The search for the bombers who destroyed downtown Ironton takes on a new direction.
“Boonton Police. Captain Dan Thomson.
“Captain, hello. Frank Nagler from Ironton. Have a question about your cadet Mahala Dixon. How’d she get approved with her juvie record?”
A long silence.
“A favor,” Thomson said.
Figures. “Her father?”
“Hey, Nagler, don’t get me wrong. Mahala has a mind for this. She’s sharp and inquisitive.”
Thomson sounded nervous, Nagler thought.
“But she also was caught selling drugs in school. How’d you make that go away?”
“Christ, Nagler, did someone a favor. Happens all the time.”
“Except this favor was one step in a series that led to a major crime and Mahala’s father in jail.”
“That’s not how…” Voice a cross between anger and panic. “Why are you asking about it now?”
What’s that phrase we always use? Nagler thought. Oh yeah. “Came up as part of a new larger investigation. Don’t you have any records on this?”
The receiver filled with a long breath and a soft, “Fuck. It was undercover,” Thomson said. “You know that. No one wrote anything down back then. If anybody did, Langdon wrote it down. Hell, it was his show.” Said with irritation. “Bernie Langdon and what’s his name, Montgomery. Okay, Carlton Dixon caught his daughter with a stash in her bedroom. She was working with Ricardo, so-and-so-Ethan Ricardo.
“The kid who died in the explosion. Working with Mahala. His records said he was twenty.”
“And you believe that? Come on, Nagler. Know how easy it is to get a forged passport, when your boss is the forger?
“His boss, Tallen, the restaurant owner.”
“No, some other guy.” A hesitation. “Some Irish punk.”
“McSalley,” Nagler said.
“Yeah, yeah,” Thomson said. “McSalley. Big guy, mustache, face looked like it met a wall or two close up.”
This is interesting. “So, is there a photo of this McSalley in the records you don’t have?” Nagler asked.
“What are you fishing for?”
“First time that name, McSalley, came up,” Nagler said. “Know what, heard there was a lot of cash in that warehouse when it was raided. Vanished, apparently.”
“Really? I heard the feds took it. Anything else, Nagler?”
“Naw, just pulling strings, trying to solve that bombing, you know.”
Thomson chuckled into the phone. “Good luck with that. Better you than me.”
“Yeah, well, thanks, Captain.” Nagler said. “Oh, last thing. We sent out bulletin on a ’89 white Ford van. Might be in your town.”
Nagler hung up the phone and rolled his eyes at Maria Ramirez.
“What was that?” she asked. “Isn’t that Irish hood named McCarroll?”
Nagler grinned. “Why, yes he is. And he’s a short, skinny beat-up looking guy. So who’s McSalley? Also interesting, that was the second time someone mentioned there was a lot of cash in that warehouse, the first being McCarroll. There’s no record of it. I wonder in whose basement wall it’s hiding?”
“Why that Boonton cop?”
He nodded to her computer. “Pull up that video Dawson made. Go to the old photo of the drug bust. There, upper right. That’s Boonton Sergeant Dan Thomson, BDT in Dancer’s notes.”
“What’s a Boonton cop doing on an Ironton bust?”
“Normally I’d think task force, undercover. But this time, I’m thinking of something else.” He grinned. “The Dragony, she be a many tentacled thing. Wonder how fast he calls Bernie Langdon?”
Ramirez laughed. “You’re a sick man, Nagler.”
“Let’s see if we can put Thomson, Langdon and even Montgomery together.”