Mermaid, Chapter 30, Part 3

Part three of chapter 30. A mysterious spy replaces a disreputable character and Tim has a very interesting week of interviews.

 

 

Spy

Thursday 2/4, 1932

I looked down on the sleeping man in the bed. I was about to ruin his life and he would never know why. He had been one of my better ‘clients,’ but I needed a link to certain reporter and he was in the right place to provide it. So I would take his shape and provide an interview with the reporter. Since Mr. Doolan, my ‘client’ was as notorious for not talking to reporters as he was for sleeping around, he was a good choice for this. I don’t think that Jim realized just how much he talked when he shared my bed, but then I had developed those skills some time ago, as well as my shape changing skills. I sighed a bit and went into my Change.

I wasn’t a doppelganger and I couldn’t take on the entire personality of somebody. Instead, after a brief time in my shiny green skin, I took on Jim’s seeming. I could ape his mannerisms well enough for the task at hand and use my other abilities to get what I needed from young Mr. Thomas. Also poor Jim didn’t know that his long suffering secretary was perfectly willing to set him up for an appointment when I gave her a small bribe. For that matter, Sherry would be pleased when Jim got his and liked Mr. Thomas already, just from the young man’s pluck and general modesty. The story of Tim and his run in with Mr. Day was paying dividends up and down the Street even if he didn’t know it. I was more concerned with the fact that he had been talking to another young rising star, the man’s family and had been up at the Olympics when certain events happened and knew precisely what had happened. The Masters had sent a rather urgent message when they received a telegram from the Director and then hadn’t been able to contact him. This was a rush job and I figured that since Mr. Thomas was seemingly not fae and had been in the middle of things, he would be a good source for what I needed. Ruining Jim was a bonus.

With that in mind, I dressed in his clothes, walked out of the apartment I used to receive ‘clients’ and headed for the subway. Jim liked to think that he was being discreet by not using his driver for his trysts, but I doubt that he was fooling anybody. As far as I knew, just about every PI in town had him in their sights waiting for Mrs. Doolan to give them a call and pull Jim out of whatever he had gotten himself into. I dropped into Jim’s usual place for breakfast and then went to his office and did more work than he usually did. It was sort of sad that I could do his job better than he could. As noon approached, Sherry buzzed Jim to remind him of his luncheon appointment and I made sure that Jim was late. The young man was waiting with a very nice car and after opening the door for me, started it up and said, “Mr. Doolan, since you don’t like being seen talking to people like me, I thought I would take us to a place that is a bit out of the way and rather discreet. You’ll like the food, trust me.”

“I hadn’t expected to be out of the office that long.”

“If you have another place, I willing to go there, but everybody I’ve talked to says that you like things rather off the cuff and private when you talk to people like me. So I thought that I would take you to a place where we can be that.”

“Ok, fine. You will give me approval over the interview.”

“I told your secretary that. I’m not looking for dirt here, but just some honest opinions on the state of the market by insiders. I’ve already talked to some others and I will give you the list of the people I’ve already talked to. I’ve already told you about Noro White. By the way, I’ve already taken Mr. Rockefellor to this place and he liked it. It’s not fancy, but the food is worth it. If you read our restaurant column, this is one of his places that he makes you find.”

He was intriguing me. He was young, but very professional and playing Jim like a fish, with just a bit of name dropping. The car was a nice touch. I wondered who he borrowed it from. We talked business until we reached a street east of Coney Island and a little place called Bennies. The waitress waved Tim over to a small table in the rather crowded place and we walked over. Tim didn’t seem to notice anything unusual, but the place seemed to have a fair amount of fae in it. As well as some rather notorious mob types. The waitress came over and handed me a menu and said to Tim, “Your usual?”

“Yes, Sissy. Mr. Doolan, the veal is very good and the meat pies are great.”
“I’ll have the veal.”

“Very good.”
She left and Tim said, “How about we get this out of the way? I gave your secretary the questions I wanted to ask, so there shouldn’t be any issues there.”

He asked his fairly straightforward questions and I gave him a lot more than he asked for. Repeatedly he said, “Mr. Doolan, are sure you want to tell me these things? I thought I made it clear that I wasn’t looking into your private life or any ‘dirt’ at all.”

Lunch came and it was as good as he said it was. The interview went on and when he asked his last question and I had done a very good job of ruining what little was left of Jim’s reputation on the street he said, “Mr. Doolan, I will type this up and send it to your office for approval.”
“Print it all, the clowns deserve it.”
“Mr. Doolan, this could hurt you and that was not my intention for this interview. I will have my editor and senior reporter go over this before we release any of it. I would rather have you as somebody that I can correspond with than a target of hit pieces. I think that I should get you back to your office.”

We went outside and he turned around. “I almost forgot. I’ll be right back.”

He went back inside as I got into the car and seemed to walk over to one of the mob types and the mob type handed him a box. He came back out and handed me the box. “The word I got was that you like a particular Irish whisky that is a bit hard to get these days. So I thought that I would see if a friend had any and he did.”

Inside the box was a bottle of aged single malt whisky in Jim’s favorite brand. Considering how Jim had been complaining about being unable to make a conection for his favorite whisky recently, Tim must have very good friends.Very good friends indeed.

Since we were alone and in the car, it was time for me to get the answers to my questions so I applied a light compulsion and asked. The young man told me what had happened to the Colonel and his people, none of which was good news for the Masters and when it was over, I told Tim to forget that I had asked anything about what had happened upstate. Tim dropped me off at Jim’s office and I puttered around for a bit and then returned with the bottle to the apartment to wake poor Jim up. I released my Change and dressed before fuzzing Jim up and as he woke up, saying “Jim dear, it’s time you woke up. I think that your wife had plans this evening.”

He groaned and blinked at me. “What time is it?”

“Almost seven. You had a busy day today talking with that reporter, don’t you remember?”

“I don’t talk with those snoops.”
“Sherry set it up. You agreed since he was going to be very careful about what you would say. He even gave you a very nice present. You brought it with you.”

I handed him the box. “Now dear, I will see you tomorrow afternoon. You need to get home.”

I chivied him out of the apartment and on his way. Then I packed what clothes and a few other things I had in the aparment into a small suitcase from the closet, went downstairs, handed the keys to the manager and left. Nothing in the apartment was mine in any case and when I handed the keys in, that was the signal to clear the place out. I wouldn’t be using it again in any case. I was not the only lady in my profession to take measures to ensure that clients could not hurt me or turn me in to the police.

Once I left the building, I went to my real apartment and typed up the information that Tim had given me. Not that my superiors would like what they got, but that was their problem. My goal was keeping my family over there safe from the masters friends until I could get them and the rest of the community here, building a nice bank account and looking for Mr. Right to bond with. Being a bad girl didn’t help, but it paid the bills and let me live a very nice lifestyle. Now why couldn’t somebody like Tim be fae and unbonded. He had been young, but there was so much potential there. I knew some nice girls that were not in the profession and might want an up and coming reporter for a husband. I thought I would do some more looking into young Tim. For reasons.

Tim.

Sunday 1/31 – Friday 2/5, 1932

This week was going to be a bit fun and interesting. When Vic, Suzy and I left for New York Sunday night, we went over what had gone on and Vic said, “I want you to get some more practice with interviews. Setting them up and dealing with people that may not want to talk to reporters in general. You know some people already like John Rockefeller and Lou. I’ll give you some more including some that won’t even talk to me.”

“I can offer to take them to lunch, at Bennie’s” I said.

“That might actually work. Just mention that it’s one of Jorge’s hidden places.”
“I can also get very good booze.”

“Don’t wave that around, but a bottle as a surprise may do wonders. When you talk to the secretaries, ask what the people like.”

We made up a list with Vic providing contacts and the secretary’s names. I said to Suzy, “When you get back to the yard, ask Kay to set aside four bags of cookies for me. I think that four should get me started. I’ll have somebody pick them up.”

“Now you are thinking,” Vic said. “Make it eight bags though.”

“Who on this list is going to be the worst?”

‘I would say Noro, but he’s family and you know him already. It will be harder for him to play games about not speaking to you when you’ve done work for him. You also have his interview already, thanks to you setting it up as a practice interview with him. The next might be Jim Doolan. Somebody from the Times wrote a hit piece about him and he was rather upset about it.”

“How should I approach it.”
“A lot like I did the Colonel. Call his secretary and let her know that you want an interview and why. Keep the questions related to business issues and give him control. Surprise him with a nice bottle. He drinks and likes the good stuff.”

“I’ll find out what he likes and see if Tony can get it.”

“That will be interesting if Jim picks up on just what is going on there. Just being able to get some bottles says a lot about how connected you are.”

When the train got into the station Monday morning, Mike was there to take Suzy to the yard and Vic and I went down to the paper to turn in the end of the Colonel story, with pictures and I went down to my desk to start making calls. Most of the appointments were easy even for the people that I didn’t know and I started to make a list of ladies to send cookies to. Mr. Rockefeller must have heard about my car as he wanted to go down to Bennies on Wednesday, in my car. That reminded me and I called down to Bennies to make sure that Sissy had a table for me all week. Of course Mr. Rockefeller also wanted meet Suzy and that was a bit problematic. Worse, Mrs. Rockefeller wanted to meet Suzy as well.

I was going to have to deal with that a bit discreetly, but I suspected that the Rockefellers wouldn’t have tail issues. After all, they had a house on the gold coast too.

That left Mr. Doolan. I called his secretary, Sherry Dickinson and said, Miss Dickenson, I’m Tim Thomas, a reporter from the World and I would like to talk to Mr, Doolan about the market and the prospects for the future.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Thomas, but Mr. Doolan doesn’t talk to members of the press.”

“I’ve been been told that. I’m hoping that I can demonstrate that not all if us are like Mr. Dillons at the Times.”

“You seem awfully young to be a reporter, how do we know that you will handle this correctly?”

“I will send a packet by messenger with some of my work and references. I also have a surprise as a thank you for your time. You can go over it and make some calls to check me out. I wouldn’t expect Mr. Doolan to trust me on the basis of a phone call. I’ll call back tomorrow morning and check in with you.”

I had had the packets made up and put in small boxes. I was going to add the cookies when they arrived this afternoon. So far, nobody else had insisted on references, but Vic and I had decided to send them to everybody in any case. The ladies would like the cookies anyway. I finished the rest of the appointments through next week and then went over to the subway to go to my first luncheon, Lou. I was taking Lou first to get him out of the way and keep out of Josh’s way when he came down later in the week. I was doing Josh on Friday when he came down from the Games. Lou also wanted to know what happened first hand up there, with all the fun and games, so he was willing to take me to lunch with Bill and George after the interview was over so that I could tell them everything.

I walked into the building and up to the security office and it wasn’t until I was in the doorway that I remembered that I was wearing my gun. I had been wearing it almost constantly up there at Lake Placid with the Colonel’s people around. Suzy would have given me hell if I hadn’t and Boris had insisted that I wear it. So when I checked in at the security office, I took off my jacket, unstrapped the holster and handed the gun to John at the desk. “I think that I will leave this here for lunch.”
John looked at it and said, “Lou wouldn’t have had a problem with you carrying. Rather the opposite since that incident with the zombies.”
“I know, but there is always the chance that somebody will raise a fuss and I’m trying to keep these interviews more or less quiet and casual. Having a scene in the middle of the first one wouldn’t look good.”
He pulled the pistol out of the holster to make sure that it was safe and asked, “Was this a present as a thanks for rescuing Dori?”

“Yes, the family insists that I have it and carry all the time. All the family.”

“Well after the interview and lunch, could you spare some time with George, me and some select others. We’ve heard the buzz about ‘LT’ customs for years, but getting one to look at has been a bit difficult.”
“I don’t have an in for pistols, you’ll have to talk to Larry about that.”

“We know and the ‘T’ part of the operation is going to be rather busy for some time You need to get up to the boss on time so get going.”

I went up to the interview with Lou and as we headed to lunch, I asked Lou, “Do you know how Mr. Rockefeller is with fae issues?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Mrs. Rockefeller wants to meet Suzy.”

“So that is what he was asking for the interview. Suzy is fairly good with her shields, so I wouldn’t worry about it. You are taking them to Bennies, right?”

