Here's author Chris McCann's summary of the first part of her story "Leap of Faith", which ran in the last issue: " Murder and mayhem touch the rarified world of fine art when Lenore Bevan, an art restorer with the Metropolitan Museum, and her associate and lover, Erich Keller, are robbed by a cold-blooded German and his Cockney sidekick. Keller is killed, and Detectives Mike Logan and Marty Driscoll are called in to investigate the homicide. However, things get very personal between Logan and "Lenny" Bevan, revealing some hard truths about the inner workings of Mike Logan. Implicated by the testimony of one of the thieves, Lenore is reluctantly taken into custody by none other than Detectives Logan and Driscoll. The days following her arrest will require much from all involved, but what awaits Mike Logan is a true leap of faith." Part one of "Leap of Faith" is available here.
Leap of Faith - Conclusion
By Chris McCann
Two who warmly cover...
Due to the lateness of the hour, Lenore Bevan was not arraigned until early the following morning. She spent the night of her arrest, sitting unnaturally still on a hard, wooden bench in a holding cell deep within the bowels of the 27th Precinct. Mike Logan's attempts to speak with her were met with a wall of silence.
"Lenny, let me call a lawyer. You're gonna need one. I've gotta friend from the old neighborhood who's a good guy. Do you want to call your parents? You're allowed to make a phone call or I can do it for you if you like. Just tell me what you want me to do." Unresponsive, Lenore remained sitting quietly, staring ahead, concentrating very hard on something Mike Logan could only guess at. Pleading with her to listen, to at least look at him, Logan continued, "Christ, Lenny, don't be like this. There are things we gotta do. I know it all seems pretty scary and hard to understand right now but we'll get through this. I promise. I swear, Lenny. It'll be all right. We just gotta take this one step at a time and make sure we do everything right. Lenny, I need you to help me here."
Lenore Bevan knew her rights and she had the right to remain silent.
Mike Logan spent that night standing watch outside Lenore Bevan's cell. Though she refused to look at him much less speak, he stayed, hoping for a word or even a glance. Because next day he and Driscoll were kept running from one end of the city to the other on departmental business, Logan was unable to attend Lenore Bevan's arraignment. However, he had put in a frantic call to his friend, John Stewart, as well as to Lenny's parents in Lombard, Illinois. They were naturally horrified to hear that their only daughter had been arrested but, with Mike Logan's repeated, steady assurances that all would be well, calmly prepared for their first trip to New York. The wheels for Lenny's release on bail had been set in motion and it was armed with the knowledge that he had done all that was humanly possible to secure her release, that Detective Michael Logan set off to greet another humid, blistering, frustrating day.
Returning to the 27th several hours later, Marty Driscoll had reason to call the D. A.'s office to check on the status of another case he and Logan were investigating. Knowing that Driscoll and his partner were also involved in the "Met Mess", as it had come to be called by certain courthouse wags, the clerk happily informed a horrified Driscoll that Lenore Bevan's arraignment had not only gone off without a hitch but that she was in fact that moment "just where she belonged, a guest of those nice folks at Riker's."
"Jesus, Mike, Lenny's been taken to Rikers," Marty groaned. "Just spoke to that snotty bitch at the D.A.'s."
Mike Logan, having already dialed the D. A.'s office with his own inquiry, had been put on hold. Slamming down the receiver with such force that it snapped in two, Logan went into orbit. "McCoy! That motherfucking Jack McCoy. Bastard thinks he's got this case all sewn up. When I get through with his sorry ass, he'll need to have it sewn up!"
Nothing Marty Driscoll could say or do, short of cuffing his partner to the radiator, would have been enough to prevent the inevitable, ugly confrontation with the Assistant District Attorney. At that moment, Driscoll felt like beating the hell out of that pompous piece of shit himself.
Bursting into Jack McCoy's office like a whirlwind, Logan, with one, powerful and oddly graceful motion had the Assistant District Attorney out of his chair, suspended in mid air. Slamming the stunned and, by now, very frightened lawyer against the wall, Logan hissed into his face, "You pompous piece a crap! You think that fucking law degree of yours gives you the right to treat people like dirt? I wanna know now why someone like Lenore Bevan is rotting in a cell at Riker's when she should be home sleeping in her own bed? You know damned well that your case sucks!" Shaking McCoy like an old rug, Logan screamed, "Answer me, you lying sack of shit or I'll...!" Suddenly out of gas, the detective unceremoniously released his grip on Jack McCoy. Falling heavily into a nearby chair, Logan, now pale and trembling, mumbled, "Go ahead, counselor. Have me arrested for assault. You'd be doing me a favor. Put me out of my fucking misery."
Instead, McCoy went to a scarred filing cabinet and pulled out two glasses and a half-filled bottle of Johnny Walker. Hands still shaking, he poured three fingers into each glass. Shoving one drink across the desk in Logan's direction and then draining half his own, McCoy said, "Lenore Bevan's bail was set at $50,000. She refused to even speak with a bondsman. Miss Bevan has also refused counsel. John Stewart was there, tried to reason with her, but she was adamant. She plead innocent before Judge Sorscher and flatly refused to even listen to her advice. Insisted that innocent people didn't need lawyers. I made it absolutely clear to Miss Bevan that, without bail, she would be remanded into custody at Riker's until her trial. I guess my usual powers of persuasion failed me this time. Hell, Mike, what was I supposed to do?"
Wearily shaking his head, Logan answered, "I hope to God you're after the truth this time, Jack, and not just another conviction because this woman is innocent. Lenore Bevan is the victim in this fucking mess. She's never even heard of the names Muller or Sackman. That fucking kraut boyfriend of hers set her up. Yeah, they were working late, so what else is new? The boyfriend opens the door, in stroll two guys. Things get messy and, surprise, boyfriend gets his brains blown out, Lenore Bevan gets her skull bashed in. End of story at least where Lenny is concerned. And I know that better than I know my own name. Keller was involved with Sackman and Muller, not Lenny. Just because Muller mentioned her to Sackman doesn't mean she was part of the conspiracy. Keller could have agreed for the both of 'em but without her knowledge. Jack, you know damned well that's possible. What's more, her behavior hasn't been in the least bit suspicious. She's stayed put and her financial records are probably in better order than yours or mine. God knows, we went over them with a fine tooth comb. I tell ya, Jack, she's clean. And that's because she's completely innocent."
"You have a personal interest in this girl?" McCoy asked. The expression on Logan's face more than answered that question. So, he continued, "We've had our problems, detective. But I've never thought to question your objectivity or professionalism. You're a good cop, and at the risk of you're becoming even more cocky and conceited, I've often relied upon your judgment. Mike, are you absolutely certain that your feelings for this young woman haven't clouded things? You want me to go after the truth and I'm ready to do that. But I must have your assurance that your objectivity is in tact, is fully operational. That you'd recognize the truth even if it were unpleasant. Hell, I'm prosecuting this case and that makes me more interested in finding the truth, not less. Hard as it may be for you to believe, convicting an innocent woman brings me no pleasure nor feeling of accomplishment. I'm after the bad guys, just like you, Mike. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way, I know, but it's still the truth. Can you promise me that you will voluntarily remove yourself from the case if you or I should feel that you can no longer function as a cop where Lenore Bevan is concerned?"
After a moment's consideration, Mike Logan nodded and replied, "You got a deal, counselor."
"Oh, and one more thing," added McCoy. "If you ever again come into this office with the misguided notion of putting the hurt on me, I will have you picking up garbage in Central Park faster than you can say 'assault and battery'. Do you read me, detective?"
With a sassy salute, Mike Logan growled, "Loud and clear, sir."
In her cell at Riker's, Lenore Bevan was enjoying the sleep of the innocent, finally dropping off despite the incessant clamor and general chaos that filled the air and kept nerves and tempers as tautly stretched as violin strings. Riker's Island was a bad place designed to accommodate bad people. That the good occasionally got tossed into this crazy, volatile mix was par for the course. Mistakes were made, accidents happened, bad things happened to good people with depressing regularity. Being thrown into the slam in spite of one's complete innocence before God and man was a very bad thing indeed. Hoping to rectify the situation, Detective Michael Logan arrived at Riker's in the company of two very frightened, very good people. Mary and Paul Bevan had been met at J.F.K. by a tall, strikingly good looking man that made Mary Bevan think of one of her favorite actors, Victor Mature. Thick mop of dark, wavy hair, same intense, clearly-defined features and a solid, outgoing, capable air that was both attractive and reassuring.
"Hello. Mr. and Mrs. Bevan? It's nice to meet you. I'm Mike Logan, Lenny's, ah, friend."
Impressed by the firmness of Logan's handshake and take-charge manner, Paul Bevan, smiling, replied, "Well, we made it. We appreciate your meeting us, son, but...uh...where's Lenore?"
Trying to keep his face and voice under control, Mike Logan suggested that they all sit down for a minute. "Um...she's being held at a facility on Riker's Island. It's only temporary, until we can arrange for bail. Then she can go right home. To be completely honest, Lenny doesn't even know you're here. Didn't want me to call you. I think she was afraid you'd be scared and upset. At her arraignment yesterday, she refused bail. Wouldn't even speak to a lawyer. So, she was remanded...uh...sent...to Riker's. I'm really hoping you can change her mind. Get her to agree to bail and to legal counsel. Lenny's innocent but she still needs a lawyer. Mr. and Mrs. Bevan, she won't listen to me."
