Frank paused when he entered the 2 Way Inn shortly before one in the afternoon to allow his eyes to adjust to the darkened room. He spotted Caravaggio sitting with a couple of men at a table near the back. Caravaggio motioned for Frank to join them.
“Welcome, Mr. Sharp. Have a seat! Here – order some lunch. We’ve just started.” Caravaggio signaled for a waiter.
Frank looked cautiously at the men. He had never eaten at a restaurant before. Caravaggio said, “Whatever you want, Mr. Sharp. It’s on me.”
Frank looked up at the waiter and said, “I’ll have what he’s having.” He pointed to the plate of pasta in front of Caravaggio.
“Good choice! It’s my favorite.” Caravaggio raised a glass of water in a salute and took a drink. Using a soup spoon, he curled some spaghetti around his fork while he spoke to his companions. “Sharp – the man with a truck and a German Shepherd.” He stuffed the fork into his mouth.
“Here – take a piece of bread while you wait,” he said while his mouth was full, motioning to the breadbasket on the table. “Eat. The bread’s from the Detroit Italian Bakery. Best bread in the city.”
Frank ripped a piece off of the Italian long roll, spread a little butter on it, and started to eat.
“You want good-paying work, Sharp?”
We have a proposition for you, then. You and your truck – the dog is an added bonus. We would like you to move materials from Grosse Ile into Wyandotte, maybe three or four nights a week. Are you interested?”
“You want me carting?”
“Yes – is that a problem?”
“No, not at all – that’s what I bought the truck to do. I used to do that when I lived in Windsor.”
“Excellent!!! You told me you were Scottish, right?”
“How long have you been here?”
“I’ve been in the States two years now.”
“You know your whisky, then,” laughed Caravaggio. “Here’s the job: I have a little place on Hickory Island – at the tip of Grosse Ile. It’s very, very quiet. I will pay you twenty-five dollars a trip. You pick up the load on Hickory Island and drive it to Biddle Street. No questions. Are you interested?”
Frank’s mouth fell open at twenty-five dollars a trip. One trip would net as much as Frank had been making in a week.
Frank lowered his voice. “These, um…materials I will be hauling…”
Caravaggio interrupted. “I believe we both understand the nature of the product, Sharp.”
Just then, Frank’s plate of pasta appeared in front of him. He had watched Caravaggio use his fork and spoon and did the same. After his first forkful, Frank paused.
“I am very interested, Mr. Caravaggio.”
Caravaggio smiled broadly. “I thought you might be. Tommy here will meet you at Fort and Van Horn – is tomorrow night good?”
Frank looked intently at Caravaggio. “Hickory Island…. Do you have a cottage there?”
“There’s not much there, actually. A house or two. Quite a bit of empty land.”
Frank paused. “I would think that a truck crossing the bridge in the dead of night would be an easy target to spot. How much commercial traffic crosses that bridge?”
“Basically, the only commercial traffic is for the yacht club and naval base.”
“Hmmm… Trucks in full; trucks out empty. And a naval base. What might people be hauling in and out?”
“Supplies in, that’s for sure. Rubbish out, perhaps. I can’t think of anything else offhand.”
Frank slapped his hand on the table. “That’s the answer, then. Not at night – in broad daylight. I need to be taking rubbish out.”
Caravaggio looked at his lieutenants. “What do you think, gentlemen?”
Tommy said, “It would be easier to get lost in a stream of traffic. If Scotty here is willing to give it a go, I think we should try it.”
Caravaggio looked at Frank. “You’ve got a head on your shoulders, that’s for sure. Okay, then. Not tomorrow. Thursday – meet Tommy at two in the afternoon, Fort and Van Born. Your idea, Scotty – you come up with the camouflage. Tommy here will pay you when the load is delivered.”
Frank quickly finished his pasta and stood.
“Thanks for the job and thanks for lunch, Mr. Caravaggio. Tommy, I’ll see you Thursday. two PM sharp, Fort and Van Born.” Frank shook hands all around and left.
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