“Yes, in my car, which I thought was a bit strange.”
“Not really. They probably want a nice more or less private lunch out of the public eye and you and your car aren’t going to attract the wrong kind of attention. I wouldn’t worry about the tail issues where they are concerned. You can check with Stella and Ella too about that. They are in the public eye frequently as well.”

“Good point. How did Noro’s wife handle the tail issues?”

“By ignoring them for the most part. You have to understand that Liltra was a remarkable woman and had a large degree of empathy. So if there was somebody that she could help, she did. She also never wanted any credit for what she did. There are a couple of children’s hospitals here in the city for instance that should have her name on them and don’t because she insisted that she would not take the credit for getting the money raised. They did manage to have very nice portraits of her done for the lobby.”
Lunch was a riot as I went over the events of the past weekend and how the Colonel met his end. George asked, “How did those golems work out?”

“I don’t know, the ship is supposed to be dealt with today. Noro is there with Steve, Mike and Sal, so they are cooking something up.”

“We’ll get the word from Mike and Sal before we will from Noro,” Lou said. “He’s terrible about reporting what he did. I’ll call Altris tomorrow and find out what happened.”

They all wanted to know how the gags at the party worked and I told them. Apparently they all had had run ins with Jacob in the past. As lunch wound down, I said, “Vic threatened to use Jacob as a punishment but it was too late as I had already interviewed him.”
“Well that will be good practice for dealing with bad characters,” Lou said. “Is Noro on the list of people you are talking to in this series of yours. Watch out, because he will want to play games with you.”
“I already have his. I used the questions I asked him when I set the other interviews up.”
“Make sure that you have a copy of your notes and hide it. Vic could ‘lose’ them and Noro will inist that you do another interview and give you the run around.”

“I made copies of everything and put them in my file at work. Millie said that she wouldn’t even let Roger in my drawer without my say so, so they are probably safe from Vic. I figured that if Bill Elliott would try something, Noro almost certainly would if he can get away with it.”

“That’s the tack you need to take with him,” George said. “Especially after you got him off the bounty list and didn’t collect when you could have.”

“It turns out that I collected on the next guy and didn’t even know it. The Colonel was the next guy on the list and I had the first picture of him for a paper, so I collect. I even turned the picture in. Of course I also took the last picture anybody will be taking of the Colonel.”

“That might attract attention that you don’t want,” Lou said. “Keep an eye out for eyes. The Director, the Manager and the Colonel are gone, but if I were the Masters, I would have wanted somebody watching my people over here discreetly in case something went wrong and you were right there in the middle of it all. Somebody might try to compel or take you someplace for a talk.”

“What should I do if they try to compel me?”

“I would go along as if the compulsions worked unless things turn nasty. But don’t reveal anything and let Helmut’s people know right away. Let us know too, so that George can put the word out to the people on the Cape.”
“I’ll tell Tim at the navy yard too if somebody tries something. What if they take me like the sharks did.”

“If they don’t think that you are fae, you have all sorts of advantages,” George said. “You’ve been taking Bill’s training, so that will help and you’ve had tails before, so you know what to look out for. Frankly taking you would be rather stupid here in Manhattan as all your friends would be sending messages, taking pictures and tailing whoever tried it. Still it pays to be alert and I, for one, am happier that you are carrying now.”
As we headed back to the office I asked Lou, “How well do you know Jim Doolan?”
“Fairly well. We aren’t friends. What do you want to know?”

“His favorite bottle. I want to surprise him, if he gives me an interview.”
“That’s a good thought. He’s rather notorious for not talking to reporters since that hit piece done on him. Of course a large part of that was his own fault as he was hitting on John Dillon’s wife and John told him to cut it out. Jim didn’t and John pulled out all the stops.”

“I’m going to keep personal issues out of these interviews. This is strictly for the business section and at this point I can’t afford to hurt people that I might need to talk to in the future.”

“Jim likes Irish whisky. I would ask his secretary for his favorite brand.”
“That will work and I can talk to Tony about finding a bottle.”
Lou went back to his office and I went down to the security office and spent an hour or so at the small range in the back with the pistol. George and the rest showed me some things and were impressed by how the pistol fired. When we were wrapping up, John said, “I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surpised, but Tom and Larry don’t make pretty toys in spite of how most of their pieces end up. I want to see more of their work but this is a piece made by somebody who expects it to be run. The extended trigger guard was for your Change, wasn’t it?”

“Tom did the piece that way. Al, Mike, Nera and Chrissie all have pistols he did for them the same way.”

“Well, take good care of that piece and it will take good care of you.”

We talked for a bit and then I went back to the paper where the cookies had arrived along with an extra couple of extra bags that I handed around. When I passed Roger’s office he popped out and said, “Tim! Now that you have a desk bring Suzy in and introduce her around.”
“Do you think I should?”

“Definitely. A bunch of people are curious about her already.”
“What about her issues?”

“I don’t think that people will pay too much attention. At least not those who don’t already have an inkling about certain things.”

“Ok, I’ll plan to bring her by Wednedsay morning. The Rockefellers want me to take them to lunch, with Suzy, at Bennies .”

“That will be fun. Make sure you don’t get distracted and forget to get the interview. John is almost as good as Noro in playing those games. You won’t be the first junior reporter that came back with a lot of social stuff and nothing about business. Presumably you have Noro already.”
“Yes. I also have an interview with Jacob, which was not fun. Vic threatened me with having to do that , but I already had.”

“I feel your pain. I’ve taken an interview with him and not fun describes him perfectly. Was the gag that Tom pulled off as fun as the parade?”

“Better. I’ll get together with you and John tomorrow and go over everything.”

“I expect that Suzy is waiting for you, so, you better get over to the navy yard.”

“I’m going to type up the interview with Lou and get going.”

“Well, why don’t we run Noro as first one tomorrow. I think we’ll run these on Tuesdays as a feature for a while.”

“We won’t mention Bennies by name.”

Roger laughed, “No way, it’s getting bad enough already.”

I typed up the interview with Lou and handed it over to Vic so he could take a look at it. As I did, he said, “We’re off to a good start. Roger said that he’s running your interview with Noro tomorrow. He probably wants it in print while Noro is playing his games and distracted. I’m going to be going back up there later in the week and stalking him.”

I had this strange feeling that Vic wasn’t so much stalking Noro as plotting with him. At least with the interview in print, he couldn’t play games with it. I went down and hailed a cab as I was running a bit late and when I talked with Stella ealier, she had invited me to dinner. I had a quick ride over to the navy yard, paid the cabbie and went through the gate and over to Stella’s office where Suzy, Mike and my sister were waiting. Mike saw me come in and said, “Kathy’s coming too. We’re going over to the officer’s club tonight so that you can fill in everybody on all the things that happened up there.”
The car was a bit crowded, but the trip was short and I had a fun dinner with Suzy and my sister with the rest and Suzy and I went over all the fun and games with the Colonel and his people. When we finished, Captain Farr said, “Those three boys live up to their reputations. Gretchen and Hilda have been telling stories, haven’t they, Ella. But the Puppet was new.”
“They saw the one that was made for Tom and thought that it would be a good thing to make a Bruce Puppet to fool the Colonel,” I said. “Doug did too and made it up for the boys. They were underneath the bridge in the water during the fight and waiting for the appropriate moment for the Colonel to chase after Tom, which was just stupid on the Colonel’s part as Tom had the gun he used to shoot his brother with him.”
After dinner, Suzy insisted that we go for a Swim out into the harbor and afterwards I asked Stella and Mike, who waited to take me over to my place, “Mr. Rockefeller wants to meet Suzy. How much of problem do you think tail issues will be?”

“Not very,” Stella said. What day do they want to go to lunch?”

“Wednesday. Roger wants me to bring Suzy into the office.”

“Well we don’t have any dockings for the rest of the week, so that shouldn’t be a problem, Mike said. “Frankly I wish we did, so that the girls would have more work.”
“What happened?”
“The girls pulled a bit of a Suzy for Larry’s kids last week. There was a ship blocking the view from Manhattan, but they really shouldn’t be doing that. Also the dock over there at the market gets crowded about lunchtime and that might attract attention.”

“Mike, it’s just the boys over there, talking to the girls,” Stella said. “Once the girls started to show up, it was going to happen. So far they all have been fairly discreet about the whole thing. I imagine that things will get more fun after dark there when it gets warmer a couple of months from now. But so far they have been fairly careful about dancing when people can see them from across the harbor. I’ll talk to Nera and see if we can set up some regular dancing and parties. John will like that.”

“Who’s John?”

“Recruitment,” Mike said. “He’s sort of encouraged the girls to make an occasional splash. Not that they need much encouragement. Chrissie being in the papers didn’t help.”

I said good bye and they dropped me off. I undressed and went to bed. I suspected that Mike was fighting a lost cause.

The next morning the people in my building wanted to know what happened upstate and all about the Colonel and why he had taken Chrissie and the other ladies. I gave them the version for public consumption, werewolves removed and said, “I was just up there getting interviews with my senior reporter who I was backing up. He arranged the interview with the Colonel and didn’t tell me about it until it he was on his way.”

They all were glad that Chrissie and the other ladies were ok and that the Academy was shut down. I told them to let me know about anymore places like that and then I had to get to work. Since I was going to need the car later, I parked in the bureau and checked in. Then it was over to the paper and the phone. I called Sherry at Jim Doolan’s office and she said, “Hello, Mr. Thomas, or can I call you Tim?”
“Tim is fine.”
“Thank you for the wonderful cookies. How did you find them?”

“The lady that does those had her daughter taken by those sick kidnappers who fed the kids to sharks. The detective and I found out about her cookies when we talked with her.”
“Well I will be contacting her when we need to entertain clients. Apparently she sells out very quickly every morning. We went over your references and the stories you did about the kidnappings. Jim is weakening a bit. He wants the questions you are going to ask and said that he’ll do the interview if Noro White does. That may be tricky as Mr. White can be hard to get to and plays games with reporters.”
“Check today’s World. The first interview was Mr. White and yes, I got a picture.”

It hadn’t been hard. Noro was taking me and some other people from the press around to the various job sites and showing off what the company had done. I just picked the best picture that I had taken that day.

“Send the questions and call tomorrow afternoon. I think that I can convince him that you will make him look good.”
“My goal is to get honest opinions, not dig up dirt on somebody. I’m still young and I have a long career ahead of me. A hit piece from me would hurt me more than the guy I’m hitting in the long run.”

“That is a very mature attitude to take. I can see why your references were so positive. I’m looking forward to your questions.”

After the call, I collected my car and the guy I was interviewing today, Mr. Lehman and drove him down to Bennies. I traded him some Noro antics and some Jacobs. He knew Jacob as a member of the horse set and had a huge laugh when he heard that Tom had pulled off a huge gag at Jacob’s stables. The interview went well and the lunch too. He said to compliment Bennie and said that he might be back. I took him back uptown, dropped him off and went back the paper to do the write up. Then I picked the car back up, drove over and picked up Suzy, drove down to The Narrows for a Swim and back to Mike’s for dinner. As we were eating, Stella said, “I made some discreet calls with some ladies that Mabel knows and the tail issue will not be a problem with the Rockefellers. So you and Suzy have a good time tomorrow.”

“Ok, we will.”

I took Suzy back to the navy yard where she insisted that we go for another brief Swim with the other girls and watch the city lights across the water. I asked her, “Why all the Swims?”

“Because we can. Mera said that she didn’t get enough Swims with Josh when they first got together and she regrets not making a habit of them. So I’m going to have these just about as often as we can. Also I wanted you to see the lights and the water at night. It’s rather romantic and I wanted to share with you.”
“Won’t that make the other girls jealous? They probably won’t be as lucky as you were.”

“They will find guys. Certainly the meat market will help.”
“The meat market?”

“Well what else do you call next door and the boys showing up?”
“I’m not going to ask.”

After our Swim, I went back to my place and got ready for another day.

Wednesday morning I drove over to the navy yard to pick Suzy up and drove over to the paper and parked the car in back since the papers had all been picked up and there was space on the loading dock. I took Suzy in the back way and introduced her around. Then she sat my desk, dealing with the various visitors while I filed the copy from yesterday. The surprise, as I was passing the advertising office was Larry’s wife, Theresa. I stopped and said, “Mrs. Benton, what brings you here?”