Paul and Mary Bevan were indeed scared and upset but, like any good and loving parents, ready and willing to do whatever it took to bring their daughter home.
Sipping from a steaming cup of Earl Grey, Mary Bevan watched as her only daughter dozed fitfully on the sofa. Lenore's mother had made a "nest" for her there. This "nest making" was something Mary Bevan had done whenever her children were ill. Being surrounded by soft pillows, warm quilts and favorite books and toys always seemed to speed their recovery. However, Mary Bevan knew that no amount of tea and toast nor nest building was likely to speed her daughter's recovery from this ordeal. In fact, after hearing the details of the State's case against her youngest child, Mary Bevan had calmly strolled into the Ladies Restroom and vomited. It had been an added shock to learn that the nice young man who had met their plane and accompanied them to Riker's Island was none other than the detective responsible for Lenore's arrest. She still didn't understand why this policeman would do his best to put her daughter in jail then work even harder to get her back out. It made no sense. Mary Bevan wished that her husband had not had to return to work in Lombard but money was just too tight for him to miss more than a couple of days. Still, it would be so good if Paul were here to explain all of this to her.
Lenore roused herself from yet another vaguely menacing dream but smiled with relief to see her Mom sitting nearby. Initially furious with Mike Logan for ignoring her wishes, she was now very grateful that he had once again taken matters into his own hands and sent for her parents. Oh, she harbored no illusions about his motives for helping to untie the red tape that kept her in jail, for finding a good attorney, and for dropping in now and again just to check on her. It was obvious that Detective Michael Logan was feeling guilty as hell. The man had arrested her after all. Lenore chided herself for experiencing a tiny stab of remorse for hotly suggesting that he must think she was a complete idiot not to know the difference between a friendly visit and police surveillance. For, at one point, telling him outright that she wanted him to stay the hell away. But however much Lenore's rude, surly, suspicious attitude might have hurt Mike Logan, it didn't seem to deter him from these visits and Lenore hated to admit that she secretly looked forward to them, if only to batter him again and again with her anger and mistrust. That was the only reason she tolerated Mike Logan's presence. Of this she was absolutely certain.
As if on cue, there was the sound of a familiar knock at the door. In response, Lenore loudly called out, "Don't answer it, Mom, it's the Gestapo!"
"Lenore Marie Bevan, I didn't bring you up to speak like that. If you can't behave and at least keep a civil tongue in your head, then go to your room," Mary Bevan replied, half teasing, but half serious. She found her daughter's odd relationship with Mike Logan a mystery, one which Lenore had flatly refused to discuss. From the way Detective Logan's eyes followed her daughter's every move, it seemed more than likely that there were some pretty strong emotions percolating there. Like his habit of calling Lenore, "Lenny", with a voice so filled with affection and longing, that Mary Bevan sometimes felt embarrassed to be in the same room with them. And Mike Logan couldn't seem to do enough for Lenore. Would have carried her around on a pillow if she'd asked him to. Instead, her daughter treated him like a punching bag, lashing out in anger again and again. That embarrassed Mary Bevan even more, and though she could understand that Lenore might still be angry with Logan for arresting her, the man had been doing his job and if it had not been him, it would have been someone else, someone perhaps not so interested in Lenore's wellbeing. And from what she could tell, Detective Mike Logan was doing everything in his power to prove her daughter's innocence. Even Mary Bevan could love him for that.
Lenore, obeying her mother's orders, retreated in a huff to her room, slamming the door behind her. The last person on earth she wanted to see just then was Michael Logan. He might have charmed the socks off her mother and father but nothing would change her mind about him. As far as Mike Logan was concerned, Lenore Bevan had "been there, done that" and was the sadder for it.
"Hey, Mrs. Bevan," Mike Logan said, while discreetly scanning the room for signs of her daughter. "How are you doing? Tea, huh? Think there might be enough left in that pot for me?" Logan asked.
"Oh, I'm sure there is, detective. Let me just get another cup," replied Mary.
"Hey, you sit down and drink up while it's still hot. I don't mind helping myself," said Mike, strolling over to the cupboard and taking down a cup and saucer.
Well, well, this young man certainly seemed to know his way around Lenore's apartment, thought Mary. There is most assuredly some history here and I think it's high time I knew what was what. Smiling as she poured his tea, Mary Bevan began her own little investigation. "So, have you known my daughter long, detective? I only ask because you seem to be so familiar with this place, with Lenore's things. As if you'd spent quite a lot of time here."
Blushing to the roots of his hair, and swallowing hard, Mike Logan answered, "I first met Lenny, uh, Lenore, at the museum although she wasn't in any shape to remember it. Her friend had been killed and she was pretty badly hurt." Lost in the memory of that night, Logan paused then added, "Anyway, after she was released from the hospital, I came here to ask her some routine questions. Couldn't help but notice that she really wasn't doing too well. She was depressed and afraid of her own shadow -- a pretty normal reaction to what she'd just been through. Post traumatic stress -- at least that's what the shrinks call it. I don't know. I just kept coming back."
Mary Bevan, sensing that there was a lot more to the story, encouraged the young detective to keep talking, "So, Mike, you kept coming back. Why? To ask Lenore more questions? This was police business?"
"Uh, no, after that first time, it had absolutely nothing to do with the case." Blushing again, Mike sipped his tea, took a deep breath and plunged on. "You see, Mrs. Bevan, I'm in love with your daughter. Sounds pretty strange, doesn't it? I mean, I'm the guy who arrested her. But before all this happened things were different between us. Really good. Movin' in the right direction anyway. That is until I started acting like a stupid, selfish bastard." Briefly apologizing for using such a crude word, Logan's composure began to crack, like some subterranean fault line tracing its way through granite, gradually widening, layer by layer until it reached the surface. Now with tears flowing unchecked, and in a broken voice, Mike Logan confessed his guilt, shame and regret to Lenny Bevan's mother. He told her everything. That in an effort to appear objective and professional, he had deserted her daughter. Had placed his reputation and desire to win, to solve this damned awful case, before his relationship with Lenny knowing full well that it would hurt and confuse her. Instead of explaining things to her and making her a partner in it, he'd made her an enemy. He now knew that she'd never forgive him, and that this was the very least he deserved. Mike Logan had always taken great pride in his toughness and ability to control any situation but things were now so out of control and he was so damned scared that he didn't know what to do next.
What Mary Bevan did next was to take this young man into her arms and hold him for a very long time. Tea and sympathy were all well and good but what Michael Logan needed at that moment was a mother. "I'm so sorry, Logan repeated over and over. Just so damned sorry." As he sat back, wiping his eyes and blowing his nose, struggling for control, Mike tried to make light of what had just happened. "Whew, I'm not usually like this, blubbering all over the place. You probably think I'm nuts spillin' my guts like that. Hell, maybe I am. I'm sorry, Mrs. Bevan. I really am."
Mary Bevan, taking his hand in hers, replied, "Michael, please don't apologize. Your feelings are genuine, that much I believe, and I also know that you've been under enormous pressure for a long time. Maybe even before you met my daughter? Being a policeman in a city like this must be such a challenge, one that most of us wouldn't even dream of tackling. A dangerous job that we all tend to take for granted. You should be proud of the work you do, of your reputation. There's nothing wrong with that in my book. I must admit that what's happened between you and Lenore is, uh, unusual. Most people don't become acquainted, much less fall in love, due to such tragic circumstances. But you and Lenore are unusual people -- special people -- who have already been through so much together. It seems to me that it would only compound the tragedy if the two of you lost one another." Seeing the tears beginning to reform in Michael Logan's eyes, Mary Bevan continued, "It's not too late. Lenore is angry and hurt but, even more than that, I think she's must be confused about what's happened. Straighten her out, Mike. Make her listen to you. Tell her what you just told me. I think you'll find, if you haven't already, that my daughter has a very forgiving nature."
The insistent, electronic beep of Mike Logan's pager made further discussion impossible. The New York City Police Department had claimed him once again. Planting a kiss on Mary Bevan's cheek, Mike said, "Thanks for the tea."
Two who o'er me hover...
Arriving back at the Two Seven, Logan was met in the bullpen by a grim-faced Marty Driscoll. "Well, partner, do you want the good news first or the bad?" asked Marty. Logan's equally grim expression gave Driscoll his answer. "Looks like our Gerhard Muller gave himself the ultimate blow job. Tried to leave a bomb in a passenger terminal at Schipohl airport and it went off before our friendly neighborhood terrorist could make his getaway. Unfortunately, there are another dozen people who won't be able to add this trip to their frequent flyer mileage. Good news is, the Dutch police don't screw around like the Brits and will be faxing a copy of Muller's passport photo, among other things, some time today."
"You call that good news?" groaned Logan. "Jesus, now we only have Sackman's word to go on. And, wow, we can look forward to having our very own 8x10 glossy of this dead asshole. So what? Means absolutely nothing. Sackman's already fingered him and if Lenny recognizes him, she's toast. Christ, twelve innocent people. Why?"
"Maybe there'll be something in the stuff the Dutch cops send over. Good information for a change, something we can get our teeth into. This 'he said/she said' crap always makes me nervous. It's no substitute for solid evidence. Mike, I know you're worried about how this will play for Lenny. If it's any comfort to you, I believe she's innocent and I wanna see her out of this mess just as much as you do. She's a good kid, isn't she?" asked Driscoll.
"She's the best, Marty," replied Logan.
