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Memphis: Chapter 14

“Can one of you get closer to the door so we can figure out how or what we need to do to get inside?” Leon asked.

Zeus moved closer to it so his camera would show them the doorway. There was an old fashioned lock on it. A combination type lock, only very large.

“Any idea what the code might be?” Zeus asked.

“Try 2-18–19-02,” Alfredo stated.

Zeus rolled the numbers and the lock snapped open.

Then they all heard a whooshing sound and a loud click as the seal broke when the door cracked open a bit.

“No one goes in there until I get down there.” Leon ordered. “Do you hear me? No one goes in there without me. I’ll be right down.”

They stood around for twenty minutes before Leon and Alfredo appeared.

Diabolus went over to the door and pulled it hard to open it wider.

When the door stood wide open lights flashed for a moment then came on and stayed on.

Leon frowned as he looked in through the opening then he stepped inside the tank. He paused for a moment then gazed around and gasped.

The small cement tank was filled with boxes of all sizes. He couldn’t smell the air inside due to the mask and oxygen he was wearing but the boxes looked pristine and in good condition. He turned to look at the door where everyone was lined up. “We need to get all this stuff upstairs before we open it. We will need room and clean air to see what Alfonzo left for his family to find.”

Zeus nodded, then asked Click to send down a couple of dollies, so they could get more out at one time.

One by one, the men already down there grabbed what they could carry and hauled it up to the main room.

When the second wave of men brought dollies down the tunnel, Leon stayed to supervise the loading of the various boxes.

Only when the tank was cleared out completely, did Leon and Alfredo leave to go back to the main room.

Leon tore off the mask and wiped the sweat from his face. Diabolus helped him take the O2 tank off and Leon nodded his thanks when he was finally free.

Delaney helped her grandfather take off his tank and together, they went over to a table and sat down.

Delaney looked at him and asked softly, “Grandpa, are you okay?”

“How can I ever be okay, child?” Alfredo shook his head. “I mean I knew my father was a bastard in how he treated everyone else, but I never thought he would do something like this. Whatever is in all these boxes are stolen goods. He lied and cheated people his whole life and for what? Money? Fame? Power? All these years, he’s had the gold, the diamonds and now this.” He motioned around the room at all the boxes. “My dad always had more than enough money, he might not have trusted banks so most of what he had was in cash. Now there’s nothing wrong with cash, if you earned it honestly. But he never did that, did he? No, he did not. He never thought he had to do the right thing. He just took and took and never gave anything back.”

Delaney reached out to pat his hand in comfort.

Alfredo sighed heavily. “He always said he wanted to leave a legacy for his family.” He scoffed loudly. “A legacy? What kind of legacy is this?”

“Grandpa, you tried. Dad and my brothers never listened but you tried,” Delaney assured him.

Alfredo hung his head. “Your dad and brothers are going to end up back in jail and this time will be your dad’s third strike. But you know what? Maybe he needs this to happen. Maybe he will one day realize that his grandfather’s own ways led him to spend the rest of his life behind bars. All I can do is hope anyway.”

Delaney shook her head. “I think even you know better than that. Dad and the boys will never see that they are doing anything wrong. They all think just like great grandpa… that they are untouchable. They made their plans thinking their great grandpa left them a legacy of money. When all he did was leave a legacy of misery, and they are going to find that out the hard way, I’m afraid.”

Alfredo looked over at Leon and nodded. “Maybe it’s a good thing that Leon is here at the moment.” Then he looked back at her and asked, “And you? I know this is taking its toll on you too, tesoro. Are you going to be okay with what happens next?”

Delaney looked over at Memphis and smiled. “I think I will be fine.”

Alfredo smiled back at her. “That’s good.” He patted her hand. “At least one of my grandchildren stands a chance in this world then.”

Delaney looked around the room and asked, “So what do you think your dad left behind as his final gift?”

“Nessun dannato modo!” They all heard Leon curse in Italian and it didn’t sound good.

Delaney and Alfredo looked over and found the leader of the East Coast Mob glaring at one of the boxes they had just opened. He lifted his head to stare at Alfredo and Delaney. “I know this painting.” He growled at Alfredo.

“Painting? What painting?” Alfredo asked, perplexed.

“Back in the forties, a New York art museum was broken into and several very high priced paintings were stolen and no one could ever find them. People believed we Italians did it. Now, I know why.” Leon growled. “Your father had them brought here and he’s been storing them ever since. What else are we going to find in these boxes?”

Alfredo shook his head. “I don’t know Leon. I never knew what he was up to and he knew me well enough not to tell me either.”

Leon snarled. “Your father will now make me the thief because these goods are all stolen and I can’t with any credibility prove that our Family didn’t steal them. The police aren’t going to take my word for anything and your father is long dead. I don’t want to keep them and I can’t return them without answering questions I can’t answer.” He shook his head. “Barrett must be a bigger fool than anyone in the world if he thought it would be easy to fence this shit. He may get a good price on the black market but anyone caught with these paintings is going to have to explain where they got them and from whom.”

Alfredo shook his head. “My son has some contacts that leave a lot to be desired. I have no doubt they could sell those paintings for a lot of money and not be so worried about answering any questions.”

“Holy fucking shit!” Scout exclaimed. He had opened one of the boxes and was staring down at the items inside it.

Leon, Alfredo along with Delaney and Zeus, walked over to him and looked down into the box as well. It seemed to be filled with velvet covered boxes. In Scout’s hand, one of the smaller boxes was open. Silver gleamed as a bar of silver glittered in his hand. Scout looked up and handed the smaller box off to Zeus.

Zeus took the box and found it was surprisingly heavy.

