But there were also men like Don Slatterly, a Robbery detective, Kevin McRae, a flatfoot at the Oh-Six, and Emmett Strack, a twenty-five-year warhorse from the Oh -Three, who said very little but who watched--and saw--everything. They moved through the crowd and dispensed words of caution or restraint here, slivers of hope there, but mostly they just listened and assessed. The men watched their wake the way dogs watched the space their masters had just vacated. It would be these men and a few others like them, Danny decided, who the police brass should worry about if they wanted to avert a strike.
At the coffee urns, Mark Denton suddenly stood beside him and held out his hand.
"Tommy Coughlin's son, right?"
"Danny." He shook Denton's hand.
"You were at Salutation when it was bombed, right?"
"But that's Harbor Division." Denton stirred sugar into his coffee.
"The accident of my life," Danny said. "I'd pinched a thief on the docks and was dropping him off at Salutation when, you know . . ."
"I'm not going to lie to you, Coughlin--you're pretty well known in this department. They say the only thing Captain Tommy can't control is his own son. That makes you pretty popu lar, I'd say. We could use guys like you."
"Thanks. I'll think about it."
Denton's eyes swept the room. He leaned in closer. "Think quickly, would you?"
Tessa liked to take to the stoop on mild nights when her father was on the road selling his Silvertone B-XIIs. She smoked small black cigarettes that smelled as harsh as they looked, and some nights Danny sat with her. Something in Tessa made him nervous. His limbs felt cumbersome around her, as if there were no casual way to rest them. They spoke of the weather and they spoke of food and they spoke of tobacco, but they never spoke of the flu or her child or the day Danny had carried her to Haymarket Relief.
Soon they left the stoop for the roof. No one came up on the roof.
He learned that Tessa was twenty. That she'd grown up in the Sicilian village of Altofonte. When she was sixteen, a powerful man named Primo Alieveri, had seen her bicycling past the cafe where he sat with his associates. He'd made inquiries and then arranged to meet with her father. Federico was a music teacher in their village, famous for speaking three languages but also rumored to be going pazzo, having married so late in life. Tessa's mother had passed on when she was ten, and her father raised her alone, with no brothers or money to protect her. And so a deal was struck.
Tessa and her father made the trip to Collesano at the base of the Madonie Mountains on the Tyrrhenian coast, arriving the day after Tessa's seventeenth birthday. Federico had hired guards to protect Tessa's dowry, mostly jewels and coins passed down from her mother's side of the family, and their first night in the guesthouse of Primo Alieveri's estate, the throats of the guards were cut as they slept in the barn and the dowry was taken. Primo Alieveri was mortifi ed. He scoured the village for the bandits. At nightfall, over a fine dinner in the main hall, he assured his guests he and his men were closing in on the suspects. The dowry would be returned and the wedding would take place, as planned, that weekend.
When Federico passed out at the table, a dreamy smile plastered to his face, Primo's men helped him out to the guesthouse, and Primo raped Tessa on the table and then again on the stone floor by the hearth. He sent her back to the guesthouse where she tried to rouse Federico, but he continued to sleep the sleep of the dead. She lay on the floor beside the bed with the blood sticky between her thighs and eventually fell asleep.
In the morning, they were awakened by a racket in the courtyard and the sound of Primo calling their names. They came out of the guesthouse where Primo stood with two of his men, their shotguns slung behind their backs. Tessa's and Federico's horses and their wagon were gathered on the courtyard stones. Primo glared at them.
"A great friend from your village has written to inform me that your daughter is no virgin. She is a puttana and no suitable bride for a man of my stature. Be gone from my sight, little man."
In that moment and several that followed, Federico was still wiping the sleep from his eyes. He seemed bewildered.
Then he saw the blood that had soaked his daughter's fi ne white dress while they slept. Tessa never saw how he got to the whip, if it came from his own horse or from a hook in the courtyard, but when he snapped it, he caught one of Primo Alieveri's men in the eyes and spooked the horses. As the second man bent to his comrade, Tessa's horse, a tired, orange mare, broke from her grasp and kicked the man in the chest. The horse's reins raced through her fingers and the beast ran out of the courtyard. Tessa would have given chase, but she was too entranced by her father, her sweet, gentle, slightly pazzo father as he whipped Primo Alieveri to the ground, whipped him until strips of his flesh lay in the courtyard. With one of the guards (and his shotgun), Federico got her dowry back. The chest sat in plain view in the master bedroom, and from there, he and Tessa tracked down her mare and left the village before dusk.
Two days later, after using half the dowry for bribes, they boarded a ship in Cefalu and came to America.
Danny heard this story in halting English, not because Tessa could not grasp the language yet, but because she tried to be precise.
Danny chuckled. "So that day I carried you? That day I was losing my mind trying to speak my broken Italian, you could understand me?"
Tessa gave him arched eyebrows and a faint smile. "I could not understand anything that day except pain. You would expect me to remember English? This . . . crazy language of yours. Four words you use when one would do. Every time you do this. Remember English that day?" She waved a hand at him. "Stupid boy."
Danny said, "Boy? I got a few years on you, sweetheart."
"Yes, yes." She lit another of her harsh cigarettes. "But you a boy. You a country of boys. And girls. None of you grow up yet. You have too much fun, I think."
"Fun with what?"
"This." She waved her hand at the sky. "This silly big country. You Americans--there is no history. There is only now. Now, now, now. I want this now. I want that now."
Danny felt a sudden rise of irritation. "And yet everyone seems in a hell of a hurry to leave their country to get here."
"Ah, yes. Streets paved with gold. The great America where every man can make his fortune. But what of those who don't? What of the workers, Officer Danny? Yes? They work and work and work and if they get sick from the work, the company says, 'Bah. Go home and no come back.' And if they hurt themselves on the work? Same thing. You Americans talk of your freedom, but I see slaves who think they are free. I see companies that use children and families like hogs and--" Danny waved it away. "And yet you're here."