“Other than parking in the spot,you mean? I’m looking into advertising for our co-op as long as we are in town. How did things go up there? Other than the Colonel meeting his well deserved end, of course.”

“Sal got Chrissie out, Tom pulled off his gags, we stopped the Colonel from taking Doug by replacing his family with dummies, Bob and Scott diverted the Colonel’s constructs and Eric danced with the Colonel until Bill shot him.”

“It sounds like it was the typical fun and games. I’m so glad that we don’t have to hide things from Tom anymore.”
“Suzy’s here at my desk, so why don’t I take you there.”
“Ok, but I want to keep an eye out for my husband, Robert and some kids. Roger came out to the school last weekend and set up a “fun stuff” tour with Robert. I’m going to talk to Stephie about doing the same sort of thing from time to time.”

The kids actually beat us to my desk and were talking with Suzy when we walked in. One kid seemed to be bursting to ask Suzy questions, but only asked basic questions. Suzy spotted me and said, “There he is. He works here, ask him.”

“They came over and did. I told them how I had been a paper boy and gotten a camera to chase stories. The kid who wanted to ask Suzy questions asked in very German accent, “How did you meet Suzy?”
“Well I was taking a picture and there she was.”

“The picture of the battleship?”

“Well, yes. But she actually met me a bit later when my camera got dropped into the water.”
“Heinze, we were supposed to be a bit discreet about certain things here,” Robert said. “We will be visiting the navy yard next week and you can ask Suzy about everything there. Kids we need to move on and Tim needs to get to work. So ask some questions about what he is doing.

A girl asked, “You were up with my uncles and the other people. How come you came down?”

“You must be one of Tom’s Nieces. I went up to work on the story about your aunt being taken and interview people about your uncle and the business. When I was done I came back here to do some more interviews. See, we printed the first one today.”
“This isn’t very exciting like your shark story.”

“No, but people want to know what these people are thinking and what they might be doing. Most of my job isn’t going to be writing about very bad people like the sharks or the Colonel, but about people who have work and ideas interesting to other people. In this case people want to know what Mr. White thinks about buiness and prospects. I have also talked with some other people and I am doing another interview fairly soon. In fact, Suzy and I have to go as I’m picking the people up at their town house and not downtown at the office.”

Suzy said, “Bye kids. Tim is right. We need to get going.”

I rolled her down to the car and put her in the back seat so that she wouldn’t have to shift seats later and started uptown. As we drove uptown I said, “I don’t think that I’ve seen Heinze before. He seems awfully interested in mermaids.”
“He’s Adelheid’s grandson. He was told by his aunt that mermaids didn’t exist and the girls at the yard proved her wrong.”

“That explains your father and his comments about mermaids being indiscreet.”

“They weren’t actually. They made sure that there was a ship blocking the view from Manhattan and were only above the water for a very short time.”

“What about the gatherings for lunch together?”

“The girls don’t jump up out of the water and they just talk to the boys. Most of the time they are making arrangements for deliveries.”
“Cookies?”
“Yes and other things too. The girls can’t exactly go shopping, just fish gets boring, and the officer’s club can be a pain to get to, so they buy things from the market and have them delivered to the pool. We have a stove there now and cook things. How about I make dinner for you tonight” Of course if the girls don’t talk to the boys, how will the boys know how the girls think of them.”
“I think that your dad is fighting a lost cause. The girls are all high fae, want bonds and the boys are there, so they are going to be checking each other out. As long as they don’t make too big a splash nobody will pay attention. If the girls do want to make a big splash, they can use a dock like the other ladies did.’

“That’s what Mom said. Lieutenant Jones is all for some dancing in April, along with ship tours and other things. I think that the admiral is too.”

“Lieutenant Jones isn’t fae.”

“I know, but he’s recruitment and the navy wants more Swimmers and fae with other Changes for things.”
I drove up through traffic until I got to 54th St and turned in. Mr. Rockefeller’s place was a huge tall house near fifth avenue and as I pulled into the driveway, He and Mrs. Rockefeller came right out. If you didn’t know who they were, you would think that they were staff going on a shopping trip. Mr. Rockefeller put Mrs. Rockefeller in the back seat and got in. Mrs. Rockefeller said, “Hello Tim. We’ve missed you.”
“I‘ve been busy with new things and my life sort of changed.”

“Is this young lady your special girl?”
“Yes, This is Susan DelVecchio.”

“I think that I know your mother, slightly, Susan. She does work for the navy hospital and other things for the women’s auxiliary. We contribute, but it’s people like your mother that make things work. How is she?”

“She and dad are fine,” Suzy said. “She can’t get to the hospital like she and some other ladies used to for the same reason and they work out of an office at the navy yard.”

“As do you and some other girls that have been seen in the water there recently at least that is what Jonney says, doesn’t he, John.”

“Abby, I would take Jonney’s stories with a grain of salt, right Tim.”

“I don’t know. There are some rather outlandish characters that show up on the corner,” I said. “How is the new boy working out?”

“He’s struggling a bit, just like you did at first. But he has a lot of energy and he’s learning.”

“That’s good. I hope he didn’t pay too much for my spot. One of the older kids had the best picture and won the spot.”
“That was a very unusual thing that you did, Tim. Jonney really liked it.”

“Well I needed to track the car for the lady that I think that you know about.”

“Mrs. Cianeti,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “Now anybody doing any philanthropy here in town knows her VERY well if they are smart. She knows just how to get the permits if you need them, who to see in city government and can find volunteers when you need them. What she doesn’t give in money, she gives in resources. I don’t know how she does her magic, but I do know that she does it. So what happened?”

“Well some idiot took a boy that had been somebody that she rescued over in Europe and brought over after the war. She had been in contact with the boy and his mother and I walked into the office about something else that I was working on.”
“The sharks and the kidnapping,” Mr. Rockefeller said. “Where you made the front page for the first time, in late November.”

“Yes, that office deals in that sort of thing and was involved in both cases. I had been in and out of that office for years, making deliveries and selling papers, but I had never seen Mary like that. Since I knew that the car the kindnappers were using was related here, I wanted to make sure that it didn’t move without somebody wanting a picture. So I said that I was buying lunch for every picture and the best picture got my spot. Within a couple of days the car couldn’t move without being tracked on a big map in my flop. The kid was found shortly thereafter and released by some feds and the Troubleshooter a bit later.”

“With a bit of noise and some rather exotic things happening. I’m familiar with that neighborhood and there had been some ugly things going on there for a long time.”

“So Suzy, have you dragged Tim under yet?” Mrs. Rockefeller rather boldly asked.

“Abby, we weren’t going to mention that if they didn’t.”
“John I just wanted to make it clear that Suzy didn’t have to hide what she was. There’s no point in dancing around the bush about it.”
“I was sort of forced to by the toothy bad boys who took Tim hostage so that they could have him for dinner before the main course,” Suzy said.

“The girl in the picture,” Mr. Rockefeller said. “Mr. Claytor’s granddaughter. Most people wouldn’t touch her with ill intent in the worst neighborhoods in this city. The boys in that club must have been rather crazy. How did they attract the sharks for the killings? That was the one thing that nobody could figure out.”

“They were the sharks,” I said. “It was a weird and strange Change. In a lot of ways. These were kids from good families that had problems. The families had more or less abandoned their community and that has consequences for certain things.”

“The community where Trillia lives,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “She hasn’t made a pest of herself recently except at the Troubleshooters. In fact she’s been absent the last couple of weeks and some people are a bit worried.”

“She was up in Vermont with the boy that was kidnapped,” Suzy said. They sort of attached themselves together after he was rescued. They came back with us.”

“How did you manage up there without seawater?”

“The boy’s family recently joined with the seafolk on the Cape and made accomodations for seafolk.”
“Considering the rather large wedding and the bigger party, the couple was Tom Benton and Christine Claytor. I notice that Noro didn’t waste any time in putting young Mr. Benton to work.”
“That was a bit of an accident. They went up to Vermont so that Tom could show two of his nephews how he did his gun business and have a family Christmas as part of Tom’s honeymoon. Then a clown up there said that Chrissie was a stupid girl and the Committee wanted Noro to solve their problems. They got Josh instead.”

“Ouch, that will hurt. I’m guessing that the clown was Mr. Martin. Anybody who has to do business up there or has property next to his knows all about Mr. Martin.”

“Noro didn’t, probably because he had been staying away from things after his wife died.”

“Now there was a remarkable woman,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “Her passing was a great blow to several charities and she is still greatly missed.”

“How did she hide what she was,” Suzy asked.

“She didn’t very much. Those of us who knew her certainly knew. As for the press, they knew and kept things out of the public eye. She was also more concerned with actually helping people than getting her name on buildings. She liked to work in the background. Still her sudden loss was a blow and I wish that I had loaned her John’s private car for her trip to visit her sister. Why she went down the South shore rather than the North shore is a mystery.”

“Noro said that she was visiting an old friend and that they were going to meet at Fire Island on the beach for a bake and chat. The friend’s kid was being held hostage by the sharks and the friend was cooperating with the sharks. So the sharks knew that Noro’s wife was coming and approximately when. I found that out when I was working on finishing the shark story.”

“I was with Noro and Lou in the office when happened,” Mr. Rockefeller said. “Noro suddenly had the most tragic expression on his face and said that he and Lou needed to get back to the office. He had come down for some business that needed to be taken care of and some lobbying, but I don’t even remember for what, right now. It was so sudden, but he knew that something very bad had happened to Liltra. We heard later what had happened. Noro had people shooting every shark they saw for a while, but he never thought that the sharks were in any way unnatural and after a while he just retreated into himself and underwater, leaing Josh to handle the business as best he could.

“I don’t know what brought him back up, but It’s good to see him recover,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “I’m also glad that Mera isn’t hiding anymore.”

“She thought that that was what she was supposed to do after her Change,” Suzy said. ‘Mom and the other ladies here started to convince her that she didn’t have to hide anymore.”

“I can’t wait to get my hands on Christine. If that little thing up in Vermont is any indication, she has an absolute genius for parties and entertaining.”

“We missed that,” I said. “She set that up very fast to poke Mr. Martin in the nose.”
“We noticed. As well as the fact that young Mr.Benton has a lot of friends in all sorts of places. Ed Rentschler is kicking himself for letting him go, but he said that the young man was making noises about starting his own shop and Ed figured that he would throw business his way to keep contact and then there he was, getting married to Josh’s daughter with the old man right there.”
“Josh was sneaky,” I said, laughing. “When Tom went down to the Cape, Josh played simple waterman, giving Tom a job while Tom found a location for his shop. Meanwhile Chrissie was trying to make a connection, something made harder because Tom didn’t know anything more about tails than I did until Tom bought his own boat and Chrissie jumped in to run it for him. They didn’t tell him anything about the business until he was locked down and couldn’t run. Then Jacob pissed Tom off and Tom just kept going, taking things over up there. I have an article about him and his work coming up.”

“That’s Josh,” Mr. Rockefeller said. “He likes to play those games, sometimes with people he’s going to do business with. It doesn’t hurt that family has all those businesses up there that are seemingly unconnected. So Josh can play charter boat captain on day and his real self the next and the guy doing business with him won’t have a clue that Josh was looking him over. I warn my people about that. Noro is worse, with those getups of his.”

“Do you want a picture of him in his Mr. White get up?”

“Do you have one, Tim?” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “Does he know you have it?”

“Right after you warned me about him, Mr. Rockefeller, he showed up and I got his picture.”
“He messes up cameras. That is one of his favorite tricks,” Mr. Rockefeller said.

“Because of what I am and my connection to Suzy, he can’t mess me up and I can shield other people. So when he showed up, I was taking an important picture of those pigeons across the street from my old spot and when I was putting the camera down the shutter tripped. I gave a print to Josh’s son to take up for Thanksgiving and he saw it then.”

“Its been four months. What did he do to get back at you?”

“He had Suzy and I dance at the wedding and cause the wedding to get more fun for seafolk.”

“I think I know what you are talking about. That has happened at weddings along the coast, hasn’t it Abby?”

“More than once. Some of those weddings got a bit too exciting. Seafolk tend to be a bit loose about things like modesty and propriety because of the way they have to live in the water. You two would know more about that than we would.”

