle.

 

“Who is that?†she went on.

 

“Tha’s m’ son,†Miss Flynn said. “That’s Joe Flynn.â€

 

“Joe Flynn?â€

 

“Yes. Why’re ye lookin’ for this man?â€

 

“Because … you have a picture of him, don’t you?â€

 

Nurse Daughton had directed her question to Miss Fairfield. The photojournalist took out the photograph Rupert Putney had given to them.

 

“Aye, tha’s Joe,†Miss Flynn said. “Tha’s Joe. Yes.â€

 

“Okay, so we talked to a man,†Nurse Daughton said. “He said this was … uh …â€

 

“Rodney,†Miss Fairfield whispered to her.

 

“Rodney,†Nurse Daughton said. “Um … this is confusing.â€

 

“Aye,†Miss Flynn said again. “Are y’ lookin’ for the man? Is he in trouble?â€

 

“Uh … no … he’s not in trouble. He’s just sought by this man.â€

 

“Well, it sounds like he’s in trouble if the man’s seekin’ him.â€

 

“No. No.â€

 

“Well, why would he b’ seekin’ m’ son?â€

 

“Because apparently this man thinks that he is his brother.â€

 

“Now that sounds like a story.â€

 

“I’m so confused.â€

 

“What can you tell us about your son, Joe?†Miss Fairfield asked.

 

“Oh,†Miss Flynn said. “Not a whole lot. I dinna want t’ see him get in any trouble though.â€

 

“No, he’s not going to get in any trouble,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Are y’ sure?â€

 

“I’m positive.â€

 

“Because sometimes a man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do … and it might not always be within the law.â€

 

“Ma’am, I have a question,†Detective Sayers said.

 

“Aye?†she replied.

 

“Where is your son currently located?â€

 

“Well, I’m not sure. That’s a good question. I don’t know exactly where he is.â€

 

“When’s the last time you saw him?â€

 

“Oh, it’s been a year or so or more, perhaps.â€

 

“Here?â€

 

“Aye.â€

 

Both Detective Sayers and Miss Fairfield thought the woman was not being completely honest with them.

 

“It’s been some time since I’ve been in contact w’ him,†Miss Flynn went on. “He goes his own way. He’s a mechanic, y’ know.â€

 

She looked at Nurse Daughton who was just staring at her.

 

“More tea, dear?†she asked, smiling at the young woman.

 

Nurse Daughton was unsure what to say. She felt very confused.

 

“Was your son in the war, ma’am?†Miss Fairfield said.

 

“No,†Miss Flynn replied. “No. No, Joe wasn’t in th’ war. He didna get conscripted and I was verra happy f’r that as it coulda been very bad. He was workin’. He works very hard. He’s a very hard worker. He’s a good man. He doesna steal.â€

 

She gave the woman a look and took a sip of her tea, holding the cup with both hands. Miss Fairfield believed the woman was not sure if her son stole or not.

 

“Ma’am, do you know of or know anything about the Putney family?†Detective Sayers asked.

 

“I’ve never heard o’ them before in m’ life,†she said.

 

“Does he have any siblings?†Miss Fairfield asked.

 

“No, he’s an only child, bless his soul,†Miss Flynn said.

 

“Where’s the father?†Detective Sayers asked.

 

Miss Flynn simply took a sip of her tea and looked at the man.

 

“So … uh … where’s the father?†Nurse Daughton asked.

 

“Well … the father …†Miss Flynn said. “Is another story. But you’re not lookin’ f’r him.â€

 

She took another sip of her tea.

 

“No, but he might be important to know,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Like father, like son,†Detective Sayers said.

 

“Through this whole, messed-up situation where we’re all confused,†Nurse Daughton said. “Maybe knowing him will help us figure out …â€

 

Miss Flynn simply sipped at her tea.

 

“Ma’am, I would like, if you possibly can, to tell us anything you can about the father,†Detective Sayers said.

 

“Well, tha’s m’ business, isn’t it?†Miss Flynn said.

 

“I’ll pay you $100.â€

 

Miss Flynn looked at him.

