David Krejci waits at the train station dressed in a long coat to keep him warm and a hat with the brim pulled low over his eyes to keep him unnoticed. He’s is waiting for his nephew, David Pastrnak, who comes every summer to stay with his uncle in Boston. It’s not necessary for him to be hiding in the shadows but by now it’s a force of habit, considering his line of work as a private eye working in Boston.
Never know who might be watching.
A train chugs into the station, steam billowing behind it. David approaches the train and waits for the doors to open. It’s not long before his nephew is stumbling out, dragging his heavy suitcase. David calls out to him and Pasta, a fond nickname for his favourite relative, looks up with eager eyes. Pasta abandons his luggage to launch himself at his uncle.
“Krej!” The two of them hug tightly; glad to see each other after nearly a year of letters across the sea. “You came to pick me up!”
“Of course I did,” David grins at Pasta. “I always will.”
The two of them make their way to the tram lines smiling, David carrying Pasta’s luggage as he chats his uncles ear off, catching him up on all that has happened while they’ve been apart.
Pasta stops in the middle of telling David about this time back in Czechoslovakia when he and some buddies played some roller hockey. Pasta looks around, takes in his surroundings of the tram car and turns back to David.
“Why are we using the tram? What happened to your car?”
David laughs, “Took you this long to notice Pasta, your skills of observation leave a lot to be desired.”
Pasta punches David’s shoulder and David makes an over exaggerated wince in order to make Pasta collapse into giggles.
“We’re not all master Detectives, Uncle. No, seriously – what happened, did it break or…?”
“Something like that.”
“Was it a case?” Pasta whispers, as if he’s breaking some rule speaking about David’s job aloud.
“Nothing like that, Pasta,” David pats him on the head when he pouts; disappointed he won’t get some wild story from his uncle.
Pasta was right though, David’s car getting fixed at the shop is to with a case e’s on. He can’t tell his nephew that though – Pasta has always been intrigued by what David does, always eager to hear tales of speakeasies and detective work and helping those that need it. He’s a good kid, one of the best, and David will do anything to protect him – especially while he’s under his care, here in a foreign country during a time of unease.
That’s why David can’t tell Pasta the real reason, which is that he’s getting closer and closer to cracking open what will no doubt be the biggest case of his career.
Later that night David is sitting in his home office looking over the previous day’s work. He had helped a male client figure out where his company funds were being embezzled and he had found an old lady’s missing cat (David takes on all work that comes his way). Pasta knocks on his door, standing at his door dressed up in a button up and nice shoes.
“Hey Krej,” Pasta starts. “I was just,” he motions behind himself.
“You’re going out?” David guesses, “Where?”
“To see a friend.”
“A friend?” David frowns, “Which friend?”
“A penpal. We’ve been speaking for the past few months, I know them well.”
“Can’t it wait until tomorrow? It’s late, Pasta.”
“I promised to meet them.” Pasta looks at David pleadingly. “I’ll come back soon, don’t worry Krej.”
David sighed, “Okay, go have fun.” Pasta cheered, “Just… be careful.” David continued, “This city…”
Pasta rolled his eyes, “Yes, yes. I’ll be careful. Good luck with your boring paperwork!” David listened to his nephew bound down the hallway and out the door. He gave a smile at his energetic nephew.
He was jolted out of his pleasant mood by the harsh siren of a police car going down the street. On impulse David hand had clenched around the pencil he was holding, snapping it.
David felt the urge to chase down Pasta and bring him back home immediately. This city was a wild animal and he feared for Pasta, someone so carefree and full of life, surviving in such a place.
It’s been a week since Pasta came down to visit David and he’s starting to get worried.
Previous times that Pasta has come to America to stay with his Uncle he spent his time viewing the city, doing touristy things and spending time with David.
(Last year, when Pasta visited, David had taken Pasta on a case with him - he’d made Pasta promise not to tell his parents. It had been a flashy case, involving a local movie star and her beau. She felt like was someone was spying on her, constantly watching. She’d told David that it was her ex, angry that she’d dumped him, she claimed. David wasn’t so sure – that old story very rarely held any truth to it. But, she’d been worried, so David had checked it out.
David and Pasta had gone to talk to the old flame and found him happily married, with a baby on the way. So, there went that lead. Sure… he might have still been the stalker, the happy family man just a front… but David liked to think he knew a happy man when he saw one.
So back to the glimmering gal they went only to find she had fired all of her staff and was refusing all visitors for fear of her life. The only person she would see was her beau, the gorgeous strapping lad 10 years her junior who looked like he’d come fresh off the silver screen himself.