"Hey partner, she got an older sister?" This question coming from the twice-divorced Driscoll gave Mike Logan the only laugh he'd enjoyed so far that day.
Lenore Bevan was the youngest of three and the only girl. Her oldest brother, Ken, a member of the 82nd Airborne, had been killed in Granada when the helicopter sent in to airlift his squad to another hot spot on the island inexplicably lost altitude and crashed into a hillside. Though there were a handful of survivors, Sgt. Kenneth Eugene Bevan was not among them. It had taken Paul and Mary Bevan a very long time to accept the loss of their first born. As Lenore's father often said, "They didn't get over it, they just got used to it."
Thoughts of Ken had been stirred by an afternoon spent going through Lenore's photo albums. Paging through the most recent collection of photographs, Mary said, "I don't see any pictures of Mike in here. Hmm, I'd think he would be particularly photogenic."
"Mike who?" asked Lenore innocently.
"Lenore Marie Bevan, you know exactly who I'm talking about. Just how long are you going to torture that young man? He truly cares for you. Surely you know that by now. You're a smart girl, Lenore, but apparently not as smart as I thought. I realize that you young people think you have all the time in the world. Your brother thought so and he died without ever having had the chance to fall in love, to marry, to have children -- my grandchildren. Maybe he thought he had plenty of time for all that. But, honey, he didn't and now it's too late for him. Dear God, Lenore, you of all people should know that you aren't immortal. Your friend, Erich is dead and you were very nearly killed." Overcome with emotion, Mary stood up, went into the kitchen and began preparing lunch.
Putting her arms around her mother, Lenore said, "Mom, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that Kenny died. I miss him too." Crying now, Lenore continued, "And I'm sorry that you've been dragged into this awful mess. It's so much better with you here, but I know how hard it is for you. I just want it to be over, one way or the other. And you know, Mom, I don't feel at all immortal. In fact, just the opposite. I'm so scared that I won't get the chance to do all those things you talked about, the things I've dreamed about. How can I even think of a future with someone like Mike Logan? After what he's done? I don't feel like I even know him anymore. I'm not sure I even want to."
"You can start by talking to the man, Lenore. Really talking to him. Just like you're talking to me. We both know he'll listen. Honey, he's got such a lot to say to you too but he's afraid and you keep him at arm's length with all that hostility. Why in the world do you think he comes over so often? He's just waiting, hoping that you'll notice that he still cares very deeply for you, that he wants to fix whatever it is that's gone wrong between you. This man goes out into this crazy, dangerous city every day. Puts his life on the line. He's a good cop but he's not immortal, Lenore. We of all people know that life is very fragile, that it can be heartbreakingly short, too short to waste a minute of it. Surely this misunderstanding between the two of you can't be worth the time it's wasting. Lenore, do you love the man?" asked Mary Bevan.
"Yes," replied her darling daughter.
"Then tell him so. Call him now. There's no point in wasting another minute," said Mary Bevan, with a smile.
The information received from Amsterdam brought no smiles to the faces of Detectives Driscoll and Logan. In addition to Muller's passport photo, the Dutch police had found several others taken by undercover agents who had managed to infiltrate a militant white supremacist group calling itself "Gross Weiss". Of course it was almost dead cert that the name Gerhard Muller was an alias and that fact undoubtedly made any additional information in Muller's passport pure fabrication.
"Well, this is real helpful," moaned Logan. "At least now we know what the shit looked like and that he was some neo-Nazi asshole -- Sackman as much as told us that. Big deal. Christ almighty, what was his connection with Erich Keller? Hey, Marty, do you think it's coincidental that they're both German?" Logan asked, voice dripping with irony. "But how in hell did they know each other? Maybe this Keller was a member of "Gross Weiss" and was helping 'em out with a little fund raising when he got popped?"
"If he was a card-carrying member and was helping 'em out, then why pop him? Marty countered. "Wouldn't he be more valuable to this group alive? Yeah, he and Muller had to have some German connection. But what if Keller was an unwilling accomplice? According to Sackman, Gerhard was one tough bastard, a cold-blooded killer. So Muller's group needs a lot of money and he remembers that his old buddy, now working in America, has access to a lot of very expensive merchandise. Puts the screws to Keller and forces him to help. Pops him to keep him quiet. Muller wants to be sure Sackman's in up to his armpits so he orders the Brit to waste the girl. But, you know, Mike, Sackman is one lucky fucker. He must have done some fancy tap dancin' to stay out of Muller's way. Still, seems kinda funny that this small-time sack-o-shit managed to outwit such a pro."
"Maybe Muller figured, what the hell, Sackman was nothing. Not worth killing. Or maybe he had more important things on his mind. Ah hell, Marty, who knows? I just keep thinking that the connection between Keller and Muller goes back to Germany. We know Erich Keller was born in Stuttgart. But not much else. Told Lenny that he came to work in the States because he had no family left in Germany. Seemed kinda reluctant to discuss his past so Lenny didn't insist. We need to run another check on this guy -- go over him again. Let's get off a fax to the guys in Stuttgart and see what they can come up with. Maybe Lenny can remember something more. I'll ask her next time I'm over there." Mike was getting a real funny feeling about this case but wouldn't have recognized it yet as hope.
The phone on Logan's desk startled him, dragging him away from the mountain of paperwork littering his desk and much of the floor. This was the part of police work he hated. Unable to type worth a damn even with two fingers, Mike Logan fought an ongoing battle with the ancient mechanical monster humming loudly beside his desk. Using what he called the "hunt, peck and cuss" method, reports were labor-intensive ordeals to be put off until the last possible moment or fobbed off on someone more dexterous. Mike was not above bribery. Tony Profaci's waistline bore evidence of that.
"Detective Logan," he spat into the receiver. "Helloooo. Anybody there?"
Lenore Bevan, voice trembling, finally replied, "Hi, Mike. It's Lenny."
Mike Logan, heart suddenly pounding like a trip hammer, replied, "Hey, Lenny. How's it goin'? Uh, everything okay?"
"Yeah, Mike. I...uh...I was just wondering if you'd have some time, maybe tonight? I...uh...know how busy you are but I kinda need to see you. Maybe you could drop by when you finish up there?" asked Lenore.
Trying to keep his voice under control, Logan replied, "Sure. No problem. Fine. Only thing is it'll probably be pretty late. Is that okay? Otherwise, maybe we could do it tomorrow."
"It doesn't matter how late, Mike. I'll wait up. So, I'll see you when I see you. Okay?"
"Yeah, sure. Okay. Fine. Bye, Lenny," Logan replied.
"Hey, Profaci, so what do you want on your pizza?"
Lenore was very surprised to discover her mother busily packing a suitcase. "Mom? Where on earth are you going?"
"Well, if you must know, I'm catching a plane in an hour or so and your Dad's picking me up at O'Hare. Lenore, I miss the man, and, Lord knows, the house has probably been condemned by the health department. Besides, with me out of the way you and Michael can have the place to yourselves for a few days," she said very innocently. Lenore began to smell a set up.
"Mom, you can't be serious! Did it ever occur to you that I might not want to be alone with him? That I might welcome a chaperone or, in our case, a referee? Oh, this is just too awkward. I'll call him and tell him not to come. Knowing him, he probably won't care one way or the other. Besides, he's soooo busy these days. Yeah, that's what I'll do," prattled Lenore.
"You will do no such thing, young lady," countered Mary Bevan. "There's no time like the present for getting this all straightened out. Heavens, Lenore, aren't you tired of feeling like this about him? Don't you want to clear the air? Find out what happened? See what might happen next?"
"Mom, I'm scared," Lenore squeaked in a voice that reminded Mary Bevan that her daughter, though now a fully grown woman, was still in many ways, her little girl.
"Honey, you'll do just fine. You love each other. You belong together. That's the important thing. Just remember, Lenore, all that other stuff is just a damned waste of time. Well, that must be my taxi. Have a lovely weekend with that lovely man. I'll see you on Tuesday." With a parting, "love you, honey," Mary Bevan was off.
By the time that lovely man arrived at Lenore's apartment, she had created a well-worn path in the carpet. Her mind was rattling along like a projector, displaying frame after frame in rapid, dizzying succession. Bright images of happier times flashed by, interspersed with those not so pleasant. Lenore was scared all right. So much so that she had polished off three quarters of a bottle of bad Merlot -- the wine's sour bite no antidote for the panic tickling at the back of her throat. Lenore could have been drinking turpentine for all she knew. But even alcohol failed to have the desired effect and instead of feeling less tense and apprehensive, Lenore was wound tighter than a cheap watch, or a time bomb, ticking away the minutes until Michael Logan would walk into her apartment, and everything would probably blow up in their faces. It would be just the two of them, alone for the first time in months. Oh, God, why in hell had she let her mother talk her into calling him? Hey, it wasn't too late to call him back and cancel. Quickly grabbing the phone, Lenore just at quickly returned it to its cradle. Why did this have to be so damned hard? Beginning to hum under her breath as she paced, Lenore realized with some surprise, that the melody belonged to that lullaby Mike Logan had sung to her what seemed like a lifetime ago. Warmed by the wine and perhaps even a little divine inspiration, Lenore Bevan added the lyrics and, in a loud voice, sang it as a march, "When at night I go to sleep, fourteen angels watch do keep..." She belted it out as both a prayer and a talisman.