 

“Well, I’ll have t’ have the money first,†she said.

 

He took out a wad of cash and counted out $100 in smaller bills. He put it on the table in front of him.

 

“I have the cash, right here,†he said.

 

She looked at the money and took another sip of her tea.

 

“Well,†she said. “Well sir, his father … is a man whose name I canna reveal, because he’s married. But I don’t know anything about any Putneys. I’ve nevva heard tha’ name. Tha’ tis not his name. Joe is the only son that we’ve had.â€

 

She glanced over at the new radio sitting on the nearby table.

 

“And his father still takes care o’ me,†she said. “Because he knows his secret is safe wi’ me.â€

 

She looked at the money and looked at Detective Sayers.

 

“Is there anything you’re leaving out?†he asked.

 

“His name,†she said. “Because I willna have you goin’ and botherin’ him because, as I said, he is married. He is from Detroit.â€

 

“If I throw in an extra twenty, will you tell us his name?†Detective Sayers said.

 

She shook her head. The two looked at each other for a moment and then he slid the money across the table at her. She daintily picked it up, folded it, and tucked it into her apron pocket. She picked her tea back up.

 

“I’m sorry I couldna help y’ about Joe,†she said, taking another sip.

 

Both Adler and Detective Sayers suspected she knew where her son really was.

 

“Joe?†Detective Sayers said.

 

“My son?†she replied. “Tha’s his name. I did already tell y’ that.â€

 

She turned to Nurse Daughton.

 

“Y’ brought him along f’r the muscle, I see,†she said.

 

They realized she had kept the boiling hot teapot within grabbing and flinging distance of her hand, which never strayed far from it.

 

“Ma’am, are you sure you don’t know where your son is?†Detective Sayers said.

 

“I dinna want t’ see my son in any trouble,†Miss Flynn said.

 

“He’s not getting in trouble!†Nurse Daughton said.

 

Miss Fairfield told her Rupert Putney was very sick and he was convinced Joe Flynn was his brother and she needed to know the connection between them. She also told her she wanted to find if there was no connection so she could tell his doctor and perhaps they could help him.

 

Miss Flynn’s eyes went soft and she looked over the four of them.

 

“All right, I’m gonna believe you,†she said quietly. “He is currently workin’ in New York City.â€

 

She gave them the name of the place he was working, Gasparini Garage, and the address in the city.

 

“But don’t see any harm t’ m’ son,†she said.

 

“No harm at all,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“He’s all I got,†Miss Flynn said. “I love him.â€

 

They finished their tea and cakes. Detective Sayers shook her hand and thanked her, as did the rest.

 

“May-may I have a picture?†Miss Fairfield asked.

 

“A picture?†Miss Flynn said.

 

“Yes.â€

 

“Of what?â€

 

“Of you and your home.â€

 

“Why?â€

 

Detective Sayers pulled Miss Fairfield aside and whispered to her to take a photo of the photograph of Joe Flynn on the mantle. Miss Flynn looked at him suspiciously and then refused to have her picture taken. When they left, Miss Fairfield took a photograph of the house.

 

They found a payphone and Miss Daughton telephoned Rupert Putney, reversing the charges. Rupert picked up fairly quickly. He seemed reasonably collected and practical.

 

“What have you found?†he asked.

 

“So, we found the house, we found the woman,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Good. Good.â€

 

“Nobody named Rodney though. But a Joe. And I saw his picture and it looks exactly like the picture that you gave us.â€

 

“Huh.â€

 

“Not sure what’s going on there.â€

 

“Well, pursue it. Find out … maybe he changed his name. He must have changed his name. That’s the only thing that makes sense.â€

 

“We have a lead where he may be so we will go there.â€

 

“Where?â€

 

“New York.â€

 

“New York? Very well, very well. I can wire you some more money if you’d like, to cover your expenses.â€

 

“Okay.â€

 

“Find out the cost and call again and I’ll wire you the money.â€

 

“I feel like we should check some town records before we leave because I don’t want to come all the way back to Detroit,†Miss Fairfield said to Nurse Daughton.