The whole thing smelled fishy to David so he and Pasta had snuck into her manor, slipping in through an open door. They’d found the two of them in the master bedroom, her sleeping and him preparing to pounce.
Upon seeing a strange man looming over the defenceless woman Pasta had yelled out at the man, causing the sleeping lady to awaken. David had pulled out his pistol and pointed it at the man, ceasing any sudden movements.
It had all ended without bloodshed (something David was always thankful for when it happened) and Pasta had been graced with a kiss from the thankful starlet. David had been sure that Pasta’s cheeks would never pale again.
As for the beau… he’d been arrested, confessing his intentions for a horrid crime. Apparently he had been desperate for money after he had taken out a loan from the local crime family. So desperate he’d gotten closer with a local rich celebrity with the intentions of cleaning her out. He’d thought with her dead it’d be easier to take all her cash.
David had tried to use the incident as a warning for Pasta to stay away from the local mob but David thinks that the stars in his eyes maybe overshadowed anything else from the case.)
This trip Pasta has been acting out though. He’d been staying out late, swearing more. David can smell smoke on him sometimes and a strange look in his eye. Anytime David tries to talk to Pasta about it he’ll run off, to his room or even back out again.
David’s really starting to worry for Pasta, and what he might have gotten himself involved in.
Then one day a loud knock sounds on his door. David opens it and who should be standing on his doorstep but Patrice Bergeron holding onto a squirming David Pasternak, a cop cruiser on the driveway.
“Detective…” David swallows. “What is…”
“We found him trespassing on private property,” Bergeron looks David dead in the eyes. “He’s your nephew, correct?”
“Yes,” David grabs Pasta and pulls him towards him – closer to the house, as far away from Bergeron as he can. Pasta is unsteady on his feet and he falls forward, resting his entire weight on David.
From this close David can smell the alcohol on Pasta.
He looks up sharply at Bergeron who has a knowing look in his eye. David’s gaze skitters down to Bergeron’s torso, where he knows there’s a gun tucked into a holster. A gun that Bergeron is not shy about using.
He pulls Pasta further behind him so that he’s shielding him from harm.
“Thank you, Detective, for bringing him home.” David means it too – thank you for bringing him home and not to a prison cell (or a grave).
“It was my pleasure,” Bergeron says, his eyes so unreadable to David. What is this – what is he trying to say? Is this a warning? A threat…? Or has Bergeron had a sudden change of heart, decided suddenly to be a good cop again?
A horn sounds behind Bergeron and David looks over his shoulder and spots Marchand, who’s standing by the police cruiser, waiting.
“Are you done yet, Bergy? We gotta get a move on.” Marchand says, chewing some bubble gum lazily.
David looks from Bergeron – buttoned up tight and with a smart haircut – to Marchand – his jacket missing and his tie undone. They’re two completely different people but both with souls darker than sin.
“Thank you again, Detective.” David backed away from Bergeron’s heavy gaze, ushering Pasta back into the house. “I suppose I should let you get back to it.” David says, trying to extract himself from present company.
Bergeron says nothing; just nods and watches David close the door.
David rests his back against the door, knows if he looked through the peephole that Bergeron would still be there, watching, on guard.
“Krej…” Pasta moaned, “I think I’m going to…”
“Oh dear,” David guides his idiot nephew to the bathroom before he vomits in the hallway.
David strokes Pasta’s hair back as he hunches over the toilet, his nose crinkling at the strong stench of illegal liquor coming back up.
In the morning he’ll have to have a serious talk with Pasta about staying away from alcohol while he was in the states. He’d thought Pasta would have known to stay away from that sort of thing but it seems not…
“I’m sorry Krej…” Pasta whimpers.
“It’s alright,” David tries to soothe his nephew.
“No, I’m sorry, I am… I’m sorry that man…” David assumes he’s talking about Bergeron, “he told me off…”
David feels his mouth quirk up into a bemused smile. So Bergeron, infamous dirty cop and known ally of the local crime bosses, had scolded his nephew for drinking – without arresting him? What a strange world.
“It’s okay, he’s gone now.” David continues to hold Pasta’s hair away from his face. “I’m just glad you’re alright.”
Eventually David takes Pasta to his room and tucks him into bed with a kiss on his forehead. After sitting next to Pasta and making sure he got to sleep okay David returned to his room. There, on a desk, were papers and notes. David picks up one and looks at it.
BOSTON P.D. DENIES CLAIMS THAT THEY WERE INVOLVED WITH DON CHERRY…
There, under the headline, was a picture of Commissioner Zdeno Chara shaking hands with the local big business man, philanthropist and suspected mastermind of the black market, Mr. Cherry. Behind Chara was a shadowy figure.
