Cory Wade is Missing

by Rick Beck

Chapter 2


At ten minutes to one Wes took his usual table in the Bayou. The barman left the bar, going straight to Wes's side.

"Your usual, Mr. Matthews?"

"Yes, Henry, and Mr. McCoy will be here shortly. His usual Fitzgerald, and we'll need a pot of coffee on the table."

"Yes, sir. Coming right up," Henry said, heading for the kitchen to order a pot of coffee before he poured the drinks.

The waiter was right at his side to take his order for drinks and appetizers that would hold the two of them until lunch was ready.

"Thank you, Henry," Wes said.

Angus came in the door at one. He was working on only a few hours sleep, but the new case sounded interesting, and that energized him. As a Chicago cop, he'd lost more hours of sleep than he could count. It taught him that he had a ready reserve when needed it. He no longer needed it as often, and finding it there today was reassuring.

Wes stood and the two men hugged. Angus sat with his back against the wall. Wes sat at the corner of the table. Angus immediately reached for the Fitzgerald, draining the glass and holding it up once he did.


"It's coming," Wes said.

Henry was pouring the second Fitzgerald by then. It followed the first without hesitation. Angus put his hand over the glass when Henry tried to pour it full again.

"Coffee. I need coffee," Angus said.

"You certainly do, McCoy. You look as though you were road hard and put away wet," Henry said.

"Close, Henry. Four day stakeout," Angus said.

"The coffee is coming. Another Knob Hill, Mr. Matthews?"

"No. Maybe after lunch," Wes said. "I have court this afternoon."

Henry started to leave the table.

"Hey, Henry, how come he's Mr. Matthews and I'm McCoy?" Angus asked.

"He's a gentlemen, sir," Henry said with a highbrow tone.

He walked away.

"I guess he told you," Wes said.

"What do you expect from a guy who knows a thoroughbred from a horse," Angus said.

Wes laughed. Angus poured himself a cup of coffee as soon as the pot arrived at the table.

"Tell me where we stand, Wes. I want to know who snatched Mad Tony's kid."

"Peg called hospitals and police stations. She didn't have anything before I left. She was talking to the medical examiner's office when I was leaving. She'll call me if she comes up with anything. We are trying to keep on the QT. Mr. Wade doesn't know," Wes said.

"He doesn't know his kids missing. I take it we aren't talking about a rug rat," Angus said. "How old is he?"

"Eighteen, but it sounds as though he stays pretty close to the house. This is not like him to just go off."

"Brings us back to who snatched him. I don't suppose Tony is dying to speak with me?" Angus asked.

"He doesn't know you exist. Let's keep it that way for the time being. We want to keep the shootouts to a minimum if possible. It's bad for business," Wes said.

"So why is mama bear hiring you without papa bear tagging along, Wes."

"Daddy isn't concerned. The kid will come home when he gets tired of doing whatever he's off doing," Wes said.

"Tony isn't concerned? That do pose possibilities, but if I can't interview him, and I bet Mrs. Tony is full of details, how am I supposed to get a fix on the kid?" Angus asked.

"You're the investigator. You investigate," Wes said.

"It's Tony Wade's kid. They wait four days after he fails to return home Monday evening. Give me a break. They've definitely blown any chance of getting m vote for parents of the year. Since she's in an attorney's office, I will take a wild guess, they haven't reported him missing?"

"You're batting a thousand," Wes said.

"Most parents are going to be in panic mode a half hour after the kid fails to show up on time. Let's say Tony isn't in favor of calling the cops, ever. She waits from Monday until Thursday, and she hires a lawyer. This is not going to be easy. Why hire an attorney?" Angus asked.

"Everyone needs an attorney," Wes said.

"Preferably you," Angus said.

"I'd recommend me," Wes said. "What do we do, Angus. He is a kid and he is missing."

"You've saved me some phone calls," Angus said. "I appreciate that. I'd have given the job to Judy, but Peg knows who to talk to and what to say. I'm a bit gruff and it puts people off."

"Peg is my right hand man," Wes said. "She does know where everything belongs."

Wes took the note pad from his pocket and slid it toward Angus. He'd only marked one thought down.

Angus read aloud.

"'She thinks Tony knows more than he's telling her.'"

Angus slid the pad back to Wes.

"Explains why she came alone," Angus said. "Is he holding out on her, or did he have something to do with the kid's disappearance. There are rumors a lot of guys around Tony disappeared in New Jersey."