 

“We may need some tickets for New York later,†Miss Daughton said. “We’re going to do some looking around here.â€

 

“Very well, just telephone and I can wire you the money,†Rupert said. “Two-hundred should cover it. So, I’ll go ahead and wire the money to you.â€

 

They arranged for the money and she hung up.

 

Detective Sayers suggested they stay the night, saying he’d check the records at city hall to try to corroborate her story. He found the birth certificate for Joseph Flynn though none for Maggie Flynn. The certificate made Joe Flynn 33 years old. Miss Fairfield went to the offices of the New York Times to see if she could find anything out but she found nothing. When they returned, Nurse Daughton telephoned Rupert Putney again and asked Rodney’s age. All Rupert knew for sure was that his brother was older than he was. Otherwise he was unsure. Miss Fairfield asked where he had seen his brother a decade before and Rupert seemed a bit confused at the question.

 

“Well, he was at the house here,†he finally said. “Of course he was at the house. Of course. Of course. Of course he was at the house. Yes yes yes. Of course he was at the house. Is there anything else?â€

 

“I’ll call you back if we have any more questions,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“All right,†he replied. “Call me when you reach New York or if you find out anything new. Thank you.â€

 

“Ten years ago was the war,†Miss Fairfield said when Miss Daughton got off the telephone.

 

“So … he says that he was at the house and he’s in his 30s,†Nurse Daughton told them.

 

“But Rupert was in the War,†Miss Fairfield said. “Ten years ago.â€

 

“Uh-huh,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“So how would he have seen him at the house?â€

 

“There was nothing I could really say. I don’t know. This is weird. When I asked him, he was very confused.â€

 

Detective Sayers suggested they not telephone him again unless they needed to or at least stretch out the frequency.

 

They had dinner and boarded the train for New York. During the train ride, Adler hit it off with another passenger, a gentleman who had a nice conversation with him in the smoking car.

 

* * *

 

They arrived in New York City on Thursday, May 26, 1927, around 3 p.m.

 

If Detroit was the motor city, sleek and busy, New York City was the predator, stalking and always cash-hungry. Her citizens would do anything to turn a profit. The air was choked with money-making.

 

The address they visited was like a scene from moving pictures: the sky-scrapers were the back-drop and the street was filled with motors, mechanics in checked cloth caps and attractively smudged overalls, and gawking, hero-worshiping boys whose caps were too big for them. Miss Fairfield took several photographs.

 

They found Gaspirini’s Garage. It was a large, incredibly noisy shed filled with autos in various stages of dismantlement and repair, and the equipment necessary to work on them. Two hand-powered lifts, one with an auto atop it, were in the center of the shed, and lathes and work benches laden with equipment were around the walls. Oil slicks were everywhere. Block-and-tackle winches were poised over engines, and hooks hung from the ceiling. The place stank of paint, grease, gasoline, and hot metal.

 

A lot of men were in the garage. Half of them were working. The other half were unemployed idlers, relatives of the owner, looking to cadge work or cigarettes as the need arose. There was a small office in the back and a door that looked like it led out into a yard of some kind.

 

Nurse Daughton picked a random man.

 

“Do you know a Joe?†she asked. “Joe Flynn?â€

 

“Joe?†the man said. “Yeah. Joe Flynn. Yeah. He works here.â€

 

“Can you point me to the man?â€

 

“Ah …â€

 

The mechanic looked around the shop for what felt like a long time.

 

“I don’t see him lady, sorry,†the man finally said. “Maybe he’s on his lunch break. But sorry, you folks shouldn’t be in here. You should probably wait outside.â€

 

“Okay,†she said.

 

She led the others outside. A diner was across the street so they had an early dinner and coffee and watched the garage from their booth. Miss Fairfield took more photographs. About a half-hour later, as they were finishing their coffee, they saw a man saunter into the garage and recognized him as Joe Flynn. They left money on the table and headed across the street once more.

 

Nurse Daughton found a man near the door and asked to speak to Joe Flynn.