Completely engrossed in the musical moment, Lenore failed to hear Mike's knock. Logan, hearing peculiar sounds coming from Lenore's apartment and finding the door unlocked, quietly entered and stood in silence and wonder at the vision before him. Her march having evolved into a waltz, Lenore dramatically launched into the song's finale with operatic gusto, "...to-guide my-steps to he-eee-ea-ven". With her back turned to the door and arms flung wide, Lenore was startled by the sound of clapping.
"Encore! Encore!" Mike Logan shouted, still clapping like a maniac. "Hey, do you take requests?" he added with a wicked grin.
Beyond mortification, Lenore Bevan covered her face with both hands. "Oh, my God," she groaned.
Logan quickly responded with a, "No. Don't think I know that one. But if you hum a few bars, maybe it'll come to me. You know, Lenny, I don't believe I've ever heard that song done quite like that. The choreography was a lovely touch. Very nice. Ever think of trying out for somethin' on Broadway?"
Chucking a throw pillow in his direction, Lenore Bevan was forced to smile in spite of herself. "Oh well, you know, 'a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants'? So, Logan, what have you been up to -- aside from making fun of me that is?"
"Ah, same-old-same-old, business as usual. You know," he replied. It took a monumental act of will to remain silent about the recent developments in the investigation. He itched to fill her in on the latest about Gerhard Muller but knew to do so would not only be unprofessional but in flagrant violation of some damned statute or other. However, suddenly remembering Erich Keller, Logan added, "Say, Lenny, can you recall anything more about your former boyfriend? The names of any groups he might have belonged to. Anything about his life in Germany? This guy must have some history." As an afterthought, Logan asked, "Hey, where's your Mom?"
"Oh, she's gone back to Lombard for a few days. She misses Dad. I don't think they've ever really been apart except when she was in the hospital having babies. It must be hard for her to be cooped up with me in this little apartment all day long and it's been just too hot to go out much. God knows, I haven't exactly been a bundle of laughs. Oh, did you know that the Met, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that my services are no longer required? Unemployed and out on bail -- wow, I'm a real prize. This whole situation..." Lenore let her words trail off not knowing exactly where to go or what to say next.
"Lenny, I'm so sorry. I didn't know. That really stinks. How can they do something like that to you? Damn, you have really been through it, haven't you? This is such a raw deal. But you know something, you're lucky, Lenny, to have a family like yours. Your Mom is a great lady. I'd a given a lot for a mother like that instead of the one I got," said Mike. Not wanting to go there just then, Logan continued, "but getting back to Erich Keller...can you think of anything, Lenny, anything that you haven't already told me about him?"
Joining Logan on the sofa, Lenore said, "Erich was just a nice guy. We had some really good times together although he was a lot more interested in the social scene than I'll ever be. Just loved hanging out with the movers and shakers. Guess you'd call him a wannabe. It was really important for him to feel accepted. Almost like he had something to prove. Anyway, the only club he belonged to was some trendy gym, 'Shapers', I think it's called, where all the beautiful people went to fight the flab. Claimed he saw Madonna there a few times. That kind of thing was important to him. If he belonged to any other clubs or groups, I sure didn't know about them. Let's see, you already know that Erich was born in Stuttgart and raised in Germany, at least that's what he told me. He emigrated to the United States because doing restoration for the Met was a big step up and, God knows, Erich was a climber. Worked really hard. He had no family left in Germany, so I guess he felt there was no reason to stay there. You know, Mike, I always sensed there was a lot more but Erich seemed so reluctant to discuss it that I didn't insist. Guess I figured that he'd tell me one day. Now I'll never know. I miss him a lot. Keep wondering why he died and not me."
"That's called survivor's guilt, Lenny. It's normal to feel like that so you shouldn't feel bad about it. Uh...I guess you loved him, huh?" asked Mike, suddenly looking every bit as tired as he felt. "Sounds like you were a good match. For what it's worth, I'm sorry he died, Lenny, that you lost someone you really cared about. I kinda know how that feels. Sorry... but then these days I'm sorry about a lot of things."
Feeling as though she were tap dancing through a minefield, Lenore abruptly jumped to her feet and said in her official hostess voice, "Well, what can I get you to drink? Have you eaten? Mom made some killer minestrone yesterday. I think there may even be a few slices of garlic bread left. How about a brownie? I've got some salad too." With nerves twanging like bowstrings, Lenore shot into the kitchen to gather her wits and put a bit more distance between herself and Logan. 'Stop babbling, Lenore. Calm down for Chrissake. Your mouth's running like a sewing machine. Get him something to eat and maybe he'll go home before this gets too messy.' But instead Lenore stood at the counter like some manic orchestra conductor, opening and closing two cupboard doors in rhythm to a tune only she could hear, creating an effect more akin to a frantic mayday than a silent symphony.
Following Lenore's mad dash into the kitchen, Mike, standing behind her but so close she could feel his breath on her hair, said, "Lenny, you didn't ask me over to feed me soup, did you? You know, you're not going to find the answers hiding in those cupboards so why don't we just sit down and talk, like old times?" Voice breaking, Logan added, "It's been such a long time since we've done that, just the two of us. Please, Lenny? Please?"
Slowly turning to face him, Lenore looked at him, really looked into his eyes, for the first time in weeks. If, as they say, the eyes are the windows of the soul, then Michael Logan had been through hell and back around again. And though his face still held more than its share of that kind of unconventional, cockeyed beauty that Lenore found so powerful, it also betrayed the ugliness of exhaustion, worry and pain. It seemed that he had aged prematurely during the past months and Lenore felt a sickening stab of guilt knowing that she had undoubtedly hastened the process. Time, the inexorable passage of time. No longer an abstraction, what her mother had spoken of so movingly, Lenore could now see, making its mark on the face of Michael Logan. Shyly, Lenore reached towards that face, and closing her eyes, gently touched it. Like a blind woman reading a story in Braille, or a lonely explorer feeling her way across unfamiliar terrain, she, slowly, carefully traced its lines, curves, hollows and angles. Only when she felt the dampness on his cheek, did Lenore open her eyes and see in his a welcome so warm and loving that she knew they had a very good chance of at last finding their way home.
Mary Bevan was wrong. Time can and did stand still for Mike and Lenny -- at least for those hours it took them to talk, touch, understand, and forgive one another. Even the earth, spinning through the vast, dark continuum of time and space, slowed, then paused for a few breath-taking moments, to resume its predestined orbit when all was right with their world.
During the next few days, Mike Logan spent every free moment with Lenny Bevan. Long, hot days spent rubbing elbows with the criminal element, in exchange for sweet, warm nights in her arms, was a deal he could live with. Taking full advantage of Mary Bevan's gift of privacy, they did all those things that young lovers have been doing since Adam woke, delighted to find Eve lying next to him. However, unlike history's first twosome, this was not a newly born relationship, but the continuation of one that had begun that cold, dark December evening when a seemingly random event had pulled each within the other's orbit. And despite some very serious misunderstanding and a nearly fatal sense of misdirection, their love's gravitational pull had had its way. Lenore Marie Bevan and Michael Patrick Logan were now a couple in every sense of the word.
Marty Driscoll could not believe his eyes or ears. Mike Logan was calmly sitting before his nemesis, the machine from hell, steadily pecking away and singing softly to himself, completely oblivious to the buzz of activity swirling round his head. Instead of carpeting the office floor, printed forms and finished reports were neatly stacked beside him. And, strangest of all, the wastepaper basket beside the typewriter stand was nearly empty.
This is getting weirder by the minute thought Driscoll. "Hey, Mike, what's the name of that song? Yo, Mikey!" When he got no answer, Driscoll leaned over, whacking his partner on the shoulder.
Startled, Logan turned and asked, "What the...why'd you do that?"
"The song you're always singing. What's it called?" asked Marty. "You're drivin' everyone nuts with it."
Logan, thinking for a minute, answered vaguely, "Oh...the song...I've been singing? Hmm. Uh, well, to be honest with you, I didn't even know I was singing. What did it sound like?"
"Oh, never mind for Chrissake. There's some stuff that's finally come in from Stuttgart -- if you can drag yourself away from that damned typewriter and stop singin' long enough to take a look at it that is," Driscoll grumbled. He'd never seen his partner this bad. That hot-wired, bad boy, Mike Logan had bedded so many women that Driscoll had stopped counting a long time ago but none of them had ever gotten to Mikey like this one. Lenny Bevan had a hold on his partner that was almost frightening, at least in Driscoll's wary, twice-burned estimation. On the other hand, everyone at the Two Seven was rather enjoying this "kinder, gentler" version of Detective Michael Logan.
"Hmm, well this is disappointing, isn't it?" Logan said with uncharacteristic calm. "Man, I was hoping for something more substantial. Hey, what's this? Wait just a minute here...Erich Keller had an older brother. Yeah, Gunther Keller. Born in Stuttgart, November 13, 1957. So what happened to this brother? Lenny said that Erich claimed his family were all dead. So how'd old Gunther die? Not of old age, that's for sure. Hell, he's not much older than me." Shuffling through more documents, Logan continued, "Nah, Marty, he didn't die of old age or anything else. As far as the boys in Stuttgart know, this dude is still alive and kicking. Well, well, well. If that's true, then where in hell is he? Guy can't just drop off the face of the earth now, can he? Nope, people don't generally disappear into thin air. And why didn't Erich ever mention this brother to Lenny? I'm gonna fax Stuttgart right now. And maybe get Interpol in on this deal too. You never know, this Gunther Keller may just have a real good reason for wanting everyone to think he's dead. Jesus, Marty! Gunther Keller -- Gerhard Muller? Well, well...might be nuthin' but, who knows, just might be somethin'!"