"His own son? The kids eighteen. He'd be going away to school next year," Wes said.

"Cut down on a lot of expenditures," Angus said.

"They live in La Jolla. He owns a million dollar house," Wes said. "He's a contractor. He's got plenty of money."

"I own a million dollar house. It's got two bedrooms and one and a half baths. This is California, Wes. Everyone has a million dollar house and a tax bill to prove it."

"She's definitely not sure what happened. She knows Tony and violence has crossed her mind. She didn't tell me that, but it was apparent to me. She wasn't able to tell me that. She wasn't able to tell me much. He goes to Bishops, it's close to graduation. He was looking forward to college."

"A good way to get clear of daddy," Angus said. "It doesn't make sense to run off with all that on the line. Something had to happen to make him run. Why hasn't he contacted mommy, if the problem is daddy?"

"Maybe he can't call," Wes said.

"Isn't able to call. Tony's got to know someone is going to start asking questions at school. Where'd he go? It's time for graduation. He spends all that time arriving at the big moment, and he just walks away? No way," Angus said.

"If he did hurt Cory, she isn't going to say that. She wants us to find out what happened," Wes said. "That's where you come in, big guy."

"She wants me to find out what happen to the kid, and she expects me to deal with her husband if he did something bad to him," Angus said.

"Everyone knows you were a cop. You dealt with bad guys for years. What's one more bad guy to an old cop," Wes said.

"The man's connected, Wes. There's no such thing as one more bad guy, when you come mobbed up."

"And here we are back at, what are you going to do."

"Sleep on it, Wes. I'm going to sleep on it, and read the transcript you brought. That's sure to put me to sleep."

"Cory has just turned eighteen. He has a charge card and a small bank account he has access to. There is a larger savings account, but it requires his mother's signature for him to get into it."

"That's our first tip off about what's happened. He won't use the card if he's on the run," Angus said.

"Or if he is unable to use it," Wes said.

"If he's alive, and he had a run-in with daddy, it would take his father fifteen minutes to find him, if he uses that card. That's how long it would take me to locate him. Any eighteen-year-old who runs away knows that. Either he ran suddenly, or even if he planned to run, he's seen enough cop shows to know it takes fifteen minutes to trace anything he puts on a charge card," Angus said. "He knows Tony knows that too."

"If the boy is still alive, he doesn't seem interested in communicating with his mother. Probably because he doesn't want to say where he is. Let me take a quick glance and the transcript. It'll give me something to go on. I have a wealth of knowledge about missing persons cases, but until I know why the kid ran, it's all speculation."

Angus browsed Mrs. Wade's part of Wes's interview.

"She's not sure her husband isn't involved. Every mobsters kid that went missing in Chicago, didn't fair well. It was always another mob and in sending a message, they weren't subtle about it. You tell me Mad Tony is anywhere near anyone who goes missing, and I make him for it, Wes."

"That would be unfortunate. In such cases, did you find the kids who were kidnapped? Sometimes we found the kid. Sometimes we found the kid's body. Like I said, they were rough customers," Angus said.

"The other thing we need to consider, Tony's a made man. He was sent out here to do a job. He's in charge, and on the surface, he appears to be on the up and up. He's connected to the New Jersey mob, but we have no idea if this has something to do with someone Tony crossed years ago, and they're just getting around to collecting on the debt they figure he owes."

"He told Dolores to wait for the kid to come home. If his kid was snatched, would he be that calm?"

"No, it would be all hands on deck. He'd turn San Diego and New Jersey upside down. He couldn't allow that kind of disrespect, and we're back to Tony being where I'd look."

"He isn't going to talk to you," Wes said.

"No. I'd do better talking to people who know him. See if anything was bothering him. How were his grades? Was he having trouble with someone at school?" Angus asked.

"It's six of one and a half dozen of the other. Take the transcript home and read it. Dolores gave me some information on Cory. It's fairly detailed," Wes said, "I did a careful interview. It might give you some ideas."

"No police report. You'll do that?" Angus asked.

"In a day or two. You figure out how you want to come at this first," Wes said. "If we the missing person report right, it will hardly make a ripple. An eighteen-year-old didn't come in for dinner. How unusual is that."

"If it's Anthony Wade's kid, that's unusual, and it's a story. Leave it at not coming in for a few days. Don't mention Tony. You're acting for the mother," Angus said.

"They ask you one question, Wes, and find out the kids been gone a week, and you'll find yourself on the hot seat."

"He's eighteen," Wes said.

