Urban Legend

By MacsJeep

Episode 8.10: Part One

 

MacGyver slid the Jeep down the city streets with ease, even though the 4x4 was probably happier roughing it out in the wilds. He took a left, spinning the wheel with the palm of his hand and then letting it straighten out again.

A small breeze whipped over the windshield, bristling through his hair and making the early morning sun seem that little bit warmer.

Mac smiled to himself. It felt good to be heading out to the Santa Luisa Mission again. He hadn’t been to the homeless center his late friend Father Jim had set up in quite awhile, and the place deserved some more of his time.

He was taking over a trunk full of clothes he’d was donating, as well as some electrical items for the mission office that Phoenix had sent along. Setting those up for Doc would be a pleasant distraction after recent events.

Mac shook his head, partly in disdain and partly in amazement. His latest encounter had been with his old nemesis, Murdoc, and although this time things had been a little different, MacGyver always came away with a bad taste in his mouth after dealing with the outrageous Brit.

It was like the gods had made them in some weird mould that meant they’d be enemies forever – because to say Murdoc was a hitman, he never could kill Mac, and no matter how many times Murdoc appeared to come to a sticky end, MacGyver never really could foil him, either.

MacGyver took another left turn and was about to accelerate away when movement on the sidewalk caught his eye. It wasn’t too difficult to see that some poor soul was getting mugged, and not even down an alleyway.

Mac hit the brakes, slid the Jeep up to the curb and was out onto the path in seconds.

“Hey!”

As Mac called out, the mugger glanced over his shoulder and then bolted, making a run for the neighboring street. He was fast, and there was no way to get a good look at him because he wore a hood low over his face.

MacGyver hesitated, wanting to give chase, but quickly realized the victim was a street person, and he was hurt.

What kind of man mugs a homeless guy? Mac tried not to think about it too much as he kneeled over to try and help. They have no money, nothing of value…

“Angelina…” The man’s eyes were wide, desperate even, and his ancient hands clawed at MacGyver’s arms as he blurted out the name.

Mac gently tried to push him back down, noting blood pooling on the sidewalk. He knew the old boy from the mission, but couldn’t quite remember what people called him.

He was too old to be out on the streets, too old to be attacked like this.

Too old to die like this? As the sobering thought hit home, MacGyver finally remembered the elderly man’s name. Everyone called him Old Rob, although his real name could be anything.

“It’s okay,” he soothed looking for the source of the blood. “I’m gonna get you some help.”

Rob wasn’t listening. “Save it…save it for her…” His frail hands grabbed for Mac’s collar, and it was then the troubleshooter finally realized the man had been stabbed and it was bad – what was known as a sucking chest wound, if he wasn’t mistaken.

MacGyver ignored Rob’s pleas and looked around for help. It was still early, but there was the odd person here and there, all ignoring what was happening and simply walking on by.

Was this what the world had come to? Were people like Rob really that invisible, even when they were old and hurt?

“Hey!” Mac picked on a young man with a ghetto blaster on his shoulder and a lot of very fake jewelry on his hands and around his neck. The kid turned with a “who me?” expression. “Yeah, you! Call the police and an ambulance. NOW!

Mac watched as the kid thought about it, then ducked into a nearby convenience store, hopefully to borrow a phone.

Rob’s bloodied hands tugged on Mac’s collar again, and this time he couldn’t help but stare back in to the old man’s eyes. There was something there, in his heart, in his soul that MacGyver would probably never understand, and yet would never forget.

“Save…Angelina’s Grace…”

MacGyver held Rob in his arms, realizing there was very little weight to him at all. He was skin and bone, almost skeletal. “I don’t understand?” He admitted, shaking his head. “Who is Angelina? Someone I can contact?”

Rob coughed and a bright red spurt of blood dribbled down his chin. Somehow he still managed to summon the energy to shake his head, his dark eyes beseeching Mac to grasp his words. “Angelina…

His grip slowly loosened, and his eyelids slid down. Rob let out one long, rasping breath, and quietly died in MacGyver’s arms.

