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Authors: John McFetridge

One or the Other (10 page)

BOOK: One or the Other
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CHAPTER
NINE

The newspaper reporter Keith Logan said, “You forget to put on your uniform?”

Dougherty said, “Temporary assignment.”

“You're setting a record for that,” Logan said. “You might have to buy more than one suit.”

“I'll have to get Yvon Lambert to come with me to Dorion Suits,” Dougherty said, “I always get too much as-ole,” saying “hassle” in a heavy French accent like the hockey player did in the TV commercials.

“Hey,” Logan said, “did you see the Hatfields and McCoys ended their feud? It was in the paper.”

“Did you write the article?”

“No,” Logan said, “it came in on the wire. They had a ceremony in a cemetery, three hundred people and a couple of ministers, one was a Hatfield and one was a McCoy. They put up a monument.”

“A monument to a feud?”

Dougherty was looking past Logan to the group of cops standing around a car parked behind a fairly new drab concrete three-storey apartment building backing onto the lane off Avenue du Chaumont. The other side of the lane was the back of some very nice hundred-year-old brick houses that faced Parc La Fontaine, so it was possible that was where the dead body in the car had lived or was visiting, but if Dougherty had to guess he'd say it was more likely they'd be walking up the winding wrought-iron staircases on the back of the apartment building and canvassing there.

“Yeah,” Logan said. “A monument to a feud. They're not sure what started it, probably something in the civil war, and it killed over a hundred people.”

“If the guy in that car is a biker,” Dougherty said, “we might have a feud to match it.”

“I wonder where they'll put the monument when it's all over?”

“How about in there, next to Dollard des Ormeaux, that's a good monument.”

“This used to be Logan Park, did you know that?”

Dougherty said, “No, I didn't.”

“Long time ago. It was the Logan farm before that.”

“You get a piece of it?”

Logan said, “Before my time.” He leaned over and looked past the backs of the houses and said, “I used to go to the zoo in there.”

“I think I only came here in the winter,” Dougherty said, “to the ice castle and a little skating.”

“So, let me know if he's a biker.”

Dougherty started to walk into the lane and said, “I'll let you know when there's an official statement.” He saw Carpentier standing by the trunk of the car, a Ford, and walked towards it. The sun was coming up, but it wouldn't hit the lane for a few more hours and the sky was filled with clouds so it was dark enough that Dougherty couldn't make out any features on the dead guy, though it was definitely a guy with long hair and a bushy beard sprawled on the back seat.

Carpentier said, “Do you know him?”

“I don't think so.”

“Gaëtane Gagnon.”

“Then I do know him,” Dougherty said. “Drug dealer.”

“Yes, cocaine.”

“I thought he only sold hash.”

Carpentier said, “They all have cocaine now.”

“Was he shot?”

Carpentier started walking out of the lane. “It looks like it, yes.” He stopped and got out his cigarettes. As he held the lighter to the smoke, he said, “I was wondering, do you know if he dealt much with the Point Boys?”

“Yeah, I saw him with the younger Higgins a few times,” Dougherty said.

“When was the last time?”

“Back in the winter, January, probably. We got that big shipment of hash at the airport, busted the baggage handlers. Streets were dry for a couple of weeks.”

“That's when Gagnon started to deal with Higgins?”

“That's the first time I saw him in the west end,” Dougherty said. “I don't know when he started dealing with them.”

“All right,” Carpentier said. “Good.” He took a drag and blew out smoke, saying, “How's it going in Longueuil?”

“Good. I met the detectives in charge.”

Carpentier nodded. “Allard is under some pressure now. From within, you know what I mean?”

“I talked to Legault,” Dougherty said. “It doesn't matter to us.”

“That's good. This job,
câlisse
,” Carpentier said. “It's bad enough with them,” he motioned to the dead guy in the car, “and then the office politics?
Merde
.” He shrugged. “Keep me posted.”