David brought the picture closer to his face as he squinted at it. He thought it was him, but now…
He knows its Patrice Bergeron.
This changes some things, David thinks, and perhaps not for the best.
It’s the middle of the night when David approaches the garage. The sign above the door reads Rask’s Automobile Repair Shop in fancy cursive letters. David walks past the entrance meant for customers and makes his way to the back of the building where a door is wedged open with a cinderblock, letting air flow in.
David enters quietly and he looks around. There are a couple of cars, some elevated above the floor and others resting on four wheels, evidently ready to be picked up by their owners. David’s own car is probably hear somewhere. At the far end of the room there’s a door, leading to an office. David makes his way there, taking the quickest possible route, ducking under car wheels and stepping over tools.
The door is locked when David tries it but that’s not a problem. After fishing out a lock pick from his coat pocket, having anticipated this might happen; David gets to work on jimmying the lock. It snicks open and David pushes the door ajar carefully (he’s been burned by creaky doors and floorboards too many times) and steps inside, making sure to close the door behind him but with it cracked open slightly so that he can still hear if anyone approaches.
He takes a quick look around but he already knows where to look. He stands at the desk and starts to sift through the papers there. No matter how many times David does this kind of thing he still gets nervous, as his sweating hands can attest to. Every creak, every gust of wind, every tiny noise puts David on edge. Its torture, but well worth it when he hits the jackpot.
David’s hands shake as he leafs through the pages, a testament to how much power these pieces of paper hold. He can’t take them with him – that’s too obvious – so David gets out his notebook, that he keeps on him at all times, and starts to copy down the most important parts.
As he’s writing it up he hears a car pull up outside the building. Shit, he’s out of time.
David puts everything back where he found it – that’ll have to do – and he creeps out of the office and closes the door behind him. He has just enough time to use the lock pick to reverse the lock back, hiding any signs that someone had entered the room.
Unfortunately, that’s where David’s luck ends.
As he’s making his way out of the garage another man enters. He’s tall - so tall he has to duck to enter - with long limbs and a strange face, all sharp angles. His eyes are arresting, wide and intelligent. They stop David in his tracks when they look at him, one high arching eyebrow rising.
“Who are you – what are you doing here?” The man – Rask, David assumes – takes a step closer, closing the gap between them. “You’re not supposed to be here.” Rask really is rather tall, and quite intimidating.
“I came to pick up my car. I checked to see if anyone was here but it was empty, so I was leaving. Sorry to have bothered you,” David attempts to dart around Rask but he’s stopped by a hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t think so.” Rask says, his eyes stare at David, unblinking. He reminds David of the owl that used sit outside his window at night. “I’ll ask again – who are you?”
David is saved from having to answer (and possibly getting his head caved in by a pipe once Rask discovers who he is) by a voice.
“Tuukka, enough.” Police Detective Bergeron enters the garage behind Rask. “You, you’re coming with me.” Bergeron grabs David by his arm and leads him out of the garage, his grip light in comparison with the steel in his voice.
As David is dragged along by Bergeron he looks over his shoulder, back at Tuukka Rask, whose eyes are narrowed as he watches them leave. David swallows around a lump in his throat.
Bergeron guides David into the passenger seat of his car, a black Buick Super, a vehicle commonly used by the Boston Police Department. Bergeron gets in and starts the car, driving the car away from the garage. David doesn’t want to show fear so doesn’t cower against the passenger door like he wants to; he sits straight and stares out the windshield, his brain working overtime as he tries to figure out where Bergeron is taking him and how he’s going to talk himself out of this situation.
The car is silent the entire ride over. Bergeron has driven them to a street only a couple of blocks away from David’s public offices. Bergeron turns off the engine and swivels in his seat to look at David.
“What the hell did you think you were doing?” Bergeron’s voice is low, dangerous. David feels himself start to sweat, as he thinks about Bergeron and his reputation.
“I already explained to-”
Bergeron cuts him off, “You’re a lousy liar, Krejci.”
David scoffs, “I don’t need to sit here and listen to this,” he flings open the car door, bold with fear.
Bergeron’s hand is back on his arm, tighter now.
“Keep away from this, Krejci. Trust me; you don’t want to end up like Milan Lucic.”
David’s blood freezes in his veins. He turns his head slightly and looks at the dashboard, refuses to make eye contact with Bergeron. “Is that a threat?”
“It’s a statement,” Bergeron’s grip loosens but it still weighs heavy on David’s arm. “Stay out of it.” Bergeron’s tone is final.