 

“Yeah yeah,†the man said, looking around. “There’s Joe. Go ahead.â€

 

They walked in and found Flynn bent over an automobile, working on an engine with a wrench. Miss Fairfield took a photograph, not using the flash powder due to all of the flammable substances in the place. He didn’t hear the click of the camera.

 

“Joe,†Nurse Daughton called.

 

“Yeah,†he said, turning around.

 

“I have some questions,†she said. “If that’s all right.â€

 

“Uh … yeah, okay,†he said, wiping his oily hands on a greasy rag and making them more uniformly filthy.

 

He looked them over carefully. He looked like his photograph with more oil. His teeth were even and white and red curly hair poked out from under his dirty cap.

 

“Yeah?†he said. “What’d y’ need?â€

 

He had a hint of an Irish brogue about his speech.

 

“Do you know a man named Rupert Putney?†she asked.

 

“Oh,†he said, his eyes suddenly going wide.

 

He turned and ran away.

 

“What?†she said. “What the Hell!?!â€

 

Both Adler and Detective Sayers leapt forward. Sayers managed to grab the man but he broke free of his grip and ran away across the floor.

 

They ran after the man who ran by an oil slick splattered on the floor of the garage. Detective Sayers slipped in the oil and crashed to the floor, slamming himself hard and hurting himself, his cane sliding away. The others ran by him, avoiding the oil on the floor.

 

“Stop him!†Detective Sayers yelled.

 

Though it looked like Flynn’s co-workers didn’t want to interfere, some of them managed to get in the way. One wheeled a trolley in front of the pursuers and another spilled a pan of ball bearings. Flynn ducked through without a problem, probably used to that kind of thing. Only Adler was able to keep up with the man, the women getting left behind and cornered. Flynn headed out the back door as Sayers got to his feet and gave chase once again and Miss Fairfield and Nurse Daughton extricated themselves from the intervening co-workers.

 

Flynn bounded over and through a pile of scrap. Adler followed him, keeping close behind while the Detective Sayers and Nurse Daughton fell amidst the scrap and hurt themselves. However, in getting over the pile, Flynn inadvertently shifted the hoist, which tilted. The hook swung crazily, right at Adler, who ducked under it. Flynn looked back and paused briefly.

 

“Look out!†he called.

 

Nurse Daughton stopped to perform first aid on the injured Sayers while Flynn leapt over the fence and disappeared into the factory behind the garage. Adler crashed into the fence but was slowed by having to climb over. Miss Fairfield also climbed over the fence and the two of them ran into the factory after him.

 

They ran into the factory and looked around the busy factory. Miss Fairfield saw Flynn heading across the floor, trying to stay behind several large machines. She pointed him out to Adler and they gave chase.

 

* * *

 

Detective Sayers and Nurse Daughton looked around but didn’t see any sign of the others. Nurse Daughton was pretty certain she’d seen them head around the side of the factory behind the garage and then go down the street. She told Sayers and the two of them went back into the garage to circle around to the street.

 

* * *

 

Miss Fairfield and Adler ran out of the side of the factory, onto the street. They spotted Joe Flynn running back towards the garage and through a small gate back into the yard behind the place. They chased him to a motorcycle sitting in the lot and he leapt onto it. It started on his first try and he put it in gear and started to head towards the garage. Adler leapt for the man but misjudged the distance and crashed to the ground far short of the motorcycle, hurting himself. He lay there in the dirt in pain.

 

Miss Fairfield drew the pistol from the holster under her jacket. She shot the back tire of the motorcycle and it blew out. People in the garage started shouting.

 

“Stop!†she yelled at Flynn.

 

He put his hands up in the air but then put one back down, flinching. He grabbed the handlebar and the motorcycle came to a stop.

 

“Turn off the motorcycle and get off of it!†she yelled, still aiming the gun at him.

 

Work in the garage had stopped and some people fled. At least two ran into the office at the back of the garage. Others backed away from the woman with the gun. Flynn turned the motorcycle off and carefully climbed off, both hands up, his back to the woman, still flinching. Behind Miss Fairfield, Adler got to his feet.