“Boss, we found ten of these heavier boxes,” Scout said. “That’s a lot of silver and if they are all this size, where the hell did it come from?” Shaking his head he admitted. “I mean I’ve seen 4 ounce bars in mint condition but this is a hell of a lot more than 4 ounces, more like fifty I’d say.”

Zeus turned to Click and said, “See what you can find on it, Click. Try robberies of silver bars.” Zeus looked over at Leon. “This could get very sticky.”

Leon nodded and grumbled, “I have no doubt about that. Sticky is putting it mildly. This will be like climbing out of fucking molasses.”

“Zeus, you ain’t gonna believe this,” Diabolus called him over. He stepped out of the way as Zeus and Leon joined him. Inside the box he had was a pristine antique rifle. It laid on a bed of blue velvet, housed in its own glass case.

“Cazzo!” Leon swore in Italian when he noticed the museum tag.

Now, Calderone called him over to where he had opened one of the boxes too.

Leon headed over to where his son stood. He looked at Calderone and saw the fury in his eyes before he peered down. He halted as he saw the designer boxes inside. “What the hell is this?”

Calderone reached into the box and hauled out one of the bottles. “This is a very rare first bottle of the very best whiskey to ever come out of the Gladstone Brewery. I know because I was interested in this subject a few years ago. This bottle was made over a hundred years ago. Back in the early sixties, there was a robbery at the distillery. Their entire collection of over forty bottles of the high end liquor was stolen. Back then, the collection was worth about fourteen million dollars. I would imagine today that cost is considerably much more, don’t you?”

“Si, it would be worth a small fortune by now.” Leon looked around the room. Many of the boxes had been opened by then and what they had uncovered was a mountain of trouble. There were diamond necklaces, bracelets, rubies and all from the Victorian age, it looked like.

Memphis was over opening yet another stack of boxes. He was staring into the first of ten boxes when Leon and Calderone walked over to see what he had found.

Leon looked down into his find and saw a stack of books, each one encased in its own hard plastic case. They were all rare first editions and there were ten books per box. Leon gazed down the stack of boxes under this one. In total, there were eleven collections.

“Rare editions,” Calderone stated. “Of course. They are worth maybe a half a million, most likely.”

Leon had to find a place to sit down. He went over to where Alfredo was.

Both men said quietly as they looked a little shell shocked. For a long moment, neither man said a word.

Leon finally turned his head to glare at the other man. “Your father left a hell of legacy behind. I admit it is far more than I ever guessed. I underestimated his games. The man played with fire and never got burned. You have to give him that much. But it is odd, as he never sold them or made anything from them.”

“Si senor, he never did and he never said a word to me. Although, I can see why as I would have….” Alfredo shook his head. “Cazzo, I don’t know what I would have done? Moved out of state maybe? This find alone would set up Barrett and his sons for a lifetime.”

“If they ever got their hands on it, yes it would.” Leon growled. “He also put the Famiglia in a position we never wanted to be in. You realize he stole all this stuff when he belonged to the Family right? Do you know what that means?”

Alfredo nodded. “Si, I do. He was hiding behind his connections to the Family and he did this not for the better of his business but for himself. I’m sure the Family would not have understood or forgiven his robberies, nor would they have taken their share of this.”

“No, they wouldn’t have.” Leon shook his head. “We were what most would consider a crime family back in the day but there were still lines that we wouldn’t cross. This was one of those lines. After the big bust-ups in the early twenties and thirties, we had to back off from major robberies and keep our noses fairly clean. Bene, we still did day to day business, but we had to stay out of the limelight. Robberies on this scale were not out of the limelight.”

Alfredo nodded. “I know and now, even from beyond the grave my father is still playing his head games. That day Delaney mentioned before, the day my father was telling Barrett and his sons about this haul? I imagine Barrett was thinking that this treasure would always be waiting for him when he was ready to finally take it. Then he got busted and spent ten years behind bars, but the whole time he knew this was waiting for him. My father would have told Barrett exactly where to find it but Barrett never told his sons. He didn’t trust them enough not to steal it out from under him. But you can bet that’s the reason Vincent kept coming around. They all knew this place was worth a lot more than just a house. This place was my father’s own little playground.”

“So why did you sell it then?” Leon wanted to know.

Alfredo shrugged. “He kept me out of the loop didn’t he? He never told me all this shit was here. In fact, when my father figured out that I wouldn’t play his game or follow in his footsteps, he turned to my only remaining son. He saw in Barrett something of himself and he wanted to live on through him. When I sold this place, Barrett was behind bars serving his latest sentence. I remember him calling me and being furious about the sale. He told me then that I sold his legacy and he would deal with me once he got out. I didn’t know what he meant by that but I know now what he was talking about.”

The room was full of opened boxes, all sitting there as the final puzzle pieces to an old, jaded puzzle, created by an old time mobster.

Alfredo finally broke the silence, “I have a feeling I wouldn’t have survived that meeting with Barrett and he thought everything would come to him upon my death.”

They both heard a gasp and raised their heads.

Delaney stood there with tears in her eyes and she wore a look of complete devastation on her face. She turned and ran down the hall.

Leon looked over at Alfredo and shook his head. “I have a feeling you are right about that but it isn’t on her or you. What Barrett does is on him. I know it must be horrible for her to hear such a plan by her father.”

Alfredo looked concerned as he gazed down the hall. “He was not present for most of her life, but I know the kind of man he has become and I have no doubt that Barrett would have set up an accident for me that I would not have lived for long after.” He sat back and watched Memphis go down the hall after his woman. Alfredo’s heart felt heavy but he also knew there was nothing he could do to help her.


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