“Not as much as we should,” Suzy said. “I haven’t lived in a bower and Tim hasn’t either. When mom Changed, the navy had a pool put in at the house and I moved to the navy yard because daddy was concerned about the shark attacks. What we missed until Tim and my brother started to look was that the attacks were also going on right outside the navy yard in the market as the sharks were taking kids to feed their Change.”

“Who is your brother, Susan,” Mrs. Rockefeller asked.

“My brother Sal is trying to figure that out, but the biggest splash he makes is as the Troubleshooter.”

“That mysterious man doing mysterious things and being involved with shady characters,” Mr. Rockefeller said with a grin. “With his big car and dangerous associates dealing with bad people and dangerous things. If I didn’t know better, I would say it was something that Noro cooked up.”

“He played a part, contributing his house to the project, but my brother did most of that to himself. The car came from the federal confiscated car pool that they have for undercover work, the dangerous associates are his coworkers and some old friends from our neighborhood and he sort of had to take on his friend Vinnie’s job with the outfit because the sharks killed Vinnie.”
“On the other hand, his other persona is Detective DelVecchio, the ratty cop who gets nasty cases and works too closely with reporters, namely me,” I said. “That persona is the one that they made a radio program out of. Maybe they thought that the Troubleshooter was too unreal. Of course the detective in the show is Irish and the character playing me has the worst Brooklyn accent.”

We laughed at that as I ran the car down the street to Bennies. After we were seated I said to Mr. Rockefeller, “While the ladies chat, why don’t we get my questions out of the way. That way I won’t forget them.”
“You’ve been warned, haven’t you?”
“Well, yes, and I have to practice for the next time I have to try to get something from Noro. I was able to get the interview from him, this time, but once he sees the paper, he’s going to be much trickier. Also, in this place I’m likely to have distractions come in at any time.”

He laughed and we started. Fortunately, when my parents came in from the back they just sat down and didn’t say anything. I was hoping that Suki and Princess Ayoko had a stuffed shirt luncheon today, but I wasn’t so lucky as they came in. Frortunately, they just went straight to my parents and started to talk. I asked my questions and things went very well through lunch until we were about finished and Suki came over and said, “Tim, who are these rather established looking people?
“Suki, this is Mr. Rockefeller and his wife. Mr. Rockefeller, this Princess Suki from Japan. She is prince Tochimoro’s wife.”
“Welcome, Princess,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “so what brings you down here, other than the food?”

“Well, I need to make some arrangements for some people arriving shortly who have special needs and to update this young man’s parents on what our plans are.”

“Suki, as far as I know, Misako and Nanami are going to the Cape tomorrow with Tom. They won’t be back here until after the Olympics.”
“Misako’s mother is coming and we need to make sure that her arrival is expected. Your parents took care of the ladies, so they needed to know. Have you talked to Mr. Rockefeller about making the news yet?”

“No, I haven’t, Suki.”
“Mr, Rockefeller, talk to Tim here about things you may have to do out of necessity. He had to shoot a thing that could have hurt a lot of people, but he feels guilty about it. I will leave you folks to your discussion.”
She went back and rejoined my parents. Mrs. Rockefeller said, “That is a very strange woman. How did you meet her?”

“At Sal’s wedding, I think, wasn’t it Tim?” Suzy said. “It feels like we’ve known Tochi and Suki forever, but it hasn’t been that long. They are old friends of Tom’s and Tochi got in touch with him when he took over the Olympics. Tom invited them to come to Sal’s wedding and we met them there.”

“So how did you make news and who did you shoot?”

“This has some issues I can’t talk about without you talking to Mary first. After taking Chrissie, the Colonel decided to make sure that there were no witnesesses or at least create a big mess that would hide what he had done somewhat. When Chrissie was taken and they changed vehicles, one of the kids that had been taking pictures of the car the sharks were using took some pictures of them making the transfer and sent his brother to send a message to Mary. Sal and I were talking to the kid who sent the message and he mentioned that his brother had pictures. So Sal and I, along with some other federal agents went down to collect the kid and his mother before something happened to them. It was lucky that we got there when we did because the Colonel had sent a very nasty character to kill a bunch of people and make sure that there were no witnesses. This character had already killed a couple of cops and an elderly couple and I grabbed him. He became something very bad and I had to shoot him.”

“I think that you are hinting at a Necromancer.”
“How did you know?”
“You know about Josh and the barges, where he killed a Necromancer. Some of the barges were mine and I lost people. The private investigation company that I hired lost people and the reports they sent got very weird with people that dissolved and some of the men dying after being bitten by things that seemed dead. Josh took care of the Necromancer and Noro told me what they were and what they do. He made sure that the private security people knew too, just in case. From what Noro said, shooting the Necromancer was absolutely the right thing to do. I wish that you hadn’t encountered it, but once you did, you were going to have to kill it or risk that whole neighborhood being Turned or killed. Sal must be fae as well.

Sometimes you have to do things you really don’t like. Even I do. Sometimes that is a mistake, but all too often you are forced to make bad choices. How did you get the gun?”

“Noro and Josh gave it to me after the thing with the sharks and Dori. They did not want me going unarmed and encountering the things that they had run into.”

“See, Suki was right, Tim,” Suzy said. “Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller, why doesn’t Tim introduce you to his parents who have been sitting there the whole time and waiting while go I out the back hatch for a bit and get wet.”

“Were you getting dry, Suzy?” Mrs. Rockefeller asked. “You should have mentioned it.”
“I am. I was at Tim’s office this morning and even though I had good Swim this morning I’m starting to itch a bit and here is a good place to get wet. Tim, I will be back in about ten minutes.”
She rolled toward the back and Mrs. Rockefeller said, “She has you wrapped around her little finger. Good. Not you won’t do the crazy things that boys get up to. When is the wedding?”

“June next year. Suzy is a bit young and my and her parents want to wait a bit. Mother is waving at me, so I better introduce you.”

I took them over and introduced them, which led to a bit of a conversation between the ladies about appropriate dresses for award ceremonies. Mr. Rockefeller asked me, “How many awards are you up for?”
“I’m not sure. The Pulitzer for the sharks and the kidnappings, a picture of the year for the Dori picture and some others. I already got the biggest award, the kids are back in the market again. Of course that has made Suzy’s dad’s life a bit more complicated.”
‘How so?”

“The navy has a bunch of girls with tails in the navy yard and the market has a bunch of potentially suitable boys and they have been getting together for lunch and Mike is concerned that certain things will no longer remain discreet. I was hearing about Suzy from Jonney even before I started to look into the kidnappings and I think that Mike is just going to have to accept the inevitable.”

Dad laughed. “Better him than me. Not that we won’t have the same problem down here. At least he won’t have to put up with the Gold Coast snobs, at least at first. Though I imagine that the naval academy is getting more admissions from that crowd this year. The families had a very big scare because of the sharks and I think that they will be more open about certain things. At least Sal has the house and we can have the get together parties and maybe get the kids bonded and out of trouble.”

“Get together parties?” Mrs. Rockefeller asked. “That sounds like a good thing but don’t they have such things aleady there on the gold coast?”

“That was a bit of a problem for certain families. The kids can’t just get together with anybody and they went over to Europe to look for the people they can get together with and they had either been killed or came over here and hid, so the boys here couldn’t find the right kind of girls, the girls with tails. We have extra girls here and Josh does and we had a party last year at Sal’s where we discreetly waved the tails around and it worked. You will be seeing a bunch of wedding announcements shortly if you haven’t already.”
“That explains some of those. Roger Elliott’s sudden engagement to a girl from Massachussetts. Though she is a granddaughter of Noro’s and certainly a good match for Roger.”

“That’s one. There have been some others. Quite a few, actually. The more of those that happen the better.”

Suzy came back and we got ready to go. As I drove up the street, Mrs. Rockefeller said, “Tim I was so glad to meet your parents at last. I begin to understand why you were on your own.”
“That was a bit of my own fault. Dad didn’t go under with mom until the same day that I met Suzy. Dad has a war injury and once he Changed, can’t release it without killing himself due to the pain, so he was going to stay under and manage things under sea while I was groomed to take over up top. But as you see he ended up up top and I ended up with his car so that I can handle things if I need to or drive him around if he needs to. Most of the time it’s been my sister and Suzy, along with my mother. Of course the car has had it’s other entertainments. I made the mistake of parking in the wrong spot the first morning I drove into the paper.”
“Let me guess, Jim Day’s spot,” Mr. Rockefeller said with a grin. “There have been some stories going around about that. You beat the ticket.”

“Yes, I did, which caused more than a bit of a circus. That reminds me. I have a picture that I owe you. You did ask for a picture of the Troubleshooter and I have a nice one of him and his wife.”

“Won’t he get upset?”
“Not about this picture. His wife Sillia asked me to take it and it was for the paper as a file photo for Troubleshooter stories. So there won’t be any problems about it. Sillia and Mary have given me permission to take all the pictures of Sal that I can anyway. This is just a particularly nice one. I can also give you a picture of Sal Troubleshooting Jacob if you want.”
“Do tell.”

“Sal, me and another guy we know are on our way to Tom’s office and there was Jacob waiting to harass Tom again, so the guy that was with us goes around the corner, Sal goes to get his car and I lie in wait with a camera.”
“Here’s that picture,” Suzy said. “It has Tom, Sal, Jacob and Tony in it.”

She handed it to Mr. Rockefeller who looked at it and laughed. “Was that big man the shoot for the trouble?”

“That’s Tony and no, he wasn’t the original shoot for the trouble. He was responsible for guarding the kids where Andy was put from the other things there. You can ask Jim Carpenter about that. Tony and his brother are glad to get out from under that character’s thumb and able to teach and protect kids. They are at a school for kids released from some sick places and other kids who have special security needs or who’s parents were killed. Tony and Robert are remarkable people”

“That sounds like a very interesting place,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “I will talk to Mary and get the contact information.”

“Mrs. Rockefeller, do you know which children’ hospitals Mrs. White was responsible for?” Suzy asked.

“St Mary’s in Manhattan and St. Lucien’s in Queens. I think that they will be glad to see you and Tim.”

“Suzy, hand him the picture of Sal and the Mr. White picture too.”

“I wondered why your brought that. Here Mr. Rockefeller, have a good laugh at the scoundrel.”
He took the picture out of the envelope and laughed. “You got him all right. With Jonney laughing in the background there. I will make sure that Jonney sees this.”

I pulled into the town house and Mr. Rockefeller said, “Thank you of a very enteraining lunch. Very entertaining indeed.”

“I didn’t ask my parents to be there and I wouldn’t have exposed you to Suki without warning you first.”
“What does her husband think of her.”
“You’ll have to ask him. As far as I know, he is as confused about her as everybody else.”

He laughed as we drove off. Suzy said, Let’s go down to St. Mary’s.”
“Why?”
“I want to see a picture of Liltra. Everybody who knew her says the same things about her and I want to see what she looked like.”

So I drove down to the hospital, parked the car and rolled Suzy into the lobby and there she was. The painting was almost as large as the wall and it was of a beautiful woman sitting in a chair surrounded by children who she was reading a book to. Most of the children seemed to sick or injured one way or another. What was interesting was that the picture must have been done from a photograph because I recognized the room and the picture on the wall behind her because that picture was hanging on the wall in Sal’s parlor right now. The artist didn’t even try to hide what she was as there was the tip of her tail peeking out of her dress and her hands were webbed. I said to Suzy, “I wonder if the Associated Press has the photograph.”

A elderly nun came up behind us and asked, “Can I help you, young man and lady?”
“No,” Suzy said. “We have been hearing a lot about this lady and I wanted to see her picture.”

“You are in a wheel chair, are you injured?”

“Only in the same way she was. By being what I am.”

“She never tried to hide what she was. She was truly remarkable and loved to give the children a little bit of wonder and magic in their lives.”
“This was done from a photograph taken in her home wasn’t it?” I said.

“That is a very astute comment, young man. What made you think that?”
“Because the picture in the background is hanging in that room again. Her husband rented the house to a relative and put the picture back. So I recognized the room.”

“Noro is back up top, good. His grief has gone on far too long and it has hurt him and his family. It was understandable as Liltra was a truly great soul and if she was not what she was, would almost certainly be considered by the archdiosce for application for sainthood. But fae and seafolk are officially considered anathema even if Christ would have thought otherwise. Liltra would not have wanted the recognition anyway.”