 

“Get on the ground!†Miss Fairfield yelled.

 

Flynn got down on the ground. She noticed some of the other mechanics had large wrenches or other items in their hands though they weren’t approaching her. They watched her carefully. She walked up to Flynn as Detective Sayers and Nurse Daughton ran into the front of the garage once again, obviously having heard the gunshot.

 

“What is going on?†Detective Sayers said.

 

“What the hell?†Nurse Daughton said. “This is not what we were doing! All we wanted was some questions from you sir, guy on the ground here! You didn’t need to run! You’re not in trouble! Ugh! You and your mother!â€

 

“There’s probably cops coming,†Detective Sayers said. “We need to question him and get out of here.â€

 

A man stuck his head out of the office.

 

“Yeah, there’s cops coming!†he called.

 

He ducked back in.

 

“Yeah, I bet there is!†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Adler, are you okay?†Detective Sayers said.

 

“Yeah,†Adler said.

 

The mechanics still stood around with makeshift weapons, watching the small group carefully.

 

“Yeah, keep up your peacock-ing!†Nurse Daughton mocked them. “Get back in your shop! We aren’t doing anything here! You need to go away.â€

 

“Let’s get him out of here,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

Detective Sayers looked around and found some wire. They could hear a siren in the distance. Adler helped Flynn up.

 

“No!†Nurse Daughton said when she saw the wire. “I don’t want to detain him. He’s not in trouble.â€

 

“We don’t want him getting away,†Detective Sayers said. “This is just for now. We’re not going to actually hurt him.â€

 

“Well, he has a gun pointed at him right now,†she said. “I don’t think he’s going to go anywhere.â€

 

Miss Fairfield still had her gun in her hand though she was not pointing it at the man. Adler walked Flynn towards the entrance of the place. Flynn looked over his shoulder at Miss Fairfield and then at the gun. He went quietly. Detective Sayers brought the wire anyway.

 

“We might want to make this a jog,†he said.

 

Adler moved more quickly and they got out to the street. The siren in the distance was getting closer. A taxicab was parked right up the street. The taxi driver was smoking a cigarette and leaning against the vehicle, looking towards the garage. They made their way to it as Miss Fairfield holstered her pistol once again.

 

“Yeah, whatta you need?†the taxi driver said to the group. “Whatta you want? What’s going on? Who’s doin’ all the shootin’ over there? Was that just a backfire? A backfire? What’s going on? I’m off duty. I’m off duty. I’m off duty.â€

 

Nurse Daughton slipped the man a twenty dollar bill.

 

“I think you’re not,†she said.

 

“Some guy’s tire decided to explode,†Detective Sayers said.

 

“All right,†the taxi driver said to Nurse Daughton. “Hop in. Who’s your friend? I’ll help rough him up for another twenty.â€

 

“No,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“That’s okay,†Adler said.

 

“Fair enough, Fair enough,†the taxi driver said. He put his hand to his ear. “I hear sirens in the distance. Oh dear.â€

 

“Don’t worry about that,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

The taxi driver threw his cigarette down, snuffed it out with his foot, and climbed very casually into the driver’s seat of his yellow checker cab. He fiddled and then climbed back out with the crank. He cranked the engine to life and climbed back into the cab as the others got in, Nurse Daughton in the passenger seat and the others in the back. He drove down the street.

 

“So, uh, Twenty,†he said.

 

“Yeah?†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Where we headin’?†he asked.

 

They looked at each other.

 

“You can discuss amongst yourselves,†he said with a grin.

 

“Where is your apartment?†Miss Fairfield asked Flynn.

 

“I just live in a flophouse, lady,†he replied.

 

They could hear the hint of his mother’s brogue in his voice.

 

“We just need somewhere to talk,†Nurse Daughton said. “You’re not in trouble. I swear to God.â€

 

“She shot at me with a gun!†Flynn said.

 

“You were running away! We need to ask you questions!â€

 

“Yeah, I was runnin’ away! I don’t wanna go to jail!â€

 

“You’re not going to jail for this … Rupert!â€

 

“Well this guy’s obviously a cop!â€

 

He pointed to Detective Sayers.