"Right. That's good. He can be late for dinner if he wants," Angus said. "He's eighteen. Why file a missing person's report at all?"

"School. They're going to want to know where Cory is. A kid doesn't get within two weeks of graduation and decide to walk away," Wes said.

"I'll need to get access to whoever he ran with at school. Mrs. Wade can get that done. I'll need to interview her and I'll get her to clear the way for me to do interviews at his school. She should be able to make that happen," Angus said, continuing to read.

"I'll mention that angle to her. I'm working on paperwork to get his electronics records. Maybe get into his computer. See who he's been talking to," Wes said.

"Good thinking. I must admit I'm intrigued, and I bet Tony can answer the question, where's Cory Wade? He's not going to tell me. He's going to fight me every step of the way, he doesn't care who hired me," Angus said, turning another page. "Then again, he might be as in the dark as we are. Mrs. Wade knows who Tony is. There's always a chance he had a hand in his disappearance. I can see her wrestling with what to tell you. You did cover all the bases. I'll go over some of these questions, see how she answers when I ask."

"Once I found out I had Mad Tony's wife in my office, I considered turning the case down," Wes said. "She wrote me a check for $25,000. I wasn't turning that down."

"My cut being?" Angus asked.

"Four hundred a day and expenses. You know our deal as well as I do," Wes said.

"Yeah, but I like to hear you say it," Angus said, as the food arrived.

"The scallops smell wonderful, Reggie," Wes said.

"Fine choice today. They came in fresh at noon," Reggie said. "Drinks? Anything I can get for you?"

"No, we are ready to eat," Wes said, cutting into one of the juicy scallops.

Angus put the transcript to one side and began eating his French fries.

After lunch was cleared, Wes and Angus sat drinking coffee. Angus put the transcript on top of his jacket.

"You know there is no way we do this without having some kind of a clash with Tony Wade," Angus said.

"I considered that. You aren't a cop and you don't need to take Tony to task for every bad act he's ever done. There is a chance he knows nothing, admittedly, a very slim, slight chance. He might let you do your investigation," Wes said.

"You know what the odds are he'll decide to do that?" Angus asked. "Slim and not at all. He's going to be an asshole and I'm going to end up dealing with him."

"I know that is a possibility. Try to avoid him, and I know that's like telling a bull not to charge the guy with the red cape, but it can be done," Wes said.

"I'll take your word for it. I'm going to need to get into that house. No telling what's in there besides the kids electronics. I need to see if there's evidence of a violent confrontation. You know as well as I do, we can't rule out violence, until I see the scene."

"We can arrange it. We'll go in while Tony's elsewhere," Wes said.

"We as in me," Angus said. "Why couldn't you take a simple missing persons case?"

"Not as much fun, Angus," Wes said.

"Your idea of fun and my idea of fun aren't the same thing. I'd like a bit of quiet low key fun, once in a while."

"You'd get bored. Tony will keep you on your toes. I have confidence in you, Angus. Low key cases won't furnish you the excitement I know you crave."

"I'll see that you get to see Dolores. She's parked her minks at the Grant Hotel. I'll have Peg call and arrange a meeting," Wes said. "I'll have her call you in the morning to firm up a day and time that works for you."

"The sooner the better. There's a chance Cory's been snatched. We can't rule that out. We don't know if Tony's considered that. He'll never call the cops, but but he might not object to a private dick poking around," Angus said.

"Do you believe that, Angus? He told his wife to wait."

"Not for a second. Until I can rule Tony out, he's my main suspect, but I can't rule anything out. I don't want to miss anything."

"While we're not missing anything, I'd like it if you located Cory without rattling Tony's cage. If we're smart, we can work around him. I'd say that's the way to go. It's the idea of you going into the man's house that worries me. He's the kind of guy who lets his wife start the car in the morning, if you catch my drift. What I'm saying is, you'll need more than a key to get in the Wade house. Dolores will need to run interference. She'll tell us the right time to go in. That way there's less risk of you butting heads with the ringmaster. I know you, Angus. You won't be able to get too close to Tony without having an urge to take him down. It's better for you to resist that urge."

"Hell, Wes, I'm past the age when I want to take all the bad guys down, and I know when to duck, but to do a proper investigation, considering the circumstances, I need to get into the Wade house. It could be a crime scene. The faster I can eliminate it as such, the sooner I can get on with finding Cory," Angus said.

"And I want you to be careful," Wes said.