"Yeah, Mike, I was thinkin' the same thing," replied Marty, pleased to see that his partner could still keep his mind on the business at hand when necessary. Maybe there was hope for him yet.
Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy had been a premature birth. Just born impatient his mother claimed. Itchy by nature, he had repressed the urge to move ahead on the Metropolitan Museum case as a favor to Detective Mike Logan. However, having received no particularly earth shattering information from that quarter, McCoy was beginning to buckle under the increasing pressure exerted by District Attorney Adam Schiff, to either fish or cut bait.
"For God's sake man, get on with it! Take this thing to trial or release Lenore Bevan and be done with it. I have a file growing thicker by the minute filled with inquiries and complaints from the Mayor, the Commissioner, Peter Steiger, and even Senator Koepnick's tossed in his two cents worth. And, difficult as it may be to believe, their complaints are valid, most of 'em anyway. May I remind you that in a few days it will be September? You know the math, Jack, that's eight months. Eight months and we still haven't taken this monumental mess into a courtroom much less recovered even one of those paintings. What the devil are you waiting for, the Second Coming?" demanded Schiff, adding, "I'm beginning to believe that it would take Jesus Christ himself to get this thing into a courtroom."
"Adam, the police have assured me that they're doing all that can be done. This case has international connections that take time to track down. You of all people know that European clocks run a lot slower than ours. Hell, it took nearly a month for Scotland Yard to cough up the only bona fide suspect we've got in this thing. So we've got Sackman and he's undoubtedly going to be enjoying an extended visit in the good old U.S. of A. Gerhard Muller, on the other hand, did the world a favor and accidentally blew himself to damnation in Amsterdam. His ties to that covert bunch of neo-Nazi lunatics have made getting any additional information about him akin to pulling teeth. These bastards keep a very low profile when they're not out committing mayhem. This leaves the girl, Lenore Bevan. She's out on bail and, from all accounts, staying out of trouble. Oh, you might be interested to know that those stuffed shirts at the Met have fired her. As far as they're concerned she's been tried and convicted. Poor kid, if she is innocent, her career in the art world is down the toilet and if she isn't, then the best she can hope for is a box of crayons compliments of the State of New York. As it is, we've only got Sackman's word that she was involved, and he got that information second hand from Muller who of course isn't talking. Adam, it's hearsay stacked on top of hearsay which makes for a very rickety structure indeed. One that we're having real difficulty building a solid case on. Given the evidence, I doubt that any jury worth its salt would convict this girl of jay walking much less conspiracy. We simply don't have enough to make anything stick. As for recovering the art, you and I both know that, at best, it could take years. Remember all those art treasures the Nazis helped themselves to? The lawful owners of this stuff are still wrangling in court. My guess, those paintings are probably this minute adorning the walls of some oil mogul's palace and will never been seen again." Raking his fingers through his thick salt and pepper mop, Jack McCoy continued, "Adam, you know I'd like nothing better than to put this one to bed. It's been a royal pain in the ass. I'll call in Briscoe and Logan, lean on them harder, see if there's anything left to squeeze out."
"You do that, Jack, snapped Schiff, and if they have nothing new or substantial to offer, make a deal with the girl or let her go and get on with her life."
As planned, Mary Bevan had returned to New York late Tuesday morning. Mary's arrival at her daughter's apartment startled a very sheepish, red-faced Mike Logan. Damp hair standing on end, Logan stood before her shirtless and barefoot, an enormous bowl of Cheerios in one hand and a soupspoon in the other. He reminded her of a small boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Struggling to keep a straight face, Mary Bevan said, "Why, Michael, what a nice surprise. How have you been?" Not waiting for a reply, Mary continued, "Well, I see you're getting some breakfast. That cereal looks good. Would you like some eggs to go with it? Won't take a minute. Maybe some toast?"
Licking the milk off his upper lip and swallowing hard, Mike Logan replied, "Uh, hello there. Uh, gee thanks, Mrs. Bevan, but the cereal's fine." Upon making a great show of consulting a watch that, unfortunately, still lay on a table by Lenore's bed, Mike added in an embarrassed rush, "Wow, would you just look at the time. Gee, I had no idea it was this late. Marty's gonna wonder what happened to me. Gotta busy day ahead. Uh, busy, yeah...lot's to do...really have to be going..." Dashing into the bedroom, Mike hissed, "Lenny! Lenny! Hey, sweetie, your Mom's back. Don't lay there lookin' at me like that. You gotta get up. Now! Come on. Jeez, honey, I thought you said she was getting in this evening."
Lenore, stretching like a very contented cat, purred, "Hey, big boy, come back to bed."
Muttering to himself, down on all fours searching under the bed for his shoes and a black sock, Mike, finally surfaced to the arresting sight of Lenore sitting directly in front of him at the bed's edge, her sleek, utterly glorious body the only invitation he needed to linger just awhile longer. "God, Lenny, what're ya doin'? Hey, we shouldn't be doin' this now...not with your Mom...not now...uh, Lenny..." Mike softly groaned.
With her arms encircling his neck and long legs wrapped very tightly around his waist, Lenore whispered, "Michael Logan, you're under arrest."
"Lenore, what's all this?" asked Mary Bevan as she finished unpacking her bag.
"Oh, the other day when I went down to my storage unit to dig out those old photo albums, I noticed a couple of boxes that Erich had left with me awhile ago, before...you know. Anyway, he asked me to keep this stuff. I don't know why really. Maybe he didn't have room at his place or maybe his basement was damp. Anyway, I was planning to sort through it while you were away but I haven't really had the heart to look at any of it. I'm sorry, Mom, here, let me get them off your bed."
Continuing, Lenore asked, "So how's Dad doing without you?"
"Well, honey, I think he actually misses me," replied Mary with a smile. "I know I sure missed him. Been with that man nearly forty years and I still miss him. Guess I'm incurable. The house was still in one piece and the neighbors have been taking turns feeding him, poor guy. He said that if he has to eat another bowl of Mrs. Zehring's noodle soup, he'll take up anorexia as a hobby. Of course he's very worried about you. Sends his love. I just wish I could have given him some good news for a change. Lenore, have you spoken to your attorney recently? All this waiting is just not fair. You're as much a victim in this mess as Erich. You could have been killed too. As it is, you've lost your job and are being accused of something you had absolutely no part in. These people simply can't expect you to live in limbo indefinitely," Mary fumed.
Seeing that her mother was on the verge of tears, Lenore said, "I'll call John today. See how things are shaping up although I'm sure he'd contact me if there were anything new. You know, Mom, he's a nice guy. Put himself through Cornell then got a full scholarship to the University of Virginia for law school. He's certainly well educated and seems to know what he's doing. I trust him. Did you know that he and Mike grew up together? Went all through Catholic school in the same class. Mike says that John is one of his neighborhood's few success stories. Anyway, they kind of remind me of one another -- you know, smart, solid, conscientious, down-to-earth types. John Stewart, good lawyer, Mike Logan, good cop," Lenore added, blushing ever so slightly.
Stowing the last of her things in the closet, Mary Bevan sat on the bed next to her daughter. "Yes, I agree that Mr. Stewart seems to be working in your best interest. Sounds like a very hard working, reliable young man. I wasn't aware that he and Michael shared so much history. And, Lenore, since we're on the subject of Mike Logan, I assume that things are back on track between the two of you?" asked Mary, all wide-eyed innocence.
Blushing again, Lenore answered, "Uh, yes. You could say that, Mom. Things are definitely moving in the right direction. I guess I should feel embarrassed about this morning and I'm really sorry if we embarrassed you. Awkward situation. God knows, Mike was mortified. So much has happened these past few days that I must have gotten my signals crossed and thought you were coming home this evening. It won't happen again, Mom...at least while you're here."
Looking into her daughter's eyes, Mary Bevan replied, "Lenore, I'm from a generation that, quite frankly, wasn't very comfortable with sex. Didn't talk about it even though it was on our minds all the time. For some reason, we were given the notion that sex was something to be done only in the dark. Maybe that's why any good information about it was kept there too. When I met your father, I was woefully ignorant about even the basics. Your darling grandmother never told me a thing and I was too shy to ask. Sex was a big mystery and more than a little frightening. Learned what little I did know from girlfriends who were only slightly less ill-informed than myself. I was a virgin when I married your father. He was too. Had no idea what we were doing, but we loved each other, wanted so much to please, that we eventually managed to figure things out. In our case, practice made perfect," Mary said, reddening slightly.
"Now it seems to me that your generation has gone to the opposite extreme. Everything is so out in the open these days -- too much so in my opinion. Seems like people are having a lot of sex but making very little love. More interested in the mechanics than the emotion. Lord, we used to think we were 'fast' if we kissed a man after the first date. Now people are having sex before the first date! Frankly, Lenore, I don't understand that at all but then I'm just an old fogey. Honey, to me, it's kind of like wearing your best dress all the time instead of saving it for a special occasion or eating chocolate cake for every meal. After awhile, the dress and the dessert are just old hat, nothing special at all."