Dougherty said, “For sure,” and walked back to his car. He saw Logan was still there, writing in a notebook, and he said, “Now all you need is a fedora and one of those little cards that says
Press
.”

“So, is he a biker?”

Dougherty said, “Don't quote me.”

“I never do.”

“Then, no, he's just a guy.”

“So this isn't part of the mob war?”

Dougherty had the car door opened and he stopped. “What?”

“There's talk, haven't you heard it? It's coming out because of the trial, the Dubois Brothers.”

“Was that in the paper, too? You should stick to the Hatfields and McCoys.”

“Dubois said it's all talk. He said if he's in the Queen E hotel someone says he owns it.”

“What's he doing in the Queen E?” Dougherty said.

“Funny. They're saying Dubois is getting squeezed downtown — the Point Boys are moving too far east.”

“Did you watch
The Godfather
again?”

“Come on,” Logan said. “The Olympics are going to be the biggest party in the world and someone's going to sell a ton of drugs to keep the party going.”

Dougherty had his hand on the car door and he said, “Sounds like you already know everything about it.”

“Who's the guy in the car? He a dealer?”

Dougherty sat down behind the wheel, but before he closed the door he said, “Off the record, yeah, and you're right about the drugs.”

A couple of blocks through the residential neighbourhood, and Dougherty turned onto Papineau and then headed across the Jacques Cartier Bridge to Longueuil. Traffic was heavy and moving slowly coming into the city but heading to the south shore during morning rush hour was quick. Dougherty was thinking that for the newspapers the idea of a mob war was probably exciting, lots to write about, and he might have found the idea kind of exciting himself a few years ago, but now all he saw was dead guys in cars and lanes and talking to mothers and fathers and wives and girlfriends and sadness and anger. Cops would make a lot of gallows jokes and lots of people would find angles to help themselves.

It was almost nine when Dougherty got to the Longueuil police station. He waited in the parking lot until he saw Legault pull in and walked towards her car.

“Good morning.”

She got out, saying, “
Déj
à
?

She was wearing a suit, grey jacket and tight grey slacks that flared below the knee, a white blouse and a blue silk scarf, looking like Angie Dickinson on
Police Woman
but her hair was short and dark instead of long and blonde. And she wasn't as confident.

Dougherty spoke French, saying, “My first name's Eddie, by the way.”

“Francine.”

He figured she was close to his own age, close to thirty, already a sergeant so she must be doing something right.

“All right, Francine, let's get to work.”

The meeting with Captain Allard and the detectives went exactly the way Dougherty figured it would. Detective Boudreau and Detective Lefebvre gave out the assignments — they'd be reinterviewing the friends and families of the victims, and Dougherty and Legault would talk to bus drivers, ticket takers at the Métro and the people who were working at Place des Nations during the concert.

Businesslike, polite and, without saying it, clear they thought Legault had missed something. She didn't say anything during the meeting, and Dougherty made sure not to look at her as the detectives did all the talking. Then he and Legault got out of there as soon as they could.

In the parking lot, Legault said, “They've already made up their minds.”

“They have.” Dougherty stood by his car and said, “I'll drive, if that's okay.”

“We're just going to the Métro station, it's not far.”

“Maybe we'll go there later,” Dougherty said.

Legault looked more interested now and said, “Later?”

“Come on.” Dougherty got in and started the car. When Legault was in the passenger seat, he pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the bridge. “You know they're not going to get anything from the friends and families.”

“All they'll get is grief,” Legault said.

“So, we're going to do what we would have done anyway.”

They passed through where the tollbooths had once been and headed onto the bridge.

Legault said, “Yes, but the families shouldn't have to go through the questioning again.”

“And they'll feel like no one is actually working on the case,” Dougherty said. “I hear you.”