No one would remember him or even care what had happened. There would be no mourners at his grave, and no tombstone to mark his passing.

But MacGyver knew, and MacGyver cared – and that meant there would at least be answers.

* * * *

Later that night at Sam’s Apartment
6th Street,
Santa Monica

MacGyver was pacing – no actually, he was storming back and forth until Sam thought he would most likely need a new rug before the night was over. Every now and again, his dad would pause, run a hand through his hair, and then start all over again.

Sam had seen Mac like this before, and knew it was best to let his dad get whatever it was out of his system, even if that did mean a terminal hole in his carpet.

“Can you believe anyone would hurt an old homeless guy like that? Old Rob was over seventy-years-old for heavens sake! He wouldn’t have hurt a fly!” Mac was looking at Sam expectantly.

Sam shrugged, taking a film out of his camera as he spoke. “What did the cops say when you made your statement?”

MacGyver stuffed his hands in his pockets and puffed out a breath in exasperation. “Nothing! They’ve got squat.” He finally dropped onto the couch, deflated. “And then there’s all the weird stuff Rob was saying just before he died.”

Sam cocked a brow, the reporter side of his brain kicking in without him even realizing. “Weird stuff, huh?”

Mac nodded. “Well, ya know, some street folks kinda act that way all the time. But I’ve met Old Rob before in passing and he always seemed pretty lucid until today…”

Dad! Will you just spill what he said?”

MacGyver sighed. “He kept asking me to “Save Angelina’s Grace,” but what that exactly is…” Mac paused mid-sentence as Sam almost dropped the camera he’d been pottering with.

“Aww man!” Sam saved the camera – just, and set in on the table next to the couch. “Angelina’s Grace is an old Californian urban legend. It’s kinda something I mess around with when I’m not on assignment.” He moved to the computer he had set up in the corner and dropped onto the chair in front of it. “Wanna see my files?”

“You believe in all that supernatural stuff?” Mac let out a huff suggesting he wasn’t convinced by any such tales.

Sam shook his head and laughed. “It’s not that kind of urban legend. C’mon over here and take a look.” He tapped on a few keys, scrolling through several folders until he found the one he was searching for.

MacGyver sauntered across, settling to view the monitor over his son’s shoulder. His expression said he was intrigued and slightly impressed even by what Sam had been up to in his spare time.

Sam patted the screen with his forefinger. “See, back in the fifties, a guy named Bobbi Albini ran a local crime family, and he was big news. Then one day he fell for a dancer named Angelina Constanzo, and he reportedly loved her so much he vowed to give up his mob connections and settle down.”

“Something tells me that didn’t quite go to plan?” MacGyver theorized.

“Yeah, legend has it he bought a mansion out of town and had it filled with the most expensive furniture and jewelry, including a million dollar necklace named Angelina’s Grace.” Sam paused and looked at his dad for a reaction, when he got nothing but a frown, he continued. “Anyway, the story goes that a rival gang boss named Carl Donati got wind of what was going down and put a hit out on Angelina as a way of getting to Bobbi. She was killed in a car explosion. Instead of seeking revenge, Albini simply vanished, and some say he turned to the life of a bum, living on the streets among the homeless without anyone knowing, his mansion and treasures lost in time somewhere, waiting to be found…”

Sam was broken from the depths of his own storytelling by a chuckle from his father. He looked over his shoulder to see MacGyver shaking his head. Okay, so at least he’s not sulking about the old guy dying anymore…

“You don’t really believe Old Rob could be this Bobbi Albini?” Mac asked. “And I mean, c’mon, Sam, you can’t just lose a mansion full of treasure, it would have been found by now!”

Sam shrugged and hit the key to shutdown his computer. Sometimes, his dad was really stubborn, almost as stubborn as he was on a good day. “But what if he was Bobbi and the mansion is out there waiting to be found? You gotta admit it would make a great story?”