"I'll do my best to avoid trouble, but doing a proper investigation in this case means taking risks," Angus said. "You are aware of what I do. You read my reports. Your job is to cover my ass if I get in deeper than I plan. It's nothing new, my friend," Angus said, placing his hand on Wes's forearm.

Angus drained his fourth or fifth cup of coffee. He wasn't sure how many he'd had, but he was sure he'd pay for it in a few hours.

"No, nothing new, but it's another situations I put you in and you could get hurt. We are friends, Angus, and it wouldn't do for you to get hurt on a case I send you out on. It may not be new, but it gets harder. When Dolores Wade said, 'I'm Dolores Wade, it clicked. I'd seen her name, but I never associated her with Tony. When I did, well, I took the case, and I need to deal with the fallout," Wes said. "I wish I hadn't taken it."

"It's not about Tony. It's about a kid who may be in trouble. That's the case I'm taking. Let me do my job and we'll get this kid back to his mother," Angus said.

"Originally, when I first hired you, it was because your experience in law enforcement. You can handle yourself. You've dealt with tough guys all your life, Angus, and you'll deal with Tony, but we're both getting older, and it should get easier."

"You'd think," Angus said. "Nothing I've ever done that was worth a damn was ever easy. I don't expect it to start getting easier now," Angus said. "And I've got to pee. My reputation in here is such, I don't want to pee myself."

Wes laughed as Angus moved toward the men's room.

"Hey, McCoy, the ponies are running at Del Mar. Why haven't you called?" Henry asked.

"I've been a little busy, Henry. The last time we went to the track, you made me look like a schmuck. I think you talk to those horses. The next time we go, It wouldn't surprise me if you were a jockey on one of those nags," Angus said.

"Don't be silly, McCoy. I weight two hundred and fifty pounds. If I tried to ride one of those ponies, I'd flatten him."

Angus laughed.

"I've got to run, Henry," Angus said, not knowing if he'd make it to the men's room."

"I'll be waiting by the phone, McCoy. Don't leave me hanging," he said, as Angus hit the men's room.

"I'm getting close to the time I need to leave for court. You can stay and drink for a while if you like. I still wish I had said no to Mrs. Wade. I've been thinking about the only time I've seen Tony Wade face to face. Actually, my face wasn't nearly as apparent as his face was. He's a big man and he even looks mean," Wes said. "And he plays dirty."

"I dealt with him once in Chicago. It was a labor beef. He was some of the muscle sent from New Jersey to get the outcome they were after, and they got it. You're a defense lawyer, why were you near Tony Wade?" Angus asked.

"Before I became a partner, I helped on cases the partners had taken. One concerned one of Tony's contracting jobs. Our client wanted to prove he'd strong armed their their guys in order to get a contract."

"Who Tony? Strong arm someone?" Angus said. "So, you've encountered Mr. Wade in court? You seemed rather aware of his reputation."

"I did some briefs, and I worked on our opening statement. I was only in court that first day, so Tony wouldn't remember me, but I remember him."

"What was the outcome?" Angus asked. "As if I don't know."

"Our witnesses moved to Tijuana and left no forwarding addresses. We did some investigating in the vicinity of New York City. Witnesses failed to appear in court against Tony. Some left the state. A couple disappeared and were never seen or heard from again. He always got off on lack of evidence. Everyone knew what the story was, but they couldn't prove he was intimidating witnesses, so he walked. He was tied to some heavy hitters in New Jersey, and I'm not talking baseball players," Wes said.

"He came into Chicago, bought or muscled the outcome the Jersey boys wanted, and he disappeared. I only saw him once, but my partner pointed him out and said, 'That's a bad man. He's lived up to that reputation," Angus said.

"Time I get moving. Go over the transcript. Tell me what you need, and I'll take care of it," Wes said, moving toward the door.

Later that afternoon, Angus has gone home to his house near Pacific Beach. With one leg cocked over the arm of his easy chair, he is reading Dolores Wade's interview with Wes.

"You haven't been in our bed since the weekend, my love. This morning you were going to come home and sleep for two days. Now, here you are, sitting up and reading. Why aren't you catching up on your sleep, Angus?" Mildred asked.

"Mil, I drank a pot and a half of coffee with lunch. Wes has a case for me. I'm reading up on it. I probably won't be able to lie down until later tonight. I have that coffee high, and I want to read this anyway."

"Pork chops OK for dinner, dear. Some stuffing and green beans?" Mildred asked.

"Sounds good, Mil. I'll finish this by dinner time."

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