Read One or the Other Online

Authors: John McFetridge

One or the Other (7 page)

BOOK: One or the Other
5.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“I can only help you if you help me,” Caron said. “I can't hold him back forever.”

“It was just me, Jesus Murphy, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.”

Dougherty slammed the guy's head onto the hood of the car and held it there, pressing his face into the still-warm steel.

Caron leaned down close to the guy and said, “Was it Peaky Boyle? We don't have to tell him we got it from you.”


“Big Jim Sadowski?”


Dougherty's hand was on the guy's neck then, and he lifted it up a little and then pressed down harder. “Come on.”

“I don't know, I don't know, it was just me, I swear.” He closed his eyes tight, scrunched up his whole face like he was trying to be a turtle and pull it into his shoulders.

Dougherty looked at Caron for direction.

“Look, no one thinks you did it by yourself.”

“I did, ask the old lady, I always work alone, I swear, if there was someone else, I'd tell you.”

Caron motioned for Dougherty to let the guy up and he did.

“Here.” Caron held out his smokes and the guy looked at Dougherty before he took one in a shaking hand.

Holding the match Caron said, “What's your name?”

“Billy,” the guy said, taking a drag and coughing as he let it out. He was still shaking. “Bill. William Greaves.”

“All right, Bill,” Caron said. He held up the paper band. “You did not hold up a Brink's truck by yourself. Tell me who you work with.”

Greaves laughed. He was taking another drag on the smoke and he laughed and coughed and laughed some more and said, “Holy shit, is that what you think I did?”

“Where did you get the money?” Caron said.

Greaves was settling down. He put the cigarette in his mouth and inhaled and tilted his head back, letting out a long stream of smoke towards the traffic going by on the Bonaventure above them.

“I got that from a nice old lady in Westmount. Told her I was a bank inspector.”

“Shit,” Caron said, “that still works?”

Greaves shrugged. “Sometimes.”

They put him back in the car and drove to HQ on Bonsecours Street. Caron told Dougherty to take Greaves into the detectives' office on the third floor and process him, making it sound like a big deal, like real detective work, and Dougherty tried to let him know he wasn't buying it except he was.

It felt good, sitting at the desk, taking the statement, walking Greaves through and making sure he got everything: how Greaves phoned the old lady and told her he was working for the bank, checking into what might be a crooked teller, how she could help by withdrawing two thousand dollars. Greaves met her in Place d'Armes, two blocks from the bank and took the money, thanking her, telling her there was a problem all right, the teller had slipped her counterfeit bills and he'd have to continue his investigation.

“And then you just walked straight to the strip joint?” Dougherty said.

“It was the guilt. It was weighing on me, I had to get rid of the money.”

“Yeah, two bucks a dance, it would take a while.”

Greaves said, “Two bucks? Didn't you see her, it was five, and another three dances and she was coming back to my room at the hotel.”

Dougherty finished up the paperwork, checking it three times to make sure he had everything and then he called dispatch to send a uniform to take Greaves to Parthenais and process him.

When that was done, when the uniform had taken Greaves away, the detective office was quiet. Dougherty felt good, he felt like he could do this job and be good at it and now he was feeling that he really didn't want to go back to uniform. Nothing against it, it was good work, useful work, sometimes it felt like he was doing something really worthwhile breaking up a fight before some drunk killed his own wife or helping people at the scene of a car accident, lots of things like that, but detective work — it just felt better to Dougherty.

He was getting ready to leave when Caron came back into the office, already a couple of drinks in him, and said, “All right, you finished? Let's go give the girls the reward.”

“The reward's for information on the Brink's job, nothing for this small-time fraud.”

“We can still show our appreciation,” Caron said.

Dougherty didn't want to go back to the strip club but he didn't want to go home either, so he said, “Okay, let's go.”

They were still there around ten when Dougherty realized his beeper was going off.

He was sitting at the bar with his back to the stage, though he could see the dancer in the mirror, and listening to the song, a girl's name, something like Lorelei, though Dougherty had never heard that name before, and the words, “Let's live together,” over and over. He was thinking maybe that's what he and Judy should do, just live together, not get married at all. Judy might go for that. He'd just have to keep it a secret from his mother. And his father.

In the back by the washrooms, Dougherty found a pay phone and called in.

Ste. Marie answered, “Where the hell is Caron? I called him three times.”

“I can find him.”

“Can you find him in the next five minutes?”