“Was this done from a press photograph?”

“Yes it was. It was the best one we had after she was taken from us. I understand that you, young man had something to do with putting the things that took her, and others, including many children, before god for justice.”
“I did, with the help of many friends. I did what I did for the kids.”

“You were fighting for the right and the light and god helped you to the destruction of that evil. I must go about my duties. Come again if you like.”
She left us and I rolled Suzy back out to the car. “That was interesting,” she said. “Noro’s wife was even more remarkable than I imagined. I wonder what it was like in the parlor with all those sick kids being with her. You can see the love right from the picture.”

“When I drop you off, I’m going over to the AP and see if I can get a print of that picture. I have some ideas.”

“We have time. The games are a couple of weeks and I don’t think that Noro’s new house is ready yet. You want a picture done by that artist that Liltra liked for Noro, right?”

“That’s one idea. I may get others. In any case, I think that I want to know more about her story. I keep hearing just how remarkable she was. I want to know more about her.”
“Well you are in the right place to find out.”
I dropped Suzy off at the naval base, parked the car at my apartment and took the subway back to Manhattan. I made a stop at the Associated press and when I walked in, Ruth said, “Hi Tim. What can we do for you today?”

“I want to see what there is about Liltra White. There is a picture that I’m looking for.”
“Following up on your interview with Noro White?”
“Not exactly. Mrs. White’s name keeps coming up and my girl wanted to see a picture of her, so we went to the children’s hospital. The painting there had apparently been done from a news photo and I wanted to see the original.”
“Since Noro is visible again, somebody should do a rememberance piece about her anyway. The tenth annieversery ofher death is coming up. I’ll pull the file.”

She came back with it and it was quite large and filled with things from the society pages, benefits that she had run, large projects for various charities that she had started and finished, social events for the children, lots of pictures of kids at the estate including the one that the painting was done from, pictures from the Cape with the wives of drowned seamen and finally an article with pictures of the service on the ocean after she had been killed including Joe, Steve, Stacey and Chrissie with their grandfather and father. Ruth said, “Why don’t I make you a copy of everything here.”
I pulled the picture of Liltra reading to the children. “Could you make a good print of this. I think that I will want this.”

I looked through the file again. “I don’t see any hit pieces on her.”
“Nobody would have dared. There was nothing that they could write about anyway. But she had done so much good for so many people that anybody who tried something like that would be looking for a job in another line of work.”

“Ok, I need to check in with Vic and face the inquisition, so I will be back for this later.”

“Don’t let him get too rough. He’s a softy, really.”
“I’m worried that if I give him too much ammunition, he and Noro will come after me for something.”
“I would be worried about that, too.”
I laughed and headed over to the paper. Vic was at his desk and said, “You are a bit later getting back than I expected. Did things go well?”

“I got the interview. Mr. Rockefeller got a taste of Suki. We all had a great time and Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller met my parents too. Suki was making arrangements for Misako’s mother apparently. Presumably the mother wants to be rather more discreet than her daughter is.”

“That wouldn’t be hard. Just skip the parade and you’re good to go. So what else were you up to?”

“Well, Liltra’s name kept coming up and Suzy wanted to see what she looked like so we stopped at the children’s hospital to see her picture.”
“I’ve seen it. I was also there when the picture that it was it painted from was taken with just a photographer so that the kids weren’t overwhelmed by press types. Liltra wanted the party to be for the kids, not something that exploited them for publicity. So it was just Joe and I visiting. Joe still works here if you want a print.”

“I may do that. I have one coming from the AP, but if I can get a fresh print it may be the best way to go.”

“Are you thinking present for Noro?”

“I’m not sure, but the picture in the background is back, a bunch of us had things done by that artist and I thought I would have the artist do a picture of Liltra and the kids. For the house, if nothing else.”

“So you are poking the sharks in the eye again, taking even the memory of them away.”

“I hadn’t quite thought of it that way, but yes.”
I thought about something and said, “I will be right back. I have to call Mr. Doolan’s office.”

“Good luck.”

“Sherry liked the cookies and I’ve been playing everthing straight.”
I went over to my desk and called Mr. Doolan’s office. “Hi, Sherry, It’s Tim.”
“Hi Tim, he said yes if you stick only to these questions and he gets to see what you write before you print.”

“That’s fine. I hear that Mr. Doolan likes Irish whisky. Is there a brand he likes?”

“Yes there is, but he can only get the good stuff when he goes to Ireland for his vacation.”

“What is it? I know some people.”
She told me and I wrote it down.”

“I will see what I can do.”

I called Tony and said, “Hi Tony, I have a rather rough guy I’m trying to make a connection to and he likes whisky. Is there any of this stuff around.”
I gave him the brand and he said, “Probably not much, but I think that I can come up with a bottle. When do you need it?”

“Tomorrow, at Bennies. I’ll buy you lunch.”

“Deal. I’ll see you there tomorrow.”

I went back to Vic’s desk. He said, “This is good. Now write up the other things that you talked about.”

I groaned and went back to my desk to do just that. When I was done I handed it him and he said, “We should go over this with Doris. I think that Abby made sure to tell you about what she was up to so that you could pass it on. Even though they are friends of yours they told you things that they wanted to tell you. Did they say to keep anything off the record?”

“No, but we did talk some about Liltra and tails. Mrs. Rockefeller knew Trillia. She was wondering where she had gone.”
“I think that everybody with a house on that side of Long Island knows Trillia.”

“We also talked a bit about the Sound people and relationships but that was giving her information.”

“Information that she will use, especially with the weddings coming up. She will use that information to get her grips on still more mothers.”

“Even the ones up at the Cape under sea?”
“Those ladies especially. They are an untapped resource for her.”

“She probably knows Mera already.”
“Actually she knows all three sisters. They came to the house from time to time. Their mother insisted.”

“I think that I will talk to them about their mother. Ruth at the AP said that somebody should do a piece about her now that Noro is around again.”
“I can help with that. I think that she should be remembered and the tenth aniversery of her death is coming up in April.”

“A lot of people seem to miss her very much. The nun we talked to at the hospital seemed to know her, the Rockefellers did and of course I’ve been talking to the family. How about I be the legs for this.”

“That will work and you can make some more connections that way.”
“By the way Jim Doolan said that he will do the interview.”
“You took the right approach with him and gave him control, so the risk of another hit piece was low. You also don’t have a grudge against him like John does. That hit piece was Jim’s own fault. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. So after he refused to back off, John pulled out all the stops. But Jim and Joe Kennedy never learn.”

“Well I’m not even telling him about Suzy any way, so we can take that off the table.”
“If he does find out about her, he wouldn’t want to mess with the Troubleshooter’s sister and risk getting troubleshot.”

I looked at the clock. It was half past four. “Vic, I need to pick up the packet and head over to the navy yard. Suzy is making dinner for me tonight.”

“How?”

“They have a stove at the pool now. So they get greens and vegetables delivered from next door and meat too, probably and make dinner. Suzy says that plain fish gets boring and going to eat at the officer’s club can be a nuisance, so they just eat at the pool after work.”

“That actually makes sense. That way they can practice for the time that they are up top again.”

“I know a good butcher shop near Chinatown. I’ll get some steaks and take them with me when I go across the bridge.”
“You don’t have the car?”
“I went back to my place and left it there. I figured that we could have dinner and a Swim and I can get a cab or walk to my place.”
“That will work and you are probably right about the car hassles.”

“I’ll need it again for Mr. Doolan, but I think that I will park the car at the bureau in the morning and drop it off again after I drop him off.”

I left the paper, picked up my pakciet at the AP, hit the butcher shop where I used to pick up steaks when I visited mom and dad and grabbed a trolley to the navy yard. George asked when I passed throught the gate, “What’s in the bag, Tim?”

“Steaks. Suzy and the girls invited me for dinner.”

‘They’ll like that. I would go myself but my wife would get annoyed if I don’t show up for dinner,”
When I got to the pool the ‘stove’ turned out to be a fully rigged out kitchen with counters, a refrigerator and huge stove, something that a restaurant might have.

As I set the steaks down the girls were doing various things in the same kinds of chairs that Stella had, so I asked Suzy, “So where did this come from?”

“A destroyer that was started and never finished because of the treaty. There is a warehouse with all sorts of things in it that are waiting for ships so that they can be installed. The guys that train cooks for the ships set this up with us. We get to use it for lunch and dinner and they get to use if for training people without having to be on a ship. What’s in the bag?”
“I brought some steaks from a butcher shop I know.”
She looked in. “Nice. Dad and mom should be here with Captain Farr and they are also bringing things. I’ll hand the bag over to Kathy.”
She did as her father rolled her mother in followed by Captain Farr, Tim Kirk and Merlia. The older ladies pitched in and dinner was put toegether very quickly as we men talked about things and chopped vegetables. As we all sat around talking, I told Mike, Bob and Tim about my day, including the Suki encounter and the seeing the picture of Liltra. Bob said, “That nun. I think that she may have been the mother superior for the hospital, right Ella?”
“Yes Bob she may have been. I’ve met her a few times at various things. She knew Liltra very well.”
“Vic said that he and the photographer were the only press people at that party.”

“I suspect that Vic was there as a friend more than as a reporter. Is the picture any good?”

“See for yourself.” I handed them the print from the packet. “I’m going to talk to the guy who took the photo in the morning tomorrow, get an enlargement and when I can, talk to that artist that Liltra liked and see if he would do a piece based on this for the house.”
“That’s a wonderful idea and Sal’s birthday is coming up in April,” Stella said. “I’m surprised that you didn’t say that you were doing one for Noro.”
“It will be for Noro, but I want the picture in the house so that when people are in the house they think of Liltra, the kids and how she lived rather than the toothy club.”

“That will be a good thing. The sharks should be remembered for the joy that they took from us, the kids they ate that we miss and not the people that they were.”

Dinner was served poolside and the ladies made the guys get in the pool as well and since the dock was flooded and open, they made us Swim out and go for a Swim across the harbor and back before Mike and Stella gave me a short ride to my place for the night.

Thursday morning I drove into the paper and actually parked in ‘the spot.’ Jim Day actually walked by as I was parking the car and said, “I should have started taking the subway a long time ago. You really get the pulse of the city when you are with other people. My reporters are starting to get annoyed because I keep feeding them the stories.” We laughed at that and then I had to hurry into the paper and meet with Vic.

 

Lou’s office called to tell me that my Friday appointment, Josh, was going to have to be changed to next week because Josh was dealing with some family issues up at the Cape today and coming back Monday. Vic told me to call Don, the trader that we had met the day that Chrissie was taken and ask him to go to lunch, so I did and we made the arrangements for tomorrow. Then I went downstairs and got in the car to head over to Jim’s office. Since I was early and his office was just around the corner from my old spot, I parked the car and went around the corner to talk to Jonney for a bit and meet the new kid. Jonney saw me park the car and called out, “Tim! I heard about your car. Did you really beat Jim Day and the ticket?”
“Jonney, I did. He seems to like the subway now, because he gets stories for his people to follow up on. Roger could have told him that. Is this the new kid?”

“Hi, I’m Jim. How did you get such a nice car?”

“It was my dad’s. He had it for the business, his war wound had complications and he can’t walk or drive, so he gave me the car so that I can be his legs if he needs them.”

“Not that you can’t afford a nice car,” Jonney said. “Word is that you helped with a very bad character and have a nice bounty check coming. You also caught Mr. White and that takes some doing.”

“Did Mr. Rockefeller show you the picture?”
“Yes he did and you caught him like he was a pigeon. Watch out for him though, since he knows that he was caught and he’s sneaky.”
‘He’s already gotten me back for that. Still, I imagine that he’s thinking about doing something to me. I had an interview with him that came out earlier this week.”
We talked for a bit and then I said, “I have to be going, I have an appointment.”

I walked back around the corner to the car and waited. I shouldn’t have been in a hurry as Mr. Doolan was probably one of those people that liked to show how important they were by being late to things. In any case we got in the car and after he complained a bit, started down to Bennies. We talked about business on the way down and started the interview in Bennies. That was when things got weird. I wasn’t trying for a hit piece but he kept going off on about deals that sounded crooked, the women he chased and caught and how he had put things over on people. I tried to get him back on track and he just went right on about things that if I sent the interview in as is, would have ruined him in the business. As lunch was winding down, he bluntly told me to “Print it all. The clowns deserve it.”

