Spade Davis believed there was nothing more despicable a man could do than to sleep with another man’s wife. It was how he was raised. So as he sat, gazing into the eyes of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in the hospital cafeteria, he had never been more conflicted. The way she spoke made Spade feel an excitement he hadn’t in years. But Spade’s aversion to adultery was stronger than his attraction to Jill. He handed her the packet.
“I don’t know how to put this Jill,” Davis sighed, “but the reason I’m still here is I have to break a little bit of news to you. The District Attorney wants you to be the key witness in the state’s case against McClardy and he wants to put you in witness protection. He wants to move you and Jackie to St. Louis where no one from the mob can reach you. He wants to keep you safe.”
All of Spade’s experience in his decades on the force could not have prepared him for the pain he was about to feel. He felt regret, sorrow, compassion and guilt about the same woman. Spade’s whole outlook on life had changed because of this relatively commonplace occurrence. He had consoled a distraught wife more times than he could count, but something about Jill was different. He thought it was the fact that she was possibly one of three living people who could identify Ricky McClardy, but when that turned out to be false hours later, he still couldn’t get her out of his head.
Spade and McClardy had something of a rivalry. Rivalry probably isn’t the best word for their relationship. It was rather more of a cat and mouse game which preoccupied almost all of Spade’s free time. McClardy would move his pawns all across the chessboard he called Chicago and Spade was caught following all of his clues across town, never truly finding the true indicator of what was going on. To Spade, it seemed like McClardy put more effort into keeping Spade off of his trail then he did in actually executing his crimes. Despite this, McClardy never got sloppy. Spade had volumes and volumes of evidence on crimes that were thought to be traced back to McClardy, but no tangible evidence connecting him to the crimes. He had come close once. He found a glove on the floor of Lucini’s Italian Restaurant, a known mafia hideout. The glove was brown leather and the craftsmanship was so fine it had to have been expensive. Spade inspected that glove for hours before he found a monogram on the inner stitching that read “RM.” Who else could have been “RM?” Spade thought he finally had found a point of negligence in McClardy’s career, but he was wrong. The evidence that Spade thought he had found was nothing more than a red herring which nearly got him suspended from the force.
Spade stopped at Roger’s Pub on his way home from the precinct. Martin, the bartender, had known Spade for years and was the one man who Spade considered a friend. Martin sensed there was something troubling his longtime patron and inquired as so.
“I don’t know Marty,” Spade admitted before drinking his whiskey as if it were water. “Something about her case doesn’t make sense to me. If the Castonzo brothers were there and Ricky wasn’t, who could the third guy have been? It just isn’t clear. There should be…”
“You’re obsessing again Spade,” Martin replied. “It’s like that glove all over again. Sometimes a clue is just a clue.”
“Can I get less advice and another whiskey Marty?” Spade snapped back. “I got so damn close. You have to understand me Marty. This woman, Jill was her name, she was my ticket out. The case was solved!”
“Coming right up,” Martin submissively replied. “I just don’t get why this case matters so much to you. There are thousands of mobsters in this here city and you keyed in on one. Why does this matter to you so much? You come in here every day and get pissy with me even though I’m on your side. What the hell gives?”
“You wanna know what the hell gives,” Spade snapped back. “What the hell gives is that I had a fucking witness who could finally testify against this no-good sonovabitch and our good-for-nothing government is making me ship her half way across this piece of shit country of ours just so they don’t get to her! Is that what this world has come to Marty? Is that all we have? Is it fair to us that all of the good guys either become bad guys or have to run away from the bad guys? It’s just not how the world should work. It just can’t be. Not on my watch.”
Spade slammed six dollars on the table and yelled “Put the rest on my tab” as he scurried out the back door into the dark, deserted alley behind the bar. Spade forwent a cab ride and decided to walk home. About halfway through the three block trip, the skies opened up and it began to pour. Spade pulled his trench coat over his head and walked faster. Just then he remembered Jill’s face. He remembered how scared she looked, how despondent she sounded. Spade sympathized with Jill. Spade had never married for precisely the reason Jill was in pain: he was afraid the criminals he fought on a daily basis would come home to her before he could. Spade really only had two loved ones on this planet, his mother and his half-sister. Everyone else in his family had written him out. Thinking about this made Spade feel even more like Jill had. Spade changed his course. He was going home.