David tears his arm out of Bergeron’s hold, “Have a nice day, Detective.”
As David walks away he feels Bergeron’s stare on his back.
A name echoes in his ears, a ghost hot on his tails.
Back at the office David throws his coat over a chair and he flies across the room to his filing cabinet. It’s his arc of the covenant - in it is all the past cases he’s been involved in, every profile of every person of interest, maps that cover every inch of New England. At the very back, hidden away, is a file that reads Lucic, M.
David takes it out with shaking fingers and dread in his heart. He’d never forgotten, could never, but he had almost convinced himself that he had.
The case that still haunts him.
David opens the file and Looch’s face stares back at him, his hard eyes and his low brow. The same features that had persuaded people he was something that he wasn’t.
Milan Lucic was a Police Officer, working in Vice at the Boston P.D. He wasn’t well liked or friendly and everyone knew he was a dirty cop – on the local mob’s pay roll, fudging up evidence and covering up crimes for the Don.
What most people didn’t know was that Milan Lucic hated crime, with every fibre of his being. Hated it so much he was willing to sacrifice his morals and decency and character in order to bring it all to an end.
Lucic had approached David Krejci, a budding Private Investigator known for his superb moral code and ethics, for help in taking down the local crime bosses.
Lucic would continue to be a ‘dirty’ cop, gathering information, names and addresses. He would then take all of that data to David, who would use it in his cases and help to bring peace to the streets of Boston once again, and they would compile a file that they would eventually take to the DA to help them bring down Cherry.
Together they would bring the Mob down – from the inside and the outside.
A year after they started working together Lucic had died in a freak fire, his entire apartment and the surrounding buildings reduced to ash and rubble. Mrs. Lucic was left a widow and David was left with a nervous disposition and a higher purpose – justice for his friend.
David flipped through the entire file, reluctant to actually lay his eyes on any of it. But, what Bergeron had said… It had flicked on a light for David. Something that before had made no sense now David was able to draw a connection to.
But he had to be sure… First, David had to go visit a ghost.
David made his way up the rain slick steps towards the looming Victorian era house. If he looked up he knew he would see gargoyles staring down at him with wicked faces. The sort of sight that would go perfectly with a lightning storm and heavy rain.
Lucic wouldn’t have lived in this house, that David knows for sure. Not his style, not at all. For all that Looch looked like he was spawned from some roach infested shit hole downtown he much preferred the Apple Pie lifestyle. 2.5 kids, white picket fence, a dog. He’d grown up in Canada with a real family environment and that’s what he wanted for himself and his family. Sam Lucic had felt the same, when David had known her. That’s why it’s so shocking, to be lifting this heavy iron knocker, and waiting for a house servant to let him in to attend to tea with the widow.
He follows the butler into a sitting room, a room that might be quite nice if there weren’t blackout curtains encasing all of the windows. Mrs. Lucic sits in a large wing backed chair, her hands folded daintily over her lap, dressed head to toe in black. Her face is obscured by a netted veil and David is left to wonder if all women mourn so long, or if it’s just the manner in which Milan had gone that leads her to such sorrow still.
“Mrs. Lucic,” David takes off his hat upon entering and sits across from her; cautiously because he’s worried any sudden movements will alarm her. “Thank you for seeing me on such short notice.”
“It’s quite alright, Detective Krejci.” Mrs. Lucic says with a tired smile that David can only just make out under her veil. “It’s always good to see old friends.” Her words are stiff and proper, a perfect match for the environment she has put herself in.
Although David wouldn’t consider them close now they had been, once upon a time. A happier time. David thinks fondly on the occasions when he would visit the Lucic household – back then a cramped apartment that Mrs. Lucic managed to make feel airy and comfortable with ease – and having dinner with the then young couple, both still so enthralled by each other’s company. The dinners had stopped, a few months before Lucic died. He had been worried someone was watching him, and that it was too risky for David to visit.
“How have you been - are you still painting?” David asks. Mrs. Lucic was a fairly famous local artist who specialises in landscape paintings - beautiful things that Milan had once confessed to David made him feel more human when he looked at them.
“I still dabble,” Mrs. Lucic mouth curves into a smile, a broken thing on her pale face. “Would you like to see?” Mrs. Lucic stands up and leaves the room leaving David no choice but to follow the trailing ends of her funeral dress.
Mrs. Lucic takes him into an adjoining room which is empty of any normal furniture, only containing a single canvas set up on an easel that was ominously covered by a white sheet. Mrs. Lucic looked over her shoulder at David and gave him a smile which he tried his best to return; although he fears he wasn’t very convincing at hiding his nerves for what was under the sheet.