This was so strange that I almost forgot to pick up the bottle from Tony. Fortunately I remembered and went back. Tony said, “I think that guy has had too much to drink already. Did you expect what he was giving you? That stuff could get him a huge amount of trouble.”
“Tony, I don’t know what’s going on and I’m going to talk to people about this. I’m certainly not going to just hand it in.”

I went back out to the car and handed the box with the bottle inside to Jim. As we drove off I thought about what I was going to do with what he gave me. The clowns might deserve it, but they were going to be pissed. As we drove off things got even weirder as I felt the tickling that went with a compulsion and Jim started to ask me about things that he should have known nothing about. I did a scan and he had a shield and there seemed to be somebody else underneath the shields that felt a bit like a woman.

I answered the questions, with some editing as we drove up to to Jim’s office. When we were close to Jim’s office, Jim told me to forget that he had ever asked the questions. I wasn’t sure if this was a doppelganger or some Change that I hadn’t heard about, but I was fairly sure that I hadn’t been talking with James Doolan. After I dropped Jim off at his office I headed down to the bureau, parked the car and went upstairs. Carrie had the front desk today as Mary was over at the school with the kids from the Academy and Vicky and her husband were taking a long weekend. She was dressed in a normal dress rather than her typical maid’s outfit because she was working the Manhattan office today and it was more visible than the house. She saw me walk in and said, “Hi Tim. We haven’t seen you at the house or here this week.”
“I’ve been busy with some interviews that Vic wanted me to do and Suzy has been busy at the navy yard all week so we’ve been here.”
“Well what can we do for you today.”
“I want to talk to Alex. One of my interviews went really strange. Did the Manager have somebody, maybe a lady who could look like other people?”

“Other than the doppelgangers? I don’t think so. Did you run into somebody like that?”
“Either that or something else really strange. The guy I was interviewing just about destroyed himself and then on the way back tried to compel me and started asking questions about what happened to the Colonel and the Director upstate.”
“What did you tell him?”

“A bit more than you can get from the papers, but not everything. I didn’t mention the Golems, Doug or much more than Boris took care of the werewolves. I did say that Sal had taken care of the Academy though since he did that in front of the papers. I didn’t mention that we also knew about the pestholes and the school and didn’t mention Ed’s part in everything or that Adelheid and the rest are over here looking to pull the domain.”
“So just the things a reporter that was not fae would probably know. I think that you better give Alex a report. He is out right now chasing a mysterious Chinese lady that George up at White’s told us about. In any case, Helmut and Mary are coming down and will be here tomorrow with Ray and the rest, Sal should be here Saturday and Mike is coming in Monday afternoon. Bill is out at Roger’s with the tactical team and some FBI people training with Bill and Hilda. Steve is here, though.”

I went into the office, wrote a report from my notes, typed it up and left it on Alex’s desk. The office only had two agents inside who I introduced myself to since I hadn’t met them before. Then I went back down and over to the paper.
When I went over to Vic’s desk he asked, “How did it go?”

“Has Noro met Jim?”
“Yes, why?”

“I was wondering if he knew if Jim was fae or not.”
“Noro was certain that he was not. We were wondering if he may have been using compulsions on women. He wasn’t.”
“Well somebody wanted to really hurt him. Somebody fae who could make themselves look like him    and who knows a lot about his business. Here’s my writeup.”

I handed it to Vic and he took a look at it. “Wow. Hurt him is putting it mildly. Nobody would want to do business with him after this got out. There is more than a bit of confidentiality and discretion involved in business on the Street. If this got out he would probably be ruined, that is if everything checks out. So you think that somebody fae wanted to ruin Jim? Why?”
“Well, whoever it was tried to compel me and get information about the things that happened upstate.”
“Did you tell the bureau about this?”

“Just came from there, but they don’t have anybody there right now to look into this and Sal is not going to be back from the cape until Saturday.”

“You have resources, this is related to your work and you can probably figure out who to talk to next.

“Eli and Theresa. I’ll call the office.”

I went over to my desk and called their office. Sarah answered and said, “Hi Tim. Eli and Theresa won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon. They stayed up at the Cape to talk to the people up there and see Nera’s show tonight. They are taking the train out in the morning.”

“Sarah, do you know anybody who can make themselves seem like somebody else?”
“A doppelganger?”
“I don’t think so. I haven’t been close to one yet, but this felt almost like somebody using glamors and a shield rather than replacing somebody outright. They did know the person they replaced rather well. Do you have a file on James Doolan?”

“Do we ever. Was he the one replaced?”
“He was the one I was interviewing today.”
“Well why don’t you come over and take a look. I sounds as if you have the beginnings of an interesting mystery. Eli and Theresa will like it.”

I went back to Vic’s desk and picked up my notes. “I’m going downstairs and checking some of this stuff with the files in the Morgue. I want to know just how well whoever it was knows Jim’s business.”

“I think that you should. This is turning into an interesting mystery. I would call Jim’s office in the morning as well. If he disappears or is dead, you will know that you were dealing with a doppelganger. I need to get going to catch my train. When I get up there I will tell Noro about this, I think that he will like this.”
“You’ve run into one before.”
“I’ve run into a lot of things. It goes with the territory when Noro is around.”
I laughed and went downstairs to the morgue. Millie saw me come in and said, “What can we do for you today, Tim?”

“I would like the file on Jim Doolan.”
“You haven’t tangled with him, have you? It’s not as if he could chase after Suzy.”

‘I interviewed him today and he said more than he should have.”
“To you? He usually doesn’t talk to reporters.”
“I know. I was very careful to give him the questions beforehand and give him approval. But things got really weird today. Either he is testing me, making stuff up or it’s weirder than that. I want to check what I have and see if he was making stuff up or not.”

Millie pulled the file and I went to reproduction to have a copy made and delivered to my desk. Then I typed up my notes and went over them again. On my way to reproduction, I put my original notes in my drawer for safe keeping. Then I collected the packet, my car and drove over to my grandparents’ building. After saying hi to George at the door I walked into the office and said to Sarah, “I pulled everything the paper had and typed up my notes. I figure that we can check over things.”

“So you think that somebody replaced Mr. Doolan? It would be an improvement. He is not a nice character.”
“Well we had the interview and this is what he gave me.”

I handed her the writeup. She looked at it and said, “You’re kidding, right? If this stuff is real and got out, he would be ruined. Let’s check a few things.”

We did and the things checked with either the stuff from the paper or the file that Sarah had. She looked up and said, “Either Jim was going crazy and wanted to destroy himself or somebody wanted to really hurt him. Somebody who knew him really well.”
“This is where things get really weird. ‘Jim’ tried to compel me and when I did a scan, it seemed like a woman.”
“Now that would make sense. He uses women like handkerchiefs. He and that Kennedy character. So he was involved with a fae woman who wanted to ruin him and made a seeming to do it. But why compel you?”

“She wanted to know about what was going on upstate, about the Colonel and rest of it. She knew who the Colonel and the Director were and the Academy as well. Whoever it is apparently was not in contact with the rest of them.”

“That makes sense. The Masters would want an independent set of eyes in case things went kablooey. Things went kablooey and this lady is trying to find out why. She probably picked you because you were obviously in the middle of things and she thought that you were not fae. So a hidden compulsion, and nobody knows that she was even looking.”
“But why do this to Jim.”
“Tim, a woman can be very vindictive. Especially when she has been in contact with somebody like Jim for a long time. She is probably one of the ‘escorts’ that he uses frequently. More than likely, she got this stuff through pillow talk, a few very light compulsions and Jim being a bit drunk and talking. Since he was going to toss her, she got there first. Also, if you had been what she thought and ran off with your big hit piece, everything surrounding Jim would have been muddied as people did everything they could to break away from Jim and the growing scandal. So nobody would notice when she disappeared. She wanted a kablooey of her own to cover her tracks, so she gave you one.”

“A bomb that could hurt me as much as Jim.”
“Most reporters wouldn’t think of that.”

“I know. But I’m in this for the long haul, not the easy money. If I wanted the easy money, I would have just turned in the Noro picture.”
“You should have anyway. Him and those getups of his. When Eli called he said that Noro had another one, in black this time.”
“Well, his wife was the opposite.”
“I know. You bring up her name and almost immediately somebody says things about the good that she did.”

“Suzy and I were talking about her with the Rockefellers yesterday and after we dropped them off we went to a children’s hospital where the lobby has a painting of her that covers an entire wall. The painting was done from a picture taken at the house with Liltra and some kids. She must have been amazing. I’m going to have a picture done by that artist she liked for the house.”

The phone rang and Sarah picked it up. “Suzy, he’s right here, do you want to talk with him?”

She hung up and said. “Suzy wants you at the navy yard so that she can cook you dinner again.”
“I think that she is trying to establish a routine with me. I was going over there anyway.”

“She invited me and Victor as well.”

“With all those tails, I’m not surprised.”

“Well that is a consideration. Victor needs to get out more anyway.”

“So what should we do about this?”
“I’ll talk to some people I know and see if I can find out if there is a lady that Jim sees on a regular basis. I think that we want to avoid the kablooey.”
“I’ll call Jim’s office and talk to Sherry again in the morning. Maybe I can talk to Jim, the real Jim, and find out more. Let’s get going before Suzy sends shore patrol looking for me.”

Sarah laughed, we collected Victor and headed over to the navy yard. Dinner was smaller as it was just the girls, me, Sarah and Victor as Mike and Stella were home with Cindy and Gregor who was visiting. Afterwards, the girls kept Sarah and Victor entertained with a dance in the dock while Suzy insisted that we go for a brief Swim in the harbor. As we Swam out she said, “Talk to the paper boys and see what they say about Jim and who he sees. I bet they know about him already.”

“That’s a good idea and I better get going and get to the paper early tomorrow.”

We Swam back into the dock, I took Sarah and Victor back to the building and went back to my place.

Friday morning I went in early and stopped at the loading dock at the paper to let the boys know that I wanted to know about Jim Doolan’s movments. I did the same thing at my old flop where the boys admired my car and then I parked the car at the bureau and went upstairs. As I walked in, Carrie said, “I was just going to call the paper. Alex wants to talk with you about the report you left.”
“I’m not surprised. I was talking with Sarah after I left here yesterday and there were some strange things going on.”

I walked back in and Alex was at his desk looking a little bemused. “Hi Tim. Apparently you had an interview that was more interesting than you expected.”
“Well, yes. First of all the guy I was interviewing is notorious for being touchy with reporters and insisting that he have control over what gets printed.”
“That would be Mr. Doolan. Considering that piece done about two years ago for the Times, I can understand why. So you arranged the interview and took him down to Bennies where he spilled his guts about every shady deal that he had ever done. Do you think that he was making stuff up to test you?”
“Sarah and I pulled his file and everything we could check, did. He was actually handing me enough to destroy him. A cub reporter he didn’t even know. I have a packet here with the typed up interview. My notes are in my drawer at the paper.”

He looked at the interview, looked up at me and said, “I’m not in business, but this could have ruined his ability to do any business on the Street.”
“Tony and Vic said the same thing. Tony was there listening to the whole thing with Andy and he was amazed when he heard it. Vic said that if this got out, Jim was going to be ruined.”

“Then things got interesting.”
“On the trip back, he tried to compel me and started asking questions about the Colonel, the Director and the Academy.”
“What did you tell him?”
“A bit more than was in the papers. Sal took out the Academy, Boris the werewolves and Eric the Colonel with Bill. I didn’t mention Doug, Tom or Ed. I mentioned the bureau as Federal agents, agency unspecified. Mostly what was in the stuff that Vic and I sent to the paper.”

“Then you scanned him and he didn’t seem to be a doppelganger.”

“Yes, when I scanned him, he seemed to have a shield with a glamor with a woman inside. I don’t know what a doppelganger feels like, but this seemed more like the things we did at Doug’s.

Sarah and I talked about this and we think that a woman who knew Jim fairly well did this. Somebody he sleeps with that is fae and perhaps working for the Masters.”

“We can run this by Athena and the other indentured, along with the people that worked with the Director. They may have had contact with the woman without knowing what she was. I assume that you are going to talk with our friends on the street about this?”