 

“We promise to let you go when you answer our questions,†Detective Sayers said.

 

“He’s good at finding things and we found you, didn’t we?†Nurse Daughton said. “But you ain’t in trouble.â€

 

“Putney sent you, right?†Flynn said. “For the rocks and potatoes.â€

 

“He thinks you’re his brother.â€

 

“What?â€

 

“Yeah.â€

 

“Old Man Putney thinks I’m his brother?â€

 

“Old Man? No! We’re talking about his son.â€

 

“Rupert?â€

 

“Rupert. Yeah. I said Rupert Putney. I don’t care about this Old Man Putney.â€

 

“Yeah, your twenty’s gonna last you a while if you just want to drive around,†the taxi driver said. “I can show you the sites.â€

 

“That’s just fine,†Nurse Daughton said. “I’m just fine with that. Keep going, sir.â€

 

“We’ll go out. I’ll show you the Statue of Liberty. I gotta a bridge too, that I hear’s for sale. I can show you that.â€

 

“Just keep driving, sir.â€

 

“All right.â€

 

“We’ll look around.â€

 

“All right, Twenty. Whatever you want.â€

 

He kept driving.

 

“Why does Rupert Putney think you’re his brother … uh …?†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Rodney,†Adler said.

 

“Rodney,†she said.

 

“All right, look,†he said. “I was employed by the Putney’s before the War. I dunno why he thinks I’m his brother. I’m not. I’m not his brother.â€

 

“But you knew him,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Well … I knew Amy better than I knew Rupert. We were … we were together. Well … we couldn’t be together. We were lovers.â€

 

He grinned sadly.

 

“She was … uh … she was wonderful, but she didn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground,†he said. “She persisted in playin’ the victim. I offered, many a time, to take her away from the house and she said she had to keep her father from destroying Rupert. She said that she could never leave her brother. Even death would not part them.â€

 

“Destroying Rupert?†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Aw, Putney’s evil. Oh, he’s an evil old man.â€

 

“What’s he doing to Rupert?â€

 

“Degrades him. Tells him he’s worthless. When you hear that every day, ever since you been a child … how it makes you feel. Just breaking him down. Destroying him. Saying he’s not worth the family fortune. Saying he’s not worth anything. Well, she said even death wouldn’t part her and Rupert. She doted on him. Then she stayed until it was too late. She got pregnant. And, uh, Doctor Thane … you know him? You met him?â€

 

“Yes.â€

 

“Slimy bastard.â€

 

“Seen him.â€

 

“Gave her an abortion. I disapproved of that decision but I did not interfere. She had a right to do what she wanted. So, I left. And later … she died. I feel terrible about that. Putney - Old Putney, he must’ve made a pact with the devil or somethin’. He’s evil.â€

 

“He didn’t look too friendly.â€

 

“He’s just the worst. But … um … he thought I was his brother?â€

 

“Something like that. He really wanted you back there for some reason.â€

 

“Joe Putney? That doesn’t make sense.â€

 

“He called you Rodney.â€

 

“Rodney? No no.â€

 

“Whoever Rodney was.â€

 

“Well, no. There was a Rodney. It was a pet monkey or something. Rupert kept it in his room in a shiny box in his room. I never got a chance to see it properly and nobody in the family actually talked about him, except Rupert told me about him. One night, during the War, when Rupert was gone to the War, Amy came to me crying and said that Rodney had escaped from his cage. And we searched. Never found it. I felt sorry for Rupert’s pet because he probably got outside and it was in winter. Monkeys need warmth, right? They die in the cold, right? I took some things when I left, that Old Man Putney owed me. So … if you want, I can go back and try to sort things out with … with Rupert.â€

 

“Do you want to? I’m just really confused. If you feel like you should. I’m just confused with what to do now because you are not Rodney Putney.â€

 

“No. I’m not Rodney.â€

 

“If you choose to go, that’s of your own choice,†Detective Sayers said. “We aren’t forcing you to do anything.â€

 

“You said you were hired by these Putney’s before?†Nurse Daughton said. “For what?â€

 

“Yeah, I worked on their cars,†Flynn replied.