Mrs. Lucic reached up one slim wristed hand and lightly tugged on the sheet, allowing it to slowly fall to the floor to reveal the painting.
David felt his eyes widen and his breath was punched out of his gut at the sight. It was a mess of colours, the strokes of the brush wide and erratic, but there was no denying what the painting depicted.
It was of Milan Lucic’s death.
David recognised the apartment building, even on fire as it was, as that of the Lucic’s previous home. Fire licked at the canvas and smoke billowed up and out of frame. It was a wonderful painting, as expected of an artist of Samantha Lucic’s calibre, but looking at it made David sick to his stomach. Looking at it he could smell the smoke, hear the cries. Could feel the terror.
David averted his eyes from the mass of red and oranges and saw, in the bottom left corner, a figure on their knees tearing their hair out.
“Is that-” David started to ask, his voice heavy with emotion.
“Yes,” by contrast Mrs. Lucic’s voice was light, “That’s me. I think I’ve heard you can find an artist in their every painting, but I suppose I took that a bit too literally in this case.” David could see a slight smile on her face.
“Ah, I see.” David coughed, uncomfortable. He’d come here to ask Mrs. Lucic something but now he found it rather hard to ask. He had no choice though – if he was right, Pasta might be in the firing line… and David would do anything for his family.
“I wanted to ask you something, Mrs. Lucic.”
She nodded her head, imploring him to continue.
“Do you remember… Do you remember when I asked you if you’d seen anything strange around the time of your husband’s death?”
Mrs. Lucic took a moment, “Yes, I do remember. I believe I told you I had seen someone hanging around the apartment.”
“That’s how I remembered it too. I was wondering, if it isn’t too much to ask, if you could describe to me that person in detail.”
Mrs. Lucic’s mouth turned down under her veil, “Why? I’ve already told you all this before, Detective. Why do you need me to repeat myself?”
“I know it’s a hassle, Mrs. Lucic. But, please, I’d like it if you could.” David asked.
Mrs. Lucic sighed deeply and David saw her hands twist the fabric of her dress. “Fine.” She set her jaw, “He was a man, taller then you, with dark hair under a dark hat. He had a 5 o’clock shadow on his face and a roman nose. When he turned to leave through an alley way I saw the flash of a gun from under his coat. Happy?”
David reached into his pocket, “Not quite, I’m afraid.” David showed her a picture – cut out from a newspaper. “Is this the man you saw?”
Mrs. Lucic took the newspaper cutting with a shaking hand and she looked down at it. “That… That is the man that I saw. That’s the man who was at the scene of my husband’s murder.” Mrs. Lucic pushed the newspaper clipping back at him, “Excuse me, I need some air.”
“Of course,” David stepped aside to allow Mrs. Lucic to flee the room. David looked down at the newpaper clipping. He stared at it long and hard.
The face of Patrice Bergeron stared back at him.
Patrice Bergeron was born in the suspect year of 1888 in a suburb of Quebec. He had pleasant, wealthy parents who had high hopes for their darling boy. When the war broke out Patrice, like any healthy young man, volunteered for the war. On the Western Front a boy became a man, shining under the sudden weight of leadership that was thrusted upon him as a result of the huge casualties both sides lost during the course of the conflict. When he came back he found his little Canadian town felt a little too small for him and he moved to Massachusetts and joined the Police Force. Patrice Bergeron has quite the impressive record – a perfect example of how one should conduct themselves.
That’s one version of Detective Bergeron’s life.
The other tells how Bergeron was a quiet child with a penchant for hunting. He and his Father would go into the woods and hunt deer and elk. When the war broke out his parents urged young Patrice not to join, telling him it wasn’t their war to fight. Leave it to the English, they said. It wasn’t to be though, and Bergeron was drafted and sent over to Europe to fight and kill and die for the Motherland. They say it did something to him, the smell of the blood and the sound of the bombs. When he came back home sweet Patrice wasn’t so sweet anymore. He leaves his family in search for something more, or something he lost in the trenches, and finds himself a member of the Boston Police Department. There he finds his true calling – interrogation. Questioning the guilty with sharp words and fists.
David wonders how one man can have two completely different origins.
Although, David knows from experience, that the truth is more than likely a combination of the two tales. Real life is never so straightforward, David has found.
David flips open his notebook to the pages where he had copied the information from Tuukka Rask’s office. There’s five phone numbers but David already knows which one to call.
David goes to a public phone box and he calls.
“Hello?” A thick Boston accent answers the phone sounding like they want nothing more than to slam the phone back into the receiver.
“Mr. Greene, this is Private Detective David Krejci – I was hoping we might talk in private.”