MacGyver wavered a second. “It’s more likely Old Rob was just attacked by some kid on drugs who didn’t even realize he was homeless…”

Sam’s eyes softened. He could tell his dad was teetering on the brink of being sucked in to the story. “You want to know for sure though, right?” He pushed. “So why don’t you investigate this with me? It would be a great way to spend some time together, too.”

“I guess this crazy legend is the only clue we have,” Mac conceded, flopping back onto the couch. “But I want a few more facts rather than hearsay before we do this, right?”

Sam felt all warm inside. Hook, line and sinker…

He let the thought remain silent and instead offered, “I can go to the library after I hand in my current assignment in the morning?”

MacGyver shook his head. “Nah, I’ll go. I want to look up the whole crime family story and see where it leads.”

Sam bobbed his head. It was going to be great having his dad work a story with him, and if it caught a killer, then even better.

* * * *

Abbot Kinney Memorial Library
502 S. Venice Blvd

The library in this part of town wasn’t exactly massive, but it usually had enough information to get MacGyver what he needed. Today, however, he was finding it increasingly difficult to discover anything he didn’t already know about the west coast mob.

There were a few old black and white photos of the L.A. syndicate together back in the fifties, one which actually showed Bobbi with Angelina and a few other men, but it wasn’t anything eye-opening.

Mac turned the book that held the picture on its side and read the small print along the edge. It listed exactly who was in the photo.

Bobbi Albini, Angelina Constanzo, Ricardo Lobina, Ricky Furfaro and someone MacGyver didn’t instantly recognize as mafia, named Art Denizen.

He squinted, focusing on Bobbi. Could the lean, well-dressed man in this image really be Old Rob? There was a resemblance, but was that all it was?

Mac flicked over the page and found a small article to go along with the photo. It was about the explosion that had killed Angelina. Apparently, she and the driver, Ricardo Lobina had been killed instantly when the bomb had torn through the Buick they were in.

The detonation had been so violent and all-consuming that only dismembered body parts had ever been found. The thought set the hairs on the back of Mac’s neck tingling, and he quickly stowed the book back on the shelf where he’d found it.

“Are you searching the Albini legend?”

The voice was petite and soft, and as MacGyver whirled around he was faced with a dark-haired young girl with expectant brown eyes. “Who wants to know?” He answered with a question.

The girl smiled and patted a small pile of books atop the table where she was sitting. “I’m doing the whole urban legend thing as a college project,” she confessed. “I thought maybe if you were looking into it too, we could maybe compare notes?”

Mac felt suddenly sheepish and defenseless. He held up his hands in defeat. “You got me.” He smiled. “I don’t have any notes to compare. There isn’t much here on the whole thing.”

The girl nodded knowingly. “Tell me about it.” She flicked her hair absently over her left shoulder. “I’m Andrea, by the way, but you can call me Andy, on account that I hate my first name.”

Mac couldn’t stifle another smile. “That I can relate to…” He relaxed just a touch more, and pulled out a chair opposite her.

There was a distinct possibility Andy might have the information he needed, but just how much could he tell her about what he was really doing, and why?

“So, you’re too old for a college project, why are you looking up the Albini thing?” Andy popped in a stick of gum and tossed the wrapper on the table.

Mac couldn’t resist picking it up and toying with it in his fingers. It was just one of those items there was a plethora of uses for rather than it going in the trash. “Oh, just helping my journalist son with a few bits of research.” It wasn’t a lie, exactly.

Andy seemed to take it in, and then pushed over the books she’d already signed out. “This is the most interesting, and not so widely known piece of the story I’ve been able to dig up.” She opened the top hardback. “It’s about the house Albini was supposed to have bought his girl.”

MacGyver read through what he was being shown. If it was to be believed, the book suggested that after Angelina was killed, Bobbi had the house booby trapped, so that no one else could ever set foot in it except the spirit of his lover.

Mac tapped the page. “How can they know this as fact, when the house was never found?”

Andy blew a small bubble with the gum, let it pop and then shrugged. “I’m just the researcher, I know nothing,” she joked. “Kinda romantic if it’s true, though, huh?”