 

“Oh.â€

 

“They love cars. Oh my God, they love cars so much.â€

 

“That makes sense.â€

 

“I was a mechanic and I worked on the Bugatti and on Amy’s car. And that racecar of his. I’m supposed to be working the Indianapolis 500 in a few days. Monday. Monday’s the race. I’m supposed to be working there.â€

 

“What about the Bugatti’s steering trouble?†Miss Fairfield asked.

 

“The Bugatti’s steering trouble?†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“What?†Flynn said. “No. It shouldn’t have. Well, I left a few months ago.â€

 

“Well, that’s how we met this guy.â€

 

“What?â€

 

“He almost ran into us because his braking and his steering went out.â€

 

“Well, they must have a fool for a mechanic then. Did they examine it? Did y’ see if it’d been tampered with or anything?â€

 

“It was too bad to even look.â€

 

“I could see his father trying to do something like that. The man’s a monster.â€

 

“He looks like a monster.â€

 

“He acts worse than he looks!â€

 

“Well, we can take you there if you really want. See what you can do. Because I really don’t know what to do at this point. He really wants you back for whatever reason.â€

 

“Well, I’m willin’ to go. Rupert was a good man, a good man. He loved his sister so much. She loved him too. That’s kind of all they had, was each other, in that house. That crazy old man. He’s a monster, as I’ve said. I’m willing to go back with you if you want. It’s up to you.â€

 

“Maybe you should. I really don’t know what to do at this point. He wanted you back. Maybe that’ll help. He seems sick.â€

 

“He’s sick?â€

 

“Sick.â€

 

“He … he was off his head after the War.â€

 

“And he still is. I’m not sure what that doctor’s doing, but he had signs of withdrawal? From like a drug?â€

 

“Thane! Thane was treatin’ him with morphine.â€

 

“Oh.â€

 

“He got addicted to morphine during the War, after his crash, so Thane administers it to him, that bastard.â€

 

“Do you know who your father is?†Detective Sayers asked.

 

“Ma would never tell me,†Flynn replied.

 

“She wouldn’t tell us either,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Some married man in Detroit who has money,†Flynn said. “That’s all I know. He keeps her comfortable.â€

 

“Is it a married man in Detroit?â€

 

“Aye. Yeah.â€

 

“A rich, married man in Detroit,†Detective Sayers said.

 

“No’ rich,†Flynn said. “But he’s wealthy enough.â€

 

“Yeah, over there is the Statue of Liberty,†the taxi driver suddenly said. “Ain’t she pretty?â€

 

Miss Fairfield asked him to pull the taxicab over so she could get a photograph. He looked at Nurse Daughton, who nodded.

 

“Sure!†he said. “I’ll do anything you want, Twenty.â€

 

He pulled over in a place close to the water and smoked a cigarette while Miss Fairfield took several photographs of the island and the great statue.

 

“You can get a ferry over there, too,†he said. “You can actually get up in her head or something. I don’t know.â€

 

Miss Fairfield took three photographs of the statue. They got back in the taxicab after that. Joe Flynn told them where he lived and they went to the men’s hotel near the garage. He had a tiny room with a bed and little else. While he was packing up a small suitcase, Nurse Daughton offered him a $20 bill not to tell anyone what had happened with the gun. He took it but then handed it back.

 

“I won’t tell anybody,†he said. “You can keep your money, lady.â€

 

He seemed very lost in thought.

 

“Whatcha thinking about?†she asked.

 

“Amy,†he said.

 

“Yeah?â€

 

“Yeah.â€

 

He went back to packing. Adler looked out the window. Detective Sayers spotted a newspaper clipping on the side table and picked it up. It was torn from a recent paper and concerned Rupert Putney’s withdrawal from the upcoming Indianapolis 500 race meeting. Miss Fairfield spotted a well-thumbed newspaper that looked like the Providence Journal. It was folded to a report of Amy Putney’s funeral in the society column two months before. An old letter, unposted and still in the envelope, fell from the paper as she picked it up. Nurse Daughton picked up the envelope and looked at the letter. It read:

 


Dear Amy,

 

You were always wrong headed about these things. I guess you think it’s right after
what your father done to you. I still can’t believe that you are going to go through
with it. If my ma had done that, I wouldn’t be here.