“Who the hell are you and how did you get this number?” Mr. Greene yells down the receiver, reminding David that this may be a retired enforcer for the mob, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still dangerous.
“I’ll explain it all in person. Please may we meet, Mr. Greene.” David repeats, clutching the receiver tightly.
“… Fine, I’ll humour you. This better be important… but no funny business, okay? I won’t tolerate it.”
“No, no, of course not Mr. Greene. Thank you.” David writes down the address and hangs up, rushing over to the tram line – he hasn’t gone back to Rask’s garage to pick up his car yet.
Finally! A breakthrough. Anton Greene is a former enforcer to one of the great Don’s that control Boston. Maybe – just maybe – Mr. Greene can give David some solid information on how deep the payroll is for the cops of Boston, and maybe he can tell David just exactly what happened to Lucic.
When David finds Greene’s apartment though the door is ajar and the sharp tang of blood is in the air. David rushes into the apartment and the sight that greets him is one he expected but it still shocks him.
Anton Greene is in a chair, his limbs akimbo with a bullet hole in his forehead still fresh. The man who holds the smoking gun is the devil himself.
“I told you to stay out of this,” Patrice Bergeron says sadly.
Bergeron rushes at a frozen David and grabs him by the lapels of his coat and spins him around. David thinks this is it; this is the end. With his last thought being please get out of America safely, Pasta.
Instead of a horrible demise (pushed down a flight of stairs, sent flying out a window, put in a car trunk and sent to the bottom of the sea) David is pushed into a closet. David sits shell-shocked as he listens to Bergeron lock the door and whisper to him, “Be. Quiet.”
David is debating whether it would be a good idea to scream when he hears a group of footsteps trudge up the stairs and enter Greene’s apartment.
“Well would you look at that! Deader than doornail – quick work Bergy.” David puts his eye to the crack of the closet, even though he doesn’t need to see to identify that voice.
“I hate to do it, but I have to agree with Marchand there. Good work, Bergy.” A younger voice says – most likely one of the rookie cops.
“Thank you,” Bergeron says.
David didn’t realise the Mob got to the Police Force that young – this is whole thing is more fucked then he realised.
“You’re on clean up duty, McAvoy.” Marchand snickers, “Boy, I do not miss being the Rook.”
“Why do I have to do it? You should do it; you’re only good for this kind of dirty work, anyway.” McAvoy sneers.
Even inside the closet David can feel the air get tenser.
“Enough,” a heavily accented voice commands. “McAvoy, deal with the body. Marchand, Bergeron, check the room over. Leave nothing behind – I don’t expect that nosy private eye to come sniffing, but if he does make sure he gets nothing.”
Two sets of feet leave the room accompanied by the sound a body being dragged across the floor.
That voice… That was Police Commissioner Chara.
David puts his fist into his mouth to stop himself from screaming at the wave of helplessness that comes over him at this revelation.
This goes far deeper and far higher than he or Lucic realised.
The corruption, it’s rotted the entire system – from the lowest rung of the force to the very top of the ranks. It doesn’t matter if you’re a traffic cop or a homicide detective, the chances are you’re crooked.
“Patrice,” Marchand’s voice has lost that sly edge – it’s more… real. Curious, David thinks, that Marchand appears to wear a mask when he’s around certain people. It reminds David of Lucic, and the way he could go from a good man to a nasty goon. “Don’t look like that, you knew it was coming.”
“I just…” Bergeron trails off.
“I know you love your charity cases but Chara… Chara has grown tired of Krejci sniffing around. I fear your next assignment might be…” Marchand coughs, uncomfortable.
David can hear Bergeron lean heavily against the wall, his body hitting the plaster with a thud.
“I’m sorry, Patrice.”
“… I’ll check the room, you go on ahead.” Bergeron finally says.
“You sure? It’ll go faster with the two of us.”
“I’m sure; see you back at the precinct Brad.”
“Okay partner,” Marchand claps Bergeron on the shoulder before leaving the room.
David’s legs are starting to cramp from crouching awkwardly in this closet but he doesn’t dare speak up. Pretty soon Bergeron approaches the closet and unlocks it. David steps out and looks at Bergeron.
“So,” David says after some time has passed with them just staring at each other. “When do you want to do it?”
“Do what?” Bergeron sounds so tired.
Bergeron’s eyes go comically wide, “What?” He chokes out.
“Whack me, send me to sleep, put a hit on me-”
Bergeron clamps a hand over David’s mouth, “Please, stop.” David does.
Bergeron sighs, removes his hand slowly. “I’m not- I wouldn’t do that.”