"Lenore, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really don't have a problem with your relationship with Mike. The fact that the two of you are in love and behaving like it behind closed doors is, firstly, none of my business. You are two adults who've made this decision. It's entirely up to you. Secondly, I know how much you need each other. How much you both need the emotional closeness, especially now. And at the risk of sounding like a libertine, it seems only logical that physical intimacy would be the natural result of your feelings for each other. Honey, I really don't have a problem with the idea of Michael Logan loving you."
"Hey, Mom, so how'd you get so smart?" asked Lenore.
Mike Logan arrived at the 27th Precinct almost an hour late. Still feeling like an idiot after his mortifying encounter with Lenny's mother, Logan failed to notice the tense, apprehensive expression on Marty Driscoll's face. "Hey, Marty, sorry I'm late. Uh...I sorta got held up this morning. You know how it is," said Logan grinning foolishly. "So what did I miss so far?"
"Jack McCoy wants to see us in his office in an hour. About the Met case. Mike, sounds to me like he wants to move on it. Schiff is leaning on him pretty hard to either shit or get off the pot. McCoy's an antsy bastard and an ambitious one at that. I just don't trust him. Anyway, in spite of your farting around in the sack all morning with a young lady who shall remain nameless, we still got a little time. Maybe we should sit down, get our ducks in a row?" suggested Driscoll.
"Good thinking, partner. Hey, Marty, want some coffee? Aw, don't tell me Profaci already snarffed up all the doughnuts," whined Logan.
Two to whom 'tis given to guide my steps to heaven...
Steaming cups of tea at hand, Lenore and her mother began sifting through what remained of Erich Keller's earthly possessions. It seemed sad to think that the contents of two cardboard boxes were all that bore witness to thirty-two years of life on this planet. Steady, Lenore, you're not going to be able to get through this with an attitude like that, she told herself. What had happened to Erich's personal effects, clothing, books, household goods and furnishings was frankly a mystery to her. She knew that the police had searched his apartment very thoroughly but that was all. At that time, Lenore had been in pretty rough shape herself. Still, she was ashamed to admit she hadn't really given it another thought. Poor Erich. So this was it. All that remained of a young man that she had at one time thought she might like to marry. Erich, a bright, decent, steady, pleasant enough fellow but just about a billion light years away from the man she now loved. Michael Patrick Logan -- Lenore loved saying his name. Mike Logan -- even better, sounded as solid and squarely built as its owner. What the name concealed, however, was of more interest to Lenore. Though Mike had been brutally honest with her and himself, there were a multitude of hidden twists and turns still to explore, to understand about this man. And even with love leading the way, she was wise enough to know that she was undoubtedly in for a thrilling, if at times, bumpy ride with Michael P. Logan. Lenore prayed that it would be a very long one.
"Look at this. Sheet music. I never knew that Erich was musical. He must have played an instrument or maybe sang? You know, Mom, there were just so many things I never knew about him. My God, I don't believe it," gasped Lenore.
Mary Bevan, glancing up from the stack of papers and old photographs that she had just taken from the second box, said, "What is it, honey? Lenore, what's wrong. You're as white as a ghost. What is it?"
Tears streaming down her face, Lenore sat for a very long time, shaking her head over and over. Finally, handing the sheet of music to her mother, Lenore told her how this song had become very special to her and why. That, in fact, it had come to symbolize her relationship with the man who had first sung it to her as a lullaby.
"Fourteen Angels", as Mike had called it, was in fact, "The Children's Prayer", written as part of the opera, "Hansel and Gretel". Not a particularly religious woman, Mary and Paul Bevan both believed in God and the power of prayer, had tried to rear their children according to basic Christian principles. This odd coincidence, if it were just that, was something quite beyond the realm of Mary's experience but it's occurrence had undeniably affected her daughter very deeply.
Beneath the sheet music, lay a sealed, manila envelope. Lenore was stunned to see that it bore her name. Suddenly frightened, and with hands shaking, she gave it to her mother. "What do suppose is in it?" Lenore asked. "Mom, this is just too spooky. It's almost like Erich's speaking to me from the grave." Laughing weakly, she added, "Well, that sounded like something from a Vincent Price movie, didn't it? I always did have a flare for the melodramatic. Sorry, I guess finding that sheet music freaked me out a little. Still, I wonder why there would be an envelope in Erich's things addressed to me?"
"Well, Lenore, why don't we just open it and find out?" replied Mary, restored to her sensible, down-to-earth self. The envelope contained five, black and white photographs and an audiotape, again bearing Lenore's name written in Erich's own hand. "Honey, do you recognize these people?" asked Mary.
The photographs clearly showed two young boys at various ages. Lenore immediately recognized one of the boys as Erich Keller. The older boy was a stranger to her. However, on the reverse of each photo was carefully written in Erich's neat hand, "Erich & Gunther Keller", and a date. More puzzled than ever, Lenore took the tape, strolled over to the stereo cabinet and popped it into the deck. What Mary and Lenore Bevan heard next was indeed a voice from the grave.
Jack McCoy had been droning on for nearly an hour.
Christ, would he ever shut the hell up and let us get on with this, thought Logan, fidgeting impatiently as the Assistant District Attorney yakked on about one thing and then another. "This guy is just totally in love with the sound of his own voice," Mike muttered under his breath.
He and Marty Driscoll had been summoned to McCoy's office for a "command performance". However, the detectives had yet to present any of the information they had so painstakingly assembled much less gotten a word in edgewise. Instead, they sat dumbly, numbly while Jack McCoy had gone off on a tangent concerning another case under investigation, promptly derailed that train of thought, and was now holding forth about something even more irrelevant. With "Captain Random" at the controls there's no telling when this plane is finally gonna land, thought Logan.
Driscoll, catching his partner's eye, mouthed the word, "Alzheimer's."
With his dark eyebrows transmitting messages in semaphore, Logan, rolling his eyes, mouthed the word, "Asshole."
At McCoy's elbow sat Molly Laughlin, smiling, starry-eyed, hanging on every word.
Hmm, thought Logan nastily, well guess who's getting boffed by the A.D.A.? Jack McCoy, with his baggy face, whisky voice and jaded, wise-ass attitude, was someone Mike Logan understood only too well. In fact, as he sat watching McCoy show off for his young assistant, Logan knew that he was looking at an older version of himself. It was beyond him why a smart, good-looking young woman like Molly Laughlin could be interested in such a pompous old fart. She'd even graduated from Harvard for God's sake. Had her whole life in front of her. Surely she could do much better than that. Of course, why would a beautiful, brilliant, talented, perfect woman like Lenny Bevan be interested in an idiot like me, mused Mike Logan, smiling at the very idea. While he still found it difficult to understand, might, in fact, never fully understand it, he believed it with all his heart. Yeah, Lenny Bevan had certainly made a believer out of this old reprobate. And she was a believer too, in him, and in herself, and even in God. And, man, did she have some crazy ideas about that. In Logan's mind, God still bore a striking resemblance to Father Joe Krolinsky, a parish priest who believed that priestly privilege included the sexual favors of as many little boys as possible, Michael Logan among them. Evil masquerading as good, dispensing piety, religious platitudes and Holy Communion with one hand, while fondling him with the other, convincing a frightened ten year old that to tell would ensure eternal damnation for them both. Up till now, God was just another religious phony whose mission it was to arbitrarily use and abuse the human race. But Lenny believed that God was, in Logan's parlance, the real deal. That He loved everybody no matter what. That Lenny, she was something. Mike was beginning to think that maybe, like so many other things, she might be right about this one too. Lord knew, that woman could be very persuasive. However, Logan still found it real hard to believe that God could ever love him. Real hard.
But Mike knew that with Lenny Bevan, anything could happen. These were strange days indeed with Logan frequently finding himself thinking seriously of things that, until recently, had ranked at the top of his "Will Never Do" list. Things like getting married, having kids, growing up. Before Lenny, marriage was, in Logan's view, cruel and unusual punishment, incarceration for life, a virtual death sentence. His parent's union had produced five children, a father who could always find a good excuse to stay away, and a mother who, when she wasn't making love to a scotch bottle, often mistook those children for punching bags. If Nora Logan's death at age fifty-three was tragic, her son's complete lack of interest in the event made it doubly so. Mike Logan deeply envied Lenny Bevan her normal, ordinary, loving parents and the stable, happy environment that had been her birthright. Could he and Lenny provide a life like that for any children they might have? Was it true that you could relive your life by creating a new one? Right some of the wrongs, finally heal some of those old, festering hurts? Lenny Bevan believed it was possible. That their love could make such things possible. Mike Logan hoped so, hoped so with all his heart.
"Mike? Mike? Mike? Detective Logan, are you with me?" asked Jack McCoy. "Shall we get on with this? I've got a preliminary hearing in an hour."
Instead of countering with his usual sarcasm, Logan just shook his head and thought, he sits there all day gassing on about nothing, trying to impress his new squeeze and wasting our time, and now he wants to get on with it? Jack McCoy was such a monumental pain in the ass. Logan had to smile in spite of himself.
Lenore Bevan sat huddled on the floor of her apartment listening intently to the familiar, heartbreakingly youthful voice of a man she had known and cared for in what must have been another lifetime.
My dearest Lenore. Since this tape was to be heard by you only in the event of my death, I will begin by saying firstly, how much I love you and how disappointed and sad it makes me to think that we will never have a future together. You were the best part of my life, dear one, and I thank God that He sent you into it if only for a short while. When I arrived here from Stuttgart, I felt so completely alone that there were times I wanted to take my own life. I believe now that I should have done so. As it happened, my death would have undoubtedly saved everyone so much trouble. But, alas, dear heart, I am a coward of the first order. Perhaps you always suspected it?
