She sniggered, turned, looked back at the table, snatched up her ice cream drink, and walked away. I watched her sway as she headed for the door.
“Heavenly,” I called. The hem of her skirt swished as she spun toward me. “I don’t want to see your … acquaintances when I leave here.”
Heavenly shrugged as if it were no big deal and went through the door.
Goodness gracious, but she’s a fetching lass, my inner voice said. Oh, well.
I went back up the stairs and resumed my search through the History Center’s archives. I tried to get a line on Nash’s accomplices; he didn’t move nearly nine hundred pounds of gold bullion by himself. I couldn’t find a single name. Eventually I turned my attention to addresses. I found six by the time a librarian tapped me on the shoulder.
“You don’t have to go home,” she said, “but you can’t stay here.”
I gathered up my notes and headed for the door. On the way out I used my cell.
“Are you dropping by the club?” Nina asked. “We have a terrific dinner special tonight. Monica really outdid herself.”
“Would that be Monica who studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked for Wolfgang Puck at 20.21 in Minneapolis?”
“Yes, it would.”
“Bite your tongue, you Philistine.”
“Actually, Nina, I was wondering if you could sneak away tonight.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“I thought you might like to do a little treasure hunting.”
“Really? Oh, I’d like that very much.”
The sun hung just above the horizon despite the hour—a gift of daylight saving time—when I stepped from the History Center and crossed its emerald lawn to the parking lot. The red Aveo driven by Heavenly’s acquaintances was now all alone in the back tier, as obvious as a smudge of spaghetti sauce on the front of a white shirt. The sight of it made me scowl, made me think that Heavenly didn’t take my threats seriously. Well, we couldn’t have that. I was about a third of the way across the lot with the thought of confronting the Aveo’s occupants when I noticed the attendant’s booth at the exit.
What are you thinking? my inner voice wanted to know. It’s a gated lot.
“Screw it,” I said aloud. “Nina’s waiting.”
I retreated to my own car parked in the front row. It was a fully loaded silver Audi 225 TT coupe with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine that could go from zero to sixty in the time it takes you to say it. The Aveo, on the other hand, was probably the least expensive car built in America and had a power plant about the size of a nine-volt battery. I could outdrive it on a Segway.
I drove to the booth. It was manned by an elderly gentleman wearing a three-piece suit. I mentioned that I had never seen a better-attired parking lot attendant.
“You should see us during special events,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to it,” I said.
I gave him a twenty. I wasn’t a member of the Minnesota Historical Society, although I planned to join now that I had visited its marvelous building, so I had to pay the full hourly rate. There wasn’t much change, and I told him to keep it.
“Have a good evening,” the attendant said.
He raised the control arm, and I drove under it. He lowered it behind me, trapping the Aveo inside the lot. The driver of the car had a bill in his hand that he waved excitedly out of his window at the attendant. I don’t know if that encouraged the old gent to move any faster or not. I accelerated out of the lot and hung a left, a right, a left, then another hard right, driving at speeds that mocked the traffic laws. I never saw the red Aveo again.
“Amateurs,” I said.
1095 Osceola Avenue
It was possible to confuse the Edgecumbe Court Apartments with the St. Paul Tennis Club and Linwood Elementary School just down the block—all three of them had nearly identical redbrick facades and similarly constructed windows, although Edgecumbe Court seemed better kept up. Four apartments were located in the basement, with six more on the first floor and another half dozen on the second floor. The building had a security door with a telephone system that I doubt had been in operation seventy-five years earlier. I parked the Audi. Nina and I got out and circled the building. I thought Heavenly’s acquaintances might try to pick me up at Rickie’s, but they were nowhere to be seen, and I had been watching carefully.
“What are we looking at?” Nina asked.
I didn’t have a specific answer for her. Instead, I told her the story as well as I knew it.
May 29, 1931
Jimmy Keating and Tommy Holden took turns hugging Frank Nash and slapping him on the back.
“Man, what are you doing here?” they wanted to know.
“After I walked away from Leavenworth—”
“Walked away, I don’t fucking believe it,” Keating said.
“I took a vacation down in Hot Springs until I got a call from Jack Peifer. He said that the heat was off up here, that I should come on up. I’ve been staying at the Senator Hotel in Minneapolis.”