David’s eyes look to the side where he can see Greene’s blood has soaked into the carpet.
“You. I meant I wouldn’t do that to you.” Bergeron amends.
“Why?” David is lost, not sure why Bergeron would be so reluctant.
“I just, I can’t.” Bergeron rubs at his forehead, “Please. Just- just drop it.”
“You need to go – take the fire exit, no one should be around to see you, but… just to be safe.”
David backs out of the room, “Alright.”
“Hey,” Bergeron calls out to him before he leaves. “Seriously, stay out of it. Please, just for a while.”
“No promises,” David says cheekily, feeling safe in the knowledge that Bergeron probably won’t kill him.
Bergeron smiles, “I figured. Just, please. For one day.”
Something is stirring in the air, David is sure of it – he can feel it coming. A storm, or a wave… something of epic proportions. Something that’ll change Massachusetts, permanently. Irreversible.
David paces the length of his house, anxious, chewing on his nails. Pasta watches from the seat he’s perched on, gripping his knees. David had told him he wasn’t allowed outside today and Pasta hadn’t even tried to dissuade him. He must feel it, too.
“Uncle…” Pasta says, “What’s happening?”
“I don’t know… I don’t,” David sighs, annoyed with himself. “I’m not sure. Something… something.”
“Okay,” Pasta falls quiet again, goes back to following David’s pacing with his eyes nervously.
David spins towards the front door. Through the frosted glass he can see a figure dressed in an overcoat and a hat. It’s raining heavily outside – it must be important for someone to come visit in this downpour.
David’s been waiting for something to happen – has felt it building for days (even since he left Greene’s apartment) – but he still finds himself hesitant to open the door.
He has to though, so David opens the front door and isn’t really all that shocked to see Patrice Bergeron.
Bergeron looks at David from under the brim of his hat with dark eyes and David steps aside to let him in.
Bergeron doesn’t waste any time – he grabs David by his shoulders and looks at him dead on, his hat still on and casting sharp shadows across his face.
“You need to leave.” Bergeron tells him.
David stands there and looks in Bergeron’s eyes and he sees fear in them. “Okay,” David says without argument and turns to start packing.
Bergeron falters, “Wait – you’re not going to ask me more?”
“No,” David smiles at Bergeron. “I trust you.”
Bergeron squeezes David’s shoulders, “Thank you.”
“Well I don’t!” Pasta scowls, “Why do we have to leave?”
“Pasta,” David scolds him. “Go pack your things.”
“No,” Bergeron takes off his hat. “It’s fine – it’s probably for the best that I explain.”
The three of them sit in the kitchen, all facing each other over the table that David and Pasta eat their meals at.
“It’s coming to an end – the corruption in this city. A case has been building and there’s enough evidence now to finish it. We’re finally going to cleanse Boston and the Police of the cockroaches that have squirmed their way in through the door.” Bergeron looks viciously satisfied.
“That’s great,” David smiles when he thinks of the package he had sent to the DA’s office a couple of days earlier, knows that he’s helped to bring an end to this terror. “It’s about time.”
Bergeron shares a secret smile with David.
“Wait,” Pasta says. “If that’s happening – the bad people getting taken care of – then why do we have to leave? Shouldn’t it be safe?”
David puts a hand on Pasta’s shoulder, “The system isn’t perfect, Pasta. We might be getting the baddies, but they can still get us.”
“I’m sorry; it’s just too dangerous for Detective Krejci to be here and for you also, by association.” Bergeron tells Pasta.
Pasta sighs, “I really like it here.”
“I know, and maybe one day you can come back, when it’s safer. But, for now, we must go back to Czechoslovakia.” David smiles at Pasta reassuringly.
“Okay… I better go get my things.” Pasta stands up and leaves the table, leaving Bergeron and David alone.
“You know…” David starts, looking at Bergeron. “I knew there was someone in the Police who was helping the DA, I just didn’t quite know who.”
Bergeron smiles, “Good. It means I was convincing.”
“Lucic,” David watches Bergeron’s face fall. “He was murdered, right?”
“I think you know the answer to that.”
David nods, “I do. I guess I just want to hear… I want to hear that his killer will get punished for what they did.”
Bergeron looks into David’s eyes and reaches across the table for his hand. “They will, I promise you David, they will.” David holds onto Bergeron’s hand tightly, feels the gun callouses and the raised scar on the side of his thumb.
David wants to ask Bergeron to come with him – wants to show him his home country, show him where he grew him, where he had his first kiss, where he vowed to become a Detective.
Instead David sits in his kitchen in Boston, in the eye of the storm, and holds onto Patrice Bergeron’s hand and feels the stirrings of hope in his chest.