In October, my brother, Gunther, contacted me. Yes, Lenore, I have a brother despite my telling you I was completely alone in the world. I hope you can forgive me for that lie. In fact, Gunther and I were very close until he became involved with a neo-Nazi organization calling themselves Gross Weiss. They are most assuredly all white but there is certainly nothing remotely great about them. In fact, they're terrorists, responsible for bombing synagogues, vandalizing Jewish cemeteries throughout Germany and similar violent, evil behavior towards Jews, blacks, Asians -- anyone who, according to their standards, is not ethnically pure. It was heartbreaking to watch my own brother become increasingly involved with these madmen and I tried as best I could to dissuade him. However, Gunther, as the firstborn, had always been the stronger, preferred child while I, so much younger, worshipped him, as did our parents. In our eyes, he was perfection. When they died together in an automobile accident, Gunther took care of me. As I said, we were very close until I inadvertently discovered that the accident responsible for killing our mother and father had, in fact, been engineered by Gunther as a proof of his worthiness for membership in Gross Weiss. It seems that he had a lot to prove because, you see, Lenore, our mother was one-quarter Jewish and that was one quarter too much for Gunther and Gross Weiss.
I left Stuttgart soon after and hoped to begin a new life in the United States. All ties with Gunther were severed. I left no forwarding address. I did not want him to ever find me. As far as I was concerned, I no longer had a brother. He was dead to me. However, he somehow traced my whereabouts to the United States and when he learned that I was working at the museum, approached me with a scheme to steal whatever paintings we might be working on in the restoration department. Naturally, I refused but, as I said before, Gunther was always much stronger than me and very persuasive. In fact, he told me that if I refused to cooperate, he would simply arrange to have the entire museum, and everyone in it, blown to pieces. I believed him. You may wonder why I didn't immediately contact the authorities. Lenore, it wouldn't have mattered. Gunther would have waited, years if necessary, patiently biding his time, then choosing his moment to strike. You see, darling, my brother always succeeded. The word failure was simply not in his vocabulary. So I agreed to unlock the doors and let him take what he would.
Of course my first priority was to ensure that I was the only one remaining in the department. As you might imagine, I no longer trusted my brother. No longer knew what he was capable of or might do. Since you are listening to me now, I was wise to distrust him and my worst fears have indeed come to pass. I can only pray, my dearest Lenore, that you do not think badly of me and that you are well and happy. I would hate to think that any of this ugliness has touched you in any way. The musical score belonged to my mother. She was a gifted pianist and used to often play and sing "The Children's Prayer" for me. It was my favorite. Perhaps one day you will teach it to your children? I send those fourteen angels to watch over you, my darling Lenore.
"Well, after reviewing what you've brought me, I just don't see any miracles happening here," drawled Jack McCoy. "Short of a goodly show of divine intervention, we're going to have to charge Lenore Bevan with at least conspiracy to commit grand larceny. Sackman will testify against her if we make it worth his while and since Erich Keller and Gerhard Muller can't speak from the grave, it's Sackman's word against hers. And she was there after all. We can work out a deal with her. I really don't want to go to trial with this. Frankly, I think there's a good chance a jury would acquit but Adam is determined to get this thing sewn up as quickly as possible," said McCoy, as ever twisting the truth ever so slightly to suit his own purposes. "We've had this mess hanging over our heads long enough. We just have too many people breathing down our necks. I mean, detectives, we still have no leads on the stolen art, do we? Ah, hell, Molly put in a call to John Stewart. Get them both in here today. We'll do 'em a deal."
Marty Driscoll, sensing that his very agitated partner was just about a hair's breadth away from cleaning Jack McCoy's clock for the second time in as many weeks, said, "But isn't Sackman's testimony just hearsay? Crissakes, Jack, how can you justify sending someone to the slam on the strength of some offhand comment a known terrorist made to a petty criminal? Neither of these guys are gonna win any prizes for reliability."
In a voice that was much too quiet, Mike Logan added, "Lenore Bevan didn't conspire to do anything, Jack, and you know it. You're railroading her. Doesn't it matter that she's innocent? That she's one of the victims in this thing? Hell, I guess nothing matters except that someone else has gotta do time or Adam Schiff's butt's in a sling. Might not be able to count on his power broker buddies to get him re-elected. So Lenny pays the price. Well, I'm not gonna sit around and watch that happen." Logan stood, walked to the door and said, "You know, McCoy, it's a good thing that Justice is blind, because you just fucked her."
The sound of Driscoll's pager signaled the end of their meeting with Jack McCoy. Following his partner, Marty left the D. A.'s office and found Mike Logan standing in the rain. The longest, hottest heat wave on record was over.
"You okay, Mike?" asked Marty. "Christ, I'm not so sure I am. That whole meeting was a fucking joke. McCoy was playing with us. Didn't even really look at any of the stuff we brought him. He'd already made up his mind before we even got there, the asshole. This whole thing stinks to high heavens. It just isn't right. Ah, hell, Mike we got a call. Mikey, are you sure you're okay?"
Feeling as though his hands and feet belonged to someone else, Mike Logan stumbled towards the car, mumbling, "Yeah, Marty, I'm alright. Hey, do you think we could stop by Lenny's first? I don't want her to hear this from anyone but me."
Shaking his head, Driscoll replied, "This call has priority, Mike. I'm sorry but Cragen said we needed to get our butts to the scene a.s.a.p. Guess he thinks we've just spent the last couple hours hiding out at the donut shop. Look, why don't you call Lenny's attorney. Tell him the deal but that you want to talk to her first?"
Mary Bevan sat holding her daughter for a very long time. Lenore had finally stopped crying but was now trying to cope with the strange sense of loss and guilt that had settled upon her like a heavy, wet blanket. The enormous relief that surged through her upon realizing that Erich's tape had cleared her of all involvement in the museum disaster was blunted by a sense of sadness and loss that surprised even her. In retrospect, she had treated this young man callously, had used him as a buffer against the loneliness of life in a city like Manhattan. Lenore felt very ashamed that she had never suspected, nor perhaps even cared enough to know, that Erich possessed such depth of character. He had tried to save her the night of the robbery, his last night on earth. It all made perfect sense now. Erich had been unaccountably tense, snappish that day. His working late was not unusual but his insistence that Lenore go home early was completely out of character. He had wanted her well away, safely at home, out of harm's way. Erich Keller had truly loved her, had proven it in life and in death. Had, in fact, prayed for her safety, and unknowingly, sent a very unlikely "angel" to do his bidding.
"Honey, I think we need to call Mr. Stewart right away. This is very important information that he'll need to see immediately. I'm sure he'll know what to do next," offered Mary.
Nodding, Lenore rose and went to the phone to call John Stewart, but instead decided that Mike should be the first to hear the good news. He'd certainly heard enough of the bad. Was it possible that her nightmare was finally coming to an end? Smiling at last, Lenore knew that this evidence would pass Mike Logan's famous "Stink Test" with flying colors. But it was Tony Profaci who answered her call saying that Mike and Marty had been called out on a job, but assuring her that he'd be happy to give Mike the message when he returned to the precinct.
Marty Driscoll had been a cop for a long time. Though he had been thrust into more than his share of dangerous situations, and had witnessed some pretty horrifying things during his twenty-five years with the department, Driscoll remained clear eyed and cool headed. His reputation was well earned and those who had worked with him over the years had come to appreciate his sensible, unemotional approach. The events of that day at Our Lady of the Angels would stretch and twist that reputation almost to the breaking point. Would make him wish he were still drinking. "Dear God in heaven. What happened here?" Detective Driscoll asked of a young, uniformed officer already on the scene.
"Some crazy bastard got in here and just blew 'em away, detective," replied the cop shakily. "Three and four year olds for Chrissake. Never seen anything like it. Shooter's still here, has the rest of the class in the library on the other side of the building. SWAT's on its way."
Mike Logan, following a short distance behind his partner, entered the room after Driscoll. Stopped dead in his tracks, stunned by the scene that lay before him, Logan immediately knew that fifteen years of police work hadn't prepared him for this. That nothing could ever have prepared him for this. "Mother of God," he breathed, unconsciously making the sign of the cross.
Eight children lay quietly, too quietly, posed in the obscenely unnatural, grotesque posture of violent death. A teacher lay with them, her attempt to shield several of her students from the deadly hail of bullets, courageous but futile. Logan carefully, reverently stepped among them, bending to peer closely into each small face, praying that they had all met death quickly, that there had not been enough time to be afraid. The thought of even one child cowering in terror nearly drove Mike Logan mad. "Did anyone make it?" growled Logan, struggling to maintain his professional detachment and composure.
Driscoll, nodding his head, replied, "Yeah, one kid. A boy. He's in bad shape but might be able to tell us something. If he makes it that is. I mean, he's just a little kid, not much more than a baby. Other half of the class was working on some project in another part of the building. The library I think. Looks like the shooter did this then went lookin' for the rest of 'em. I gotta tell ya, Mikey, this is too much. I can't stop thinkin' about my two girls. What kind of animal would be pissed off or crazy enough to want to blow away eight preschoolers and a teacher then take the rest of 'em hostage? Jesus, Mike, I don't, I-I...just..." said Marty, in a voice so choked with emotion that he couldn't finish.