As they crested the high point and started down on the Montreal side of the bridge, past the second of the two tall steel spires topped with finials that looked like little Eiffel Towers, Dougherty got into the right-hand lane and slowed down, taking the exit for
Île Sainte-Hélène
. The off-ramp from the bridge curved around a large five-storey brick building. When the road straightened out at the bottom of the ramp on the island, Dougherty pulled over and stopped.

“Come on, let's see what we've got.”

Legault got out of the car, too, and they walked over the grass to the door to the building and the stairway that led up to the bridge's surface.

Inside the wide stairwell it smelled of urine, and as they got to the first landing Legault stopped and looked through a boarded-up opening and said, “Why is this building so big?”

“I don't know,” Dougherty said. “I think it used to be a warehouse for the city. I think I smell horseshit, too.”

At the top of the stairs, they stepped onto the bridge, and Dougherty stopped. There was a railing about four feet high dividing the sidewalk from the roadway.

Legault said, “Once a month we get a call about a jumper on this bridge.”

“You get the call in Longueuil?”

“Harbour Patrol are supposed to respond, but if the jumper is past halfway towards the south shore, they usually call us.”

“You've responded?”

“A few times, yes.” Legault was looking down over the side of the bridge at the rushing St. Lawrence River. It was over a mile wide at this point. “Some we talk down.”

Dougherty said, “That's good.”

He walked a few feet along the sidewalk, then stopped and looked around. “They left the concert around ten, so it was dark. It would have been easy for someone to surprise them on the stairs, follow them up here.”

“But why?”

Dougherty walked back into the building and looked at the boards covering the old doorway. He pulled it aside easily and stepped through the opening.

The room was big and dark, with a high ceiling and window openings on every wall. There were steel I-beam pillars in long rows but otherwise the place was empty. Dougherty walked to the windows facing east; the openings were covered with steel mesh, like a fence, and there were a lot of pigeons coming and going.

“It's a nice view,” Dougherty said.

“Look at this.”

Legault was on the other side of the room, in a dark corner, bent over examining something. She looked over her shoulder as Dougherty approached.

He said, “Yeah, that's what we're looking for.”

Legault stood up with a length of rope in her hand, maybe two feet, frayed at both ends. “Maybe there will be fingerprints.”

“We can hope.”

“It won't prove anything.”

“It's something,” Dougherty said.

He started walking towards the stairs and Legault said, “
Mon Dieu
.” She was staring out the windows overlooking
Île Sainte-Hélène
and the old Expo 67 site. Many of the pavilions were closed, but some were still operating as Terre des Hommes and the roller coasters and other rides of the amusement park, La Ronde, were still in use.

Dougherty said, “Wow.”

A plume of black smoke was rising from the biosphere, the huge geodesic dome that was the American pavilion at Expo.

Legault said, “The fire is spreading so fast.”

“The dome is covered with acrylic,” Dougherty said. “I worked construction there in '66. The rest of it is steel, it won't burn.”

The black smoke continued to rise, looking like a giant tornado.

“The fire is just at the top,” Legault said.

Dougherty said, “Yeah,” but watched it spread down around the sides of the dome. “We better get going before they close the bridge.”

“The pavilion on the Jacques Cartier Bridge,” Rozovsky said. “It was going to be a casino and a ballroom, there were big plans.”

“What happened?”

“The Depression. It was in all the papers, you must've heard about it.”

“Yeah, my parents said something about it,” Dougherty said. “So it just sat there empty?”

They were in the evidence room. Dougherty had introduced Legault to Rozovsky, but the conversation was in English.

“When the war started, the army took it over. One of my uncles said that's where he had to report when he signed up. Then they used it for storage.”

“During the war?”

“And I think afterwards the ground floor was a stable,” Rozovsky said. “Might've been police horses.”

“It smelled like horseshit. And piss.”

Rozovsky came to the table in the middle of the room with the file they were looking for. He spread the pictures on the table and looked at Legault. “You have the rope?”

Dougherty said, “
La corde
.”

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