“I put the word out at the paper and my old place before coming here.”
“Have you checked in at Jim’s office yet to see if he is still alive?”
“Not yet. It’s not nine yet and I expect that he is not an early riser. I wanted to get in early so that I could catch the paper boys before they left. So I was there before seven and at my flop before eight. I was just checking in here after dropping my car off for the morning. I have another interview with somebody Vic knows.”
“I’m surprised that you haven’t interviewed Josh and Noro.”
“Noro was the first one. Josh was supposed to be today, but he and Lou went to the Cape for something and Josh won’t be back until Monday.”

“Did they tell you why they went?”

“No, but Suki was making arrangements with my parents for Misako’s mom next week, I expect that Misako’s dad came here and Misako was going down to the Cape from the Olympics on Wednesday, so I imagine that Josh and Lou went with Misako’s dad to see Misako and Nanami. Eli said that Nera was doing a show, so they may have been going up there for that.”

Alex smiled. “So Josh and Mera go up for one of Nera’s shows. We’ll have to get the story from Mike and Nera when they get back. Since Chrissie went down she may have had a hand in getting Josh and Mera up there.

I think that you should get back to the paper. Some boys might be looking for you soon.”

I didn’t have to get to the paper as a couple of messenger boys showed up at the office. “Tim we heard that you wanted to know about Jim Doolan?”

“I’ve heard a lot about him already. I want to know if there is a floosie he keeps going back to.”
The boy on the right smiled. “I’m Al and I think I know who you mean. He has a lady stashed at a place on 12th St. At least he thinks he has her stashed there. She doesn’t actually live there, though.”

“Do you know where she does live?”

“In a building on my street, actually. I saw her go in one time and delivered something from Jim’s office to the place that she has. At least up until this morning. When the word went out, I made a quick peek and the place was empty. My brother here actually tried to make a delivery for Jim this morning and she doesn’t live there anymore, according to the manager.”
The other kid said, “I’m Tom and I’ve done deliveries for Mr. Doolan to that building before. Today I couldn’t because she didn’t live there according to the manager.”

“So Jim tried to contact the lady and she wasn’t there? Thanks a lot boys. Hand me the address. Lunch is on me if you can get down to Bennies.”

I wrote down a pair notes to that effect and handed them to them with five dollar bills. After they left, Alex, who had been quietly standing in the door the whole time said, “That was fast. I didn’t expect results so quickly.”

“Neither did I. In any case you have an address to play with and I need to go over to the paper and try to convince Mr. Doolan to talk to me.”

“Well, we won’t be able to do very much until the boss gets back later this morning with the rest of our people. Don’t go looking after the lady by yourself.”
“I have an interview for lunch at Bennies today where I am going to be sharing Noro stories in exchange today.”

Alex grinned, “That will be a hard job.”

“It will be a rough thing to do, but somebody has to do it.” I waved and left for the the paper. When I arrived at the paper, several more kids had the goods on Jim and his affairs, so I handed out some more lunches and said to put the word out that I had what I needed, but to keep a bit of an eye on Jim. Then I called Sherry, “Sherry, this is Tim again. Do you think that Mr. Doolan would be willing to speak with me? It is rather important.”

“She left the phone for a bit and came back. Mr. Doolan says that he has said all that he is going to say in that interview with you yesterday. You will have to dig up your own dirt.”
“About that. Dirt is what he gave me and I really need to speak to him about that soon as possible. I’m hoping that he will speak to me as soon as possible.”

She tried again and the whispered, “He won’t speak with you, but he leaves at three thirty everyday.”
“Ok, I get the message.”

I hung up, did some work in preparation for today’s interview, went down to collect my car and drove over to Don’s office to pick him up. We had a great time as I told him about Tom’s Jacob’s, what Noro got up to and some of the other things that I had run into. We arrived at Bennies and Tony and Andy were there again so I paid Tony for the bottle yesterday and bought them lunches again. Then I sat down and did the interview. Since Suki was upstate today I was safe. At least from Suki. As lunch showed up Don said, this place has interesting people show up. Is that Dom Caliaberti?”

It was, having lunch with Tara. Dom saw me, waved me over and said, “Tim, are you and Suzy going to Sal’s for dinner tomorrow? We want to hear all about your adventures upstate.”

“Dom, Suzy hasn’t said yet. I’ll ask her tonight. She’s been making dinner and making me Swim every night this week.”
“That’s a good thing,” Tara said. “I’ll call Stella and set things up. Sillia says that we really missed something when we didn’t go up for the dance.”

I went back to our table and Don asked, “What did he want?”

“Nothing I want to just wave around. I’m meeting somebody and he wanted to make sure that it happened.”

“Troubleshooter issues?”

“Along those lines, yes. It’s not something that I can talk about to somebody not involved.”

I was hiding the fact that we were just setting up dinner at Sal’s place. On the other hand, I didn’t want it waved around that Dom and I were that connected.

“I’m glad that I don’t have to get that close to things like that.”

“It just sort of happened. The good part is that some very bad people were stopped from doing bad things to kids.”

“Better you than me.”

“Well it wasn’t big trouble this time. Just a little thing.”
“I’m glad. The food here is great. I can see why he comes here.”

“Just about everybody who comes here says the same thing. Bennie may be forced to open a bigger place or even his family won’t be able to get in.”
“We didn’t have any trouble.”
“I reserved a table for the week. Trust me, if I hadn’t we might not have been able to eat here.”

“Well I, at least need to get back to work, so we need to get back.”

“Thank you for the interview, I’m sorry that it was last minute.”

“Not at all. My wife chases Jorge’s columns looking for his secret places and she will want to come.”

We left and started back to Manhattan. Don said, “Did you buy this car with your bounty money? You must have made a mint with the Noro picture.”
“I didn’t because I didn’t hand that one over because Noro was offering me a job. This was my dad’s car. He had complications from his war inuries and can’t walk, so he gave me the car.”
“So that you can be his legs as need be. That was clever. What does he do?”
“He manages a bunch of businesses for people. His office is behind Bennies in fact and Bennies is part of it. There are a lot of other businesses.”
“Related to Dom’s”

“Dad’s businesses don’t. If other people’s do, they aren’t saying. I haven’t been a part of the business since I sort of ran away and sold papers. I think that dad wanted me to take over, but I got my break as a reporter and my girl lives near Manhattan, so I’m sticking with it.”

I figured that he could track dad’s businesses if he wanted. There wasn’t anything there that would raise any eyebrows on the surface. I dropped him off at his office and headed to the bureau. Mary was back at the desk today and when she saw me walk in she said, “Alex says that you had an interesting adventure yesterday.”
“Yes. At least it was a bit of a mystery. I’m going to see if I can talk to Mr. Doolan about the woman.”

“So what else have you been up to?”
“Interviews. I had Lou on Monday, Mr. Lehman on Tuesday, the Rockefellers on Wednesday with Suzy, the false Mr. Doolan yesterday and Mr. Metcalf today. I’ve also been Swimming with Suzy every day. She’s been insisting.”

“Well at least you are together. Are you going out to Sal’s on Saturday?”
“I sort have to. Dom asked me to and I said that I would talk to Suzy about it at dinner. The problem with that was that Dom did that at Bennies where I was having the interview and I had to dance around the fact that all we were doing was setting up dinner.”

Mary laughed. “I hope you didn’t tell the person that you we interviewing that you were family.”

“Not on your life. This guy already knows that Noro is family. If he knew that Dom and Tara were family too, I could be in real trouble.”

“It’s going to come out eventually.”

“Well, I’m not going to wave it around.”
“Mrs. Rockefeller called. She apparently had a wonderful time with you and Suzy and wanted to know more about the school. I connected her with Albert. That may work out for them.”

“Suki was at Bennies when they were there. She was her usual self.”

“That is to be expected. Did she say why she was there?”
“She was talking to my parents about arrgangements for Misako’s mother. She’s going to be staying at the bower and my parents were standing in for Meria.”

“Probably because Sal and Sillia were up at the Cape with the ladies. Josh was taking Misako’s father up to the Cape.”
“With Mera. They were going to surprise Nera when she was doing one of her shows.”

“I think that that will be wonderful. The family is getting together again.”

The phone rang and Mary picked it up. “Yes he just came in a few minutes ago.”
She turned to me and said, “Your car is here, isn’t it? Sarah is on the phone. Eli and Theresa are coming back on the two thirty train and she’s suggesting that you pick them up.”
“I want to be at Jim Doolan’s office when he leaves at three thirty.”
“Perfect. They can be in the car being discreet and look him over. Why doesn’t George go with you.”

George had bonded and closed the deal recently. So he had full use of his abilities. As far as Jim would know, I would be alone while I would have people in the car. For that matter Jonney was typically still there at three thirty. But I suspected that Jim thought of Jonney as part of the street by now. Certainly Jonney never shined Jim’s shoes or I would have remembered him. For that matter, I don’t think he ever bought a paper from me. Mary said to Sarah, “He’ll be on his way.”

She hung up the phone and dialed George’s number to have him come out. He did and we went downstairs together. “Alex told me what was going on somewhat. We really don’t want you confronting the man alone.”

“I wouldn’t be. His office is right next to Jonney’s corner.”
“Jonney is fae. He knows you very well too. So Jim would be in trouble and our mystery person would be as well. In any case we can get a discreet look at the man.”

We got into the car and I headed up to Grand Central. It was past two thirty when I managed to get up through the Manhattan traffic and make to the pick up point where Eli and Theresa were waiting. Theresa waved and I pulled over. George and Eli put the bags in the trunk and Eli got into the front seat. Eli said, “Sarah says that you have a mystery involving one of our favorite characters, Jim Doolan.”
“Why is he a favorite?”
“Because he’s easy money when somebody wants to vet a deal he’s involved in. almost inevitably there’s something shaky there. So we look for the issues and they usually aren’t hard to find.”

“He spilled his guts yesterday. At least somebody that was supposed to be him spilled his guts.”
“A doppelganger?” George asked.

“No, because apparently both Jim and the lady involved are still alive. The lady suddenly left the apartment where she entertained.”
“That does happen,” Theresa said. “A high class working girl typically has two apartments, one set up so that it can be abandoned on a moment’s notice if the client threatens her.”

“I did a scan after ‘Jim’ tried to compel me and under the shields the person seemed like a woman. Sarah said the vindictiveness was more like a woman as well. Whoever it was went well out of their way to ruin Jim. Somebody who knew him very well and had been collecting dirt on him.”

“A high class working girl would fit that bill perfectly,” Theresa said. “She’s fae, so she won’t mature and she may have been with Jim for some time even if Jim is not her sole client. She probably found out about the interview from him and you from the papers and thought that you were just a very lucky cub reporter who was right in the middle of the things that her bosses were interested in. She may also have family that she is protecting over there. As long as she is useful the Master’s Twisted will be told to keep a hands off. They probably also pay her. I imagine that Roger may have already started to look into that. Do you have her name yet?”

“One of the street kids came in this morning and had her address,” George said. “When Mary got into the office she sent somebody else to look into it and get the name. so we have it.”
It was just about three thirty when I drove down the street that Jim’s office was on and parked the car. I put my credentials in my hat and waited. He showed up at the door, saw me and said, “I don’t talk to reporters!”
“Mr. Doolan, you already have talked to me. I interviewed you yesterday.”
“I have never seen you before!”
“I know. I want to talk to you about that. Somebody managed to make themselves look almost exactly like you and then gave me enough to ruin you.”
“If I didn’t give you what you think you have, how can it ruin me?”
“I was supposed to believe that you had given it to me. Whoever did this thought that because I was young I would run right back to my paper and release the interview. Furthermore, I have done some checking and everything that I could check, did.” I handed him a carbon copy of the typed up interview. “I made a carbon copy of the interview for you. Go over it. You can reach me at my desk on Monday. There are some issues here that I can’t discuss and I believe that the interview was done in this manner to cover up actions by somebody else. Somebody who knew you intimately. We shouldn’t be discussing this here. If you want to talk to people about this issue, call this number.”
I gave him a car card, got back into the car and pulled away. Theresa said, “He has no shields at all, so he is definitely not fae. I didn’t feel you scan him, Tim.”
“I figured that you would and I didn’t want to reveal more than I already have in case our mystery lady was watching. Was she?”
“If she was, I couldn’t sense her,” Eli said. “Either she has very good shields and is very skilled at remaing discreet or she was not here. Let’s head over to the bureau and talk to Mary.”