“Yeah,” Dougherty said, “he's here with me now. You want us to come in?”

“No, we'll pick him up, where are you?”

“You know the Disco-Salon, on LeRoyer?”

“Should have known you'd be in a strip club. Sober him up and wait out front, we'll be there in five minutes.”

Dougherty pulled Caron out from under a dancer and dragged him out to the sidewalk in front of the club. He was thinking along the way how Ste. Marie had said to sober “him” up and that they'd pick “him” up but it didn't really register until the unmarked car pulled up and Ste. Marie, in the passenger seat, said to Caron, “Let's go.”

Caron climbed in the back and as Dougherty leaned in he saw Paquette in the driver's seat. Dougherty said, “Where to?” but he had a feeling what was coming.

“It's not the whole squad,” Ste. Marie said. “We got a tip on the shooter from Peg's, we don't want to spook him.”

“Just you three going?”

“A couple others, they're watching his place now.”

“Whose place?”

Ste. Marie said, “We'll bring him in tonight, let him sweat, talk to him tomorrow. Be at the office by ten.”

Then Paquette pulled a U and Dougherty watched the car turn onto St. Laurent and gun it. He was pissed off and feeling like he was being pushed out of the special squad but he didn't know what to do about it.

He started to walk back to Bonsecours, thinking he'd just go home, but he saw a pay phone and called Judy.

She said, “Yeah, sure, we can complain about your job and my lack of a job.”


Dougherty got to the bank office at ten but there was no one there, so he went down to the greasy spoon on the corner and had eggs and sausages and toast. He was finishing his second cup of coffee when Caron came in and sat down on the next stool.

, did you hear everything?”

“I didn't hear anything.”

Juste un café.
To go.” He turned to Dougherty. “What a fuck-up, where you been?”

“What happened?”

“It was crazy.”

“Have you been up all night? Why didn't you call me?”

The guy behind the counter put a couple of paper coffee cups with plastic lids on them in front of Caron and Dougherty put down a five-dollar bill.

On the way to the bank office, Caron said, “It was Big Jim Sadowski.”

“You're sure?”

“Oh yeah. We had his place staked out last night, apartment building on Sherbrooke, corner of Benny, you know it?”

“Yeah,” Dougherty said, “new one, fifteen storeys, all concrete.”

They went into the bank building and passed the elevator, taking the stairs up to the fourth floor.

“We waited in the garage below the building. Big Jim was at Peg's, we knew that.”

Caron was out of breath by the second floor. Dougherty was a few steps ahead, and he stopped and looked back. He had a feeling what was coming, but he let Caron tell it.

“We waited for a couple hours, it was after three when he got there.”

“To the garage,” Dougherty said.

“Yeah.” Caron started up the stairs again, passing Dougherty. “Fucker started shooting as soon as he saw us.”

Dougherty said, “Shit, anybody hurt?” But he was glad Caron was ahead of him then and not looking at his face. Dougherty knew what had happened and he listened while Caron told him how Sadowski got out of his car and Ste. Marie told him to put up his hands and Sadowski said, “Fuck you,” and pulled out his gun and everybody started shooting.

“Hit the bastard twenty times,” Caron said. “But we got lucky, he didn't hit any of our guys.”

“That's good.”

Caron didn't look back and said, “Yes, it is.” He pushed open the door from the stairwell and walked down the hall to the office they were using.

Half the squad was there but Dougherty didn't see Ste. Marie or Laperrière.

Caron went over to a corner where a couple of guys were talking quietly.

“Hey.” One of the older guys Dougherty didn't know came up to him and said, “Say you see a guy and a girl and she has a black eye, what do you think?”

Dougherty said, “I think he's going to jail.”

The guy looked surprised for a second and then he said, “Yeah, you'd think he hit her, right?”


“Well,” the guy looked back at the other cops he'd been talking to, drawing them in for a kind of audience, and he said, “that's one way of looking at it, sure, but maybe she just wouldn't shut up,” and he broke out in a big smile and laughed.

The other guys laughed, too.

Dougherty said, “Funny.” He knew there was a time he would've laughed, too, trying to be one of the guys with all these detectives, but he didn't feel it now. Then he saw Paquette leaning against a desk off by himself a little, and Dougherty walked over and said, “That was bad last night.”

“Incroyable. The noise in that garage.”

“Sadowski just started shooting?”

