“We have to do something about the situation in the Northeast, Mr. Cummings.” The voice that came through the telephone sounded tinny.
“What situation?” The Attorney General asked while shuffling some papers around as he looked for a pen to sign the paperwork in front of him.
There was a short pause, then a sigh. “Have you not been briefed about the situation, Mr. Cummings?”
“Should I have?” Mr. Cummings was getting impatient. He had a dinner at the White House to get to and the President really liked punctuality. “Listen, can we make this short? I’m in a hurry.”
The man at the other end of the line chuckled. “Yes, I know,” he said. “Dinner with the President. I will be there too. I’m actually calling from the White House now, I just didn’t think this was appropriate dinner conversation for tonight. At least not all of it.” He drew a breath. “Anyway, in short: we have a serious problem in the Northeast. Guns are coming into the Mid-Atlantic in massive amounts to all the big crime syndicates. Even the Luciano family gets their weapons from this guy. Top of the line guns, rifles, whatever they want. And not just guns, although that is our most pressing problem.”
By now the Attorney General was listening attentively. “Do we have a lead on where the guns enter the country and who’s behind this?”
“Yes sir, we finally pinned it down to a small coastal town in Maine, but whoever’s behind this has managed to stay in the shadows so far. We wanted to ask your approval to send a team of investigators up there … and have that be a BOI operation. It’s a special team, but the New York police doesn’t exactly have jurisdiction up there.”
“Why would I grant your team BOI status? What’s so special about this team? The BOI usually handles these cases, and quite well, Mr. Valentine. They brought in Capone after all.”
“This is … different. The previous commissioner put the investigators together especially for this mission, and they’ve been working on it for many months now. They’re uniquely suited for the mission, and frankly, I’m afraid any other team simply would not be nearly as effective.”
The Attorney General thought about that for a moment. “All right,” he finally decided. “I will hand that team of yours BOI status for the duration of the mission. Just remember that they will be held to an even higher standard than your police department, Commissioner.”
“And I’m sure they will make you proud, sir. Thank you for your trust,” Commissioner Valentine replied. “One more thing,” he added after a short breath. “The lead investigator is a woman.”
The Attorney General almost dropped the receiver. “A woman? Is that really necessary? Or wise?”
“I didn't like it much myself at first, sir, but she has proven her worth. I’ll tell you about her when we have a moment at dinner.”
“All right then,” the Attorney General agreed. “See you then.”