"Hey, man, I know. I don't get it either. World's full of sick-os. But then we already knew that, didn't we, partner?" Placing his hand on Driscoll's shoulder, he continued. "It's an evil place. That's for damned sure. And in a Catholic school too. Where was God while this was goin' down? Out gettin' a beer?" Blowing his nose, Mike Logan left the classroom and joined the growing crowd of police, emergency personnel, and onlookers milling about outside.
A steady rain, deafening rumbles of thunder and almost blinding, blue-white slashes of lightning, added to the surreal atmosphere of the scene as did certain members of the citizenry who are magnetically drawn to such places of tragedy. In an attempt to satisfy their morbid curiosity, a few enterprising souls had managed to evade the miles of yellow plastic tape cordoning off the area, and were strolling about chatting and rubber necking as if they were attending a street fair. However, misfortune, in the guise of a tall, wet, very angry detective, stalked one sightseer, and if it had not been for the intervention of three uniformed policemen and a paramedic, this hapless citizen might have returned home, his bridgework painfully rearranged. As it was, curiosity didn't quite kill the cat but certainly bent its whiskers. At that moment, Mike Logan just needed someone to smack.
Because the SWAT's resources had been stretched to the breaking point by three other incidents, all occurring simultaneously, tensions were running particularly high outside Our Lady of the Angels as those police personnel already on the scene anxiously awaited their arrival. Efforts made by hostage negotiators were rewarded with a hail of gunfire and shouted exhortations from the gunman. "What's he sayin', Mike?" asked Marty. "Sounds to me like something from the Bible."
"Oh great," moaned Logan. "Now we got a religious fanatic with a Bible in one hand and an automatic weapon in the other. Hell, I don't know which is worse. Seems like either one's likely to get you killed around here."
Surprised by the rancor in his partner's voice, Driscoll replied, "Hey, Mikey, take it easy. I've got a lot more years in than you and this is the worst I've ever seen but I don't believe God put a contract out on those little kids. If I did, I'd go dig myself a big hole and crawl in it. Jesus, Mike, you can't believe that God's in on this deal. Man, that's just sick."
"Gee, Marty, I didn't know you were so damned religious," Logan sniped sarcastically. "So that was a rosary in your pocket all this time? And I thought you were just glad to see me," Mike tossed over his shoulder, stomping off to find someone else to yell at, to blame. It sure as hell beat standing around taking bets on how many more kids were going to get it before this miserable day was over. He had to do something, anything. It didn't help that he felt a nagging suspicion that Marty Driscoll was right. That what was happening here had nothing whatsoever to do with the Almighty. Maybe just the opposite. That the God who had created someone as full of goodness and grace as his Lenny or any one of those kids, was incapable of turning around and engineering something this evil. Still, it was Detective Mike Logan's business to know the why and wherefore of things. It was his job to ask questions, to determine motives, to understand. This one sure as hell had him stumped. Returning to his partner and patting him on the back, Mike apologized. "Hey, man, I'm sorry. Don't pay any attention to me. Okay?"
A sudden explosion of gunfire immediately silenced everyone, except Mike Logan. "What in hell are we waiting for?" Logan shouted into the face of Captain Donald Cragen. "He's already killed nine people for Chrissake. From the sound of it, he's just done another one. SWAT's still not here. Are we just supposed to stand around while this lunatic finishes the job? Come on, Donnie! Shit or get off the pot!"
Before the mightily beset Donald Cragen could reply, the gunman tossed the lifeless body of Sister Helen Shultz onto the rain-soaked pavement while at the same time, amid a particularly spectacular display of thunder and lightning, loudly intoned, "Let the little children come unto me. I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father but through me. Woe unto them that cause even one of My little ones to stumble. It would have been better for them if a millstone had been tied around their neck and they were drowned in the sea. I am a voice crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord! "
"This guy is a flaming psycho. No doubt about it. Sounds like he thinks he some avenging angel sent to save those kids by killing 'em. Christ almighty, does he have a thing about nuns? A bad experience in school? Man, this is just nuts. What in hell's goin' on in this asshole's mind? I gotta tell ya, there's just no reasoning with someone like that," groaned Cragen. "The negotiators have been flapping their mouths, spouting all this psycho-babble bullshit. Hell, even Father Kelly hasn't been able to get through to this fruitcake. Bastard just wasted a freakin' nun, for God sake. I'm afraid that talkin' just isn't gonna get it this time. We have to get in there some way and take him out."
"Let me go, Donnie," said Logan. "No wife, no kids, not such a big deal if I run into a...you know...a problem. I figure if we can draw the shooter to the window, maybe distract him for a few minutes, I can at least get through the doorway and into the building. See what's what and go from there."
"Then what, Mike. He kills you too? Jeez, detective, that's a swell idea. You get to wear number eleven? Nah, I don't like the sound of it. You're not familiar with the layout of the building. God only knows what you might be walking into. Too many variables, Mike. It's just too risky. Hey, you're a pain in the ass but I'm not ready to get rid of you just yet," said Cragen, smiling.
Another short burst of gunfire, and a much smaller body was tossed onto the street where it lay in the rain, crumpled and broken.
"Donnie, come on! What in hell are you waiting for? You know this is the best we got," urged Logan. Frantic, soaked to the skin, and shivering with the sudden drop in temperature, Mike was already tearing off his sodden suit jacket and replacing it with a kevlar vest. Teeth chattering, Logan said, "Well, it's now or never, Captain. Just say the word and I'm outta here."
Nodding, Captain Donald Cragen had a real bad feeling about this one. Although not a betting man, he knew that the gunman held all the cards and that the deck was heavily stacked against Logan. "Dear Jesus, please let me be wrong this time," prayed Cragen as Driscoll helped his partner fasten the vest's straps.
Placing an automatic weapon into Logan's wet, shaking hands, Marty mumbled, "For God's sake, Mikey, watch yourself. Hey, I don't wanna have to break in a new guy. Okay, pal? I've gotten real used to you. Besides, you know Lenny'll kill me if something happens to you. Just do what you have to do and get the hell outta there. Don't be a hero."
"Let's rock and roll," grinned Logan.
Instructed to get as close to the open window as they dared, five uniformed policemen noisily approached from different directions hoping to draw the gunman's attention away from Logan, now plastered against the building's facade, slowly inching his way towards the entry.
As Detective Michael Logan crouched, tense and dripping behind a low cabinet in the hallway of Our Lady of the Angels, his eye was involuntarily drawn to a large oil painting hanging on the opposite wall. It depicted a small boy caught in mid-step as he attempted to cross a very fragile-looking bridge. Beneath it, a river ran swiftly and dangerously towards an unseen point in the distance. Dark, threatening storm clouds littered the sky, the wind tearing at the child's hair and clothing. Yet, despite the danger and turmoil, the boy's face betrayed no fear only a calm cheerfulness that at the moment Logan sorely envied. It seemed that the source of the child's assurance was a tall, sturdy-looking angel walking close beside the boy, left arm protectively, tenderly encircling his small shoulder. It occurred to Mike that this was a powerful creature, obviously male, broad shouldered, and, oddly enough, dark haired. In Logan's experience, celestial beings were fair-haired, effeminate, wispy creatures who couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag much less deal with anything the Prince of Darkness might toss their way. But this one was different, that was for sure. Looked like he could take care of himself in a fight. Hey, pal, right now I could sure use someone like you as back up, Logan thought.
Keeping very low, almost on his knees, Mike Logan crept along the corridor towards the library door. It was closed, locked for all he knew. Where the gunman stood in relation to that door was also a mystery, a variable that Logan didn't know, could not control. Hoping that the element of surprise might be on his side, Detective Michael Logan, for the first time in his adult life, prayed, really prayed. "Dear God, I need one clean shot. That's all I'm asking for. Just one shot." But then thought to add, as he rose and raced towards the door, "If something should happen to me, keep an eye on Lenny, okay?"
When at night I go to sleep, fourteen angels watch do keep.
Lenore sat hunched over her worktable taking great care to capture precisely the hawk-like angles, subtle shadings and patrician lines of the face she had spent weeks sketching from memory. Her infant son lay sleeping beside her, his fine, dark hair illuminated by a sudden shaft of thin, winter sunlight. So newly come into the world, he still communed with the angels, innocent and unblemished, with features and character as yet unformed. A tender, living canvas awaiting the touch of all that would leave its mark upon him, both good and bad.
Closing her eyes, for a moment Lenore idly wished that golden summer reigned in place of the cold, gray of this late December afternoon even though this winter had not brought with it melancholy recollections, but the birth of a bright, beautiful, dark-eyed boy. As if the force and steady concentration of her love had called him from his sleep, the baby opened his eyes and, seeing the object of his affection swim into view, rewarded it with an ear-splitting, if slightly cockeyed, grin. One that immediately brought to Lenore's mind another much loved, dark-eyed angel.
"How's my sweet boy?" Lenore crooned. Lifting him from his basket, she strolled to the old rocker that had been her mother's. With her precious bundle tenderly cradled in her arms, Lenore once again undertook the deeply satisfying task of nursing her son. Softly humming a lullaby, Lenore rocked and drowsed, the rich, warm, milky atmosphere of peace and contentment broken only by the sound of familiar footsteps on the stairs. Smiling down at her son while gently stroking his downy cheek, Lenore whispered, "Wake up, Mikey. Daddy's home."