David and Pasta are on a train, on their way back home.
Home because it always was, no matter how many years David spent away from it. Every night in America he would dream of Czechoslovakia and his family. He’s excited to be going back but he also feels like he’s left something behind in Boston. Every mile they travel David can feel something get tugged out of his chest, like a long string is connecting him to Boston.
David rests his head against the train window and he shuts his eyes, hoping sleep will soothe his anxious brain.
He must be out of America because he dreams not of Czechoslovakia but of a memory – he dreams of Lucic.
Lucic had come over, as he did once a week, but this time he looks wrecked. His eyes are heavy and have dark circles and he hasn’t shaved in days. David urges him to sit and he does so heavily.
“What’s wrong, Looch?” David asks his friend.
“A whole lot, Krej. A whole goddamn lot.” Milan laughed, he sound of it chilling.
David had gone to his kitchen and grabbed some liquor, stashed away right in the back.
“Where’d you get that?” Milan had perked up when he had seen it, laughing a real laugh this time, when David had told him he had smuggled it in from Czechoslovakia. “You’re full of surprises, Krejci. Jesus.”
They had drunk the bottle together, in silence, as Milan geared himself up to say something.
“Were you – did your country join the Great War, your Czechoslovakia?” The way Milan says ‘Czechoslovakia’ comes out slurred, sounds more like ‘Checkvakia’.
“We did, I was a solider for my country.” David took another sip of his drink. “Did you join?”
“Of course. I went with a bunch of other BC boys.” Milan looked into his drink, “Sometimes I think… sometimes…”
“Sometimes I wonder if I brought something back with me. From Europe, you know? Maybe all that death, disease and misery made me catch something – a virus or something. And then I brought it back over the pond and I infected everyone else.”
David sets down his drink, “Looch, what are you saying?”
Milan rubs at his face, “I think this whole place is rotted, Krej. It’s rotting and it’s rotted and I think I’ve helped it.”
“Looch,” David says, not sure what he can do to help.
“I’m sorry… I’m drunk. I need to sleep.”
“C’mon big guy,” David had helped Lucic lay down.
The week after Milan had told David they couldn’t be publicly seen with each other and then a few weeks after that Milan had become ashes and smoke.
When David wakes from the dream the view outside his window is so far from what he knew in New England it settles something inside of him. He’s leaving, a year after Milan tried to warn him about it, and maybe the next time he comes back it’ll be better. More like what it was meant to be.
David settles back home easily – slots back into old routines and new ones like he’s been doing them all his life. He gets to see his parents and they’re glad to see him alive and well. They’d heard all the bad news that came out of America and they’d worried for him, miles away from everything he’d known growing up.
In his little hometown in Czechoslovakia David sets up an agency. It’s smaller than what it was in Boston, and his cases aren’t so glamorous or crazy. David thinks that’s a good thing, though. Likes helping find pets and assisting the local police in small matters.
Pasta comes over every Friday after school and assists him – he seems to have really grown to appreciate the kind of work David does. David’s been thinking of asking him if he wanted to work with him part time during the summer.
He buys every newspaper he can get his hands on – anything that will tell him about what’s happening with the case. He keeps the pages that tell him things – Don Cherry under investigation, Zdeno Chara resigns, Wife of dead policeman sues the Boston P.D.
It’s a dark day when he reads what’s happened to Patrice Bergeron.
PATRICE BERGERON UNDER TRIAL FOR THE DEATH OF MILAN LUCIC
He cries and cries that day, runs out to the nearby lake and dunks himself under the water to cool his feverish skin.
Patrice had said he would get justice for Lucic… he’d said it to David and he’d known. He’d always known.
An entire month later David gets a letter from a prison in America. The letter is from Patrice.
He confesses to David everything – he tells him how he and Lucic had been working together to double cross the Mob, how eventually the Mob had grown suspicious of Milan and ordered Patrice to kill him.
He tells David how Milan had asked Patrice before he died to look after his wife and David, to make sure they were safe from the dark gaze of the criminal underbelly.
It all makes sense now, David thinks. Why Patrice was always there, always watching him and warning him away.
David wants to be angry; he wants to rage at Patrice. He can feel it bubbling, under the surface of his skin.
But then it cools, when he thinks of them holding hands in the storm, and the desperate look in his eyes as he told David he had to leave now. He thinks of Patrice’s steady gaze and his kind voice and he just feels sad.
David doesn’t write back to Patrice, not yet –he’s not ready. But he thinks maybe soon he might go on a trip to America, just a short one, and he might go visit the Prison.