"It's a living, I'd guess."
"A good one. Anarchists in particu lar," Finch said. "Those bastards are tops on our lists. You know--bomb throwers, Offi cer Coughlin. Like the one you were fucking."
Danny squared his shoulders to Finch's. "I'm fucking who?"
Agent Finch took a turn leaning against the doorjamb. "You were fucking Tessa Abruzze. At least that's how she called herself. Am I correct?"
"I know Miss Abruzze. What of it?"
Finch gave him a thin smile. "You don't know shit."
"Her father's a phonograph salesman," Danny said. "They had some trouble back in Italy but--"
"Her father," Finch said, "is her husband." He raised his eyebrows. "You heard me right. And he couldn't give a damn about phonographs. Federico Abruzze is not even his real name. He's an anarchist, and more particularly he's a Galleanist. You know what that term means or should I provide help?"
Danny said, "I know."
"His real name is Federico Ficara and while you've been fucking his wife? He's been making bombs."
"Where?" Danny said.
"Right here." Rayme Finch jerked his thumb back down the hall. John Hoover crossed one hand over the other and rested them on his belt buckle. "I ask you again, Officer, are you the kind of man who cottons to radicals?"
"I think my son answered the question," Thomas Coughlin said. John Hoover shook his head. "Not that I heard, sir."
Danny looked down at him. His skin had the look of bread pulled too early from the oven and his pupils were so tiny and dark they seemed meant for the head of another animal entirely.
"The reason I ask is because we are closing the barn door. After the horses have left it, I'll grant you, but before the barn has burned to the ground. What the war showed us? Is that the enemy is not just in Germany. The enemy came over on ships and availed himself of our wanton immigration policies and he set up shop. He lectures to mine workers and factory workers and disguises himself as the friend of the worker and the downtrodden. But what he really is? What he really is is a prevaricator, an inveigler, a foreign disease, a man bent on the destruction of our democracy. He must be ground into dust." Hoover wiped the back of his neck with his handkerchief; the top of his collar had darkened with sweat. "So I'm going to ask you a third time--are you a coddler of the radical element? Are you in effect, sir, an enemy of my Uncle Samuel?"
Danny said, "Is he serious?"
Finch said, "Oh yes."
Danny said, "John, right?"
The round man gave him a small nod.
"You fight in the war?"
Hoover shook his large head. "I did not have the honor."
"The honor," Danny said. "Well, I didn't have the honor either, but that's because I was deemed essential personnel on the home front. What's your excuse?"
Hoover's face reddened and he pocketed his handkerchief. "There are many ways to serve your country, Mr. Coughlin."
"Yes, there are," Danny said. "I've got a hole in my neck from serving mine. So if you question my patriotism again, John? I'll have my father duck and throw you out that fucking window."
Danny's father fluttered a hand over his heart and stepped away from the window.
Hoover, though, stared back at Danny with the coal- blue clarity of the unexamined conscience. The moral fortitude of a knee-high boy who played at battle with sticks. Who grew older, but not up.
Finch cleared his throat. "The business at hand, gents, is bombs. Could we return to that?"
"How would you have known about my association with Tessa?" Danny said. "Were you tailing me?"
Finch shook his head. "Her. Her and her husband, Federico, were last seen ten months ago in Oregon. Beat the holy shit out of a railroad porter who tried to inspect Tessa's bag. Had to jump off the train while it was going a good head of steam. Thing was, they had to leave the bag behind. Portland PD met the train, found blasting caps, dynamite, a couple of pistols. A real anarchist's toolbox. The porter, poor suspicious bastard, died from his injuries."
"Still haven't answered my question," Danny said.
"We tracked them here about a month ago. This is Galleani's home base, after all. We'd heard rumors she was pregnant. The flu was running the show then, though, so that slowed us up. Last night a guy, let's say, we count on in the anarchist underground coughed up Tessa's address. She must have got word, though, because she got into the wind before we could get here. You? You were easy. We asked all the tenants in the building if Tessa had been acting suspicious lately. To a man or woman they all said, 'Outside of fucking the cop on the fi fth floor? Why no.'"
"Tessa a bomber?" Danny shook his head. "I don't buy it."
"No?" Finch said. "Back in her room an hour ago, John found metal shavings in the floor cracks and burn marks that could have only come from acid. You want a look? They're making bombs, Offi cer Coughlin. No, correct that--they've made bombs. Probably used the manual Galleani wrote himself."
Danny went to the window and opened it. He sucked in the cold air and looked out at the harbor lights. Luigi Galleani was the father of anarchism in America, publicly devoted to the overthrow of the federal government. Name a major terrorist act in the last five years and he'd been fingered as the architect.
"As for your girlfriend," Finch said, "her real name is Tessa, but that's probably the only true thing you know about her." Finch came over to the window beside Danny and his father. He produced a folded handkerchief and opened it. "See this?"
Danny looked into the handkerchief and saw white powder.
"That's fulminate of mercury. Looks just like table salt, doesn't it? Put it on a rock and hit the rock with a hammer, though, and both the rock and the hammer will explode. Probably your arm, too. Your girlfriend was born Tessa Valparo in Naples. She grew up in a slum, lost her parents to cholera, and started working in a bordello at twelve. She killed a client when she was thirteen. With a razor and an impressive imagination. Fell in with Federico shortly after that and they came here."
"Where," Hoover said, "they quickly made the acquaintance of Luigi Galleani just north of here in Lynn. They helped him plan attacks in New York and Chicago and play sob sister to all those poor helpless workers from Cape Cod to Seattle. They worked on that disgraceful propaganda rag Cronaca Sovversiva as well. You're familiar with it?"
Danny said, "You can't work in the North End and not see it. People wrap their fish in it, for Christ's sake."