I responded, “I don’t know, could be but ask your ex Joe, he and Wyshak go way back – they may be cousins.”
“I did,” she replied. “he told me to ask you. He says you think you’re the expert in these things?”
I didn’t know whether Joe said that or not. If he did I couldn’t figure out what why he said it. I let it pass. I replied: “I’ve heard some speculation as to why he did it but it’s only speculation.”
“Well what you hear?” she said reaching in her purse to pull out a cigarette. She loved to hear things and this was her way to be nice and relaxed. I waited until she lit up, inhaled and as she slowly let the smoke drift from her mouth she looked back at me.
“One school of thought has it that he doesn’t like people from Southie.”
“Oh, you mean when he said South Boston was syna – you know – it was another name for a criminal gang?”
“Yeah, that and other things like when he said John Connolly went wrong because he got too close to South Boston.”
She took another drag careful to blow the smoke away from me. She asked, “Flaherty’s not from Southie, is he?”
I shook my head, “What difference does it make as long as Freddy thinks he is. It’s an easy mistake to make because a lot of Flahertys come from Southie. There’s so many there that back in the old days when Southie just had Irish guys on the team and Eastie had all Italians there were two guys playing halfback for Southie at the same time – one was Tom Joe Flaherty and the other Tom Pat Flaherty.”
“That must of been confusing,” she said.
“It was. Oh, I just thought of another Flaherty. My father’s best friend was Pat Flaherty. He became a priest and baptized me. He was still a young guy when he dove into a pond, hit his head on a rock and died. But if you’re from Southie you know a Flaherty.”
“So you think Wyshak thinks Flaherty is from Southie so he figures he’s a criminal and if he didn’t do that he did something else?”
“I don’t know. It could be. But there’s another school that says he did it because he hates Irish guys.”
“You know I never though of that,” she said.,
That didn’t surprise me. I figured it would be the Irish lads and lassies saying that. She wasn’t Irish. I’m not sure what she was – a French first name and English last name – a mixture of English and French with some Native American blood. I used to tell her to rejoin her tribe and get rich.
She went on: “Maybe he does. Is he from around here? It’s not easy growing up here with all you Irishers with your sticking together and always fighting and feeling picked on. Why do they say Freddy doesn’t like them?”
I said: “He just indict Fitzpatrick before he indicted Flaherty and before that he indicted O’Brien, and Connolly? Don’t forget he was obsessed with going after Billy Bulger but Billy was clean so he could get nothing on him?”
She looked at me with a surprised look. “Billy was Irish? I didn’t think Bulger was an Irish name.”
I shrugged knowing she doesn’t pay too much attention to these things.
She went on, “You know I hate to say it but maybe Freddy’s on to something. He’s figured out that the Irish are the only criminals in town.”
“It seems like that.”
“So you don’t think he’s a mean scag?”
“I didn’t say that – he could be. He indicted a Flaherty on a technical violation. It was a set up by him and the FBI to trap him. He never should have done it. He knows Flaherty. He knows he’s on the level. Wanting to take a guy’s livelihood away is serious stuff especially on a junk charge. Sure, he could be just a mean unhappy scag who is bitter with age and has lost perspective.”
Turning her head to the side and trying to blow a smoke ring she said: “Could it be anything else?”
“What?” she demanded.
“Nothing to do.”
“What’s that mean?”
I smiled and let her stew a few seconds. I then went on, “did you ever hear the old saw that ‘the Devil makes work for idle hands?’”
“You mean Freddy’s got nothing to do?”
“He was put in charge of the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit a year and a half ago. He’s got several guys working for him in the unit. They have produced nothing over that time so they had to come up with something.”
“That makes sense.”
“So he goes indicts Fitzpatrick and Flaherty. It looks like they are doing something against crime when they really are just faking it since they have no business.”
She smiled, “you mean he indicted them so he and his helpers aren’t embarrassed cashing their pay check.”
“It seems that way.”
“Then he is.”
“A mean scag.”