“Romantic, yes,” MacGyver agreed. “But pretty hard to believe. Then again, legends and tales like this do tend to snowball as they age.”

“Maybe, but I don’t think you should ever discount anything, either.” Andy scooped the books back to her side of the table. “Seeing is believing, and all that.”

MacGyver pushed up from his chair. While what Andy was saying was true, it wasn’t helping him get any closer to finding Rob’s killer just sitting theorizing what might or might not have happened in a house some thirty five years ago.

“It’s all pretty interesting for a project, but it isn’t really what I need to catch a killer.” As soon as the words had left his mouth he realized he may have said too much.

But then Andy wasn’t exactly public enemy number one.

She picked up on the phrase he’d used instantly, and her right brow ticked up in sudden interest. “Killer? I thought you were here helping your son?”

Mac stuffed his hands in his bomber jacket pockets. “I am,” he answered awkwardly. “But it involves the death of an old homeless guy. He died in my arms asking me to “Save Angelina’s Grace”, and I’m trying to figure out if that’s what got him killed or not.”

Andy’s bottomless hazel eyes widened. “Whoa! That’s pretty deep.”

MacGyver nodded, his face now a mask of sadness as he remembered Rob’s last moments. “Yeah, and so far I’m getting nowhere. I’d hoped there would be more here at the library.”

“Sorry I don’t have much to share, either,” Andy apologized. “Is there anything else I can do to help?”

Mac shook his head. “There’s not much you can do, but I have a friend among the homeless people. He knew Rob pretty well. Maybe Rob opened up to him or even said something in passing. I guess I should go see him next.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Andy blew another bubble and gathered the books under her arm as she stood to leave. “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

“Me too, miss.” MacGyver nodded his head in thanks and then headed for the exit. Even though he had discovered very little, he had at least decided that this was one legend he intended to unfold.

* * * *

Sam’s Apartment
6th St
Santa Monica

MacGyver breezed into Sam’s place around 10p.m. after stopping off to see Pete at the Phoenix Foundation. He hadn’t intended to spend too long at work, but then the conversation had turned to Murdoc’s last escapade, and before he knew it several hours had vanished.

Now, he was ready for something to eat, a cold drink and a nice soft bed – sadly, if he stayed over, he wasn’t going to get the latter. Sam’s pad was a one bedroom dwelling that mirrored Mac’s old house boat, meaning someone had to take the couch.

As he hung up his leather jacket and entered the living area, he realized the T.V. was blaring out gunfire. Shaking his head, Mac slumped down next to Sam on the couch.

Sam was glued to the set, munching intermittently at a bowl of popcorn.

“Sheesh, you’re watching Hunter reruns?” Mac wasn’t impressed. “Couldn’t you find something more educating than this cheesy violence?” As he watched, Fred Dryer dived across the screen sending a hail of bullets at some unknown bad guy.

“Hey, it works for me!” Sam chuckled. Then slightly more seriously, he added. “Anyway, what about all those westerns you watch? Don’t you dare tell me John Wayne caught the bad guys with duck tape and a penknife…”

MacGyver opened his mouth ready to argue, and then realized that Sam kind of had a point. Hunter was still too much for his nerves to cope with, however, and he grabbed the remote and flicked off the T.V.

Dad!” Sam groused, but then smiled as Mac stuck a hand into the popcorn and stole a fistful.

“I think you might be onto something with the Albini thing,” MacGyver admitted between mouthfuls. “Although apart from some old photos, I haven’t found out very much more. There’s some story about the house being booby trapped, but I doubt that’s true.”

Sam put down the bowl in his hand, suddenly more interested in the story than food or the T.V. “You really believe Rob could be Bobbi now?”

“Maybe,” MacGyver conceded. “I saw a picture of Albini today and there was a definite resemblance. I just need to find someone who knows for sure. Old Rob used to hang out at the Santa Luisa Mission. Maybe Doc who helps run the place will have some answers for us. I figure we could drive down there in the morning?”