 

I pawned the stones so I can’t give them back. Sorry.

 

God bless,
Joe

 


Miss Fairfield realized stones were probably diamonds or valuable gemstones. She remembered him talking about potatoes before and knew that was slang for money. She tucked the letter back into the newspaper and tucked it back where they’d found it.

 

They discussed how to get five train tickets from Rupert Putney. They took their cab to a nearby telephone booth and tried to figure out what to do. They talked about not calling him and about getting money for four tickets from him and use their own money to pay for Flynn’s ticket. Detective Sayers told Nurse Daughton to tell him they’d explain when they got there.

 

She made the telephone call, reversing the charges. The phone rang for a long time and was finally picked up.

 

“H-Hello!†the voice of Rupert Putney said.

 

“Hi,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

“Yes? Who is this?â€

 

“Miss Daughton?â€

 

“Daughton.â€

 

“Daughton?â€

 

“Daughton.â€

 

“Who’s Daughton? Wait, are you with The Show?â€

 

“No.â€

 

“Oh. Oh. The Show’s great. I’m really enjoying The Show. What do you need? Who are you? What?â€

 

“Um … you … I … um … I … you had a job for the four of us.â€

 

“A job? A job?â€

 

“To find your brother?â€

 

“Well, you know, father’s sick as a dog. Chloe … Chloe won’t stop drinking! We just sit around and watch The Show. It comes every night. You should come over and see it! Have you … once you’ve found my … you’re looking for my brother, right? You’re looking for my brother?â€

 

“That’s what we were talking about …â€

 

“Yes! Yes! Come see The Show. It’s The Show! It’s amazing!â€

 

“What show is this?â€

 

“It’s every night.â€

 

“What show?â€

 

“Just come by. Come by tonight?

 

“What show?â€

 

“Tomorrow night?â€

 

“What show?â€

 

“How about the next night?â€

 

“What show are you talking about!?!â€

 

“Just come by as soon as you get here. Tonight. Tomorrow night. The night that you come. Just come by for the … and yeah … exactly.â€

 

She hung up the telephone and went to the others.

 

“He’s obviously not in his right mind,†she told them. “I don’t even think he remembers why we’re here. He’s talking about some show. I don’t know what show it is.â€

 

“Do y’ think seeing me would help him?†Joe Flynn asked.

 

“I don’t know. He seemed competent the last couple of days we talked to him. This time he just doesn’t seem right.â€

 

“At least maybe you can help us convince him he needs help besides Dr. Thane,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

“I’ll definitely come,†Flynn said. “What was he talkin’ about. You said the show?â€

 

“The Show,†Nurse Daughton said. “He wanted us to see The Show. It’s on every night.â€

 

“Was he talking about the Indianapolis 500?†Flynn said. “Every night?â€

 

“Every night. The show’s on every night. Chloe won’t stop drinking.â€

 

Flynn seemed as confused as she was.

 

“Gold digger,†he muttered.

 

“Something about his dad watching the show,†Nurse Daughton said.

 

They pooled their money to get enough together for train tickets. Adler had plenty of cash on hand so he helped to pay as well, covering Flynn. Unfortunately, the trains were filled and they had trouble getting tickets. The earliest they could return to Providence would be by late the next afternoon. There had been a train wreck or something.

 

Detective Sayers gave the cab driver another twenty-dollar bill, telling him that they were never there and he had never helped them.

 

“Who was never there?†the cabbie asked knowingly.

 

Nurse Daughton winked at the man.

 

“You call me next time you’re in town and need someone to drive you around,†the taxi driver said to the pretty nurse.

 

“Gotcha,†she said.

 

“All right, Twenty,†he replied before dropping them off at the train station.

 

* * *


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