I was born to a woman who had been indentured to an old, wealthy New York family who had become even richer after the War between the North and South from investing in railroads and transoceanic shipping. My mother was the mistress of the young master and though he had continued to pay her bills after she became pregnant and the whole time I was growing up until her death his money and reputation meant more to him then family so we were shipped off to Boston and forbidden to mention my parentage. I always was a wild kid and by the age of 7 I was running errands and doing favors for the Messine Brothers.
By the time I was 15 I was an Inforcer forThe North Side and had already shown not only the consequences of getting on my wrong side, but the advantages of being in my good graces. I had also fallen in love.
Maggie was our neighbor and worked as a seamstress where the owner of the shop was rumored to be a member of The Westies. She was regularly the brunt of his anger. One night John and I were closing up the bar and tallying receipts when someone started banging on the back door, motioning me behind the counter just in case he grabbed a pistol from under the bar and answered the door.
“Where’s Mike I need to see Mike.” I heard.
“Oh, Mike I had nowhere else to go, they’re going to kill us; you and John have to keep Kathleen safe. Promise me you won’t let anything happen to her.” she said thrusting the screaming infant into my hands and running off.
I quickly handed the baby to John and ran after her but she was gone; 2 days later they fished her out of the river, she’d been beaten to death.
The next morning John left the infant girl in the care of The Mother Superior along with enough money for her care until arrangements could be made for her while I took care of some other business.
I had some friends invite ‘Eddie Two Fingers’ over for a talk and learned that he had met some men in a bar who were showing an old picture around. They were talking about a some lost heiress and a necklace that was the key to some European fortune. He’d decided the photo looked a lot like Maggie so he arranged to have them kidnap the bitch and her kid for the reward but he needed to know about the necklace. After he’d knocked her around a little she told him about a box her Mother had supposedly buried somewhere at the old house. While he was in the other room making arrangements to find it she escaped and he assumed she and the brat had gone off the bridge together.
When John’s first wife died years later Kathleen married him and moved into his home to take care of him and his 4 sons, she eventually gave birth to a daughter. My wedding gift to her was the necklace that had once belonged to her Mother. The packet of papers that was with I put in a safe place.
When the baby was born she was christened Mary Rose Sarconi and I was named Godfather. All the monies and properties her Grand Father had signed over to me in front of witnesses before he died were put in trust for her until her 21st birthday.
The Message – Monsignor Peter Sarconi of Boston
When we docked in London we waited until all the other passengers had left the boat before we disembarked. 5 trams pulled up as we stepped out on deck and several of Mike’s men escorted us down the ramp. Our personal luggage was loaded into the first one and Tom and Daniel climbed up and took the reins.
Cass and Mother rode in the second tram with Mike and Joe, while Sallie and Mary rode with a man named Dave whom Sallie had a crutch on, and myself in the third vehicle. The last 2 trams were being loaded with the rest of the luggage as we left. The cars would be delivered the next day when the cargo holds were unloaded.
We arrived at The Astoria and the women were escorted upstairs where their rooms had been checked already while I stopped to pick up the mail and any messages that were waiting. There was a note from the Attorney wanting to set up a meeting at Mother’s convenience and one marked PRIVATE from The Arch Bishop of London asking me to call as soon as we arrived – regardless of the time. I asked the desk clerk if I could use her phone.
When I reached the Suites I handed Mother the messages and lay the mail on the table then walked over and whispered in the ear of one of the guards.
“Mother, I’m sorry but I won’t be able to travel with you when you leave. I have a job I need to handle for The Church and I’ll try to catch up later but in the event I can’t I’ll leave a message or meet you at the local church in Motovia.”
“But why? What business could the Church possibly have for you in Europe?”
“I’ll explain everything when the others get here. I think it’s time for all of us to know the whole story.”
“You may be right but first let’s talk about the man behind the newspaper in the Lobby and the woman in the phone booth who wasn’t speaking to anyone.” Mike said walking in
The Road to Rome
“Well I don’t know about the woman but I think the man is somehow connected to the message from The Archdiocese. It seems I’ve been recruited for some special mission authorized by The Vatican. I noticed the desk clerk gave him a slight nod when I announced my name and picked up our mail and I’m sure he knows I ordered a taxi for 5:30. If it’s me he’s interested in he should be out front around that time and if so we’ll find out who he works for.”
“I’m having dinner at The Archdiocese this evening and will be leaving for Rome at daybreak. I’m sure you have all heard rumors that the world will soon become involved in a global conflict. Well Rome has heard them as well and has some major concerns.”
“I have been asked to join an elite group of clergy and laymen who are to collect information and assist the Allied Forces where ever possible without involving the church directly. I will answer only to Rome. I can’t tell you any more then this since It officially doesn’t exist and I haven’t been briefed – in fact at this very moment I’m being reassigned to the archives at the Vatican and won’t know anything else until I reach Rome.”
“Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go pack, if the subject is broached just tell anyone who asks that some scrolls were found in an underground chamber unearthed after the quake in Basilicata and as an expert in ancient architect and languages I was asked to help with them while I was over here.”
I said my Goodbyes and went to my room leaving Mike and the others to bring everyone up to date the best they could.