“Like the punks say, it happened so fast.” Paquette finished off the coffee in his paper cup and tossed it into the garbage can. “They say there is a contract out on Ste. Marie and Laperrière.”

“Who says that?”

“It's on the street.” Paquette shrugged. “All these raids, all the bars we're busting, these guys can't do any business. They're going to fight back.”

“You believe that, there's a contract?”

“Fifty grand, they say.”

Dougherty said, “Shit.” He figured it was possible. It sounded crazy, like a movie, but it could be real. Fifty grand wasn't that much if you were sitting on two and a half million.

“Where are they now?”

“With the chief.”

“Shit. And we just wait.”

“We need some results,” Paquette said. “Soon. We need to find the money.”

Dougherty said, “Yeah,” but he didn't think very much of that money was still in the city. He was surprised to hear him say that's what they were still looking for, he figured Paquette was a lot closer to the heart of this investigation, all the time he was spending with the top guys, Ste. Marie and Laperrière, and they'd know it was long gone, but Dougherty didn't say anything.

The phone rang and Caron picked up the receiver. He spoke quietly and then didn't say anything for a while, just listened, not looking too happy about it, and then said, “
Bon, c'est correct.
” He put the receiver back down on the phone and said, “Okay, it was a long night — we're not going to get anything done today. Let's meet back here tomorrow morning at ten.”

Pas ce soir


Dougherty started to leave, but Caron stopped him and said, “Carpentier wants to see you.”

“What does he want?”

“How would I know? He's in the office.”

Dougherty walked the few blocks to Bonsecours Street HQ and went up to the fourth-floor homicide office. Carpentier was at his desk talking on the phone, and he waved Dougherty over as he was saying, “
Bon, oui, maintenant.
” He hung up and said, “So, you're not too busy today?”

“Some guys were up all night.”

“Everybody's talking about it,” Carpentier said.

“What are they saying?”

Carpentier shrugged. “What's to say?”

“What can I do for you?”

“A body was found this morning in the river in Montreal East. It's been taken to the coroner. He won't be doing the autopsy until tomorrow, but I want you to go and see if it's a homicide.”

“And if it is?”

“Come and tell me.”


Dougherty walked out of the office, thinking he wasn't sure if he would rather be Carpentier's gofer or be left on the sidelines of the big moves by the special squad.

“Come on,” Dougherty said, “even I can see those are rope marks around his neck.”

“Doesn't mean it was homicide.”

The body was male, probably between fifteen and twenty years old, and he'd been in the water awhile, but the marks on his neck were clear. He was naked from the waist up but he was still wearing shoes and jeans and the belt was tight.

Dougherty said, “So, what happened, he tried to hang himself and when that didn't work he went swimming?”

The technician said, “You'll find out when Dr. Robillard performs the autopsy.”

“When will that be?”

“I don't know, he has a few to do before this one. I don't know how long they will take.”

“It would help with the homicide investigation if we could start right away.”

“If it's a homicide.”

Dougherty started out of the morgue, saying, “Is he in his office?”

A woman in a police uniform was coming in then, and she looked past Dougherty and said, “
Est-ce que c'est le garçon qu'on a sorti de la rivière?

The technician was closing the drawer and said, “
Demandez au Docteur Robillard.

She said, “
Laissez-moi voir.

The drawer was closed.

Dougherty spoke French, saying, “Who are you?” He didn't recognize the uniform.

The woman said, “Who are you?”

“I'm Detective Dougherty.”

“Sergeant Legault, Police de Longueuil.”

Dougherty figured she was somewhere between twenty-five and thirty-five, it was hard to tell because unlike most of the other policewomen he knew, this Sergeant Legault wasn't wearing any make-up and her hair was short.

She said, “I believe that's Mathieu Simard.”

“He's been missing?”

“For three days, yes.” She looked at the morgue technician and said, also in French, “You were supposed to call me.”

“After the autopsy.”

“As soon as the body came in.”

“Talk to Dr. Robillard.”

“I will.” She turned and walked out of the room.

Dougherty caught up with her at the elevator. “He's from Longueuil?”

“Yes, both of them.”

“There are two missing?”

The elevator door opened and Legault said, “Yes, him and his girlfriend.”

“Is she still missing?”

“No,” Legault said as the elevator doors closed. “Her body washed up on Île du Fort yesterday.”