I drove around the corner to the bureau’s building, parked the car and went upstairs. Mary saw us come in and said, “Eli! Theresa! We finally got you to come into the office.”
“With the Director and everything he had gone, who’s going to notice?” Theresa said. ‘Anything that might be left is going to be to concerned with protecting itself to be looking into the office or us. The rest of our clients don’t even know about the Director or anything that relates to him.”
“Now that the Director is gone how will you do without his money?”

“Very well,” Theresa said. “The Director had been a just a small part of the business for some time and now that he is gone, we can use the time for more productive things. Sarah wants to branch out into market research for companies and I want to write more. So we won’t be hurting at all.”

“We are just glad that he and what he represented are gone,” Eli said. “The big reason that we charged him what we did was to hurt him, even if it was only a little bit. But the end goal was to stop the director and shut down everything he had. Thanks to you and Tom, that has had been done.”

“So how did things go at the Cape?”

“Very well,” Eli said. “The ship was a lot of fun, we had a long talk with Altris, Theresa got to meet her other grandchildren and spoil them a bit, along with having a long talk with Stacey and the dancing show was wonderful.”

“Shouldn’t that be great grandma?”

“Not according to Dori,” Theresa said. “I look too nice to be an old thing, so I must just be a grandma. Who am I to argue with her?”

“The wisdom of a seven year old.” Mary said, laughing.

“Well yes,” Theresa said. “She is such a sweet child in any case. Wise too. Allen is a bit more quiet.”

“Of course the big surprise was the dance with all three of Noro’s daughters,” Eli said. “I think we are going to have to keep a very close eye on Chrissie.”
“Do you think that she arranged it?”

“She called Lou, she knew that Misako’s father was on his way and that her father and mother were going to be in the hotel with Suki and about the show. She may have even suggested it to her aunt before Nera went down to the Cape with Mike. So she had Eltra and Nera already there and arranged to have her mother come up. I think she wanted to make it happen fairly quickly while she could.”
“Why?”

“You will find out all too soon,” Theresa said. “I’m going to let Chrissie and Nera make the announcements.”

Mary had a huge smile on her face. “So Nera may not be working in the office for very long. This is wonderful news. You’re right and I will let her make the announcement.”

“Poor Tom is rather frightened of being a father. Mike just seems rather nunplussed about the whole thing.”

“He doesn’t panic very much. I’m certain that as things develop, that will come.”

The phone rang. Mary answered it and said, “Hello Stella. They are here.”

She waited for a bit and said, “Theresa, Stella and Suzy want you and Eli along with Helmut and I for dinner. Tim is to take you and Eli and we are to follow. We will be dining at the navy yard.”

“Suzy and the other girls have a very nice kitchen,” I said. “They are cooking meals there now and Suzy has been having me there every night this week. Did Stella say whether or not I should pick something up at the butcher shop?”

“She didn’t say. I would call Suzy and see.” She handed me the phone and I did. Stella answered and I said, “Stella, does Suzy want me to make a stop at the butcher shop on my way down?”

“No Tim. Mike is bringing some very nice veal. Your father and Karl are coming with some shellfish that your father gathered.”

“Karl?”

“Yes, his daughter is about that age and wants a look at the navy yard. So Karl and his wife are coming with his daughter.”

That was a surprise. Dad had not mentioned that ‘Uncle Karl” was sea folk. On the other hand, ‘Uncle Karl’ and his wife were good friends and even though Karl had his taxi company, he always seemed to be short of money. There had also been a lot of kids around his place. In fact a bunch of them were friends of mine. Anna was fourteen and I suspected that there was a tail in her future shortly.

Helmut came out and said, “You two seem pleased with yourselves, Eli. I guess that things went well up in Massachusetts.”
“They did, in so many ways. Noro had some fun with the ship, we talked to Altris about the business up there, had some time with Stacey and her kids and got to see all three of Noro’s daughters dance together.”

“That must have been amazing.”

“It was. Noro was so glad that they were back together again. Apparently there had been some stress in the family going back to the colonial days and they have resolved things.”

“Tim, I think that you need to get Eli and Theresa over to the navy yard before you get in trouble,” Mary said. “It’s past five and I suspect that Suzy will be looking for you.”
“I think that you are right. Eli, Theresa, I think that we need to get going before I’m in trouble.”

They laughed and we went to downstairs and I got the car going. As we pulled out, Theresa said, “In all the things that we have had going on, I think that today was the first time that we got a chance to ride in your famous car. We never did when Joe had it.”

“It was a good thing that I’ve been upstate so much I think that dad would have had me running more errands for him. On the other hand it has been useful this week for the interviews. It makes me look more established.”
“Did you park in Jim’s spot?”

“Only Thursday. Jim actually walked by while I was there. He’s been enjoying using the subway because he hears stories. His reporters don’t because he makes them follow up.”

“Roger does the same thing. He likes to hear things and watch the city around him.”
“I suspect that Vic will tell me to work up a story based in something I heard on the subway if I don’t do something myself.”

“Vic has done that with other young reporters, so you are probably right about that. Where is he today? I would have thought that he would working with you on the Doolan story.”

“He went up to the Olympics to stalk Noro.”
“To come up with something, probably something involving you,” Eli said.

“I’m afraid of that. I keep getting rumblings that they have known each other for a long time. I think that Noro’s wife restrained him somewhat. She was something special. The Rockefellers had stories about her and Suzy wanted to see her picture so we went to the children’s hospital she was responsible for and there was a huge picture of her on the wall sitting with a bunch of kids reading. The painting was done from a picture taken at Sal’s house. I recognized the painting in the parlor.”

“Did you get a copy of the picture yet?” Theresa asked

“Yes I did. I’m going to get a better print from the guy who took the picture on Monday. I’ve already talked with him about it. I want to have a picture done by that artist that Liltra liked that did those pictures at the house, the picture in the parlor and the big one in the ball room.”

“For Noro?”

“For the house. I want people to remember who she was and what the sharks took when they killed her. I’m also doing a piece about her with Vic when he gets back.”

“I think that Noro will like that. Especially of you and Sal just hang it in the house and he encounters it.”
“I’m hoping that I can keep things out of site when I do it. Of course Vic already knows.”
“Get Nera involved. She will want to be. Altris will too. Especially If he can get Noro thinking that you are up to something.”
“What did Noro do with the golems on the ship?”

“The captain and crew were all people who do various things in the summer in the Cape. Altris put it together. All of them were fae and had mermaid wives. Some of their daughters danced and played games with the French ladies children who were being watched by a dark fae schoolmistress type. Meanwhile Altris and George played people who worked for the owner and were being pushy and inflexible while the captain was dealing with the ship breaking down a bit. Then Noro made a big showing, Nera staged a dance because the schoolmistress said that there was not such thing as mermaids and since the major was willing to surrender without a fight, Mike just played Fed investigator. The thing that the Masters sent essentially cried when he found out how badly he had been had and Al shot him after he went into his Change. The school mistress lady committed suicide.”

“So the golems worked?”

“Marvelously. The major actually wanted us to bring in fae healers for the unconscious victims. We’ll go over things in detail when we have everybody there at the navy yard.”

“Where are Steve and Haruka? Are they still up in Newport?”

“Haruka insisted that Steve Swim back to the city with Mike, Nera, Josh and Mera. They are arriving Monday. The island is getting used tonight, the Wyandotte tomorrow night and the Mascot on Sunday. Josh also wanted to investigate a mysterious wreck that somebody told him about here in the city.”

“A mysterious wreck? I would have thought that the people up ther at the Cape knew all about the wrecks.”

“Their was a ship that sank in the storm in November. Apparently somebody was looking to recover an object from the ship and a tenant in Noro’s build gave Josh the heads up.”
“Are you going to be looking into it?”
“Only if Josh wants us to. I think that it depends on what he finds at the wreck. What are your plans for next week?”

“More of these interviews. I’ll be talking to people I know from my spot. I’m doing dad Monday and Josh Tuesday.”
Theresa got a little grin and said, “Dom on Wednesay.”

“Not unless Vic or John tells me to. I had one close call already when I was doing an interview today and Dom was at Bennies with Tara and wanted to know if I was going to be at Sal’s for dinner tomorrow. He and Tara want to know about everything that went on up there. I told him that I would talk to Suzy. I expect that she and Stella have already arranged for me to drive Suzy and my sister over. I had to dodge around the fact that I was connected to Dom. I couldn exactly tell the guy that I was interviewing that all we were doing was setting up dinner.”

Eli and Theresa laughed. Eli said, “I can imagine that telling him that would have led to some difficulties.”
“Especially after he already knew that I was related to Noro because I sort of dropped it right after Chrissie was taken to stifle the rush on Japanese issues.”

“People willfind out about you as time goes on. It’s not that much of a secret ttha you know the Troubleshooter and it’s public knowledge who he is married to, so people probably won’t be too surprised that you talk to Dom and Tara. When you and Suzy get married next year, a lot is going to come out just from the guest list.”
“One good thing is that with the treats diminished or destroyed the keystones won’t be nudging you or Suzy to have children as quickly,” Theresa said. “So Suzy won’t be so eager and you can just be together.”

“It’s been that way this week. I haven’t wanted to push. I’m not sure that I’m ready for kids yet.”
“Nobody ever is,” Eli said. “It’s going to be fun watching Tom and Chrissie deal with that.”
We pulled into that nayv yard and I parked near the pool at the kitchen. Theresa looked at it and the girls working away and said, “This is quite a setup for mermaids.”

“Well most of us are used to hot food and just fish and carb gets boring, Suzy said. The guys that train cooks wanted a galley set up like it is on a ship and there was this equipment that was just sitting waiting for a ship. Captain Farr knew about it and we set it up.”

Karl showed up with my dad, mom, his wife Lelia and his daughter, Anna. She looked at me and said, “Hi Tim! Is this Suzy?”

I introduced Suzy to them and Anna asked “How did you meet? Especially if Suzy was here.”

“Next door is the market where I was taking a picture on the pier over there while Suzy was dancing to give the crew of a battleship a send off. I got a picture of the battleship and Suzy spotted me.”

“He was snooping like he usually does,” Suzy said. Did he snoop as a kid?”

“He and my brother were always getting into things that he shouldn’t It was a good thing that he ran away to sell papers or he could have been in real trouble.”

“Bigger trouble than I am now? I have the Troubleshooter as a brother in law and high level snoops snooping on me now.”

I told everybody about ‘Jim’ and how ‘he’ was snooping on me.

“Well somebody was going to snoop on you,” Suzy said. “They wanted to know why the Colonel and his friends all disappeared.”
“What happened to them?” Anna asked.
“Tom’s dad and his family. They dealt with the werewolves, Tom and Doug replaced the Creator’s family with golems and my brother troubleshot the Academy. If you run into any more kid brothels or similar things, let Mary know.”

Suzy and I told everybody about the things that had gone on up there, the downfall of the Colonel, the daily Jacobs and Tom’s big gag at the party. Captain Farr said, “We’ve been lucky. Steve has been on best behavior this time around, probably because Haruka was on her way. On the other hand the Admiral sent me a message that Nera was going to get in touch with me about resources for training Steve’s people.”

“She and Steve were rather annoyed at how the werewolves and the rest were unprepared. So she wants Steve’s people given better training.”

“When I talked to the Navy department and mentioned her name, they already had some things from her as a result of her talking with the academy people right after Steve started at the Academy. She is actually fairly well known for her skills in choreography and training plans.”

“I thought that she spent all her time under sea.”
“Not according to Altris,” Eli said. “She made those noises to annoy Mera at first and then to see if Mera and Josh found out and spring something on her. But Mera got tied up with her government work and then taking care of things at the bower after Liltra was killed and her kids. Nera had some things up top and her shows, which were growing and she consulted with people. She also helped with the kids, especially after her mother died and Mera was so busy. When Steve entered the Academy she wanted to know what the training programs looked like and used some contacts she had up at the Cape.”

After a wonderful dinner, Stella and Suzy insisted that Mike and I go for a Swim and afterwards, Suzy and I found a place under a pier and watched the city until we fell asleep together.

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