I've always wanted to go on a Treasure Hunt - Part 57
Here’s the thing...
Nadia dropped me off outside the office of the newspaper, without any firm plan for our next meeting. I had told her I had to spend some time with Boggs’s in the light of this new information, and after some research at the newspaper.
I was hoping there would be back copies of the paper going back a long, long time.
But, a few years back there had been a fire with extensively damaged almost half of the building, and I couldn’t remember if it included the paper archive. Lenny, the recently appointed editor after his father passed on, had often extolled his plans for the paper, including recording the papers on film to preserve what he called a rich history of the area.
I went in to find Lenny sitting behind the main desk, feet up and reading a book, what looked to be a text on handguns.
He looked up when the door closed with a sharp bang.
“Sam Johnson, as I live and breathe. Thought you had equally grandiose plans of leaving town?”
“My father died, and it seemed a bad idea to leave my mother, being the only kid and all. You know how it is?”
Lenny had just gotten over a recent bereavement and had to move his mother to an old folk's home because of worsening health. I’d seen him around town from time to time, but time had taken its toll, and he was never the healthiest of kids.
He was never interested in school, perhaps knowing he was always going to end up a newspaperman.
“Indeed I do? Need a job? I need a good reporter, and if I remember correctly, you were a hell of a reporter at school. How many scandals did you uncover?”
“One, and it was by chance.”
“Seemed like more than that.” He shrugged. “I’m sure, like five thousand others, you’re looking for work?”
“Was. I’m working down at the warehouse.”
“Benderby’s. Thought you hated them.”
Everyone hated them, and most of the people I knew because we were always on the end of his cruelty. His father’s pre-eminence and his own football prowess ensured he would always be better off than any of us, and able to get away with his ‘boyish pranks’.
“I did, and I do, but you know how it is. Pride has to be swallowed in these economic times. But, if you need help, maybe I could write a few articles, but without credit.”
“When can you start?”
“After a little research. I’ve come to look at the papers going back to the beginning of time. Please tell me they weren’t burnt in the fire?”
“They were. Sadly. But with did get them filmed so instead of the archive taking up half the building, it now occupies one small room. What’s the subject?”
“Ah, the treasure hunt that Boggs says he’s not on, and you’re the secret partner in crime.”
“It doesn’t exist, you know. All those maps, the legends, the lies, and then there’s the Cossatino’s. It’s an invention of theirs to drum up money from unsuspecting fools. Always has been. Oh, and was that Nadia I saw drop you off out the front. There’s a dangerous piece of work.”
“Maybe she’s changed.”
“A leopard doesn’t change its spots, you know that. She’s just trying to find out what you know, and probably feeding you false information. The girl’s a snake, always was and always will be.”
And, if I was to admit the truth, that was probably the case, another of the Cossatino’s having fun at someone else’s expense. She seemed sincere, but then I knew very well the wiles of the woman, and the troubles she had caused many a boy, and, later, many a man.
“It’s a two-way street, Lenny. You know the saying, keep friends close, and enemies closer.” It was a lame retort, but it made me feel better.
“Just don’t caught playing on both sides of the fence. The files are that-a-way.” He pointed in the direction of a door off to the side, then went back to the book.
© Charles Heath 2019-2022