Dougherty waited a moment then turned and walked out of the Parthenais building. He was a little disappointed that the homicide would have to be turned over to the Longueuil police, but he was also relieved. Couple of teenagers in the river, unless there was a very good witness, which Dougherty just knew there wouldn't be, it didn't seem likely an investigation would go anywhere.

At the homicide office Carpentier said, “You met Sergeant Legault, that's good.”

Dougherty said, “Why is that good?”

“You'll be working together.”


“The Longueuil police do not have a dedicated homicide squad,” Carpentier said. “And they asked us to lead the investigation.”

“They asked us?”

Carpentier stood up from his desk. “Captain Allard and I know each other, he used to work here. He asked me to take it.” He picked up his empty mug. “Would you like a coffee?”

“No, thanks.”

“I'll coordinate the investigation.”

Dougherty said, “And I'll work it?”

“With Sergeant Legault, yes.” Carpentier walked back to his desk and sat down.

“What about the Brink's squad?”

“After last night, and Levine still in the hospital,” Carpentier said, “they're not sure how it will continue.”

Dougherty said, “I heard Ste. Marie and Laperrière were talking to the chief.”

“The squad may be reduced. Would you rather go back to uniform at Station Ten?”

“No, I'd like to work this,” Dougherty said.

“Good. There's not much information yet, two teenagers went to a concert at —” he checked his notes “— Place des Nations, and then never returned home. Now the bodies have been found.”

“So, they went into the river somewhere.”

“Sergeant Legault has been working it as a missing persons, now it's homicide.”

“The autopsy's been done?”

“It will be a homicide,” Carpentier said. “Go and see Captain Allard this afternoon. Three o'clock.”

Driving over the Jacques Cartier Bridge, Dougherty was thinking he was pleased to be working a homicide even if the circumstances weren't ideal. He drove off the bridge past the only tall building, the Holiday Inn by the Métro station, and then through the old Longueuil downtown. Some of the buildings were over a hundred years old, and Dougherty had some memory from high school about Fort Longueuil being built in the late 1600s and occupied by American troops during their revolutionary war.

The police station was a modern two-storey building. Dougherty went in and asked the desk sergeant for Captain Allard and then said, “
Il m'attend.

The desk sergeant looked like he didn't believe it, but he picked up the phone and grunted a few words and then said, “Upstairs, down the hall.”

A receptionist stood up from behind a little desk outside the captain's office as Dougherty approached and spoke French, saying, “Hello, Detective, would you like anything? A cup of coffee or tea?”

Dougherty said, “No, thank you,” and he was surprised she'd called him detective. He figured Carpentier must have referred to him by that rank so he wasn't about to correct anyone.

“All right, you may go in.”

Dougherty thanked her and walked into Captain Allard's office.

“Detective Dougherty, I hope you didn't have any trouble finding us.”

“No,” Dougherty said, surprised Allard was speaking English and not sure if he was making a joke or not. “I lived in Greenfield Park for a while, my parents still do.”

“Oh well, Greenfield Park is not Longueuil, but it's close.”

The captain seemed to be smiling a little, and Dougherty figured he was joking. Ingratiating a little, like a politician, which wasn't surprising — Dougherty figured it took a little politics to become a captain.

Then Allard stopped smiling and said, “I'm glad
tienne will be coordinating this investigation, very unpleasant business,” and it took a moment for Dougherty to realize that
tienne was Carpentier's first name.

He said, “Yes, very unpleasant.”

“When Manon Houle's body was found, we were hoping it was not a homicide.”

“You weren't sure?”

“I suppose we still aren't sure,” Allard said. He picked up a file on his desk and held it out for Dougherty. “The autopsy report.”

The phone rang, and Allard picked up the receiver as Dougherty took the file.

Then the door opened and Legault came into the office, saying, “
Désolée, je suis en retard.

Allard switched to French, saying, “Do you have the autopsy report for Mathieu Simard?”

“Yes.” She handed a file to Allard.

As he was reading, Allard continued in French, “You've met Detective Dougherty?”

“Yes, sir.”

Allard closed the file and said, “
. So, both of them had water in their lungs and also bruising on their necks.”

Neither Dougherty nor Legault said anything.

“Not much else here. You better get started.”

BOOK: One or the Other
5.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Bloodless Knights by Strasburg, Melissa Lynn
Beachcomber by Karen Robards
Cécile is Dead by Georges Simenon
A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin
On the Bare by Fiona Locke
Up in Flames by Tory Richards
Lieberman's Folly by Stuart M. Kaminsky