Sam’s features creased into a smile. “Does that mean you’ll stay over?”

MacGyver eyed the couch, assessing it for comfort. He hadn’t stayed over since Sam had gotten the place, and maybe it was time he did. Of course, that probably meant some very achy limbs the next day, but it was worth it to see the grin on his son’s face.

Up until now, Mac had done all the entertaining, and it was obvious Sam was getting a kick out of having “dad” stay over, rather than him staying over at Mac’s.

“I guess so,” MacGyver finally put his son out of his misery. “Got any blankets to go with this executive bed?” He patted the couch affectionately.

“I can take the couch!” Sam instantly offered.

“Hey, I never got the bed back on the houseboat. It’ll be just like old times.” Mac poked the couch, pretending to look for bad springs. “Maybe too much like old times…”

Sam laughed and tossed two blankets and a pillow at his dad from the bedroom doorway. “See you in the morning, bright and early.” He flicked off the light mischievously and vanished before Mac could answer.

With a contented sigh, MacGyver dropped down onto the pillow and pulled the blankets over him. Was this what family life was like? Was this what he’d missed for so many years?

He snuggled deeper into the pillow and thought about the times he had to come with Sam, actual quality time that he could share with someone. The thought brought a small smile to his face as he slowly drifted off, his mind floating away on white puffy clouds.

At least, for all of about twenty seconds.

And then it came – the noise from hell.

For a moment, MacGyver thought Sam’s neighbors had taken to drilling the walls at an unsociable hour. Or maybe it was a sander?

Mac sat up, rubbed at his eyes and then realized with a not-so-fatherly groan that the grating, moaning, grinding sound was actually Sam snoring.

MacGyver’s brow creased as he grimaced. He’d heard Sam snore like this once before, on the doomed Boeing Flight LA4177, but given what had followed, he’d forgotten about it until now.

Dang, that boy is loud!

Another growling snore filtered from Sam’s bedroom and Mac considered getting up and finding something to stuff in his ears. Eventually, he exhaled and flopped back down on the couch, grabbing the pillow and putting it over his head to deaden the ongoing noise.

In the morning, he would definitely need to look at fitting soundproofing to the bedroom if he was ever going to stay over again.

The thought made him smile even more, and he slowly began to drift back off into slumber.

This time, the blissful oblivion lasted around ten minutes before another noise roused him.

MacGyver groaned and moved the pillow. That’s it, I’m gonna put some duck tape over Sam’s mouth, nose, whatever it takes! His mind griped.

But as Mac’s senses became accustomed to being fully conscious, he suddenly realized that this time, what he was hearing was not Sam. No, his years of experience and training in the field were warning him of something much more ominous than his kid snoring.

MacGyver sat bolt upright and his eyes darted to the source of the noise, even though in truth it was too dark to make much out.

The sound was unmistakable now Mac knew where it was coming from. Someone was trying to break in by either forcing or picking the lock. And they were making far too much noise about it to be a professional.

MacGyver licked his lips and took just milliseconds to react.

Before the would-be intruder had chance to get through the door, Mac had positioned himself behind it, his heart beating double time in his chest as he waited to make his move.

Eventually, the door creaked slowly open, the prowler being suddenly cautious before stepping inside.

There was a pause, and then MacGyver saw the silhouette of the man, or maybe even a woman, as they entered. He guessed they were about his size, dressed completely in black – and was that a hoodie, like the one Rob’s killer had worn?

There was no time to worry about that now, though. Mac had to act. Sam was still asleep in the bedroom and potentially vulnerable, so this interloper had to be dealt with.

Without really thinking much beyond protecting his son, Mac made his move, jumping out from his concealed position to confront the bad guy. “Hey, I don’t recall giving you an invite!”

The intruder spun on their heels, but it was still too dark to pick out any features – save one – a shiny, threatening blade that turned over and over in the person’s right hand, like it was itching to be used.

Is that what he used on Old Rob? In MacGyver’s mind, he somehow already knew it was, and if he wasn’t careful, he just might be next.


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